I was born in Ecuador, in the middle of the Andes, in the beautiful city of Quito. I have always been surrounded by different cultures and ethnic groups. I think this is part of the reason that I am who I am today: I believe having the opportunity to experience diverse cultures opens your eyes to so many different opportunities. I was raised in the Amazon rainforest, where my father has a unique relationship with the Secoya Indigenous people. The first time I went to the jungle, I was only 2 years old and I fell in love with it; I fell in love with every sunset, with the sounds frogs make at night and the freshness of the water, but most importantly, I fell in love with the people and their beautiful culture. I was also raised on the coast with the afro-Ecuadorian people. Before I was born my parents adopted Paola, my sister, who comes from one of the poorest black communities in the coastal region of Ecuador. Growing up with Paola has defined my life. Even though we are not blood-related, we were raised as sisters, we went to the same school and shared the same bedroom and I can say that she has been everything to me. Having her join our family gave me a unique opportunity, at a young age, to understand first-hand about other people with different socio-economic and cultural backgrounds. Through Paola, I have been able to connect to her biological family. And even though we never lived together, her biological brother and sister, have always been present in my life, as a family and as a window to a different way of life, that of an Afro-Ecuadorian fishermen family on the Ecuadorian coast. Being so close to such different cultures has opened my eyes to realize how incredible it is to be exposed to so many different ways of life and you also realize how incredibly welcome you are to each one of those cultures. I am currently a sophomore studying Film & TV at NYU and will be taking a semester abroad next Spring in Sydney, Australia where I hope to grow as a person but most importantly, learn from the rich culture this country has.
I will be taking a class called The Australian Experience that will help me understand Australian culture and society. I will be learning about the relationship between Australian settler culture and Aboriginal Australians, Australia’s experience of migration and multiculturalism, Australians’ relationship with their environment, and Australians’ sense of national identity. By taking this class while being in Australia, I will have a unique perspective on transnational issues such as identity formation, social justice movements and the experience of multiculturalism. Given Australia’s history of Indigenous and non-Indigenous relations, the issue of race in a post-colonial context is particularly acute here and I would love to have the opportunity to learn from these groups first hand. I will also love to travel around Asia and try all the different foods, see all the different landscapes and meet as many people as possible to understand these people's lifestyle and, finally, be able to document some of their stories to use these in a future personal film I would like to make about by experience abroad.
All of this will be very important for me, because for the last 4 years, I have been leading an initiative to fund 2 indigenous schools in the Amazon jungle, in the border between Ecuador and Peru, where 20 indigenous kids have the opportunity to learn how to read and write.