Janny Marín—better known as Chiquis Rivera—seemed to have it all. The New York Times bestselling author and Latin Grammy award-winning singer-songwriter grew up in the public eye as the daughter of reality television star Jenni Rivera.
But behind the scenes, things weren’t so perfect. A legendary Regional Mexican singer, Jenni Rivera died tragically in a plane accident after a concert in Mexico. Chiquis became the emotional support system for her four siblings. She struggled with food addiction, anxiety, and low self-esteem. Her marriage came apart.
But the young musical artist emerged from the tough times through the help of her faith and sense of humor. Now, she’s written a new book called Unstoppable (in English) or Invencible (in Spanish) (Atria Books, 2022).
In this Q&A, Chiquis Rivera talks about the possibility of returning to reality TV. She also details her personal life philosophy and shares the advice she gives others.
1. There’s this powerful quote in your new book:
You’re not the first Latina I’ve heard use chingona to describe herself. Writer Sandra Cisneros and journalist Maria Hinojosa also do. Why is that word so important?
Some might see it as slang, but it’s a word of empowerment, another word for “badass.” Women use this word to feel confident, unapologetic, and outspoken. That doesn’t mean disrespectful. There’s a big difference. It’s a word describing a strong-minded woman who knows who she is—and where she’s going in life.
2. You grew up in front of the camera while in television shows like Chiquis and Raq-C, I Love Jenni, Chiquis ‘n Control and Chiquis Confidential. With what you know today, would you allow the cameras into your life again?
Yes, I think I would. I did 10 years in reality TV. It’s pretty oversaturated now but I’m a person that doesn’t have anything to hide. I wouldn’t mind sharing certain things but a lot of television, especially reality, is all about the drama. I’m not about that. I like to keep the peace, especially amongst the people that live in my home, like my brothers and sisters, and the people that are important to me.
3. Congratulations on your 2020 Latin Grammy for Best Banda Album of the Year. You were the first artist to debut at the top of the Regional Mexican album chart since your mom did in 2016. Mothers can sometimes be jealous of their daughters. What do you think Jenni’s reaction would’ve been?
My mom and I were 15 years apart, so we were like sisters. It’s not only my Grammy but ours because she paved the way for me and for many women in this genre. She’s definitely proud. I feel it in my heart.
She would have celebrated—and is celebrating—that Latin Grammy with me. We always did say that a date would come where she would rest, and I’d be working. I just never thought that she would be resting in this way.
4. You’ve been so open about the pain in your past, including surviving childhood sexual abuse. How have you learned to acknowledge the past but still achieve so much?
I’m not the only one that has gone through that. If God has given me this platform to speak about the things that I’ve been through to help other people, then I have to. It’s helped me not feel sorry for myself. I’m not a victim. It’s just what happened. It’s not who I am and doesn’t define where I’m going. I don’t want to be a statistic. I’m very adamant about that.
5. What prompted you to start BossBee Nation (Built on Self-Success, Babe Embracing Evolution)?
[The creation of] Embracing Evolution is a very long story and makes up part of the book. The short answer? I wanted to create a group of people spreading good, on either a big or smaller scale. Our mission is changing the world, one heart at a time. We’re this community of people from different states and different countries, all living with good intentions and embracing the world and what it throws at us. That’s the gist of it, but there’s more detail in the book.
Your life philosophy is “Either I thrive, or I learn.” That’s some major life wisdom from someone who isn’t even 40 yet.
Thank you. Yes, I’m 36.
6. What’s the root cause of your wisdom?
Going through as much as I’ve gone through and knowing that I have a godly purpose. I think we all do. Some of us find it earlier than others, but we all have a godly purpose. It’s about being intentional and taking a step towards that every single day.
I always am the type of person that looks for the lesson behind each situation and tries to reflect on what things I can do better, so I don’t have to go through this pain again. I definitely consider myself wise beyond my years. I’m an old soul.
7. What advice do you have for others?
It all depends. If you’re going through a tough moment, just know that pain does end. I do embrace those moments where I’m tired, upset, and want to cry. I allow myself to feel that pain. But I always tell myself, ‘This too shall pass. This is a moment, a day, or a couple of days.’ I try my best for it not to linger.