“When I'm around other black people, sometimes I don't like to talk too much, or open up about my childhood experiences and college life because I've been shamed in the past. I did not grow up wealthy, by any means, but my parents still made sure I had rich experiences. I learned oil painting at a pretty young age, and traveled with my mom and aunt to Europe when I was 11 and 12. I went to a diverse LA magnet school, then public schools in the Beverly Hills school district where I learned to speak French and play the tenor saxophone.
On the inside, I feel extremely blessed and know that everything about my upbringing and past experiences is so special and I'm grateful to my family, especially my mom, for supporting me through it all. Because of all that, I should want to shout that story from the mountaintops, BUT on the surface, I prefer to keep quiet unless I'm at a job interview, or if someone close to me asks about any of it. .Along the way, there have been several Black people who have made fun of me for ‘growing up in Beverly Hills.’ They are very condescending about it, as if I don't really know what it means to be Black because I've lived some sort of watered down version of it, instead of just calling my experience 'different' from their own. People may not be aware of this, but being a Black girl in a sea of white students has its own challenges. Black people have also, since I was maybe 5 or 6, made fun of me for "talking like a white girl." That used to really hurt and sounded like nails on a chalkboard, but now, as a professional, it bothers me a little less because I know that it actually means I just don't have a distinct accent and no one can really tell what ethnicity I am until they meet me in person, which I think is honestly how it should be."