October is nationally recognized as Filipino Heritage Month here in the United States.
"Mestiza" means a woman of mixed ancestry, as the brand embraces and celebrates the co-founder’s shared Filipino-American heritage. This month, we are celebrating what it means to be a "Mestiza," and who better to kick us off than our dear friend and Mestiza sweetheart, Caila Quinn!
Co-founders Louisa and Alessandra bonded over their shared roots in the Philippines. Can you tell us a little bit more about your ties to the country?
My mother is from Quezon City, Manila and grew up there until she was about 10 years old. I love having ties to the Philippines and being a halfie from an island nation.
How was your Filipino heritage tied into your upbringing – are there any traditions that come to mind?
My Filipino heritage started at the family dinner table and danced its way through my upbringing. Instead of grilling, our summer barbeques were full of plates of chicken adobo, pots of sinigang, pancit, turon and of course big scoops of ube ice cream over halo-halo. Then from my teens into college, I danced in traditional Filipino cultural groups with candles on my head adorned in Maria Clara gowns - lace fan and all. But my favorite tradition is listening to the karaoke attempts of aunts in the living room in between the laughter of uncles at the fold up mahjong tables during the holidays.
I grew up in Ohio where there are a lot of Filipino nurses since the Cleveland Clinic is one of the world's leading and largest hospitals. My mother's maiden name is Palanca and our family is very involved in the Cleveland Knights of Rizal Organization and once a year they host a Gala and crown a 18 year old girl their Maria Clara. Below is the year I was nominated to represent our Filipino Community and I still cherish this as one of my favorite memories.
What does the word “Mestiza” mean to you?
Mestiza to me means a woman of two worlds. She is mixed. She is curious. She is cultured.
What are some of your favorite aspects of Filipino culture?
My favorite aspects of Filipino culture are the importance of family, food, and faith. I feel like those are all pieces that make up who I am.
Say you were flying to Manila tomorrow; what Mestiza pieces are a must bring for your trip?
How fun! I wish this were true! I would pack the Pericon Midi in Ivory/Gold, the Fina Mini and the Cha Cha Tassel in Ivory/Gold!
Who are some of your favorite Mestiza icons that have inspired who you are today?
Vanessa Hudgens for her elegance & humility. Lea Salonga was like a second mother-figure singing me to sleep with her music from Broadway's Le Miserable and movies like Mulan & Aladdin. And most recently Pia Wurtzbach after she won Miss Universe for the Philippines for her grace and beauty.