FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - A South Florida woman is overcoming obstacles to chase a longtime dream. She might not have a place to call home, but her aspirations are greater than her circumstances.
Beauty is Lala Diior’s passion. “Being pretty, feeling pretty, makes me just feel like I’m on top of the world, makes me feel beautiful,” she said.
On Wednesday, Diior, who is transgender, applied her favorite purple lipstick and made sure her hair was just right as she waited to catch a bus to go to school at the Florida Barber College.
“I love doing makeup, I love doing hair,” she said.
But it might be difficult for Diior to find beauty in her immediate surroundings. She lives at a park in Downtown Fort Lauderdale, and for about two years, she’s had nowhere else to go.
Diior listed a series of challenges she must deal with on a daily basis. “The rats, the mosquitoes, sleeping outside,” she said. “When you put something down, they steal it. You have to guard it with your life.”
Diior was born Jonathan and adopted at age 7. She said her adoptive parents threw her out at age 15 because she did not want to live as a male.
“Growing up, I always wore my mom’s shoes, my mom’s dresses, so it was always there,” she said. “I came home from school, and they told me that I had to leave because they didn’t want people like me in the home.”
Her adoptive parents’ decision affected Diior’s self-esteem. “It made me feel really, really low because they’re the only parents that I ever knew,” she said.
Diior bounced from group homes to friends’ houses, until one day… “My roommate moved out when I went to work, so eventually I lost the place, and that’s why I’m here now,” she said.
She leans on her boyfriend Eric, who also lives at the park. They keep their belongings under a tarp.
Diior was able to get a loan to go to school. Meanwhile, Eric’s job as a telemarketer gives them some money.
“Some people do come here and pass out food, and it helps, but sometimes.,” said Eric. “What about the days when they don’t come out here?”
But Diior’s vision goes beyond this park. “It’s actually going to be called ‘Lala Land,’ and it’s going to be for a full spa, whatever you want,” she said. “You can get your hair done, your nails done. I want people to come there one way and leave another way.”
2018 will be the year that, Diior hopes, she and Eric will leave the park — and “Lala Land” becomes a reality.
Until then, the beauty is in the journey. “If I see a person, I can see the potential of them being beautiful, being done up, you know, just having high self-esteem,” said Diior. “Sometimes the world’s on my shoulders, and I try to shake it off and just hold my head up and keep going.”
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