Camila Cabello hypnotizes with her sexy salsa moves in the music video for “Havana,” but dancing was not always her strong suit. The former Fifth Harmony singer, who performed at iHeart Radio’s Fiesta Latina in Miami on Nov. 4 —sharing the stage with Ricky Martin, Luis Fonsi and Yandel— spoke to PEOPLE CHICA about her evolution as a dancer.
“To be honest, I never used to dance when I was little. I was super shy. I would cry at all the holiday parties when people started dancing, but music has pulled it out of me,” she said. “My grandma, who is really proud, thought I was a lost cause [as far as dancing goes].”
The 20-year-old blew past her inhibitions with steamy salsa moves on the iHeart Radio stage last Saturday, and at the Latin American Music Awards in September, proving she’s pinned down her youth anxieties around dancing once and for all.
The Cuban-born star celebrates her roots in her hit single “Havana” and its telenovela-inspired music video. In the video, Cabello plays two contrasting versions of herself: a soap star in a glam yellow dress, and a shy Ugly Betty-type chica who opts to stay home with her abuela on a Saturday night, watching pretty people live lives far more exciting than her own.
Venezuelan YouTube sensation Lele Pons has a cameo as the nerdy introvert’s party girl sister, who teases her. As in most telenovelas, there is a happy ending with the timid teen finding her groove — and love.
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Cabello confessed that she grew up watching Spanish-language soaps with her Cuban grandmother, adding that her music video is a nod to the way the two bonded in her youth. “‘Havana’ is like a love letter to my culture, to my heritage,” she said, “It’s a mix of the kind of music that I listened to growing up around the house and the kind of music that I listen to now.”