Ex Fifth Harmony singer Camila Cabello shares her immigration story

She’s a Miami resident now. But it wasn’t always this way for Camila Cabello. Years ago, the former Fifth Harmony singer and mother, Sinuhe, came to America from Cuba (via Mexico) with just a single backpack. The solo artist talked to Glamour magazine’s May Generations issue about the experience.

Camila on the differences between Cuba and America…

“In Cuba there were days in class where we would just watch cartoons. We weren’t learning. But when I came to the U.S., it was like: homework. A lot of things were suddenly so different—being at a new school without my friends, I didn’t speak the language, and I missed my dad. I had a little Disney calendar I would mark with x’s until the day he was supposed to come. When he finally did, a year and a half later, I was so happy!”

On growing up loving music…

“I was very introverted as a kid. But I started bringing my CDs to the YMCA after school; I’d ask for the boom box and go play my music in the corner and people would come over. And I created a little YouTube channel doing covers—I must have posted 50. Even though I’d be like, ‘Oh my God, this is so bad,’ music was the thing I was passionate enough about to get over being shy. After seeing a One Direction ‘tips on auditioning for The X Factor (USA)’ video, I asked Mom if I could audition.”

On the word “immigrant”…

“Right now I’m in the process of writing about our whole journey. I want to make a love song for immigrants. That word, immigrant, has such a negative connotation—I can just imagine all the little girls who have dreams of coming here and feel unwanted. It inspires me in my music to do my best to give [them] the light that I have. I want to be what people think of when they think of America—a person who, no matter what her first language was or what her religion is, can see her dreams come to life if she works hard enough.”

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