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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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 how this is going to sound, but life was simpler when my BFF and The Husband were the only ones aware of the blog. I promise you I’m not crying because I seem to have magically fallen into a giant pot of Exactly What I Wanted, because I know how incredibly fortunate I am to have made it here. I’m a columnist. I get paid to give solicited advice and don’t even have to put a bra on to go to work. Sure, it’s hard to separate Life from Everything else– not like when I worked as a newspaper reporter, anyway. My work schedule was unpredictable because murderers like to keep the rest of us guessing, but I could actually tell you what days of the week I was working — and which days of the week I didn’t have to answer to an editor.

It might not be like this for everyone, but life is as crazy and it is beautiful as a freelance writer. The beautiful comes from the aforementioned Bra Optional policy (don’t worry … I maintain a strict Bra Required in Public Situation Policy. It’s kind of  no-brainer with DDD’s.) I’m doing what I have always wanted to do and get to do it when I feel like it. As long as I turn my work into my editors on or before the deadline, no one asks why I waited until the day before it was due to start a piece I had four weeks to write. I get to homeschool my kid, run errands, and take vacation to visit family and friends — all without having to bank vacation time or worry about getting someone to cover my shift.

I have to make up for it, though. If I want to watch a movie with The Husband tomorrow night, I’m going to be hauling ass tonight to make sure I’m as far ahead as I can be to make up for time lost. The same goes for conferences. I know I’m going to be insanely busy with the Social part of the Media world, so I am always trying to get ahead. The problem is…I never really am. At least, not for long. All I need is one week with a sick kid, three deadlines due back to back, and everything goes to hell. That’ when I’m back to where I started.

The crazy, if you can believe it, is an entirely separate (but totally related) category. Also, this is the part where I tell you how I’m Sort of Psychic.

Let’s jump in the Figurative Tardis and it’s 12 or so years ago and a younger me is explaining to a younger The Husband that I’m working on being Reverse Famous. He’s looking at me, confused, and trying to determine in I’m jut crazy, or crazy and cute and making sense. My theory went like this: Blog Publicly and Keep it a Secret Privately.

It was that, or not bothering at all to begin with.

“I’ll know I’m famous when both sides of the family start getting pissy because I’m writing,” I told him. “The icing on the fame cupcake is that they only start paying attention when the rest of the world is already watching.”

To be clear, when I say “writing,” I don’t mean the by-lined pieces on the front page of the local community paper about the latest boyscout to make it to Eagle Scout — in which I always had to mention how few actually earn this honor — because those were the pieces they could be proud of. Those were the stories that got clipped and handed to co-workers. No, I’m not talking about that kind of writing, at all. What I’m referring to, actually, is the kind of writing many would equate with taking random pages of my diary and slapping them up on the internet for the whole world to see.

To you, that’s maybe…weird. At best.

To a non-fiction writer (a memoirist, to use the Fancy Nancy version) it’s called a fucking essay.

The Husband didn’t ask me why I planned on reverse psychology-ing my way into making my dreams happen. But for the purpose of showing and not just telling, let’s pretend he did. Here’s the pretend answer I would have given had he asked what I was smoking and why I wasn’t sharing:

“If I start out writing with their eyes on every word, I’ll censor everything I say. I need to establish my voice first and be confident in where I’m standing before I have to answer to the peanut gallery. Basically,” I said, “The cat has to be out of the bag before anyone who knows me in real life knows I’ve got a cat to begin with.”

And he totally got it. His ten-year-anniversary gift was a switch to a platinum wedding set because I had said I wanted gold before we got engaged (well, what I actually said was I want gold because that’s what my family wears because heaven forbid I think for myself, so it all made sense.) Don’t forget that I come from a very traditional Mexican-American family and my hyphen is shiny new, being first generation, and all. That saying about the village raising the child is less a saying and more of a cultural commandment.

In fact, I’m convinced the Borg from Star Trek: The Next Generation, were modeled off of my family. All of my family. The young are raised to think with and as the group does for the good of all. For the uninitiated (or for those with actual lives), the Borg are a fictional alien race made up of beings who’ve been forced into the “hive mind” and turned into partially robotic drones.  In one episode, a young Borg is found wounded by the crew and nursed back to health by Dr. Beverly Crusher. When asked a direct question pertaining to his person and his person only, the Borg answered with “We do not…” or “We will…” until Jordie and Dr. Crusher explained what the first-person singular is, and why individuality is so very important to the human race. The Borg was named Hugh by Jordie. When asked what his name was previously, his response was Three of Five.

I won’t lie. I kind of wanted to hug him, right then and there. And when Hugh made the choice to return to the hive to protect Captain Jean Luke and The Enterprise? You guys? I may have gotten misty. Because — minus the destroying entire races and planets and playing Dr. Fankentstein with the lefotvers — I could totally relate. I once broke up with a sweet boy in high school because he was African-American and Greek (You guess which part was the problem). I lied and said The Husband gave me permission to get an ankle tattoo when I was 28 to stop the criticism and wouldn’tyaknow, it actually worked. (And yes, The Husband thought this was hysterical. He gets sex on the nights he doesn’t pretend that story is a turn on for anyone other than himself.) The Hive is real, y’all. And it’s as lonely and stifling as it is beautiful and complex.

It’s hard to think for oneself, let alone realize that you aren’t, until you wake up one day, disconnected from the Collective. Suddenly, we becomes I and My family wears becomes I prefer.… Eventually, I could never write that turns into Maybe I can allude to… and Okay, I wrote it, but I can never publish it… becomes Fuck it, I just hit publish. Maybe they’ll never see it? Then they do and sometimes it’s okay and other times it’s not and that’s when I realize that I did something right when I started, because I’m pretty sure becoming a porn star and awkwardly steering the Sunday family dinner conversation away from the damnation of my soul is a walk in the park compared to the non-fiction writer’s reality.

Perspective is as complicated as it is simple. You see the glass half empty and I see it half-full but maybe it’s half empty because you already had your fill and I see half-full because it can never be full enough.

To-may-toeTo-mah-toe…yada..yada…yada.

Maybe I’m sharing too much, you think. Maybe I’m making you look bad, you think. Maybe I’m making me look bad. I’m not writing to make dinner conversation awkward. I’m writing to get it going. By sharing my words, I’m putting them out there for those that are searching for them and fully expect those not interested to let them float on by, for the most part, unheard, like a television left on for background noise.

 

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.

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Top of Form

 
The Chingona — Defined
This is what happens when one of Mama's friends falls in love with the girl: a Wonder Woman swimsuit and caped socks.

This is what happens when one of Mama’s friends falls in love with the girl: a Wonder Woman swimsuit and caped socks.

As a first generation Mexican-American, I was raised to keep my thoughts to myself and put the feelings of La Familia over my own. Considering the emotional baggage I’ve been packing since childhood, I’d say that line of thinking didn’t turn out so well.

I’m a mother now and my daughter is feisty and brilliant and wonderful. I want to raise her to be a Chingona the Mexican slang term for “bad ass bitch“. It’s a word steeped in history and controversy, but it’s a word I’ve come to embrace. I want my daughter to grow up to be the kind of woman who respects herself and others, stands up for her ideals, and celebrates all that she is without feeling the need to apologize for it. Put in plain English, my end goal is for my girl to grow up to be the kind of woman the word  “bitch” is used as a compliment to describe. A real chingona.

 I want her to know she has a voice now and that what she says today matters so that tomorrow she won’t think to look for validation outside of herself. I want her to feel and recognize her own value because it took me far too long to realize there are certain things we can only find within ourselves. I want for her to understand that the village is probably doing something wrong, even with her best intentions guiding our every choice. And I want her to know she can speak her mind, even if what she has to say goes against the culturally accepted norm.

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This is the look she gave me when I told her to give me her best Lynda Carter.

Maybe my family is weird, but my granddather called us his chingonas the same way most people call their kids sweetheart. Or maybe he called us his cabronas. Right now, I’ve got both stuck in my had because they are so darned interchangable. Either way, chingona is a controversial Mexican slang term that means “badass chick.”

Well, to me, at least.

The term can have more negative connotations (author Sandra Cisneros for one made a case for women embracing it in HBO’s Latino List); I look at it from the standpoint of the word bitch: you either are offended to be called one or strive to be one.

My goal is to raise m’ija to be the kind of hell-raiser that radiates sass, self-confidence, independence, and doesn’t take shit from anybody…but in a respectful way. I want to raise a hell-raiser who is respectful of herself and others, yet stands up for herself and what matters no matter what anyone else thinks. Some would call her a chingona and if I raised her right, the future Eli’s gonna smile when they do. I might just have to print out this blog post from my friend Deb for a visual reminder.

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

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

Join me tonight for my weekly #Chingonafest twitter party! We will be discussing ways to better ourselves and the kind of examples we can provide for the next generation. I’ll have a few surprises to give out to random winners, so make make sure you let me know you’re there! Raise your voices, ladies. It’s time to let the world know we are here.

 

 

Welcome to WEEK 9 of #ChingonaFest Fridays on Aspiring Mama!

If you’re new to the blog, here’s the link to the my Latina Dimelo column that sparked the conversation that’s still going strong. The premise is this: I want to raise my daughter to be a Chingona — on purposeLas Tias and cultural backlash be damned. If you like the column, I’d love for you to share with your social media circles, leave a comment on the link, or whip up a happy lil’ Letter to the Editor telling them how you feel and send it off to Editor@Latina.com. You may not think that kind of thing makes a difference, but trust me when I tell you that it does.

Have you checked out my past #ChingonaFest ladies? Lisann Valentin and Jenni Rivera  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 Juliana Marulanda., operations specialist and founder of MarulaNY, Consulting, offering comprehensive consulting services to mid-sized, local, and start-up businesses. I met Juliana while in NYC for Rick Najera’s Almost White book launch, and I have to say I’m in love. Why? Her hashtag, #UpgradeYourShit, serves as a reminder to always strive for excellence. (Why do I suddenly feel the need to do actual yoga just because I’m wearing yoga pants?)

If you happen to be local, Juliana is leading a workshop on maximizing productivity on Monday in NYC – click here for the details.

And now? On to the interview!

 

 

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Juliana Marulanda

Juliana Marulanda

 

Pauline Campos: Chocolate or vanilla?

Juliana Marulanda: Pistachio
PC: You don’t like boxes, I gather. Favorite book and why: 
JM: 1984, I love dystopian novels.  I like books that concentrate on our humanity or loss thereof. We live in a world where the social is becoming digital. No matter how much of our world is flattening and we have greater accessibility to mobility, people tend to be drifting farther away from each other. Our structures of community are changing. For a book written half a century ago, it’s still one of my favorites. 

PC: I’ll have to read that one. After Anna Karenina, that is. I still feel guilty for that A in high school. What’s your favorite quote?

JM: What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

PC: Usually it just pisses me off. Same thing, right? Don’t answer that. The real question is–Do you consider yourself a feminist?

JM: Yes, I believe in equality for all and the right of independent choice (whatever those choices may be). 

PC: Pistachio, anyone? Describe yourself in third person…

JM: This one is hard not good at this. 

PC: Obviously. You might wanna #UpgradeYourShit on that one, Juliana. But first, tell me who inspires you?

JM: Everyday individuals who make choices to be extraordinary, go beyond the status quo and dare to change the way we live. 

PC: Awwww, you say all the pretty things. You’re welcome. *grins* And for the follow-up to the last one, who is it you hope to inspire?

JM:Anyone and everyone who is willing to make choices that reflect their true self on a daily basis
PC: Is Pistacchio the answer to every Jeopardy question today, Alex? ‘Cuz it should be. For now, do you dream in color or black and white?

JM: Color, dreaming in black and white would be cool. I’d love to have a Casablanca dream.
PC: Let’s play word association. I say CHINGONA and you say…?

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

JM: Awful. We are either completely underrepresented or misrepresented. I cannot wait till the moment where we don’t all look like we came out of a telenovela.
PC: Quick! One takeaway you want your children to hold onto after they’ve grown and flown the nest…

JM: Be strong, be yourself and live life to the fullest. 

PC: One childhood memory that has stuck with you…
JM:First couple of years of life were spent in Cartagena, and I think one of my favorite sensory memories is sand in my toes. 

PC: Mine is the smell of cilantro. Takes me right back to my Guelo’s house in Detroit. Next–  Do you think in English, Spanish, or Spanglish?

JM: Situational and emotional, it’s weird but I think in English and feel in Spanish. I’m not sure if that makes sense.
PC: I’m trying to figure out if I get it because, strangely, I think I do– or if I want to know why you aren’t sharing the “special” brownies. Instead, I wanna know your favorite dish and why?

JM: Seafood, I can eat shellfish Everyday.
PM: Do you feel “Latina enough”? 

JM: Yes, I do. I’ve been asked many times, but I think my bicultural feelings are pretty standard for my generation. 

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? 

JM: Leonardo da Vinci – think about the endless conversation topics. Art, architecture, music, geloplogy , philosophy, music etc. Him or Plato, I just want to know if socrates was real and have him ask me questions all evening or drink more wine and ask him questions all evening.
Wine and dinner, well if they come back from the dead I figured they will be hungry and can pick the menu.

PC: You sneaky minx. You got two in there. So, do you chew your ice cream? (Or is that just a Me thing?)

JM: No but I love the waffle cone. And, chew that.
PC: One Latina stereotype you despise?

JM: That we are all Mexican. It’s funny, in theory, but we are not all from one nation and come from incredibly diverse backgrounds. I feel like our society fails to see the diversity and pluralism of the Latino cultures, experiences and perspectives. 

PC: You mean you AREN’T? That’s it. Interview OVER! (But not until you answer a few more questions.)One Latina stereotype you embrace (or is there one?)

JM: I hate stereotypes, but if I had to choose one – I would say passion. Not all Latinos are passionate, but I do consider myself to be incredibly passionate in personality, choices, life and work.

PC: Describe your perfect day.
JM: Waking up to the waves of the ocean, being surrounded by the people I love and working from my laptop anywhere in the world and learning at least one new thing that 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 tweetm e with the hashtag #ChingonaFest. And don’t forget to check out my latest Dimelo Advice column on Latina Magazine. This one’s a doozy because y’all know telling the family you aren’t having kids after getting married is gonna be all kinds of Spanglish-drama.

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

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