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

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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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.*

 

 

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?

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.

unnamed

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.*

Top of Form

 

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!

 

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Jenni Ruiza

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.*

 

 Welcome to WEEK 6 of #ChingonaFest Fridays on Aspiring Mama. The short story on the current craziness is my new obsession with creating pretty things to sell in my Zazzle store. Seeing as how it’s not going to help me meet actual deadlines, though, I need to limit myself. Sort of like with chocolate.

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? Sugar Jones and Helen Troncoso were two of the most recently featured wonder women. Each week, I’m featuring one fabulous Latina who’s moving mountains and raising hell because their stories are worth telling. Twenty questions will be presented to each and 15 will be answered and presented here to you in a Q&A format, like the fancy features in magazines, only with more typos and less airbrushing.

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 reponse 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 tt’s time for the interview.

photo(11)

 

Jessenia the Comedian

Jessenia 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!

 

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.*

 

 

 

ricknajera

So I traveled to New York to speak at Rick Najera’s #AlmostWhite NYC book tour stop and you bet your sweet ass I wasn’t leaving without picture proof that he knows who I am.
Yes, I *know* he’s an actor and good at pretending. I take adderall and am good at forgetting. I think that makes us even. Moving on….

And when I say traveled, I mean four hours driving from my home to Portland, Maine, for the hotel that happens to be located right by the Amtrak depot, an overnight stay at said hotel, two hours on a bus the next morning, and then six on a train into Penn Station. Eliana travels with me. Score for Team Crazy Mexican Homeschooling! Kiddo was so excited to see the New York City skyline it made me a bit teary to think about packing up for the Land of Moose and Snow, but turns out we both love living in the Maine tundra as much as we love our little forays into Places Normal People Live. So it all works out in the end.

And when I say traveled, I mean four hours driving from my home to Portland, Maine, for the hotel that happens to be located right by the Amtrak depot, an overnight stay at said hotel, two hours on a bus the next morning, and then six on a train into Penn Station.
Eliana travels with me. Score for Team Crazy Mexican Homeschooling! Kiddo was so excited to see the New York City skyline it made me a bit teary to think about packing up for the Land of Moose and Snow, but turns out we both love living in the Maine tundra as much as we love our little forays into Places Normal People Live. So it all works out in the end.

We had just arrived at Penn Station. How warm is it, she wanted to know. So I told her. 50 degrees. Back home it was was 27 and look like the tundra. After looking around a bit, maybe weighing her options, she made up her mind. Mom, she says, do you mind if I take off my fuzzy sweater? I answered by taking off my own.  While we exchanged sly smiles at the New Yorkers rushing by bundled in their winter layers, because we left winter in the back of my Yukon which was parked in the hotel lot back in Portland. All we brought with us? A fleece pullover and a spring rain trench.  'Cuz we're hard core, that's why.

We had just arrived at Penn Station. “How warm is it?” she asked. So I told her. 50 degrees. Back home it was was 27 and covered in feet upon feet of snow. After looking around a bit, maybe weighing her options, she made up her mind. “Mom,”  she said, “do you mind if I take off my fuzzy sweater?” I answered by taking off my own.
We exchanged sly smiles at the New Yorkers rushing by bundled in their winter layers, because we left winter in the back of my Yukon which was parked in the hotel lot back in Portland. All we brought with us? A fleece pullover and a spring rain trench.
‘Cuz we’re hard core, that’s why.

The only SNAFU occurred when my original babysitting plan went out the window because that's just how shit works. Instead of a relatively easy drop-off in the Bronx, Eliana and I ended up taking a train to upstate NY to meet a Wendy DelMonte, my forever friend whom I now owe a pony, who drove an hour and a half south from Connecticut to pick up Eliana for the night. My child had the time of her life because Wendy and her kids are fabulous and that two-minutes I had on the platform before jumping in the return train for the hour-and-a-half ride back so I could haul ass yet again to my hotel to drop off my Too Much Luggage, shower off the travel stink, and change just in time to get lost on the way to the venue and show up an hour late?  Yeah...those two minutes may be the only time I actually breathed that day.

The only SNAFU occurred when my original babysitting plan went out the window because that’s just how shit works. Instead of a relatively easy drop-off in the Bronx, Eliana and I ended up taking a train to upstate NY to meet Wendy DelMonte, my forever friend whom I now owe a pony, who drove an hour and a half south from Connecticut to pick up Eliana for the night. My child had the time of her life because Wendy and her kids are fabulous and that two-minutes I had on the platform before jumping in the return train for the hour-and-a-half ride back so I could haul ass yet again to my hotel to drop off my Too Much Luggage, shower off the travel stink, and change just in time to get lost on the way to the venue and show up an hour late?
Yeah…those two minutes may be the only time I actually breathed that day.

Meet Dennis Sanchez, the genius behind MVM Events. He's the lucky guy smack in the middle between me and the only white chick in the room. That's Sarah Fader and I think it's important to note we became friends because I saw an update about Three Year Olds being Assholes and was all It's Like you KNOW Me and this is probably also a good time to mention that she'll tell you she's Jewish and that isn't the same thing as white.  I'm not disagreeing. I'm only stating that it wasn't the Not White chick's face I had to work my ass off to make visible while editing this photo.  Also? You can step away from the tanning bed now, Dennis.  You're *welcome*.

Meet Dennis Sanchez, the genius behind MVM Events. He’s the lucky guy smack in the middle between me and the only white chick in the room. That’s Sarah Fader and I think it’s important to note we became friends because I saw an update about Three Year Olds being Assholes and was all It’s Like you KNOW Me and this is proof that you can be friends with someone one Facebook and not know who the hell they are until they post an update you could have written yourself. This is *also*probably  a good time to mention that she’ll tell you she’s Jewish and that isn’t the same thing as white.
I’m not disagreeing. I’m only stating that it wasn’t the Not White chick’s face I had to work my ass off to make visible while editing this photo.
Also? You can step away from the tanning bed now, Dennis. Or plan for better lighting at the next Thing for Latinos because…Obviously.

photo(8)

This girl introduced herself by her social media handle and it went something like this: “It’s @VDLR, youknow, like for my name but think Venereal Disease Lion Roar?”
And that, boys and girls, is how you make a first impression. Don’t ask me her for her actual name. I got nuthin’.

This girl is hereby nominated as President of Any Fan Club Ever Created in My Honor Should I Become Important Enough for One. Her name is Joyce and you should follow her on twitter and instagram (@hvnlee) because I just made her important.  And yes, thanks, my therapist says I'm making major strides on that self-confidence thing.

This girl is hereby nominated as President of Any Fan Club Ever Created in My Honor Should I Become Important Enough for One. Her name is Joyce and you should follow her on twitter and instagram (@hvnlee) because I just made her important.
And yes, thanks, my therapist says I’m making major strides on that self-confidence thing. Oh right…and the adderall wore off before I got to water-marking the rest of my pictures. So, don’t be an asshole and we can remain friends.

I spoke. Dennis spoke. Rick spoke. And after calling Rick a motivational asshole and only stuttering three times, there was much merriment at the after party (I drank water because allergies suck), and then I went back to the Hotel from Hell to not sleep because security couldn't figure out the door I was pointing to was actually mine when I called about my key not working. I woke up at 2 p.m. after going to bef at 5 a.m. and suddenly it was time to drag my Too Much Luggage back to the subway and the train for the hour-and-a-half ride to upstate NY to meet Wendy and pick up Eliana just in time to go back the way we came, hop another bazillion subway trains once in the city, and make our way to the Bronx to meet up with another friend for the rest of our stay.

I spoke. Dennis spoke. Rick spoke. And after calling Rick a motivational asshole and only stuttering three times, there was much merriment at the after-party (I drank water because allergies suck), and then I went back to the Hotel from Hell to Not Sleep because security couldn’t figure out the door I was pointing to was actually mine when I called about my key not working. I woke up at 2 p.m. after going to bed at 5 a.m. and suddenly it was time to drag my Too Much Luggage back to the subway and the train for the hour-and-a-half ride to upstate NY to meet Wendy and pick up Eliana just in time to go back the way we came, hop another bazillion subway trains once in the city, and make our way to the Bronx to meet up with another friend for the rest of our stay.

So many subway stops. So many flights of stairs to drag my Too Much Luggage up to catch the next train. My Jawbone Up band tells me I clocked an average of 23k steps per day while in NC. But this?

So many subway stops. So many flights of stairs to drag my Too Much Luggage up to catch the next train. My Jawbone Up band tells me I clocked an average of 23k steps per day while in NYC. But this?

And these guys? They all made me want to plan a trip devoted to interviewing the subway artists and performers. There are so many stories to tell.

And this? This makes me want to plan a trip devoted to interviewing the subway artists and performers. There are so many stories to tell.

Eventually we made it to the Bronx. My friend Heiddi was worried I'd be worried because Bronx and Perception. I smiled. Then I reminded her I might *live* in Maine but I'm *from* Detroit.

Eventually we made it to the Bronx. My friend Heiddi was worried I’d be worried because Bronx and Perception. I smiled. Then I reminded her I might *live* in Maine but I’m *from* Detroit.

A surprise planned for the next day meant pulling out the stick on nails I had brought home from BlogHer 13 and Eliana had saved for a special occasion. Girlfriend was all kinds of proud of these nails -- which, by the way -- she made sure every person on every train *knew* she was wearing fake nails because she was fancy.

A surprise planned for the next day meant pulling out the stick on nails I had brought home from BlogHer 13 and Eliana had saved for a special occasion. Girlfriend was all kinds of proud of these nails — which, by the way — she made sure every person on every train *knew* she was wearing fake nails because she was fancy.

We hustled from train to train to take our kids to a surprise involving The Story Pirates and were delayed when these guys swarmed my kid. So I took a picture. Then the minion pointed to his necklace which says "Tips".  Heiddi said this is why she doesn't stop for these idiots. The minion stopped pointing to his necklace after I pointed out they may wanna reconsider baiting the impressionable children of bitchy mothers until they've collected the requisite cash from said bitch mom.  Heiddi nodded. Detroit, right?  Detroit, born and bred.

We hustled from train to train to take our kids to a surprise involving The Story Pirates and were delayed when these guys swarmed my kid. So I took a picture. Then the minion pointed to his badge which says “Tips”.
Heiddi said this is why she doesn’t stop for these idiots. The minion stopped pointing to his badge after I pointed out they may wanna reconsider baiting the impressionable children of bitchy mothers until they’ve collected the requisite cash from said bitch mom.
Heiddi nodded. Detroit, right?
Detroit, born and bred.

This is, obviously, a first-grader. At least, that's what they script says. The Story Pirates were worth the throwdown with Strawberry Shortcake. We will be returning.

This is, obviously, a first-grader. At least, that’s what they script says. The Story Pirates were worth the throwdown with Strawberry Shortcake. We will be returning.

A stop at Jennifer Esposito's gluten-free bakery was in order. I bought what I can't eat because I'm allergic to ALL the Things, but even the non-gluten free were impressed. Also? Thank you to Victoria for hiding my iPhone until I frantically returned in search of my sanity. Jennifer? Victoria totally gets a raise.  Victoria? *You're Welcome*.

A stop at Jennifer Esposito’s gluten-free bakery, Jennifer’s Way, was in order. I bought what I can’t eat because I’m allergic to ALL the Things, but even the non-gluten free were impressed. Also? Thank you to Victoria for hiding my iPhone until I frantically returned in search of my sanity. Jennifer? Victoria totally gets a raise.
Victoria? *You’re Welcome*.

photo 3(1)

The stop in Boston on the way home?
Three hours.
So we explored. Instead of eating, my kid earned my appreciation at the Boston Children’s Museum for a week proving to the haters that homeschooled kids don’t live in closets and are, in fact, very socialized.
Thankyouverymuch.

photo 5(3)

A text message led to a change of plans. We left New York City a day early for an overnight stop in Albany to visit with Ana Roca-Castro and her family. Eliana is in love with her daughter and I’m under orders to ask Miss Ana if we can stay with her every time we happen to “be close by”.

Leaving New York for upstate for our final stop and New York wins. She gave up naps at 15 months. I may have to move. Or at least visit regularly.

Leaving New York for upstate for our final stop and New York wins. She gave up naps at 15 months. I may have to move. Or at least visit regularly.

CameraAwesomePhoto(4)

And then it was over.
We were in Maine.
On an interstate that got emptier as we drove further north. It’s still light out. We still had hope we’d arrive home before midnight, seeing as we had four hours between us and home at this point.

Because my life is a sitcom without the laugh track.  11:00 p.m. and still 100 miles from home after various stops for eating and car sickness and more eating because throwing up left her hungry but eating made her car sick again.  Then of course, there was Starbucks two hours ago because Obviously and me not making her go potty and the child with the bladder of a camel decides she must pee and she must pee NOW. She told me to pull over. In the middle of a deserted freeway where moose and Random Wildlife live, because she wasn't kidding.  I'll squat, she said. She didn't, I observed.  We changed her, bagged up her wet clothes, and as settled back in to drive. Just as my own bladder reminded me that I'd knocked back two trenta green teas and maybe I should consider squatting.  I opted for getting the hell out of whatever scene Stephen King was writing before the evil clowns showed up and held it until we got to the only rest stop between nowhere and home.

Because my life is a sitcom without the laugh track.
11:00 p.m. and still 100 miles from home after various stops for eating and car sickness and more eating because throwing up left her hungry but eating made her car sick again.
Then of course, there was Starbucks two hours ago because Obviously and me not making her go potty and the child with the bladder of a camel decides she must pee and she must pee NOW.
She told me to pull over. In the middle of a deserted freeway where moose and Random Wildlife live, because she wasn’t kidding.
I’ll squat, she said.
She didn’t, I observed.
We changed her, bagged up her wet clothes, and as settled back in to drive. Just as my own bladder reminded me that I’d knocked back two trenta green teas and maybe I should consider squatting.
I opted for getting the hell out of whatever scene Stephen King was writing before the evil clowns showed up and held it until we got to the only rest stop between nowhere and home.

And now we are home and slowly getting back on track and there is much snow and no subways and I’m firing my dogs for not noticing the herd of deer leaping through the backyard as they circled for a spot to do their thing. Also, stick around if you’re new. That #mexicaninmaine hashtag will start to make a lot more sense.

The End.

***

UPDATE!!!

I forgot to mention that Rick sent me home with three copies of his book, Almost White: Forced Confessions of a Latino in Hollywood. One is mine, so step off and we can still be friends.

The second I gave to Ana Roca-Castro because I know Latism stands for all that Rick discusses in his book. I can’t wait to hear what she thinks.

The last, y’all, I saved for you. Or…well, one of you, at least.

Picture Proof that I actually HAVE the book in my possession. The line for My New Best Friend forms *here*.

Picture Proof that I actually HAVE the book in my possession. The line for My New Best Friend forms *here*.

Rick Najera’s autograph. Related: My favorite things are Starbucks Iced Green Teas, ponies, and MAC Russian red lipstick. Priority consideration will be focused on those who try to buy my love. *Nods head*

To enter for your chance at the book, here’s the not-so-fine-print:

* First let’s make sure everyone knows I am incapable of kissing ass so a free book isn’t going to buy anyone a flowing review. If I don’t like it, I’m simply not going to mention it. End. Of. Story.

* The rules:

**Leave a comment on this post. It can be anything as long as anything includes your email so I can contact you if you win. Bonus points if your comment actually pertains to the discussion at hand. Giving a damn is always nice.

** Share the following on your social media channels and leave me a separate comment for each share with the URL:

Check out this post by @pauline_campos: Enter to win an autographed copy of  by  

** Deadline is midnight, EST, April 22.

And that’s it. I’m excited to share this book with all of you and am live-tweeting quotes as I read a chapter each night. Which means that yes, I love #AlmostWhite.

So…who’s in?

 

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