Even if you are from the same neighborhood as someone else, you might still be coming from different places.  Where you are from is a complicated question and it elicits complicated, but interesting and thought-provoking responses. We’ve shared some of those responses below.

Tito Bonito | Comedian & Host / Dancer

I was born in Miami, Florida, to two beautiful Cuban parents. Growing up, I spent most of my time with family, neighbors, and friends, surrounded by Cuban and American culture. Their tenacity, resilience, and humor always inspired me. Instilling a confidence that I would benefit from greatly as an adult and an artist. I also make sure to reference my roots constantly including my tagline; the Cuban Missile Crisis of Burlesque. Read more>>

Malena Bennett | Commercial and Residential Real Estate

I was born in Puerto Rico, the daughter of immigrants. My mother from Cuba and my father’s family from Italy. Being significantly older, my father’s family came to the US in the early 1900’s. That experience, growing up through so many challenges that our country faced and heightened discriminatory attitudes toward Italians at the time, shaped my father. My mother’s reality, fleeing Cuba during the Castro regime, also had tremendous impact on her. She left everything behind to come to the USA for a chance at a better life. A strong work ethic was paramount in my home. Self-reliance and doing your best in all things was a given. Success was measured by your impact to your family and to others. What did you do today to make things better? When I was 5 years old, seemingly endless trips to the hospital to visit my father changed my life and forever set me on my course to becoming a philanthropist. During his stay, I grew curious (as 5-year-olds often do) and decided to visit the other patients in his wing. It became my “job”. Read more>>

Gianne Presa | Creator of GianneCREATIONS

I was born in San Diego, California and raised in the National City and Paradise Hills area. I grew up in a household where my mother and father would slow dance whenever their song came on and I was always immersed in large family gatherings. My grandparents, uncles and aunties on my mother’s side were very involved in my upbringing and although my father’s side of the family live in the Philippines, they never allowed distance to let their love falter. I was and am blessed to have been surrounded by so much love and support. My Filipino roots and family-oriented upbringing taught me to be empathetic, emotionally intelligent and live by expressing who you are through the moments you create. I strive to do all things with love and optimism. Life will tend to throw curveballs your way but I think it’s all about your perception and your approach through action to turn negatives into positives. Read more>>