You all are going to love this!!
I was so happy to be able to "chat'" with Raquel Donofrio! I don't think I need to actually tell you who she is because all you need to do is take one look at her!
But, just in case you're stumped: Hint 1-she's Janine's niece and Hint 2-she looks a lot like her mom... Big Ang!
Raquel is going to be on Ang's show, "Miami Monkey" starting September 8th at 10 p.m. only on VH1. Since that is fast approaching, let's find out all about her!
Born on January 13, 1985, Raquel says she is a "true Capricorn." :) She, along with brother, A.J., were raised in Brooklyn, New York. She had a lot to share about her childhood.
Angela worked tirelessly being a single parent to both children. Because of this, Raquel says she and A.J. are very close and were their own little team growing up. However, Ang made sure her kids enjoyed their life,whether it was making their holidays magical or by taking them on vacations to Florida.
|Ang, Raquel and Baby A.J.!|
|Raquel and A.J. on vacation|
|Raquel and Angela|
Angela instilled important lessons in her children. Raquel says her mother has taught her not to worry about what other people think and to accept who she is. She also taught the kids to never judge anyone else because "no one should pass judgment besides God." Wise words!
Raquel may be grown up now, but still sees her mother as an inspiration. She says, "My mother is one of a kind and no one can ever have the heart she carries." She credits her mother with giving her the values she lives by and thanks her from the bottom of her heart for all she's done for her and being her best friend.
Even though Angela was a single mom, this did not prevent Raquel from having a solid relationship with her father, Robert. He was always a source of encouragement and support to his children. About her father, Raquel says, "He is my hero, and I love him with all my heart."
Currently, she is fortunate enough to still have her paternal grandparents alive and well. She has such happy memories of spending weekends and enjoying summers with them. To this day, she thinks the world of them and says her grandfather calls her "the apple of my eye."
|Raquel and her grandparents|
Raquel is the apple of her grandfather's eye, but who is the apple of Raquel's? Her son, Sal....is he cute or what? Sweet words about Sal right directly from his mom: "Everything I do or strive to do is for him. He lifts me up at my weak moments and gives me the strength to never be a quitter."
Raquel has taken the values she has learned from her family and teaches them to Sal. She also takes him to the places that meant the most in her childhood, like Point Pleasant, where she treasured moments with her own grandparents, riding the rides,going to the aquarium and getting ice cream. She wants Sal to experience the same things that brought her so much joy.
Who else is a big fan of Sal? Grandma Angela of course! Look how precious these photos are:
Raquel is also very appreciative for the relationship she continues to have with her father and his girlfriend, Vikki. She said that they are very supportive of her as well as being a huge help with Sal.
|Vikki with Sal|
Naturally, Raquel is close to Aunt Janine, too! Raquel was Janine's maid of honor as seen here:
Raquel is also Janine's youngest son's godmother. Janine said she chose Raquel as Ronnie's godmother because she knows Raquel would always take care of him. What does Janine say directly about her niece? She has some really compassionate and touching words for her: "Raquel is not only my niece, but like a daughter to me. She is also one of my best friends. I loved her from the minute I laid eyes on her. We have always had a special relationship and we always will. Raquel, I will love you until the day I die. "
Raquel is very driven. She already has TWO Masters degrees and is consistently looking to learn new things. She is involved in raising autism awareness and is a big advocate of the anti bullying movement.
She has a lot of different ideas for the future. As far as being on the new show, she hopes she can send a positive message out there to girls who may be watching. She would love to teach young girls who may have low self esteem that hard work pays off.
She also wants any girl that could be struggling with image issues to know this: "Always love yourself. Flaws are what make us unique." And to any child who might be lost living a hard life or discouraged about where they are right now, she says, "Never give up hope. No matter what our circumstances are in life, we can always make in better."
Raquel also enjoys learning things about child psychology and also has an eye for children's fashion. She dreams of someday maybe getting little Sal into modeling children's clothes or maybe even having her own boutique. The future is wide open for Raquel. While she may be unsure of where she will actually land, she is going to continue to work hard and embrace her destiny.
Time for my two cents! Raquel was more than willing to share stories and experiences in her life for which I am grateful. And I cannot thank her enough for providing all these wonderful photos. (P.S. I want that coat in the first picture!) I found her to be motivated, sweet and and full of love for her family and her life.
I can't wait to see her on the new show. I really do wish her all the best with not only the show, but with any of her future goals and projects. Follow her on Twitter: @RaquelDonofrio. Thank you, Raquel!
And thank you to everyone who reads the blog! Xoxo