Alejandro Cabello and Sinuhe Estrabao immigrated to the U.S. when Camila was 6
Alejandro Cabello and Camila Cabello at the 62nd Annual GRAMMY Awards in 2020. ; Camila Cabello and Sinuhe Cabello at the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards. .PHOTO: FRAZER HARRISON/GETTY ; KEVIN MAZUR/WIREIMAGE
Camila Cabello has a strong bond with her parents.
The Cuban-born singer rose to fame as a member of the group Fifth Harmony on The X Factor in 2012. As a child, she immigrated to the U.S. with mom Sinuhe Estrabao, who is from Cuba, and dad Alejandro Cabello, who is from Mexico.
“I realize how scary it must have been for them,” Camila wrote in an essay for PopSugar in 2017. “For my mom to leave the streets of Havana where our neighbors were our friends … For my Dad to leave behind his four brothers and sisters, the memory of his parents … To decide to start from the ground up.”
Camila’s parents frequently appear on her social media accounts as well as in her projects. The star’s 2022 album Familia is an homage to her Mexican-Cuban heritage and even features her dad singing.
Here’s what to know about Camila Cabello’s parents, including their experience as immigrants and why they were surprised that Camila wanted to be a singer.
They immigrated to the U.S. when Camila was a child
Camila Cabello with her family in 2019. CAMILA CABELLO INSTAGRAM
Camila was born in Cuba, where her mom Sinuhe is from, and spent her early childhood between Cuba and Mexico, where her dad Alejandro is from. When she was almost 7 years old, she immigrated to the U.S. with Sinuhe, and 18 months later, Alejandro joined them.
In a 2017 essay she penned for PopSugar, Camila reflected on her family’s experience coming to America.
“Why were we packing up our stuff? Why was my grandma hugging me tighter than usual? Where were we going?” she wrote.
“ ‘We’re going to Disney World!’ That’s what my Mom told me when we were crossing the border.
She packed a little backpack with my Winnie the Pooh journal and my doll, and we crossed the border from Mexico to the U.S., seeing my Dad become an ant in the distance as he stayed behind.”
They have two children
Camila Cabello and Sofia Cabello at the 60th Annual GRAMMY Awards in 2018. NICHOLAS HUNT/GETTY
It’s not known exactly when Sinuhe and Alejandro were married, but they welcomed Camila on March 3, 1997 and also share a younger daughter, Sofia. Sofia is about 10 years younger than Camila and was born after the family had moved to the U.S.
In a 2019 interview with Variety, Camila said she’s been able to introduce Sofia to lots of fellow pop stars, joking that Sofia likes Billie Eilish more than her.
“My sister actually cried when she met Billie Eilish,” Camila told the outlet. “My sister has never cried meeting anybody.
She’s met Taylor [Swift], my sister’s met everybody, and she literally, fully had tears running down her face. She 100 percent likes her more than she likes me.”
Her mom had been an architect in Cuba
Camila Cabello and Sinuhe Estrabao at Save the Children The Centennial Gala: Changing The World for Children gala in 2019. NOAM GALAI/GETTY
In her 2017 essay for PopSugar, Camila shared that her mom had been an architect in Cuba, but her degrees didn’t transfer when she came to the U.S. However, Sinuhe ended up getting a job in architecture after a chance meeting.
“The two Cuban women said they had a brother who worked in architecture and needed someone who worked in Autocad, a complicated architectural computer program,” Camila recalled.
“They asked her: ‘Do you know Autocad?’ Internally, my mom was like ‘Autocad? What the hell is Autocad? We use pencil and paper where I’m from.’
But to the ladies, she said: ‘Autocad? Of course. Yes, of course. I can do that.’ She learned how to use the program in a week.”
When Camila and her mom first immigrated to the U.S., Sinuhe worked in retail to save up enough money for an apartment.
“We went to Miami and stayed with a dear family friend for two months until I got a job at Marshall’s in the shoe department and we could rent a room,” Sinuhe said in a 2017 interview with Glamour.
“It was really hard. I came here with no money and left everything that was familiar. But I just made a list of goals, and every time I scratched one off, I felt that everything was worth it.”
They started a construction company in the U.S.
Camila Cabello and Alejandro Cabello at the 2018 American Music Awards. KEVIN MAZUR/AMA2018/GETTY
After Camila’s dad joined his family in the U.S., he got a job washing cars in Miami, the singer shared in her 2017 PopSugar essay.
Eventually, with help from “the Latin community in Miami,” Camila noted, Alejandro and Sinuhe started their own construction company.
“Slowly my parents kept working and climbing and ended up forming a construction company together named after my sister and I,” she said.
“They always pushed me to focus on my studies because the whole reason we came here was so my sister and I could have better opportunities in life than they did.”
Camila continued, “They said: ‘Money comes and goes, but your education, lo que tienes aquí (and they would point to my head while saying that), nobody can ever take that away from you.’ They let me know that in order to go to a good college I had to get a scholarship, so I worked as hard as I could.”
They were supportive of Camila auditioning for ‘The X Factor’
Ally Brooke, Camila Cabello, Normani Hamilton, Dinah Jane Hansen and Lauren Jauregui at FOX’s “The X Factor” finalists party in 2012. GREGG DEGUIRE/WIREIMAGE
After developing a passion for music and posting covers on YouTube, Camila asked her parents if she could audition for The X Factor when she was in 9th grade. While they were supportive, Sinuhe says she “never expected her to be a singer.”
“She was so shy we didn’t believe she would be able to do it,” Sinuhe told Glamour in 2017. “But I told my husband, ‘She wants to go to an audition. Let’s go.”
After Camila added that the audition marked the first time she sang in front of an audience, Sinuhe added, “I have never met someone who can confront her fears in the way she does. I can tell she’s terrified, but she doesn’t stop. She always asks me, ‘Do you think everybody knows [I’m scared]?’ And I’m like, ‘No, nobody can tell.’ ”
Camila’s song “First Man” is dedicated to her dad
Alejandro Cabello and Camila Cabello at the 62nd Annual GRAMMY Awards. RICH FURY/GETTY
As part of her second studio album Romance, Camila included a heartfelt tribute to her father titled “First Man.”
In an interview with Zane Lowe on Apple Music’s New Music Daily, the singer said that the song was about her dad witnessing her first relationship.
“He was just like very sensitive about it,” Camila said. “I think that’s the first time that he really felt that. And so he felt really protective over me and I just think that is the sweetest thing.”
At the 2020 Grammy Awards, Camila performed the song for the crowd, which included her father, who had accompanied her to the event.
He sat teary-eyed watching his daughter as she sang lyrics like, “I swear on my heart that he’s a good man / I know you’ll stay up late just waiting for me / You held me so tight, now someone else can / But you were the first man that really loved me.”
To finish the song, Camila walked off the stage and over to where her father was sitting and held his hands.