ChingonaFest Fridays: Dior Vargas

This week's #ChingonaFest Fridays is brought to you by one of my favorite companies: WeMontage. I absolutely love their removable wallpaper photographs and encourage you to click through for a peek at their offerings. Say hi to WeMontage founder James Oliver on twitter and tell him you found him on Aspiring Mama. 

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

It's Week THIRTY TWO on #ChingonaFest Fridays! Let's get to the nitty-gritty: There's one of Me and a 90 billion things on the To Do list, so I'm knocking back the question count to FIVE each week for every Featured Chingona. Short, sweet, and sassy. See? It's even fun to say. Today, we start with an amazing woman I am truly honored to know: Dior Vargas. (Stay tuned- I'll be talking to Dior as my guest on the ChingonaFest Project Podcast ...which will be relaunching soon! Check out my Patreon page to support the show!) 

Dior is a Latina Feminist Mental Health Activist. She is a CrisisTextLine crisis counselor and a facilitator for the Young Adult Support Group at NAMI-NYC Metro. She is also a member of NAMI-NYC Metro’s Young Professionals Advisory Board.

For the 25th Anniversary of the ADA, ior was honored by the White House as a Champion of Change for Disability Advocacy Across Generations. She was chosen as a Voices of the Year honoree at #BlogHer15: Experts among Us Conference for her online photo project, People of Color and Mental Illness Photo Project. She holds a B.A. in the Study of Women and Gender from Smith College and an M.S. in Publishing from Pace University.

ior lives in New York City. Follow Dior on Twitter, Tumblr, and find her on Facebook.

And now! Time for the interview!

Dior Vargas

Dior Vargas

Pauline M. Campos: Favorite book and why?

Dior Vargas: I have many but one that stands out right now is Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl. It is about his experience living in a concentration camp and how logotherapy gave meaning to his suffering and as a way to understand it. I first read it in high school and it had such an impact on me as someone who was going through a very deep depression at the time.

PMC: My Chignons are always so much more well-read than I am. Do you consider yourself a feminist? 

DV: Hell yeah! But an intersectional Latina feminist.

PMC: And you are a badass. Do you dream in color or black and white? 

DV: Actual dreams or dreams/goals? Color and both.

PMC: Dude. that’s the first time I’ve been asked that. Why are you hogging all the special brownies to yourself? Wait, don’t answer that. Answer this instead: Let’s play word association. I say CHINGONA and you say...? 

DV: Woot!

PMC: I knew you were my people. One childhood memory that has stuck with you…

DV: I remember when I was little and I got hurt (I cut my gum and my lip swelled up so I looked pretty awful). It was around Halloween and I wasn't able to wear a mask. I felt so ugly but my mom placed rhinestones on my face and said that I still looked beautiful. I'm probably not doing justice to the story or expressing it in a way that truly explains how meaningful that was for me.

PMC: It’s okay. I’ll ghost write your memoir. Because I like you. What’s your favorite dish? Why? 

DV: My favorite dish was the tuna casserole my grandmother used to make for me. She used to add potato chips to the cream of mushroom while it was cooking in the pan. I thought it was so cool and made the meal so tasty.

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 dimelo@latina.com! 

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

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. Interested in SEEING YOUR NAME OR BRAND HERE? Email me for details sponsoring the weekly #ChingonaFest Fridays feature right here on Aspiringmama.com!

Oh! And be sure to send me your questions to dimelo@latina.comFollow me on Twitter, instagram, and here’s the FB fan page!  Before you go, please take a moment to sign up for my newsletter. Sign up by or before my #BabyFat launch date - September 28 - and you're automatically entered for a chance at a signed copy of my book! See you next week!