When Tiffany Advincula gave her name and telephone number to Bella’s Quinces, a one-stop shop for all things quinceañera in South Miami, she never thought it would lead her to national television.
A few months later, Advincula and her mother, Rosie, received a call from TLC.
“All I was looking for was a dress,” Advincula remembers. “I didn’t realize that [I was] writing my information to enter me in a chance to get chosen for the show. But then it happened.”
In February 2015, Advincula was cast for “Sweet 15: Quinceañera,” a series focused on what it means to turn 15 in a Latin family. Based in Miami, the show highlights local girls’ journeys into womanhood and the lavish celebrations that come with them, such as a professional photo shoot in a hot air balloon or a grand trip to Europe.
“Being on television has always been a dream and a passion of mine,” Advincula says. “When they reached out, I knew I had to do it.”
The episode that featured Advincula, now 16 and a sophomore at Our Lady of Lourdes Academy, centered around the ice because she spent many years as a figure skater. One of the most memorable moments was when her mother rented out an entire skating rink for Advincula’s ice-themed photo shoot.
“I never had a ‘quince,’ ” her mother says. “I definitely lived vicariously through her in this experience. Turning 15 is a huge deal in our family, and we wanted to make every moment as special as possible.”
Advincula was filmed six different times over a period of three months, documenting photo shoots, dress shopping and family celebrations.
“You end up forgetting the camera is there,” Advincula says. “If I could, I would definitely do it again.”
Instead of a blowout soiree, Advincula toured the Mediterranean on a cruise through Europe to celebrate her coming of age.
“It’s actually funny because, on one of the evenings, I let her wear her [quinceañera] dress. Everyone started clapping because they thought she was a bride,” her mother says. “I realized how many people don’t know about the culture, which shows why this show is important.”
“You get to see into the Latina community,” Advincula adds. “Everyone got to see my experience, which is a very similar experience in all Latin families.”
The series was slated to air in November 2015 but was postponed because of scheduling issues. Advincula’s episode debuted about a year later, and repeats are shown on the Discovery Familia channel.
“When I watch it back, it’s crazy to see how much I have grown,” Advincula says. “I get to relive the experience every time.”
Her mother adds: “It was such a blessing to be able to share it with more than just our friends and family. We were able to share it with families across the nation and spread our tradition far beyond Miami.”