Denise Vasquez

Aug 12, 11 Denise Vasquez

City you live in:
I was born and raised in New York City, and grew up spending the summers visiting my grandparents in Puerto Rico. I left my native New York when I was seventeen years old and have been traveling the world ever since! I’ve lived in Scotland, London, St. John in the US Virgin Islands, and Los Angeles. I’m currently living in Hollywood, California. I’ve been here for over 10 years now, and I truly enjoy every aspect of living here! Every day when I walk out of my place, I look up and see the “Hollywood Sign!” It is a beautiful landmark and reminder that I am here living my dream: being an artist in Hollywood!!! LA gives me a taste of everything I love. There’s a wonderful variety of flavors here! It’s a melting pot of cultures! There’s a lot of creative energy, people with common interests and goals, beautiful tropical weather year round, the ocean, palm trees, blue skies, mountains, art galleries, the sunset strip, The Hollywood Walk of Fame, the legends, the history, Beverly Hills, Rodeo Drive, Universal City, Griffith Park, The Observatory, The Zoo, TV Studios, the movie lots, live music, comedy clubs, comic book stores, dance clubs, restaurants, theaters and so much more!

English/Spanish/Spanglish:
Living in California, I speak predominantly English. I find myself speaking Spanish from time to time and it’s always refreshing when I do, but I don’t as often as I’d like. I’m always excited to speak to my grandmother on the phone. She lives in Puerto Rico, is almost 90 years old, and she’s always telling me the funniest chistes (jokes)! She refuses to speak English! She totally understands English, but she has always communicated to me in Spanish, thankfully! She was my first and best Spanish teacher. I was recently in Mexico and I had fun speaking a little Spanglish. Depending on where I am and who I’m talking to, I speak English, Spanish and Spanglish!

Favorite Latin food you can’t live without:
There’s nothing better than family recipes that have been handed down from generation to generation. Pasteles is my all time favorite! I can clearly recall being a child in the kitchen, watching my grandmother make them from scratch. Ahhhhhhhh… that delicious aroma of fresh herbs, spices, olives, onions, and meats filling the air! My favorite traditional latin dish in mi casa es Pasteles, Arroz con pollo y gandules, y enselada!

What is your Latina contradiction?
My Latina contradiction is that I DESPISE the word “Hispanic”! Who came up with this word?!? This word, which is commonly used as “his-panic,” really bothers me! I don’t like being referred to as any ones’ panic! Can we stop using this word and refer to each other as Latinos or Latinas?!

When you think of Latin culture, what are the first words you think of?
The first words that come to mind are fuego, amor, love, spicy, passion, desire, flavor, values, familia, music, dancing, salsa, the islands, tropical, singing, comida, and strength!

What is your ethnicity? Or where is your family from?
My family is from a beautiful island called Puerto Rico!

Latina? American? Both?
I am an American, a Puerto Rican, and proud of my heritage! I was born and raised in New York City. I guess you can refer to me as a “New Yorican.”

Favorite Latin artist or music?
Ooohhh…that’s a tough one! So many greats! Tito Puente,Diego Rivera, Dave Valentin, Celia Cruz, Arturo Sandeval, Sheila E, Prince…

iPhone or BlackBerry?
I LOVE my iphone!

How do you describe your style?
My style is artsy, fun, cool, comfortable, casual, classy, cute, sexy, and earthy! I’m a happy, silly, down to earth, feminine, strong, confident, independent Latina woman! I’m also an activist (Founder of Wo+Men 4 A Cause), an actress, author, guitarist, singer, songwriter and more! I am an artist who creates because it is a part of my being! I typically wear little makeup, my prescription Rayban glasses, hair down, sometimes I blow it out and sometimes I wear it naturally curly if I feel like being a little wild! I love getting my nails done, but it’s hard for me to have long nails because I’m a guitar player and so I have to keep my finger nails short. I LOVE wearing bright colors– turquoise is my favorite! Every day I spray myself with a dash of perfume, I throw on some jeans, (“Levis” is my brand of choice), a sexy top that shows off my curves, or a cute little dress. Lately I’ve been wearing my turquoise necklace, a gift from my boyfriend from when we hiked the “Teotihuacan Pyramids” in Mexico. I’m a sneakers or boots kind of girl. My style is pretty much a combination of who I am, how I’m feeling that day, and where I’m going. Sometimes I think my style throws some people off! I guess I’m not the typical Latina stereotype! My entire life, I’ve been told time and time again, “you don’t look Puerto Rican.” I love to ask “What does Puerto Rican look like?” They usually don’t have an answer!

What is your favorite Latin restaurant?
My favorite latin restaurant in Los Angeles is “Versailles Cuban Restaurant!” They make the BEST Pork Chop, besides my mother’s of course!

[ethnicity]Puerto Rican[/ethnicity]
[name]Denise Vasquez[/name]
[description]I’ve been told time and time again, “you don’t look Puerto Rican.” I love to ask “What does Puerto Rican look like?” They usually don’t have an answer![/description]

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