Today we’d like to introduce you to Itzel Hernandez.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Itzel. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
My story starts off with me being born and raised in a Latino community to parents who immigrated here to America back in the 90s. I was very quiet, shy, and to myself. I didn’t have much friends and I was always asked and still am asked about my race/ethnicity and where I come from. I just say I’m afrolatina and I’m not ashamed of it anymore. I remember in elementary school I would always get teased about my appearance or have people tell me I’m not a true Latina or people would ask if me and my siblings were adopted just because we didn’t have the same color of skin. Me and my brothers were simply darker. That definitely triggered some shame into me because I questioned myself a lot about me and my roots and my family’s.
I feel like I’ve for sure come very far as a person but I have definitely always felt different from everyone else. I’ve never felt like a normal human being. I knew me as a person was never going to fit in. I always had my own thoughts and ideas others thought were crazy but jokes on them because I always went with my intuition. My personality made me stand out because of the things I said and people reacted differently throughout my life. Sometimes people laughed in my face and other times people just didn’t understand. It wasn’t until I entered elementary school where I had friends who undermined that power of uniqueness that I had. When I was around 5 or 6, I met my “friend” but this “friend” was constantly controlling and taking advantage of my friendship and making me feel bad about myself. I let them control me for many years up until high school and I felt like couldn’t do anything about it and I put on an act pretending that everything was ok but I knew it wasn’t. People around me kept on telling me that what they were doing to me wasn’t right but I didn’t know any better and I let them take advantage of my loyalty and it definitely stopped me from excelling.
That led me to being depressed and having serious anxiety for a very long time and I have memories of getting anxiety as a little kid and being very worried about how the next day of school was gonna play out. It got to the point where I went crying to my mom one time and when my “friend” found out about what I told my mom she threatened me. Thing was I was used to it and I thought that’s how friendship was so I gave them my full-on loyalty like giving them stuffed animals, food, toys and anything that made them happy even if it meant embarrassing myself. I remember eating dirt after school one day because I was told to by these two girls. I thought I was gonna die or something lol.
I felt like I wasn’t growing as a person but I do know that music always helped me. Whether it was writing a song or just listening to music. Music reminds me of different periods in my life. Music has always been there for me even in the worst times especially in high school. In high school, I was very depressed and I felt like there was no point of my continuing my life because up to that point I thought that my life was meaningless and I had no significance to anyone. That the world would be perfectly fine without me. I told myself that I needed to get out of that deep depression. The one thing that really helped me through it was singing and songwriting. I wrote everything down. All the words that I wrote were what I was experiencing. Writing in general has also been something that I loved since I was young. It was like an escape for me because no one ever knew what I was talking about unless I made it very obvious. I thought of it as a form of expression.
I ended up in group therapy for about four weeks and I remember meeting all these different people who had the same thoughts and feelings as me. And it was almost an escape because it was the one place I could say what I thought out loud with no judgment. I loved going every week because I just loved the peaceful environment and talking everything out. Honestly, I would have never thought in a million years that I would go to therapy. The idea was crazy to me but now I understand. There was this magazine with a picture of native Americans with buffalo in an empty field and I remember I loved that picture because I pictured myself there in tune with nature. That’s what I’ve always wanted.
I realized after that I do have a reason to live. I am me for the rest of my life. I started enjoying life for what it was. Another thing was music. Music to me was so important so I took it more seriously and I started sharing my talents to the world by uploading videos on YouTube and Instagram and since then I’ve been doing nothing but thriving. I’ve been performing live and building up my confidence and my brand and just slaying the game. I’ve also helped build the organization, Providing Platforms LA, and it’s been a beautiful work in progress that I am proud of. I’ve met so many amazing people and friends that I know will be in my life forever and into the next universe. I am and will continue to spread love and embrace my uniqueness here, there and everywhere.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
My road has definitely not been smooth. There have been many struggles that I’ve dealt with over the course of my life, but what’s life without struggle? I think the biggest things that I’ve dealt with my life is insecurity, depression, anxiety, and being hard on myself. I had these thoughts inside me that everyone was judging me and no one wanted to be around me so I ended up isolating myself from everyone. I had thoughts and dreams of killing myself and I even attempted suicide once by overdosing on painkillers. I didn’t tell anyone. I started cutting myself, hitting myself, and pulling out hair because I felt like I couldn’t get out of this deep, dark hole I got myself into. I was losing weight and I became anemic. I was bullied in school and I let myself be controlled by others who I considered my friends. I’ve also always been my own worst critic so I’ve always been hard on myself for many things that I do and I constantly worried about my families finances.
My family was also in situations that gave me anxiety such as divorces, fighting, miscommunication, family deaths especially my grandma’s. She was very close to all of us and after she died there was a big shift in the family. It was hard to adjust to life without her and I witnessed some of family members just becoming more and more depressed. There was a lot of drinking and smoking that I feel strained some relationships and it made me worry for a long time.
Another hardship was witnessing my childhood house being torn down and rebuilt was crazy to see. Before it was rebuilt, I lived in a house with many people coming in and out, including my aunts, uncles, and cousins who stayed with us. My house used to be a two bedroom house with about eight people living in it, so it was noisy but we all talked freely to each other and that doesn’t happen a lot anymore even though we’re all in the same house we just all of a sudden isolated ourselves. There were stories my parents told me about my uncle getting deported back to Mexico and my other uncle getting jumped by gang members down the street of our house one night after coming from the store.
Please tell us more about what you do.
First of all, I am a singer, songwriter, entrepreneur, event planner, community activist, founder of an organization, PROVIDING PLATFORMS LA, and many more things because I am more than one thing. One profession does not define me as a person. I can be so much more. As a singer-songwriter I post videos of me singing acapella and freestyling say anything that just comes to my head I have no beat behind my freestyles, I just sing. I’ve also been songwriting for as long as I could remember and the earliest memory I have about songwriting was when I wrote a song about my brother’s skinny jeans with the tune of Katy Perry’s Teenage Dream playing in my head. I was unconsciously singing that song over and over again in my head and the words just came out of me and I just wrote the song right then and there and I told my brother about it and he gave me the weirdest look ever but it made me laugh. I’ve been songwriting ever since. I even have earlier memories of songwriting before that but that was my favorite one that I wanted to share.
Singing has also been a passion of mine for a long time. I practice pretty much every day and I don’t plan on stopping it is something that I love to do and it’s one of my best ways to express myself. Singing has just always been there for me. I sing at events me and my other amazing business partners organize, open mics, different music venues, and busking. I do not plan ever stopping. Not only do I sing and write songs, I do play instruments. I’m like a one-woman show. I play guitar, piano, bass, drums, and ukulele and I can make a beat or melody out of any one of those. I have yet to record any of my songs but just posting videos online and singing live is already a big connection to everybody and I’m glad I get to do it.
Not only do I do music but I do want to give back to the community and support underappreciated artists/creatives/entrepreneurs. How am I doing that? Well, I am apart of an organization called Providing Platforms LA, founded by myself and my very good friend, Semajae Brown. We as artists and entrepreneurs ourselves know how hard it is to get yourself out there. We wanted to create a platform to support any artist, creative, entrepreneur, or anyone who just has a vision to make their art or Vision come to life. That is our main goal because here in LA there are so many people who are not recognized and appreciated so we have this platform to give to those people. We do this by having events all over the community inviting anyone and anything. We create a space for everybody to come and showcase their talents. NO BOUNDARIES. It’s nothing but love and support from us. Photography and videography is also provided by our friends, Mikaela and Majesty, to support your brand. With that you can expect A lot of love and togetherness at our events. We always got live music/open mics at our events.
Not only do we create events, we also have an earring line called: PROVIDING FANCY DEEDS. We make earrings and we create all the designs for all of y’all to wear and look your best. We also custom make earrings for anyone who asks for them in a specific way. Our prices are inexpensive and vary depending on the earring size and Design.
On a separate note, me and my mom also have a skincare brand that we started called VIRGINIA’S SKINCARE. It’s an all natural facial serum that we created for everyone to love themselves even more and embrace their natural beauty. I do photography too. I’ve been taking pictures of people, places, animals, etc. for many years now. I usually take a lot of nature shots and I post them on my personal Instagram. I promote myself a lot through my music and organization so that’s what I’m mainly known for.
What sets me apart is my determination and knowing what I can do with music. I have all these ideas for songs and I always want to continue breaking the ice. I know that sets me apart. Also, not settling down with one thing. I know I can do many things and create so much in this world. I want to make others happy, comfortable, loved, and appreciated. Whether it’s through music, skincare, or events. I want everyone and everything to be included no matter what you are. I want to always give love, be real, and give positive energy out in this world.
Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
There are some people that I would like to take the time to give credit to. My mom and dad have taught me how to be a hard worker and just to never give up on what you beileve in because as my mom says “nothing in life is easy”. They’ve also taught me to have patience and a very good work ethic because things take time, don’t rush into anything. I’ve learned to have more confidence in the things I say and do, don’t hold back.
My very good friend Semajae Brown. She has helped and supported me so much in the time that I’ve known her and we’ve taken on so many projects including, Providing Platforms LA and she has helped me get better with singing and getting better involved in the community, she’s taught me a lot about self-confidence and self-value and just trusting myself more. She’s also one of the realest friends I’ve had.
My other good friends, Ashley Hoffens and Jasmine Aguilar have been there since high/middle school and over the years I have opened up to them. They are always honest with me and keep me in check with the world around me. They also motivate me to come out of my shell.
Lastly, myself because I feel like I am my number one motivator and the reason I do what I do! I feel proud of what I do with others and for others and that in itself makes me keep on going to inspire others. I give what I can to others and it makes me feel proud of myself. I network and connect with others that benefit myself and my personal entities, Providing Platforms, and themselves.
- Providing Fancy deeds earrings- $5-$30
- Virginia’s Skincare Professioal Facial Serum – $21.99
- Providing Platforms LA Events $7-$10 entry; $50-$100 vendors
- Website: https://skincarebyvirginia.com/
- Phone: 3106197150
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/the_i.h/
- Other: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCYZkzXZoteGRmZ_kUzUd5bw?view_as=subscriber
Picture of me holding my guitar, picture of me with the sun in the background, picture of me writing something down was photographed by Semajae Brown (Instagram: @hairbysemajae and #photosbysemajae); Picture with my brother smiling behind the lemonade, picture of my mom smiling with her skincare product, picture of me and Semajae singing on the mic, picture of lady with bantu knots talking to another lady was photographed by Majesty Rose (Instagram: @_majestyrose and @visualsbymajesty); Picture of my friend, Ashley, wearing a Providing Fancy Deeds earring was photographed by Jasmine Aguilar (Instagram: @jassaguilar); Picture of pine tree with sunlight coming through was photographed by me (Instagram: @the_i.h , #theIH, #theIHsings)