We had the good fortune of connecting with Beatrice Valenzuela and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Beatrice, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
When I go shopping, I go straight into the men’s section. Streetwear was introduced into the male market in the 1980s, but women always played a role behind the scenes and continue to do so. While the majority of Streetwear brands are owned by men, women statistically spend the most $$ on clothing. A lot has changed since Women’s Suffrage, but a lot in society remains in its traditional ways. Our own retail departments tell us what a girl represents, and how a guy should look. When I created Chingona Lifestyle, it was with all intentions to continue putting women on the streetwear map. Not to join the “boys club,” but to break barriers and let girls know they don’t need to shop in the men’s section anymore, and to shop- women owned to keep that dollar circulating between us. I believe in women supporting women; I believe women, especially of color, have busted their ass to be where they are today earning the income they’re earning, all while expected to put food on the table. That Go- getter attitude learning from every obstacle- that’s what Chingona Lifestyle is about.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I’m proud of the person I’ve grown into and I’m excited to meet the better version of myself soon. I’ve never really sat and kept track of how long I’ve been a Fashion Stylist until collecting my thoughts for this interview, actually. I’ve been styling for 3 years this month, but it’s been 7 since I embraced to follow what makes me happy. I didn’t know styling people could be a career. With the pressure of being 1st generation Mexican- American, my parents wanted me to become a doctor or a lawyer, so I didn’t have their support from the start. Born and raised in Inglewood, CA, I wasn’t exposed to high fashion. I was never really even exposed to the creative world until my first full- time job at a hair salon. Pursuing Fashion Styling wasn’t easy, I had absolutely no idea where to start. One day I had an epiphany and I started modeling as a hobby. The more I modeled, the more my style attracted new photographers. I realized I was making it easier for them because they didn’t have to find someone to style me- and that’s when I started branding myself as a Fashion Stylist. The challenges came in various forms, but my self doubt was always my biggest obstacle. Time and again I would prove myself wrong when I would see my visions come to life; so the biggest lesson I learned along the way is that no one can do what you do like you. You will be dismissed, seen as less (or not seen for that matter), so it’s your own responsibility to see yourself and the value you bring. Everything happens for a reason, and you can control what you learn from it. My brand and my story is about a little Mexican girl who grew up in the hood and what she did with it.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I am a reflection of those around me. My shoutout goes out to everyone I’ve crossed paths with who’ve contributed to who I am today. Every one has added value because even those acting as obstacles, I chose to see them as opportunities. To all my friends who have supported me with Chingona Lifestyle and my Styling career since day 1, ya’ll are real ones.
The biggest Shoutout has to go to my Mom hands down. Born in Mexico and illegally crossing the boarder to pursue education and freedom, she’s the strongest woman I know. Life growing up was far from perfect, but she made sure we had food on the table and a roof over our heads. There’s a lot she put aside so that we could have a better life, and I just want to pay it forward and show her what all her hard work has done for us.
Other: Brand’s IG: @chingonalifestyle Styling IG: @beastyled_
-Alexander Rosa -“2wnty4”- (This photographer asked to be credited by this because another photographer has her name) – Tony Bowen – Annette C. Sousa -Val “Murderhim”