5 Texas Latinas You Need To Know

by Gabi De la Rosa on May 2, 2018 in Food+Drink, Living Texas, Austin, Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston, San Antonio, Fashion,
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Just in time for Cinco de Mayo, we bring you five Texas Latinas that should be in your Instagram feed. These Latinas are not only proud of their heritage but have created communities around both their Latin and Texas cultures.

Vanessa Espinoza, Fashion Blogger & Creator of Vanessa in Dallas, Dallas

Fashionistas all over the country have looked to Vanessa Espinoza, a South Texas native, for style inspiration.

“I have been a fashion guru for as long as I can remember. As a little girl, my grandma would design dresses for me with matching bows so that I always looked cute at school. Back then I felt that wearing a dress was the ultimate form of sophistication,” said the 31-year-old marketing executive. After dabbling in modeling in south Texas, Espinoza moved to Dallas where her journey as Vanessa in Dallas began. Espinoza learned quickly that blogging connected her to like-minded people all over the country and gave her credibility in a pursuit she is passionate about. Being Latina has only enhanced that experience.

“The best part about being Mexican-American is that I definitely get to enjoy the two cultures, and sometimes three if you count Texas culture. Texas style is different from other parts of the country, in such a big state with a variety of cultures, it’s inevitable to have a variety of styles,” says fashion blogger Vanessa Espinoza.
Photo Luisas Secret Photography

Favorite Summer Style: Flip-flop or Wedge? Totally a wedge! They are sophisticated, classy, and fun.

Connie Gomez, Blogger & Founder of Houston Latina Bloggers, Houston

Although Houston is the fourth largest city in the U.S., Connie Gomez realized it was missing representation from Latina women writers, bloggers and artists. So, in 2014 she decided to solve that problem and created Houston Latina Bloggers. In addition to creating a community for Latinas, Gomez, a Texas native, wants to leverage the Latina presence so that brands and companies realize the value of the Latina market.

Gomez is a mom of two and has a full-time job. “I live on very little sleep and coffee,” she said. “In all seriousness though, I keep a tight schedule, plan a lot, and do Zumba. At the end of the day, I do what I can to the very best of my ability and that’s all I can guarantee.”

“The only way for there to be a true awareness of Latina achievements is for us to come together and support one another. This group helps create the community we need to be heard and grow,” says founder of Houston Latina Bloggers, Connie Gomez. Photo Anel Lestage of Tender Nest Portraits

Favorite Houston Athlete: James Harden, Jose Altuve or J.J. Watt? J.J. Watt, of course!

Stephanie Guerra, Blogger & Creator of Puro Pinche, San Antonio

Chances are that if you live in San Antonio you’ve heard of Puro Pinche. Stephanie Guerra, blogger, influencer and content creator, is the woman behind it. She began writing about San Antonio in 2010 because she felt that, although it is a Texas city with a majority Latino population (63%), their voices were underrepresented in the media.

Visitors to Guerra’s blog or social media pages will find everything from San Antonio events and activities to recommendations on food and nightlife in the city. Guerra’s goal is to connect people so that they have a deeper understanding of what it is like to live in San Antonio. “Texas is huge geographically and we need more Latinas to tell their stories from all over the state! I am proud to be a part of groups like Texas Latino Blog and Talented Tejanos that help connect us,” said Guerra.

“Through my website and social media, I am able to show the “puro” parts of San Antonio that let our city’s deep Mexican roots and culture shine,” says Stephanie Guerra, Blogger & Creator of Puro Pinche, pictured at right above. “I love that I can talk in ‘Spanglish’ or ‘Tex Mex’ and connect with so many people that are familiar with both worlds.” Courtesy photo

Favorite San Antonio Celebration: Cinco de Mayo or NIOSA? I will go ahead and admit that I am a bigger fan of Cinco de Mayo, because it celebrates Mexican-American culture and a battle that Mexico won, but give me any holiday that celebrates Latinos in an authentic way and I’m there!

Maribel Rivero, Executive Chef of Yuyo, Austin

San Antonio native Maribel Rivero got her feet wet in the Austin restaurant scene in the early 2000s. After moving to Peru to immerse herself in the cuisine of the country, Rivero became enamored with the Peruvian culture. She moved back to Austin to create Yuyo.

“From my experience, people in the U.S. think Latin cooking only consists of Mexican, Puerto Rican and Cuban cuisine. However, all of South America offers a varied style of cooking influenced from Europe and indigenous people,” said Rivero. “I would like people to realize the importance of the gastronomy from Latin America simply because the products of Latin America are the most used all over the world—corn, potatoes, chiles, coffee and cacao, for example.”

“Being a woman, I need to be much more competitive, aggressive and strong in my convictions,” says Maribel Rivero, Executive Chef of Yuyo, Austin. Courtesy photo

Favorite Austin Landmark: Congress Avenue or Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center? I love Congress Avenue – and walking around Lady Bird Lake is my oasis in the city.

Vianney Rodriguez, Cookbook Author, Recipe Developer & Influencer, Corpus Christi

Aransas Pass native turned Corpus Christi girl, Vianney Rodriguez has been cooking with her family as long as she can remember and continues to create delicious Latin-inspired food and drinks. Rodriguez has two cookbooks to her credit, Latin Twist and The Tex-Mex Slow Cooker: 100 Delicious Recipes for Easy Everyday Meals, as well as an award winning blog, Sweet Life.

Rodriguez is inspired to share the food of her childhood growing up in South Texas as a first generation Mexican-American and first-generation Texan. She wrote her second cookbook not only to showcase the flavors of Tex-Mex cooking, but also to create quick and easy meal ideas for busy families. The Tex-Mex Slowcooker is filled with recipes of Latin cooking staples such as beans, salsa and enchiladas, as well as Tex-Mex favorites such as fajitas and chile con queso.

Favorite Corpus Christi Landmark: Harbor Bridge or Selena Memorial – Mirador de la FlorSelena; always Selena – #raisedonselena #anythingforselenas

“Latin cooking is about sharing your culture, heritage and the wonderful flavors that showcase your familia,” says cookbook author Vianney Rodriguez. “I grew up tasting the best of two worlds that made me who I am today.” Photo Jason David Page

Gabi De la Rosa lives in Houston with her husband and three children. You can usually find her at a great local restaurant or out exploring HTX with her family. Cover photo: Fashion blogger Vanessa Espinoza. Photo Luisas Secret Photography