Artist Feature: Gabriela Torres

by Nisha Btesh June 15, 2019

Artist Feature: Gabriela Torres

Tell us about how you became the woman you are today. Where did you grow up? What moments in life have influenced your character most?

I was born and raised in the beautiful island of Puerto Rico by my parents and with my siblings. Here, I grew up with the taste of the sea minutes away from my house, always doing different activities like painting classes, reading camps and Girl Scouts. All of these moments made me into the woman that I am today and it exudes in my style: my favorite season to dress up is Summer without a doubt, you’ll never see my closet without a tropical print! And I love to read and write, which is why I still write on my blog. Having the childhood that I had, it was a childhood full of positivity and happiness, a motto that is important to show on my blog.

Tell us a little bit about what drew you to your medium. Did you choose to work with said medium or did it choose you?

Ever since I was a little girl, my mom would dress me up for all types of occasions, something that stayed with me up to this day; I remember going through her closet and trying on her clothes, her heels and jewelry. Then fast forward to my pre-teens, I was heavily influenced by 90s Disney style (Lizzie Maguire and That’s So Raven were some of my fave shows) and Rebelde (RBD) was the biggest soap opera of the time and I used a lot of trends from that series as well.

When I moved to Orlando at 13 years old, I had the chance to mix my roots and explore with new styles. At 11 years old, my mom bought me my first Teen Vogue magazine and that changed my life; I can even say it was the first time I was enamored by fashion, the clothes, the editorial shoots, the hair, every single detail. Since that moment, I had said I wanted to be an editor-in-chief someday but that dream died with time as I thought it was a “superficial” world. By 15-16, blogging (Polyvore and lookbook anyone?) was becoming a thing and I was intrigued by it but always felt scared to just put myself out into the world and express my style, so I didn’t officially start a blog until December 2015. I had always wanted to share my style with the world and I finally said, it’s time. Through trial and error (and a new blog), She Wears Color was officially born on January 2017 and the rest has been history.

  Finish this sentence. I never leave home without my…

phone, especially for my job!

 Finish this sentence. I find myself most inspired to create when I am…

exploring new places.

A lot of women believe they need formal training in order to succeed as a female Artist. What’s your take? Did you have a formal education or are you self taught?

I never learned anything about communications, marketing or social media. My bachelor’s is in French Studies, the complete opposite of anything related to my blog lol! However, Pinterest, Google and YouTube are the new school of learning for anything related to blogging and how to make it into a full-time/career, so with these tools I’ve been able to learn (and still do) everything that makes She Wears Color. In my opinion, we live in a time where anything you want to accomplish in life can be learned through your hustle and grind and how you decide to spend your time to learn the things you’re passionate about. If you want to be a photographer, you’ll spend hours on YouTube learning about cameras, photoshop and shooting techniques. You’ll build your portfolio by starting with friends and family, slowly getting better with practice and time. Do I believe it is necessary to have a degree related to your creative job? No. Do I believe it helps? Of course! But like I mentioned, the internet is your bff, use it wisely!

What do you want the younger female artists coming up behind you to know about you, your journey, and the art industry in general?

Living in the media age is both a blessing and a curse: it provides you the tools to learn everything you need to be successful in whatever creative field you’re in, but that also means everyone has the same access and tools that you do. The question is, will you like everyone else or will you stick to your perspective and vision? I believe it’s important to stay true to your vision and people will become attracted to what’s new, authentic and unique. Don’t spend too much time comparing your beginning with someone else’s middle and trust your gut, always! Just because everyone else wears or does the same thing that doesn’t mean you should follow, lead and most importantly, influence for good! It’s crucial to keep breaking down stigmas and barriers when it comes to women and show that the best version of yourself is your authentic self, plain and simple.

What do you know for sure?

That when I look back in life, I’ll be proud of all the moments/adventures I’ve lived.  

Give us three of your favorite/ most inspiring things right now. Could be a book, a food, a destination, a song, a person, etc. 

Frances from The Pecking Order, the Latino takeover at Coachella and Spring blooms.

How do you define your creative gig? Full-time career or side hustle? Explain why you’ve chosen one over the other.

I define my creative gig a hobby turned into a passionate side hustle. I’ve chosen to do this part-time simply because I have other passions in life which are languages. I speak four languages and currently (and happily) work as a medical Interpreter at a hospital and that’s just the beginning. I have goals to keep growing and succeeding in the interpreting field, hopefully working at big conferences, events and even the federal government and/or the U.N. Who know if this may change in the future, but this is my present and I am thoroughly enjoying it.

What is the message you're sending into the universe with your work? Why do you feel so strongly about said message?

If you were to go into my posts or my Instagram feed, these are the main messages that come off my brand:

Share joy. Be confident. Be yourself. Be colorful.

It’s taken me a long time to fully accept myself as I am and why not share that with the world? Girls nowadays are so obsessed with looking and wishing to be like someone else that they completely deny and undervalue their self-worth. Do you have a gap between your teeth? Embrace it! Stretch marks? Not the only one! A mole in your cheek? Don’t remove it! It’s so easy to change into someone else but how challenging it is to stay on our ground and love our truest selves, flaws and all. And that’s why it’s important that SWC promotes these messages to all those girls that believe they’re not beautiful or valuable or shouldn’t be happy. We all come to life with purpose and mine through my blog is to promote as much positivity, confidence and color to the world.

What is the biggest challenge you've faced as a female artist?

The biggest challenge I’ve faced as a blogger is letting my blog get the best of me and not seeing it fun. I started this blogging journey because it’s fun and I can be my most creative self in my own time. When it starts becoming about deadlines and likes and followers, I get unmotivated and have even thought of not continuing my blog. My biggest challenge is to always go back to the main reason of why I started this and not let comparison get the best of me.

How do you stay motivated? What does your daily routine look like?

Motivation doesn’t always strike, I think self-care is important. When you have a clear mind, you can work better and do things with more love and passion. Taking days off social media can help tremendously and make you more focused into what you want to put out into the world versus what everyone else is doing and why am I not following and doing the same. I’m always on Pinterest (you can look me up as she Wears Color) and always pinning colors, outfits, textures and art that I can translate into an outfit.

What is your biggest focus and/or goal in your career right now? What plans do you have for yourself 1,3,5 years from now?

My biggest focus is to maintain my blog as something I enjoy and love to do because I genuinely love creating outfits (sometimes editorials) for fun. The moment it stops being fun I won’t continue with it. I don’t plan too much ahead with my blog, I just hope it’ll keep inspiring women from all over the world and one of my biggest goals is to make it a trilingual blog where I can talk in English, Spanish and Portuguese. We’ll see how it goes!

What’s the most difficult financial hurdle you’ve had to overcome while running your business? Get specific!

I would say the most difficult financial hurdles are that you cost everything on your own. Yes, I may receive products in exchange for a social media post, but you have to take into consideration the photographer’s, fee, props, even parking if you’re going to a specific location! Then you add editing apps or Photoshop, gear for your phone/camera, and things start to add up! It starts as a fun hobby but when you least notice it, you see that this is a business and that’s why you cannot sell yourself short, don’t be afraid to ask your value’s worth!

 Big or small, what’s the single best money making tip or piece of advice you can share with up and coming artists?

My biggest piece of advice is to enjoy the ride. I feel like nowadays people are getting into the creative business solely for the purpose of making money. If you don’t enjoy what you’re doing, including the good, the bad and the ugly, then what’s the point of doing it? So have fun, be kind and do you!

What tools, apps, websites, blogs, books, or podcasts help you the most when it come to financials?

What people don’t tell you about the blogging business is the stress of doing your own taxes! Because you don’t have a W-2, you have to be on top of every single transaction towards your business and keep record of it so when tax season comes, you can pay the least or almost nothing. Stride tax is the app I use to keep track of all of my purchases; I link my card and whatever is used for my business I add to a list.

What's the best advice you've ever been given?

The sky’s the limit. My mom taught me good!
 

It’s karaoke night and your up. What song do you sing?

Estamos Bien by Bad Bunny. I love his style and authenticity!

A genie grants you three wishes. What do you wish for?

For every person on earth to be happy. To travel the world. To have free iced lattes for life (they add up )

Name 3 of your guilty pleasures.

Gossip Girl, the Hallmark channel and dark chocolate

Name 3 Artists you would like to see featured on Hola Gwapa next and what you love about them.

•Darielys from Gleeful Designs: an amazing mom that moved to Florida after PR’s Hurricane Maria, she makes the most colorful + beautiful polymer clay designs and always puts a smile on your face with her positive quotes on her IG stories.

Ruth from Papayeye: She has a line of handmade handbags in every bold and colorful print you can think of! Furthermore, she created a website where other Puerto Rican women owners can promote their business and products, she’s a girl boss for sure!

•Elvia from Papel Púrpura: the sweetest human being and the creative genius behind her paper jewelry line founded in 2014. She radiates positivity and her paper designs are out of this world! From flowers to Beatles references, her designs are unique and one of a kind!

If you had to give a 30 min. speech without preparing to an audience of 1,000 what would it be on?

I’d probably talk about the importance of influencers influencing for good and how this impacts our audience and personal brand.




Nisha Btesh
Nisha Btesh

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