If left up to the small or large screen, your favorite glossy or newspaper, or even big budget advertising campaigns, you wouldn’t know an Afro-Latina if she tapped you on the shoulder. But we are out there, and we’re letting our voice be heard. Ain’t I Latina?’s Everyday Chica series highlights millennial Latinas that are blazing a trail in their respective industries, leading by example for future generations of Latinas. This week, we’re featuring Brooklyn-born model and actress-turned-entrepreneur Rosemarie Reyes. La dominicana shares how she went from modeling alongside Jay Z, 50 Cent and Aventura, among others, to owning her own public relations firm, Handz Dirty Public Relations.
Talk to me a little bit about your career. How did you get your start in the acting, beauty and fashion industries? What made you want to branch out into entrepreneurship; starting boutique public relations firm Handz Dirty PR?
From the time I could remember I aspired to be in the entertainment industry. Started off in 2005, appearing in music videos/films, and modeling for hair/beauty companies. I felt unfulfilled during this time. A taste for public relations would come soon after, as I would help organize and orchestrate major campaigns and/or link industry professionals ‘the decision makers’ with the like to create mutually beneficial business relationships. For some time, I had never been able to make the distinction of what ‘industry’ my efforts fell under. So, when the opportunity to start my own business presented itself, public relations was just a natural fit.
How do you identity? Do you consider yourself Afro-Latina, or use another term to describe your race and/or ethnicity?
Afro-Latina? Latinegra? LOL… Quite frankly, I never considered “coining” myself as being within a specific race/ethnicity. I grew up around nearly 99% African Americans. I have always been close to my Latin roots, but, at the same time, I enjoy the relationships built with African-American acquaintances.
Which Latina matriarch do you most identify with and why?
That would be my aunt Camila, my mother’s sister. Altogether there are seven aunts and two uncles. Camila was always the one that I saw everyone going to advice for. She is the most ‘successful’ and financially stable. Although I love my mother deeply… Camila is my second mother.
Who inspires you?
Fortunately, I have been blessed with a number of mentors throughout my formative years. However, I must say that my fiancé has provided me with the most inspiration. His work ethic, business savvy, positive attitude, communication skills, and career successes are all the inspiration that I need to further my career.
What’s one piece of advice you’d give to your younger self?
Associate with successful people. Avoid those who are ‘victims’ [and] those who always look at the glass half empty. Building relationships are critically important, and even more the way you leverage them. That will determine your future opportunities gained.
Where do you see yourself this time next year?
Growth plans are already in the works! We have two associates and are actively recruiting for additional key personnel. Currently, Handz Dirty Public Relations services 11 clients. I envision four more next year with a staff to support my clients’ needs. One thing, I will always play a prominent role in interfacing with all of my clients.
You can follow Rosemarie and Handz Dirty PR on Twitter at @HandzDirtyPR.