Over the past month we’ve celebrated Black and Brown history makers who have shaped the past and are shaping the present for a more positive future. As February comes to a close we realize – despite all the injustice and oppression in the world – there is so much joy to share.
One of these joys for us – for MiniLuxe – is celebrating the diverse backgrounds of the people on our team.
As we share those we admire externally, it’s even more important for us to share and celebrate our own. Each one of us has a story to tell and a unique perspective to teach us something new. This is what makes us unique.
Today, I’m proud to introduce you to Nicole, Sabrina and Brenna.
Enjoy getting to know these three amazing women, and look out for more introductions to our wonderful team this year.
Miniluxe: Tell us about yourself! What should we know?
Nicole: My grandfather has been my inspiration. I was the first in my family to graduate from college and this milestone was one that he was able to be apart of before he passed away. Papa grew up in the South, where the stories he told me about his young life being Black either made me extremely sad or really angry. He had many great memories and stories as well. The most important thing for him was that his grandchildren figured out a way to retire through education and having a good career. He was a master plumber but hated the fact that he lacked education and a career that would allow him to retire comfortably. I went to a community college right out of school and it wasn’t close to home. My grandfather would pick me up and drive about 30 miles to my college, wait about three hours for classes to end and then take me back home. It was these moments with my grandfathers inspirations that helped shape the importance to shift the generational inequities that he and others of our family experienced. I wanted to ensure my children had a better experience than me and theirs a better experience than them.
Brenna: I was born and raised in Connecticut. My mothers family is from CT but my fathers family comes from Cape Verde, a group of 10 small islands off of the west coast of Africa. He is a first generation immigrant who came to the USA with his two older sisters when he was only 12 years old. Growing up, my dad made sure I knew where my family came from and always answered any questions I had about our culture. He travelled back to Cape Verde many times while I was growing up, but he never took my brothers or I. Then, once I graduated college my dad surprised my entire family with a trip to the islands! We went in 2019 and I was able to experience the culture I grew up around first hand. It was a surreal and eye opening experience.
Sabrina: I was born and raised in Oakland, California. I moved to Los Angeles to be a makeup artist in the industry. I’ve done celebrity makeup, TV and award shows. I’ve always had passion for beauty and making everyone feel good. I love traveling and about other cultures
MiniLuxe: What is something unique that you’d like to share about yourself, your culture or your heritage?
Nicole: My aunt loves to explore ancestry DNA; which has provided our family with some interesting findings on our heritage. I recently learned that I am 20% European and 10% Filipino & Austronesian with the remaining Sub-Saharan African. Most Filipinos can trace their ancestry to a migration of Southeast Asian related to the indigenous people of Taiwan. Today, this genetic signature – called “Austronesian” (meaning “southern island”) – is common across the islands of the Pacific, from the Philippine Sea to Hawaii, and can be found as far away as Madagascar.
Brenna: Every February in Cape Verde, the have a HUGE, month long carnival experience. Similar to something you might see in Brazil. People play music, dress up in incredible outfits and have parades around their cities. I was fortunate to see a small glimpse of that experience when I went to Cape Verde in 2019.
Sabrina: My grandmother was born in the Philippines. She was raised during WW II, where she and her 9 siblings had to dodge bullets and bombs and seek refuge in the mountains to hide. Her father was a soldier and was captured by the Japanese as a POW. After 3 years away from his family he was released and later on moved to the United States. My grandmother and her siblings were discriminated against and made fun of for not speaking English and being from another country. My other set of grandparents, lived in Arkansas were they owned a farm and had to get up at 3am every morning to tend to the farm. Plowing fields with a mule, slopping hogs, and selling the products for very little profit. They later on moved to California where my grandmother was a maid at a hotel and my grandfather a longshoreman.
My elders worked hard in their lives so I could focus on being the best person I can be. I honor them by working hard and setting an example to other women of color, that they can be whatever they want to be! – Sabrina Boxton.
MiniLuxe: How Do you celebrate your culture/heritage? Do you have any traditions
Nicole: Many of my families traditions include good food and lots of fun, particularly for Thanksgiving and Christmas. These are the two holidays where everyone is in the kitchen preparing a large meal that will last us for 3 days. We pray together, eat together and then the music, dancing, games and fun begins.
Brenna: My dad loves to make a traditional Cape Verdean meal called Cachupa. There are a lot of variations of this meal, but the main ingredients are beans and corn. I was actually able to eat the most authentic version of this dish when I visited the islands and it was incredible. I need to learn the recipe!
Sabrina: We celebrate by spending time with family as often as we can. Food place a major part in our celebrations. We love having family day on Sundays. I have a large family. We may have 20 people over for Sunday dinner. We have fish fry’s, gumbo night, or a pot luck where everyone brings whatever dish they like to make. Its the gathering, fun and laughter that makes it special
MiniLuxe: What does diversity mean to you?
Nicole: Diversity is about who we are. Our race, our ethnicity, our culture, our heritage. It’s about what makes us unique.
Brenna: To me it means a variety of people from different social, ethnic and political backgrounds coming together.
Sabrina: Diversity means inclusion. Everyone should feel included and special. Diversity means, I can look around around a room and see people that look like me and beyond
MiniLuxe: What does inclusion mean to you?
Inclusion is a choice – it is behaviors, it is social norms. You can decide whether to include someone or not, but belonging is a feeling that can be enforced by a culture that you can purposefully create. – Nicole Monteiro
Brenna: To me it means choosing to create a seat at the table for someone who might have a different perspective than yourself.
MiniLuxe: Who is someone you admire and why
Nicole: I admire many people, one of my favorites would be Michelle Obama. She has such a strong character. She inspires, she motivates and can influence others with her strong personality. Yet, she does with such grace, confidence and composure. She demonstrates compassion. Leadership is at it’s finest when it shows compassion and diverse understandings. Michelle is also relatable and brings her full self to anything she does.
Brenna: I admire Kamala Harris because she is the first women and person of color to become the Vice President of the United States.
Sabrina: I admire my mother. She was a single mom with 3 children, 3 years of college and no real support. She was able to work her way up in the corporate world, raise loving, passionate, smart, caring children. She now owns 6 properties in the U.S and beyond, travels the world and spoils her grandchildren
MiniLuxe: Which MiniLuxe color speaks to your personality the most?
Nicole: It’s hard to decide on one color, however there are many in the Take the Lead collection to speak to me – “Just Listen” resonates. I consider myself to be a person who listens to understand a point of view (diversity, inclusion & belonging)
Brenna: Little Miss Sunshine because yellow is my favorite color!
Sabrina: Number 1
If you’re in Boston, Los Angeles or Dallas, visit one of our studios to get to know more of our team!