By Janet Guereca
Samantha Manrique, the founder of @theamigahoodsociety, started the social media page to create a supportive community for first-time Latina creators.
From Manrique’s experience, making friends can be difficult for college students. She wanted to build a community that could help with that.
Manrique is a 21-year-old Mexican American attending her second year at East Los Angeles College. She is working on her associate’s degree in business and plans to transfer to get a bachelor’s in marketing.
Aside from the business club, Manrique is a full-time student, works two jobs, has two internshipsand now has @theamigahoodsociety.
At ELAC, she served as the Business Club Vice President of Public Relations for the 2022 school year. With the upcoming elections on May 4 for the upcoming school year, she contemplated not running for re-election because of her busy schedule.
She ultimately decided to run again, and in 2023-2024 she will serve as president of the Business Club.
“During the election, the same thing happened. I just had an itch,” Manrique said.
Manrique had the same itch when she launched @theamigahoodsociety.
“I was thinking about launching it for way too long, but I think it was the fact that because I’m a first-[generation college student], it was very discouraging,” Manrique said.
She woke up one morning and had an itch. She thought, “You know what? I’m just gonna do it,” and posted it on a whim.
Manrique has had internships with social media companies and had an idea of how to start a business.
She hired a graphic designer and started working on logos. She said she has a logo that represents Latinas.
She didn’t expect it would get this far. The account has been up on Instagram and TikTok for two and a half months and has almost a thousand followers.
She has a team of 12 to 13 Latina women who work with her. As a first-time founder, she is learning from them as much as they are there to support her.
After @theamigahoodsociety launched, Manrique got the opportunity to host a workshop with Cal State LA.
Yessenia Romero, a student at Cal State LA who Manrique went to high school with, overheard a couple of girls talking about @theamigahoodsociety. She realized it was Manrique once she looked it up.
Romero reached out and explained that there is a large percentage of Latinas at Cal State LA. The idea was to hold an event where they could specifically talk about what Manrique was creating.
“It was a surreal moment, as a community college student, even being able to talk to Cal State LA. I feel like there’s a stigma when it comes to community college students, and it felt really inspiring. Yes, I’m in community college, but the sky is still the limit,” Manrique said.
Around 42 women joined the Zoom meeting where the workshop was held.
“They came with questions. I was really surprised. I was so surprised,” Manrique said.
Some of the women that attended are interested in getting into the social media space but feel discouraged and don’t know how to go about it.
The goal of @theamigahoodsociety is to post fun, relatable content and create a space for Latinas to speak on topics that aren’t seen on social media. She wants first-time creators to be able to go onto her page and get advice on anything from what resources are available to how to get brand deals.
She also wants to feature different perspectives because when people think Latina, their go-to is to think they’re Mexican. Afro-Latinas experiences, like Dominicans and Puerto Ricans, are important.
“People think Latina and don’t picture all the other colors that are involved with Latinas,” Manrique said.
The social media page will officially launch July 15, but Manrique and her team have posted some content. She wanted to give her audience a chance to get to know the team before she officially launched.
Some of their plans are to meet in person and have content days where they go to different locations and help each other film and take pictures for their social media.
They will support each other and create a community to build friendships and network.
The biggest advice she took and pushed forward to others is to apply for internships and jobs even if they feel unqualified.
That was her case when she applied to a Meta internship. She took the risk and applied, knowing there was a chance she might not get it.
“Honestly, if it had not been for Meta, I would not be doing what I’m doing right now. It opened up so many doors for me,” Marique said.
Those who looked at her resume saw that, at the time, she was 20 and interned for Facebook.
She’s learned along the way that everyone will have an opinion on what people create. Instead, she said she reflects on the hundreds of positive comments rather than let one negative comment affect her.
Manrique always knew she wanted to start her own business. “Little me always wanted to own something,” Manrique said.
When she was 11, Manrique would sell whatever clothes she didn’t use to her neighbors and sit there and negotiate with them.
When Manrique was a sophomore in high school, her parents divorced. It dragged her down, and she took a gap year after high school.
Seeing her single mom struggle and work two jobs motivated Manrique to do something.
Her gap year coincided with the COVID-19 pandemic starting.
During the pandemic, she learned how to do nails. For a brief time, she had a small business doing nails.
“I always hated the idea of working for someone else. I love the idea of working for me and doing something that I love and helping others at the same time,” Manrique said.
The creation of @theamigahoodsociety allowed her to do what she’s always wanted. While the idea seemed sudden, she didn’t regret taking the risk.
Manrique took another risk when she applied for an internship at Snapchat.
After three rounds of interviews, she made it to the last round. Manrique should know by May 19 if she got the internship.