Lupe Rodriguez joins us on this episode of The Face of Latina Professionals to talk about her own experience with and passion for culture and how she turned that into a career.
Growing up in Berwyn, IL, Lupe talks about how she grew up immersed in a very Latino community.
“Berwyn is an incredibly Latino/Hispanic area. That was really nice because I grew up with people who looked like me and had my same culture.”
When she turned 14, her family relocated to Lockport, IL, a predominantly white community. It was a culture shock for her. Lupe shares how that’s when she started to realize the dichotomy of her identity. She recognized that while her family was originally from Mexico, they’d been in the United States since 1908 and they had adopted very American values.
“When I moved to Lockport, I realized, oh, like my family is actually more like these families, but I wasn't used to being surrounded by people like that. [In Berwyn] They're like, oh, but you're like a white Mexican. I never really understood what that meant until moving to Lockport.
I wasn't accepted by the Latin Americans because I was too white per se, but I also didn't really fit in with the white students because I had never grown up in that environment.”
Navigating a dual identity without feeling like you truly belong anywhere, Lupe learned a lot from her experiences. The biggest lesson for her? Never judging anyone by what they look like or where they’re from. Throughout this journey as a young girl, she found a passion for culture and dreamed of one day flying to foreign countries and having foreign friends.
Eventually Lupe went on to become a flight attendant and had the opportunity to move to Dubai where there were very few Americans.
“Everyone's like, oh, well you don't look American. And I'm like, well, what does that mean? Everyone's like, oh, you're Latina and they would start speaking Spanish to me. They automatically assumed that I was either from Latin America or Spain and it was another really weird transition.”
Tune in to hear more about Lupe’s story, how she became a flight attendant and how traveling the world has adjusted her perception of her own culture on this episode of The Face of Latina Professionals Podcast.