All posts filed under: The Files

File No. 13: Odiosas

Community organizing is more necessary than ever before. Creating safe spaces to debate and educate folx is essential to move forward in this state of collective uncertainty. Odiosas, a Bronx female collective, has been on this mission since 2016, coordinating panels and art exhibitions that offer healing and expression from an intersectional, working-class perspective. You might recall Odiosas from a previous post: You remember that first time I went to the Bronx? I spoke at a panel hosted by Odiosas, a collective of women who aim to create safe spaces for marginalized communities. At that point, I must admit, I still didn’t get it. The women around me felt comfortable with their identities. They knew exactly what pronouns people should use when referring to them. They knew if they were white, black, afro-latinx, native American, Eastern European. But me, I was the epitome of the Puerto Rican identity crisis. I felt strange answering questions about race and wouldn’t admit that I, too, was mixed. But, there was a moment I turned to myself to admit who …

File No. 11: Desirée Velázquez, fashion designer

Pop culture would have us believe that being a fashion designer is one of the most glamorous jobs available. Thanks to Project Runway we know it’s not true. The aspiring designers experience nervous breakdowns at Parsons The New School for Design making every moment count because, as Heidi Klum has taught us for some time, in fashion one day you are in and the next day you are out. This was the case of Desirée Velázquez, who did it all off-camera and with no pay. “I moved to New York with $1,000 and a credit card. That was it”, recalls the 28-year-old freelance fashion designer, while sitting at Astoria Coffee, wearing her signature cat-eye and red lipstick. Desirée is a CAD designer for Carolina Herrera and was part of the launch of Katy Perry’s shoe collection with Global Brands Group last year. The break came after she experienced her first layoff at Ohne Titel, a small fashion company founded by Parsons alumni Alexa Adams and Flora Gill that closed last spring. She took the opportunity …

File No. 9: Claudia Hilario, blogger, Bodega Blush

I was present during some of the initial conversations that sparked the launch of Bodega Blush. Just a few months prior, I met Claudia Hilario, its founder. At this point, she was an editor at Primera Hora with 10 years of experience behind her. But, a dream is unstoppable, and so, Claudia’s was no exception. A few weeks after revealing her plans to us, Claudia left the company to launch her own blog. As an accomplished editor, it’s a move not many have the ovaries to make. But, when you have a clique of badass friends and an idea, it’s justifiable that you leave your job to create an online platform dedicated to all the things you love: fashion and drinking. Bodega Blush now has over 1,000 Facebook likes and has done collaborations with big name brands like Sally Hansen and Tito’s Vodka. The goal is to demystify the notion that women and alcohol are mutually exclusive. And so, we toast to Claudia and her big dreams, to her daughter Elena and to the many …

File No. 8: Jhoni Jackson, Freelance Writer and Club 77 Co-Owner

Why did you decide to come to Puerto Rico? I was dating somebody who is actually one of the other owners with us. Then, we broke up, but we were already opening the club, so I stayed. It was kind of a big girl decision. We [the club] celebrated our 2 year anniversary in February and we broke up before we even started opening completely. What’s the story behind Club 77? We were talking about having a mid-sized venue because we have El Local, which is small, and we have La Respuesta, which is a bigger venue. But, in the middle, there wasn’t really anything. Also, we wanted to bring bands from the States to play. José is in Las Ardillas and he has toured a lot. Some bands come here on their own every once in a while, but it’s not typical for them to consider Puerto Rico as a stop in a tour. Our point was to fly certain bands out. Kristen [Fink] joined quickly after. She used to own Café 103. She was …

File No. 7: The Eye Has To Travel: The Women Behind Yo Viajo Sola

BF: How did Yo Viajo Sola came about? Mari Laura: We (Eva and Mari Laura) went on a trip in August and our other friends Paulina and Patricia. The process was really fun because we had to plan the trip according to the style of each one. The day before was when I started to panic that we were going to be alone in Latin America. I found an article on Buzzfeed that spoke about how fake is the conception of women traveling alone are at risk. Women who travel alone are often blamed if something goes wrong. It’s always that she is a prostitute or a political spy. That article changed my perspective completely. I knew we were going to be fine. During the trip, we were taking a train from Aguas Calientes to Cuzco. I went to the bathroom and when I came back I had the idea in my mind. I commented something about it but it wasn’t concrete. Eva was in from that moment. When we got back, we started talking …