Viviana Palacios

I’m always both amazed and intrigued by people who exude the type of confidence you may be secretly jealous about. I think what happens, or at least for me, is just the fact that you assume they have everything in life figured out but unless you’ve known from the beginning, you literally have no idea of the amount of life experiences that’s mold who they are now and that’s led them to this very moment in their life where you just happen to have met them.

I truly admire people who are very vulnerable, very honest, very real and who have this ability to share their heart without the worry of how it’s going to come across or worrying too much about how unperfected it may seem because in the end, we all know perfect doesn’t exist. I recently had the pleasure of meeting Viviana, a native from Colombia but who’s called New York her home for a large portion of her life.

I can’t ever imagine photographing someone without ever asking questions as I’m interviewing them to be part of my life, so I was beyond appreciative for Viviana being as candid as she was to questions I shouldn’t always expect people would have the answer to right away and without hesitation to share.

Is there any thing you were insecure about growing up that you’ve learned to love?

Yes, my skin color. Being Colombian with a light skinned mother and a very dark skinned father, it was a struggle to cope with myself when I was younger. I would get teased as a kid for being "la negra". In Colombia, dark skin people are often associated with a lower social economic status- the implication that I was too dark made me feel insecure and question if I was pretty enough. Often times, my family would say "you have to marry someone lighter, to better your race." This implied that being light skinned was better. My insecurities were set in my mind not to love my skin color. It wasn't until my early 20's, where I began to love myself for who I was, and to understand that my skin color was beautiful. It made me who I am now. Being different was unique and it's how I began to feel more comfortable in my own skin.

What is something you believe that other people think is insane?

Well, people think is insane to workout as much as I do. When people see me at the gym working out, often times they'll ask if I'm competing or getting ready for a special event and the straighforwad answer is "no". I train hard for me, I train hard for life.

Do you have a quote you live your life by or think of often?

Yes, and is hard to choose just one. I actually read quotes for relaxation. It soothes me when I'm stressed out or worrying about life in general but a quote I like to think I live by is "your perception is your reality". As human beings we are in control of our own story. As you go on about your business; people will inevitably make judgments about your appearance, personality or capabilities. So it's up to you to project your best impression of who you are. Making this perception your reality!

What is the worst advice you see or hear being dispensed in your world regarding fitness?

When I started working out, my parents or family members will tell me not to lift weights. "You are going to look manly" they would say. But in reality this is false. Weight training with heavy resistance, WILL NOT make you look bulky; it will empower you!

What have you changed your mind about in the last few years? Why?

In the recent years I changed my mind about having children. I'm an only child and I feel like my parents have demanded a lot of responsibility. So the thought of being responsible for a child is something I fear. I love kids, but I feel the demands of being a parent is a lot and is something I don't want to do now.