Twin Sisters Embody the American Dream — LIFEAID Spotlight on Margarita & Natalia Guzman
Twin sisters from Colombia share a glimpse into the struggle and perseverance which brought them to America, and the strength it took to help them build their lives as extreme fitness athletes and personal trainers.
Natalia & Margarita Guzman (best known on social media as @Las2winz) migrated to the United States from Tunja, Colombia in June of 2001. Living in fear, with the family receiving daily life threats, their parents made the decision to move away from Colombia in search of a safer life in the United states.
June 15, 2001, was the day the twin sisters' lives would change forever.
Speaking zero English, the Guzmans left their families behind and their parents sold their business, basically restarting their lives from scratch. Everything their parents worked so hard for their entire lives was (poof!) gone.
To say they experienced culture shock in the United States would be a severe understatement. The Guzmans went from living in a 3-bedroom house to a 2-bedroom apartment. Their parents, Juan and Esperanza, went from owning their own business to working low-income jobs just to pay the bills. The hardest part of moving to the U.S. was the language barrier — not being able to understand or communicate with anyone.
“We were bullied a lot,” Margarita admits. “People made fun of how we spoke. There were not many friends.”
Growing up as non-English-speaking immigrant students proved very challenging and oftentimes lonely, as the girls struggled to make friends amidst such a thick language barrier. As middle schoolers, Natalia and Margarita were teased simply for the way they spoke, leading to many insecurities. They also endured the struggles of watching both of their parents work jobs they did not love — such as delivering bouncy houses to parties on the weekends, newspaper routes in the early mornings and cleaning offices late at night.
The pain of watching their parents fall from the position of business owners to working low-paying jobs proved both heartbreaking and motivating.
At the age of 15, both Natalia and Margarita started working, eventually working their way through college. Juggling full-time jobs and a full college course load was no easy task for either of them, but they managed to graduate from CSU-Long Beach in 2004, with Business degrees in Finance. Soon after graduating, they both began working out and ended up getting jobs as personal trainers at a bootcamp called OC|FIT.
"It was in that environment (at OC|FIT) that we found our passion and calling. We were meant to inspire, motivate and change people’s lives through fitness."
For the next four years, the Guzman sisters went on to be trainers and manage one of OC|Fit's five locations. This helped Natalia build up enough courage to open our own (sixth) location of OC|Fit on April 2, 2018. With the support of their clients, both of their savings and their parents' life savings, the Guzman girls suddenly went from working for someone else to owning their own business in the United States of America.
"We can proudly say that we have achieved the American Dream. We started from nothing with nothing and built a successful gym that changes lives every single day," says Margarita.
Their hard work, tenacity, discipline, motivation and drive to succeed propelled the Guzmans to become Latina women business owners.
As fitness enthusiasts, the twins have also completed extreme obstacle course races in Las Vegas, Dallas, San Francisco, Lake Tahoe, Oahu and Seattle.
"Every day we are living the American Dream, and we have our parents to thank for that. Everyone is given the ability to make their dreams a reality, it is up to each of us to get out there, work hard, and make it happen."
Twin sisters Margarita & Natalia (@Las2winz) are not just living the American Dream,
their story is inspiring others to ...
> > > Live well.
Top photo credit: Bill Alkofer, Orange County Register/SCNG