Miami Like A Local

I get it – it’s fun bragging to people back home about how you can wear shorts to class. The weather, the beach and the city may have been your reasons for enrolling at the University of Miami. You have your favorite (probably overpriced) restaurant and plans for multiple pool party weekends.

As students, we make up less than 1 percent of the county’s population – there are more than 2 million residents in Miami-Dade alone – but it’s easy to forget that while we’re focused on our tiny, individual college worlds.

If you want to develop a love that’s more than skin-deep for your second home, you have to live like a local. Spring Break is a perfect time to make the switch from part-time resident to full-time Miamian.

Miami people like things that scream Miami – you should learn to do that, too. That doesn’t just mean wearing a “305” tank top or drinking Cuban coffee every afternoon, it means supporting local businesses, artists and teams just as you would support your favorite UM events. It’s just as much a privilege to wake up in a vast and colorful city full of adventure as it is being able to throw on a pair of shorts for 80-degree weather in the winter.

Maybe you’ve just been caught up in tourist traps since you arrived freshman year. Exploring Miami like a local can be difficult if you only live here for a few months at a time. Take some time to research hangouts by asking locals, reading through Miami news outlets and scouring social media geotags, and then create weekend bucket lists with your roommates and friends.

From experience, it’s especially fun being the first in your circle to try a new place, sharing your experience, then “putting everyone on it.” Consider spots in corners of Miami-Dade County you’ve never heard of and might never learn about unless you meet another commuter in class. There are 34 incorporated cities and many more unincorporated cities in the county, all with different blends of cultures and dynamics, and full of hidden gems.

Homestead, for example, is a lax, primarily agricultural area, and Kendall, a busy planned community. When you’re not sitting in traffic, it’s easy to get to and from the two cities in under 30 minutes. That means it’s completely manageable to drive down to Homestead to pick up a Knaus Berry Farm cinnamon bun for breakfast, stroll through Zoo Miami in the afternoon and grab dinner at a small Cuban restaurant on your way back to campus.

Don’t be discouraged by the language barriers you may face along the way. If you haven’t yet noticed, South Florida is a majority-minority region. Miami is the second largest U.S. city with a Spanish-speaking population and English-only speakers make up merely 27.2 percent of all residents, according to the census, so if you plan on staying here after graduation, consider taking Spanish classes.

As a person of Hispanic heritage, but an absolutely terrible Spanish-speaker, I can tell you that simply wishing more people spoke English here won’t make things any easier.

It may be frustrating trying to communicate what you want to order from that Nicaraguan fritanga in Hialeah, but don’t let that stop you from trying new places. Be respectful of the employees, resort to the internet for translation and, if all else fails, point at what you want on the menu. It’ll be worth it.

There’s a lot I’ve learned about Miami after living here for 20 years, including loads about diversity and pride – but who’s to say you can’t become an honorary Miamian in just four years?


This article was written by Genesis Cosme for The Miami Hurricane.


Alicia Keys, ‘#NoMakeup’ Movement Encourage People To Be True To Themselves

Every time an awards show comes around, we’re more interested in recapping controversial moments rather than keeping up with winners. So when Alicia Keys took to the stage to introduce the Best Male Video award at the 2016 VMA’s with a message of love before hate, critics jumped to share their judgments on the 35-year-old’s bare face first.

Keys attended the event in a Just Cavalli long-sleeved, black-and-red dress. Her hair was pulled away from her face and tied in a top knot, accentuating her makeup-free look even further.

There was discussion that Keys should have at least used a concealer or powder. One Twitter critic mentioned that “No makeup only works if you’re Alicia Keys.” Others assumed that by embracing her natural look, she was now completely against makeup.

As every good husband should, Swizz Beatz then took to Instagram to defend his wife, reminding critics that at no point was Alicia anti-makeup, she just didn’t feel like wearing it. He comically added, “This is deep. Somebody sitting home mad because somebody didn’t wear makeup on their face.”

This isn’t the first time in which Keys has embraced her barefaced image. When she first decided to take this approach back in May, her personal-but-relatable Lenny Letter essay was published explaining her stance.

“Every time I left the house,” Keys said, “I would be worried if I didn’t put on makeup: What if someone wanted a picture?? What if they POSTED it??? These were the insecure, superficial, but honest thoughts I was thinking. And all of it, one way or another, was based too much on what other people thought of me.”

Surely, we’ve all faced these insecure thoughts at some point in time. It’s reassuring to remember the people that we consider to be on the top of the social ladder still share the same human feelings we do. Celebrities are real, too.

After speaking to University of Miami students, I realized we all have our own views on makeup. Nonetheless, everyone supported Keys’s decision.

Freshman Kayla Hippolyte-Wade told me that she doesn’t wear makeup, chiefly because she grew up without it and doesn’t know how to use it. She liked that Keys was being authentic.

“Everyone else was wearing makeup, and she was different. She paved a way [toward confidence]for everyone who doesn’t wear makeup,” Hippolyte-Wade said.

Those who do use makeup regularly identified it with comfort and happiness.

“For some people, it’s just enhancing their already-beautiful features. But for others, it’s more of an artistic outlet,” said junior Emily Galvez.

“Makeup is fun if you’re into it,” said freshman Camberlyn Sparks. “I love it.”

Movements like “#NoMakeup” have brought both women and men a sense of empowerment these past few years.

While society still puts pressure on us, these movements have helped to alleviate that pressure and encourage us to be ourselves. For Keys, it doesn’t matter whether you wear makeup or not, so long as it’s what is true to you. That’s a movement we should all get behind.


This article was written by Genesis Cosme for The Miami Hurricane.