|Who do I prefer:||I'm hetero|
|Eye tone:||I’ve got enormous gray-blue eyes|
|Sign of the zodiac:||Libra|
|What is my figure features:||My figure features is medium-build|
|I prefer to drink:||Absinthe|
|What I prefer to listen:||Easy listening|
I didn’t expect to get pregnant at 16 years old.
Photographs by Ilana Panich-Linsman. Growing up on the border is even harder. But for teenagers growing up in the Rio Grande Valley, where Mexico and the United States come together in a lush land of brush-covered hills, fast-growing cities and deep, shared history, there is no template.
They are shaped by an extraordinary place, at an extraordinary time. Valley girls are Americans with Mexican roots.
They are Mexicans with American dreams. They meet their friends at the mall, at Whataburger, at the volleyball court. The worries about immigration status always linger in the background: When Isabella went on a vacation to Corpus Christi with her aunt, her parents could not go along, because they knew there would be Border Patrol traffic checkpoints along the way.
To grow up in the Valley is to live in a bilingual, binational world that defies the barriers dividing the two countries. Some Valley girls have relatives on both sides and, depending on their schedules, live on both sides, sleeping over here one day and over there the next. Carolina Sierra, 15, lives in the city of Brownsville; her boyfriend lives in Mexico, crossing the bridge from Matamoros every weekend to see her.
On the American side, towns like McAllen and Brownsville are much like any other small town, and life has a distinctly suburban feel. But home is also one of the poorest places in the nation, with some of the highest rates of teen pregnancy, high-school dropouts and child poverty.
In Hidalgo County, On the Mexican side, it can be even harder: Clara Medina, 15, works seven days a week at a nail salon in a border town popular with American tourists, Nuevo Progreso. She left school around the age of 12 to help support her family. up here to receive the next issue in your inbox. Here, in their own words, are some of the girls of the Rio Grande Valley, who call the border their home.
Gwen Burnias turned 17 on Feb. Four weeks later, she gave birth to her son, Jaxon. Her boyfriend, Michael, is Her year-old sister also recently had a baby. It was really hard, because my mother wanted better for me. She would tell all the stories of why she wanted better for us. I did the exact opposite. Mikey is just very distracted right now. Very distracted. And I understand, you know. I had this whole plan for my life. I loved volleyball. I was so good. I was captain for three years straight in a row.
And I just ruined so much of it. I need him to be a father. I need him to get a job. I need him to financially support us. I know I can. Lesly Urbina, 16, a high school junior in Alamo, competes in beauty ants. Her parents are undocumented.
Women and men near you interested in casual sex
She lives in a colonia, one of the largely unregulated and impoverished communities along the border that have few basic services. The streetlights on her block are solar-powered. We actually had to get atures so we could get those. So we got atures, and then they came and they put those. And then people started breaking them, so we just have, like, one working right now. This is Little Mex. I personally feel, like, really safe here where we live. Everyone cares about each other. We protect each other. When we were small, it was traumatizing because we had a gang in front.
We would have shootings. Someone opened my window.
When I was asleep. And then I just felt someone touching me here on my stomach.
I literally thought they were going to drag me out of the window or something. I think I was The next day my father went around and the window was still open. When I started hearing the news about Trump, it really did scare me. Isabella Ruiz, 14, a freshman in McAllen, wants to become a veterinarian.
When my dad was in jail, my mom, she would have to pay all the bail bonds and everything. We would have to go over there to take showers, and then put the water in the buckets. My mom transports people to dialysis or wherever they need to go. My dad works as a cook in a restaurant. I see my parents have to go through the stress. My mom wants to find a second job. As soon as I turn 16, I want to put in my applications so I can help them with the bills and everything.
I want to do something with my life. One time, my friend asked me to go and I said no, but then my mom made me, because she saw how I was just here at the house. We would go visit him sometimes, but then it would make me more sad because I would just see him through a glass. When he got released, we were there waiting. I just saw him get out of the van and I just ran to him. Me and my mom ran to him and he hugged us, and I just started crying. Jocelyn Guzman, 18, lives in Matamoros, Mexico, but crosses the border to attend high school in Brownsville. She is a United States citizen.
I get in a little van that takes us to school every day. From home to school, with all that, I think it takes me maybe two hours. I get to school around First and second, I love those two periods. They teach us everything about nursing. We meet up next to Family Dollar and we meet up with the other vans. But when I study for a test I go to bed really late.
I go to bed around 12 or 1. Like my mom said, my dad, always, he fights for what he wants. My goal is to finish school, go to college, finish college, and I want to work and I want to get paid money, so I can help them move over there with me. I want to pay them back. Emily Gurwitz, 18, a senior in McAllen, is a ballet dancer, soccer-team captain and Hebrew-school teacher at her synagogue.
In her college admissions essay, she summed up being Jewish in a Mexican-American city at the Texas border by coining a phrase to describe herself: a Jewish Texican. I was at this summer thing. I did research at U. So I lived in a dorm, and it was just me and eight other juniors in high school. It was right around the time when a lot of stuff started happening at the border.
We have great education, great social life, great community. McAllen is so cool. I started volunteering at the migrant respite center with my friends. One day I made sandwiches for three hours. I guess I was the most touched by the kids who were there who are my age.
Ever since then, i’m scared of windows.
And I had handed them to her and I was like, what could she possibly need scissors for? Me and my mom are always going on about it. Coming out and saying that we need it, I honestly think we really do need it. I want to the military like my mom did.