Name: Ellise Perez
Profession: Assistant to High Jewelers
what area of the BX are you from?: Highbridge/ South Bronx
current location: Riverdale
Ellise and I met as bright-eyed, bushy-tailed, 14-year old freshmen dance majors at LaGuardia High School. I recall many hilarious moments with Ellise; "breaking" on people in class, senior concert rehearsals, that one Gospel Choir performance we did in 2007, and our in-depth conversations while riding the D train to the Bronx after school. Be sure to check out her art work, too! It's sick!
(see link above)
Tell us about yourself:
Artistically-inclined pizza enthusiast who loves rap music and dancing salsa...
I have a particular proclivity for things that look good, for beauty. I hold everything and everyone to a high standard, myself especially. From a young age, I always strived to be the best at everything I did. I’m still always trying to master whatever I get a taste for.
What are your fondest memories of growing up in the Bronx?
House parties! The parties were for the adults, but my cousins and I had fun the old-fashioned way. Playing Super Nintendo, M.A.S.H., freeze tag—you name it. I miss those days.
Do you feel as though being from the Bronx has heavily influenced who you are today?
Without a doubt! Being from the Bronx has taught me how to adapt to whatever’s around me. It’s given me a street savviness that will be with me for life. I’m always one step ahead, subconsciously beating people to the punch. Always ready!
Who are your biggest inspirations?
My mother for always being poised and sweet. Tracee Ellis Ross because she seems SO happy all the time. Bette Davis because she was a fierce force and true master of her craft. My boyfriend, Anwar, for never making excuses, only moves. Watching him build his tea company from the ground up has filled me with so much life! And finally my dad—self-made and always fly!
What has been your greatest accomplishment to date?
I recently started creating abstract prints by hand. I had no idea what they represented or what I wanted to do with them. A year later, I have a swimsuit prototype and am ready to pursue a line of products with my prints! For the first time, I feel like I have created something that is entirely my own and what’s even more empowering is that I’ve created something not just for myself, but for others to enjoy.
If you could, in what ways would you give back to your community?
A dream of mine is to open a charm school for young girls with a curriculum that focuses on executive presence. The way you’re dressed sends a message and I’d love to provide guidance to young women seeking it in underprivileged communities.
If someone were visiting the Bronx, where would you tell them to go?
Fieldston! It’s perfect for riding your bike or taking a long walk to soak up the scenery. The Bronx doesn’t have the best reputation, but Fieldston is a beautiful place that reminds me that there are diamonds in the rough.
*If you have a business or organization, please mention it!* :-)