I don’t know about you, but it has become almost normal to see LeJuan James posts on any of my social media accounts. If you don’t know about LeJuan James, he is a social media influencer who represents the latinx/hispanic community. He also recently become a first-time author with his book, Definitely Hispanic. LeJuan James roots are both Dominican and Puerto Rican, so his videos usually bring Caribbean flavor to them. He makes sure to make us laugh. Whether he’s making parodies of hispanic parents or poking fun at silly moments any latin person may have experienced, he keeps us entertained. But many of his ideas wouldn’t be possible without the influence from his parents, especially his mother, LeMom James.
LeMom James constantly appears in LeJuan James videos and thank goodness for that. They both make a great team. We’ve seen her waving around chanclas at LeJuan James or giving his exaggerated lectures, which most of us have experienced with our own latina mothers. She’s represented our mothers in such a way that sometimes I feel like doing chores after watching her and I don’t even live with my mother anymore! So, being that we see her so often on our feed, I think it’s only fair we get to know her a little bit more. After all, she is kind of our like our internet mother. Or maybe she’s becoming our international mother figure. Let’s see what she’s all about!
Hello LeMom James! Nice to have you here with BELatina. Now, let’s begin.
How does it feel to know that many people of the latinx community feel identified with your beautiful familiar nuclei that is portrayed through social media?
Well, I feel immensely happy that I’ve been given this opportunity in this chapter of my life. I feel great pride knowing that many are impacted by what we show them in our social media, especially since society is very difficult nowadays.
One of the things I admire the most is that I have noticed is that the following you have seems to have evolved into a digital family. What do you think about this digital family and being able to have the ability to influence others?
I absolutely love it. I honestly feel like everyone following our journey is part of our family. This is why I make it a point to always write bendiciones (translates to blessings) in anything I post. You never know who is missing their bendicion. Besides, everyone deserves bendiciones.
(Guys, my heart just melted. She’s too cute.)
I know we now see you featured in funny videos, particularly with Lejuan James (which I love by the way!), but I want to know about your life before all of this. What were some of your greatest obstacles when you were trying to raise your children and how did you overcome them?
One of the most difficult things for me was trying to maintain a friendship with my children, while still being their mother. I was able to achieve this all thanks to the strong focus on communication I had imposed on my family. Without communication, nothing works.
What were your initial thoughts when LeJuan James decided he wanted to embark on a career as a social media influencer?
I always saw him as someone who is brilliant and decisive. It’s as though he was another me, but in the body of a man. I think we have similar mentalities and I love that. That is why I knew I couldn’t limit him. Instead, I allowed him to just be. The only thing I did was to stay in the background just in case he needed reinforcement. Either way, I just know that he can conquer anything he sets his mind to.
How did the rest of the family react to the spectacle that LeJuan James is?
We are all very united. You can say it’s a 24/7 thing. We all communicate daily and we are all involved in each other’s endeavors. I actually think that the first likes that LeJuan James gets on his posts, come from us — his immediate family.
Did you have the same family dynamic growing up?
My mother was really tough on me growing up. But once I got married she became my best friend. That example of her being my best friend and mother stayed with me, which is why I incorporated it so much. I wanted my children to feel like I was always here to represent and support them.
From what I can tell, LeJuan James has gotten a lot of his ambition from you. After all, I do see that you are the owner of two businesses, Ingrid Boutique and Images Development by Ingrid. Have you always been such an ambitious latina?
This was yet another example that my mother passed on to me. I always watched her be everything when I was growing up. She was both mother and father, even though my father was around. She always had savings, but most importantly, I never saw her complaining about how tired she was. So, I got used to this. I decided never to complain or to allow myself to think that I’m too tired to do anything. I don’t believe in negativity or believe in letting life hurt me. I also don’t think any obstacle is too great for me. At the end of her teachings, she had created a latina woman who was more than a woman and ten men put together. All within me. And I feel like every latina can do this too! Go after your dreams and put forth everything you have to get where you want to be.
I love that you are a fashion designer. Your quinceanera dresses are absolutely beautiful. But what made you get you into fashion?
Really, I grew up behind a boutique’s counter because my mother owned a boutique as well. So, I grew up overlooking the business’s numbers, creating business plans, and anything that had to do with business. After my passive training, I moved to Puerto Rico when I was 18 and started my first business there. I now have been in the boutique business for 34 years. But that’s not all I’ve done in my life.
I’ve also been a real estate agent, mail woman, a Disney World employee, cosmetologist, and now a fashionista. Even though I’ve pursued many jobs and careers, I never closed down my boutiques. To me, this is my family’s inheritance.
I must tell you that I love your cooking videos! They’re so wholesome. I think it’s great how not only do you take us through the recipes step by step, but you also give us many beneficial tips. Are you planning on growing this in the future?
Well, I really just like cooking. I’ve even told my husband that I’m capable of cooking and giving away my food for free. *laughs* But I don’t know where life may take me. Maybe a cookbook or something like that. Let’s see what happens!
What’s your favorite dish to prepare?
I go crazy with la bandeja Dominicana. It’s composed of pollo guisado (chicken) made to meet the specifications of the Dominican tradition, maduros fritos (fried plantains), arroz (rice), and habichuelas (beans). I must have this plate at least once a week!
I’m not sure if you’re aware of this, but a lot of people, especially in the latin community, compare the experiences you and LeJuan James show in social media to their experiences with their own mothers. It’s as though you are an international mother figure. What do you think about that?
I’m very thankful that young people are so expressive with me. I wouldn’t have expected it since people are not so warm in this time in age. But I get lots of love whenever someone who knows me spots me and I don’t mind that at all. It brings joy to me, especially to my maternal side.
Do you have any advice you’d like to share with other mothers or people trying to educate their children?
I think that there are some parents that take their role as parents too strongly. Being too authoritative might not be the best thing always. Instead, I believe that it’s better that you are their best friend rather than someone else on the streets because not everyone chooses the best of friends. So, if you become that person, then the chances of them doing something unfavorable diminishes. Remember, it all starts at home. Also, in my opinion, I would make sure that there is some sort of guidance in regard to faith. It doesn’t have to be a religion, it doesn’t have to be any of that. I just think it’s good for children to believe in something greater than us. That will teach them fear and respect for the future. Aside from all of that, the most important thing I can recommend is not to get tired of your children! Cherish each moment with them for as long as possible. Hopefully, those moments last forever.
LeMom James, you’ve been so wonderful. Thank you for giving BELatina the time to get to know you!
Anytime! I just want to say one last thing, if that’s fine.
Well, I want to thank everyone who have supported my son all these years. Thank you for all those likes and shares. Thank you for all of the support we’ve received. It is very appreciated. And finally, everyone can always make sure to count on my bendiciones. So, bendiciones a todos y gracias nuevamente!