After emerging victorious from the Nuestra Belleza Latina reality competition on Univision Sunday night, Nastassja Bolivar has finally had enough time to process the fact that she won. We caught up with the newly crowned 22-year-old to ask her how it feels to be the new face of Latin beauty in America and how she’s not going to let a little thing like language get in her way!
How does it feel to have won the coveted crown of NBL?
I still can’t believe it right now. I’m so excited. I’ve been sleeping with the crown under my pillow. I think I’m going to wake up and it’s all fake, but it’s real! I’m the queen of Nuestra Belleza Latina 2011 and I can’t believe it!
Did you ever imagine you’d win?
No! Everyone wishes it. Everybody dreams it. To actually accomplish it, is something so surreal. I’m so grateful with the public, and all the people who voted for me, all the Latinos out there. I’m so happy they chose me to represent what it is to be a Latina woman.
We were definitely rooting for you, especially because here at Latina Magazine we represent all Latinas, not just those who are fluent in Spanish. We also represent the subsequent generations.
I remember when I came to the auditions, I said to them, ‘I’m here not only to represent the Latin woman but also the second generation Latinas.’ I have the best of both worlds. I cannot complain. I love to see how the generations keep changing and the cultures keep mixing. I’m so grateful to be American and have my freedom but also to be a strong Latina.
Can you break down your background for me?
Sure. I was born and raised in Miami, my mom is Nicaraguense and my dad is Colombian. I’m the oldest out of four. My mother’s side is actually an interesting mix. She’s from Nicaragua, my grandmother was Peruvian, and my great-grandmother was born in Italy, so I’m mixed all over. I truly love it.
You are not a native Spanish speaker. Was that challenging throughout the show?
I had probably the worst Spanish in the competition. Unfortunately, I didn’t take Spanish classes when I was younger. I actually took French classes. At home you would think you would learn the language, but Miami is Spanglish. So the vocabulary that I didn’t know, I would just say those words in English. It was really tough on me, but it shows the kind of woman that I am. I’m up for any challenge. I wanted to learn Spanish and I’m embracing it with all my heart. It’s not that I don’t know Spanish, I just need to polish it. I’m going to get to that point where I’m correcting other people and saying, ‘Look at me—I speak perfect Spanish!’ [laughs]
How are you perfecting the language?
Well, I’m extremely fortunate in having this amazing professor that we had during the competition, Laura Moro. Luckily, because of winning the crown, I get a full free year with her. She teaches diction. I’m going to start taking lessons with her again as soon as I know my schedule. I haven’t even slept! But it doesn’t mean I don’t have a smile on my face. As soon as I can, I’m going to start eating, sleeping, breathing Spanish, so I can show everybody that I can and I did it!
What are your long-term career aspirations?
I want to pursue a career in TV production, actually. Everyone sees how great the show is, but they don’t know the hard work that the guy with the lights or the cameraman, the director, the producer do—all the work that goes into putting together a great show. I want to do that. Another little dream I have on the side is I kind of want to be a Victoria’s Secret Angel because I see they have lots of Brazilians, but they need a Nicaraguense in there!
How did you celebrate you winning the crown?
The network had a great party afterward, and I couldn’t really enjoy it completely because everyone wanted pictures. I finally went home yesterday and my parents had a little cake as a welcome home for me. The next chance I get, I want to go to Nicaragua to celebrate with everyone who supported me. I really want to celebrate with my country. I’ve always gone to Nicaragua every summer. I had my first communion there so I know Nicaragua very well. I go to Colombia as well, but I went to Nicaragua more because of my grandparents. But my grandfather and my great grandmother passed away last year. It was really hard, but when I won, I knew my they were by my side.
What are you going to do with the grand prize, including the $250,000?!
First of all, I want to save some of the money and put it in a CD, to also invest it. You know, make money while it’s put away. I finally got my wings so I want to fly. It’s probably the best time to buy a house, but I’m not rushing into that. My parents have given me everything, anything I could ever ask for. So now that I have it, I want to return that favor to give them anything they want and help them. And lastly, I want to continue my studies—get some books in there, not just [modeling] experience. I need a little bit of both.
What was the most trying time throughout the whole show?
Everyday was a challenge for me with the Spanish. The other girls in this competition put 100 percent into this, but I felt like I had to put in 200 [percent] because my Spanish wasn’t that great. And in the competition you had to express yourself to the public to show who you are, and my means for expressing myself in Spanish was very limited. But I’m so happy that the public saw me, they saw who I was and they chose me to represent them. I am so proud of that. I could not be more excited and it was a challenge but nothing’s going to get in my way. I’m Latina, I’m strong and I’ve got the best of both worlds. Nothing’s going to bring me down!