Liss: If you don’t start doing something, you’ll never learn it
In BOP faces we talk to local legends: the people of Punta Cana that make this place so special. In this edition: Liss, a self-taught creative all-rounder who came to Punta Cana at the age of 18. BOP spoke to her about her love for making crochet beachwear, singing, and murals.
“In Punta Cana I felt that things were different. I met so many creative people!” Lissette Tolentino (24), recalls the moment she came to Punta Cana. Her hands move up and down when she talks. With her big red curly afro and starfish pink silver earrings, Liss is not one to be overlooked. As she passes a small crowd that is watching a guy sing Redemption song from Bob Marley, a man walks up to her. He asks her if she is going to be singing too. As she walks ahead someone stops her again to tell her something else. “Everyone knows each other in Punta Cana. It seems big, but it is actually very small,” Liss says laughing.
The question of the man asking Liss to sing did not come out of the blue. Growing up in San Pedro de Macoris, Liss always felt different than the people around her. She dressed in another style than her peers. Luckily, she grew up with parents who encouraged her creativity from a young age. Drawn to the sewing skills of her mom and the singing skills of her dad, who is a singer of romantic old Mexican ballads, Liss combined these two trades from a young age.
Moving to Punta Cana
“How I got here is actually a funny story. In San Pedro de Macoris I had my own project in which I used to sing Reggaeton, R&B and Hip-Hop music. I wrote my own songs and recorded them. Some of the songs were Latin versions of American ones. I did a version of What’s My Name from Rihanna once. This project became popular and at the age of 18 people of the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Punta Cana asked me if I would want to be a singer at the hotel. I was so excited it was surreal! But I had to audition. I sang Stay from Rihanna and I got the job.”
“At the hotel we used to do live shows every day. We even dressed up like the artists. One night I was Lady Gaga. I had those gigantic heels on. I thought I would die! Although singing is one of my passions, after two years I felt like had done it all. I did not want to be too comfortable so I quit. Afterwards I did all kinds of different jobs. I even sold memberships of the vacation club of the Hard Rock Hotel. Singing at different places in Punta Cana, is also something I used to do.”
“I grew up in Punta Cana. The number of things I have learned in the 6 years of being here you would not imagine. I got to know myself. The crazy weird side and that people understand that side of me and accept it. Jumping into things without even knowing how to do something is one of those sides. One day I decided to stop singing because I wanted to focus on myself on a personal level and work on other projects. My bikini line Dali accessories is one of them.”
Liss shows a picture of a model wearing a green crocheted bikini on her phone. “These I make for people. I did not know how to crochet. It was when a girlfriend of a friend of mine showed me how to crochet. She gave me my first hook and yarns and it took off from there. I get inspiration from the things I am surrounded with, I look around.”
“On another day my boyfriend asked me to make a mural in his apartment. Although I never made one before, I know how to draw so I made it. You can see one of my murals in the new Mandala learning center that is going to be opened in Bavaro.”
“This is something I want to teach others too. I want to show people that you can teach yourself things. That is why I am also starting a Youtube channel called Curly Lichy. On this channel I will have do it yourself tutorials on hair. But also, tutorials on crochet and other things. If you don’t start doing something, you’ll never learn it.”
“There was only one sad moment in Punta Cana. It was when I got sick for the first time and not having my family. I was completely alone. But I stepped out of it because my friends became my family and I never felt lonely again. There are so many creative people here. We are one big family.
I know it everyone’s favorite spot, but Macao beach takes my breath away. Macao becomes part of you. I experienced beautiful things in Macao. Falling in love and singing on the beach.
“Going out is not something I do a lot, but if I go, I go to Noise music parties or Soles. But for live music I am always in! There is a new night at Our Republic next Tuesday with live Jazz and Reggae!”
“I love living in Punta Cana. Even I could travel the world, I would always return to Punta Cana.”
Get in touch with Liss through Instagram! https://www.instagram.com/curlylichy/ https://www.instagram.com/daliaccessories/