I have recently begun a new job at a fashion house that is pretty recognizable. It’s a European fashion corporation and I am one of the VERY few Latinas here. I am a natural woman with curly hair, makeup limited to mascara and lip-gloss, and a curvy figure. I feel confident in my abilities but I would like to connect with my co-workers.
The problem is that we have nothing in common. I grew up in “the hood” and they grew up in cozy cul de sacs. I am proud of my curves and they eat edamame for lunch. I just don’t have anything in common with these Barbie doll co-workers.
What can I do to connect? I feel like failing to connect will hinder my progress in the company and I don’t want to seem antisocial.
Sola en este cubicle,
Congratulations on your new job!! You go, girl! Believe it or not, I know how you feel..I too am a natural woman with curly hair, and I always say I may be chunky, but I’m funky! I read your letter today, and shortly after, I went to a zumba class, where I found myself the only Latina there as well. I looked around: Caucasian, African-American, Indian and Asian…what a mixture!! I could tell all the ladies were regulars, but it was my first time there. So, I decided to do all the things I suggest you do.
Instead of feeling uncomfortable that I was the only Latina, I was happy. In my mind, I told myself, “I’m going to show these women how much fun I can be!” So there I was, shaking my booty, and yelling out, “Wepaaaa!” And in a few minutes some of the ladies were hooting and hollering with me. Some looked at me as if I was a strange alien, but I didn’t care. And that’s what you need to do.
Yolanda, you were hired because you are obviously very talented and the right person for the job. Perhaps your company felt it was time to bring in someone new, someone Latina. This is your chance to show them…to represent us. Be yourself. If you try to be anything else so you can “fit in,” you are going to find yourself disliked. People can see through fakeness.
I bet as time passes, they will appreciate your uniqueness. And remember if you don’t love yourself first, no one else will love you. So flaunt that curly hair and curvy figure!! I can tell already you are absolutely beautiful! Wepaaaa!!! (Judy Torres is an artist and radio personality)