There's a very good reason Camila Cabello's latest hit single is called "Havana." The 20-year-old singer and former Fifth Harmony member immigrated to America when she was just under seven years old. Ever since coming on the scene in 2012 when she auditioned for X-Factor, the "Havana" singer — whose real name is Karla Camila Cabello Estrabao — has always been outspoken about her Latina heritage. She was born in Cojímar, a division of Eastern Havana, Cuba.
"A bus. The yellow lighting of the gas station against the dark hours of midnight. Fast asleep. Silence. My head slumped over my mom's shoulder," Camila wrote for PopSugar of her immigration story.
"Her voice timid and hesitant as she stumbled through a sentence in English at the cash register," Camila explained of her mother. "A Winnie the Pooh journal. These are the things I remember when I think of when my mom and I immigrated to America."
"I was almost 7 at the time, born in Havana, Cuba," Camila wrote. "My papá is puro Mexicano and we lived back and forth between the heat of Havana and the concrete jungle of Mexico City."
Camila — who is performing this year at on Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve — also revealed that as she and her mother were preparing to cross the border — without her father — her mom said they were going to Disneyland. "She packed a little backpack with my Winnie the Pooh journal and my doll, and we crossed the border from Mexico to the US, seeing my Dad become an ant in the distance as he stayed behind."
"With a couple hundred dollars, the clothes on our backs, no family in the United States, and no clue of what was going to happen next, that's exactly what we did," Camila continued. "Like my mom said, 'I don't know where I'm going, but I can't stay here.' And that was enough."
Camila's mom has also gone on the record about her decision to move her family to the United States. "We flew from Cuba to Mexico, and went by bus to the American border; it took a month," she told Us Weekly. "We left everyone behind, my friends, my family. My fear was that my husband wouldn't [ever] be able to come."
Love J-14? Be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel for fun, exclusive videos with your favorite stars.