Camila Cabello Left Cuba For America With Just 1 Backpack

As somebody who’d never heard of Camila Cabello until a few months ago, it’s gratifying to know that the woman who seems poised to become the next pop star we all have to care about has something more interesting going for her than the fact that she pulled a Zayn and ditched the pop group that made her famous.

In a new profile, Camila recounts the story of what it was like to immigrate to America from Cuba with nothing but a single backpack of belongings.

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“We flew from Cuba to Mexico,” Camila’s mom recounted to Glamour. “And went by bus to the American border; it took a month. We left everyone behind, my friends, my family.”

Including Camila’s father.

All Camila, then 6, and her mother had was a single suitcase, a Winnie the Pooh notebook, and a doll.

After waiting for six hours at the U.S. border, Camila and her mother finally got permission to cross over into the United States, where they moved in with family friends before Camila’s mother got a job at Marshall’s and was able to afford to rent them a single room.

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Camila added:

“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 cover,s 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’ video, I asked Mom if I could audition.”

And now that she’s in the process of recording her own album, she says she wants to “make a love song for immigrants.”

“The word immigrant has such a negative connotation,” Camila said. “I can just imagine all the little girls who have dreams of coming here and feel unwanted. It inspires me in my 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.”

Provided her music can hold a candle to what’s already making waves in the top 40, Camila Cabello’s future is looking bright.

[H/T Glamour]

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