In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, we sought out some of our wonderful Hispanic sisters to give us a little insight to their life as a Hispanic Woman in Roofing. Today we have answers from Gabriella Criado representing Puerto Rico!

NWIR Feature: Hispanic Heritage Month

In the spirit of Hispanic Heritage month, we want the NWIR community to know your unique insight on being a woman of Hispanic descent!

Name and Title
Gabi Criado – PR/Marketing
Business Name, City and State
The Durable Slate Company
Columbus, OH
What do you embrace and love most about your culture?
I absolutely love everything about my culture. If I had to narrow it down, though, it would be the people and the amazing music. I feel that the people have such a strong presence that it’s magnetic. When I meet someone of a similar background as me, we just have this instant connection. It’s an awesome thing to have in common. With Spanish music, I feel this also makes an instant connection with people. There’s something about Spanish music that just brings people of all backgrounds together and just makes you want to dance. It’s a contagious feeling!
What is something you want others to know about your heritage?
One thing in general that isn’t common knowledge is that Puerto Ricans are citizens of the United States. Puerto Rico became a part of the US in 1913 and a lot of people do not realize this.
Have you faced any challenges in your life because of your ethnicity?
No, I have not personally faced any challenges. When my grandparents came to Ohio from Puerto Rico, they embraced the challenges and did everything they could to provide for their family. My grandfather worked at General Motors for 35 years and worked very hard to make everything go right. They had come here not knowing English and made their life here in America, but did not forget their roots and where they come from. But for me, I have not.
Who has been an inspiring figure of Hispanic descent throughout your life? How or why has this person made an impact?
Selena Quintanilla is someone who I have looked up to for as long as I can remember. I remember my mom playing the song “Dreaming of You” when I was younger and falling in love with that song. It’s still my favorite song to this day. Since then, I learned more about Selena and who she was, and I thought she was such a powerful woman. She made her life exactly how she wanted it and would not take ‘no’ as an answer to anything. Not only this, but she was also an absolute force in the Spanish music industry and ultimately changed it for the better. You can see her impact in music today inspiring a younger generation of women to embrace their heritage, including myself. You see this with artists like Selena Gomez and Camilla Cabello where they’re truly embracing their Hispanic heritage. It is so awesome and inspiring to see!
What is your favorite way to celebrate your heritage?
One of my favorite ways to celebrate my heritage is by cooking. I grew up eating the most delicious Puerto Rican food and have been teaching myself and my fiancé how to cook it the way my grandparents do. I also think food is such an important way to learn about one’s culture and to express cultural identity. Looking at and learning the ingredients to a culture’s dishes gives you a good insight and understanding of where someone is from and how they utilize the ingredients they have on hand. I’ve always been a foodie, so seeing how different cultures prepare the ‘same’ dish is so fascinating to me. Another one of my favorite ways to embrace my heritage is by dancing. My parents were Latin dancers and growing up, we always had dancing in the house. I’ve begun to learn how to dance over the years and it is so much fun!