Conquer the World

with Christina Cervantes

Introduce yourself! Who are you?
My name is Christina and I am a fashion influencer and content creator for my blog, Brunette of Vantes. I am not a model, nor am I trying to be anything but myself: a 5’6”, size 14, 27-year old Latina from the Central Coast of California that loves anything Disney, adores family above all and practically lives at Target.

My mission is for Brunette of Vantes to become a catalyst for people to start to imagine themselves as their own muses.

I believe that style is what you create when you put yourself together in the morning to go out into the world. Style cannot and should not be defined by what anyone besides the lovely person you see in the reflection each day says it is. Style should help you break barriers, not the bank.

What is one thing no one really knows about you?
Many people don’t know what my actual full-time job is, and it is not my blog. When I tell them they are usually stunned because it is definitely not creative or fashion-related. I am an administrative assistant at an Army run project on the Central Coast of California. I spend my days proofing and editing important, sometimes confidential documentation for the Army.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
The best advice I ever received was from my dad. He and my mom have always believed in my dreams, and encouraged me to go after whatever it is I wanted in life. My dad also told me that no matter what I did with my life, or what career path I chose, I should strive to be the best. He said, whether you are running your own company, or end up sweeping floors for a living, be the best and no one can take that from you.

What would you say to 16 year old you?
This is tough. I was bullied because of my weight from Pre-School all through to my last day of my Senior year in high school. I think I would say something like, “Trust me girl, it’ll get better. People can be mean, but that’s because they are so unsure of themselves. You know who you are. You are worth so much more than you give yourself credit for. You’ll see in time that all of this adversity is just going to make you the strongest woman possible. So keep your chin up and keep going.”

What is your greatest fear?
My greatest fear is not getting to travel anymore because of my Type 1 Diabetes. That’s why I try to live everyday to the fullest, and experience as much of the world as I possibly can.

Have you ever had anyone doubt you? How did that make you feel?
My first job right out of college was as a manager, social media coordinator, and buyer for a small boutique in my hometown. The owner of the store and her associate constantly talked down to me and made me feel like I was unintelligent. When store sales weren’t good, they would blame me and even tell me that I should “read more” because I needed to expand my mind, in other words, I wasn’t smart enough to run the store. I promptly left that job for a lower paying internship at a higher end boutique. In just one year at this new boutique, I had been hired as the manager, social media coordinator, buyer, junior design consultant, and even helped build the store’s website. And although I’m no Einstein, I know my worth. No one, especially your employer, should ever make you feel like you are not smart or adequate. You can conquer the world!

What message do you think every woman should hear?
Every woman should know that style is what you create when you put yourself together in the morning to go out into the world. Style cannot and should not be defined by what anyone besides the lovely person you see in the reflection each day says it is.

What is your favorite thing about where you live?
My favorite thing about where I live is the weather. Salinas is near the ocean so the weather stays cool for the most part. Even our summers are chilly sometimes. But starting mid Fall, sometimes all the way through to December, we’ll have 85 degree days! I’m also grateful that it is so close to San Francisco, a place I hold near and dear to my heart.

What do you love most about yourself?
I love how hard-working I am. Although sometimes I need to slow down and remind myself that I can’t accomplish everything at once. I do like how determined I can be to get things done.

Why do you love to travel?
I love to travel because seeing new places and experiencing different cultures just expands your creative abilities. You’re also able to adapt to different ways of life and become more open to others’ interpretations of what it means to be happy. The food is usually also pretty amazing!

What motivates you most?
What motivates me most is the everyday reminder of how hard my parents worked and struggled in order for me to have the life I have. I have to work everyday to show them that I don’t take their struggle for granted and that I am making the most of it every single day.

How do you manage your work-life balance?
Balancing work and life is tough, especially when you have a full-time job, blog, and are trying to live a somewhat normal life. I am still working on finding a good balance, but currently, I try to use one day out of the week to be “ugly.” By ugly I mean, I just lounge around the house in sweatpants, watch movies, hang with my family and dog, and do nothing. I call it being “ugly”, but it really helps me feel beautiful and less stressed during the week.

What is your favorite meal?
My favorite meal is pretty much anything my dad cooks. He has been a butcher since he was 14 years old. He is set to retire in a couple of years, and he hopes to go to culinary school in his spare time.

What is one thing people would be surprised to hear about you?
I am the biggest introvert ever! And I’m so shy and quiet! Sometimes I think people don’t understand that because they see my pictures and read my blog and assume I must be extremely outgoing and extroverted, but nothing could be farther from he truth! My natural habitat includes a night snuggling with my dog, a cup of coffee, and binge watching Gilmore Girls or the Office.

If you weren’t doing the job you have now, what would you be doing?
I think I would probably be trying to start my own business. And maybe I will try to do that in the near future. My boyfriend and I are both creatives and are interested in possibly developing some sort of business where we can help other with our creativity and overflowing amount of ideas!

What is something on your bucket list?
Something on my bucket list includes traveling at least once to every single state in the US. My goal was to do that before 30, but since I am already 27, I am pushing it to 35! Fingers crossed!

What are your biggest passions?
One of my biggest passions is educating others about Type 1 Diabetes, a chronic illness I was diagnosed with at age 21. Many people don’t know that there are two types of diabetes. The one most of the population is familiar with is Type 2 because only 5% of all diabetics in the US actually have Type 1. It is a disease that is incurable and those diagnosed with it are insulin dependent. Right now, many Type 1’s are suffering because of the lack of education, as well as the lack of affordable resources and insulin. It is an issue that needs to be addressed. A dream of mine is to one day help counsel children and young adults coping with the diagnosis.

More About Christina

Christina Cervantes is a fashion influencer and content creator. She was born and raised in Salinas, California to Mexican immigrant parents who taught her about hard work, determination, and fighting for your dreams. Christina attended the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles and San Francisco. In 2012, she received her Associate of Arts in Product Development, and continued on to graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Business Management. At age 21, Christina was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. Apart from fashion and beauty, she aims to educate others about the disease through her blog. Within the next 5 years, she hopes to establish her own clothing boutique that caters to full figured fashionistas.

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