Carmen Lowell

Carmen Lucille Lowell is a main character in the book and film The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. She is sometimes called Carma and Carmabelle (her Instant Messaging username) or Carmeena in the book, and is a sensitive and caring half-Puerto Rican with a bad temper. Her parents are divorced, and she lives with her mother, Christina. She is the organized one, but sometimes she thinks too much. She is the one most insistent on keeping the sisters together through the Traveling Pants, which she first found. She is the "glue" keeping the Sisterhood together. She is portrayed by America Ferrera in the 2005 film adaptation of the first book, and the 2008 sequel, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2.

Carmen Lucille Lowell
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants character
America Ferrara 2014 (cropped).jpg
Carmen Lowell played by America Ferrera in films
First appearanceNovel:
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (2005)
Last appearanceNovel:
Sisterhood Everlasting
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 (2008)
Created byAnn Brashares
Portrayed byAmerica Ferrera
Tiara Santana (Young Carmen)
In-universe information
NicknameCarma, Carmabelle (Instant Messaging username and letter name), Carmeena(book), Bun(book)
FamilyChristina Lowell-Breckman (mother)
Albert Lowell (father)
David Breckman (step-father)
Lydia Lowell (step-mother)
Paul (step-brother from Lydia)
Krista (step-sister from Lydia)
Ryan Breckman (half-brother from David)
SpousePorter (fling)
Winthrop "Win" Sawyer (ex-boyfriend)
Jones (ex-fiancée)


Christina: Carmen has a close relationship with her mother, Christina, whom she has lived with since her parents' divorce. Carmen admits that she can be bratty with her mother, though Christina suggests this may be because she knows it is easier to get mad at people you love because you can trust them to still love you. Carmen can also be possessive of her mother and is worried both when Christina begins dating and when she gets pregnant. She does not want her mother to leave her.

Albert: Carmen looks up to her father; she wanted to follow in his footsteps and go to Williams College. However, her parents' divorce hit her hard and she is initially concerned that his marrying Lydia was an attempt to replace her and Christina with a perfect, beautiful family. She resolves most of these issues in the first book and afterwards often calls her father for advice or guidance.

David: Carmen's stepfather. She was originally hostile toward David when he began dating Christina because she thought her mother was making a fool of herself and rushing into the relationship too quickly. Though she doesn't develop a very close relationship with him, she admits that he makes her mother happy; her only complaint about him is that he is a workaholic.

Lydia: Carmen's stepmother. Carmen does not know of her until she goes to stay with her dad during the first novel. She gets off on the wrong foot with her stepmother due to their many differences. Lydia is blonde, and a "Southern belle" who has a perfectly neat house and is very religious. Because of how different Lydia's lifestyle is from her mother's, Carmen is at first angry with Lydia and her father and feels she is being replaced. Later, she achieves a more civil relationship with her stepmother, especially after realizing that Lydia and Christina actually get along.

Paul: Carmen's older stepbrother. Carmen gets along very well with Paul and admires his honesty and lack of egotism. She e-mails and phones him regularly. The books mention that Paul regards Carmen and her temper with a sort of awe, and never understands the motivations behind her insane outbursts. Carmen is originally nervous that if Paul falls in love with Lena, he will forget about her. However, after noticing how the two look at each other and how alike they are, she eventually encourages their relationship. She also keeps on talking to Lena about Paul.

Krista: Carmen's younger stepsister. They originally talked very little as Krista's preppy, flaky, superficial attitude was very different from Carmen's explosive, colorful personality. She felt that since Krista was the direct opposite of her that her father was "upgrading." After confronting her father about the issue, she and Krista get along much better. Krista grows to admire Carmen's independent attitude; in the second book, she runs away from home and seeks sanctuary with Carmen and Christina.

Ryan: Carmen's younger half-brother. She is slightly bad-tempered about his birth and jealous of her mother's attention to him. Later, she gets over this, enjoys being a big sister and role model to him.


Carmen is the youngest member of the sisterhood. Lena Kaligaris, Tibby Rollins, and Bridget Vreeland are the other members of the sisterhood. She considers herself "the Puerto Rican with the bad temper" in the group. She also sees herself as "the glue" that keeps the friends together. Ann Brashares says that she believes Carmen gets the bigger picture of their friendship, whereas the other girls are more "in the moment."

Romantic RelationshipsEdit

Winthrop "Win" Sawyer: Carmen meets Win at the hospital with Lena's grandmother. She is initially attracted to him, and the two have several other chance meetings. Win is a volunteer at the hospital and is two years older. Carmen is initially worried that she is deceiving him, as he keeps catching her doing charitable things and is scared that he won't like her as much when he learns about her bad temper. She tells him about her worries, but he resolves that he likes her anyway and the two kiss in the hospital. She lets the relationship drop off on purpose due to confidence issues.

Carmen also briefly dates a boy in the second book who had a massive crush on her, Porter, but she was too distracted by issues with her mother; Porter eventually decided that he was tired of being led on. She also maintained a flirtatious relationship with one of the actors she worked with in the fourth book. Their relationship is not focused on in this book, though it mentions that he often played with her hair, flirted with her, and kissed her before the play's opening night. This relationship is more prominent in the second movie.

The Second Summer of the SisterhoodEdit

Christina starts to date a young attractive man named David. Carmen is jealous of the time she spends with him and also embarrassed because Christina's relationship is so passionate. She believes her mother is humiliating herself and falling in love too quickly. Carmen sabotages the relationship out of spite, but once she realizes how happy David makes her mother, she helps the two get together. A subplot during this book is Carmen's relationship with a boy, Porter, from her school. She goes on several dates with him but neglects him during each date due to her worries about her mother. Carmen is originally optimistic about the relationship because she has the Traveling Pants for their first date, but Porter becomes tired of Carmen "stringing him along" and stops dating her. On her final date with him, she brings Paul and a heartbroken Lena along. She notices how attracted Paul is to Lena and gives Lena the pants, encouraging her to go after Paul and Paul to see Lena.

Girls in Pants: The Third Summer of the SisterhoodEdit

Carmen learns that Christina is pregnant with David's child. Carmen is originally hostile, believing that since the baby will be born just after she leaves for college that she is being replaced. Carmen also gets a job looking after Valia, Lena's grandmother, and meets a guy named Win 'Winthrop' at the hospital. She and Win maintain a flirtatious relationship, but she believes that she is deceiving him because he keeps catching her doing charitable things, and that he will be disappointed when he learns about her arguments with her mother. Carmen eventually realizes that since David works so much, she will have to be there for the child and makes amends with her mom. At the end of the book, Christina goes into labor four weeks early while David is away on business. Carmen and Win go hunting for David to bring him home. Meanwhile, Tibby helps Christina give birth. Carmen returns to the hospital where she meets her baby brother and tells Win that she doesn't think she deserves him. Win announces that it doesn't matter, and the two share a kiss.

Forever in Blue: The Fourth Summer of the SisterhoodEdit

Carmen arrives at college where she falls into a sort of depression. She has let the relationship with Win drop off due to confidence issues. She gains weight and shrinks away from making new friends and from the sisterhood. She befriends a beautiful and sophisticated actress named Julia Beckwith; together, they go to a special acting camp. Carmen mistakenly auditions for the main play, although she originally tagged along only to be with Julia and work on sets. She wins the sought-after lead role in a play with several professional actors, and Julia becomes bad-tempered and surly. Julia tries to "help" Carmen with the part but really gives her bad advice in an attempt to sabotage an inexperienced Carmen. As a result, Carmen becomes depressed again, but finally realizes that Julia was not a friend to her because she fed off of Carmen's insecurities to boost her own confidence. Carmen stars in the play brilliantly and confronts Julia.

Sisterhood EverlastingEdit

Carmen is a semi-successful actress in New York who is engaged (to a sometimes pretentious man her friends dislike). She is now obsessed with her work, worries about her wedding and her busy schedule. On her long trip to an audition, she meets a man named Roberto Moyo who is traveling with his two young children. Carmen befriends Roberto and is struck by his sad story, she also grows very fond of his kids. At the end of the book, Carmen breaks off her engagement. She is the only one of her friends who is not romantically involved with anyone; however, she is very satisfied with her life. She is very sad when Tibby died.

Other ReferencesEdit

In the novel 3 Willows, Jo mentions babysitting a toddler named Ryan; this is Carmen's little brother.