Two years ago, Palmetto student Karla Cabello auditioned for the second season of the X Factor. Since then, she has become a part of one of the world’s most famous girl group, Fifth Harmony. While Cabello, who now goes by her middle name, Camila, withdrew from Palmetto nearly halfway through the 2012-2013 school year, she maintains a personal connection to her hometown and the memories she created in it. In this interview, The Panther addresses life changing events that Cabello has experienced and where she plans to go from where she is now.
Q: What sparked your interest in pursuing your singing career?
Camila Cabello: I’ve loved music since I can remember, but I always brushed it off as a hobby that I should keep to myself. It was this wild daydream that I believed I could never actually achieve. At one point I would cry even if my parents asked me to sing for them because the stage fright was that bad. After enough times of being asked the question, “what do you want to be when you grow up?” and me not knowing what to answer because what I was really passionate about seemed so impossible… I decided to grow a pair. I decided I wasn’t going to let fear stop me from living a life I was passionate about. I decided to audition just to see if I was good, and that’s all it takes- 5 seconds of bravery to change your whole life.
Q: In your opinion, what is something that sets you apart from everyone else?
I think if there’s any quality that I’m proud to say I like about myself, it’s that I always make it a point to do what I’m afraid of. If it’s auditioning for millions of people when I haven’t ever taken a lesson and still get shy in front of my parents, I’ll do it. If it’s trying to hit a note I’m scared of during a performance, I’ll do it. If it’s going out with a boy I like even if it makes me nervous, I’ll do it. Standing up for myself is scary? I’ll do it. It’s kind of my motto. If there’s any advice I can give to anyone that wants to live a passionate life its, “Feel the fear and do it anyway”.
Q: If you had not auditioned for the X Factor, what would your life be like today?
I think it would be a lot less fulfilling. There’s something really nice about feeling like your purpose in life is to do what you love doing. However, and I don’t mean to sound all mom on this, education has always been really important to me and I do plan on going to college no matter what, so I’d probably be doing that.
Q: Was it easy to bond with the other girls in your group?
We kinda had to. Normally the friendship process is getting to know someone at their best and then being there through the ugly times. We started our backwards- saw each other at our breaking points first, we had to be there for each other. It was the most intense experience of our lives as individuals and we could not get through it if we didn’t have each other.
Q: What is your relationship with each of them like?
It’s different with every girl, I connect with each of them in a very different way. I think being in the group has taught me a lot about loyalty, about acceptance, and about what friendship really is. We spend more time with each other than we do our own families, which makes it feel like we’re sisters. We fight and we bicker, but we know at the end of the day we’re all we have and we can fight between us but if anybody messes with any of them from outside, I will always fight for them and protect them.
Q: Do you still plan on completing your high school courses/getting a college education?
I actually finished high school! But I am definitely getting a college education. Getting a good education was the reason I came to the USA in the first place and it’s a family value I don’t intend on losing.
Q: Do you see yourself as a role model to your younger fans?
I definitely feel a responsibility to be as best a person as possible for our younger fans, not to mention I have a younger sister. I know how much my actions weigh on them because I grew up idolizing Demi [Lovato], [One Direction] and [Justin] Bieber, and I wanted to be just like them. I know how being nice to [the fans] can make a terrible day a great one and how my story can inspire theirs just like other people’s stories inspired mine.
Q: Who do you consider an inspiration?
I love Emma Watson, Jennifer Lawrence, Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran, my family, my sister and our fans! They all make me excited about things.
Q: How has becoming internationally famous changed your life?
I can’t really go to the airport looking like a homeless person now. Which is really hard.
Q: Your family/friends’ lives?
My family is so proud. They really just want me to be happy doing what I love, but I think what they’re most proud of is that they know how hard I’ve worked to get to where I am. And my friends get SO EXCITED and all we do is fangirl about people together.
Q: What do you miss about Palmetto?
You know what you’re not gonna believe? I actually sometimes barely but not really but sometimes very rarely miss homework. It sounds so cheesy but I really do miss learning something new everyday.
Q: What do you look forward to doing whenever you are back in Miami?
Sleep and Cuban food.
Q: What advice could you give someone who is looking to pursue their passion (whether it is in the music industry or out)?
Feel the fear and do it anyway. Believe in yourself. Love yourself. Root for yourself. Know that at the end of the day your life is yours, not your parents or your friends or your boyfriends or your girlfriends, it’s yours. You have to do what makes you happy because you’re really all you got. High school is hard but there’s a huge giant world out there full of adventure if you’re brave enough (and if you work hard enough). So go for it.
Q: What’s up next for Fifth Harmony?
We’ve got an album coming out January 27th called Reflection. Our new single Sledgehammer is out and so is the video. OH WE’RE ALSO PERFORMING FOR THE PRESIDENT AND FOR X FACTOR UK AND IM FREAKING OUT. A lot of really amazing things beyond my wildest dreams.