Rising R&B/pop star Jasmine Villegas is expecting her first child, her rep, Lee Hernandez, confirms to Billboard. She’s taking the opportunity to inspire other women who may feel judged by society for being young and pregnant.
The 21-year-old singer, who is six months along, made the big announcement via Cosmo for Latinas. “It came as a total shock,” she told the mag. “You take the test, and you’re not sure, and then you take another one. It was a very crazy moment for me; I never thought I would have a baby at 22, but I’m definitely excited. I’m super excited to meet my baby and to be a mom.”
While Villegas declined to identify the father of the baby, she did offer, “everything is going well, and he’s very supportive.”
Announcing her pregnancy to the world was as daunting as it sounds. “The fact that I’m still young made me so nervous,” she told Cosmo. “You never know what people will say. It’s looked down on to be young and pregnant in this country. You have shows like 16 and Pregnant, where kids are put on a pedestal to be judged. A girl who has a child young is thought of as fast and wild, or as someone who doesn’t know how to raise a child. But I’ve always known that I wanted kids, and I know that I’m old enough and that I’m responsible. In Latino culture, it’s normal to have kids young.”
The Mexican American singer, born and raised in Los Angeles, says growing up in a big Latino family has helped shape her views on motherhood. “I’m the only girl out of four kids,” she shared. “My grandma’s mom had a total of 21 children in her lifetime — with four sets of twins! These days, people have one or two kids, and they’re done. But in our culture, things were different. My parents were overwhelmed and worked hard. They told me recently they struggled with the decision to even bring me into the world because there wasn’t a lot of money. But my father worked hard from a young age and did everything, from picking apricots to all kinds of stuff, just to make it work.”
Villegas also took the opportunity to offer advice to other young mothers: “I don’t judge any decision that another young woman would make, because I believe that a woman has the right to choose — to have a baby or not. But for me, at this point, it doesn’t matter whether I’m a singer or a doctor or a kid in high school. It’s not about money — it’s about having loved ones around you to support you. Age for a lot of people is going to be a big thing. If they’re not ready, they’re not ready. You only have to prove it to yourself, that you’re ready to be a great mother. As long as you still have that strong backbone of friends or family there for you, you’ll be fine. If you want to have that child in your life, you’ll find a way to make it work.”
As for balancing motherhood with her burgeoning career in music, Villegas says she plans to “work 10 times harder.”
Back in August, Billboard spoke exclusively with the Interscope signee, who released her debut EP, That’s Me Right There, (featuring Kendrick Lamar on the title track) in Nov. 2014. At the time she had unveiled her first Spanish-language single, the feel-good track “Renegades,” with the eventual goal of launching a full Spanish album one day. “It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time,” she told Billboard about connecting with her Latino fans. “I feel like I procrastinated on that a little bit and then over time I realized I have a really big Spanish market with a lot of my fans. They were there from day one.”