ChingonaFest Fridays: Eliana Mercedes

Welcome to WEEK 26 of #ChingonaFest Fridays on Aspiring Mama. 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 purposeLas 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?  @Ana-Lydia Ochoa Monaco and Ane Romero 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.

Today’ featured Chingona is a special one and I think you'll like getting to hear more about how the original chingona's fabulous little brain works. I'm featuring Eliana Mercedes today as a nod to my recent inclusion in the From Her Art Exhibit through the El Pueblo National Monument in Los Angeles, which actually just closed up. I am honored to have had my photograph, Mexican in Maine, selected for the juried show, and as the subject of the photo, I thought Eliana deserved a bit of limelight for so patiently dealing with a camera in her face almost every waking moment. Don't forget to follow her on twitter and instagram!

I'd also like to thank Julia Carillo of Soy Chingona jewelry for sponsoring this week's #ChingonaFest post! Check out Julia's sassy line of Pretty Things at Soy Chingona, and follow her on Instagram and twitter! Email at at aspiringmama@gmail.com for details on how your website or business can be featured!

So let’s get to that interview!

My photograph, (The unblurry version, anyway) Mexican in Maine, features a pinata made by the other Mexican in Maine, Paula Daulk, from  Mainely Pinatas   --- and to answer your question, YES she ships!

My photograph, (The unblurry version, anyway) Mexican in Maine, features a pinata made by the other Mexican in Maine, Paula Daulk, from Mainely Pinatas  --- and to answer your question, YES she ships!

Pauline Campos: Chocolate or vanilla?

Eliana Mercedes: Chocolate

PC: Good. Now that we've proven you are my child, it's time for the next question. Favorite book and why?

EM: Favorite book? I would say I have no idea. Spiderwick?

*Daddy interjects with What about Whatever book I am currently reading?"

Okay. Whatever book I am currently reading.

PC: Yep. That sounds about right/. What's your favorite quote?

EM: Yourself is yourself and who can argue with that? I said that on your podcast. Your friends think I'm adorable.

PC:  We'll have to work on your confidence, I see Describe yourself in third person.

EM: I have no idea what third person is.

PC: And your language arts. Who inspires you?

EM: Everyone?

PC: Are you asking me? Who is it you hope to inspire?

EM: Everyone?

PC: Uh-huh... Do you dream in color or black and white?

EM: Sometimes color and sometimesd black and white. So there's really no pacific answer to that.

PC: No, no I don't sup[pose there would be. What's your favorite dish? Why?

EM: Macaroni and cheese. I think you see why I am saying that, correct?

PC: Because I asked you a question and you decided to answer it with a giant hint telling me I don't serve you enough cheese-covered carbohydrates No, it's okay You don't have to answer that? But this one you do...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?

EM: Princess Katie. We would eat ice cream. Probably rainbow flavored. I can't have wine because you said it's only for mamas. I'd serve chocolate milk, chilled, of course. I'm not picky. Store bought or homemade is fine.

PC: Princess rock stars are the absolute best. Do you chew your ice cream? (Or is that just a Me thing?)

EM: I chew it. Doesn't everybody? Chewing is pretty much a human thing.

PC: That's what I keep asking the internet and they keep looking at me like I'm crazy! Why are you looking at me like I'm crazy? Never mind. Describe your perfect day.

EM: A perfect day would be getting a horse, probably pretty reasonably because, yaknow?

PMC: No, not exactly. But m'kay...Would you rather be a unicorn or a Pegasus. Why?

EM: I'd rather be an alicorn.

PC: Of course you would. If you could wish for three things what would they be? And no, you cannot use one of the wishes for three more wishes.

EC: A horse, a unicorn, and a pagasus. Because I could then wish for a alicorn because I'd have a unicorn.

PC: You're smarter than me, aren't you? I'm so totally screwed. What do you want to be when you grow up?

EC: A fairy who has a mermaid tail. Wait. No. Someone who owns a horse.

PC: That's what you get for growing six inches the same summer we bought you a pony that was perfectly sized for you...six inches ago. Moving on...if you were a fairy, what would your magical power be?

EC: The power to do everything, yaknow?

PC: Yeah. I totally know.

Email me at  dimelo@latina.com !

Email me at dimelo@latina.com!

And there ya have it. To nominate a Latina for a future #ChingonaFest Friday feature, email me ataspiringmama@gmail.com or tweet me with the hashtag #ChingonaFest. And don’t forget to check out my latest Dimelo Advice Column in Latina Magazine. New questions are being saved for the print magazines, so send me ALL THE GOOD STUFF for the sassy solicited advice y'all love so much that you stop me in public bathrooms to talk shop to dimelo@latina.com.

Think this'll look badass on a throw pillow or travel mug? Cuz You're right!

Think this'll look badass on a throw pillow or travel mug? Cuz You're right!

I've been busy stocking my new Red Bubble shop with lots of pretty awesome stuff! Also check out my blog store under the Pauline Campos Studios tab!

Follow me on Twitter, instagram, and here’s the FB fan page! I know. You’re *welcome.*

 

Oh, and TUMBLR, Y’ALL!

Follow me and validate my existence.

Sign up for The Tortilla Press Newsletter! And stay tuned. The weekly #Chingonafest twitter party and podcast will be resuming soon!

Follow me on Twitter, instagram, and here’s the FB fan page!

Forward, always.

Together… stronger.

 

#ChingonaFest: The Backstory

Photo by Pauline Campos

As a first generation Mexican-American, I was raised to keep my thoughts to myself and put the feelings of La Familia over my own. Considering the emotional baggage I’ve been packing since childhood, I’d say that line of thinking didn’t turn out so well.I’m a mother now and my daughter is feisty and brilliant and wonderful. I want to raise her to be a Chingona the Mexican slang term for “bad ass bitch“. It’s a word steeped in history and controversy (and one you most certainly do not repeat in polite company or within earshot of your tios because Aye, Dios, y'all ), but it’s a word author Sandra Cisneros made a case for  in HBO’s Latino List, and one I've come to embrace. I want my daughter to grow up to be the kind of woman who respects herself and others, stands up for her ideals, and celebrates all that she is without feeling the need to apologize for it. Put in plain English, my end goal is for my girl to grow up to be the kind of woman the word  “bitch” is used as a compliment to describe. A real chingona.But this little chingona of mine isn't going to be the bitchy, self-centered, jerky kind, if I have anything to do with it. Instead, my goal is to raise m'ija to be the kind of hell-raiser that radiates sass, self-confidence, independence, and doesn't take sh*t from anybody...but in a totally respectful way. I want to raise a hell-raiser who is respectful of herself and others, yet stands up for herself and what matters no matter what anyone else thinks.I want my daughter to know she has a voice now and that what she says today matters so that tomorrow she won’t think to look for validation outside of herself. I want her to feel and recognize her own value because it took me far too long to realize there are certain things we can only find within ourselves. I want for her to understand that the village is probably doing something wrong, even with her best intentions guiding our every choice. And I want her to know she can speak her mind, even if what she has to say goes against the culturally accepted norm.So far, I'm pretty certain The Husband and I are on the right track. She's seven and has been proudly mismatching her entire wardrobe since she was two, perfected the side-eye around kindergarten, and has no qualms about telling you what exactly she has on her mind. I don't have solid numbers, but I imagine it's not an every day occurrence for field trip-tears and a mommy/daughter heart-to-heart to result in mami writing her Latina Magazine #Dimelo advice column about the exchange. The odds are probably a lot smaller that said column would result in the  creation of a community and podcast encouraging women to find and embrace the unique power of our voices while encouraging the next generation to do the same.

Through the #chingonafest hashtag and twitter, instagram, and Facebook accounts, I share sassy sayings (They say Chingona like it's a bad thing...) and empowering life-lessons with like-minded Latinas. The #ChingonaFest Fridays feature on Aspiring Mama is your primer to the Latina bad-asses leading and inspiring with their own brand of special -- and lemme tell ya -- there's nothing quite as liberating as finding your tribe and knowing you're not the only one dropping well-placed F-bombs into random conversation while bucking those pesky cultural norms. I'm on week 25 of the weekly feature and am proud of having featured inspiring Latinas such as BlogHer's Elisa Camahort Page and Lori Luna, #365feministselfie founder Veronica Arreola, and Latina Lifestyle Blogger Collective and national conference founder Ana-Lydia Ochoa-Monaco. (To submit nominees for future #ChingonaFest Fridays -- and tossing your own hat in the ring is always encouraged -- just tag me on instagram or Twitter with the hashtag, or simply email me at chingonafest@gmail.com.) And the #ChingonaFest Project Podcast picks up where the Friday blog feature leaves off with plenty more Spanglish sass and interviews with Interesting People, Actual Conversation with fellow #Chingonas, and Interesting Content Very Probably Not Suitable for Sunday Dinners con la Familia.

Of course, this line of thinking is not just meant to empower mothers of daughters. Hell, you don’t have to be a mom to get in on this party, either. If you’ve got sons, you’re raising the boys who will become the men who will love the women our daughters will become. Teach them and guide them on their path and show them why there’s nothing better than a relationship in which both parties are equal partners.

No kids? No problem. You are an aunt, a prima, a friend, teacher, a sister. You are an inspiration and the motivation to work harder and do better and never give up. The next generation is looking to you just as they are looking to the rest of us. That makes you part of my village. If you are the kind of woman who takes BITCH as a compliment, welcome to the party.

#ChingonaFest Fridays: Ane Romero

It’s WEEK 24 for the Aspiring Mama #Chingonafest Fridays. Last week, I took a look back at my interview with proud feminist Veronica Arreola  and this week, I'm (hopefully) back on track with a new interview! It seems I’ve added Chingona Cheerleader to my soapbox recently (Mostly by accident but I’m running with it anyway). 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 an amazing woman I met at the LATISM conference a few years ago when she spoke on a mental health panel I moderated. She is a nationally recognized and award winning mental health advocate, speaker, and trainer She received her B.A. in Political Science and M.P.A from New Mexico Highlands University, where she served as the first female elected Student Body President and was appointed to the New Mexico Commission on Higher Education. Ane is trained and certified in suicide prevention through the Yellow Ribbon Suicide Prevention Program and has provided training services for schools, communities, including on the Navajo Reservation. And if that's not enough, An also was crowned Miss New Mexico n 2005, she was crowned Miss New Mexico and competed at the national Miss America Pageant.

Check out Ane's blog and follow her on Twitter!

And on to the interview!

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Ane Romero

Pauline Campos: Chocolate or vanilla?

Ane Romero: Caramel. I’d eat a shoe if it was covered in caramel.

PC: And I'll call this proof that beauty queens like food. Hell, I'd eat a shoe covered in caramel. Probably why we get along. Favorite book and why:

AR: Oh, this is tough. I absolutely love books, but if I had to pick one it would be “Stand Still Like the Hummingbird” by Henry Miller. It’s a series of short stories and essays about his philosophy on life and a book that I “grow into” as I get older and every time I go back to it I learn something new.

PC: Ya know? I think we need to start a ChingonaFest Book Club. Oprah's had her 15 minutes and ya'll make me want to pick up a new book with these great answers. What's your favorite quote?

AR: Some of my favorite quotes is a line from Vince Lombardi’s “What It Takes To Be Number 1” speech.

“Winning is not a sometime thing, it is an all the time thing. You don’t do things right once in a while…you do them right all the time.”

To me it’s a reminder that when you do something with good heart, pure intention, and give your all—you will never lose even if you don’t “win.”

PC: Do you consider yourself a feminist?

AR: If wanting equal opportunity for women (or men) to live, lead, and fulfill their dreams makes me a feminist, then sure I guess I am.

PC: Describe yourself in third person.

AR: Well, in 7th grade my history teacher told my dad that I was a, ”firecracker” after I noted that I did not like the term “minority,” because to me it meant less-than and I was no less than anyone else in the room. Then again I was called this in college when I spoke out against the proposal to raise tuition. Some might say “firecracker,” but I like to think more “fireworks.” J Okay…I don’t think I correctly answered this question?

PC: No you sucked at it and it's beautiful because it's honest. I'm totally smiling now. Who inspires you? Those who have overcome adversity in their life and never give up on their dreams.

AR: Who is it you hope to inspire? I would hope to inspire youth, by letting them know just how important and valuable they are. I don’t think our society does a good job at appreciating young people and what they have to offer. I would also like to inspire others through my work in mental health and help breakdown the negative stigmas that often keep people from seeking help. As my former boss Congresswoman Grace F. Napolitano, says “there is no health without mental health.”

PC: I agree and this is such an important topic in the Latino community. Let's keep working together on this, yeah? But first, do you dream in color or black and white?

AR: Color and sometimes glitter…

PC: Glitter and caramel and word tangents. I do believe I'm in love with you. Let's play word association. I say CHINGONA and you say...?

AR: Let’s be friends and do you have Instagram" (because you know any Chingona has a great Instagram).

PC: How do you feel about Latinas and how we are represented in the media?

AR: The depiction of Latinas has come a long way, but we still have much more to overcome. The day we have a Latina version of Olivia Pope or with a role as the President of the United States, then I will really feel like we have arrived.

PC: Quick! One takeaway you want your children to hold onto after they've grown and flown the nest...

AR: Empathy. I would want them to know that this quality will enable them to see the beauty in others and with that will follow an appreciation and respect for life.

PC: I think I'd like your kids. One childhood memory that has stuck with you...

AR: The car broke down and so my mom had no other choice, but to carry me in the snow to the babysitter. As I wrapped my tiny arms around her neck I remember feeling this overwhelming sense of pride and love. My mom has and always makes the impossible possible.

PC: Do you think in English, Spanish, or Spanglish?

AR: I think in “feelings,” if that makes sense? I always try to be conscious of my words, but sometimes nothing really captures the meaning like Spanish. I mean, try translating Mana’s song, “Vivir sin Aire” in English and all the umph just totally goes out the window, but in Spanish it’s a pure masterpiece.

PC: Kind of like "Sana, Sana Colita de Rana" makes no damned sense in English but in Spanish it's all MY BOOBOO STOPPED HURTING MAMA! Right?  What's your favorite dish? Why?

AR: My favorite food is a hot dog with mustard, but my favorite dish is fried papas (potatoes) with thinly sliced onions and red New Mexican chile. I love this dish because whenever I eat it, I know I’m home.

PC: Do you feel "Latina enough"?

AR: This is hard to answer, because I have never been anything other than Latina. Our culture has so many facets that you can’t just lump it all into one mix. I think that too many times there is this assumption of what “being Latino” is, but none of us who are Latino will ever fit neatly into a “box.” We are linked by a common thread, but I believe the intricacy of our culture is what really makes us who we are. So at the end of the day, I would say yes...even if there is so much more for me to learn.

PC: Wow. Ok, so Ane wins the Internet with that answer. Love it! 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?

AR: My great-grandmother Ane, whom I am named after. We would eat ribs from Silky O’Sullivans. I first tried these ribs on a trip to Memhis, TN and they were so delicious I literally got teary eyed. I would probably pair them with Capuline wine (choke cherry wine) and apple pie made from the apples in her orchard. I never got to meet her, but any time someone talks about her their face lights up. She use to play the harmonica and loved music. She and my great-grandfather built their house with their own two hands, which still stands today. She was independent, strong willed, admired, and respected. Being named after her, I have always felt a sense of responsibility to live a life that would make her proud to carry on her name.

PC: I want in on this meal. Do you chew your ice cream? (Or is that just a Me thing?)

AR: Hmm…I never really gave thought about it. Probably because if and when I do eat ice cream it’s usually annihilated in seconds.

PC: Especially if served in a shoe covered in caramel. One Latina stereotype you despise?

AR: All of them. Being from New Mexico I can’t tell you the absurd things I have heard whenever I travel elsewhere. The top one being, “what part of Mexico are you from.” The look of confusion on some faces when you note that New Mexico is a state is always classic. I once had to literally show a clerk where New Mexico was on a map, because she said the store could not accept “foreign” driver licenses as proof of ID. She called her manager, who immediately apologized to me. I laughed so hard I cried. J

PC: So I was in the the fourth grade when I realized New Mexico was part of the United States during a social studies report and I was SO mad. I'm still getting over it. One Latina stereotype you embrace (or is there one?)

AR: That we are all “great cooks.” I can’t cook to save my life, but if others assume that I can because I’m Latina, well then who am I to ruin their dream?

PC: Describe your perfect day.

AR: May 30, 2015. That is when I get married, so it doesn’t get much better than being surrounded by all the people you love…and cake. Oh how I LOVE cake!

PC: Is it caramel? And where's my invite? *winks*

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And there ya have it. To nominate a Latina for a future #ChingonaFest Friday feature, email me at aspiringmama@gmail.com or tweet me here or here with the hashtag #ChingonaFest. And don’t forget to check out my latest Dimelo Advice Column on Latina Magazine. This week’s reader wants to know if she is aiming high enough with her dreams.

Also, be sure to send me your questions to dimelo@latina.com.

 

The sun’ll come out tomorrow, y’all.

Who likes Pretty Pictures? Check out my #chingonafest (and my non-hashtagged stuff, too) on my newly renamed Etsy Shop at Pauline Campos Studios. and have And because it’s actually relevant, check out my Zazzle and  more art available on Society6. More designs and products coming soon!

 

Oh, and TUMBLR, Y'ALL!

Oh, and TUMBLR, Y’ALL!

Follow me and validate my existence.

Sign up for The Tortilla Press Newsletter! And stay tuned. The weekly #Chingonafest twitter party and podcast will be resuming soon!

Follow me on Twitter, instagram, and here’s the FB fan page!

Forward, always.

Together… stronger.

Submitted

This Artist/Writer/Photographer thing is still new territory for me. Fear wasn't the only reason I held back from just running with it all because, and let's be honest, it's gonna be a bitch redesigning business cards. I'll deal with that later, though. For now, it's Show and Tell time because I spent entirely too much time making Scrunchy Faces I never selfie'd while over-thinking the Artist Statement portion of a recent art show submission. I apologize to Instagram for robbing you of the chance to point and laugh.

I'm sorry. I'll try to do better next time. I promise.

 

Image by Pauline Campos

As a mother, I strive to teach my daughter that she can go anywhere...do anything. I want her to know that it's more important to create her own space rather than try to fit in. We moved to Maine two years ago and do not blend; our olive tones made more obvious by the white snow covering the ground for most of the year. But we are creating our space. In this photo, my daughter, 7, stands in a barn beneath the princess pinata made by a local woman, also Mexican, for her birthday party. She is fierce, focused, and stands tall, daring anyone to question her presence, her choices, her right to wear that crown or the cape she says makes her royalty. In this moment, she has claimed her space.

 

Photo by Pauline Campos

As the founder of the #chingonafest community, I strive to empower Latinas to embrace (and celebrate) their true selves and voices in the face of cultural dictates telling us to do otherwise. As Latina Magazine's #Dimelo advice columnist, I made some waves of my own when a conversation with my daughter turned into a column on Latina.com called "5 Ways to Raise a Chingona". And as the mother watching this girl grow sure and strong, I hope she never loses the spirit and determination that I was lucky enough to capture in her eyes and her stance when the flash went off.

 

Autobiography by Pauline Campos

I was running behind so I forgot to copy and paste this one but basically I said lots of words and then wrapped it up with "This is my story told on canvas." The end.

 

 

#SheSePuede by Pauline Campos

My goal and my purpose is to inspire women to embrace and celebrate our voices while forging our own paths -- and inspiring the next generation to do the same -- despite a culture dictating we do otherwise. I am the daughter of a Mexican-born father and was raised by my village, including my parents, tias, tios, and Abuelo. I am the mother of a second-generation daughter who is being raised by the girl who grew up to break away from the accepted in order to find myself. I am Chingona. #SheSePuede. Because alone we can, but together, we thrive.

 

(The Best of) #ChingonaFest Fridays: Veronica Arreola

 

It’s WEEK 23 for the Aspiring Mama #Chingonafest Fridays. Last week, I took a look back at my interview with Dr. Helen Troncoso and it was fabulous. Today, the Fabulous continues with proud feminist Veronica Arreola sitting in the hot seat once again. (And yes, for those of you who are actually PAYING ATTENTION, I backdated this post cuz FRIDAY but obviously it is NOT Friday. This is called Full Disclosure and probably has something to do with Using My Authentic Voice. You're Welcome.)

It seems I’ve added Chingona Cheerleader to my soapbox recently (Mostly by accident but I’m running with it anyway). 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.

Veronica is a a force to be reckoned with. By day, she runs a women in science & engineering program at the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Center for Research on Women and Gender and by night she’s a PhD student in Public Administration. I’m assuming that means she earned her veteran blogger stripes (and became a social media addict while doing the public speaking thing) when she should have been sleeping. Oh, and that #365feministselfie thing the entire internet is talking about? Yeah, Veronica founded that, too.(Of course, I’m posting the daily selfies because I like words that start with the letter “F”.)

And on to the interview!

 

photo(11)

Veronica Arreola

 

Pauline Campos: Chocolate or vanilla?

Veronica Arreola: Vanilla bean.

 

 

PC: So you’re a rebel and don’t like boxes, then. *nods head* Can you tell me what favorite book is and why?

 

 VA: This is like asking me to choose my favorite child! Oh wait, I only have one. Damn…still, you can’t ask a bookworm this.

 

 

PC: I should have seen that one coming. Okay, let’s go three for three. What’s your favorite quote?

 

VA:  “Our struggle today is not to have a female Einstein get appointed as an assistant professor. It is for a woman schlemiel to get as quickly promoted as a male schlemiel.” Bella Abzug

 

 

PC: Alrighty then. Um, and now for the obvious. Do you consider yourself a feminist?

 

VA: OF COURSE!

 

 

PC: Good. You had me worried there for a minute. Let’s talk about who you hope to inspire.

 

VA: My daughter. She is everything that I had hoped to have as a daughter. Smart, witty, strong, athletic, caring and with an eye on justice. It is an honor to be her mom. Watch out world!

 

 

PC: Sweet. When she’s old enough to say Chingona without getting grounded, send her my way, will ya? But back to you…do you dream in color or black and white?

 

VA: Technicolor. When I was a kid, I often got dreams and real life mixed up. I’d swear things happened and my mom would have to explain that I dreamt it.

 

 

PC: Why am I not surprised? Okay, so, let’s play word association. I say CHINGONA and you say…?

 

VA: VIVA!

 

 

 

PC: How do you feel about Latinas and how we are represented in the media?

 

VA:  Hijole! The sad thing is that I think of the awful representations first. SNL’s Cecily Strong’s continuing to play the ditzy Latina, Sofía Vergara’s Gloria on “Modern Family” is like a Latina Peg Bundy without Peg’s sharp wit and then there’s a new Latina character on “The Walking Dead” who looks to be drawn by a 13-year-old boy. ENOUGH! But then we go to the news part of the media and we see Latinas like Maria Hinojosa and Soledad O’Brien, who show our intelligent side. Thank goodness for America Ferrera and Rosario Dawson making movies with strong and intelligent Latina characters..or at least not a stereotype of a Latina which the rest of us have to dispel over and over.

 

 

PC: hmm..I see your point, but I also loved Peg Bundy. But it was probably the sharp wit thing. Anyway, NEXT! One takeaway you want your children to hold onto after they’ve grown and flown the nest…

 

VA: To keep exploring the world.

 

 

PC: One childhood memory that has stuck with you…

 

VA: Hard to choose just one! Why do you do this to me, Pauline? OK, so my dad always had pick up trucks when we were kids. I loved riding in the back, especially when he didn’t have a cap on the back. It was heaven. I vividly remember my girlfriends & I tagging along while he want to the auto-part store. We piled in with my boombox, turned up the music and sang all the way there and back.

 

 

PC: Oh that makes me think of my Guelo’s station wagon and the seats that flipped up and telephone poles with signs with phone numbers for the “Yunk Yard.” *sighs wistfully* Do you think in English, Spanish, or Spanglish?

 

VA: English

 

 

PC: Yeah, unless I’m drunk (and I mean like College Frat Party levels), I think in English, too. So what’s your favorite dish? Why?

 

VA: Cheese enchiladas con mole. My mom use to make the best enchiladas. When I moved out of my parents’ home, I started my now 20+ years of trying to replicate her recipe. No canned mole for my mom’s enchiladas. And since she died 11 years ago, my quest for that perfect recipe so my daughter has the same memories keeps me going. BTW – Anyone know where I can get some California Chile powder?

 

 

PC: Going out on a limb here, but California sounds like a good place to look. What? The door..it was RIGHT THERE. You can glare at me later. For now, I wanna know if you feel “Latina enough”?

 

VA: Not really.

 

 

PC: WHAT? You so NO and leave us hanging? That was just mean. Let’s see what you do with this one: Describe your perfect day.

 

VA: A warm day, full of sunshine, cool breeze, then climbing up a tree. I’ll find a comfy nook, then settle in to read a good book. These perfect days happened almost every day when I was a kid. Now I substitute biking to a park with my family. Still toting a book along.

HT: That we’re family orientated.

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And there ya have it. To nominate a Latina for a future #ChingonaFest Friday feature, email me at aspiringmama@gmail.com or tweet me here or here with the hashtag #ChingonaFest. And don’t forget to check out my latest Dimelo Advice Column on Latina Magazine. This week’s reader wants to know if her husband's lack of sexual desire for her means he's cheating on her.  Also, be sure to send me your questions to dimelo@latina.com.

 

The sun’ll come out tomorrow, y’all.

Who likes Pretty Pictures? Check out my #chingonafest (and my non-hashtagged stuff, too) on my newly renamed Etsy Shop at Pauline Campos Studios. and have And because it’s actually relevant, check out my Zazzle and  more art available on Society6. More designs and products coming soon!

 

Oh, and TUMBLR, Y'ALL!

Oh, and TUMBLR, Y’ALL!

Follow me and validate my existence.

Sign up for The Tortilla Press Newsletter! And stay tuned. The weekly #Chingonafest twitter party and podcast will be resuming soon!

Follow me on Twitter, instagram, and here’s the FB fan page!

Forward, always.

Together… stronger.

ChingonaFest Fridays: Helen Troncoso (Take 2)

Welcome to WEEK 22 of #ChingonaFest Fridays on Aspiring MamaIf 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. (Well, if you’re my tia, not really, but hypothetically speaking. Unless, of course, you’re one of the tias I no longer speak to then YES but AWKWARD and MOVING ON…) 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. Basically, I know you love me cuz ya tell me all the time. See how that works?

Have you checked out my past #ChingonaFest ladies? Jessica Mazone and Heiddi Zalamar  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, I'm doing a little throwback to my week 4 Featured Chingona, my good friend Helen Troncoso, because girlfrfiend just had a birthday and gotta show some love, right?  Troncoso, who is a doctor and title-holding beauty queen, has her heels firmly dug into the feminist camp. Helen has been featured pretty much everywhere (including Latina Magazine as a Top Ten Health & Fitness Blogger) Her most recent endeavor is as co-host of a new show,“El Bien Estar del Hogar con Casa Latina”, on V-me TV, the first national Spanish-language network to partner with American public television, and the fourth largest Spanish network in the United States. This show will follow Helen as she will work with women to transform their health and lives. Catch up with Helen on TwitterInstagramFacebook, and check out her site for some healthy motivation.

 

And now! Time for the interview!

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Dr. Helen Troncoso

 

Pauline Campos: Chocolate or vanilla?

Helen Troncoso: I'm not a big ice cream fan, but when I indulge I'd rather go for something more fun like butter pecan.

PC: Okay then... *pushes The Box Helen Doesn't Like to Be Put In to the side*. Let's try this one...What's your favorite quote?

HT: "You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream" by C.S. Lewis. I found that many times we as women tend to get caught up in other people's dreams and forget about the ones we made, for the good of the family or the relationship. In my case, I totally reinvented my life and health just 4 short years ago. To make a long story short, I left an abusive relationship, broken engagement and had to move to a new state and start all over. I was scared sh**less, and yes there were lots of times when I didn't want to get out of bed, but I did it.

PC: Starting over can be a huge pain in the ass. Go You for making it happen. Do you consider yourself a feminist?

HT: Feminism is defined as, "the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities."  I know some may not consider a woman who has done beauty contests a "feminist" but I do! Beyond equal rights, I believe a woman should have the right to choose what's right for her life. Feminism is not a, "zero sum game" as Nancy Redd once said. It's not about having to look or act a certain way so that other people can feel comfortable labeling you. We have certainly made strides as women in many different fields, but, it's no surprise that we still have leaps and bounds to go. Whenever I talk to young women, I always tell them to support their fellow sisters. We have so many other people coming down on us, that we need to stop the attacks and division amongst us. How are we supposed to tell women "si se puede" when our own words and actions don't reflect that.

PC: Yes, people will bitch because that's what people like to do. I, for one, am all for going against the grain. Feminist Beauty Queen? Why not? Now, describe yourself in third person.

HT: Helen is probably the most determined and hard-working person you will ever meet. She's also one of the most sensitive women ever. She's a dreamer and a doer who completely reinvented herself and is fearlessly living the life she always imagined.

PC: You said "probably". I say "Definitely". Who inspires you?

HT: All of those women who fearlessly continue to go after their dreams, no matter how many times they may have failed, or how crazy their ideas may seem.

PC: I'm a fucking mess, which -- if you connect the dots inside my head -- means I inspire you. This is where you lie to me if I'm wrong.  Everybody else does. So, who is it you hope to inspire?

HT: Any woman who feels like she may have gotten off track and wonders if her dreams can really come true. Women who can't recognize who's staring back at them in the mirror. I'm there to tell them sometimes God's rejection is blessed redirection.

PC: Redirection is a good thing. Do you dream in color or black and white?

HT: I don't dream often, but occasionally I do dream like what can best be described as a black and white film.

PC: I like black & white. Let's play word association. I say CHINGONA and you say...

HT: Pa'que tu lo sepas!

PC: Orale, mujer! How do you feel about Latinas and how we are represented in the media?

HT:I don't think we're represented correctly, but I think that applies to all women. I don't thinker should bash Sofia Vergara (who is actually an amazing business woman) or think to be successful you have to be just like Sonia Sotomayor. We have enough labels and boxes people (our families) put us in, that we need to stop doing it to one another as women. If we want how we're represented in the media to change, then we need to do more than get mad for a few moments and then forget about it.

PC: You're damned right about that. One childhood memory that has stuck with you...

HT: My dad is truly my best friend, and I don't ever take for granted our relationship. I grew up knowing that I was loved, and that I could do anything, and he would always be there right by my side.

PC: I love hearing that. Do you think in English, Spanish, or Spanglish?

HT: All of the above. English is definitely my dominant language, but I'm finding myself speaking Spanish more so nowadays. It's all good! If I'm tired or you're a good friend and you won't judge me, you'll probably hear my crazy Spanglish.

PC: Is there any other kind of Spanglish? Exactly. Now, what's your favorite dish? Why?

HT: Pollo guisado. To this day there is not one restaurant, or another person that can make it as good as my mom! It's the ultimate comfort food.

PC: *Sigh* I miss my mom's homemade flour tortillas. Do you feel "Latina enough"?

HT: I think I've come full circle. I grew up in Long Island, and went to high school where I could count on one hand the number of Latinas. My "Latino" experience was limited to my family members. It wasn't until years later that I began to understand how amazing being a Latina was! It's not about speaking Spanish (although that's important to me), nor is it the color of our skin. It is about our culture and traditions and the intangible things that make us Latinas.

PC: *Nods head* One Latina stereotype you despise?

HT: That we have tons of children out of wedlock. Hello! No kids, and if that's how the Universe wants it, not having them until someone puts a ring on this finger.

PC: I'll let Beyonce know. Last one! One Latina stereotype you embrace (or is there one?)

HT: That we're family orientated.

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And there ya have it. To nominate a Latina for a future #ChingonaFest Friday feature, email me ataspiringmama@gmail.com or tweet me here or here with the hashtag #ChingonaFest. And don’t forget to check out my latest Dimelo Advice Column on Latina Magazine. This week’s reader wants to know how to make the boy she likes realize she exists…. Also, be sure to send me your questions to dimelo@latina.com.

 

The sun'll come out tomorrow, y'all.

Who likes Pretty Pictures? Check out my #chingonafest (and my non-hashtagged stuff, too) on my newly renamed Etsy Shop at Pauline Campos Studios. and have And because it’s actually relevant, check out my Zazzle and  more art available on Society6. More designs and products coming soon!

 The sun’ll come out tomorrow, y’all..

Oh, and TUMBLR, Y'ALL!

Oh, and TUMBLR, Y’ALL!

Follow me and validate my existence.

Sign up for The Tortilla Press Newsletter! And stay tuned. The weekly #Chingonafest twitter party and podcast will be resuming soon!

Follow me on Twitter, instagram, and here’s the FB fan page!

Forward, always. Together… stronger.

ChingonaFest Fridays: Jessica Mazone

Welcome to WEEK 21 of #ChingonaFest Fridays on Aspiring Mama. 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. (Well, if you’re my tia, not really, but hypothetically speaking. Unless, of course, you’re one of the tias I no longer speak to then YES but AWKWARD and MOVING ON…) 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. Basically, I know you love me cuz ya tell me all the time. See how that works?

It's also important for me to mention the Chingonafest podcast Patreon Fundraising page. Think Kickstarter but for writers and you've got the basic idea. In order to get the podcast going on a regular basis, I need your help. With a minimum commitment of $1 per episode, you can help move our community to a a whole new level. Feel important yet? 'Cuz you are.

Have you checked out my past #ChingonaFest ladies? Writer and New York therapist Heiddi Zalamar and Ana-Lydia Ochoa- Monaco from Latina Lifestyle Bloggers Collective  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.

Today’ featured Chingona is the talented woman behind Tejana Made Designs. She owes me a bitchin' hand-tooled leather cuff because we've been talking about one forEVER, but I'll let that slide for now and focus on why she's fabulous.

For starters, stop by her blog and read her latest post because she's talking about depression and divorce and pulling herself from out of the gutter that many in our culture pretend doesn't exist. Hats off to Mazone for speaking up on these important topics. Eventually, Jessica and I will get off our respective asses and officially release an official #ChingonaFest line of leather cuffs, but for now, we will just put the pipe dreams back on the backburner and get to that interview, shall we?

(Don't forget to check out the Tejana Made Etsy shop and follow Tejana Made Designs on twitter!

 

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Photo courtesy of www.tejenamade.com

#Chingonafest Project Interview Questions

 

Pauline Campos: Chocolate or vanilla?

Jessica Mazone: Chocolate because it's a girls best friend

PC: This is why we are friends. Favorite book and why:

JM: Ooh...This is a tough one. I am a huge speculative fiction fan so I'm going to with Ink by fellow Latina Sabrina Vourvoulias. It is an exceptional book that discusses immigration, segregation, and rebellion in a Cybertech world. Plus, she has plenty of badass Chingona characters who have to save themselves.

PC: I think you need to assign my reading list, Ms. Mazone. What's your favorite quote?

JM: Right now...it's what my mom told me when we were discussing the Chingona cuff. I asked her if anyone had ever used that term in a derogatory way towards her. She said that it happens often  but she always answers the following way:

No creo....soy Chingona.

I am always answering this way from now on.

(I don't think...I *am* Chingona).

PC: Okay so this is probably an obvious question now but, do you consider yourself a feminist?

JM: Yes.

PC: I'd have bitch-slapped you had you responded with a no at this point. Describe yourself in third person.

JM: Opinionated, artistic, maker of leather things, and lover of embroidered cowboy boots

PC: Not really third person but I'm a week late publishing this 0ne so we will call it a draw. Who inspires you?

JM: The wonderful network of women I have met working online. Each and every one of them inspires and motivates me to be a better version of myself as cliche as that sounds. Even when I want to give up, they are there. A text or a phone call away to bounce ideas or just vent.

PC: Let's start a Chingonafest Textline. Cuz phone calls are just so..all-encompassing, right? But we can discuss that later. For now, who is it you hope to inspire?

JM: Students in the rural town I grew up in. I want them to know that the poverty we face there isn't permanent and that we are the key to reviving our communities. We have the tools at our fingertips and all we need is the desire.

PC: Do you dream in color or black and white?

JM: Color because it's more fun.

PC: And you say that like it's a choice. Interesting....,Let's play word association. I say CHINGONA and you say...?

JM: Fearless

PC: How do you feel about Latinas and how we are represented in the media?

JM: I honestly believe that we need to relinquish the idea that one Latina can represent the meridian of Latina subsets in our culture. Even though we may have Spanish to unify us, it's regional dialects and cultural nuances are what makes being Latina so beautiful.

As a pretty assimilated Latina, I would like to see more characters who happen to be Latino instead of Latino being the character. Does that make sense?

PC: Hell yes, that makes sense. I've got that novel I'm working on. Maybe you need to be my writing coach and threaten me with bodily harm after I hit publish here. Quick! One takeaway you want your children to hold onto after they've grown and flown the nest...

JM: Don't be afraid to go against the norm. It's not about pleasing me but finding out what your strengths and weaknesses are and utilizing them to create the career you want.

PC: One childhood memory that has stuck with you...

JM: I lived on a ranch for most of my childhood and teen years so bonfires were one of those things we always did. We would sit in front of mesquite fueled fires that filled the air with a sweet stench that permeated your clothes and hair. We talked about our dreams, ff escape, of lost loved ones, and broken hearts. I actually miss it sometimes.

PC: Dude. I'm allergic to your childhood. Keep the mesquite the fuck away from me. Come to think of it, I'm pretty sure I'm just allergic to being Mexican. *glances up at the heavens* (Sorry, Guela!) But forget me. Do you think in English, Spanish, or Spanglish, Jess?

JM: English and Spanglish

PC *blinks*: Isn't that the same as Spanglish? No, don't answer that. What's your favorite dish? Why?

JM: Kung Pao Chicken. I don't get to eat it very often but I have this strange love affair with Asian  food... especially takeout.

PC: Are you kidding? I'm pretty sure the Chinese place we ordered from when I was a kid played did a Mexican hat dance every time we called with an order big enough to feed 20 of us from my sisters to my tios and cousins. Mexicans can put down some eggrolls, amiRIGHT? Anyway, do you feel "Latina enough"?

JM: Hell no. I don't speak perfect Spanish. I say y'all often. I would dare to say I'm too Pocho to be Latina. This break in my identity is what forced me to fully embrace my unique Texas Mexican...ahem Tejano upbringing.

I grew up as a ranchero, a vaquero, a cowgirl if you will. Complete with blingy butt jeans.

PC: Gimme a sec...

*Looks up "Pocho"*

*Laughs because this is about the time Jess is wondering why the hell her phone is asking her what Pocho means*

Girl, I'm not even a Tejana and I say y'all like it's going out of style. As for the blingy butt jeans, well...it's okay. We all have phases like that we'd like to forget. Although I'm going to go out on a limb and say that blingy butt jeans will never be as bad a fashion choice as sequenced Uggs on anyone over the age of 10. As for not feeling Latina enough...here's an eggroll. That should help.

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?

JM: Gloria Anzaldua, the author of La Frontera/Borderlands. She is an iconic Texas Feminist writer. Her words made me realize that it was okay for me to feel divided as a Mexican American.

For dinner we would eat some good old fashioned Ranch cooking. Cabrito Guisada, Tripas, and of course Mesquite smoked Fajitas with Fresh tortillas and aguacate con Chile Picin. I don't drink wine so an ice cold Budweiser would have to do.

PC: I'm both hungry and allergic to your answer. Do you chew your ice cream? (Or is that just a Me thing?)

JM: I live in South Texas so ice cream meets a rapid death and most times I'm slurping it like an amazing chocolate soup

PC: I lived in Tucson for four years. I chewed my ice cream then, too, but I think that just makes me weird. One Latina stereotype you despise?

JM: The Virgen and the Malinche paradox. Essentially, it breaks down to the Virgin and the Whore and feeds the one-dimensional characteristics of the Fiery Latina sexpot. I'm tired of non-Latino men ask me if I'm a good cook and if its true that Latina women are there to serve. Apparently, I have to be a great lover, an exceptional cook, and look like a Salma Hayek/Sophia Vergara hybrid. No mama, that's just too much work.

PC: You got that right, sister, One Latina stereotype you embrace (or is there one?)

JM: Strength. We have a silent strength that binds our families together and in my family it was the matriarchs who were the glue, the center, the sun.

PC: Describe your perfect day.

JM: Spending the day on a wrap around porch with a good book.

PC: Sounds beautiful. Any eggrolls left?

 

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And there ya have it. To nominate a Latina for a future #ChingonaFest Friday feature, email me at aspiringmama@gmail.com or tweet me here or here with the hashtag #ChingonaFest. And don’t forget to check out my latest Dimelo Advice Column on Latina Magazine. This week’s reader wants to know how to make the boy she likes realize she exists.... Also, be sure to send me your questions to dimelo@latina.com.

 

Who likes Pretty Pictures? Check out my #chingonafest (and my non-hashtagged stuff, too) on my newly renamed Etsy Shop at Pauline Campos Studios. and have And because it’s actually relevant, check out my Zazzle and  more art available on Society6. More designs and products coming soon!

 

Oh, and TUMBLR, Y'ALL!

Oh, and TUMBLR, Y’ALL!

Follow me and validate my existence.

Sign up for The Tortilla Press Newsletter! And be sure to join me on Wednesday nights at 10 p.m. EST for the weekly #Chingonafest twitter party. (I’ll get back to you on the podcast soon!)

Follow me on Twitter, instagram, and here’s the FB fan page!

Forward, always. Together… stronger.

Rinse. Lather.

Repeat.

#ChingonaFest Fridays: Heiddi Zalamar

Welcome to WEEK 20 of #ChingonaFest Fridays on Aspiring Mama. 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. (Well, if you're my tia, not really, but hypothetically speaking. Unless, of course, you're one of the tias I no longer speak to then YES but AWKWARD and MOVING ON...) 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. Basically, I know you love me cuz ya tell me all the time. See how that works?

Have you checked out my past #ChingonaFest ladies? Ana-Lydia Ochoa- Monaco from Latina Lifestyle Bloggers Collective and Myrah Duque of Cupon Mamacita-fame, 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.

Today’ featured Chingona is good friend Heiddi Zalamar, a mama raising two boys to be chingones (because Obviously, right?). Zalamar is a licensed therapist and deals primarily with low-income families in New York, while simultaneously fielding text messages from me, because my own therapist was smart enough not to give me her cell phone number. Zalamar is also a writer, blogger, and the New and Unpaid, Totally Appreciated, Bad Ass Volunteer #ChingonaFest Social Media Manager. YAY, Heiddi!

So let’s get to that interview!

 

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Heiddi Zalamar

Pauline Campos: Chocolate or vanilla?

Heiddi Zalamar: I prefer strawberry.

PC: Well, well, well, Senorita Sassy..,.Strawberry it is. So, what's your favorite book and why?:

HZ: I have favorite books at different times in my life. Probably one of my all-time favorites is The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch.

PC: I obviously need to get out more. Or start a Pinterest board consisting of the ChingonaFest Book Faves, so I can at least feel slightly productive pinning the books I have yet to read. *sigh* Moving on...What's your favorite quote?

HZ: Ooh, I live by many quotes, but if I had to choose one it is “I can do all things with God who strengthens me.”

PC: Do you consider yourself a feminist?

HZ: Yes. I feel that I should be able to live my life and raise my kids without being required to repeat the same traditions just because my parents said so. I want to do things my way because I have good reason to.

PC: I think I'm making you a soapbox for Christmas. Describe yourself in third person.

HZ: Heiddi is an amazing, strong, resourceful woman who has a great heart, but doesn’t see herself as this wonderful person that others see. She has a hard time accepting her awesomeness and needs to remind herself often. Either with inspiring quotes or talking to her Chingonas.

PC: And I love your answer to that. We're here when you need us. Who inspires you?

HZ: You do, my love.

PC: *Blushing* You say all the pretty things, Heiddi. But who is it *you* hope to inspire?

HZ: Kids/teens like me who grew up thinking that no one was on their side. And other moms who need a boost in their self-esteem. And the whole world.

PC: Do you dream in color or black and white?

HZ: Color all the way.

PC: Let's play word association. I say CHINGONA and you say...?

HZ: Fest, Chingonafest!

PC: How do you feel about Latinas and how we are represented in the media?

HZ: I feel that Latinas can be a strong force in society if we can be united. Unfortunately, we are separated by whether or not we are US-born or foreign-born and class. As for the media, not all Latinas are cleaning women or sexy bombshells. Many of us do different things – therapists, social workers, teachers, lawyers, advocates, doctors, supreme court judges, etc that are NOT shared in media.

PC: Quick! One takeaway you want your children to hold onto after they've grown and flown the nest...

HZ: For them to know that they have the choice to live out their dreams.

PC: One childhood memory that has stuck with you...

HZ: I just shared this today with my co-workers, having crab picnics on my living room floor with my parents and younger brother. It was as much about preparing the meal as it was eating it.

PC: Do you think in English, Spanish, or Spanglish?

HZ: 75% English; 25% Spanish – Mi Mami’s quotes tend to pop up often.

PC: What's your favorite dish? Why?

HZ: I already answered that.

PC: Do you feel "Latina enough"?

HZ: Sometimes, I don’t. I feel like I don’t know enough about my heritage as a Boricua/Equatoriana. I also feel that I need to speak to my kids in Spanish more often.

PC: Do you chew your ice cream? (Or is that just a Me thing?)

HZ: Oh I let it melt.

PC: One Latina stereotype you despise?

HZ: That we can’t speak English. Pisses me the hell off.

PC: Tell me how you really feel...KIDDING! How 'bout one Latina stereotype you embrace (or is there one?)

HZ: That we want to take care of everyone. Hence, my desire to inspire the world.

PC: Describe your perfect day.

HZ: My perfect day would have me on a sandy, white beach, my lounge chair at the water’s edge with an umbrella for shade and one in my drink. With my bff next to me and the kids with their amazing Tia Pauline. Ha!

 

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And there ya have it. To nominate a Latina for a future #ChingonaFest Friday feature, email me at aspiringmama@gmail.com or tweet me here or here with the hashtag #ChingonaFest. And don’t forget to check out my latest Dimelo Advice Column on Latina Magazine. This week’s reader wants to know how to survive the familia holiday drama without losing her mind. go ahead...tell me you don't relate (without laughing!)! Also, be sure to send me your questions to dimelo@latina.com.

Who likes Pretty Pictures? Check out my #chingonafest (and my non-hashtagged stuff, too) on my newly renamed Etsy Shop at Pauline Campos Studios. and have And because it’s actually relevant, check out my Zazzle and  more art available on Society6.More designs and products coming soon!

Oh, and TUMBLR, Y'ALL!

Follow me and validate my existence.

Sign up for The Tortilla Press Newsletter! And be sure to join me on Wednesday nights at 10 p.m. EST for the weekly #Chingonafest twitter party. (I'll get back to you on the podcast soon!)

Follow me on Twitter, instagram, and here’s the FB fan page!

Forward, always. Together... stronger.

#ChingonaFest Fridays: Ana Lydia Ochoa-Monaco

  Welcome to WEEK 19 of #ChingonaFest Fridays on Aspiring Mama. 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 purposeLas 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? Myrah Duque and Nessi Montalvan from an Orphaned Earring 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.

Today’ featured Chingona is not afraid to say exactly what she's thinking. And I'm not just saying that. Agree or not, you can't help but respect the kind of attitude that makes Ana-Lydia Ochoa Monaco a true Chingona. Ochoa Monoca is a blogger and founder of the Latina Lifestyle Blogger's Collective (and the conference of the same name). Connect with Ochoa Monaco on Twitter and instagram.

So let’s get to that interview!

 

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anaochoamonaco

Pauline Campos: Chocolate or vanilla?

Ana- Lydia Monaco: Can I get both…like a soft serve ice-cream…maybe dipped in chocolate and served on a waffle cone?

PC: - Okay there, J.Lo. I'm getting you'd be the diva telling the event managing team handing your concert venue that your dressing room is unacceptable and WHY THE HELL DID THEY NOT REMOVE THE GREEN M&Ms LIKE YOU DEMANDED, YOU PATHETIC LITTLE PEONS, AmIight? No, it's okay. That  self-satisfied smirk on your face  i kind of a giveaway. What about your favorite quote?

AM: Before I tell you which quote it is, let me tell you how I became aware of it: I was having major problems work many years ago. My boss, using his small brain instead of his big brain, was promoting the laziest and less qualified woman in our team. Being the person I am, I noted his indiscretion and brought it up to HR. I didn’t back down. That helped me gain the trust of my client and the HR team, but major hate from both that woman and my boss. A few days later after venting with a dear friend about this situation, she mailed me a card with a magnet that had this quote printed on it: “Stand by your convictions, even if you’re the last person standing.” That magnet changed my life.

PC: You wave that diva card, Ana. But you should get it laminated if you're going to be showing it off this often. No, you are welcome. I do it because I care. So, who inspires you?

AM: That’s a hard question to answer because my inspiration comes from many places, people, and the most random situations and things. Like right now. At this very moment I have The Voice playing the background and both my laptop and Princess Maya (my Boston) on my lap. Hearing the passionate voices of regular people pursuing their dreams inspires me. My husband working late while I’m at home pursuing my dreams inspires me to be the best that I can be to make him proud; and to show him that all his hard work is worth it.Having a mother that not only survived stage three cancer, the death of the love of her life (my father), cared for her mother that has Alzheimer's (my grandma), and has gone through so much to raise four children in an upper middle-class family inspires me. The ocean breeze that wakes me up most mornings, the sound of the waves, the priest in my church, my young college colleagues, the future…all of this, and so much more, inspires me and drives me to do better.

PC: Do you dream in color or black and white?

AM: I dream usually in black and white, but most recently my dreams are literally a

Technicolor rainbow of colors and sounds. Someone told me that the reason my dreams are so vivid is because I am pursuing my actual dreams.

PC: Let's play word association. I say CHINGONA and you say…?

AM: Thank you. Can I have another. :)

PC: Quick! One takeaway you want your children to hold onto after they've grown and flown the nest…

AM: Since I don’t biological kids, I hope that my stepdaughters realize that my advice and suggestions were given in the spirit in seeing them reach their full potential.

PC: Do you think in English, Spanish, or Spanglish?

AM: You are going to hate me when I saw this, but I really despise Spanglish. Now that I got that out of the way, I promise to tell you this if you keep it a secret from my Real Academia Espanola-thumping family: I think in English.

PC: *blinks* I won't tell anyone. No one reads what I post here anyway, so..um..I think you're good. Also? I think in English, too. Unless I'm saying "pina colada or Antonio Banderas. Those come out with the accent whether I want them to or not. What's your favorite dish? Why?

AM: I am proud foodie, and as such I could in no way pick a single dish. Although I can admit to this much: Truffle. Truffle on anything will make even toast and butter taste like the God kissed your tastebuds.

PC: I was wondering how long I was going to have to wait for a reference to Jesus appearing on a piece of toast. *crosses off bucket list* Do you feel "Latina enough"?

AM: My blog is called Cabeza de Coco. A little tongue in cheek reaction to something I have been called many times over: Coconut (Meaning, brown on the outside and white on the inside. Does that make a Latina or not Latina enough? Not sure. But it makes me me.

PC: I'm officially in love with you now. And I totally knew the coconut reference already. I'm married to one and raising another. We might not be "doing" the "being" Mexican enough part right for some people, but I'm pretty sure you're my spirit animal so I'll just hsut up now. Do you chew your ice cream? (Or is that just a Me thing?)

AM: Lick, lick, bite with my lips, and swirl in my mouth to make sure all my tastebuds explode with the yumminess of the ice-cream flavor.

PC: Oh, the SEO on this answer alone is going to be fucking fabulous. One Latina stereotype you despise?

AM: One? Only One? Thats hard. But, I will start with a big secret. As a Mexican-American, the stereotype dictates that I (should) love, breath and die by Mariachi music. As a Tapatia, Mariachi music should be the music to my soul. As me, plain ‘ol Ana Lydia, I feel nada, zip, not a tingle when I hear the stuff. I am not a fan.

PC: I'm not judging.  Also? I hate lengua. One Latina stereotype you embrace (or is there one?)

I will never forget when my my boyfriend (who is now my husband) told me that “Latinas are good wives.” My claws came out. “What do you mean?” I asked, as he listed every single 1950’s housewife stereotype: “They cook, clean, take “care” of their man.” I hate to admit it, but he was right…and it gives me great pleasure to do so.

PC: Are we the same person? Describe your perfect day.

 AM: In a perfect world I would wake up when my body told me to wake-up, not when the alarm buzzed or my husband nudged me to cook for him. We wake up together, shower together, everything we want to wear is found clean and wrinkle-free. I have a good hair day, my skin glows, I have every single make-up color I need and want. My makeup is flawless. My outfit? Perfect and on point. My hubby says I look hot. He looks mighty hot himself. We do everything together: Shop, cook, see a great movie, go to the beach and watch the sunset before heading back home to cuddle on the couch. (p.s. after typing this I realized that a perfect day has nothing to do with work - but has everything to do with my relationship.)

 

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And there ya have it. To nominate a Latina for a future #ChingonaFest Friday feature, email me ataspiringmama@gmail.com or tweet me with the hashtag #ChingonaFest. And don’t forget to check out my latest Dimelo Advice Column on Latina Magazine. This week’s reader asks a very serious question that makes me hope like hell he keeps me updated Check out my response and let me know what you think! Also, be sure to send me your questions todimelo@latina.com.

The sun'll come out tomorrow, y'all..

The sun’ll come out tomorrow, y’all..

Who likes Pretty Pictures? I’m #MexicaninMaine on Etsy and have more art available on Society6. And because it’s actually relevant, check out my Zazzle and Etsy shops for Sassy #ChingonaFest gear! More designs and products coming soon!

Sign up for The Tortilla Press Newsletter! And be sure to join me on Wednesday nights at 10 p.m. EST for the weekly #Chingonafest twitter party. Stay tuned, because the podcast launches IN JUST A FEW DAYS! 

Follow me on Twitter, instagram, and here’s the FB fan page! I know. You’re *welcome.*

#ChingonaFest Fridays: Denisse Montalvan

Welcome to WEEK 18 of #ChingonaFest Fridays on Aspiring Mama. 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? Myrah Duque and Jesenia the Comedic Actress 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.

Today’ featured Chingona is a saint of a woman I consider myself lucky to call a friend. Her name is Denisse Moltavan and she's the founder of the Orphaned Earring, an incredible non-profit benefiting Latin American orphanages. The premise is simple -- you send in your orphan earring and/or donate any unwanted jewelry pieces and Denisse turns them into new pieces like these to sell for The Orphaned Earring.

To be clear, y'all, this is what Moltavan does in her spare time -- on top of the 60 hours per week she puts in at her PR job. (I know, RIGHT?) Connect with Moltavan and The Orphaned Earring on Twitter, Facebook, and instagram.

So let’s get to that interview!

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Denisse Moltavan

 

Pauline Campos: Chocolate or vanilla?

Denisse Moltavan: Chocolate.

PC: OMG TWINS, right? Favorite book and why?

DM: Amor en Los Tiempos de Cólera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez has the ability to transport us to different ages and eras and make US feel like the main characters in his books. He did just that with Amor En Los Tiempos de Colera, so as a child my first love was the book character.

PC: My high school AP English teacher would have loved you. What's your favorite quote?

DM: “We often miss opportunity because it's dressed in overalls and looks like work” ? Thomas A. Edison

PC: Opportunity needs a new stylist. Or maybe a friend brave enough to tell her that the overalls are not doing her any favors. Do you consider yourself a feminist?

DM: No, I consider myself an independent woman

PC: oh SNAP. I think you tie with Vannessa for best answer to this question EVER. Who inspires you?

DM: Many successful “everyday” Latinos who have found their success through hard work such as Richard Montanez of Pepsi Co. and Tommy Thompson of Moroch/iNSPIRE. I’m also inspired by Malala Yousafzai.

PC: I need to up my game. I was gonna say I'm inspired by the BFFs in the world brave enough to tell their overall-wearing BFFs that they aren't allowed to leave the house until they've changed. Who is it you hope to inspire?

DM: I hope to inspire everyone around me to identify the opportunities to do good and take them! We all don’t have to have our own non-profits, we just need to train our hearts and minds to feel more compassion for others in the world and act on that compassion, just not be a spectator.

PC: Do you dream in color or black and white?

DM: Both!

PC: Let's play word association. I say CHINGONA and you say...?

DM: BEAST! It’s fun to be a sexy beast, but chingona is the new sexy!

PC: That makes me the new Sandra Cisneros. I'll take it. How do you feel about Latinas and how we are represented in the media?

DM: Not enough Latinas are highlighted for their accomplishments and intelligence. Latinas “make it” in media if they are very sexy and dress sexy as well. I’m not only referring to general market media, our Hispanic media puts so much pressure to being beautiful and sexy on TV that the rest of the world thinks that that’s all we have to offer.

PC: I knew I liked you for a reaon... Quick! One takeaway you want your children to hold onto after they've grown and flown the nest...

DM: You must show God’s love and mercy with others by helping and caring for them. People will be able to see God’s love through their actions.

Everything is possible, everything has a solution and the worse others can say to us is NO, and that’s not a big deal.

PM: One childhood memory that has stuck with you...

DM: Being at the baseball field watching my daddy play every weekend, he was my childhood hero

PC: I like your dad. Do you think in English, Spanish, or Spanglish?

DM: I think in Spanish at home and with friends and English at work.

PC: That sounds entirely like way too much work. What's your favorite dish? Why?

DM: Fritanga which includes red beans and rice, carne asada, tajadas verdes, ensalada de repollo, queso frito

PC: Bless you. Why am I suddenly hungry? Also, Do you feel "Latina enough"?

DM: Yes, very very Latina.

PC: Do you chew your ice cream? (Or is that just a Me thing?)

DM: Nope, I take a bite, hold it in my mouth and let it melt.

PM: Patience, young grasshopper. One Latina stereotype you embrace (or is there one?)

DM: That we are nurturers.Screen-Shot-2013-07-11-at-6.09.16-PM-e1375409462117

And there ya have it. To nominate a Latina for a future #ChingonaFest Friday feature, email me at aspiringmama@gmail.com or tweet me with the hashtag #ChingonaFest. And don’t forget to check out my latest Dimelo Advice column on Latina Magazine. This week's reader wants to know how to handle a competitive best friend. Check out my response and let me know what you think! Also, be sure to send me your questions to dimelo@latina.com.

 

The sun'll come out tomorrow, y'all..

The sun’ll come out tomorrow, y’all..

Who likes Pretty Pictures? I’m #MexicaninMaine on Etsy and have more art available on Society6. And because it’s actually relevant, check out my Zazzle and Etsy shops for Sassy #ChingonaFest gear! More designs and products coming soon!

Sign up for The Tortilla Press Newsletter!

Follow me on Twitter, instagram, and here’s the FB fan page! I know. You’re *welcome.*

#ChingonaFest Fridays: Vannessa Vasquez

It’s Week Twenty-Seven on #ChingonaFest Fridays! This week's feature is being sponsored by Fed By Organics. Check out their clothing line (and stop in their store if you happen to be in the Tucson area). Don't forget their instragram account. I do love it when a brand actually GETS the social part of social media, don't you?

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 purposeLas 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 it does.

It seems I’ve added Chingona Cheerleader to my soapbox recently (Mostly by accident but I’m running with it anyway). 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 magazines, only with more typos and less airbrushing.

Have you checked out my past #ChingonaFest ladies? Eliana Mercedes shines in her interview last week, and Ana-Lydia Monaco rocked her Chingona status just before Eliana. (Trust me when I say it’s a must read). Today, #ChingonaFest is going Hollywood (again!) with a look back at my interview with actress Vanessa Vasquez, who plays the role of Camila on the popular East Los High on Hulu. The show, which is the first in English to feature an all-Latino cat, doesn't shy away from pushing the envelope, either. In fact, Vanessa's character, Camila, is 1/3 of a lesbian-love triangle.

Who knows? Maybe the No Holds Barred approach has something to do with ELH being nominated for THREE daytime Emmys!

Exactly. This one has #Chingonafest written ALL OVER IT.

Don't forget to connect with Vannessa on twitter and check out her fan page on Facebook. And now! Time for the interview!

I believe a woman's place is wherever she damned well wants it to be -- Vannessa Vasquez

I believe a woman's place is wherever she damned well wants it to be -- Vannessa Vasquez

Pauline Campos: Chocolate or vanilla?

Vanessa Vasquez: Mexican chocolate

PC: Fine then. Maybe I *won't* get you box for Christmas. Let's try your avorite book (and why) ...

VV: Alchemist - story of our spiritual journeys and having faith in our dreams.

PC: What's your favorite quote?

VV: Everything happens for a reason.

 PC: Do you consider yourself a feminist?

VV: Yes, I believe that women should be allowed to freely express themselves with out judgment. I also believe that a woman's place is wherever the hell she pleases.

PC: To snaps, bitches! Let's move on to who inspires you?

VV: My grandmother and my mother inspire me. They both taught me to always believe and to work hard for a better life.

 PC: Who is it you hope to inspire?

VV: I hope to inspire people that no matter the race or social class you are born into. You can also achieve your dreams if you persist.

PC: You're damned right, sister. Also? Do you dream in color or black and white?

VV: I dream in color.

PC: Surprisingly boring answer coming from you, Vanessa, but let's see if you can redeem yourself with the next one. Let's play word association. I say CHINGONA and you say...?

VV: Tu madre ( y la mia) ;) 

 PC: *Falls Over Laughing* It's like I think it and you *say* it. Where the hell have you been all my life? Answer that later. (We've got an interview to finish.) Please share one childhood memory that has stuck with you.

VV:  tripped on a sidewalk when I was 7. I remember saying to myself I will never trip and fall again. From now on I will always pay attention to where I'm going.

 PC: How much do you charge by the hour? My 7-year-old trips over obvious thing, like air and her own feet, pretty much on a daily basis. Do you think in English, Spanish, or Spanglish?

VV: It depends on who I'm with. With my family I think in Spanish. Unless I can't think of how to say a certain word then it goes to English. So yeah i guess Spanglish.

 PC: My favorite language of all. *sighs happily*  What's your favorite dish? Why?

VV: My favorite dish is mole de pollo con arroz!!! Mmm I love mole!! My abuelita makes the best.

PC: Do you feel "Latina enough"? 

VV: I honestly didn't know I was "latina" til I started in entertainment. That's tough. I can't define that. I just feel like I'm me. I like to eat tacos, I grew up listening to Selena songs I get loud sometimes. So yea I would say so.

PC: No, I get it. It's like when my kid didn't know she was supposed to be afraid of the dark until she read a story about how to not be afraid of the dark. Also? Worst. Picture. Book. EVER. Next Question: 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?

VV: I would want to meet Selena Quintanilla. Honestly her death struck me hard as a child being in the entertainment industry I understand now what people mean when they say she "broke through all of the barriers". I would like to just talk to her and see her smile again. She inspired me so much as a young Mexican American girl also from Texas. It's a different lifestyle out there.

PC: I like that. But make sure you get a table for three 'cuz I'm hanging out for that conversation. What would you order for dessert? I'd totally order ice-cream.  I'm Do you chew your ice cream? (Or is that just a Me thing?)

VV: I have sensitive teeth. It just melts in my mouth.

PC: Pretty sure it's *supposed* to do that. Moving on.... One Latina stereotype you despise?

VV:  That we all look a certain way. Truth is we come in all colors.

 PC: One Latina stereotype you embrace (or is there one?)

VV: I don't mind the sexy, curvy thing all that much.

PC:  Describe your perfect day.

VV: Yoga, and picnic on the beach with my bae.

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Screen-Shot-2013-07-11-at-6.09.16-PM-e1375409462117

And there ya have it. To nominate a Latina for a future #ChingonaFest Friday feature, email me at aspiringmama@gmail.com or tweet me with the hashtag #ChingonaFest. 

Oh! And be sure to send me your questions to dimelo@latina.com.

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photo(52)

 

Who like Pretty Pictures? Check out my available art right here on Aspiring Mama (just click the Pauline Campos Studios tab) and don't sweat if you don't see what you like. I'm always open to comissions. And, if we're being honest, there's a damned good chance what you are looking for was finished six months ago and I just keep forgetting to list it. And for those who like sassy F bomb quotes like the one above, check out my Redbubble shop for iPhone cases and throw pillows.

Follow me on Twitter, instagram, and here’s the FB fan page! I know. Oh, and you probably want to Sign up for The Tortilla Press Newsletter!  ALL THE COOL KIDS ARE DOING IT. YOU WANT TO BE LIKE THE COOL KIDS, DON'T YOU? You’re *welcome.*

(Thank you, Fed By Organics, for being smart enough to jump on the ChingonaFest bandwagon while I'm only almost famous and still a cheap date.)

Follow me on Twitter,instagram, and here’s the FB fan page!I know. You’re *welcome.*

#ChingonaFest Fridays: Jesenia the Comedic Actress (Take 2)

Editor's Note: Welcome to WEEK 16 of #ChingonaFest Fridays on Aspiring Mama. This week has been full of bad news and raw emotions for so many that I'm incredibly grateful for the chance to welcome the weekend with some Happy. Remember my friend Jesenia the Comedic Actress? We first met at Rick Najera's Almost White book launch in NYC this summer. I immediately fell in love with both Jesenia (and Comedy Girls partner Jenni Ruiza's) brand of Spanglish comedy and decided we were friends, because anyone who can turn "I Feel Pretty" into the brilliant parody that is "I Feel Crampy" is someone I want on my Christmas card list. (Seriously, click the link. Also? You're Welcome.) I consider myself Sort-Of-Almost-Kinda-But-Not-Really-Psychic-Kinda-Like-Sylvia-Brown-But-With-a-Better-Track-Record, so my latching on to The Comedy Girls and their coattails is also a strategic business move. One of us is going to get For Reals Famous eventually...and it's Most Likely Not Me, so I'm playing nice in the sandbox in hopes of solidifying my Inner Circle status with these two. And I was RIGHT! Jesenia is proudly screaming the news of her first commercial all over social media!

The best part is that there's MORE and I'm not even trying to talk you an infomercial vacuum while speaking in my Australian announcer's voice. Jesenia also recently announced  partnership with MiTu Network and her Becoming Ricardo web series. MiTu Network is the word's leading Latino-run YouTube channel with over 42 million subscribers and a total viewership of six billion. That's why I'm back with her #chingonafest Friday interview!

***

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? Vannessa Vasquez and Lori Luna 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.

Today’ featured Chingona is too fancy for a last name. She’s Jesenia the Comedian, and she’s fabulous. A NYC comedian with a penchant for singing hilarious I Feel Pretty parodies about why getting our periods as teenagers is anything but magical, Jesenia is also a character actress, writer, and a producer. (And this is one of those moments where I reread what I just typed and think something along the lines of And She’s Talking to Me? But back to the funny lady…) Jesenia, who is one of the two ladies behind the #StillNoLatinas hashtag created in response to Saturday Night Live being jackholes about diversity,  is a master at sketch comedy and fell in love with Improv after training in Second City. She’s also working on a TV Web series called Becoming Ricardo the cohost of The Comedy Girls Radio Show, along with her The Comedy Girls partner Jenni Ruiza (Warning–the link will start singing to you, so hit mute if you’re at work.) Jenni is up on the Fest next week. But right now? Catch up with Jenenia on Twitter and  Facebook.

And it’s time for the interview.

 

 

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Jesenia the Comedian

  Pauline Campos: Chocolate or Vanilla?

Jesenia Comedian: Nothing but Chocolate!

 

PC: My kind of woman. Except for when I want to make a milkshake. That *has* to be vanilla. Back to you, though — Favorite book (and why)?

 

JC: “Chris Farley in Three Acts”. Because it inspired me to continue my comedy career and to appreciate and learn from this life journey every single day.

 

PC: That’s deep. I always think of his SNL skit when I see a van. Down by the river. *sighs wistfully* So, what’s your favorite quote?

 

JC: “We all live on this big rock headed straight for the sun!”

 

PC: I totally didn’t see that one coming. But I’ll take it. Now for something different –  Do you consider yourself a feminist?

 

JC: I love and respect being a woman, but I also love and respect men.  BUT respect is the key!

 

PC: Imma gonna go with you on that one. Describe yourself in third person, please.

JC: Jesenia is totally awesome and sexy and fun and super determined in her comedy career. She loves being a Mom and she has a really awesome dimple!

PC: Oh look at you being all cute and modest! I love it. Tell me who inspires you?

 

JC: – My Grandfather,  Bernardino Rolon – who came to NY with only a 3rd grade education level, yet started his own successful carpentry business and provided his family with unlimited luxuries. - My Mother, Sonia Rolon – for raising two children on her own and doing great at it!  No matter what we lacked – we never felt it, we always felt RICH! - My Son – for being an amazing soul.  For understanding that sometimes Mommies and Daddies are better apart. For helping me appreciate and remember how GREAT it is to be a child and child like! - Chris Farley – for being my comedic inspiration!  Because he lived – I found my comedic voice and not take that for granted!

 

PC: Very nice. Mama and la familia are proud, I’ll bet. Tell me who you hope to inspire.

 

JC: Women & Men who aspire to do comedy, but feel its impossible to accomplish due to their life circumstances.

 

PC:  Do you dream in color or black and white?

 

JC:  My dreams are more like full Technicolor human cartoons.

 

PC: We can talk later about your sharing whatever it is you’re taking. My dreams suck. Next! Let’s play word association. I say CHINGONA and you say…?

JC: Chicharones?

 

PC: You guessed the secret password. That means you’re allowed back on my blog. How do you feel about Latinas and how we are represented in the media? JC: We are represented in a very inaccurate way.  It’s a shame because this is the year 2014 – but it makes sense because we have never really DEMANDED a correct representation.  I strongly feel the only way we will be accurately represented is if we ALWAYS represent ourselves. i.e.:  writing, directing, acting.  Nobody can misconstrue what you say yourself.

PC: SING IT, SISTER! Accountability for everyone! Quick! One takeaway you want your children to hold onto after they’ve grown and flown the nest…

JC: Always aim for happiness because you will never regret anything you are happy about.

PC: One childhood memory that has stuck with you…

JC: Oh my goodness, there are so many!  Of course only the bad ones come to my mind right away – but I will not shed any dirty laundry here! My mother would kill me!  LOL!!!  So, I would have to say……  when I was a little girl, I enjoyed dressing up like a clown and going shopping with my mother.  She would always humor me and paint my face and let me wear my rainbow stripped and polka dot dress!  I remember feeling so happy watching people look at me and smiling.  I’ve always enjoyed making people smile!  I guess that is why I ultimately chose comedy – it’s a beautiful thing!

PC: Do you think in English, Spanish, or Spanglish? JC: I think in English.  Except when I am angry – I think in Spanish curses!

PC: I learned what “Hijo de la Chingada Madre” means when my tio got cut off on the freeway by another driver when I was a kid. Now when it happens to me, without fail, I hear “HIJO DE LA CHINGADA MADRE” followed by a heavily-accented “Son of a BEEEEETCH!” *Sighs* Good times….What’s your favorite dish? Why? JC: I love Lasagna because it’s delicious and full of three of my favorite things – meat, pasta and cheese – I love cheese!

PC: I love it when the answer isn’t wrapped in a tortilla. Speaking of which, do you feel “Latina enough”?

JC: I sure do!  I’ve always been very proud of my Puerto Rican heritage.  I am second generation here and although my Spanish sucks – I am very proud of my people.  Also, I like to give the excuse that I am made up of: Taino Indian, African, Spaniard, French and Irish, but I was born and raised in America…….. soooooo – I know my language.

PC: 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?

JC: Of course I would choose Chris Farley!  We would eat Lasagna, We would drink a Californian Pinot Noir.  He would be the perfect person to pick his brain and I’d ask him if I am making him proud.  I secretly talk to him all the time, so I’d ask if he was listening.

PC: I think there’s medication for that. Do you chew your ice cream? (Or is that just a Me thing?)

JC: I totally chew it!  True CHUBBY fo life, son!

PC: I think I love you. Wait…did you just call me chubby, Gorda? *raises eyebrow* Gimme one Latina stereotype you despise?

JC: That we are all Mexican!

PC: But we ARE. Obviously, you missed the memo, Maria. One Latina stereotype you embrace (or is there one?)

JC: That we’re all MAGNIFICENT in bed.  Because, well…. not to toot my own horn but – TOOT TOOT baby!

PC: You may have just answered the last question, but let’s give it a shot, shall we? Describe your perfect day.

 

JC: Waking up (of course), heading to my own TV studio for a half day of filming my #1 TV sketch show on FOX, that I produce and also perform in.  I’d tell you the name of my sketch show, but I know someone will steal it, so you will find that out when I get my show on the air.  Then a 4 hour writing session with my writers.  Then home to my amazing son, husband and brand new baby for dinner and good times!  Each day lived that way – would be perfection!

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And there ya have it. To nominate a Latina for a future #ChingonaFest Friday feature, email me at aspiringmama@gmail.com 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 dimelo@latina.com.

 

The sun'll come out tomorrow, y'all..

Who like Pretty Pictures? I’m #MexicaninMaine on Etsy and have more art available on Society6. And because it’s actually relevant, check out my Zazzle and Etsy shops for Sassy #ChingonaFest gear! More designs and products coming soon!

Sign up for The Tortilla Press Newsletter!

Follow me on Twitter, instagram, and here’s the FB fan page! I know. You’re *welcome.*

 

 

I know. You’re *welcome.*

 

#ChingonaFest Fridays: BlogHer14 with Lori Luna

It's Week FOURTEEN on ChingonaFest Fridays! I'm not even going to lie to you. Necessity is the mother of invention, and crazed, last-minute, Week Before BlogHer Memory Lane tripping with previously published work is just a nice way of saying It's This or I Got Nuthin'. I used to go all out and try to provide shiny and new material before each conference but I moved beyond the need to drive myself off the nearest cliff repeatedly around the time I figured out 14 pairs of shoes and 50 copies of my unpublished memoir manuscripts are not required packing.

Hint: Unpack 12 pairs of shoes now. Leave the unpublished magnum opus at home. And you can thank me later.

That takes me to my reason for writing today. In an attempt to keep my ChingonaFest Fridays feature going with some regularity, I'm rerunning my kickass interviews with two of my fave BlogHer ladies. This week it's Lori Luna and next Friday y'all get another chance to catch up with Elisa Camahort Page (without having to scroll).

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 purposeLas 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 it does.

Have you checked out my past #ChingonaFest ladies? Carol Caine shines in her interview last week. Trust me when I say it's a must read.

It seems I’ve added Chingona Cheerleader to my soapbox recently (Mostly by accident but I’m running with it anyway). 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.

Lori Luna’s bio speaks for itself. She is the Vice President of Events Operations, overseeing all operational and logistical elements of BlogHer conferences. Since joining BlogHer in 2009, Lori has helped grow the conference business from one annual conference a year to include BlogHer Food, Entrepreneurs and BlogHer PRO, as well as the annual flagship event. With more than 12 years in the event/conference industry and background producing events such as COMDEX, N+I, and ad:tech, Lori has been instrumental in growing attendance for the events, as well as revenue for the company.

And now! Time for the interview!

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Lori Luna

 

Pauline Campos: Chocolate or vanilla?  

Lori Luna: Always vanilla, I know that is boring to some but it makes me happy.  Vanilla is so versatile and can make anything taste good.

PC: I’ll go with that. Vanilla is kind of the blank canvas of the ice cream world. Favorite book and why: 

LL: Anything that has a political nature.  I love to read autobiographies of political people.  I find it fascinating as to why they do what they do and how they came to where they are whether it was in the past or current.  Another is the Book of Questions…it’s an icebreaking book that asks random questions that both starts conversation and generates fabulous discussion.

PC: So you’re saying the Twilight series is out. Okay, then..lWhat’s your favorite quote?  

LL: Fake it ’til you make it

PC: No wonder we get along. I say that all the time. I won’t ask you how I’m doing till I’ve crossed the finish line. Do you consider yourself a feminist?  

 LL: Most of the time.  There are certain things I am passionate about such as equal pay for equal work and then there are things that just don’t bother me like they would bother someone else. I guess I am an issues oriented feminist.

PC: Issue Oriented? I LOVE that. *Adds to mental Rolodex to use in stimulating conversation* Describe yourself in third person  

LL: Lori is a kind, generous, thoughtful person.  She has passion and fire and that is both good and bad.  She is fiercely loyal and will live and die on principle.

PC: I like the honesty. My fire isn’t always nice, either. Who inspires you?  

LL: Smart people.  When I have the opportunity to meet really smart people who are doing something fabulous I am inspired.  I also just watched the Tina Turner interview by Oprah and wow!  She was very inspirational.  I think I’m inspired in the moment..I don’t have a single person that I think, she (or he) inspires me to be “x”

 PC: *Blushing* It’s okay, Lori. You don’t have to talk in riddles. You inspire me, too. Do you dream in color or black and white?  

LL: Color

PC: ME TOO! But I don’t remember my dreams very often. How do you feel about Latinas and how we are represented in the media?  

LL: Frankly I am tired of how Latina women are always showcased with an accent. As if none of us were born here and can speak without the accent.  I find it annoying!  Oh and there aren’t enough of us!!!

PC: Amen on the accent thing. I don’t think I have one, either, except I roll my ‘R’s’ when I say “three”. Go figure. Quick! One takeaway you want your children to hold onto after they’ve grown and flown the nest…  

LL: I don’t have kids

 PC: And let’s add “a million children running around in diapers” to the Latina stereotype. I’ve got one and the last family wedding I went to, I had tias outright ask me why I only had one. Like I failed the Mexican test, or something. Anyway, one childhood memory that has stuck with you…  

LL: One of my favorite memories is riding in the car with my mom and I was about 5 and Ricky Nelson was on the radio singing Garden Party.  My mom specifically called out these lyrics: You see, ya can’t please everyone, so ya got to please yourself (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fxdiraVxwkI)  Ever since then I live by the idea that you can’t please everyone so you’ve got to please yourself.

 PC: Do you think in English, Spanish, or Spanglish?  

LL: Sadly I only speak English, what a pathetic Latina!

PC: Stop it right now. Language doesn’t define us. We do, sister. End. Of. Story. What’s your favorite dish? Why?  

LL: Anything my father cooks!  He makes a mean chorizo and menudo and oh, that always makes me feel like home.

PC: CHORIZO – yum! MENUDO- *blech!* Do you feel “Latina enough”? 

LL: Not when I’m surrounded by other Latinas who are fluent in Spanish and doing something in the Latin community…then I feel lame.  I am never ashamed or embarrassed by who I am I just feel lame that I haven’t embraced my culture as much as I think I should.

PC: Stop feeling lame, woman! I used to feel the same way, but now I just focus on my own perspective on Being Latina. Also? You like menudo. That automatically means you earned your Mexican card. Now…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? 

LL: President Clinton! I have had an absurd political crush on him for years.  He is brilliant, charming, charismatic and did I say brilliant?

PC: It takes a special kind of charm to make us all question the meaning of the word “is”, that’s for damned sure. Do you chew your ice cream? (Or is that just a Me thing?)  

 LL: No. Chew ice cream???

PC: Okay, then. Just me. MOVING ON! Describe your perfect day.  

LL: Any day where I can be with my dog and just relax – Missy first!

 

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And there ya have it. To nominate a Latina for a future #ChingonaFest Friday feature, email me at aspiringmama@gmail.com or tweet me with the hashtag #ChingonaFest. And don’t forget to check out my latest Dimelo Advice column on Latina Magazine. Two besties made a bet on who I would say is right. For the record? They were both wrong.

Oh! And be sure to send me your questions to dimelo@latina.com. Don’t worry. I promise to give you a kick-ass code-name that doesn’t rhyme with your own.

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Who likes Pretty Pictures? My art and #ChingonaFest related snazziness are available by clocking the following links:

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Etsy - ChingonaFest

ZazzleChingonaFest (make sure your filter is set to moderate because Zazzle says I’m a badass.)

Society6Pauline Campos

And because I like you so much…

Sign up for The Tortilla Press Newsletter! 

Follow me on Twitter, instagram, and here’s the FB fan page! I know. You’re *welcome.*

 

 

#ChingonaFest Fridays: Elisa Camahort Page

  Welcome to WEEK 12 of #ChingonaFest Fridays on Aspiring Mama!

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 purposeLas 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 it does.

Have you checked out my past #ChingonaFest ladies? I interviewed myself to mark my year anniversary as Latina Magazine's Dimelo Advice Columnist right before Lorraince C. Ladish made me look  bad in last week

s interview by referring to books I pretended to read in high school.  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.

Today’s featured Chingona is …Elisa Camahort Page.

Camahort Page is a BlogHer co-couner  and, amongst other honors, was also a Fortune Most Powerful Entrepreneurs, 2013.

And now? It’s time for the interview!

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Elisa Camahort Psge

 

Pauline Campos: Chocolate or vanilla?

Elisa Camahort Page: Vanilla

PC:  A straight-shooter. I like it. Favorite book and why:

ECP: That's a tough one, I love many books. Perhaps Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer had the most impact because it articulated a philosophy I already subscribed to in terms that were relatable to regular people who might not have my same activist fervor on the subject.

Pauline Campos: *blinks* My IQ just developed a complex. Do you consider yourself a feminist?

ECP: YES.

PC: There's that straight-shootin' again. I like a woman who tells it like it is. Who inspires you?

ECP: The BlogHer community inspires me every day. Every day *someone* tells an amazing story, does something incredibly brave, makes real change in their life, their community, or the world. It's crazy actually. Crazy how much talent and passion are out there...this despite the regular conventional wisdom proclaiming the death of the very blogging that creates that inspiration.

PC: Who is it you hope to inspire?

 ECP: The BlogHer community has so many new folks still flooding into this space every day. I hope to inspire them to do social media and blogging *their* way. There is no one right way. There is no single one-size-fits-all approach. There is so much opportunity...knowing what you want to grab from that grab bag is important.

PC: I was just gong to say "Anything dipped in chocolate" but I think that you've got a T-shirt quote somewhere in that last one. Lemme have my coffee first... Do you dream in color or black and white?

 ECP: I don't remember, actually. Why, do you know what that means?

PC: Not a single clue. Also? I should Google that one so I have a slightly smarter answer the next time a featured Chingona throws this one back in my court. Speaking bad words redfined... Let's play word association. I say CHINGONA and you say...?

 ECP: Huh? You're the chica who introduced me to the term :)

PC: ummmm... *blinks slowly* Well? The short answer is DON'T SAY CHINGONA IN CHURCH. Also, it's probably not a good idea to yell the word out randomly in public, 'being as I like you, and and all. Also, did you know "pinche" is a bad word in Mexican Spanish but means "barette" in Chilean Spanish? You're *welcome*. Why are you giving me the side-eye? Focus, Woman! Quick! One takeaway you want your children to hold onto after they've grown and flown the nest...

ECP: Not applicable...no kids :)

 PC: Fair enough. Do you feel "Latina enough"? 

ECP: Definitely not. I don't even call myself Latina, although I will say I'm Hispanic. But, for example, I never learned Spanish...I think when I was growing up there was a lot more assumption that immigrants would assimilate and less expectations that their children would retain any culture. Add on top of that my family is a mixed family originating from Spanish immigrants to the Philippines. So much of my connection to the culture is through food...which was actually kind of a mix of Spanish and Filipino. And being spanked with a slipper...which I think is more of the Asian side of that equation ;)

PC: Don't take this the wrong way, Elisa, but we gotta talk. Because every Mexican reading this just choked and simultaneously yelled out "LA CHANCLA"! Anyway, 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? 

ECP: Stephen Sondheim. Why? Because I'm a #theatrenerd and he is completely brilliant and my idol.

PC: You are totally smarter than a fifth grader, aren't you? *runs off to Google the name the smart lady just said* Do you chew your ice cream? (Or is that just a Me thing?)

EC: That is definitely just a you thing.

PC: Admit it. You think I'm adorable, don't you? Gimme one Latina stereotype you despise?

 ECP: Oh, I guess it's the whole kit and caboodle...fiery Latinas, sexy Latinas, spicy Latinas...and then there's the indomitable Latina matriarch. The problem with any stereotype is that it ignores the diversity within diversity. That Latinas are not a monolithic bloc, just as women aren't, just as no group is like the Borg.

PC: You win the Internet for using the Borg to bring that last point home, Elisa. *High five* Describe your perfect day.

 EC: Well, it would start with actually getting a full night's sleep #damnyouinsomnia. Then I would probably chillax with my cat and my iPad full of all the books I never have time to read. I'd be playing music. And my S.O. could join for a couple of great meals of #vegan food!

PC: One Latina stereotype you embrace (or is there one?)

 ECP: Yeah, in case it wasn't clear, not very into embracing stereotypes :)

PC (grinning):  Nope...everything is crystal...

 

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And there ya have it. To nominate a Latina for a future #ChingonaFest Friday feature, email me at aspiringmama@gmail.com or tweet me with the hashtag #ChingonaFest. And don’t forget to check out my latest Dimelo Advice column on Latina Magazine. Girlfriend needed a reality check…so I gave her one.

Oh! And be sure to send me your questions to dimelo@latina.com.

photo(52)

 Who like Pretty Pictures? I'm #MexicaninMaine on Etsy and have more art available on Society6. And because it's actually relevant, check out my Zazzle and Etsy shops for Sassy #ChingonaFest gear! More designs and products coming soon!

Sign up for The Tortilla Press Newsletter!

Follow me on Twitter, instagram, and here’s the FB fan page! I know. You’re *welcome.*

 

 

 

#ChingonaFest Fridays: Lorraine C. Ladish

Welcome to WEEK 11 of #ChingonaFest Fridays on Aspiring Mama!

 

 

 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 purposeLas 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 it does.

 

Have you checked out my past #ChingonaFest ladies? Juliana Maulanda and *ahem* ... I 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. 

 

Today’s featured Chingona is ….Lorraine C. Ladish. 

Ladish is a bilingual, published author of 17 books, a mom, and a self-described social media maven. She's also the sass behind her new site, Viva Fifty.

You can connect with Lorraine on twitter. She doesn't bite, I promise.

 

And now? It's time for the interview!

 

 

 

 

 

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Lorraine C. Ladish

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pauline Campos: Favorite book and why?

 

Lorraine C. Ladish: Wuthering Heights. It was one of the first books that I read over and over as a kid and I can still reread and get lost in it. The main character, Kathy, is a rebel, although she does conform for a bit and actually gets sick and dies because of that. I think we all die a little when we conform.

 

 

PC: Thanks for the spoiler there, sweet cheeks. Unless you run into my high school A.P. English teacher. In that case, I *totally* read it. Six times, even. So...What's your favorite quote?

 

LCL: Just Do It. It’s the way I’ve lived so far, for the most part.

 

 PC: Do you consider yourself a feminist?

 

LCL: Yes in the sense that I want equal pay, equal laws, equal opportunities for both men and women. But I also love certain differences between the two genders. I enjoy my femininity and I’m a sucker for a gentleman. 

 

PC: I totally get it. Like my 7-year-old said today, if the world was made up of just Mexicans in America, things would get so BOOORING. I didn't tell her it would probably have a paleta stand on every street corner, but I thought it. Describe yourself in third person...

 

LCL: I can’t do that! I’m too close to the subject.

 

PC: *Note to future Chingonas, Ladish is sneaky. You, however, get to answer all 15* *AHEM* Who inspires you?

 

LCL: My daughters.

 

PC: Who is it you hope to inspire?

 

LCL: My kids and women who feel they haven’t achieved their full potential. They can do it. Wait, I also want to inspire myself on a bad day! I don’t always feel as great as it may seem on social media.

 

PC: *Nods head* Totally. Trying to have conversations in 140 characters offline is a surefire way to get tossed in a padded room. Do you dream in color or black and white?

 

LCL: Color, vividly, I remember my dreams every morning and most are pretty trippy. The older I get, the more my dreams are about things that happened in the past.

PC: You're not old. My mom is just really, really young. Also? Everyone reading this is going "She went THERE?" and is wondering if this is going to go to blows. I, however, know you are laughing your ass off. And that's why I love you. Now...Let's play word association. I say CHINGONA and you say...?

 

LCL: Kick-ass.

 

PC: How do you feel about Latinas and how we are represented in the media?

 

LCL: Latinas in the media are usually pigeonholed into these ridiculous roles. But this has happened before to other ethnicities and it’s up to us to change that. How? By telling and showing mainstream America what we’re really like.

 

PC: You mean you've never seen Jesus in a tortilla, either? Good. I was starting to feel lonely over here. Quick! One takeaway you want your children to hold onto after they've grown and flown the nest...

 

LCL: That I’m ok with whatever they do in life as long as it makes them happy and doesn’t hurt them or anyone else.

 

 PC: I like the qualifier there. One childhood memory that has stuck with you...

 

LCL: My dad and my grandfather, always writing. Books on shelves. The sound of the printing press my family had. The smell of fresh ink, and the glue used to bind the books. I come from a family of writers and publishers.

 

PC: And you just adopted me. I'll be your sassy and slightly eccentric younger sister. Do you think in English, Spanish, or Spanglish?

 

LCL: All of the above. I switch from one to the other easily. I can’t imagine life otherwise. I owe that to my dad.

 

PC: Show-off. *grins* Do you feel "Latina enough"?

 

LCL: I don’t feel I have to justify my languages, ethnicity or background to anyone. Not anymore. When I was younger I felt I didn’t fit in anywhere, being multicultural and bilingual. I certainly did not feel American enough although I’ve always had that nationality and my mom is from Pittsburgh, Pa.  

 

 PC: 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?

 

LCL: First of all, I’d drink a beer, straight from the bottle. I’d eat something easy to handle. I remember being an interpreter and having to eat and talk at the same time. I didn’t enjoy that. When I’m sharing good company and conversing, the food takes second place. Perhaps Michelle Obama. We’re the same age, we have two young girls, and I’d just love to chat with her like a friend.

PC: Eventually, someone' going to say Me. Eventually. Right? But I'll take FLOTUS for the win. Describe your perfect day.

 

LCL: Get up at 10 without an alarm. Coffee in backyard with the dog. Write. Walk on the beach. Read a book. Short run and workout. Hang out with my kids. Go on a date with my honey. Write some more. Cuddle with the kids. Read a book. Have sex. Sleep whenever I’m tired (maybe 2 am) and back to the beginning. This is not how I spend my days, mind you, but I’d love to!

PC: And that, my friends, is one hell of a perfect day.

 

 

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And there ya have it. To nominate a Latina for a future #ChingonaFest Friday feature, email me at aspiringmama@gmail.com or tweet me with the hashtag #ChingonaFest. And don’t forget to check out my latest Dimelo Advice column on Latina Magazine. Girlfriend needed a reality check...so I gave her one.

 

Oh! And be sure to send me your questions to dimelo@latina.com.

 

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ChingonaFest Coffee Mug by ChingonaFest Find other Chingona T-Shirts at zazzle.com

 

Check out my Zazzle Shop for Sassy #ChingonaFest gear! More designs and products coming soon!

 

Sign up for The Tortilla Press Newsletter!

 

Follow me on Twitter, instagram, and here’s the FB fan page! I know. You’re *welcome.*

 

#Chingonafest Fridays: Pauline Campos

Welcome to WEEK 10 of #ChingonaFest Fridays on Aspiring Mama!

 

 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 purposeLas 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 it does.

 

Have you checked out my past #ChingonaFest ladies? Juliana Maulanda and Lisann Valentin 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. 

 

Today’s featured Chingona is ....me.

 

Yes, I realize this smacks of All Things Self-Centered and Self-Serving, but if I tell you that it's my kid's birthday week and that her party was today and I decided to say Sure, Princess! when she asked for homemade coloring books as her party favor, and that The Husband and I stayed up until the wee hours of the morning manning the two-person hole-punch & ribbon line while the cupcakes cooled enough to frost, you'll understand the reasoning behind turning this week's Chingonafest into a dual anniversary celebration for my role as Latina Magazine's #Dimelo advice columnist. You'll also pretend to not notice I'm posting a regular Friday feature on a Saturday night because, yaknow, Motherhood.  It's either now or never, which is also why I'm mentioning the Speaking at BlogHer '14 Thing for the first time on the blog. It's time-management at it's finest.

 

My mad self-promotional skillz are mind-boggling, I know.

 

Don't feel bad if you didn't buy me a present. I didn't even know I missed it until LinkedIn started sending me congratulatory notifications from friends with better observational skills than my own. I probably owe myself flowers.

 

After I put out, that is. For now, though, let's get to that Talking to Myself thing.

 

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Is a caption really necessary?

Pauline Campos: Chocolate or vanilla?

Aspiring Mama: Chocolate if it's a shake. Vanilla if it's ice-cream.

PC: Neurotic much? Wait, don't answer that. Describe yourself in third person instead.

AM: Pauline Campos is neurotic, has a weird thing with ice-cream, including the need to chew it even if it's plain vanilla, and thoroughly enjoys arguing with her DNA over her love of snow-shoeing. She's also the founder of #chingonafest and ha that column where she tells people what to do on life, sex, and cultural drama topics. to Oh, and her favorite days are the ones where she gets paid to give solicited advice from the comforts of her couch without ever having put a bra on.

PC: Weirdest. Mexican. Ever. It's like Freaky Friday but with better dialogue. You do realize there's a poor Swedish guy somewhere trying to figure out why he felt smug about knowing who Ricky Martin was before General Hospital served as his crossover to mainstream, right? No, don't answer that one, either. Do you dream in color or black and white?

 

AM: Color. I don't remember most of them, but when I do, it's all kinds of High-Def in there. Also? Re-read your last question to me. Now who's the neurotic one? *blinks* Wait, never mind.

 

PC: You see my dilemma, then. Carrying on...Do you feel Latina enough"?

AM: I'm allergic to eggs, dairy, corn, yeast, gluten, and a bunch of other crazy stuff. What do Mexicans eat for breakfast? Whatever we had for dinner last night scrambled with eggs, wrapped in a corn tortilla, and washed down with Cafe con (a fucking-lot of) Leche. This makes me allergic to my childhood and probably the world's worst Mexican.

Of course I feel Latina enough.

PC: Let's play word association. I say CHINGONA and you say...?

AM: FEST!

PC: Do you consider yourself a feminist?

AM: Only if I don't have to burn my bra. Triple D's take precedence over social and political ideals.

PC: I'll second that. Do you think in English, Spanish, or Spanglish?

AM: I'm English-dominant now, but as a kid I know I wasn't aware of when I switched between languages. Now? I'm so concerned I'll pronounce something wrong in Spanish while sober that I think I'd benefit from an AA meeting and a sponsor prior to any events where my Spanish-speaking skills are a requirement. Also? Spanglish is my national language.

PC: Do you chew your ice cream? (Or is that just a Me thing?)

AM: Seriously?

PC: Okay then. Moving on. Favorite book and why...

AM: Right now it's Rick Najera's Almost White: Forced Confessions of a Latino in Hollywood. It's so much more than an exploration of Latinos and how we are represented in the media. I've been recommending it to writing friends of all backgrounds...because it pertains, dammit. And no, I wasn't paid to say that.

PC: You don't get paid for a lot of shit on this blog. But following up to your last answer, how do you feel about Latinas and how we are represented in the media?

AM: It's equal parts a bullshit and wake-up call. I grew up watching telenovelas at my tias house and all the rich and beautiful were portrayed by the blonde and blue-eyed. If you looked like me, you were the help or the poor villager. While that needs to change -- because it's still an issue -- we can't bitch if we think our job is done simply because we complained.

PC: Opinion much? Who inspires you?

AM: Anybody who has the courage to say what they think and stand up for themselves and what they believe in.

PC: Who is it you hope to inspire?

AM: My daughter, Eliana, is my number one. Right now, she is everything I wish I was growing up; feisty, independent, strong-willed, and confident as hell. Everything I say and do comes from that place where motherhood takes us and the realization that my todays are building the foundation for her tomorrows.

PC: 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?

 

AM: My dad, I don't care, I'm allergic, and because I miss him.

 

PC: One childhood memory that has stuck with you...

 

AM: My mom and me sitting on the front porch in the middle of the night during sticky summers without central air. We'd tiptoe outside and talk for hours, ignoring the mosquito bites, while the house slept. I can't tell you one thing we talked about, but I'll always remember the laughter.

 

PC: Quick! One takeaway you want your children to hold onto after they've grown and flown the nest...

 

AM: That it's always perfectly acceptable to leave the house in red cowboy boots, a blue tutu, and a super-hero cape, public opinion be damned.

 

 

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And there ya have it. To nominate a Latina for a future #ChingonaFest Friday feature, email me at aspiringmama@gmail.com or tweet me with the hashtag #ChingonaFest. And don’t forget to check out my latest Dimelo Advice column on Latina Magazine. A non-Latina wants to know how to navigate cultural differences with her employees.

Oh! And be sure to send me your questions to dimelo@latina.com.

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Check out my Zazzle Shop for Sassy #ChingonaFest gear! More designs and products coming soon!

Sign up for The Tortilla Press Newsletter!

Follow me on Twitter, instagram, and here’s the FB fan page! I know. You’re *welcome.*

Top of Form

The Pinterest Complex (Revisited)

I've had one hell of a week and it's only Wednesday so I'm taking the easy way out today by reposting something I wrote in January.

Fine Print: Yes, The Husband is completely aware of the fact that I used the words "Sex", "Penis", and "Pinterest" in the same blog post. He even snickered and said I may need to consider therapy after reading it. See you soon for #ChingonaFest Fridays!

What does one buy her husband to make up for the general craziness of the writing/blogging/freelancing life putting the sex life on the back burner when Important Things Are Happening that Must Be Attended to Right This Minute? I’m thinking the man-equivalent to Something Shiny and Sparkly.

Don’t say a Ferrari. I’m freelancing. That Writer-Speak for “Looks Good On Paper Only” with “Fucking Broke” understood to be the most accepted translation. Besides, it’s not like I came home smelling like another man’s cologne or something. That, my friends, would require what normal people tend to refer to as “Free Time”.  I have been told this “Free Time” is something one can only find outside of The Internet and requires the separation, if only temporary, mind you, of self and laptop. Always interesting, this learning about the habits of the Non-Writer.

The other night, after a frantic nod to, um, Quality Time, (and a “Was That Good For You? Yes? Good!,” exchange as I bolted out of the room and into my email to reply to a revision request from my editor, I realized I’m married to a saint. I mean, I knew that before Oh Husband Whom I Know is Reading These Words, but sometimes, the little Aha! Moments tend to jump out and say You Have No Idea How Difficult You Are to Live With Sometimes and Why is Pinterest Giving His Penis a Complex?

Let’s discuss, shall we? Or would it be easier to just get a calendar and a Sharpie and circle the other days of the month indicating:

  • Deadlines
  • Twitter parties
  • Sherlock
  • That blog post I REALLY need to write about that thing that just went viral that I’ll go to my grave swearing a tiny part of me wasn’t convinced my brilliant response would go viral, too
  • General stabbiness because ten different bloggers TOLD me I’m a much better writer than that two-bit hack that went viral only because she got lucky (after I asked them, of course)
  • My fictional characters in that novel I’m writing just acted out the next scene inside my head I have to write RIGHT now or I lose it all
  • The kid drove me nuts all day
  • PINTEREST
  • Live-tweeting Downton Abby
  • I got in a phone fight with his mom
  • I got in a phone fight with my mom
  • We’re out of chocolate
  • We’re out of wine
  • We’re out of chocolate-flavored wine
  • The hours I need to comb through blog archives in search of THE PERFECT PIECE of literary wit to submit to –
  • A) Listen To Your Mother
  • B) Blogher Voices of the Year
  • That Facebook quiz I need to take to figure out what character I’m most like in Harry Potter, which leads me to the one about what kind of French cheese I am
  • The dishes in the sink that aren’t gonna do themselves
  • The fifteenth online book launch party this month for yet another friend I can’t let down
  • The twitter argument I have to finish with this idiot who has no fucking clue who they’re messing with
  • The planets are out of alignment
  • Mercury is in retrograde …. Again
  • File another invoice while secretly cursing the chick with the 300 Sandwiches and the book deal
  • I’m busy buying 19 more URL’s for ideas I’ll never get to…just in case
  • Frantic text conversations with the online friends I’ve yet to meet in person discussing Important Things like how many pairs of shoes to pack for that conference none of us have actually purchased tickets for yet
  • My 1,000 word goal for the day is still 989 words short
  • The NEED to Google my blog Alexa rank RIGHT NOW even though I still have no idea what it means
  • Which, obviously, is to be followed up by checking my Klout score
  • *Googling “Does Klout Matter to People who don’t think in 140?
  • I haven’t yet taken 30 selfies from different angles, narrowed it down to the perfect one, and thought up a witty caption for that #365feministselfie thing and posted it EVERYWHERE before I even THINK of getting naked
  • That important email I’m waiting for that will show up right now if I keep hitting refresh
  • The conference call I’m waiting on in east coast time with everybody else in west coast time
  • The kid drove me nuts all day & we’re out of chocolate-flavored wine
  • The writing and scheduling of next week’s blog posts
  • When I was frisky while he was at work and I was home alone and I took care of it myself already because I was being proactive and really should be congratulated for thinking ahead to free up my night to …
  • Pick any of the above

Damn. Poor guy puts up with a lot, doesn’t he?

We writers are a special bunch. And the people who are nuts enough to love us deserve their own reality shows, I think. Because when we make it big? That’s when we make it up to them and they can proudly tell the world they knew marrying the crazy lady would totally pay off in the end.

Just let me finish up this chapter so I can write this blog post and hit Publish because dammit, this one’s gonna go viral.

I just know it.

 

#ChingonaFest Fridays: Lisann Valentin

  Welcome to WEEK 8 of #ChingonaFest Fridays on Aspiring Mama! I had technical difficulties last week and wasn't able top get back online early enough to make it happen on Friday, but I'm back and I brought my chingonas with me.

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 purposeLas Tiasand 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? Jenni Rivera and her partner in crime, Jesenia the Comedian, 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. 

Today' featured Chingona is a good friend and incredibly inspiring force. Her name is Lisann Valentin and as a writer, director, actress, and practicing attorney, she's also really good at making my resume look like shit. I'm not mad at Li, though, because it's not like she's doing it on purpose.

I think.

Lisann's website has all the background you'll want to check out (It's okay...I'll wait....)

And you can check out her blog and follow her on twitter here.

And now for the interview!

photo(11)

 

Lisann Valentin

Pauline Campos: Chocolate or vanilla?

Lisann Valentin: Vanilla Swiss Almond (Häagen-Dazs)  Nom Nom Nom.

PC: You look innocent enough. Figures you'd have to be difficult. It's okay. I like difficult. So...Favorite book? And why?

LV: I have so many! I just love falling into stories. For the sake of this interview, I’ll pick two very different books. The first is Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. I’ve read and re-read this book the most. I picked it up at a pivotal time in my life.

I also really loved reading The Hotel New Hampshire by John Iriving. It was an amazing, crazy, and at times uncomfortable read. Kind of like me. It’s a keeper.

PC: Eat, Pray, Love is my bible and I refuse to watch the movie for fear of hating Julia Roberts for ruining the book for me. As for being an uncomfortable keeper, I think I love you now. What's your favorite quote?

LV: Never never never give up. –Winston Churchill

PC:  Do you consider yourself a feminist?

LV: I refer to my nuclear family as Amazon women – as in warriors -  so what do you think? ;-)

PC: No way, sister. My blog. My interview. You're the one who gets to think. At least until I have more coffee. Also? Wonder Woman is Mexican, so BOOYAH, BITCHES. Now...Describe yourself in third person...

LV: Lisann Valentin is a force to be reckoned with! She is a successful, vibrant and truly authentic person whose life is an inspiration to anyone who has ever dared to chase a dream.

(Gotta throw that out into the Universe!)

PC: The Universe sometimes needs the slow pitch. I'm thinking of buying it a tee... But I like your moxie. Who inspires you?

LV: My mother and my sister both inspire me. My mom is a retired computer engineer, an interior designer, and DIY enthusiast. My sister is a singer/songwriter, fashionsita and an artist. As you can see we like wearing many hats. They are both truly courageous and talented women. They’re the kind of women who own a room and are immediately adored by everyone because of the beautiful inner light that they radiate. I love them beyond words. They truly inspire me to be stronger and to dream bigger.

PC: Who is it you hope to inspire?

LV: Young people, especially within the Latin community. I think there’s still this idea that in order to be successful we must walk a certain path. But I think success is subjective. As long as we are doing what we love, as long as we have found our dharma in this world, then to me that is defined as success.

To inspire others to dream big, (I mean really big) and to reinforce the notion that it is within their grasp is so very important to me. I remember when I taught fifth grade I stood in front of that room and told my class that each and every one of those children could be whatever they wanted to be. I was not only a lawyer but also their teacher and from their neighborhood. If could do it, why couldn’t they?

We can be more than just one thing. Our paths can zig zag, and the more they wind and curve the better. As we grow we can actually change our minds and pursue new goals and dreams!

I just want to plant that seed and if my life is the example that inspires the growth of these dreams, then I can ask for nothing more.

PC: I love that you say we can be more than just one thing. You have no idea how hard I'm laughing right now. Also? Can you say Mexican-American mama-writer-wife-with-mad-Spanglish skillz AND ADHD? *Exactly.* So, do you dream in color or black and white?

LV: In color – vivid colors. I write my dreams down. I analyze and interpret my dreams. And they have a habit of coming true.

PC: Ever dream about the lottery? Don't answer that. And stop ignoring my text messages, dammit. Let's play word association. I say CHINGONA and you say...?

LV: Bad-ass.

PC: You are always allowed to play in my sandbox. Wait. Why did that sound dirty? And really uncomfortable? How's that for a bad segue into the next question on your feeling about Latinas and how we are represented in the media?

LV: Ahh… how my answer to this same question has changed over the years. It’s a hard question to answer as an actress because I understand the struggle that people outside of the industry don’t necessarily get to see.

On the one hand, we come in all different shades, shapes and sizes. I think that overcoming that hurdle (that notion that to be Latina means to look one certain way) will take more time. So the more of us out there showing the world our diversity, the better.

But there are stereotypes that I embrace, such as being portrayed as passionate and strong-willed. These are traits that are very true to who I am.

Now will I not play a role because of the job a character has in a particular story? I don’t know. I will say this – it’s always about that character and what I can contribute to the role and to the story itself.

The more of us that are in the media that strive to create authentic stories, the more the landscape will change. We have the power to create that change more so now than those who blazed the trail before us ever did. But we shouldn’t sit and criticize those that are actually out there doing something. Divided we accomplish nothing.

So you will not hear me bash Sofia Vergara, Eva Longoria or Jennifer Lopez. They are powerhouses. They are smart.  They grab opportunities by the balls and I respect that. They’re Chingonas who I’m sure have more up their sleeves than we can even imagine.

PC: One childhood memory that has stuck with you...

LV: Dancing in the rain while barefoot in Puerto Rico. I was about 11 years old with my little sister and we were laughing and loving every minute of it while my mother looked on, smiling, from the balcony of our house. When my island tugs at my heart, I remember this and I smile.

PC: That sounds like one memory to alway hold on to. Do you think in English, Spanish, or Spanglish?

LV: M’hija, all of the above.

PC: And this is why we are friends. What's your favorite dish? Why?

LV: I make a mean eggplant parmesan. That’s my favorite because my guests will always go for seconds. And ever the hostess, I truly enjoy feeding my guests.

PC: Do you feel "Latina enough"?

LV: Hell yes! Identity is such a personal thing and I’m very content with who I am as a woman and a Latina. I will not let anyone define that for me, as much as they may try.

PC: PREACH! Do you chew your ice cream? (Or is that just a Me thing?)

LV: Uh yea, or else I would choke on those chocolate covered almonds.

PC: You are so my people...

 

And there ya have it. To nominate a Latina for a future #ChingonaFest Friday feature, email me ataspiringmama@gmail.com 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 todimelo@latina.com.

Check out my Zazzle Shop for Sassy Spanglish Digital Quote Prints and sign up for The Tortilla Press Newsletter (Look at the sidebar, y’all)! Follow me on Twitter, instagram, and here’s the FB fan page!

I know. You’re *welcome.*

 

#ChingonaFest: 50 in 14 Days

Screen Shot 2014-05-14 at 11.56.42 AM I've got T-shirts, y'all!

Well, I don't physically like, Have have the T-shirts in my actual possession, but this is a good thing if you really think about it.

See, this way, you won't be waiting till 2037 for me to remember to mail them out after you order.

Here's the scoop: I like my Zazzle store. I like my Etsy shop, too. Especially for the stuff I can make on my own like quotable prints (but gimme a bit. Right now it's  digital prints only. At least until tomorrow, anyway).

So when I saw TeeLatino followed me on twitter, I clicked the link and followed back after screaming out something incomprehisible to the average person about Zazzle and Kickstarter having a baby together and now I get to offer more Tees with a really cool concept...

The Husband, by the way, halfway understood what I was saying, which is exactly why we are married.

The hook? I set me goal of how many tees I want to sell and the time frame in which to sell them. My campaign title, quite obviously, is ChingonaFest.

I chose 50 shirts as my goal. Fourteen days as my time frame.

That means it's all or nothing.

Forty-nine shirts ain't bringin' home the bacon and the campaign will be relaunched. No shirts are printed unless the goal is met by the deadline. And for you small biz and fundraising-types, no upfront cost, either. Just like Zazzle and Etsy and Ebay and most things in life, TeeLatino (which is for EVERYBODY, by the way...the URL is www.crowdt.com) takes their cut on the back end and only if the goal is reached.

I think I love these guys. Also? No, they are not paying me ... but you can bet your sweet ass I'm going to be making nice and practicing my adorable internet stalker look until they realize how perfect I am to be their ambassador-spokeperson-whatever-the-phrase-is-this-week. Because I am.

Totally.

So, to recap:

* The first #Chingonafest campaign on TeeLatino/CrowdT.com is live

* The goal is 50 shirts to be sold in 14 days

* No shirts will be printed and NO ONE gets a #ChingonaFest shirt if all 50 do not sell

* On the flipside, ONLY 50 of THIS design will be made if the campaign is a success.

* After that, it's on to a new phrase, a new design, or even a new look for an old favorite. And I've got plenty.

Stay tune. I'll be launching an #AlmostWhite campaign for Rick Najera this evening. I'll update the post after it's live.

Make me look good, Internet. You have no idea how you validate the fact that I work at home in my pajamas.

#ChingonaFest Fridays: Jenni Ruiza

Welcome to WEEK 7 of #ChingonaFest Fridays on Aspiring Mama! I’m knee-deep in Plan & Ideas for a possible #Chingonafest retreat/workshop and would love any idea you may have. Send ‘em my way at aspiringmama@gmail.com! 

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? Jesenia the Comedian and Sugar Jones and 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.

Today’ featured Chingona is the Other Half of last week’s Chingona Awesome. Jenni Ruiza and Jesenia the Comedian make up The Comedy Girls and I cannot begin to tell you how hilarious these two ladies are. (Fair warning — the link will SING to you so if you’re at work, hit mute first. Also? Jenni? Imma looking at you, lady. We’re totally fixing that. But back to the Chingona thing…)

Jenni is a NYC-based Latina actor and writer. She began her professional career in January of 2011 where she worked on her first comedic short with FunnyorDie.com and ConanorBust.com. That was the same year she signed on as a  writer and featured player for the sketch comedy show “AY QUE FUNNY” created by Jesenia: The Comedic Actress. Now, Jenni is co-writer and producer for BECOMING RICARDO, a hilarious webTV sitcom debuting this year. Jenni also performs musical improv with The LocoMotives around NYC and  co-hosts COMEDY GIRLS, a radio show discussing everything from relationships to comedy on BlogTalkRadio.  She is also a contributor for Alicia Menendez’s Tonight on Fusion (An ABC/Univision joint venture) and can be found as a recurring panelist on the show.

And now for the interview!

 

photo(11)

Jenni Ruiza

 

Pauline Campos: Chocolate or Vanilla? 

Jenni Ruiza: Chocolate all day! (All night!)

PC:  My kind of lady. Favorite book (and why)?

 

JR: ”The Comedy Bible” is my favorite book right now because I’m in the middle of revamping my stand-up set. Actually, when I was in my teens – Joy Schtick by Joy Behar was one of my favorite books, not only because she totally sent it to me with a note, but because it was a story about a woman’s journey into comedy as a means to get out of her everyday life. I felt like I related to that, even at that age.

 

PC: I was reading Stephen King at 12. I think this says more about me than I want to get into right now. So, what’s your favorite quote?

 

JR: “It’s not a bad life, just a bad day”. I seriously have to say that to myself whenever I step on an NYC train. 

 

PC: Can I borrow that? I may tattoo it backwards on my forehead. It’s okay. You can think about it. Do you consider yourself a feminist?

JR: Yes! But not an extreme feminist, which there is absolutely such a thing. I do believe fully in women’s rights and equality between genders. But I’m also an independent woman who is a little old-fashioned. Is that an oxymoron?

 

PC: Nope. Well, not to me. But I refuse to burn my bras. *Points to DDDs* Describe yourself in third person, please.

 

JR: Jenni is really quiet…surprisingly quiet…wait, she’s a performer, right? Oh, okay, there she goes – she’s speaking. Nope, she’s quiet again. Wait a minute here, I’m confused. Maybe she’s hungover.

 

PC:  Oooooohhhh I LOVE mysteries! Maybe it was the maid in the billiard room with the candlestick! No? Okay, then. It was just the 3rd margarita. Tell me who inspires you?

 

JR: – My parents inspire me. They have equally been through rough journeys that I would’ve never imagined anyone to come out with while maintaining a smile. I’ve watched them all of my life grow a love that is stronger and are people who are completely comfortable in themselves. My parents have been through a lot! It’s really kind of crazy – but one moment I’ll always keep with me was the first improv show I had and my mom said at the end, “it’s a special gift when you can take someone away from the everyday and make them laugh.” 

ALSO, Jesenia (my best friend, sister, comedic-partner in crime) inspires me. I look up to her a great deal because she’s an insanely strong woman, an amazing mom, and just an all-around beautiful person. She’s that annoying older sister I’ve always wanted and was lucky enough to choose. She helps me maintain sanity – I get some of my best advice from her and she’s changed my life in a way I can’t even begin to explain. I can’t imagine my life without these three people. 

 

PC: I feel the love. LET’S SINK KUMBAYA IN ROUNDS!!!! What? Why are you looking at me like that? Never mind. Tell me who you hope to inspire.

 

JR: My future daughter. Those shy girls who are too nervous to do what they love. 

 

PC: I like that. Also? Remind me not to tell you about how I cried buckets when the ultrasound tech told me I had a girl in my belly-panza. I don’t wanna freak you out about the lil’ milestone none of the parenting experts bother mentioning in which little girls saol past bratty and right into bitchy. YOU WILL LOVE MOTHERHOOD AND…NEVER MIND. I’m shutting up now. Do you dream in color or black and white?

 

JR:  I dream in movies. Either amazing dreamscapes, action films, or horrors. That kind of says a lot about me!

 

PC:  *blinks* Maybe we are spirit animals! Let’s play word association. I say CHINGONA and you say…?

 

JR: Hashtag badass! Seriously, well-behaved women rarely make history. Another favorite quote!

 

PC:  Now you’re just trying to make sure you stay on my good side for when I am actually famous and not just self-inflated and delusional. It’s working. How do you feel about Latinas and how we are represented in the media?

 

JR: We’ve got a long way to go. Our growth starts at the beginning; if we can learn how to support one another unconditionally without feeling the need to criticize, then we’ll be well on our way to a natural progression. As far as the actual representation in the media, I really have yet to see someone on TV that I can relate to with my kind of background and upbringing, but I still have hope that it’ll someday be on the big screen for the world to see.

PC: I’m waiting for you and Jesenia to have your own show and Lorne Michaels to admit he should have paid attention earlier. Quick! One takeaway you want your children to hold onto after they’ve grown and flown the nest…

JR: Follow the fear in life – it leads you to places unimaginable, and you learn a whole hell of a lot about yourself if you just go and do!

PC: Damn, girl. That’s DEEP. Okay, maybe you ARE cut out to raise a girl. She’ll have one hell of a mommy to lead her on the right path. NEXT! One childhood memory that has stuck with you…

JR: I snuff off to a lot of places…because I was a tinge smothered BUT one epic moment was when I disappeared in an amusement park to ride the tallest ride and by the time my parents found me, I was waiting on the line for the second time. They called me by my government name and all I could say was, “What’d I do?” I wasn’t a very good kid.

PC: *Falls on floor laughing* By your “Government name?’ That is so may kinds of awesome you don’t even know. Do you think in English, Spanish, or Spanglish?

 JR: I think in grammatically incorrect sentences filled with a bunch of euphemisms and words that I like to pretend I know and use in completely incorrect contexts.

PC: *jaw drops* ARE WE THE SAME FUCKING PERSON?? omg! What if we are the Latina Orphan Black only not identical and totally not clones but equally fabulous and…Okay, you can stop begging. It’s embarrassing. The Answer is yes. We can work together so you can ride my coattails. NEXT! What’s your favorite dish? Why?

JR: My favorite dish in the whole wide world is my mom’s eggplant parm. She kills it! Every. Single. Time. Second favorite is Jesenia’s spaghetti. I mean, good grief! THIRD, because I need to have three is my own dish – tilapia francaise. 

 PC: You get a pony for not saying tacos. Do you feel “Latina enough”?

JR: I’m fully Latina although if you heard me speak, I guess you would think otherwise. I’m just a different breed – I really do not know why I sound the way I do. But, you can’t tell me I’m not Latina enough. I’m 100% Puerto Rican, boo!

 

PC: And you’re adorable. Especially when you are playing a hoodrat in an I Feel Pretty parody. New Scenario: 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?

 

JR: Meryl Streep, hands down. I have such an affinity for that woman. We would absolutely binge eat Italian food and gin – Meryl Streep is just an enigma in the acting world. She is who I want to be for the straight person in comedy.

PC: I need to go read a dictionary to feel smarter now. Do you chew your ice cream? (Or is that just a Me thing?)

JR: I chew it for the pure fear of choking. Because it has happened…several times.

PC: Right. Three Words- Orphan Black. bitches, Gimme one Latina stereotype you despise? 

JR: We are not all angry!!!!!! DAMN IT!

PC:  WHO THE HELL SAYS WE’RE ANGRY? Maria, hold my baby. I’ve got some ass to kick. One Latina stereotype you embrace (or is there one?)

JR: That we’re all exotic. I mean, why the hell not?

PC: I’ll take that. Describe your perfect day.

 JR: Not having to go to a day-job. Natch. But, seriously, my perfect day is filled with comedy and love. I’d wake up, have a gig that I’d go to and then spend the rest of the day with loved ones. And then have a gin and tonic…or two…or three…and NOT have a hangover. Now, that is the perfect day.

And there ya have it. To nominate a Latina for a future #ChingonaFest Friday feature, email me at aspiringmama@gmail.com 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 dimelo@latina.com.

Check out my Zazzle Shop for Sassy Spanglish Digital Quote Prints and sign up for The Tortilla Press Newsletter (Look at the sidebar, y’all)! Follow me on Twitter, instagram, and here’s the FB fan page!

I know. You’re *welcome.*