Erika grew up among many women. While she has one brother, her four female cousins play major roles in her life. With so many girls around, she came to understand that femininity can take many forms and manifest in different ways through personal style.
She enrolled in a high school with a uniform dress code, so she started to look forward to quintessential teen moments that would allow her to dress up and express herself. Yet, she has spent a majority of her high school experience learning remotely from home. Today, she is grateful to have an occasion to wear a dress that has been hanging in her closet since 2020, untouched and unworn, but patiently waiting to have its moment.
Growing up attending her cousins’ and friends’ quinceañeras, Erika has been waiting for her own time to come. When her 14th birthday passed, her parents asked her to decide between an international trip or a quinceañeara party. Her answer? Emphatically the latter. Her birthday has always been her favorite day to celebrate with people she loves.
When her school promptly shut down in-person classes back in March of 2020, Erika realized that the quince she had always dreamt of would likely be canceled. And so, her dream dress remained in her closet for nearly two years as she took Zoom classes and practiced for her school’s soccer team online, kicking a ball against the wall as her soccer coach watched through the screen.
The student athlete’s parents are both Mexican — her father is from Mexico City and her mother is from Guadalajara. Erika, a child of immigrants, says that culture is all about family and togetherness. Disappointed that her quince was postponed indefinitely, Erika was comforted that hers was not the only one. Many of her friends also had to cancel their parties. And while the extravagant party she had always pictured, with hundreds of guests, and her family flying in from Mexico, never happened, she recently celebrated her Sweet 16, wearing a comfortable dress she picked out for the occasion.