Being in construction can be a double-edged sword. It can provide you with strong work ethic and make you take pride in the work you do and leave you a dependable worker but it can also put you in your way of the spotlight.
Danielle Lara Chirinos is a dark-haired girl who wants to be model, actress, singer and the queen of all of those things. Although she was born in the Philippines, the 21-year-old moved to Southern California with her family when she was five years old to pursue a life in Hollywood. She’s been working in construction for the past five years and it has become a lifestyle for her.
“I’m focusing on catering to this new project. I’m focused on building this house that I like to talk about,” Chirinos said as she stood behind a building while listening to a storyteller.
She continued by saying: “You can see all the fruits of my labor.”
Chirinos built an entire 30-foot tower from cement and cement mixers. The tower was built in one day, which is something she was able to do at work so she can get out there and check it all out.
“How can I live a normal life as a woman that I love my job?” Chirinos asked her friend in a native Filipino accent. “That’s what my job is.”
“You know you bring a lot of pride to yourself as an immigrant,” said business owner Clayton Bratman, Chirinos’ boss, who is also of Filipino descent. “It’s a lot to hold that you came from a different country and made it to this point of building great structures. I am proud of you.”
Bratman describes the skyscraper as a “Harry Potter-type construction of steel and concrete construction.”
“Everything the person saw from the outside is as it is from the inside,” said Chirinos, who went on to explain that all of the work takes the property around 8 years to complete. “It’s not so many years. It’s just a lot of work.”
Bratman said it’s one of the best qualities of working with Chirinos.
“I like that she is building everything the guest sees,” he said. “She’s caring about how people feel.”
When I asked if there’s a project or two that Chirinos isn’t handling, she replied, “Not really. Everything looks like it belongs here because I did all of it.”
As I left my friend’s side and drove off, he told me what is on his mind.
“If you find someone who is doing it and is doing it well like her,” Bratman said. “You got to hang around them. You’ve got to understand.”
Chirinos laughed and said that’s exactly what she plans to do.
“I’m trying to think about this opportunity I have and just taking advantage of every single day,” she said.
She made this whole project in a single day, which makes you wonder how many projects she has in the pipeline that she’s not yet finished with.
“I want to work hard,” she said. “I’m going to continue working hard.
Jenna Alfonso is a writer living in Atlanta. She is passionate about journalism, activism, and education. Follow her @aboutjenna