Sunday, June 16, 2024

Afro-Latina Arantza Peña Popo Winner of Doodle for Google Competition

Arantza Peña Popo
THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JIMMY FALLON — Episode 1106 — Pictured: (l-r) Host Jimmy Fallon and Doodle for Google National Winner Arantza Peña Popo during the Google Doodle reveal on August 12, 2019 — (Photo by: Andrew Lipovsky/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

*Georgia senior and valedictorian Arantza Peña Popo beat out more than 200,000 submissions and was crowned winner of Google’s annual Doodle for Google competition.

In her words, the Doodle depicts “a framed picture of my mother carrying me as a baby (a real picture in my house) and below the picture is me, caring for her when she’s older in the future.”

Her selection as the contest’s winner was announced Monday by Jimmy Fallon on “The Tonight Show,” and her drawing was displayed on Google’s homepage. 

The Colombian and Afro-Latina, who was suffering from a “massive art block” during her senior year of high school, was inspired to honor her mother.

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“I came up with the idea at the last minute, actually the day of the deadline,” she said. “I looked at the photograph of my mother (the real version that inspired the drawing) and thought, ‘Hey, why don’t I reverse it?’ I wanted to focus more on a message of helping out my awesome mother more than anything else.”

Popo told Google about the Doodle: “I think it was just a chance to thank her for all she’d done. Sometimes I think of the cost of raising a child all the way to adulthood and since I know I can’t instantly pay my mom back hundreds of thousands of dollars, I can least pay her back in a sincere doodle.”

This is the 11th year of the competition, and this year’s theme was “When I grow up, I hope…”

“I think I will have more confidence in my artwork after this experience,” she said.  “I honestly saw it as a little sketch, but it surprised me that it seemed to have impacted people a lot more than I thought. I guess I will take my stuff more seriously.”

As the winner of Google’s competition, she will receive a $30,000 college scholarship, a $50,000 technology package for her school and a trip to Google’s headquarters in California.

Popo will be attending the University of Southern California in the fall.


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