INTERNATIONAL GIRLS: Paola Balmaceda Tells Us Why ‘Ratchet’ Is Her Favorite Word

Just like Trey Songz and Justin Bieber, we love our foreign girls and we wanted you to get to know them (and where they came from) just a little bit better. Each week, we’re asking these passport yielding babes about their aspirations, Instagram game and what they think about this bizarre place we call America and why they decided to make it their final destination. Imagine their culture shock when they realized Donald Trump or Kanye could so easily run for president. If you hail from a faraway land and would like to let us know what you think, submit this survey and your cutest Instagram pic to for a chance to be featured

Name: Paola Balmaceda

Age: 20

Instagram: @paobalj

Where I’m from: Mexico City, Mexico

Now I live: Philadelphia

Why I moved: College

Who I am, basically: Im a marketing and economics student. Im obsessed with makeup and clothes. If you want to find me, I’m probably out with friends, reading, watching Aziz Ansari’s standup, or spending all my money.

I only speak Spanish when I’m drunk or angry.

What’s the weirdest American slang you’ve picked up since moving here? This one is actually a funny story. My friend gave me a shirt with the word “ratchet” printed in bright neon pink and since I didn’t know what it meant, I wore it to class and sat front row. My professor was young and kept staring but I didn’t think much of it. That night I walked into a frat house and some guys started laughing and when I asked why they just replied “You do know what ‘ratchet’ means, right?” And thats how “ratchet” became my new favorite word.

My favorite food from Mexico is, I wish I didn’t sound stereotypical, but who doesn’t love tacos.

Favorite song ATM: Do It Again – Pia Mia

Biggest culture shock moment: As a city girl going out for me meant clubbing and dressing up. I walked into a frat house my freshman year, the guys were dressed in shorts and tanks and the girls were in crop tops and jeans, drinking cheap beer and liquor that came out of a plastic bottle while they would grind on each other. I was mortified that this was how my social life would look like for the next few years.

What my parents just don’t get about American culture: My parent’s definitely don’t understand that people get wasted in college every other day and it’s not a big deal. Since you are legal at 18 in Mexico they think im too old to be getting drunk and to be going out every other day whereas almost all American college students are constantly drinking.

The dumbest thing a guy has said to me about my culture while attempting to flirt with me: “You’re so white! You don’t even look Mexican” I wish he were quoting Regina George on this one, but he was actually completely serious.

Favorite thing to post on Insta? Outfit pictures.

An American stereotype I’ve found to be 100% true: Americans love beer and drinking games.

Worst thing about American guys/girls: They can get very out of control and sloppy when they’re drunk. They will also want to convince you ‘Merica is the best place ever.

Best thing? They are open and mostly non judgmental. You can be as “ratchet” as you want and people will still love you.

Donald Trump, Kanye West, or Hillary Clinton for president? If Kanye can make most Americans dress like New Yorkers, I vote West for president. Clearly I’m not a Trump fan.


Illustration by Grace Tame


To see more outfit pictures and a lot more “ratchet,” and whatever that may entail, follow Paola on Instagram

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