How Denise Soler Cox Developed into a Nueva Latina

Her mom helped her take a special, life-changing trip that helped make her into the woman she is today.


Denise Soler Cox is the founder and co-creator of Project Enye (ñ), which is a documentary project that tells the stories of first-generation Latinos in America

Denise shared her story with us of who helped her develop professionally into the Nueva Latina she is today:

Personally and professionally, I give all the credit to my mother. Since I was a young girl, she taught me how to be resourceful and have a strong work ethic – two traits that continue to serve me well in my adulthood.

As a mom with a family now, I have even more admiration for how she stretched every dollar and identified opportunities for me to thrive – all while dealing with very challenging personal situations. She always found a way to get what we needed and what I wanted as long as it somehow contributed to making me a better person.

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When I was 16, I remember asking her to send me to a language program in the south of Spain during the summer. I wanted to attend a school to refine my Spanish (and go to Spain of course!). Part of me never believed she would say yes. It seemed expensive and, to this day, I don’t know how she pulled it off.

I was so excited to hear the news that she was financially able, and willing, to send me. If you are Latina, you understand how those two things are completely separate! The one caveat was that I needed to earn my own spending money. She helped me find jobs, interview for them and in the end, get three jobs, including a babysitting job next door.

That summer I worked six days a week and earned $1,000 to for my month long stay in Malaga.

Spain was amazing! Because I earned so much, I was able to take advantage of a weekend excursion to Tangier, Morocco! We even stopped at the Rock of Gibraltar on the way. I had enough to buy presents for my family and bring money home.

To this day, I consider it my first right of passage into being the Latina that I am today. It showed me the value of hard work, sacrifice and family. I learned that if I set my mind to do something, I can and will achieve it through hard work and determination. It also didn’t hurt that mi mamá was at my side every step of the way.


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