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  Welcome to my blog. In this space, I celebrate intersectional feminism, motherhood, style, food, color and culture. Thanks for stopping by.

Beauty Uniform: Paulina Rojas

Beauty Uniform: Paulina Rojas

Hello friends! Welcome to a new series on the blog. This year, I will be featuring the Beauty Uniforms of women who inspire me; women whose beauty and style is as radiant on the inside as it is on the outside. For Hello Esperanza’s very first Beauty Uniform, I are featuring my friend and colleague Paulina Rojas.

On Paulina: I am the Program Coordinator at the Youth Leadership Institute Eastern Coachella Valley (ECV) office, where I help facilitate two programs. Coachella Unincorporated, a youth media training program and Que Madre, a group for young women of color to have honest discussions about mental health. I was born in New York City, and was raised in Houston so I consider myself to have two hometowns. I have been living in the ECV for four years now. I am a poet. I have been learning Korean for the past six years, and I hope to become more fluent in 2019. Looking to learn Mandarin in the future, too. I am really into skincare and fashion. I am a first generation Dominican-American. My family's roots are in the beautiful city of Santiago. 

On a day in the life: On a typical weekday I am usually in the office from 9-6 p.m. Every day at work is different. Some days I am in meetings, others I am working on content for our social media platforms, and others still I am helping facilitate meetings with our youth. My evening routine usually begins at 8 or 9. I go through my skincare routine.  After going though my skincare I'll turn on my diffuser, lately I’ve been really into peppermint and eucalyptus scents. Then I'll make myself a cup of tea, lately it has been lavender chamomile or apple rose tea. I'll make sure I have comfortable pajamas on and just relax while watching Youtube videos (some of my favs are Joan Kim, Claire Marshall and Jackie Aina). Other times, I read a book; right now I am reading the Art Instinct by Dennis Dutton. Lately, I've been getting into bullet journaling so sometimes I do that as well. And then I try to be asleep by 11 pm. An everyday ritual I have is making sure to call my abuela who lives in Houston. We are really close and I can't go more than two days without talking to her. 

On beauty as a social construct: I believe that beauty means something different to everyone. I am very aware that beauty is also a social construct, and those who have “it” have certain privileges that those who aren't considered beautiful don't have. I know that as a light-skinned Latina, with light-brown reddish hair, who also happens to be on the “right kind” of curvy, I have certain privileges that other folks don't. At the end of the day, all bodies are valid and everyone should be free to express beauty in their own way. From not wearing any makeup at all, to those who really feel empowered by an extensive routine. 

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On self-care:  I practice self care in many ways. Emotionally, I make sure to go see my therapist regularly. I have a great therapist who has helped me a lot with my personal growth. I also try not to bottle up my feelings. I tend to feel things very deeply and for most of my life, I believed I was too emotional, but now I just embrace it. I let myself feel whatever I am feeling for however long I need to. I also reach out to my friends and family if I am really struggling with something. It is okay to ask for help. It is ok to not be ok. Physically, I take care of myself by eating nourishing food; I really enjoy experimenting with plant based recipes, while also never saying no to Strawberry ice cream or Matcha boba tea. Ultimately, the biggest and best ways I practice self-care is by being kind to myself and not comparing myself to others, and by spending time with my good friends and family. Getting gel manicures every two weeks doesn’t hurt either.

On dainty tattoos: I got my first tattoo almost two years ago. I had been wanting to get an anchor tattoo since I was 18 years old but I was always afraid to. As the years passed, it never really felt like the right time. I connect deeply to the image of an anchor because although I have experienced various kinds of storms in my life, I have remained grounded in who I am and how far I've come. It is a reminder of how resilient I am. I have three other tattoos a crescent moon with stars, roses, and monarch butterflies.  As the daughter of immigrants I really connect to monarch butterflies: I have lived in many places, and have a different concept of what home means. Before I get a piece done I really think about it to make sure it all really resonates with me. I plan on getting a few more pieces done in the future. I have gotten all my tattoos done by the same artist (shoutout to Kim at Oasis tattoo in Indio). She's amazing and really understands my dainty aesthetic. I have decided to only get tattooed by women because I love supporting women in all fields.

On a many-step skin-care routine: My skin care routine averages 8-10 steps and is inspired by the 10 step Korean Skincare routine, using a mix of Korean, drugstore and high end products. It, along with the afore-mentioned self-care practices, is how I show myself love. At night, I start off with an oil cleanser to melt off my makeup and pre-cleanse. Then, I use a water-based gel cleanser to wash my face, followed by an alcohol-free toner, which is then followed by a serum. Next, I move on to eye cream and night cream. I usually do masks every two days. On days when I am having a breakout or I am having congested skin, I'll do a clay mask and on days where my skin is dull or dry, I'll use a hydrating sheet mask. Right before bed, I apply lip balm, cuticle oil, and hand cream to extend the life of my manicure. I also never skip sunscreen during the day, even on cloudy days. Some days I am too tired to follow this routine but on those nights I still make sure to at the bare minimum cleanse, tone and hydrate.

On a favorite beauty product: This is such a tough question! I'll share three cause I can't limit it to one. My favorite cleanser for my oily skin is the Pacifica Kale Detox Deep Cleansing Face Wash. I have gone through so many bottles of it!! My favorite Sunscreen is the COSRX Aloe Soothing Sun Cream and my favorite foundation is the Estée Lauder Double Wear.

Who are your beauty role models?  My beauty role models are all the women who try to embrace themselves just the way that they are and the women who take risks. I am constantly inspired by the women around me from my family, friends, my co workers or the person standing in front of me at the check out line. I am a big fan of Kpop so I am also influenced by the genre, a few of my Kpop beauty role models are Rose from BlackPink, Chung Ha and Sin B from GFRIEND

On the word BEAUTY:  To me beauty means being kind to yourself and others, it means pursuing the things that bring you joy and savoring every moment. To me beauty means being authentic and true to who you are without needing to give anyone an explanation. 

On what to bring to a desert island: If I was stranded on an Island I would bring sunscreen, a pen, a notebook, 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami, and a fishing rod 

On her hopes and dreams: My hopes and dreams for my future are 1) to continue to continue to give back to the community through my work. 2) to publish a poetry book 3) to have a life rich in experiences, to not let fear and the fear of rejection/failure stop me from pursuing my dreams 4) to open myself to new and different forms of love and to continue to grow and never stop learning. 

On her vision for the Eastern Coachella Valley: I want the Eastern Coachella Valley to be the community that remains at the forefront of the change happening in the Coachella Valley. That outsiders and visitors honor the community for all its beauty and resilience. I hope for increased access to education, transportation, health care and jobs. I hope that the people of the ECV are able to always tell their stories from their perspective instead of having others tell them. I hope the folks that call the ECV home never forget how amazing they really are. 

Thank you so much, Paulina!

Women of the Coachella Valley Part III

Women of the Coachella Valley Part III