ChingonaFest Fridays: Margaret Elysia Garcia

It's week THIRTY THREE on #ChingonaFest Fridays, brought to you by my friend (and #ChingonaFest alumni) Lorraine C. Ladish, and the Viva Fifty community. Lorraine has ben hard at work creating a community for Latinas fifty and up, and she's done that and more. Viva Fifty is an amazing community which somehow manages to include everyone in on the conversations while addressing needs specific to the the intended demographic. I highly suggest you check them out on twitter and Facebook.  

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. 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 You may not think that kind of thing makes a difference, but trust me when I tell you it does.

This week's Featured Chingona is Margaret Elysia Garcia from Tales of a Sierra Madre. Margaret has been hard at work with a new book out, working the director angle with a new play based on the Sad Girl zine she produces with her 10-year-old-daughter, and the development of a new website. Check out the podcast interview for details. For now, I'm just saying throwing and chanclas are involved. 


And now! Time for the interview!

Margaret Elysia Garcia

Margaret Elysia Garcia

Pauline M. Campos: What's your favorite quote? 

Margaret Elysia Garcia: I’m a romantic by nature. “Why is the measure of love loss?” Which is the first line in Jeanette Winterson’s phenomenal novel Written on the Body. Which kicked my ass it was so good and played with language so much. Heavy influence on me. And also because hey. That line is so fucking true. I’m saying fuck too much already.

PMC: Favorite book and why:

MEG: 100 Japanese Poems (translated by Kenneth Rexroth) also 100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez and no I didn’t notice they both have ‘100 ‘ in the title. I say these two because as a writer these two are the bibles of their genres. If you don’t know how to write or don’t know what I’m talking about, read these two and you’ll be saying ‘Fuck. That’s how it’s done.’

PMC: I have never read either and I already say that. Does that mean I am ahead of the crime or just lazy? Wait. Don't answer that. Let's do this one instead. 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? 

MEG: I want to time travel to the 1930s and 40s and drink and make out with my literary, cultural, and artistic heroes. Definitely make out with Frida Kahlo. I would eat anything she or Diego’s ex-wife Lupe made. Frida and I would do shots. Because. FRIDA.

PMC: Frida is ALWAYS the answer. One Latina stereotype you despise?

MEG: That we can’t be academics. I’ve been teaching community college for 17 years. No where have I seen more racism than in academia. Try disagreeing in a faculty meeting. They speak louder to you thinking you can’t understand their English. They get confused when you have an MFA and are Latina at the same time. We need to work on making Latina academics more visible so we don’t get mistaken for being janitorial services on campus. It happens more often than you care to know. I like my giant hoop chola earrings thank you very much. It doesn’t mean I can’t read.

PMC: You can READ? *Falls over laughing*. Last question: Chocolate or vanilla?

MEG: Mexico gave the world chocolate. Enough said.

Stay Tuned: Click here for the direct link to Margaret's interview!

UPDATE: My #Dimelo column will not be updated with new material, but rather, be kept online to feature reader favorite columns from the print magazine. Be sure to get your questions in to! 

Thanks again to this week's #ChingonaFest Friday's sponsor, Viva Fifty!

And there ya have it. To nominate a Latina for a future #ChingonaFest Friday feature, email me at or tweet me with the hashtag #ChingonaFest. Interested in SEEING YOUR NAME OR BRAND HERE? Email me for details sponsoring the weekly #ChingonaFest Fridays feature right here on!

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