Ana Mercedes

What was the importance of beauty for you when you were in your 20s?

When I was 25, I lived in Puerto Rico. Beauty meant being attractive to be able to conquer and feel proud. With the little I had I tried to put on my best. To stand straight and show my waistline. I had beautiful straight hair and tried to take good care of it. I was very shy. I did not put on much makeup but always used perfume. My dress style was not eccentric. My dresses were different, simple and made by hand; my mom had them sewed by a dressmaker and they fit me well. I liked bright red and green, but now I like soft colors and not red. White, gray, and pastel colors.

What does beauty mean to you now?

Beauty means keeping elegant and showing off my figure. Hair always taken care of; now I need to dye it and take better care of it. I like buying clothes and shoes. I like dressing simply but well. Simple makeup as well.

If different, why over time have your ideas about beauty changed?

Moneywise there is also a difference because in earlier times one could not afford luxuries and now it is different because one has the possibility of having better things. Fashion has changed but I am not an eccentric dresser, nor do I put on fake eyelashes. The difference is that before I had money to buy clothes. I am always the same…I want to take care of myself, to feel beautiful, but not to make someone else feel good but to make myself feel well.

¿Qué significó para Ud. la belleza cuando tenía 20-29 años?

Cuando yo tenía 25 años yo estaba en Puerto Rico. La belleza significaba estar atractiva para conquistar y para sentirme orgullosa. Con lo poco que tenia trataba de ponerme lo mejor que tenia. Estar erguida marcar la cinturita. Yo tenía un pelo muy bonito liso y trataba de mantenerlo bien. Era muy tímida. No me maquillaba mucho pero usaba siempre perfume. Vestida no era excéntrica. Era distinto, el vestido era sencillo hecho por costurera casera, mi mama lo mandaba hacer a una costurera, bien entalladitos. Los colores eran tenues a mi me gustaba el rojo y el verde, los colores vivos pero ahora me gustan los colores tenues, el rojo no. El blanco, gris, colores pastel.

¿Qué significa para Ud. La belleza ahora?

La belleza significa mantenerme elegante y lucir bien. El cabello siempre bien, ahora necesito teñirme y cuidarlo mas. Me gusta comprarme ropa y zapatos. Me gusta vestirme simple pero bien. El maquillaje simple también.

Si es diferente, ¿por qué han cambiado con los años sus ideas sobre la belleza?

Económicamente también hay una diferencia porque en los tiempo de antes uno no se podía comprar lujos ahora es diferente porque uno tiene la posibilidad de tener mejores cosas. La moda ha cambiado pero yo no soy excéntrica al vestirme, ni ponerme pestañas postizas. La diferencia es que antes no tenia el dinero para comprar prendas. Igual yo siempre igual, quiero mantenerme bien, quiero sentirme bella, pero no para hacer sentir bien a alguien sino sentirme bien yo.

Ana Mercedes, 78

San Francisco



Jayden, age 6

What does it mean to be pretty or beautiful lady?

To smile. A pretty dress. Beautiful shoes.

What do those shoes look like?

High heels.

What color?

Purple…purple and pink.

What does the dress look like if you’re making me a picture?

A purple, yellow, green, blue and red dress. And flower earrings. She has blond and brown hair.

Can you think of one beautiful or pretty lady?

My mom.

Why is she a beautiful lady?

Because she’s nice.

Can you think of something pretty or beautiful about you?

Myself. My smile. And my teddy bear, Jayden.

Jayden, 6


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