Chicago girl wears traditional terno and Yucatán falls in love

Young Taylor being photographed in Izamal by local photographer Julio Leal Ortiz. Photo: Courtesy
Young Taylor being photographed in Izamal by local photographer Julio Leal Ortiz. Photo: Courtesy

A 5-year-old girl from Chicago posed for a birthday photoshoot in Izamal while wearing a traditional terno.

The girl, whose name is Taylor, and her mother are featured in a YouTube travel channel in which they visit destinations all over the world. 

Social media was filled with fawned comments over how good the girl looks in traditional Yucatecan garb.

The Yucatecan terno is a traditional set of garments most often worn to parties and ceremonies. It is accompanied by a shawl that goes over the neck and extends down the back, as well as jewelry such as gold bracelets and earrings. 

The most notable feature of the Yucatecan terno is its elaborate and colorful embroidery. Patterns often include geometric shapes, flowers, and animals. 

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Some commentators, mostly foreign, wondered if the photographs could be seen as an instance of cultural appropriation. But most felt that the pictures were beautiful and respectful to Yucatán and its traditions. 

As a whole, Yucatecos tend not to have much of a problem with outsiders celebrating elements of their culture. The concept of cultural appropriation is irrelevant, as long as their culture is being treated with respect, observers of local traditions say.

One exception may be traditional food. People in Yucatan get snarky if regional dishes are prepared “wrong” by outsiders, especially Mexico City folk. 

The photographs of young Taylor were taken by local photographer Julio Leal Ortiz, who said he was delighted with the photographs and public reactions. 

Carlos Rosado van der Gracht

Born in Mérida, Carlos Rosado van der Gracht is a Mexican/Canadian blogger, photographer and adventure expedition leader. He holds degrees in multimedia, philosophy and translation from universities in Mexico, Canada and Norway.