Latinx AF Feature: Unice Fernandez Hispanic Heritage Month Photo Series
For the past 3 years, San Diego based photographer Unice Fernandez has presented the community with a beautiful series of portraits for Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month. I had the immense pleasure of being featured for her 2019 Latinx Heritage Month series- and those photos remain some of my very favorite of myself. In 2018, Unice said this of her then new series:
"For a while now I’ve been wanting to create a project empowering our Hispanic community. At times, watching the news and reading articles leaves me with a heavy heart knowing these reports are what many of us in the community can relate to in one way or another. In spite of everything, I want to encourage all of you to continue fighting for your family, chase your dreams, or finish that degree. Wherever you are in life right now, do it all with excellence and love. Continue to empower, celebrate and embrace each other. To celebrate HHM, I’ll be featuring Hispanics in Austin who have shared with me their thoughts on #HispanicHeritageMonth. By the end of this blog, I hope you are empowered and encouraged by these amazing women. ✊🏽No matter what has been said and will continue to be said, we ARE what makes America great and beautiful."
Unice is currently based in San Diego, but hails from Washington state. She started taking photography classes in high school, and the rest, as they say, is history. In a 2019 San Diego Voyager interview Unice said of her art:
"I love creating portraits based of off client’s vision and making it come to life. My goal is to make people feel known, beautiful, and welcomed just the way they are. I also create personal work because once I have a concept in mind, I have to get it out of my system haha. Usually, concepts come to mind based on how I’m feeling or what inspires me at that moment. Aesthetically, I love timeless and true to color editing."
Karina Alvarez is a Holistic Family Nutritionist (@cookingforachange) “Soy mexicana viviendo en Estados Unidos de América por 19 años. El amor, el matrimonio y el trabajo de mi esposo me trajeron a este país de grandes oportunidades. Felices hemos formado nuestro hogar latino con cuatro hijos, orgullosos de nuestras raíces, los hemos educado preservando los valores y la cultura de nuestro país de origen. Desde el idioma español, gusto por nuestra comida hasta las celebraciones tradicionales; todos son elementos que les hemos inculcado en su formación. Amo mi país, mi gente y su característica alegría, el folklor mexicano, sus colores vivos, sus festividades únicas, su calor humano. Pero, especialmente, amo su exquisita comida, su diversidad de platillos, costumbres y técnicas culinarias, todo ello forma gran parte de mi identidad y lo llevo en mi corazón. Asimismo, me sirve de inspiración para poder manifestar mi creatividad a través de mi gusto y dedicación por la cocina; misma que se ha convertido en un pilar importante en la convivencia diaria en nuestro hogar. Me apasiona compartir y dar a conocer la gran riqueza cultural de mi país a través de su arte culinario, mismo que considero un gran legado para nuestro mundo hispano. Todo ello haciendo énfasis en la salud, nutrición y bienestar de mi gente bonita.“
Cilla Araujo is the owner of Cillas Glossin, a lip product line made of all natural ingredients (@cillasglossin) “Cooking,cleaning, and serving my family doesn't make me a "good" Hispanic woman. When people look at Latinas that is what they expect. When that isn't what your good at it is frowned upon in society. That isn't who I want to be, nor do I want to see Hispanic women's value placed like that. I want to be the Hispanic women that creates on my own, that encourages others to start their own business, or simply create. The one who inspires others into believing in themselves, for themselves and not for others.”
Daniela Gutierrez is the owner of D the Baker (@d.thebaker) "Hispanic heritage month to me means a celebration of where the roots of who I am came from. My name is Daniela Gutierrez and I am a student, baker, friend, daughter, but before that I am a first generation Mexican-American. The sacrifices my parents made in order for my sisters and I to have the future we could achieve is something I am so incredibly grateful for. I never paid much attention when I was younger what the title “first generation” meant or how important it is. But now as a twenty year old adult I wear that title very high and with pride. I am currently a college student at SDSU and the second to be at this level of education in my family. Although it’s a lot of pressure because I never want to disappoint my parents they both constantly remind me to keep going which is my biggest motivation. In addition to my schooling I’m also a baker and started my at home business at the age of fifteen. I do so much because both my mom and dad have taught me there is no limit to what I want to do. If I could put into three words what my hispanic heritage means to me I would say resilient, inspiring, and beautiful."
Eden Fernández is part of the music group The Peculiar People, a Grammy Nominated, 6 Time Stellar Award Winning, Platinum Selling Multi-Cultural Group founded by B.Slade. (@edenfernandez)
Gabriel Montini (@gabriela.gem) "Where you come from is a story that deserves to be embraced and shared. Being Latina means that I carry the beautiful stories of my parents, grandparents, and other relatives before me. I take pride in where I come from because I am proud of all the sacrifices and struggles my family overcame, which have allowed me to be who I am today. My parents made it a priority to teach me about my culture and to keep me rooted in it. When I was younger, I couldn’t really understand the weight of being a first generation U.S. citizen and what it really meant. I now understand the difference I’m making in my family and for other families like mine. I will continue to raise the bar, reach new heights, and set new standards for us all. I’m proud of who I am, but more importantly of where I come from and what I represent."