But explaining this to her middle school peers was like talking to a wall. Like many Americans, a lot of the kids at her school couldn’t grasp the distinction between race and ethnicity. As a result, she never felt fully accepted by any group and it really started to impact how she felt about her own identity.
It wasn’t until Dolmo hit her late teens that she started to fully embrace her Garifuna culture and felt more comfortable letting folks know she was Latina. She decided to use the questions she would constantly get about her identity as an opportunity to educate people. In fact, her own self-discovery and self-love journey is what inspired her to become a beauty and lifestyle influencer.
“Growing up, I didn’t have very high self-esteem. I used to not consider myself pretty. I would talk ugly to myself. When I started my YouTube channel when I was about 17 or 18, I was falling in love with makeup,” she says. “That’s how it started — with showing people how to do their makeup.”
From there, she started sharing some of her personal stories regarding race and started incorporating more lifestyle and culture on her platforms. She received so much engagement and positive feedback whenever she’d talk about Afro-Latiniad and Garifuna culture that she eventually felt inspired to create another account called Garifuna Bosses.
“I was not seeing enough community for [Garifunas], so my goal was to connect with other Garifuna people. I wanted to connect and empower them and also promote their businesses,” she says. “If they were creators, if they had a business, I would repost what they do and expose the business to other people.”
Whether it’s through her @garifunabosses or @alexadarling_ page, Dolmo really wants to help other Afro-Latinas like herself feel seen. She’s even been documenting her natural hair and loc journey in hopes that it would inspire other Black women to love and embrace their hair.
“People think because I’m Latina I’m supposed to be light-skinned and it’s like, no. Listen, we’re so diverse,” she says. “I think we’ve made a lot of progress especially because of social media but I still feel like we can do better. I’m going to be so happy the day I finally see a Black Latina starring in a telenovela because I haven’t seen that yet. Even on the news — you don’t really see that. They are hiding us and we have so much to bring to the table.”
Lulu Cordero, 33
CEO and Founder of Bomba Curls, @bombacurls