From Guadalajara to the Stars: Katya Echazarreta’s Celestial Journey


May 16, 2024

Kacey Perez

Katya Echazarreta for The House May digital cover wearing dress by Rabanne and jewelry from the stylist’s on set.

In the vibrant city of Guadalajara, a young girl gazed up at the stars with dreams that soared far beyond the earthly confines of her surroundings. Katya Echazarreta was no ordinary child; she harbored a fascination with space and technology that was as boundless as the universe itself. From an early age, Echazarreta knew exactly what she wanted to do, and despite the myriad challenges and barriers, she was determined to make her dreams a reality.

“I’ve always felt fascinated by space and technology,” Katya recalls. “I don’t recall a moment in my life when I didn’t feel that love.” This passion wasn’t just a fleeting interest; it was a lifelong love affair with the cosmos. Growing up, Katya felt different from her peers, possessing a clarity of purpose that set her apart. While others were still figuring out their paths, she was charting a course to the stars. She learned early on that challenges were not obstacles but opportunities to grow, an ethos that would carry her through the numerous hurdles on her path to becoming an astronaut.

Katya’s journey from Guadalajara to the stars reached a historic milestone when she became the first Mexican-born woman to travel to space. This monumental achievement shattered glass ceilings and paved the way for future generations of women, particularly young Latinas, to dream big and aim high. “I looked up to Ellen Ochoa, the first Hispanic woman in space,” Katya shares. “When everyone around me told me what I wanted was impossible, I could look at her and know that it wasn’t.” Katya hopes her story will inspire others the way Ochoa’s inspired her. She wants young girls and women to feel seen and represented in fields where they have been historically underrepresented. “I want everyone who hears my story to know I am working every single day to create more access and more space-related opportunities,” she emphasizes.

Dress: Acne. Boots: Labucq. Jewelry: Stylist’s own.

Balancing her diverse roles—citizen astronaut, activist, model, and creator—Katya navigates a world that often demands more than it offers. “Balance is an interesting word,” she muses. Instead of seeking balance, she embraces “cyclical priorities,” understanding that focus shifts with time. Whether she is promoting space education, advocating for diversity in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), or nurturing personal relationships, Katya’s dynamic approach allows her to excel across various domains, setting a powerful example for others.

Her historic suborbital flight with Blue Origin was more than just a personal achievement; it was a transformative experience. The “Overview Effect,” a psychological phenomenon experienced by astronauts when they view Earth from space, profoundly shifted her perspective on humanity and our place in the universe. “This perspective shift allowed me to understand not only the value in human collaboration but also the value in our own work,” she explains. This newfound understanding fuels her passion for developing space infrastructure in underrepresented countries, reinforcing her belief that we can make a substantial difference on a global scale.

Through her foundation, the Katya Echazarreta Space Foundation, Katya aims to ignite a passion for aerospace in the next generation. Initiatives like the “Mission to Mars” camp are designed to open the eyes of young aspiring astronauts to the vast possibilities in space. “We are hoping to not only open up the eyes of the youth in these communities to the types of roles that exist worldwide but also prepare them for the industries currently being developed in their areas,” she notes. It’s not enough to push for space policy and legislation; there must be a concerted effort to develop the skills of the people who will take on roles within the growing industry.

Jacket: Laquan Smith. Pants: Interior. Earrings: Agmes. Shoes: Stylist’s own

In a unique fusion of fashion and education, Katya’s collaboration with Mattel to create a Barbie doll in her image symbolizes the hard work and preparation required to achieve great goals. “Having my own Barbie has been a dream come true,” she says. The doll, dressed in her training flight suit, sends a powerful message to children: dedication and perseverance are key to reaching the stars. “I think it speaks to the hard work and preparation required to achieve something as big as going to space,” she explains, providing a tangible role model for young dreamers.

Katya’s partnerships with fashion designers like Dior and Levi’s bring attention to the intersection of fashion and space exploration. “The fashion world has been a particularly important strategy for me,” she explains. These collaborations help dispel myths about who can be interested in fashion and STEM, bridging gaps and fostering innovation. By merging these two worlds, Katya is breaking down stereotypes and bringing STEM topics to new audiences.

Hosting shows like Netflix IRL and CBS’s Mission Unstoppable, Katya leverages these platforms to promote STEM education and cultural advocacy. “Being able to provide that representation on screen is more important than we realize,” she asserts. By changing perceptions early on, she hopes to inspire more girls to pursue their dreams in STEM, challenging the traditional archetypes that have long dominated these fields.

Top: Rabanne. Earrings: Stylist’s own.

Looking ahead, Katya envisions a democratized space industry where access is not limited to the privileged few. “True democratization includes and empowers those who have been left out from the beginning of space activities,” she says. Her work aims to create opportunities for those traditionally excluded, fostering a more inclusive and diverse aerospace industry.

For those aspiring to follow in her footsteps, Katya offers sage advice: “Create your own opportunities. People often wait for the perfect moment, but the reality is that moment simply doesn’t exist.” Her journey is a powerful reminder that with passion, perseverance, and a willingness to create one’s own path, the stars are within reach.

In a world where the lines between technology and culture continue to blur, Katya Echazarreta stands as a shining example of what is possible when boundaries are pushed, and new frontiers are embraced. Her story is not just one of personal triumph but a call to all dreamers to reach for the stars and make their mark on the universe.


Written by Kacey Perez | @studioblume_co

Featuring Katya Echazarreta | @katvoltage

Photography by Jana Schuessler | @janaschuessler

Hair by Karla Hirkaler | @karlahirkaler

Makeup by Monica Wu | @monicamakeup22

Styling by Johanna Aquino | @johannaaquino