Welcome to WEEK 5 of #ChingonaFest Fridays on Aspiring Mama. How's your Easter weekend so far? Mine currently involves trying to get ahead on my #Dimelo column for Latina so I can be slightly less crazy -- for a minute, anyway -- and possibly unpacking the suitcase from my trip to New York trip, which is still sitting in the middle of my living room. And no, you are not allowed to ask when I vacuumed last. But enough about me. Let’s get back on the Spanglish Bitchfest Wagon, shall we?
If you’re new to the blog, here’s the link to the my Latina Dimelo column that sparked the conversation that’s still going strong. The premise is this: I want to raise my daughter to be a Chingona — on purpose, Las Tias and cultural backlash be damned. If you like the column, I’d love for you to share with your social media circles, leave a comment on the link, or whip up a happy lil’ Letter to the Editor telling them how you feel and send it off to Editor@Latina.com. You may not think that kind of thing makes a difference, but trust me when I tell you that it does.
Have you checked out my past #ChingonaFest ladies? Lori Luna and Helen Troncoso were two of the most recently featured wonder women. Each week, I’m featuring one fabulous Latina who’s moving mountains and raising hell because their stories are worth telling. Twenty questions will be presented to each and 15 will be answered and presented here to you in a Q&A format, like the fancy features in magazines, only with more typos and less airbrushing.
This week's featured Chingona is Sugar Jones? I met Sugar way back when at my first blogging conference in Phoenix. My friend Becca Ludlum invited me to carpool with her to Tiffany Romero's Bloggy Bootcamp and I'm still thrilled I said yes. Sugar is total Chingona material. She's worked as a Brand Ambassador for Nintendo, Invisalign, Vicks, and Verizon and on amazing campaigns for Ford, Harley-Davidson, Kodak, Stella Artois, and many others. As a recognized face on the San Diego social media scene, Sugar has been called upon to speak on television and conferences about the growing medium and the technologies she uses to bring her lifestyle stories to life. As a Blogger and Mom, she has been featured on various San Diego news stations, talking about family, food, fun, and travel. Check out her blog, Living the Sweet Life.
And now! Time for the interview!
Pauline Campos: Chocolate or vanilla?
Sugar Jones: Rocky Road
PC: Always gotta be difficult, I see. Probably that's why I like you. Favorite book and why?...
SJ: Bird by Bird. I love the book, but the way I came about discovering it makes it extra special. I was living in a tiny hippy town in Marin. One Saturday, I was walking around the downtown area. Didn't take long at all, but the shops were great for lingering in. I found a little shop that had a table of books that were signed by local authors. After reading the back cover, I thought, well this sounds cool. I later found out just how cool it was to have that extra bonus of having it signed by Anne Lammot herself.
PC: *Jaw on Floor* A SIGNED ANNE LAMMOT BOOK? Woman, I'll totally always let you refer t me by my first name in public no matter how sort of famous I get if you hook me up! We can talk about the specifics later. For now -- What's your favorite quote?:
SJ: "And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom." ~ Anais Nin
PC: Do you consider yourself a feminist? WAIT...SIGNED BOOK! Did you enter to win the signed copy of Rick Najera's Almost White? 'Cuz you should totally do that. Feminist, back to the thing about being a feminist. Are you?
SJ: I have a hard time with this. I feel very strongly about being a strong, competent, adventurous woman, but I don't feel that I'm being weak by wanting to enjoy certain domestic duties. I embrace what it is to be a woman, but I don't identify with the women that feel that we've been wronged somehow. You work with what you've got.
PC: I'm totally with you there. I'm perfectly happy with doing the dishes as long as The Husband stops trying to make me learn how to change the oil on my truck. But I'm not about to submit to anyone, unless the act involves a byline and a paycheck. Pretty sure the word means something slightly different to everyone. Moving on...Describe yourself in third person.
SJ: She's really funny and cool, but man... do NOT piss her off!
PC: Okay. You win at this question. Who inspires you?
SJ: I don't know that one person inspires me. I'm inspired by the simplicity and awesomeness of nature and I'm always reminded that while in this life experience, I am the star of this movie in my head, I am really just a very tiny speck in the Universe.
PC: Yeah, but it's the movie inside your head that counts, sister. Who is it you hope to inspire?
SJ: People that want to live the sweet life... even through the caca.
PC: And that, boys and girls, is today's Spanish lesson from Ms. Sugar. Repeat after me: Caca means shit. Good. Now everybody ask Ms. Sugar if she dreams in color or black & white?
SJ: I dream in Technicolor
PC: I should have known. Let's play word association. I say CHINGONA and you say...?
PC: How do you feel about Latinas and how we are represented in the media?
SJ: I once wrote about a character on a cable show. I was, at the time, on the blogger network for this cable channel. They were not happy that I criticized the one Latina character they had for one episode. Her name was Marisol, she worked at a bakery, and her white army husband beat her. Yeah... awesome. It's either that or a hot skinny Latina that looks great in heels and thousand dollar dresses. I don't know... I kinda gave up on the media ever getting us right.
PC: I mentioned Rick Najera's book and the contest right? Because Latino representation in Hollywood and diversity is the topic. No pressure or anything, but I'm gonna be pissed if you don't enter. Anyway... One takeaway you want your children to hold onto after they've grown and flown the nest...
SJ: Never feel bad about being weird and never settle for normal.
PC: It's like you KNOW me. I love it. One childhood memory that has stuck with you...
SJ: My Tio Keco caught a bird in a park once. I thought it was the coolest thing. Then he let it go, and I was so pissed! I cried so hard! He laughed at me and said, "You can't keep the bird in your hand. They need to fly!"
PC: That one made me smile. Do you think in English, Spanish, or Spanglish?
SJ: Spanish and English. We live on both sides of the border and I'm training myself to think and speak in Spanish more. My daughter and I watch Gossip Girl with the subtitles, so I'm learning how to be really devious in Español, tambien. Cuidado, Chuck y Blair!
PC: I don't even know I'm speaking Spanish when I'm frat party drunk. Which never actually happened, Readers Who May be In College. That wouldn't be a good example to be sharing with impressionable young minds. Instead, let's focus on the next question. What's your favorite dish? Why?
SJ: I love a nice bowl of beef Phó. I know... you were expecting menudo, right? Well, that, too.
PC: At this point I have learned to not expect the expected from you. Do you feel "Latina enough"?
SJ: Sometimes, but it's usually when my family is teasing me about my Spanish. It always seems to get harder to speak when I'm in front of them. Son muy criticones.
PC: I know exactly what you mean. Also I have no idea if you even said that right, so it's all good. Next! You have the chance to eat dinner and drink wine with one person, living or dead. Who is it, what do you eat, what kind of wine, AND WHY THAT PARTICULAR PERSON?
SJ: It's a toss up between my Nana and my dad. I miss my Nana and I really didn't get to spend any time with my dad. I loved hearing their stories. I would be happy to just sit an listen to them again.
PC: Tell your dad to being your nana as his Plus One. Do you chew your ice cream? (Or is that just a Me thing?)
SJ: I turn the spoon over and put the ice cream right on to my tongue. Straight to the tastebuds!!!
PC: Cut out the middle man. Fucking brilliant. One Latina stereotype you despise?
SJ: That we all look a certain way. I hate hearing "You don't LOOK Mexican." I always respond with, "Well, I AM Mexican, so I do look like a Mexican." And then I say something about not having a leaf blower must confuse them or something snitty like that.
PC: Snitty is good. I don't "look" Mexican, either. I'm too tall. My hair is too kinky. I'm not balancing ten kids and that leaf blower you fucking borrowed without asking me...again. One Latina stereotype you embrace (or is there one?)
SJ: Our SPICINESS!!!!!
PC: That's my fave, too. Describe your perfect day.
SJ: A day at the beach with my family... my kids, my aunts, my uncles, my cousins, people related by rumor... my mom is there, pero no me esta fregando con su OCD. The guys with the snack carts come by and we have plenty of pesos to buy as much ceviche tostadas and chicharrones con chile y limon that we want. And later that night, we have a big ol' bonfire and fall asleep in our sleeping bags under the stars.
And there ya have it. To nominate a Latina for a future #ChingonaFest Friday feature, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet e with the hashtag #ChingonaFest. And don’t forget to check out my latest Dimelo Advice column on Latina Magazine and be sure to send me your questions to email@example.com.
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