French | Mexican
I identify as mixed-race; French, Mexican, Catholic & Heterosexual. My Mum is from Mexico and my Dad is from France. They met in Mexico when my Dad moved there for work when he was 25. I grew up in Shanghai, China and Seoul, South Korea. My Dad got a job there when I was 5.
I only recognised I was mixed-race when I arrived in Europe when I was 15, people here paid a lot more attention to that matter. My parents adapted to where they lived, if they were in a Hispanic country they would speak Spanish and do like the locals, if it was English or French it would be the same. They did divorce when I was young, however they both made sure I understood my culture from both sides.
I did experience challenges based on my mixed identity. People associate me with what makes more sense to them and their reality rather than take me as a whole. Some people would say: ‘Oh I definitely see the French, but I would say Mexican’. Or, ‘You don’t look like a Mexican’.
My social environment does play a part in how I choose friends and partners. I want the people in my life to be open minded to my lifestyle and show a bit of theirs.
I don’t think being mixed-race has had an effect in my work in an obvious way, but it has impacted my work especially as a dancer and model. It gives a very interesting story and look that casting directors like. In my personal life, in London I do not feel it as much. The people around me are quite acceptant of different mixes and culture.
I definitely think there are boas attitudes & stereotypes towards mixed-race people. Firstly, mixed-race is considered for people who are Black or ‘light skinned’, rather than a person with 2 different cultures or races.
I am able to speak both French & Spanish, having that advantage is amazing to travel, work and communicate. I also do believe that it gives me credibility to where you are from. I connect with both in different ways.
When people ask where I’m from I always respond that I am half French half Mexican, I grew up in Asia, and I live in London.
A positive response to my mixed heritage is someone not reacting with an opinion, just listening and accepting my response to where I am from; Someone genuinely interested in how both cultures are, how was my childhood.
A negative response is someone who gives me an opinion about where they think I look like I’m from more and therefore should be. Stereotypes about either of my cultures also.
Being mixed in today’s society is a lot easier because cultures mixes a lot more with each other, especially in big cities like London.
If I had the opportunity to be born again I wouldn’t change. I like who I am.
I am also a professional dancer, you can check out my work at www.luciecamelo.com.