Like most others stuck at home amidst the pandemic, Santa Clarita resident Pohelette Perez took to social media, looking for the opportunity to share her story.
“My platform on TikTok is mainly body positivity … trying to show others to be confident in themselves,” Perez said, adding that it truly represents who she is, as a plus-sized Latina.
In the last year or so, Perez’s message has taken off and she’s accumulated 149,200 followers, as she’s used her platform to showcase how important music has been in her life in allowing her to remain connected to her culture as a Hispanic American.
“Sometimes it can be easy to … not know so much about your culture, and so … I just love to talk about the music and how that just speaks so vividly to me,” Perez said of Latino music. “I’m a very upbeat and vibrant person, and the music is just that reflection of who I am. … It can bring out a side of you that you didn’t know you had.”
It was exactly Perez’s vibrant, inspiring attitude that resulted in her being hand-selected as one of 16 up-and-coming Latino creators chosen to participate in the inaugural class of Hollister Good Vibras.
Through the Good Vibras, or “good vibes,” program, Hollister has worked with these creators, all of whom focus on fashion, music or comedy on TikTok and Instagram, to develop social content and music, supporting their growth and amplifying their voices.
“They really recognized that I was putting myself out there and wanted to invest in that and just spread the word,” Perez said, adding that partnering with Hollister has allowed her to tell her story and share her experiences with an even larger audience.
And the responses she’s gotten have been amazing, Perez said, noting that people have reached out to tell her how they’ve enjoyed getting to know her and what makes her who she is — and what inspires her.
“For the longest time, I never felt I was able to relate to anyone else, so when I’m able to speak up about my experiences and people are able to relate to me, it really makes my heart feel full,” Perez added. “So, it’s really like a full-circle moment for me that I am now that person for these other people.”
Now, Perez hopes to continue pushing boundaries, showing her audience that no matter where they come from or what they look like, they should be proud to be themselves.