Being Puerto Rican and living in the US since the age of nine you see the island differently than if you lived there. As much as your family tries to embrace the culture, you are bound to lose some of the details so when Suzanne Ujaque approached me some years back to join her on special projects, I jumped at the opportunity. I wanted to be there, be involved and learn about the culture first hand.
This year my dreams truly came true when I joined forces with fellow Latinas Sandra Negron and Darlene Lebron in Puerto Rico with one of my favorite brands City Chic.
City Chic is the number one plus size brand in Australia and has been supporting PLUS Model Magazine for 15 years.
Ever since they started to sell clothing in the US my closet has been pretty full with sexy tops, great fitting jeans, and dresses that are sure to make an impression.
Our mission was to showcase Puerto Rico as more than just a beautiful island with great food and exotic vacation spots. We wanted to celebrate the culture and get to know ourselves and our lineage in a more intimate way while looking FABULOUS in City Chic. We had a full schedule leading up to the SuStyle Expo where City Chic would be featured on the runway for the very first time.
We landed in Puerto Rico early in the morning and headed to the SuStyle Expo Press Event at Plaza Las Americas which is a huge mall in San Juan. After the press event, Suzanne Ujaque took us on a little shopping spree around the mall. We were able to see City Chic in Macy’s and meet their representative who looked absolutely lovely in City Chic.
First things first, we needed some leisure time to pool hang, we knew we had some very busy days ahead.
The one thing I must have in a swimsuit is great support. City Chic swimsuits come with great support without sacrificing style.
Loiza is a town in Puerto Rico not known as a big tourist destination but rather holds the riches of our history, culture and how everything on the island has been influenced from our Indian, Arab and African descendants. David from www.igottourspr.com created an amazing tour for us that was life-changing.
We visited the Parque Histórico Cueva María de la Cruz which included a tour of the museum, tree of life, lunch and a dance lesson (you will have to view the video to see it for yourself)
After this amazing experience, we visited with Loiza artist Samuel Lind whose art installations depict the Puerto Rican history, culture, and history. He gave us a tour of his art studio and shared so much about his process with us.
My look: I chose a faux wrap top in an orange hue and paired it with super sexy distressed jeans.
Chilled Coconut was the perfect way to end our Loiza experience.
La Placita is like a farmers market with restaurants in the perimeter of the market. It also features live events and is a very popular destination for locals and tourist alike. While we were there we visited with a naturalist where you can buy herbs to add to your food intake.
While I was handling City Chic business at the Centro de Convenciones during the dress rehearsal, Sandra and Darlene took bags and bags of food and supplies to the ‘Loiza Home For The Elderly’.
While the island seems to be doing better after devasting hurricane Maria, there are still many parts of the island that are in recovery. Our elderly and young children are at risk and thanks to City Chic we were able to bring so many items necessary to their daily life.
Our History In Music
Knowing our history in a deeper way was our goal and we had to immerse ourselves with the locals and stay open to learning about our culture in many forms. Music plays a big part in the Puerto Rican culture and how history continues to be weaved into our lives. Partying until the early morning hours was like nothing I’ve experienced… everyone partied together. Young, old, gay, straight skinny or fat everyone parties together. It’s not about what you look like, it’s about celebrating your culture and your history.
One of the things that many people do not know is that Puerto Rico has one of the largest rescue centers in the Caribbean. The Puerto Rico Manatee Conservation Center rescues turtles, birds, and other wildlife who are not able to be in their natural habitat due to physical ailments.
We were taught what it is to be a caretaker, measure food, take their temperature, and learn about what each animal was challenged with and why they were there.
If you are interested in taking the tour or donating visit manatipr.org
The SuStyle Expo is the number one event in Puerto Rico which celebrates lifestyle, health, beauty, and fashion. Suzanne Ujaque is the creator of the event and works tirelessly throughout the year to promote plus size fashion, diversity in fashion, confidence and living your life without apologies.
This year was the very first year City Chic participated in the fashion show and they ROCKED IT! (Must See The Video)
I would like to thank City Chic for allowing us this experience to discover so much about ourselves and come back to our lives renewed in mind, body, and spirit.
Many thanks to Suzanne Ujaque and her staff for all their support throughout our stay and for opening their doors to the US market.
Last but not least we want to thank Enrique Nieves who spent many days with us documenting all of our incentives. His dedication to our goals was 100% and we can’t thank him enough for assisting us with this project. Follow Enrique on IG @el_boin