This is me: Ciara Medina
- Where are you from originally and what’s your background?
If you ask me where I am from: Chicago. If you ask where my family is from: Puerto Rico. I am a bicultural Chicagoan who grew up immersed in culture and arts, raised by two Spanish speaking, energetic and humble parents; sandwiched between two polar opposite sisters.Often lost in thought and curiosity, I embraced my “own world” at a young age and spent as much time learning performance dance, theater production, creative writing, film making – anything artsy. I have a thirst for creating and consuming art in all its forms and, to no one’s surprise, this influenced my DePaul University education in Production and Writing.
- Tell us something about yourself that you are really proud of. (personal or professional)
In 2008 I was invited onto President Barack Obama’s media team for his second election run. I often felt the weight of this opportunity buckle at my knees. It was a challenging professional moment that pushed me to perform at a higher caliber and fed my confidence. Someone took a chance on me, giving me permission to take a chance on myself. A few months after I began my work for the president, I produced, shot, edited and submitted my short film, “Un, dos, tres”, into the 29th Annual Chicago International Latino Film Festival where it debuted alongside 175 films. I was 1 of 11 female directors whose films screened that year – one of my proudest moments to date.
- What do you like to do in your free time?
To keep myself centered, I like to spend my down times mostly with family. They provide me with the safe space I need to truly be myself and be loved just as I am. I enjoy making my home homey for my partner and children in the form of two dogs and a turtle, because they make me happy and put my life priorities into perspective constantly. When I need to be inspired sharing my life with my loved ones, it usually does the trick; and if that fails, long walks just about anywhere work wonders, especially on days when it feels like a warm lazy Sunday afternoon. Just walking around the block in Chicago and hearing the different music from cars, apartment windows, backyard barbeques swirled with bird chirps, skateboard pops off sidewalk curbs, toddler laughs from passing strollers, neighbor chatter through joint fences, dog yaps muffled by the window they pounce on. The everyday “going-ons” of life. Whenever I can steal a moment to appreciate life like that, I grab it.
- As a multicultural person, what do you think is your best contribution to the country?
It’s important to have mentioned that both parents come from Puerto Rico. Parents with cultural pride. Their strong connection to the island was key to my multicultural upbringing. They took the time to teach me about my heritage and gave me a sense of where I come from; always reminding me that what I see in the mirror is good enough to get me where I am going – capable of prospering in the United States. Valuing my roots in turn has gifted me appreciation of other cultures. I attribute my compassion, tolerance and open-minded nature to that. It’s what I think most persons of multicultural backgrounds possess and give back to the world.
- Any good reads to recommend?
When all this is in doubt, I revisit “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho. It’s an effortless but impactful read that leaves you with a sense that life can be the adventure that leads you towards realizing your full potential, if you just take a chance on believing in yourself, your purpose, your journey.