Marisol Quiles

Meet Marisol Quiles. At lot of people know her as “Mari” she is a Bomba y Plena Dancer and part of a Local group that does events all over Tampa Bay to promote Puerto Rican or Caribbean Culture in general. She has been known to pull out her drums at La Fritanga couple times with her friends.

She started Playing drums for 2 years, it all started when she took a class for dancing but her eyes were locked on the drums that seemed to call her. Every time she had a class she was always near the drums, and then later asked her instructor to teach her how to play. She was taught the basics and her teacher lent her drums for her to practice.

Now she has 2 drums of her own and is performing all over Tampa to show her heritage through music.

Thank you, Marisol, for your love for North Tampa.


Q: What inspired you or led you to your current career?

A: I was born and raised in Chicago and when I was in college I went to Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. My mother moved down here to Tampa to help my grandma out and after I graduated from college I didn’t want to go back to Chicago, so I moved to St. Louis for a couple of years and it wasn’t my cup of tea, so I moved to Tampa with my mom and my brothers. Before I got here, I was in Town ‘n’ Country for a year, then I moved to Carrollwood in 2001. I worked for The St. Petersburg Times in their marketing department for 10 years, I did what they call sight marketing. I did all the sponsorships from International Plaza, Tampa Bay Rays, Tampa Bay Lightning and any festival that they sponsored we did our promotions for those events and it was really fun. That’s how I really got to know more about Tampa Bay. I left that job because I have 2 kids, they were both young and I would come home late from work because we were doing events, so I decided to get my phlebotomy license and now I do life insurance exams, what they call phlebotomist or paramedical examiner, so I contract for several companies in the area and even out of state to do life insurance exams, long term care, disability and some health insurance exams. We also do help them in wellness by metric screening for companies that have a health and wellness program. It’s fun! I travel all over Tampa.

Q: What is your favorite restaurant in North Tampa, and what do you love there?

A: Whole Foods that is my favorite place to eat because it is just 4 or 5 blocks for me. If I’m hungry I go straight there.

Q: How long have you lived or worked in North Tampa?

A: Since 2001.

Q: Who has had the most positive impact in your life ?

A: My mom, she is a single parent and she pushed me to go to school and put me in the best high school in Chicago. She pushed me to go to college. She’s always been a go-getter and always made things happen for us. I admired her strength and perseverance.  She helps me with my kids and she has a great relationship with my kids.

Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would it be? And why?

A: Puerto Rico, cause it’s been about 10 years since I last went and with everything going on in the island, I think I need to be there. I need step back on the land, I have my family there. I’m planning to go there in March. My grandfather is so excited and has planned to prepare a meal there for me. That’s we’re I really want to go.

Q: What is your favorite movie OR what is the first movie you remember seeing in a theatre?

A: The Lion King would be my favorite.

Q: What would be your best piece of advice about life?

A: Live your life like you want to. Just be happy, smile and be kind.

Q: What is something on your bucket list?

A: I always love travelling, I can go to Ireland, Scotland and just go chase some sheep. I always love the things related to Ireland and Scotland. I love their culture so I would really be excited to be there and see the kind of people there.  Anywhere in Australia would be great too.

Q: What is your favorite music/ 3 bands you would like to see (dead or alive)?

A: I really do like the music of Cardi B.

Q: What current / former local business makes you the most nostalgic about North Tampa?

A:Upper Tampa Bay Trail, it’s amazing. The kids and I have taken the bikes all the way back there. It’s really peaceful.

Q: What is your favorite thing or something unique about North Tampa?

A: It has everything I love in one little area.

Q: (Even for friends or family), what is something interesting that most people don’t know about you?

A: I’m pretty much an open book.

Q: What 3 words or phrases come to mind when you think of the word HOME?

A: Place to relax, unwind. Family. when I come home the kids and I just kick off our shoes and just relax and chill.

Q: If you were cast into a major motion picture and had your choice of anyone to be your co-star, who would you choose?

A: Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson, he is my favorite.

Q: Do you think that knowing people face to face is important or it is not important anymore because we have social media?

A: Absolutely! It is important. Because I know the neighbors around me and I feel it is important because we kind of look out for each other especially since I have kids. I love my neighborhood and want to be part of this community a little bit more.

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