Welcome to WEEK 17 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? Jesenia the Comedic Actress and Vannessa Vasquez 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’sMyrah Duque, otherwise known as Coupon Mamacita (or Mamacita! with in italics and with an exclamation point, if she’s feeling sassy)…Duque is a wife, mother, former realtor and PTA President and if you read her about page on her blog, she’s been an “etc.” three times. That last one sounds important.

Duque set 0ut to live frugally after watching a TV show featuring a woman who paid $10 for $200 at a local store with extreme couponing. Turns out Duque has a knack for what she refers to as her “frugal passion-venture”, which, by the way, she happens to share in English AND Spanish. Duque, who has been featured on NBC Latino, Latina.com (a personal favorite.. a*HEM*), among others, is one busy lady.

So let’s get to that interview.

 

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Myrah Duque

Myrah Duque

 

Pauline Campos: Chocolate or vanilla? 

Myrah Dulque: Vanilla

PC: I like a woman who gives a straight answer. Favorite book and why:

MD: “Remarkable Courage” by Deb Cheslow. This book’s message transformed my negative “I can’t do that” attitude to a permanent daily POSITIVE attitude.

PC: Come to think of it, you are pretty perky. It’ a wonder I haven’t felt the urge to slap you yet. What? Why the shocked face? Most perky people drive me up a wall but you? I like you. So… let’s talk about your favorite quote. Spill it, sister.

MD: “Fake it till you make it.”

PC: *Nods head* A perennial favorite amongst these parts. Describe yourself in third person.

MD: She overcomes difficult barriers. She is strong. She is influential.

PC: Ohhhh you’re gooood. Let’s play word association. I say CHINGONA and you say…?

MD: STRONG MAMACITA!!!

PC:  You sassy minx, you. I think I just fell in love with you, Myrah. Do you dream in color or black and white?

MD: Color

PC: Shut the front door! Me, too! But let’s get serious for a minute. How do you feel about Latinas and how we are represented in the media? 

MD: Latinas are strong, open-minded mamacitas! We are underrepresented and misrepresented, however that is rapidly changing with the growth in roles social media, fashion, politics, entertainment, sports.

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

MD: The sky is the LIMIT! NEVER, Ever, EVER give up!

PC: Okay, perky and…and yet…I still don’t wanna slap you. Maybe it’s the chingona mixed in with the perky that totally make me just wanna ply you with alcohol to see if I’m right, cuz I bet you swear like a sailor when you drink. NO! Don’t say a word. Let me just hold on to the dream for a moment here. Tell me about one childhood memory that has stuck with you…

MD: Relocating to NYC’s Spanish Harlem from Santo Domingo at the age of 6.

13 – Do you think in English, Spanish, or Spanglish?  Spanglish

MD: Spanglish.

PC: Me, too, Mama. What’s your favorite dish? Why?

MD: Sancocho Dominicano, it’s synonymous of Family gatherings, Family Love.

PC: Do you feel “Latina enough”?

MD: Oh yes! To the bone!

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?

MD: Hillary Clinton. A nice lavish Sancocho Dominicano with tostones and aguacate! Wine: A tasty Merlot since the sancocho I like has 7 different types of meat in it. Why Hillary? She inspires with her strong, courageous, tough character, leadership skills, handling the Monica Lewisky scandal, who won’t walk away from what is truly important to her.

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

MD: Chew ice cream? Say What??

PC: Watch it, sister. I chew ice-cream always. I think it’s a rule. Anyway, one Latina stereotype you despise?

MD: That we are all dark skin. Look at me: Fair Skin, BLonde, blue eyes DOMINICANA. We come in all skin colors

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

MD: EL Baile! We hear music, we are moviendo la colita!

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 is 20 and dating a 45-year-old and SUPRISE….mami is NOT happy. 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.*

 
This is what six hours to the airport look like.

This is what six hours to the airport look like.

Before blogging and columnist deadlines — I was many things. I was a daughter, a sister, a college student, convinced of the fact that everything was going to be just fine because I knew exactly what I was doing and where I was going.

My official business travel buddy. And no, those are not *my* business cards she's handing out. Girlfriend is networking for her *own* blog.

My official business travel buddy. And no, those are not *my* business cards she’s handing out. Girlfriend is networking for her *own* blog.

The plan was to get my degree in communications with a concentration in journalism because the small university I attended was too small for a dedicated degree. I’d write for a paycheck during the day and head home to pound away at the keyboard, writing the stories that would be rejected until they weren’t, and then I’d pound away some more, rearranging small pieces of truth into the sentences that would turn into the paragraphs upon which my story would stand.

Petty sure it's my kid here who introduced me to BlogHer CEO Lisa Stone.

Petty sure it’s my kid here who introduced me to BlogHer CEO Lisa Stone.

I’d be brilliant. I’d be relatable. I was going places, Goddamit. Until $45 exchanged hands in a generic apartment kitchen with a generic psychic who told me a lot of things I forgot and one thing I remembered. California, she said, was off-limits. She couldn’t tell me why or give me more than a vague why, except to say that Something Bad would happen should I wiggle a pinkie toe over the state line, so it was best just to stay the hell away.

I know. She's adorable. I know I love her. I'll remember her name in a minute, I promise.

I know. She’s adorable. I know I love her. I’ll remember her name in a minute, I promise.

Now, I’m not sure if it was The Boyfriend who became The Fiance who became The Husband’s reaction that sealed the deal, or if it was the social media friends living in the danger zone I would eventually make — after surviving myself, graduating from college, working as a newspaper reporter, getting married, not getting pregnant while everybody else was popping out babies, and finally  growing our little second chance at raising ourselves inside of me — but suddenly, where I was going became irrelevant. I suddenly realized I only knew what I wasn’t doing and where I wasn’t going. Who knows what would have happened had I decided to ignore my psychic directive while utterly convinced of its power. It didn’t really matter if I stubbed my toe, lost all my luggage, or if Kurt Cameron grew up to be a giant asshole and Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen turned out to be tabloid train wrecks because I wasn’t taking the blame for any of it. I stayed away. I couldn’t be blamed should The Big One finally hit and California fell right off the ends of the Earth.

This is how you take a bad-ass selfie with youyr kid and Sarah Fader...

This is how you take a bad-ass selfie with your kid and Sarah Fader...

“Shit.” That’s what I said when I saw the BlogHer announcement that 2014 would be celebrated where it all began. That would be San Jose, California. Obviously, we had an Issue.

 

I figure the odds of getting me, Lizzie, and Alicia to stand still long enough for another one of these shots is up there with me remembering what I was doing five minutes ago...

I figure the odds of getting me, Lizzie, and Alicia to stand still long enough for another one of these shots is up there with me remembering what I was doing five minutes ago…

“Shit what? What’s what?” The Husband said. After I filled him in on the news, he, too, became pensive. Shit. He said that.

And then we both sighed, defeated by a giant Maybe from a psychic who still needed her tarot card directions. I’d been planning to apply as a speaker and was prepping our pitch with my 2013 MultiCulti hostesses to bring the party back. I had a lot riding on another giant Maybe.

Just so we are clear, Latinas come in every shade and shape and I'm just gonna shut up because my kid and Alicia's kid are the Spanglish Bobsy Twins.

Just so we are clear, Latinas come in every shade and shape and I’m just gonna shut up because my kid and Alicia’s kid are the Spanglish Bobsy Twins.

“You’re going to be pissed at yourself if you don’t even try,” The Husband told me.” If you don’t get the stuff you’re applying for, you stay home and we all live Happily Ever After.”

“And if I get it?” I asked him.

I wanna be my kid when I grow up...

I wanna be my kid when I grow up…

 “I drop you off at the airport and up your life insurance policy. Either way,” The Husband said,” it’s kind of a win-win for everybody.”

I glared at him while Sugar Jones Facebook-messaged back to my frantic #CaliCurse with threats to follow me around with a burning sage bush just in case and I laughed.

The Real Life of a Freelancer: Too much for an hour-long panel. Throw me a book deal and we may just scratch the surface. I promise to even let other people share their opinions and stuff.

The Real Life of a Freelancer: Too much for an hour-long panel. Throw me a book deal and we may just scratch the surface. I promise to even let other people share their opinions and stuff.

“What if I get psychic clearance,” I asked Sugar. “New psychic. New reading. If I’m in the clear I go. If The End is Nigh I stay home?”

“Deal.”

Go Cavs! Only took me and Erin until BlogHer12 to figure out she was a senior when I was a freshman at the same metro Detroit High School.

Go Cavs! Only took me and Erin until BlogHer12 to figure out she was a senior when I was a freshman at the same metro Detroit High School.

I told the voice on the phone that she could be my Sylvia Brown. Five minute in to our phone conversation, Dr. Lauren Cielo from Gaiam TV, had already won me over. She is warm and genuine and her laughter is rich and comes from deep within. She made me want to laugh with her…at least until she told me that my fist psychic was right.

“Say what now?”

 

Here' your future, Internet. Meet Hala, Princess of Spain, and Aspiring Eliana. You're *Welcome*.

Here’ your future, Internet. Meet Hala, Princess of Spain, and Aspiring Eliana. You’re *Welcome*.

Dr. Lauren went on to explain that the original psychic hadn’t misread me. Instead, she had basically reiterated the energy I had been giving off at the time. I’m not sure if my Energy and Aura had been playing a random and totally subconscious reel of the entire state of California sinking to the bottom of the ocean, but the lesson here, I think, was that what we sometimes mistake for Fate is oftentimes the culmination of our own perceived realities. Because I finally had a reason to question my path again instead of just blindly following along like a character in a book, I had changed my fate. Laugh if you must, but I asked Dr. Lauren to double check and she did, bless her sweet soul, after which she conformed she had “cleared” away what would have happened had I not challenged myself. The new forecast showed only open doors and many, many return trips to California in my long-term future, she said. There was plenty more to the reading, but this is the part that mattered. It’s the part where I refocused on where I was going instead of where I wasn’t.

My #multiculti sisters, Ananda and Dwana. Serious love, y'all...

My #multiculti sisters, Ananda and Dwana. Serious love, y’all…

There was a long flight after an epic journey to the airport via car and bus. There was a little girl winning at social networking with her own business cards every chance she got. There were hugs and squees and selfies and there was me speaking on a freelancing panel and hosting a party with good friends celebrating our diversity and I am so very grateful for all of those things that were because self-doubt is sometimes a good thing if it makes us re-evaluate a future we have mistaken for an absolute.

Best quote of the entire conference? Rita Arens speaking on what a book deal does to change your life: "Unless your a dick, it's not changing anything." And this is why Rita gets a Christmas card this year....

Best quote of the entire conference? Rita Arens speaking on what a book deal does to change your life: “Unless your a dick, it’s not changing anything.” And this is why Rita gets a Christmas card this year….

I am still many things. I am a writer, a wife, a hell-raiser who has realized it’s better not to set my sites on the finish line, but rather, move the mountains in my way and let the cleared path take me where it may. I may not know exactly what I’m doing or have a fucking clue as to what I’m doing when I get there, but I think that’s the point of it all. I’ll wait for tomorrow to get here in its own due time. For now, I’m just going to enjoy today.

 

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

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!

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 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..

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.*

 

 

It’s Week FIFTEEN on #ChingonaFest Fridays!

Writer’s Block is Real, y’all.Or maybe it’s more Holy Crash and Burn, Batman, but BlogHer14 kicked my ass. My goal is to get the conference recap online sometime before I turn 90, but it’s one step at a time a time until my braincells have regenerated themselves. Please be patient. I wasn’t running at maximum capacity to before I left for an San Jose so this could take a while.

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, and Elisa Camahort Page rocked her Chingona status just before Carol.  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 fres in magazines, only with more typos and less airbrushing

Today, #ChingonaFest is going Hollywood. Our featured Chingona, 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.

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

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

photo(11)

 

Photo used with permission.

Photo used with permission.

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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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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Just call me Pollyanna…

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!

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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

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:

Etsy#MexicaninMaine

Etsy - ChingonaFest

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

Society6Pauline Campos

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