Intersections of Beauty is a platform to celebrate the unique perspectives, aesthetics, and life experiences within the industry and our communities. We believe that beauty isn’t just one-size-fits-all. It ‘s FOR all. It’s Hispanic Heritage Month, and to celebrate we’re welcoming members of the Hispanic community to share their stories.
This week we spoke with fashion and beauty blogger Perla Aguilar about embracing her roots, Hispanic representation, the importance of family, and more. Keep reading for the full conversation.
- Name: Perla Aguilar
- Instagram Handle: iamperlita
- Pronouns: she/her
- How would your best friend describe you in a sentence or two: “An incredibly talented artist who puts love and intention in everything she creates.”
- Location: Riverside, CA
- Hair Type/Texture: Wavy, frizzy 2B
It’s Hispanic Heritage Month! What does it mean to you, and how do you like to celebrate?
I love Hispanic Heritage Month! This is a time to celebrate and learn about Hispanic culture. I like celebrating by showing off who I am and where I come from. I do this through wearing my favorite traditional garments, accessorizing my hair with color and making all of my favorite Mexican dishes. I also enjoy learning about other Hispanic communities since we are so diverse and beautiful in our own way.
What are three things you love about your heritage and culture?
I feel the need to start with a disclaimer. I cannot limit what I love about my culture to three things, but here are the top three that come to mind. I love that my heritage is deeply rooted in the importance of family because this is probably what I value the most in my life. The second thing that comes to mind is the food! Hispanic food is delicious, but there is nothing like Mexican cuisine and yes, I am biased! Thirdly, I love how passionate we are. Our passion is what drives us and what has made us so resilient over the years.
Was there ever a time when you struggled with your identity? How did you work through that?
I definitely struggled with my identity when I was younger and first learned what it meant to be undocumented person in the U.S.. I thought my whole identity was centered around being someone that wasn’t wanted in the only country she ever loved and knew. This led me to put a lot of effort into trying to assimilate and it distracted me from learning more about my own roots. I was able to work through this identity struggle after my first trip back to Mexico. I was no longer living in fear and was able to visit, learn and embrace everything about the country that I came from. I’ve been filled with so much pride ever since and I do not miss an opportunity to talk about how wonderful my heritage is.
Justice and equality have been major cultural topics in the last year. What stands out to you as some of the biggest moments for the Hispanic community?
What stands out the most to me is our growth in representation in politics. Public figures from the Hispanic community in music, film, and social media are using their platforms to educate and speak out against issues within our community. Our voices are being amplified and are finally being heard after being a marginalized community for so long. I know this is only the beginning, but I’m hopeful our continued growth will empower future generations.
What do you think the beauty industry stands to learn from Hispanic culture? How should the industry change to be more inclusive?
The hispanic community is a good representation of the world’s population. There is so much diversity ethnically, racially, linguistically and so much more. The beauty industry needs to continue taking this into consideration because this is reflected in our need for different products for all hair types, skin tones and textures. This need is not limited to products because it should be present in educational efforts from the top corporate offices all the way down to customer experience at beauty counters.
How do you use your platform as a step toward radical inclusion in the beauty industry?
I try my best to be open and honest about my insecurities. This challenges me to accept “flaws” that would be otherwise erased through editing software like FaceTune and Photoshop. Sometimes I purposely post a picture that isn’t “IG worthy” because I want people to know that it’s okay if your eyebrows aren’t perfectly groomed, or a section of hair is out of place. It’s not an easy thing to do because I am not always a confident person. A lot of people believe that everything from our head to our toes has to be perfect based on what they see in ads and social media, but it’s not a representation of real life.
Do you celebrate your Hispanic heritage through your style and aesthetic? If so, what are your favorite ways?
I most definitely do celebrate my Hispanic heritage through my style and aesthetic! I do not shy away from wearing color and bold looks. For me, colorful clothing, makeup and statement jewelry represents my Mexican heritage. I proudly wear my gold hoop earrings, bold lipstick and colorful hair every single day. It’s a part of who I am.
Tell us the first lesson you ever learned about caring for your hair. Who was with you when you began your hair care journey?
My mother played a huge role in helping shape my relationship with my hair. When I was younger, she looked forward to styling my hair everyday, but also cared about my input when it came to how she should style it. As I grew older, she taught me how to properly care for my hair on my own and was always supportive when I wanted to try a different hairstyle, cut or color. She helped me learn that our hair is an extension of who we are and that we must take care of it, but we are also allowed to express ourselves through our hair.