Be True to Yourself

Love as if your heart will never be broken and live happy, joyful lives anyway!
— Carmen Milagro

I've always lived in two cultures/two worlds and never quite fit 100 percent into anyone's "box." There have been times when I have been told, "You're not Latina enough," by the Latino community on one hand, and on the other, I've also been told, "You're too Latina," by the Anglo community. As an artist I was told, "You're too corporate." When I was in the corporate world I was told, "You're too artsy." Two worlds.

My champion and lifelong love-source, my strong Latina mother, raised me as a strong Latina. I was taught by my Mami that I could do and be anything I set my mind to without compromising my heart and my desire to help others. She instilled in me the ability to have empathy and compassion for others. From her I received the support and confidence I needed to imagine, visualize, and dream big. She taught me to work hard to make my dreams come true. She believed all women were born as strong, capable, intelligent, nurturing souls with their own voice. What we decide to become and later represent to society, well, that is up to us. I believe a vibrant, confident, quiet strength is our best resource as women. I believe women should support each other and lift each other up, not tear each other down. If we all collectively shared one voice in supportive unity, imagine what we could accomplish as one sisterhood! If you've nothing uplifting to say about another woman, just stay in your own lane, live your own truth, and be great at that. This was how my grandmother raised her, and they are both my main inspiration in everything I have done and become in my life thus far. I am proud to have inherited their life philosophy, and I am building my legacy company to honor both my mother and my grandmother.

At my age, there are so many moments that have impacted me but, to date, it is the loss of my Mami that left the greatest impact on my heart. I will never forget the best piece of advice she gave me: I am no less than anyone on the planet, and I am no better than anyone on the planet. When my sister and I were caring for my mother during her battle with cancer, before she passed away, I could not find any massage or skincare products that I felt good about using on her. It may sound silly, but I scoured the shelves for clean/green personal care products that contain no parabens, no sulfates, no chemicals, no additives, no synthetic preservatives, no toxins, and certainly no microbeads! I found none that satisfied my criteria and definition, so after the fog lifted from the loss of my idol and heroine I began to formulate some products on my own and then formed my own skincare brand with products made from raw ingredients and inspired by homeopathic traditions. I have built a team of artists, designers, and craftspeople that create formulations that reflect our values and commitment to clean, safe, responsible living.

Arts, language, and music are my passions. Helping others is my purpose, which plays a big part of why I am who I am today. I am also the proud daughter of Salvadorean immigrants, born and raised in San Francisco, California. I'm an "entrepren-artist," talk show host, inventor, spokesperson, entertainer, lyricist, storyteller, producer, and philanthropist.

When I was young, I always thought my family and dear friends would always have my back in any situation. Now, at this age, I realize it's only a handful of true supporters that accompany you on your entire life's journey without judgment and by showing you real love and compassion. Having this handful of people in my inner sanctum is what keeps me going … that and Mitchell's mango ice cream on a chocolate dipped sugar cone!

Here are some of my life lessons: Not everyone is your friend. You cannot please everyone. Not everyone is your client. Not everyone wishes for your success, love, and happiness. But be successful on your terms anyway! Love as if your heart will never be broken anyway! And live happy, joyful lives anyway! Good lessons to remember...

At the end of the day, I'm the only person qualified to design my own life. I honor the wise Latina within, my feelings, my thoughts, my intuition, and my truth. No one else can inspire your journey if you do not already have that spark within … and my spark was ignited long ago by my mother. I learned to follow my own path and be my authentic self and developed a pretty thick skin early on. I taught myself not to care what others thought of me, but that doesn't mean I didn't notice the unkind words or criticisms, and it also doesn't mean that sometimes it didn't hurt. But I knew I had to be true to myself. Now, whenever I can, I mentor other entrepreneurs, artists, women, and young girls. If I am able to inspire, empower, or help someone along the way, sharing my story means the world to me.

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Carmen Milagro is an entrepreneur-artist, founder at Borbón Skincare Inc., and the creator of natural skincare products inspired by homeopathic traditions. She is passionate about helping others adopt and maintain a healthy, holistic approach to skincare, and is also an entertainer, lyricist, lead vocalist, writer, mentor, PR Director for Heaven's Door Cancer Foundation and Hospitality House, and Head Nut at PB&JAMMusic Sessions for Kids. She is currently writing a musical theater production.

Words: Carmen Milagro