We had the good fortune of connecting with Roxana Sora and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Roxana, what role has risk played in your life or career?
I think I learned taking risk from my parents. I was born in Cuba and when my parents saw that the Cuban government was going to take children away from their parents to send them to communist Russia for indoctrination when they decided to leave everything behind and start a new life in a free country.
When I finished high school, I decided that college was not for me. I had to get an education that would help me open doors. It was up to me to make it to the top. I went to secretarial school and got a degree as an Executive Secretary. In the 70’s that was the next best thing. I went to my first interview and got my first full time job as the Executive Secretary to the President of the company. It was an insurance agency. A few years later, I became one of the first woman insurance agents with a niche in the construction industry, mostly dominated by men. I became a Mentor, Sales Manager and climbed the corporate ladder to an Executive position. After almost 5 decades in the industry, I am planning to retire in a couple of years to follow my passion for art and fashion; talk about Risk Taking! It has taken me some time to make this decision; going from a successful income earning career to start all over again in a different direction.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I believe that when I create an art piece, I have already thought about it. I have associated it with a particular experience or music that makes me feel happy and excited. When I am in my studio, I put music on and feel the movement that goes with the music and then I just begin to create the piece. When I finish, I like my audience to feel the music, the peaceful movement and the colors that bring to life that scene. For example, if it is a sunset, you can hear the music with the colors and movement of the sea as the sun goes down.
I am most proud of a Saturday afternoon when a group of volunteers and artists helped me put together an event for a school of special needs children and their families. The children and their parents picked the picture they wanted to paint together. This was a time for the parents to forget the issues in their lives and spend quality time with their children. It was the best experience these kids and their parents experienced. We raised enough funds to provide for the entire experience. My goal in the future is to have a place where we have more opportunities like this one for families.
Going from a successful career to put myself out there and have people critique my work is not easy. This was a dream of mine since I was very young. I remember attending my first professional exhibition at the age of 23 and no one buying a single piece. I stopped painting for a long time and focused on my business career. It was in the last 12 years that I decided to try again. I felt that enough time had passed and I had a different perspective in life and began painting again. Having tried many mediums, I chose abstract art. With abstract art there was no right or wrong. It was the artist’s perspective and up to the audience to interpret that art piece. Since then, I have had great response to my art. I sold out in a few Art Shows and exhibited in a couple of museums. I have been featured in several magazines and my work is in 3 galleries. I also launched a fashion line under RoxanaZubia.com. The fashion line represents several of my art pieces. These pieces have been transferred to fabric creating scarfs, blouses, and shawls. What have I learned along the way? Never give up on your dreams. There is an audience for every artist. You just have to find your audience!
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
If my friend was visiting me before or after labor day, one of my favorite events in Miami is definitely Miami Spice. Miami Spice Restaurant Month showcases the very best of greater Miami with diverse cuisine and world-renowned chefs. We can start off the day with brunch at Verde in Perez Art Museum. Bottomless Mimosas for only $24.00 with the best views of Miami. Follow by a spa day at the Mandarin Oriental. We would drive through Little Havana for a Cuban culture experience and end the night in bar/lounge Ball and Chain for dinner food and drinks. The next day, a great beach day. We would go to one of the resort pool day that includes beach access. For dinner definitely a sunset dinner at Juvia in Miami Beach. You can’t leave Miami without checking out the Design District and Wynwood Walls. There is great shopping and galleries to visit. It’s definitely a cultural experience. At night check out Estefan Kitchen restaurant by the Estefans. They have live night entertainment as well. Next day, we would drive through the city, check out the famous Ocean Drive. Stop by Mangos for a fruity drink & light lunch. In the sunset head out to Brickell Center and go to a rooftop bar called Sugar. The views are breathtaking. For dinner, a great restaurant just down the street is called Komodo restaurant. They are a participating Miami Spice restaurant so you can have an amazing experience without breaking the bank. For the last leg of the trip, enjoy breakfast at Next cafe on Lincoln Road followed by a car drive through Miracle Mile in Coral Gables. Stop by Cristy’s for lunch ( participating Miami spice restaurant ) and enjoy a nice afternoon walking Miracle Mile.If you are up for evening cocktails, enjoy it at Nikki Beach followed by dinner at Smith and Wollensky sunset by the water at South Point.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My husband who has supported me in everything I have done. Whether it was as an insurance executive or an artist. I think he has been my biggest fan and someone who has been there through every up and down. My children, who have always encouraged me to be the best I can be and never let me doubt myself or my talent.
My parents for showing me that you can always start all over again no matter what and not to be afraid. My Lord, Jesus Christ, because he showered me with the blessings of my family, my friends, my career, my talent and everything in my life!
Image photos are done by Nestor at Art D Plus in Miami, Florida