Camila Cabello: "That Word, Immigrant, Has Such a Negative Connotation"
Many of us know Camila Cabello as the stunning former Fifth Harmony member who's currently making moves as a solo artist, but in a new interview, Camila is opening up about her Cuban roots and her journey to America at just 6 years old. Camila and her mother, Sinuhe Estrabao, sat down with Glamour (for its May 2017 issue), where they reflected on their emotional journey to America.
Although Camila was just a young girl when she and her mom packed their backpacks and traveled through Mexico to reach the border, she remembers the month-long journey vividly. She also remembers that feeling of relief, after waiting at the US border for six hours and finally getting the go-ahead to cross. It's moments like that that Camila will never forget, and many immigrants can relate to that feeling.
"We flew from Cuba to Mexico, and went by bus to the American border; it took a month," Sinuhe shared. "We left everyone behind, my friends, my family. My fear was that my husband wouldn't [ever] be able to come . . . I came here with no money and left everything that was familiar. But I just made a list of goals, and every time I scratched one off, I felt that everything was worth it."
As the months passed, Sinuhe did everything she could to give her daughter the opportunities she wouldn't have been able to have in Cuba. "In Cuba, there were days in class where we would just watch cartoons," Camila explained. "We weren't learning. But when I came to the US, it was like: homework. A lot of things were suddenly so different — being at a new school without my friends, I didn't speak the language, and I missed my dad. I had a little Disney calendar I would mark with x's until the day he was supposed to come. When he finally did, a year and a half later, I was so happy!"
Later, Camila's passion for singing became obvious. Although she described herself as a "very introverted" child, she would always turn to music, eventually creating a YouTube channel, where she recorded covers of songs. After taking some advice from the boys of One Direction on how to audition for The X Factor, Camila was hooked. The audition was the first time she sang in front of an audience.
"I have never met someone who can confront her fears in the way she does," Sinuhe said. "I can tell she's terrified, but she doesn't stop. She always asks me, 'Do you think everybody knows [I'm scared]?' And I'm like, 'No, nobody can tell.'"
Sinuhe discussed how amazed she is by her daughter's courage, and Camila is equally amazed by her mother's. They traveled on this journey to the United States together and have been right by each other's sides every moment since. "I think the most important thing I've learned from my mom has been: You're human if you have fear, but you can't ever let it determine how hard you go at a situation. If anything, it should make you go harder — go for it all the way."
Sinuhe left everything behind for a new opportunity, and Camila did the same. She courageously left Fifth Harmony to continue fulfilling her dreams, and that's the exact message she wants to give to her fans in the future.
"Right now I'm in the process of writing about our whole journey. I want to make a love song for immigrants. That word, immigrant, has such a negative connotation — I can just imagine all the little girls who have dreams of coming here and feel unwanted. It inspires me in my music to do my best to give [them] the light that I have. I want to be what people think of when they think of America — a person who, no matter what her first language was or what her religion is, can see her dreams come to life if she works hard enough."