Camila Cabello is opening up about her immigrant background…
The 19-year-old Cuban singer and Fifth Harmony member, who was born in Cojímar, Cuba, has penned a heartfelt essay about growing up as an immigrant in the United States, explaining how it has shaped her personal drive and sense of self.
The piece was published Thursday (Sept. 15) by Pop Sugar as part of the publication’s Hispanic Heritage Month coverage and gives an account of Cabello’s move to the U.S.A. as a 7-year-old, having grown up in Havana, Cuba, and Mexico City.
In the essay, she recalls crossing the border with her mother and her siblings, leaving her father behind, saying goodbye to her extended family, and as a kid not understanding the significance of it all.
“Why were we packing up our stuff? Why was my grandma hugging me tighter than usual? Where were we going?” she writes. “‘We’re going to Disney World!’ That’s what my Mom told me when we were crossing the border. She packed a little backpack with my Winnie the Pooh journal and my doll, and we crossed the border from Mexico to the US, seeing my Dad become an ant in the distance as he stayed behind.”
Her father joined the family a year later in Miami, but both her parents had to work from the ground up. Her mother had been an architect in Cuba, but none of her training meant anything in America. Her parents took jobs at Marshalls stacking shoes and washing cars at a mall and eventually worked their way up, eventually starting a construction company together.
“I learned from my family that if you work hard enough and you want it badly enough, you can do the impossible,” Cabello writes.
It was this drive that inspired her to audition for The X Factor and led to her career as a singer in Fifth Harmony. And it was this experience that has shaped her belief on immigration in our country.
“I am so proud to be Cuban-Mexican,” she writes. “This country was built on immigrants. People who were brave enough to start over. How strong we are to leave behind everything we know in hopes of something better. We are not fearless, we just have dreams bigger than our fears. We jump. We run. We swim, we move mountains, we do whatever it takes. And so next time, when anybody wants to tell you they want to build a “wall” on our border, remember behind that wall is struggle, determination, hunger. Behind that wall, could be the next cure for cancer, the next scientist, the next artist, the next drummer, the next anything they work hard enough to become!”
Read the full essay on Pop Sugar.