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The Beauty of TCKness: LaTonia Robinson

LaTonia Robinson. Photo taken by M.Jones Imaging.
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For fashion model LaTonia Robinson, being a Third Culture Kid (TCK) is not a label. Rather, it’s a journey.

Robinson and being Jamaican-American

Robinson is Jamaican-American who was born and raised in New York and now lives in Florida. She was brought up by two Jamaican parents that prominently retained their Jamaican culture regardless of their geography. Being a Cross-Cultural Kid (CCK) can be experienced in many ways, however for Robinson it meant being in two completely different worlds as soon as she stepped in and out of her home.

LaTonia Robinson. (Photo credit: Joyanne Panton)
LaTonia Robinson. (Photo credit: Joyanne Panton)

Growing up in New York was “fine” for Robinson because it is a “melting pot,” therefore she had no problem. Although she carries Jamaica with her everywhere she goes, she feels less of a connection to Jamaican culture in Florida than in New York. And even though she technically didn’t grow up abroad, she still considers herself to be a TCK.

Robinson’s TCKness is a part of the journey into becoming the woman she is today. In a telephone interview, this is what she had to say about her TCK and CCK story:

What answers did knowing that you’re a TCK provide for you?

“I think because I am a TCK, I think I view things a little differently than the average person or average American that has been born here. Me being a TCK of Jamaican decent and having my parents come straight from Jamaica and then here to raise me, showed me a little difference in the American dream. Putting in the extra effort and work can go a long way.”

How did having a TCK background affect your career and accomplishments?

LaTonia Robinson. (Photo credit: M.Jones Imaging)
LaTonia Robinson. (Photo credit: M.Jones Imaging)

“There is like a joke that Jamaicans have like 15 jobs because we are known to multi-task, so it is like a continuation of that mindset. I have a go-getter mind set — it has been instilled in me ever since childhood because I didn’t have a map, because my family were immigrants so the way they perceived things are different than me being a TCK growing up.”

What would you say to the people that are going through the lost identity of not knowing they are TCK?

“I would tell them that it is OK, and that being different is OK. All these experiences create who you are. And you will recall that more when you are able to reflect and grow older. You will appreciate where you came from and wherever it is you are not. It just makes a well-rounded person who can see things from multiple vantage points and perspectives.”

Robinson continues to live in Florida and hopes to one day go back to Jamaica for more than a week.

I think as a TCK myself, Robinson’s words and perspective resonate with me highly.

Check out LaTonia Robinson’s contributions to Culturs here. and her website here.

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9 comments

  1. This was a great showcase piece. I really enjoyed reading LaTonia’s advice to TCKs that don’t know they’re TCKs. It can be confusing and difficult trying to wrap your head around why you’re different from your peers, and the encouragement and peace offered here are helpful. I agree that the TCK experience can definitely be an advantage as it teaches us to view the world from a more wholistic and agile standpoint, and it’s great to see an ATCK expressing love and support for the next generation.

  2. I enjoyed this quick profile piece. It’s great to see TCK-ness used as a strength and openly discussed. Like mental health, the more people talk about these things means the more advocacy and awareness gets spread to the public. If Robinson could use her TCK-ness as a strength for her work and own it as gracefully as she did, then so can others who are wondering if it’s even possible. This was a good way of showing others that one’s image extends outside of just their literal picture. Everything that makes someone special can be owned and showed with grace, and I’m glad to see Robinson show that here.

  3. This is a great introduction to a specific TCK experience. Robinson’s perspective on being a TCK and acknowledging who you are. It is insightful to hear about her experience in New York, which is a melting pot in itself. Hearing her story gives me better clarity on the benefits and struggles of TCKs.

  4. What a positive outlook on living within a TCK lifestyle! I really enjoyed that Robinson pointed out that individuality is a good thing and you should almost be proud of your differences compared to others. I agree that your mindset has a significant dictation on whether or not you feel whole as a person, and if you continue trying to expand/grow, then you will feel complete.

  5. I like the way she says that being a TCK makes her works a little bit harder. I think that this is so true TCK have to work harder to catch up with every culture they go to. Is not only that they have to know the cultures they identify with most but they also have to work hard to know every new culture. Is as if they have to prove themselves no matter where they go. I think that this helps a lot of TCK have a more open experience with all of cultures they come in contact with.

  6. LaTonia Robinson puts the experience of being a TCK beautifully in this interview. For a lot of TCKs, it can be hard to create a solid sense of identity. Especially for younger TCKs, they may become overwhelmed with the many factors that go into being a TCK. Robinson does a great job of encouraging TCKs to push through and use the many experiences to become a more well rounded adult.

  7. I really love that Robinson’s parents were so proud of their culture that they still maintained it in American and in Robinson’s childhood. It is valuable to have a culture upon which you are comfortable in and she seems to find that comfort in Jamaica. Robinson holds the identity of a TCK close to her heart, and I appreciate that she has found comfort within the places she has lived in America. It seems that with acceptance and comfortability, there is room for growth, but the fact that she felt welcome and could grow her identity is heartwarming.

  8. I really enjoyed this article and it definitely gave a different outlook. I am not a TCK, but seeing a perspective from someone who is is very important. It helps me keep an open mind to how others see and experience the world different from me. Being able to see things from other perspectives is important as well.

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