New York City – Vanessa Vargas Wilson was a brand new law school graduate when she came head on with a tough but honest realization: she’d rather be sewing.
Born in New York City to Dominican parents, Vargas’ mom, a seamstress, had always refused to teach her to sew and insisted she go to college.
Vanessa did as told and got a degree in Anthropology and then plowed through law school, but her passion for sewing and quilting eventually won the battle.
Now, with more than 320,000 followers on her YouTube channel “The Crafty Gemini,” she has happily earned the nickname of the Latina Martha Stewart.
But back in law school she was miserable, she said.
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”On my second year [of law school] I needed a creative outlet. I was super depressed,” she told Fox News Latino. Then one day she was taking a drive and pulled into a plaza where she saw a sign for sewing classes.
“I called my mom and told her, ‘You have to teach me how to sew’,” she said.
With the help of her mom, who finally agreed to teach her the basics, she enrolled in the class and stepped into her dream.
“It gave me my sanity back and because of that I was able to finish law school. It was my creative outlet that kept me grounded,” she said.
“I would take a seat all the way in the back of the class in a corner so I could sneak out and go to quilting class,” she said, adding that her friends would make fun of her for sneaking out of class to go “make quilts with grandmas.”
Vanessa also picked up a little side job that matched her new hobby, “I got a job at Joanne’s Fabric making $7/hr. My paychecks were literally like $42,” she recalled.
At one point, she decided to marry her love for sewing with her old love for teaching and started recording tutorials and sharing them on YouTube. Sometime later she entered a YouTube contest and became one of 25 YouTube stars. By that point Vargas-Wilson was pregnant with her second child and had a decent following.
Her 321,000 subscribers on her YouTube channel, her presence on Instagram and her quilting retreats eventually helped catch the attention of Timeless Treasures Fabrics, a New York City fabric store.
Her debut line, which she proudly named “Dominicana,” is set to launch in November.
The collection is made up of different prints consisting of guavas, houses with tin roofs and a staple in any Dominican home: platanos (plantains).
“I feel like as immigrants and the kids of immigrants your parents push you to get away from the culture, become Americanized. But, for me my culture is super important. It’s who I am.”
“People sometimes try to leave their culture behind. I bring it up with me,” she said.
Victoria Moll-Ramirez is a freelance reporter based in New York City.