By Robyn Collins
Fifth Harmony’s Camila Cabello has written an emotional essay that details her personal story of trial and triumph as an immigrant in the United States. Pop Sugar published the piece as part of their Hispanic Heritage Month.
In the essay, the pop singer addresses her move to U.S. as a seven-year-old, after spending her early years in Havana, Cuba and Mexico City. She recalls crossing the border with her mother and siblings, leaving their father behind and saying goodbye to extended family.
“Why were we packing up our stuff? Why was my grandma hugging me tighter than usual? Where were we going?” she writes. “‘We’re going to Disney World!’ That’s what my Mom told me when we were crossing the border. She packed a little backpack with my Winnie the Pooh journal and my doll, and we crossed the border from Mexico to the U.S., seeing my dad become an ant in the distance as he stayed behind.”
Her dad eventually joined the family, but her parents had to start from the ground up. Cabello’s mom, who had been an architect in Cuba, was stacking boxes at Marshall’s. Eventually, her parents started a construction company and taught their children that “if you work hard enough and you want it badly enough, you can do the impossible.”
The immigrant teenager tried out for The X Factor, which led to her career as a singer in Fifth Harmony. Being a celebrity has given her a platform to speak to other immigrants.
“I am so proud to be Cuban-Mexican,” she writes. “This country was built on immigrants. People who were brave enough to start over. How strong we are to leave behind everything we know in hopes of something better. We are not fearless, we just have dreams bigger than our fears. We jump. We run. We swim, we move mountains, we do whatever it takes. And so next time, when anybody wants to tell you they want to build a “wall” on our border, remember behind that wall is struggle, determination, hunger. Behind that wall, could be the next cure for cancer, the next scientist, the next artist, the next drummer, the next anything they work hard enough to become!”
Read the full essay on Pop Sugar here.