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Miami artist combines creativity and work ethic to get her hair products in Walmart stores

Michael Butler, Miami Herald on

Published in Fashion Daily News

Peace, love and joy are three themes central to the artwork and life of 2011 Coral Reef High School graduate and South Beach resident Reyna Noreiga.

Whether it’s spending time with her Cuban father and Bahamian mother, three siblings or pet schnauzer Pepper, the 2015 Florida International University alumna takes pride in her Miami roots and her family’s Caribbean lineage.

The visual artist and entrepreneur’s latest collaboration with hair care company Goody is emblematic of that. For the project, Reyna designed 60 hair accessories, such as scrunchies, bows and combs, that can be found in about 3,000 Walmart stores locally and nationwide. Her full name is on the packaging making it easy to spot her product collection in stores.

Noriega, 30, took time to discuss her heritage as an Afro-Caribbean Latina, the importance of representation and how she balances her creative skills and routine as an entrepreneur.

Q: Why was it important for you as an artist to stay in Miami?

A: It speaks to a lot of things I like. I’m a very balanced person and like to be able to observe chaos from a distance. I like my peace and I’m from a Caribbean family, so I’m drawn to the beach and to the tropics. I just feel like Miami has a lot of diversity and different areas with different feelings, and those bring out different sides of my creativity.


I’ve gone to other places and love them. In New York, it’s very fast and makes you feel very ambitious, but I didn’t get the sense of peace that I do from the ocean. A lot of my friends in the art world tend to leave for Los Angeles or New York to find success. I always wanted to make it here.

Q: How has being an art teacher led to your career as a visual artist and entrepreneur?

A: I was a substitute teacher and the Everglades Preparatory Academy administration knew I loved art, so when the art teacher quit at the last minute a week before school started, they asked me to cover as a sub. I loved it so much that they didn’t end up hiring someone and I stayed. I implemented a bunch of clubs and it was a lot of fun.

Aside from that, as an artist, I started to create through the lens of my students. They were creating more carefree and were doing it for fun, whereas I was putting so much pressure on myself before that. It allowed me to enjoy making art and I was making it for them. Everything I made they loved. It was like having a built-in audience because they were cheering me on.


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