NUVO TV's Pastport: Cuba follows swimwear designer Nicole Di Rocco as she embarks on a journey to reconnect with her culture in a home left behind. Watch as this Cuban American trendsetter gets the opportunity of a lifetime—to travel with her parents to Cuba, a country they left almost 50 years ago. The Search for Nicolita captures her quest to find a model to represent her Cuba-inspired line, but the real discovery comes from a place she’s never been. Pastport: Cuba unveils the mystery behind a country often misunderstood, and bridges the gap between family that left and those that stayed. The events that unfold are life changing.
MEET THE CAST
Nicole Di Rocco
Like most kids, Nicole, 30, just wanted to fit in. She grew up in Irvine, an affluent city in Orange County, CA, and was one of only a handful of Latinas. She begged her mom not to speak Spanish when her friends were around, and it wasn’t until college that she started to embrace her roots. After getting a business degree from USC, Nicole launched Nicolita Caliente Swimwear with the allure of 1940s Cuba and the Latina figure as her inspiration. Her signature “no-pinch fit” bottoms offer more coverage on the hips and a heart-shaped backside. She recently debuted her 2011 collection at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week.
Thais, Nicole’s Mother
Thais O’Bourke Biosca Sainz, 63, was destined to succeed. Born in Havana, Cuba to a well-known architect father who was a professor at the University of Havana, Thais was sent to a boarding school in Texas at 14. She dedicated her life to education, earning two undergraduate degrees and a master’s from Pepperdine. For 38 years, she worked as a teacher, bilingual coordinator, mentor and trainer. She met her husband, Xavier, in college while dancing at a Brazilian festival at UCLA. Now retired, she enjoys reading, dancing, and playing with her granddaughter Zoey Rose.
Xavier, Nicole’s Father
Xavier Sainz Gonzalez, 68, was born in Holguin, Cuba to a family of sugar cane and cattle farmers. He studied at the Belen Jesuit Preparatory School in Havana until Castro came into power. He moved to Illinois and eventually got drafted into the Vietnam War. In 1966, he was honorably discharged and moved to Los Angeles, where he met the “love of his life.” He has a master’s degree in business administration and one in corporate real estate, and works as a senior financial broker.
Michelle, Nicole’s Sister
Michelle Sainz Maginnis, 35, was born in Torrance, CA and was always the artsy girl in class. She received a bachelor’s in advertising (with a minor in art) and for 10 years worked as an award-winning graphic designer and art director. She met her husband Kevin, who’s also an artist, on Match.com and the two married in Puerto Rico. She lives in Irvine, where she works from home as a freelance graphic designer, with her 8-month-old daughter Zoey Rose.