On tonight’s Quiero Mis Quinces season finale on MTV Tr3s, we meet Jennifer Fundora, a Cuban American theater enthusiast who takes us back in time in a renaissance-inspired quinceañera. But just because the party is truly “old-school,” don’t expect her to follow Latino traditions.
In an exclusive interview with Latina.com, she told us she went with her own traditions, including incorporating a second father-daughter dance with her stepfather.
Get all of the details here!
First things first, why did you decide to do a renaissance-themed party?
My uncle game me a book, To Be a Princess: The Fascinating Lives of Real Princesses. The first story was about the Tudor Sisters, Elizabeth Tudor and Mary Tudor, and it pretty much talked about their rivalry. King Henry VIII was their father, and it was about how they were treated. I thought it was fascinating, and I decided to just base my party on that story. Then after that it was about Marie Antoinette, and that also fascinated me but more for the dress. I like the French dresses more than the English dresses. I really like the glamour from that era. It’s all just very fascinating.
How did you end up choosing the dress?
It was actually very expensive, but it had a lot of detail. It was this huge renaissance-style dress. It was more French than it was English, but it was perfect. It was red and gold. It had the French flowers and those kinds of details on the body of the dress. The actual material of the dress was all silk. From afar it looks brand new, but when you look closer, you can actually see how they stitched the fabric together, which makes it look old and vintage. That’s why I liked it. The sleeve, from my shoulder to my elbow, is all a mesh, and you can see my actual arm. For my quinces, red represented how passionate I am about everything and that’s why I picked the color.
What traditions did you choose to incorporate in your party?
I took out a lot of things, and I incorporated my own sense of tradition because I don’t really like normal quinceañeras. I think they are all so overdone. Also, because my parents are divorced, it doesn’t’ have the same meaning to me as it has for other people. For example, I didn’t have one father-daughter dance. I had two because my stepdad is also a really big part of my life.
How did your dad feel about that?
He was okay with it. He thought it was right because I’ve lived with my stepdad since I was six. But he wanted to go first because that was his honor as my father.
How did you handle planning the party with your mom?
My mom is a little more conservative than I am. She and I have very different tastes and at times we wouldn’t agree over everything. But mostly I had pretty much full reign about the things. Also, if I would have any ideas, then my aunt Aly would help me out, and she would explain to my mom what I was doing. My aunt lives a little far from us, in Palm Beach, but we have a very close relationship. She’s a lot more like me than my mom. My mom and I are very different.
What was your favorite moment during the planning?
Meeting my dressmaker. She’s just a character, and she was really great! She showed me how passionate she was about the renaissance era. Even though it happened hundreds of years ago, you can still celebrate it with other people who like it. The song that I danced to in my court, she was the one that gave me the idea about it. The song is called “Fleurs du Mal.” The title is in French, but the woman sings in English. That CD was playing at the store where I was trying on dresses. It was the first track of the album. She told me I could use that song for my party. It’s very renaissance-inspired but it also has touches of modern music. Since I like the theater, I liked the song because it had a lot of drama to it. The singer is one of the world’s most famous sopranos, so her voice contrasting with the music really left me speechless.
Speaking of theater: Your mom had a really special surprise for you before your party. What was that about?
My mom woke me up one morning, and she said she had a surprise for me. She kept me completely in the dark the entire day. I had no idea where I was going. Then we come to the Actor’s Playhouse, and I’m thinking, “Why are we here?” We go in and the lady tells me that she’s going to take me backstage because it was a renaissance-inspired play called “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” It’s based on a fairy tale. She took me backstage, and showed me where they had their wardrobe. The set and everything was incredible. Then backstage, she said I would have a part in the play. It was pretty easy. There was a part where the emperor asked me my opinion on his clothes. I just give him my opinion on what he was wearing. At first, I was a little nervous, but then when I did my part, it was extremely easy. It was a great gesture, and it was really nice of them to do that.