This post is also available in: Español (Spanish)
I’ve meant to share my story for a little while, and today I just decided to do it. I’m Chuky Reyna, a 58-year-old Venezuelan who at 52 decided to start over again in another country. And why did I make such a decision? I was like a PR Diva in Venezuela. I started one of the most successful PR firms in the market, affiliated with one of the biggest global PR networks; I had an enviable client roster including leading global brands such as, P&G, Sony, Kraft Foods, General Motors, to name just a few.
Most of my friends and family lived in Venezuela, José, my partner in life was also living there, so what was I thinking?
Why would I leave behind all that to become an immigrant?
A communist regime got the people’s vote and started to implement it little by little. Once the richest, and stronger democratic country in the Latin American Region, Venezuela began to transform into a new Cuba. We Venezuelans thought it would never reach us, took our democracy and freedom for granted, and communism hit us. Even though, when I still lived in Caracas, the situation wasn’t what it is today, it wasn’t the kind of life I wanted to have either.
And I knew that it was time to part and reinvent myself again.
Back then, the regime’s laws were making unviable not only to maintain a profitable business but to do our job. The Media, (the lifeblood of a PR business) always threatened by the Government started to limit their critics. The oldest private TV channel was closed by the regime, leaving more than 2,000 employees jobless. Other TV channels began to apply voluntary censorship, firing journalists opposed to the regime. Thus, we started to use social media to be able to keep ourselves informed on what was happening. We used mostly Twitter and brand activations to promote our clients’ brands since the free media newsrooms were shrinking because of fear or just simply getting out of business.
Insecurity and violence were, and still are a terrible thing to bear. You left home every day not knowing if you’d come back still alive. Fear, poverty and total lack of hope were there to stay in our lives. Talented employees started to leave the country, to study or work in peace and freedom so that they could have a future. Hopelessness among the population is something communist regimes always need, to keep people quiet through fear.
I was never interested in politics, but the reality made me got involved
For over ten years, I as well as thousands of other Venezuelans marched and protested against government policies. At those demonstrations, all we wanted to do was to express ourselves, but almost always we were attacked by the military trying to silence us. Many resulted dead throughout these years, and in these last three months, protests and demonstrations have been conducted daily with a peaceful spirit, all of them got suppressed by the military. Around 90 young Venezuelans have been killed just for asking new elections in the last three months, cancer and other patients don’t have access to the required treatments, and hunger is everywhere.
Nevertheless, we were lucky enough to travel several times a year, not just to enjoy ourselves, but also to escape reality. Every time I went to another country I started to envision myself living there. Whenever I came back from those trips, I encountered new problems, new burdens, and less hope to overcome them. Clients canceled our services not because we weren’t doing a good job, but because they couldn’t afford a PR firm.
One day, back in 2010, I just pictured what was coming and visualized how I would feel in 2 or 5 years. I could picture myself powerless to keep up with my business or with enough energy to start a new one. I’ve reinvented myself many times in life, and as a creative person, I couldn’t bear what I was envisioning in the upcoming years.
Being an immigrant is never easy
Therefore, I made the decision to leave, knowing that starting over would be hard, but convinced that I’d be able to make it. Being an immigrant is never easy, you are someone in your country, and you’re just another foreigner abroad. I carefully planned the process. It took me two years to sell my apartment, choose Miami as my new home, got my work visa and get settled. I now have a boutique PR agency in Miami, focused on serving business in Latin America and I have my blog.
Why did I start a blog?
While I was still living in Caracas, I had that dream of starting a blog, but I hadn’t the time and mindset to do it. I wanted to write, not just what my PR clients needed, but about the things, I’m passionate about, such as fashion, style, beauty, etc. When I told my friends about this dream, they encouraged me to do it. They said they would love to see me blogging and get fashion and beauty tips from me on a regular basis. So, my blog became a project to develop at the right time.
It took me some time after I came to live in Miami. It never seemed the right time, so one day I decided to do it, no matter what. On my 57th birthday, micamisablanca.com was live. My blog’s growth might have been slow, and I still have many things to do and learn. As a PR & marketing professional, you can imagine how critical I’ve been with everything related to my blog name, design, etc. I’m far from being completely satisfied with some details. Even though it is still far from perfect, I do have a blog, and I love everything about it. As my mother used to tell me “Perfection is always the enemy of great.”
I challenged myself to write in English and Spanish since I live in the US and also because I believe it is the best way to make my blog global. English is my second language, and obviously, I’m not as confident writing in English as I am in Spanish, but is the best way to be able to relate with other women from all over the world.
So far so good, most of the people that currently read my blog and interact with me on social media are Americans, Australians, and British. This fact keeps me actively learning each day so that I can improve my writing and communications skills in English. It isn’t easy but is possible.
Today I’m living in this wonderful country, in the beautiful vibrant city, Miami has become. I’m lucky to have a wonderful man by my side encouraging me each day. Yes, I have to work harder than I used to, but I feel alive, energized and excited learning all the things related to blogging and interacting with others. I feel excited to see so many 50+ women like me have decided to start a new venture through a blog, business, or a movement.
One of the best parts of being a blogger is to make new friends from all over the world. I’m proud and honored to be part of the Fierce 50 Revolution Facebook Community, and also a proud member of Style Collective. These two communities of talented, energetic women are a constant inspiration to me. I’m also a member of a local group called South Florida Bloggers which is always organizing monthly meet ups and identifying growth opportunities.
Blogging has become my passion, and I’m determined to keep up with it. I enjoy immensely sharing my stories with all of you. I love to write about my POV’s on fashion, style, trends, tell the stories of talented emerging designers, Miami’s hidden gems, my cooking recipes and other topics. I’m really enjoying things I never thought I’d do, such as, modeling, planning outfits and selecting locations for my photo shoots. So, yes I do enjoy this never-ending journey of learning to blog better and more consistently each day.
Another thing I learned since I started my blog, is to enjoy things that I never thought I might need or do. Things like modeling, planning outfits and selecting locations for my photo shoots, are serious work and I love it!
Last but not least, I would love to hear from you, your stories, your thoughts and your points of view. I honestly believe that the more we support and empower each other, we’ll be stronger and better.
I hope that my story will inspire others, no matter what age, to embrace their dreams and reinvent their lives if they feel or need to. We live in the 21st Century, and we all can make them happen!