My story is a very sad and painful one. I went through verbal, physical and sexual abuse at a young age. For someone to experience these things when they should just be a kid and enjoying life is definitely life changing. I grew up in a very strict environment where exploring simple things such a theme park or movie was not allowed. Almost everything that was considered fun was not allowed. We were a family of six and with just my father working on a very small salary there certainly wasn’t much for anything. Living in the ghetto and always being the new girl was also very hard. I searched for love in a boy and got married at a young age. I was in love and thought how lucky am I to have found love. Until it all started to unravel. I tried my best to save my marriage but was just humiliating every time. Although I don’t want to detail all I went through I think it’s important to highlight where I am now because although I was very broken, it served me as a stepping stone to wanting more out of life. During my divorce, I was diagnosed with a medical condition due to a tumor in my pituitary gland. I went from a size 3 to a 16 in the matter of a year. I was already experiencing deep sadness but now depression had settled in. As the divorce was set to be finalized, I found a friend that took me as broken and bitter as I could ever be and loved it all out of me. His incredible patience was instrumental in my healing process. His constant encouragement in telling me I can do anything regardless of what had happened helped me be a successful individual. He constantly reassured me that my past didn’t have to determine my future. The genuine love he gave me brought me hope and I opened my heart to love again. He is now my husband of 7 years. I didn’t get the best start and missed out on a lot of things as a child, but I can proudly say that courage, love and perseverance have gotten me one step closer to my PHD. It is a dream of mine to be Dr. Karina Velez. I have since recorded 3 music cds and have been featured in many other musical productions. I was voted the best Puerto Rican Voice in Chicago and had the honor of singing the National Anthem and the Anthem of PR. I was hired by the largest Ad agency in the world Leo & Burnett and did commercials for McDonalds (I’m loving it). I opened my own business and have reached success in my Business Life, Personal Life and Spiritual life. Success in my opinion comes when you are willing to go against the odds and chose to be happy & content with life. Happiness is definitely a choice and I’m so glad I made it. I will say that the one perfect memory I have as a child is that I was introduced to Jesus and I have been a follower of him ever since. I recognize that he pulled me through it and that my husband was just the tool he used to tell me every day I love you Karina and it had not been in vain. Thank you Jazi photo for the experience. I can’t tell you enough how thankful I am you allowed me to share a bit of my story and show the world that we are all uniquely beautiful. You are amazing at your craft and pray many more women give you and themselves the opportunity to experience this confidence booster session.
Hair and Makeup: Erica Alexis Artistry