It’s strange to celebrate an anniversary – or anything really – in the middle of a global pandemic. Most days, I don’t feel like writing or doing my makeup, and to be honest, what I really want is a ticket home and a hug from my mamá. Being emperifollá at a time like this seems frivolous, yet here we are – celebrating us.
When I say “us,” I mean our community. Emperifollá would not be where it is a year later without the support of our readers, followers, families, and friends. Over one year, we’ve grown a small but mighty community that engages with us on social media and logs in to our website. Over 50 people attended our first panel even in New York City and hundreds receive our newsletter every month.
Those are numbers. But the people behind them are what make Emperifollá worth fighting for.
People like Sandra E. García, Danielle Alvarez, Sandy Sanchez, Melanie Mignucci, Jessica Chia, Andrea Granera, Isabelia Herrera, Denise Bidot, Daniella De Jesús, Maria Alia Al-Sadek, Gabrielle Santana, Lynnette Marrero, Mabel Frias, and Shaira Frias – all women we’ve profiled in the last year. Our monthly interviews are moments that we cherish dearly with cafecito in hand and hours of conversations and laughs that always makes us realize that being Latinx is not a monolithic experience.
This month, I’m proud to profile Babba C. Rivera. She grew up as a Chilean immigrant in Sweden, a country known for its homogeneity. So it’s safe to say that Babba’s Latin American parents, traditions, and culture made her stand out. She hid parts of herself to fit in for decades. Today Babba is one of the top marketers in the world, helming her own agency, by.babba, and admits she thrives in places where diversity is the norm, not the exception. Her profile will be out later this month.
When we launched Emperifollá, we wanted to create a space that celebrated and highlighted our cultures as Latinx through the lens of style. There simply wasn’t a place like it out there. And we continue to work to create and occupy even more space. We’ll soon launch our first merch (hint: it’s inspired by polvo Maja) and relaunch our website in a couple of months.
Of course, when I say “we,” I mean the Emperifollá team. In 2018, when I had the idea for Emperifollá, I reached out to an amazing cohort of talented Latinx creatives – all of them bred in the island I call home, Puerto Rico. Andrea, Bianca, Maridelis, and Stephanie are all integral part of the mission of Emperifollá. Their relentless creativity and their love for our project inspire me every day, and I cannot wait to hug them again.
Covid-19 has slowed the world down and ravaged the lives of millions worldwide, impacting Latinxs in alarming numbers. Yet, so many continue fighting, whether in the frontlines saving lives or trying to hold to a bit of normalcy at home. This is when the inspiration behind emperifollá becomes so clear. We hold on to what we have – our lipstick, our loungewear, the polvo abuelita used to wear or the perfume that reminds us of home – to keep our cool in the face of excruciating fear of the unknown.
To more anniversaries and more emperifollaera. ¡Salud!
EIC + Founder