My name is Ashley Cuadrado; An Afro-Latina. Mermaid Lover. Law school get-thorougher.
I am part of race that was born from a mix of native Indians from the island known as the "Tainos", the conquerors from Spain, and the African slaves. When the Spanish forced the Taíno people into slavery, the entire indigenous population was virtually decimated. I am Puerto Rican. I am an Afro-Puertoriquenna.
My hair wasn’t perfectly straight like my fathers, and my hair was too nappy for my mother to handle. Growing up in an hispanic home, straight hair was the only way to look beautiful, otherwise I had ‘kinky’ hair. Kinky was a bad word in my household. It was a synonym for bad hair. All I ever knew was straight hair, those endless hours at the salon, the smell of burning hair and Dominican gossip.
I didn’t even know what curly hair was, or what my natural hair looked like. My hair was dead, lifeless, you name it.
Three years ago, I came across the natural hair community, took a look at my hair in the mirror and wanted a change. I wanted to be able to embrace my hair and see myself as beautiful, without the blower, rollers, or plancha (iron).
After two big chops, here I am! A mermaid swimming in her curls, in every ocean I may travel through.
I am currently in law school at Touro Law Center, on the journey of obtaining my Juris Doctorate. It has its challenges. It isn’t easy, don’t let pictures tell you different!
There are a number of challenges I have faced as a law student, my hair, being a minority, and having a voice.
I have to have a louder voice to be more successful. That comes with the good and bad. Many people do not like a woman or a minority at that to speak for themselves, which alone creates hardships but I do not let that deter me from any my goals. With all that, there comes criticism and a lot of backlash. My hair causes attention. “Taming” my hair is a social norm, and I’m currently trying to break away from that. Defeating the odds and loving yourself through thick and thin.
This is just a summary of ME and my struggles.