Digame is a monthly series featuring prominent Latinx leaders, activists, entrepreneurs, and public figures uplifting the community and making a difference.
Steffi Gonzalez, better known as Steffi G, is a 34-year-old beauty and lifestyle content creator who also uses her platform to shine a light on the disabled community. Her mission is to bring disability inclusion to the beauty industry, to change perceptions on what real beauty is and to serve as a motivator for others with disabilities. She’s currently on her second year-long paid partnership with Sephora as a #SephoraSquad Mentor and she’s currently a Lancôme Brand Ambassador. She was diagnosed with Osteogenesis Imperfecta (brittle bones disease) at birth and given 24 hours to live but went on to thrive. She was born in Cali, Colombia and raised in Miami after her family moved there when she was 10 years old.
“My mother saw little potential for me in our country due to the lack of accessibility and disability awareness in general. She knew I wanted to do many things that were not possible in Colombia, so my family migrated to the United States in search of more opportunities,” she previously told HipLatina.
Which Latina(s) have had the greatest impact on your life and why?
First and foremost my mother! The perfect example of strength and empowerment. As far as celebrities go – Karol G. I admire that she never gave up on her dream even when it seemed impossible and unattainable for her.
If you could meet a Latina icon who is no longer alive, who would it be and why?
Celia Cruz – I would love to ask her what her secret to marriage was! I love her love story and how devoted they both were to their marriage
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
I was once told to never back down – that when one door closes it’s because a better one is open, and instead of questioning and focusing on that closed door, look elsewhere!!
Who was the first person to believe in your dreams/goals?
My goal has always been to make an impact, and my mom knew I would even before I did. She always empowered me to move forward and to believe that I belonged no matter what.
How do you stay connected to your cultural roots?
My family, traditional food and novelas! Being Colombian is something that I’m really proud of, I’m really close with my family and we all speak Spanish with each other. I always look for Colombian food everywhere I go and I love me a good Colombian telenovela. La Reina del Flow is my absolute favorite.
What do you wish more people understood about what you do?
I wish more people understood that my mission to bring disability inclusion to the beauty and fashion industries goes way beyond me, beyond vanity. My purpose is to spark a sense of belonging in the younger generation, for a disabled girl to not only know but SEE that she belongs! One thing is to be told you belong, and another is to see it out there, in the flesh.
What motivates you?
Seeing progress, seeing more and more disability inclusion out there because that means we are being heard and seen. Being included in projects motivate me to keep going.
How did you end up on the professional path you’re on now?
I started sharing on social media as a creative outlet, but I felt a fire that went beyond just sharing – I knew I wanted to make an impact, I wanted to be the change I wanted to see.
What is your greatest professional achievement so far?
So far, Being part of the Sephora Squad has been my greatest professional achievement! Being the first Latina creator with a disability to join the program since its start in 2019 is something I’m really proud of.
Honestly, becoming a model and content creator was something I never thought was possible, I wasn’t willing to show the world my wheelchair, my disability. And now, I raise awareness, I advocate for inclusion, and I feel 100 percent comfortable in my body – I show up on socials filterless, that’s something I’m extremely proud of.
What is a goal you have that you haven’t accomplished yet and what are you doing to get closer to accomplishing it?
Being in a beauty campaign, I want to be the face of a beauty campaign! I want the world to see that beauty truly comes in all forms, I want everyone to see that being different can be celebrated and admired.
What pop culture moment made you feel seen?
Not one in particular but every movie, fashion show, commercial or social media ad that features a person with a disability will always make me feel seen!
How do you practice self care?
Self care for me can take many forms, it can be a day off from social media, an entire morning of skincare, haircare and music, or a simple evening on the couch where I cozy up with my dogs. It can also mean sitting with nature, I’m a Cancer so I’m really drawn to water! Self care for me is essential, and I always prioritize it.
Shoutout an Instagram account that could use more love and tell us why you’re a fan:
Melinda Solares @ladyymelinda – I’m a fan of her work as a Sephora Beauty director and I admire the genuine and transparent way she shares her mental health journey. We need more REAL on socials and she is the perfect person to follow if you love all things beauty + mental heath!
Shoutout your favorite Latina owned business and why:
Melt cosmetics @meltcosmetics!! Some of my favorite eyeshadow palettes are from them and I love how far they’ve come.