To those who don’t know me, My name is Santana Rodriguez. I’m a former fitness Champion and a magazine print model. I was a competitor for 5 years, competing in regional as well as national competitions. I’m originally from a small town outside of Buffalo, NY by the name of Brant. I grew up in a very caucasion community, growing up in one of the only latina households in the entire community. I grew up on rock music, pizza, buffalo wings, football, and on a strict as well as very censored household. I was always a girl with lots of dreams, visions, and the black sheep of the family. I would look at the beautiful girls in the mags and on TV and said, that would be me one day… but the difference was….I wanted to be that girl with a purpose as well as a story. I wanted to be a leader. I wanted to make a difference. So after graduating from college, I set out to the land of opportunity, which of course was Los Angeles. This wasn’t so easy. I had a dad that was sick and had a leg amputation. I never understood why this happened but it forced me to learn more about nutrition. I was feeling nothing but pure guilt on a daily basis for wanting to leave, but then my dad finally gave me his blessing in leaving. I told him I couldn’t until he was better, but he saw my sadness, and told me to go anyway. With $5,000 to my pocket, I headed out there not knowing a soul. At the time I didn’t feel fear, I felt excitement, passion, freedom. I decided, I wanted to become an actress. I took a waitress job, and struggled living in a tiny studio with barely any furniture. I knew this was going to be tough, but worth it. While struggling in the acting world, a friend convinced me to compete in a fitness competition. I placed 3rd in my first ever contest . I thought this was destiny, so I continued to compete. My love for acting quickly died. Since then, I trained a lot, was committed to perfect nutrition habits, and was dedicated. Overall, I had won 6 competitions to follow and took on a national title called “Miss Team USA Modelquest” with the ABA Federation. These were not bodybuilding competitions, however they were physique competitions with an emphasis on tone, symmetry and definition. It was such an honor to have carried on such a title. Since then, I was featured in over 15 magazine publications with 4 covers and made my dreams come true. I even hosted and produced a fitness show titled “Shaping Up With Santana” that ran for 2 years in LA as well as New York. The dream was not so much the photos or the show, but the editorials that were published with the magazines as well as the message delivered through the TV show!
My parent’s story:
My dad ..the strongest man I know !!!...He has lived through 2 leg amputations from diabetes type 2, prostate cancer,a broken hip, gallbladder issues, has a pacemaker and currently suffers from congestive heart failure...and is still alive. I've always compared him to the cat with 9 lives. He has been my greatest source of motivation and inspiration for living a healthy lifestyle. If only he knew then what we know now....Even though he has had many mishaps, he has been a true fighter and is an amazing dad...Not only a great father, but a great husband to my mom. He has taught me how to be the strong woman I am today, and taught me to never give up when times seem tough.... I love him so much..My dad is my solid rock and I'm his daddy's girl.
My mom….the woman that never cries!!!... has gone through 3 surgeries…all of which are related to cancer. My mom is in remission for mouth and neck cancer as well as a survivor of colon cancer. Because of this, as well as understanding why my dad went through what he did, she started taking better care of herself as well as him. She did all the cooking and because of the lack of knowledge in nutrition and healthcare, she knew she had to become more educated on this topic if she wanted herself and my dad to live a longer and healthier life. She was the one that has taken care of my dad throughout the many years my dad has been sick. What people don’t realize is that sometimes the caregiver ends up becoming more ill than the actual patient that he or she is taking care of because of a high abundancy of stress emotionally as well as physically which can lead to poor health.. Again, my mom is in remission, maintains a healthy weight now and still remains the strong queen that she is. I never saw her cry once while going through all of this, and if she had, she never let anyone witness this. I love her very much.
My parent’s were the driving force for me becoming what I did. I was able to teach my family proper eating habits. They are still living after everything they have been through. In the end, I believe God has a purpose for all of us. In the end, the pieces of the puzzle in our lives connect and then it all makes sense. God has a plan for all of us. We may not see it while going through the difficult journey, however, it all ties together and then we all understand. God will use you in ways that you will never have imagined, not just in your own life, but to help others as well.