Hometown: Harrison, New Jersey
Born in Puerto Rico, Isabella moved to the U.S. with her mother Frankie at a very young age. Her mother’s pregnancy had not been planned, and her mom was encouraged by an uncle, who was a photographer and living in New York City, to come north and pursue a career in modeling and acting. He assured her that pursuing her dream was the way to live. So Frankie and the young “Bella” left the larger family in San Juan and moved to New York.
At first, Bella was going to be given up for adoption by her mother— but later, Frankie backed out of it. Isabella’s father Luis, had never been in the picture, and Bella can’t recall ever even meeting him. Once she and her mom moved to the states, Bella saw her mother bounce around from guy to guy, never really committing to anyone. Mostly, Frankie wasn’t much of a mom, and what little money they had went toward her mom’s modeling career and portfolio; so there has always been a tension in their relationship.
Around 6th grade, they moved to a more affordable apartment in New Jersey, and her mother’s regular commuting to New York for work left Bella to be by herself more and more. As Bella grew from being a quiet, studious little girl into a more curious and provocative teenager, the tension between mother and daughter also grew. Bella felt she could never really live up to her mother’s dynamic and free-spirited personality. Her mother was always critical of Bella the teenager.
By the time Bella turned 15, she already looked mature for her age. Yet in her mind, she felt she lived in the shadows of both her mom and her best friend Angelica, who seemed to attract all the guys in high school. In the winter of her senior year, and having just turned 18, Bella and Angelica crashed a classmates party in Newark—surrounded mostly by strangers who thought the girls were college students. It's there that Bella first meets Trevor.
Trevor is handsome, friendly, and twice as old as Bella. Yet for the first time that she could recall, she became the center of attention. Trevor becomes her first regular boyfriend, and she begins breaking curfew rules, and getting into daily arguments with Frankie.
On the flip side, she is treated like a princess by Trevor; something she’s never felt before, and he provides her with just about anything....including drugs, liquor, and expensive dinners out. Soon, sex becomes a regular part of her day to day life. It isn't long until she learns that Trevor is in business for himself; an entrepreneur who is known as a provider of pleasure for his “friends.” Trevor has a collection of prostitutes who he manages and pays.
One evening after she and Trevor were out at dinner, Trevor asks Bella to be a “friend” to one of his clients. After first resisting, Bella finally agrees, but this favor for Trevor creates much confusion in her head, and she begins feeling sick to her stomach. She now feels shame, sadness, and a strange disconnection from her mother, her friends, and her own sense of self-worth. She loves Trevor, but knows what he’s doing is hurtful and wrong. She knows she is being used, but is torn by her confusion and mixed feelings about her relationship with Trevor.