Yaris Sanchez: Social Media & Confidence
Yaris Sanchez is a Dominican model, aspiring actress, and writer from Washington Heights. If you are from uptown, have social media, or even a hip hop fan, you may have heard of her. Yaris's name has cultivated pop culture from Drake's song lyrics to being mentioned on the Breakfast Club. Her face has graced recent features on major publications like Vogue and Fader making her a beauty icon. Yaris Sanchez has made an image for herself that men drool over and girls only wish they had the balls, (and body!) As one of the member of Morir Soñando, I met Yaris at Hashi (Sushi Restaurant no longer in business) a few years ago. One of my take aways from that moment was her girl power and empowerment attitude. My cousin told her she admired her confidence, and she wished she could be as open as she was. Yaris told her she was beautiful, and she should go for whatever she wanted regardless of what people said. She exuded confidence, and an appreciation for women who lifted each other up. Fast forward to more than 5 years later, we have the opportunity to speak with her on a great topic, raising confident women in today's social media society. Yaris recently wrote a piece on her personal blog, “Never The Girl Next Door,” that really focused on the role of the Interent, and Morir Soñando wanted to hear more!
Yaris on Social Media
As 80s- early 90s babies, we have been blessed with something we didn’t even know was a blessing until now. We had no social media in our teen years. We could make choices, and mistakes, without it being documented and saved forever.
As millennials, we are faced with a new issue that our own parents never had to deal with - Social Media. Now we are in a time where everything is recorded, and even live streamed. In addition, some of us are parents or soon to be parents. We have social lives that include work, hobbies, events, and whatever else we have going on, and we also have social media accounts where we posts many of these things. Unlike our parents, that would have to develop a picture to capture the moment, we have it instantly at our fingertips. We have grown up to feel like “celebrities” with our own reality TV show, just tune in to IG, Facebook or Twitter. But, now that we are parents, and our kids are also exposed to social media, it is a different ball game. They see everything we put out there, so how do we handle it? Yaris wrote in “Honest and Unmerciful” as an ode to the internet, the good and the bad. We wanted to dive more and discuss the internet as young parents.
1. Does your daughter have social media, if so does she follow you?
No, my daughter doesn’t have any social media. She still has not developed an interest in having an online presence. She uses the internet in other ways such as playing games, watching YouTube tutorials for her art, and watching cartoons.
2. Do you have social media/internet rules on her?
I have not placed many social media/internet rules on her. I have definitely set parental controls on those sites that are for mature audiences, however there’s only so much we can censor with how vast cyberspace is.
3. Are you more cautious now about your social media presence than you were before now that she is older?
I am most definitely a lot more cautious, so much responsibility comes with raising a child in this world. Not only must you keep them safe from those with malicious intent, but I also need to be an example of the kind of human she should be on earth. Do more work that I’m proud of, help others, spread compassion, so that she can do the same. Using social media, I have to practice these same ideals online.
4. Has she been faced with questions from her peers about you since many of our peers are fans/admirers of you? Has there been a time when you’ve had to explain anything she has seen/heard about you on social media/internet? If so how did you feel? How did you handle it?
Yes and Yes, that all happened sooner than I expected and when it happened I had to rise to the occasion very quickly. It made me feel like “damn, the internet beat me to it” I think that’s when I started realizing the power of these outlets. That all information is super visible and accessible so tread with intent and awareness. I told her the complete honest truth about anything she could possibly hear, so that when she comes across any of it via online or through others it will not be news to her.
5. Many of us are young moms that are still trying to find ourselves, what advice do you give us in finding the balance on protecting your daughter and at the same time allowing room for you to grow without repercussions on her? And how do we balance that with our social media? In your blog, you wrote “I’ve practiced discretion to salvage what’s dear to me, but the goal is freedom from all my inhibitions so I compromise and give you everything, in return I learn a thing or two.” What personal feelings those this bring out from you when you deal with such imbalance in showing your art and receiving criticism?
There is always a balance. Such as those parents with hectic work schedules have to find time to spend with their children, so can the young moms. You can divide your time, to nurture yourself, and nurture your baby. Having a support system of some sort, trusting family members to help you as you navigate through life is a big key. Social media is a tool, you just need to have a purpose for using it. That purpose doesn’t necessarily have to be greater than you but just free from negative sources. Showing my art and receiving criticism is not an imbalance, it’s actually the laws of nature. When putting yourself or something that’s driven from you out there, you are sending an open invitation to opinions, criticism, debates, and challenging thoughts. I feel this is one of the most significant ways in which you learn who you truly want to be. It is a real test.
Yaris on Confidence
The other issue that social media brings is self-awareness and confidence. Beauty is being redefined constantly by social media. Whether is the voluptuous trend that the Kardashians rule, or the natural beauty Alicia Keys embarked, social media tells us what is in and what is not. It also opens the platform for many people to have their say, and comment on everyone from a celebrity to the girl next door.
In her piece, Yaris writes about comments left on her page. Yaris recounts: “I read ‘I hate you, you’re a fucking whore’ I kept scrolling, accepting that this person through you has a voice, and just as the good has a place in the world so does the bad.” This reflection was admirable as many of us don’t have the confidence or strength to ignore these comments. Yaris has shown us that she defines her beauty, and makes it her art, and anyone’s opinion is beside the point as her focus is to be true to herself.
Unlike our children, we have the knowledge on when to turn off social media and block negativity. Our children have been raised with a tablet or a phone in their hand, and communication relies on these platform. When someone speaks negatively it is like their world is ending, and they take it to heart a lot more than we would. It is our duty as parents with experience to teach our children how to allow others to voice their opinion but at the same time separate the self from it. Yaris writes “Some manipulate your energy to reflect their insecurities and dissatisfaction onto others.“ We must teach our children, especially our daughters, that when someone attacks you and your beauty is not really personal, but a self-infliction.
1. In your experience, what is the difference between the negativity you receive from men vs. women? How do you prepare your daughter to deal with both as she approaches her teens?
The kind of negativity that I deal from men is the constant ranking and comparisons they do with me and other beautiful women. It is almost as if they are pinning us against each other, why can’t each individual woman be beautiful and appreciated in her own right? That kind of thing is destructive to the unity women are trying to rebuild, note that I said “rebuild”. With women, I feel the negativity tends to be more judgmental, superficial, inflicted by men’s perception of what a woman should be, and their personal insecurities. I feel that in teaching my daughter to be humble, kind, forgiving, and confident in who she is, she can be equipped to face these things. Not let them affect her character too much while also not hurting others. Teaching her that some may not know any better or that they can be projecting, will keep her from developing a victim mentality, because truthfully those that are the “meanest” are most likely hurting the most inside.
2. What advice you give your daughter about accepting herself and her beauty? How do you help her build confidence in herself? How do you teach her about comparison to others, especially women in the limelight? Who do you encourage her to have as role models?
We recently moved to another state, and she started Junior High, so you can imagine what a huge milestone this is for her, naturally she has so many emotions and feelings, she asked me “Do you think I will fit in to make friends?” I told her, “I am 26 yrs old, and I still don’t fit in, I am in my own lane.” I also told her that by being herself which is her best self she will attract those who are true and share similar interests so she will never have to worry about “making” friends it will just happen. My daughter finds “flaws” beautiful, she draws them on to her characters because it adds distinction and beauty, this, I encourage her to apply in real life. I also, encourage her role models to be people that have been through alot in life and that through their art add more goodness to the world.
3. Have you had to deal with someone bullying your daughter and how did you handle it? IF not, what would you do if that day comes?
Luckily I have yet to deal with bullying, she is actually the mediator between friends when they fight. She has such a big heart, and such a great mind. When that day comes, I have told her to fight back with kindness. If it gets physical, than she will have to get down and defend herself, I’ve also taught her a thing or two on self-defense ;)
4. Has she asked you about the negative comments you receive on social media? How do you address the topic of trolls and negativity on the web with your daughter?
She has seen the negative comments, she has seen how I handle them and has adapted my same attitude and perspective on it. At first ofcourse she would say things like “wow people are so mean, they don’t even know you mami”. I then started to explain to her that everyone has the right to their opinions, as long as you know who you are, don’t take it too personal.
THANK YOU YARIS!
Being a mother is a very sacred role. Now, imagine being a public figure, in your 20s, and figuring out yourself while raising a young woman. We understand the hardships and the importance to protect our little ones. We also know how this is a never ending role where each day is a lesson for each and everyone of us, especially in this fast pace society. We want to thank Yaris Sanchez for opening up on her role as a mother. Morir Soñando wants for us to come together and learn from each other, to empower each other, and raise strong children together! We hope that this post helps you address the issue of social media and confidence with your children. Let's teach them to act with kindness in all situations. Let's teach them that is not about fitting in, but loving yourself and being true to yourself. Yaris shares her work on Never The Girl Next Door. We encourage you to read and share as it is always amazing to hear encouraging words that let us know we are not alone.