Let's come get to know her.
Stephania is one of four. Her mother is Salvadorian. Her father was a Mulatto American. He was fluent in Spanish as he had great hopes of being a missionary in Latin America. He went to El Salvador on a missions trip. It was there that he met Gabriela. He fell in love with her. He saw the poverty she came from, and he wanted to give her a better life. So when he returned to the States, she came with him.
Life wasn't always easy. Harold actually had no formal degree. Now with a wife, he was forced to find any job he could. The first job that was offered to him was as a school janitor. He worked hard for what little pay he earned, but he was bound and determined to give Gabriela a good life. The family was raised in a poor section of Philadelphia, but it still surpassed Gabriela's home in El Salvador. They lived a modest life, and the children wanted for nothing.
Their seemed to be a normal, quiet life until Harold passed away unexpectedly from a heart attack. Suddenly, the family found themselves in a tragic situation. Gabriela lost her husband, and her only income. The children were now fatherless, and their futures suddenly looked bleak.
At fifteen, Steph had no choice but to work. Her mother did various odds-and-ends work whenever she could. Stephania dropped out of school and worked at a taco store in the mall. It wasn't great work, but it brought in money. Her sisters, Yoanna and Erendiria earned money by cleaning houses and offices.
The family was able to keep a roof over their head. Alvaro, Steph's younger brother, was the only one who was able to stay in school as he was too young to work. The women all sacrificed, but they held no resentments. They were happy to keep the family safe and together.
At sixteen, Stephania has an experience that is something out of a fairy tale. By some force of serendipity, a modeling agent sees Stephania at work, and offers her the chance of a life time. Gabriela is skeptical at first, but it ends up being the family's Cinderella story.
Early on in her modeling career, Steph meets an energetic model named Chrissy.
Stephania never really ponders whether or not she's gay. She always found women attractive, but she never put a label on herself.
Chrissy opens Stephania to love, lust, and life in the fast lane. Sex, drugs, and rock-and-roll were the norm for their daily life. Their careers and use of recreational drugs puts them in some interesting situations. Following her parents' example, Stephania is completely smitten and loyal to Chrissy from the beginning. Unfortunately, Chrissy is unable to respect Stephania in the same manner. Their wild life knows no bounds, especially for Chrissy.
Time after time, Steph hopes that things will change. Perhaps she's reading too much into things. Maybe Chrissy will realize the depth of her love and remain faithful to her. Chrissy is given many chances, but she fails every time.
In the midst of all this, Steph receives horrible news that her brother, Alvaro has died.
When the family comes together, pressure is placed on Steph to come clean. Alvaro died from an overdose of heroine. After losing her father, and now her brother, Stephania is at a cross roads.
During all of this, Chrissy is nowhere to be found.
The final nail in her coffin isn't Alvaro's death, however. It's at a moment where Chrissy dismisses Steph's heritage and upbringing.
Stephania finally found the courage and self-respect she needed. She then focuses on her work, and her life improves tremendously.
By yet another serendipitous encounter, Steph meets Linda Scott, a local lesbian who is a mechanic. The two hit it off, and they forge a great friendship. They begin to work on an annual calendar to help benefit the LGBT community. By doing so, they both open themselves up to new people and new experiences.
When Stephania finally meets Maria, something clicks. She realizes she has met someone like no one else she's ever met. Maria is older, wiser, calmer, and far more stable. Maria reminds Steph of her family, and the importance of love and devotion. She is fascinated by Maria's work as a writer. Moreover, she is fascinated by the woman.
One date becomes two becomes a trip to New York. The pair had taken their relationship slowly. Stephania still struggled with trust issues resulting from her relationship with Chrissy. Maria lived a quiet solitary life for far too long. This trip became the turning point for their relationship. One night at the hotel, Stephania comes out from the bathroom looking ravishing in some lingerie. Maria's reaction is not one Steph could have expected. But with all the love in her heart, she spends the night consoling Maria.
Their relationship solidifies thanks to that trip. From there on, they knew theirs was a marriage in the truest sense.
Due to her drug use, and even her childhood, Stephania can be quite eccentric. She is liable to say unusual things, make silly faces, or be just plain quirky. She is a free spirit, and she enjoys her uniqueness. She does not worry about how other people perceive her. Any judgment is their problem, not hers. She is odd, but she is genuine. Her love and concern are unwavering. She is loyal to her family friends - to the bitter end at that. She may say something that could shock or embarrass you, but she will give you the shirt off her back.
Stephania is a very fun character. She is intense, immature at times and wise at others. She struggled through so much in her life, and yet she is one of the most tender people you'll ever meet. She is grateful for all that she has, and she clearly appreciates the people in her life. Unusual, unique, and unforgettable, Stephania is one great woman.
Favorite quote from Stephania: “No skin off my back, cusca.”