KAREN CHICAS: FROM EL SALVADOR TO NYC, WITH LOVE

This month, October,  was dedicated to celebrating Latina women. We want to end it sharing highlight one of our ambassadors, the fierce and determined Karen Chicas.
 
Karen is seen here rocking our Rise UP t-shirt in black. 
 
 
She is a first-generation Salvadoran American who describes herself as a “cachimbona”, the Salvadoran way of calling women “badass”.  Her big smile, curly hair and beautiful brown skin are features that make her stand out from the crowd and are part of her culture. Her passion, fierceness, and determination are what make her one in a million.
We had the chance to learn more about who she is, what she likes and what makes her feel empowered.
Who is Karen Chicas?
Karen Chicas is a proud first-generation Salvadoran American, born in NY and raised in El Salvador.  She is constantly seeking new adventures and opportunities to learn and grow in all areas of her life. She is passionate about opening doors and advocating for the Latinx community. She is an attorney in NYC and works at the intersection of law, technology, entertainment, and culture. 
 
This photo is from the day she found out she passed the NY bar.
 
 
 
If you could describe yourself in one word, what would it be?
As my Salvadoran grandma calls me “cachimbona” aka badass. 
Who are your Latina role models and why?
My mom  – she immigrated to this country alone from El Salvador looking to open doors for her family. Once here, as a single mother, she worked hard day in and day out to make sure that neither her family nor me were ever in need. She is the badass I aspire to be on the daily. 
All the women in my family and my Latina friends - each of them, in their own way, have taught me to love the woman I am and have shown me to fight for my dreams despite any challenge that may come my way. 
Sonia Sotomayor – she was the first example of a Latina lawyer who I could identify with and who my generation witnessed rise to one of the most powerful positions in the world. If she could do it, I know I could do anything. 
 
Photo is from Rawly Bold's 2-anniversary celebration.
 
 
What advice would I give my younger self?
I would tell her to love herself a little more - and that her curly “unruly” hair, her chocolate skin and her “skinny legs” would become her favorite features in time.  I would tell her to be kinder to herself because she did not need to have it all figured out like she thought she was supposed to. I would tell her that nothing was wrong with her for dealing with anxiety and to be patient with herself because she would find ways to cope with it and she would have a team of people helping her through it.  
Tell us about a time you felt really empowered and determined to follow your dreams (the wakeup call of life)?
I think this is an interesting question because arriving at where I am now has required various moments of being empowered by people and circumstances in my life. However, one moment that made a big impression in my life was during my teenage years when I witnessed first hand a foreclosure attorney attempt to take advantage of my mom’s and my lack of understanding of the legal system. Once I realized what was happening, I advocated for my mom by bringing her case to a grievances committee and eventually recovering the money the attorney attempted to take without earning. 
Prior to that experience, I had an interest in law but I wasn’t sure that I would be able to make it a reality; frankly, I had no idea how to make it happen. However, advocating for my mom in that way worked almost as an epiphany because I suddenly felt certain that I was meant to pursue a career in law and I was going to go for it no matter what. 

This photo was taken at the photoshoot of Rawly Bold's 2020 campaign. 
 
What advice would you give young girls?
-Try to always surround yourself with people that motivate/inspire you.
-Look out for any opportunity to learn and make sure you take it, it’ll help you grow. 
-Be grateful for every opportunity and every person that joins your journey.
Karen’s Playlist:

Party: Estamos bien – Bad Bunny 
Romantic: Caminar de tu Mano – Rio Roma & Fonseca
Dreams: I Hope You Dance – Lee Ann Womack 
Sexy: Minifalda – Greeicy & Juanes 
Fierce: Truth Hurts – Lizzo
Follow Karen on Instagram here

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