The Ultimate Girl Squad: Taste the Style, Trop Rouge, and Jackie Cruz

We met up with Cyndi Ramirez of Taste the Style, Christina Caradona of Trop Rouge, and Jackie Cruz of Orange is the New Black at The Garret East for a quick hang sesh to talk about their girl squad, and all of exciting projects they're taking on individually. Check out the interview below!

How did you guys meet, and how would you describe your friendship?

Jackie: Oh wait, this is funny! I’ll start. I met Christina because I love fashion, and I found her on Instagram and started following her. Then I saw her at Heidi Klum’s Halloween party, and I was like, ‘I follow you, DM me!’ That’s how we exchanged numbers, and we’ve been hanging out ever since. And then with Cyndi, I did an interview at The Garret West, fell in love with the bar, and decided I wanted to do my birthday there. I found Cyndi’s information through Instagram, and she hooked it up for me. After that she and I have become BFF’s, and now I'm even a partner at this bar!

Cyndi: I met Christina a few years ago at an event for 6 Shore Rd that she was hosting at Saks, and then years later we found out we had Jackie in common, so then we all just started hanging out.

Christina: I feel like I don’t have to say anything, because that’s my story too. 

Describe your style in three words.

Christina: classic, eclectic, personal.
Jackie: retro, rock-and-roll, sexy.
Cyndi: classic, casual-chic, effortless.

What song or album do you have on repeat right now? 

Jackie: Erykah Badu’s new mixtape.
Christina: I like Sorry by Justin Bieber. The whole album is amazing.
Cyndi: I like the Upbeat 8 Den Hospitality Spotify playlist.

Any exciting projects in the works?

Jackie: I just booked an Independent movie yesterday where I play a stewardess, which is very different for me (from being in prison). 

Cyndi: For Taste the Style, I'm excited to dive into our event series called The Soiree, the first one having been hosted with Made Real Vodka, and I'm also excited to dive into video content!

Christina: I’m going to the Golden Globes. I’m really excited, because I’ve never been, and I’ve heard it’s a really cool event. I don’t know what to wear. I also just got a new place on the Lower East Side. I just got a sleeper sofa, and it’s a game changer. 

To Christina and Cyndi: What got you into blogging, and what has your journey been?

Christina: I was managing an American Apparel store (someone put me in charge - crazy), and a friend asked me if I knew what a blog was, and I didn't. So after that I made a Tumblr, and started following Tavi from Style Rookie, and That’s Chic (who happens to be a friend of mine now). I started it initially because I was kind of homesick, and wanted a place to tell my friends what I was doing without having to sign into Facebook Chat. It started more as a style journal, and then it kind of just took off from there. I had no idea that it could be a career. My little brother named my blog because I had no idea what to call it. He was brushing his teeth, and I was in my room, and he said ‘why don’t you just call it Trop Rouge, no one’s going to read it anyway.’ The name means ‘too red.’ I’ve always wanted a name that just rolls off the tongue (it does so more in French than English).

Cyndi: Taste the Style actually started as a restaurant review site, way before blogging was even a thing, like nine years ago, and I’ve always wanted to bring fashion into it. I had no idea how to do it, or how to go about it. Fast forward years later, and I restarted the site as a personal style blog with a little bit of travel, where to go, what I do, etc. Then I realized I wanted to shift gears and have it be less about me, and focus more on fun editorial, lifestyle, beauty, travel, all that. My journey has been crazy, and there’s always something new that pops up every day, and staying focused can sometimes be kind of hard, but it’s been a big learning experience–taking a passion project and turning it into a business. 

To Jackie: Would you consider yourself a social influencer, and how has your strategy changed since your big break?

Jackie: Yeah, definitely. People are actually listening to me for once in my life, which is cool. I became a motivational speaker, and I get to inspire other people by telling my own story. Some people are scared to share their story, and I was for a while, but I told my story and people were like ‘you should tell your story more often, it’s really inspiring.’ I love to go around the United States to colleges and talk to young kids who are struggling, like ‘oh, I live here, I can’t make it’ or ‘I don’t know what to do and I only have one mom, one dad, or no parents.’ And listening to what happened to me, it helps to show them that anything is possible. 

I came from the Dominican Republic and made it in Hollywood (even though I actually made it in New York). Also, now I get so many opportunities; I get to audition for movies, and other things that were never possible before. And working in Hollywood at 15 (I moved to Hollywood at 15 to become an actress) it was really hard being Latina, they didn’t know where to place me because I had curly hair and darker skin. It was a weird time, but now things are really opening up for us. We all have such a big voice, and we’re changing the world.

To Jackie: What was your favorite scene ever to shoot in Orange is the New Black?

Jackie: I’ve had a bunch of favorite scenes, but I can tell you the hardest scene to film – when I was arrested (Season 3, Episode 5: Fake It Till You Fake It Some More). It was a huge event in only one take. Being upset with my mom, opening the door, getting arrested, ‘no it wasn’t my fault,’ etc. It was challenging, and I love that.

My favorite was kissing Diane Guerrero – Maritza in the show (Season 2, Episode 6: You Also Have a Pizza). It’s my favorite because it showed a vulnerable side of both myself and Diane. We’re in prison and no one cares about us, no one is loving us, but we always have each other. It was a really special moment.

Also, another favorite was on the episode where we did job interviews (Season 2, Episode 2: Career Counseling), it was my birthday, and I won the outfit contest. It was my first time working on more than one scene in the show – it was my first big feature on Orange [is the New Black]. 

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Photos by Joey Cupelli

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