About eight years ago when I graduated from college, my biggest dream was to move to New York City. I majored in public relations at the University of Florida, and I was determined to make it big in the concrete jungle, land a job at a reputable PR firm, and live my best Sex and the City life. And granted, I did.
After seven years of working at a PR firm, I decided it was time to launch my own baby. Thanks to many years of being the "multicultural PR whisperer," I was inspired to create a PR agency that resonated with what I believed in. I learned to love multicultural PR — and the challenges it brought — educating the masses on what it was to be Hispanic/Latina/Latinx.
I learned to love multicultural PR — and the challenges it brought — educating the masses on what it was to be Hispanic/Latina/Latinx.
The idea started with a name. I didn't want to name my agency after me. I wanted something catchy but also Spanglish, so it spoke to my bicultural Latinas and would also be understood by non-Hispanics. Then one day on a trip to Medellín, Colombia, I heard the song "Bonita" by J Balvin, and I was obsessed. That's when it hit me. At first I thought Proyecto Bonita would be the name, but then after tossing it back and forth, I chose The Bonita Project. A PR project that would focus on empowering my fellow Latinas but also WOC across the board. Bonita is a universal term that I knew would easily translate to anyone.
My first day as an entrepreneur was exciting. I had already received the papers with the official documentation stating that The Bonita Project was registered as an LLC in the state of New York. I couldn't believe it! But now, the harder part was getting the clients.
As soon as I got my first client, I was on the grind. However, I was completely ignoring social media. People would ask me, "When are you launching The Bonita Project's social page?" And I didn't know exactly when, I just knew I wanted to launch a page that was far from basic. Four months later, I got my first press feature, and I was inspired to launch the page with the feature being the very first post. Soon enough, I started to see a traction of followers coming to the page. That's when the spark hit me to create something unique: a space that went beyond just highlighting the press and cool events PR girls get to work on and attend.
I wanted to create a platform that would highlight the diverse Latinx community.
I wanted to create a platform that would highlight the diverse Latinx community. I told myself, "If I want to position myself as a multicultural agency, then this needs to be done right." In the age of social media, I wanted to create authentic content that resonated with my community and also show brands that I cater to everyone. That same month of the launch, I decided to celebrate the Independence Days of Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, and Ecuador as a way to show people what makes up our Latinx community.
Over the years working in the PR/marketing industry, I often saw Hispanics being categorized into one large bubble, and it either skewed very Mexican or very Dominican/Puerto Rican. As a Peruvian-American, I never saw much of my culture represented. I was always singled out among my group of friends as being the only Peruvian. And not that this was a bad thing, but I sometimes wished I had more Peruvian friends to connect with. Looking back at high school, there were many social groups, some of them being "the Colombian kids" or "the Cuban kids," but never many Peruvians. And that feeling stayed with me.
I think it's important for everyone to acknowledge the other Latinx ethnicities that are sometimes overseen or missed.
Fast forward to now, The Bonita Project is big about celebrating culture and, most importantly, educating others. I think it's important for everyone to acknowledge the other Latinx ethnicities that are sometimes overseen or missed and educate non-Hispanics about the diversity behind Latin culture.
With that being said, I want The Bonita Project to serve as an educational platform outside of being a PR agency. It's an ongoing project.