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A Cinderella Sweet 16, Quince-Style

Some Latina girls celebrate a sweet 16 instead of a sweet 15, but they still blend in the traditions of a quinceañera. Kristina, one of the real-girl models from the Mis Quince insert inside of the Nov. ’08 issues of Seventeen, CosmoGirl, and Teen, shows us how it’s done!

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Kristina's Sweet 16

kristina, real girl quince, cinderella quinceanera quinceanera chambelanes Are you ready to get the party started? I am!

Don't Dirty the Dress!

kristina, real girl quince, cinderella quinceanera quinceanera heading to party In this picture, I was heading toward the Overlook Lodge, where my ceremony and party took place. I was running to avoid being seen by my guests. My friend Jamil, who was one of my chambelanes, was holding my dress up so that it wouldn't drag on the ground and get dirty.

Sibling Love!

kristina, real girl quince, cinderella quinceanera quinceanera with brothers and sisters Here I am with my brothers and sisters: Mariah, Jessica, Matthew, Danny, and Brayden. We're at the lodge that we rented for my party at the Bear Mountain Inn. The photographer was telling funny jokes to make us laugh.

My BFF and Dama de Honor

kristina, real girl quince, cinderella quinceanera dama de honor and quinceanera This is my best friend, Natalia — she was my dama de honor. I've known her since sixth grade. She is like a sister to me. We have so much in common and we share everything from clothing to secrets. The day of my party she was my backbone. I don't know what I would have done without her. Natalia helped me stay calm and focused. She reminded me that this was my special day and that it would only happen once in my lifetime.

My Brother and Chambelán

kristina, real girl quince, cinderella quinceanera quinceanera and chambelan This is my brother Matt. He was one of the chambelanes in my court. He looked very handsome, even though he did not want to smile for any pictures, haha. I got my dress at David's Bridal. I found it on davidsbridal.com and thought it was the perfect dress. When I went to the store and tried it on, I knew I was right.

My Damas

kristina, real girl quince, cinderella quinceanera quinceanera and damas The girls in this picture are a few of my closest and dearest friends. We all go to the same school, live near each other, and have practically grown up together. My tip for avoiding dama drama: Let your girls know how important this day is for you and how much it means to you to have them all there together. If they are true friends they will do whatever it takes to make your day everything you dreamed it would be.

My Court

kristina, real girl quince, cinderella quinceanera quinceanera court I had four dance rehearsals with my court. Rehearsals were a lot of fun, but they were also a lot of work. My party planner, Marisol Aponte, choreographed my big entrance. She was a great help! Tip: If you are going to have a choreographed entrance, don't wait until the last minute to begin practicing. Give yourself plenty of time to rehearse and prepare for it. It will be so much easier and less hectic if you have a few months to get it right.

Hairstyle & Makeup

kristina, real girl quince, cinderella quinceanera quinceanera hairstyle When I started thinking about the hairstyle I wanted, I didn't know what to choose. All I knew was that I did not want my hair down or loose. I chose this pretty updo that I found on the Internet. I went through various styles until I came across this one. I knew it would look exquisite with my tiara. I wanted my makeup to have a shimmery look. My grandmother Madeline, who is a Mary Kay consultant, did my makeup. She used her Mary Kay products and made me look exactly how I wanted — simple and elegant. She also did the makeup for the girls in my court.

I Love My Dad!

kristina, real girl quince, cinderella quinceanera quinceanera and father

Mom and I

kristina, real girl quince, cinderella quinceanera quinceanera and mother My mom helped me with everything. We planned the theme, found the perfect songs, and searched for decoration ideas. We worked together to make my party as memorable as possible. I remember the day she came home and told me I was going to be in a photo shoot for Seventeen. [She submitted my photo to the editor without telling me.] I didn't even believe her! Modeling for the Mis Quince insert was really a dream come true for me.

Surprise Sparklers

kristina, real girl quince, cinderella quinceanera quinceanera chambelanes and damas with sparklers My event planner had all of the couples in my court come out and circle around my dad and I as we did our father-daughter dance. They all held sparklers. I had no idea she was going to do this. It was a nice surprise!

My Shoes

kristina, real girl quince, cinderella quinceanera quinceanera shoes I bought my heels at Payless ShoeSource. They were really nice and inexpensive. I was able to get them dyed the color of my dress.

My Super Cute Brother and Sister

kristina, real girl quince, cinderella quinceanera damita and chambelan These two are my younger brother and sister. My little sister was my damita. She carried my shoes on a kneeling pillow and my brother carried a lipstick in his pocket, which my mom put on my lips after my dad changed my shoes.

Candle-Lighting Ceremony

kristina, real girl quince, cinderella quinceanera quinceanera candle lighting ceremony This was my candle-lighting ceremony. Each of my damas and chambelanes held a candle. My dad lit my damas' candles and my mom lit my caballeros' candles. They held them out for me to blow out one by one for my birthday wishes.

My Masked Entrance

kristina, real girl quince, cinderella quinceanera quinceanera entrance The idea to enter with a mask went along with my theme. In Cinderella, the prince falls in love with a girl and does not know who she is. Although everyone knew who I was, I liked the idea of entering with a mask as if it were a masquerade ball, just like the movie. On the screen behind me, we entertained the guests by showing clips from Cinderella and a slide show with pictures of me growing up.

Candle-Lighting Ceremony

kristina, real girl quince, cinderella quinceanera quinceanera candle lighting ceremony This was the final part of the candle-lighting ceremony. I was blowing out my candles.

One Big Wish

kristina, real girl quince, cinderella quinceanera quinceanera candle lighting ceremony I didn't make a wish for every candle. I waited until the very last one to make one big wish.

"Sixteen Candles"

kristina, real girl quince, cinderella quinceanera After I blew out my candles, we all performed a dance to the song "Sixteen Candles," by the Crests. In this picture, my partner Victor and I are dancing.

Shoe-Changing Ceremony

kristina, real girl quince, cinderella quinceanera quinceanera shoe changing ceremony This was my shoe-changing ceremony. My daddy changed my shoes. I had slippers on, which he removed, and then he changed me into my heels. This is supposed to symbolize him acknowledging me going from his little girl to a young lady.

Father-Daughter Dance

kristina, real girl quince, cinderella quinceanera father and daughter quinceanera dance My father-daughter song was "Cinderella," by Steven Curtis Chapman. This was an absolutely beautiful song. I am glad we chose it for our dance. We rehearsed our father/daughter dance over and over. Every time we practiced, we would mess up. We either went in the wrong direction, or I would step on him or he stepped on me. The night of my party we didn't mess up at all!

The Chambelán-Dama Entrance

kristina, real girl quince, cinderella quinceanera chambelan and dama This is my friend Portia, escorted by my cousin Chris. In this picture, they were coming up for the entrance. Each couple walked in a circle around the dance floor until they reached the center. Once they got to the center, they bowed and stood across from one another. The chambelanes were on my right and the damas were on the left, leaving enough space for me to walk through the middle of them when it was my turn to enter.

Moment of Silence

kristina, real girl quince, cinderella quinceanera moment of silence for mother of the quinceanera Before the actual party began, we had a moment of silence for my birth mom, Darlene Rivera. May she rest in peace.

Table Centerpiece

kristina, real girl quince, cinderella quinceanera quinceanera centerpiece This piece was decorated to symbolize my gown.

Table Centerpiece

kristina, real girl quince, cinderella quinceanera My mom worked with my event planner to choose my beautiful decorations. My planner, Mari, decorated every table with the most beautiful centerpieces. Every piece was selected and decorated to go along with my Cinderella theme. This one represents the glass slipper.

Castle Cake, Guest Book, and Party Favors

kristina, real girl quince, cinderella quinceanera, sweet 16, party favors, guest book, cake quinceanera cake and party favors My cake and other party favors were set up beautifully on this table. The favors were little blue boxes with a thank-you note attached. Inside the boxes was a small piece of chocolate pound cake. We bought the cake at Artuso's Pastry Shop in the Bronx.

Cutting My Cake

kristina, real girl quince, cinderella quinceanera, quinceanera cake cutting the quinceanera cake Although the catering service at the Bear Mountain Inn provided precut slices of cake for the guests, I still had a cake of my own, beautifully decorated by my event planner to fit my Cinderella theme. The cake had two different layers. The top layer was yellow cake with a chocolate mousse filling, and the bottom layer was yellow cake with a strawberry and banana filling.

Awesome DJ

kristina, real girl quince, cinderella quinceanera quinceanera dj DJ Joey O from Bosco Productions was very entertaining. He knew exactly what songs to play to keep the party going. He handed out leis, glow necklaces, glow rings, hats, and dark glasses. Everyone loved him.

Conga!

kristina, real girl quince, cinderella quinceanera conga line at a quinceanera One of the DJs started gathering the guests for a conga line. It was so much fun!

Dancing the Night Away

kristina, real girl quince, cinderella quinceanera

My Guests

kristina, real girl quince, sweet 16, cinderella quinceanera sweet 16 guests Thanks to everyone who made my sweet 16 a dream come true!
Her Sweet 16 Style: Fairy-tale elegance
From: Orange County, NY
Proud to Be: Puerto Rican
Her Dream for 15: "I want to be a global-history teacher."
Theme: Cinderella. "It’s one my favorite Disney movies. I love the idea of the horse and carriage, the glass slipper, and the beautiful blue gown. I always knew this was the theme I would want for my sweet 16."
Party Guest List: about 110
Why We Love Her: Kristina, who modeled looks for the beauty pages of the Mis Quince insert in Seventeen, CosmoGirl, and Teen’s November issues, is beautiful inside and out! She has strong ties to her family and friends, who came out to show their love and support at her sweet 16 on July 19, 2008. At school, she’s not only an A student but also a dedicated cheerleader for the Wildcats.
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