Vanessa Coppes came to the U.S. from the Dominican Republic in 2006 with a dream to be a journalist.
She got her first job as a writer at Bella Magazine, a beauty and lifestyle publication founded in NYC in 2011.
At the same time, she was teaching English as a second language at city charter schools.
Nearly a decade in the making, Coppes can now add editor-in-chief to her growing resume.
She bought the magazine in 2019 from Staten Islanders Courtenay and Daniel Hall.
But the journey to go from writer to boss came with some difficult challenges.
"People taking you seriously,” Coppes said. "I really wanted to make my journey and path as a Latina woman who had come here to pursue her passions and her dreams who also happened to be a mom."
Coppes said New York’s Hispanic community has changed drastically since she first moved here, the evolution is one she’s proud to be part of.
"I feel like when I first arrived the Hispanic community was very timid,” Coppes said. "Now I feel like we intentionally seek each other out. We look for each other. I know if I hear someone speaking Spanish at a parking garage, at a restaurant, I make sure I acknowledge it and say, ‘Hey where are you from?’”
After taking over Bella, she focused on weaving her Hispanic heritage into the pages of the magazine
Coppes launched Bella Latina, so readers can enjoy the articles in Spanish.
Bella Latina is only offered digitally now and the goal is to have it in print by next year.
"I wanted to make the publication more inclusive, more diverse to show the range of my entire staff. I have people of all creeds, colors, shapes and sizes so I wanted to bring that to the forefront of the magazine as well,” Coppes said.
In the last two years, Coppes has made it her mission to help other women in her field.
"I would have women in my multiple communities that I belong to say, ‘You are such an inspiration.’ I took that very seriously. I think that is the former teacher in me to continue to show and set an example for other women that they can do this for themselves, too,” Coppes said.
"It's about representation right? We are literally showing what is possible for them,” Coppes added.