I want to use myself as a vessel to let little girls all over the world know that they truly have the power to make their dreams come true. – Andrea K. Castillo
This is a quote of mine, that I do not believe I’ve uttered aloud, but that rings constant from time to time. I am a woman who was raised amongst many men, but have always had, and continue to have strong women in my life. These women include my mother, grandmothers, aunts, teachers, mentors, and more. They have shown me over the years that there is no job that a woman can’t do, as I have seen them do their own work, the work of men, and beyond that. Having positive female role models over the years has been quite instrumental in my journey to womanhood and future endeavors.
As a young girl, “what I want to be when I grow up” ranged from a ballerina, to a veterinarian, to a singer, to a business owner. I never questioned these aspirations, because my mother always instilled in me the fact that anything is possible with education and hard work. In her case, she came to the United States alone at age seventeen to pursue her undergrad at Mercy College in Detroit, eventually married my father and started their family, and in my early childhood (I am the youngest of four), pursued and attained her Masters from Hunter College In NYC. I am blessed, and am grateful to have been afforded the opportunities to attend good schools over the years, and have the full support of my family in pursuing studies in Music Industry and Apparel & Textiles in college; studied that were often scoffed at by parents of Caribbean descent.
So where did the quote above come from? In these past few years, I have realized that I have become somewhat of a role model for the younger members of my family, mainly my female cousins. They like to pick my brain about why I decided to go into such competitive industries, and what helps keep me afloat. I simply tell them that it is them. I strive to grow and accomplish great things to show them that anything is possible, and to make my family proud. To see my grandmother smile when I tell her that one of my articles was published. To tell my younger cousin that I truly believe in all her creative talents, even when her parents don’t agree, and fight to show them. To have my mother tell me, “You’ve always been a good writer Andrea. I belive this is a good thing you are doing.” THIS is what pushes me forward, and THIS is what I want to be able to do for little girls like the one I once was. What is my purpose if in what I do, I am unable to inspire another? None at all; so let us inspire one another!
Below is a song by *NSYNC entitled “Do Your Thing” from their album Celebrity. The track, although produced in the lighthearted 2 Step genre of the time, always serves as a song of inspiration to me as the lyrics encourage the listener to push forward and do their own thing despite what society or others may think. Take a listen.