Stephanie Shay George
TV Personality / Reality TV Celebrity : Oxygen Badgirls Club
I was born in Elizabeth, New Jersey to a Mayan native, El Salvadorian mother and a Haitian and half African American father. I grew up among Puerto Ricans, Cubans, Dominicans, Colombians and Peruvians. I was so used to people not knowing where El Salvador was, I had to go into depth explaining as to where I was from and why my Spanish dialect was different. When I was a child, I identified as El Salvadorian. My first language was Spanish and I learned English shortly after. My Latino side of the family was good at accepting me and so was my dad’s side. However, the kids at school not so much. I was bullied for almost all of elementary and middle school years over my "nappy frizzy hair" and the food I would eat at lunch (lots of chicken, rice and beans, Pupusas and tamales) which are native to El Salvador.
I grew up with a lot of self-esteem issues because I was made to think by the media and kids at school that beauty was: blonde hair, green eyes, slim nose, and straight hair. Every time I washed my hair, I cried and begged God to turn my hair straight and blonde once it dried. As an adult I started embracing more of who I was. I wore my hair curly often and I wasn't afraid to say that I was mixed. A lot of people thought I was Asian and African American when I did my first show on Oxygen. I was racially ambiguous and that was fine with me because I know that Latinas and black women come in all different skin tones, body shapes, sizes, hair textures, etc. When I was 8 months pregnant, my partner Donnell took me to Cartagena, Colombia for a baby moon. I then realized, “Wow, so many people like me: mixed, black, spoke Spanish and from Colombia.
I always remember that I was made who I am for a reason and I can connect with more people of many cultures and still be who I am. I am not a stereotype! Latinas come in all flavors! Let those curls rock and be happy that you’re blessed with a culture so beautiful.
I can travel to so many continents and connect with almost anyone in two different languages. When I was in Dubai in 2014, we went on group trip to the mosque and there was a man speaking Spanish to his wife. My eyes lit up and I asked him what country he was from and he said Mexico. We spoke about so many different things in Spanish and I was informed he was the former president of Mexico, Felipe Calderon.
A piece of advice to all my blatinas out there is: BE WHO YOU ARE and BE PROUD. Don't hide your curls, don't hide your face, don't hide your language. We are what makes this world diverse and beautiful. Since I've been on tv, I connected with so many different Latinas, black and white. We are all spicy and full of love, passion, and acceptance. Love yourself and everything will be good. - Stephanie
An Island girl, born in Jamaica and resides in Miami, Florida
Came to the United States, started school here in the third grade speaking Patois (Patwa or Patwah) and now taking the social media world by storm!
Let's see what the Co-founder of 2FroChicks had to share with #BWTGH ...
BWTGH: Tell me about yourself.
Nicky: "Well, I was born to a Jamaican immigrant. In fact, I'm a Jamaican immigrant. I'm an Afro-Indian and Afro-caribbean girl. I came to the United States around 7/8 years old so I'm an Island girl at heart. I don't listen to reggae and people find it shocking. My mom influenced my taste in music so I grew up listening to: TLC, Mariah Carey, and 702. I attended college here at Florida Atlantic University and started working in the TV marketing field."
BWTGH: What do you do now?
Nicky: I'm an Advertising Executive. I've worked in the radio, TV, print and digital field. I became a hair, beauty, and fashion blogger in 2005 along with my partner for 2FroChicks.
BWTGH: Have you ever faced any challenges with your identity?
Nicky: "Yes, of course! I work in a "white man's club." A lot of my clients were white men. I felt I had two identities. I had the "Black Girl Perm" and when I left work, I was another person."
BWTGH: What inspired 2FroChicks?
Nicky: "Well, my 11 year-old daughter asked about my straight hair. I realized my daughter was watching me and other girls are looking up to us and watching us as well. My daughter asked for her hair to be straightened like mine. She didn't want to wear her puffs and I couldn't explain to her why I wore my hair the way I did. In 2010, I did the "Big Chop" and I was so nervous about going into work, I wore a hat.
After I didn't care anymore about my natural hair. I wanted others to realize "You could come to work how you look/born, why can't I? I shouldn't have to straighten my hair to look a certain way for it to be acceptable. As long as
your: intelligent, educated, and skilled, you'll earn respect and trust. My "nappy fro" is my brand! People know who I am because of it!"
BWTGH: How do you highlight women of color?
Nicky: "I made it my mission to educate. I started Curls in Fromation, which is once a year where I host a brunch/dinner highlighting hair and just getting together to have a great time. Women from all over come out. I also get involved with a lot of organizations such as: Girls of Color, and I participate in panel discussions and schools."
BWTGH: What do you want your followers or mine to take away from your image/platform?
Nicky: "Empower, love, and unite!"