Nelly Rodriguez, aka Nina Foreign lived a enjoyable life with it’s own unique set of challenges. She was born in Tamaulipas, Mexico and lived with her mother until she was 3 years old and then was raised by her grandma until she was 7 while her mom had moved to the Unites States to try and give her daughter a better life.
When she first arrived to the U.S. some of her challenges began such as learning to speak english and building a relationship with her brother and sister. She began to call Burlington, Washington her home.
Growing up was hard for her because of being introduced to new family members, cousins and fitting in with their lives. She skipped kindergarden and first grade because she didn’t want to go. When she was 14, she started getting sick very often and this included a lot of cramping, nausea, and she would miss up to 2 weeks at a time of school. She was more of a tom boy growing up and didn’t like to be girly.
In her senior year of high school, she decided to try out for the cheerleading team and didn’t make it. But that didn’t stop her from trying to do what she enjoyed which included acting for all 4 years of high school and went down to seattle and auditioned. She received a scholarship for college but she wasn’t able to use all of it because of her illness. Her best friend Max passed away in Mexico as well which was very difficult for her to go through. She lost some friends because they didn’t understand that she wasn’t able to do certain things that they could do.
After her parents got divorced, she started having flare ups that lasted 2 weeks at a time. The doctors did not know what her illness was at the time, and it took about a full year to figure out what her illness was. She was a full time college student and had to stop going because of her illness. Due to the illness, she could not keep a stable job and also got billed thousands of dollars at a time which was very stressful for her and her family. She was very depressed due to not being able to keep going to college and she started realize that she couldn’t live a normal life and that’s what she wanted very badly.
Acute-Intermitten-Porphyria is the name of her illness. It is a blood disorder that caused random pain attacks at anytime of the day and made it so that she was restricted doing certain things. She learned that she could not drink alcohol or do normal things that she wanted to do. Her attacks would consist of long lasting pain attacks, seizures, and vomiting and these attacks would happen every 1-3 months.
She started doing full time modeling when she was 24. Nelly always wanted to be able to do things that other people her age could do. She wanted to be known for something other then being disabled and she wanted to be happy and enjoy what she was doing. She started pursuing it full time and made her very first calendar in 2016. In 2017, she began to host concerts and created her own merch line called “Born Foreign” which stands for being proud of who you are and promotes individuality. Nelly was very happy with where her future was headed and it’s very unfortunate that she could not continue to keep going. In early Novemeber she had 1 last flare up that she was not able to recover from. To keep her legacy alive, we will be continuing to push her clothing line. You can find all of her gear at bornforeign.com.