The Collective really brought some solid Reflection and Response this week. We at the LIFESTYLE are proud as hell to present Diana Cervera, a woman who took the idea of a feature and turned it into a piece of art. Eclipsing the idea of multi-talented, Diana’s various skills in Sonic, Dramatic, Literary, and other mediums inform and reinforce each other to make each piece a comprehensive collaboration between different parts of the expressive self. Peep the interview for some key knowledge, check out the soulful strains of “TE BUSCO,” and read up on the powerful words of LATINA HEAT.
Leading off with some basics where are you from? And where are you at?
DC: I am from Rialto, CA where I currently reside but my roots lay in the lands of Yucatan, Mexico. I am currently looking for my footing for a truth I am at the shoreline where the waves crash staring at the sea…contemplating what it all means.
What does Reflection and Response mean to you?
DC: Reflection and Response is a way to Evoke and provoke. Its a means by which to question, critique, explain invent and reinvent. I think that it encompasses the art making process in itself and the constant search for ourselves. To truly reflect is to look within and understand whats there, where it comes from,why it is and our response is perhaps a way to try and understand that meaning that feeling. Its a spark, a chispa. I believe that we must constantly reflect but dont take the time to do so enough. I personally am looking within myself to try and really see whats inside whats there and what I can do with it.
How does “Latina Heat,” and “TE BUSCO,” fit in with that definition?
DC: The name of the first piece is “Latina Heat” a monologue I performed for a production I directed last year at UCSD entitled In Lak Ech, Tu Eres mi Otro yo (You are my other self). This show in itself encompases the idea of reflection in that we are in some way a reflection of one another if we could only look past our preconceptions and socialized forms of knowing ourselves in relation to others. In Lak Ech comes from the Mayan saying meaning you are my other self which was considered one of the deepest forms of respect in that each other we see ourselves.This piece was a “reflection” and “response” to the ways in which Latina women are portrayed in the media and therefore come to exist in the public imagination. This piece explores not only the concept of stereotype but also explores the idea of love and self love. Our love for ourselves is the most powerful understanding we can come to know and give to others. This piece aims to critique the hollywood stereotype of what a Latina woman should be but it also is a very personal reflection of my dreams hopes and visions of love.
The other piece entitled TE BUSCO is a song I recently wrote and is a reflection of one of the most beautiful and trying emotions I have ever felt, Love. This is a raw take that took me a few nights to really get together but its from the deepest places in my heart. This song speaks of a search, it speaks of a moment so present yet so far, of a feeling so powerful that it can withstand anything. I think this song is a reflection of emotions ones heart can feel but may never be known, perhaps only the moon or the stars will be witness to these unspoken dreams. This piece speaks to the idea of a feeling or emotion that can perhaps only be sung in order to be understood or felt.
What else have you been working on recently? What are you looking to work on next?
DC: I am currently working on a short play which is an extended version of Latina heat. This play, like the monologue , will delve into various concepts such as the idea of love, sexuality, femininity and the search for the self. The play will have various characters and multiple realities, you gotta see the end result because it all makes sense in my head. Right now I think it sounds like a locura but thats when I know Ive got something. For now Im seeing fairy godmothers dancing Bomba and novellas coming to life…haha its gonna be wild but I promise its gonna be good. This will be my first time writing, directing and acting in an actual play so wish me luck!
Who or what inspires you?
DC: The coincidences of life inspire me the moments in which a person you never thought you would meet teaches you something so profound and beautiful about lifeand about yourself. These moments have proven to be the most inspiring moments in my life. With this is my families love which is unconditional and never ending its so beautiful to me. Love inspires me.
Is there anything else you would like the Collective to know?
DC: Always listen to your heart even when its wishes seem illogical or impossible. Siempre sabe el Corazon. Always believe in your own power you can really do anything you dream, nobody can tell you that its impossible.
Shout out to…?
DC: I would first like to make the biggest shoutout to my Mom and Dad Maria Casanova and Alfonso Cervera who have given me character virtue and most of all life. To my brother and sister Ponchi and Denise for always supporting me and loving me and the rest of the familia in the US and in Yucatan. I would like to give a super special shoutout to my friend and Mentor Jade Power Sotomayor who has taught me to believe in myself and always follow my heart. To never fear nor doubt my own strength as a Mujer. To the one and only Leslie Quntanilla, Joanne Gomez, Qui Qui, Mars, Sarit, Moni and all my friends who have loved me through the many phases of my life and locuras. To the ART COLLECTIVE @ UCSD. The Bostick Family, your lovely thank you for all your blessings. Of course to the cuates in NY! Megan Branch and Mr. Vicken Donikian!!!! Your beautiful and your work inspires me to keep up the grind siempre! Last but most certainly not least, the most loving shoutout to the one who has my love, un beso siempre.
Con todo mi Corazon
(Lights Dim..blue perhaps)
Deja que salua la luna….(song by pedro infante plays..)
Mujer- Demetrio, llegaste!! (smiles.. holds his hands in hers)
Hombre- (hugs her tightly ) Como no, tenia que verte, antes de ..de que me vaya
Mujer- Quisiera que, que esta noche nunca se acabe’..…. Que pudiese estar contigo siempre que no tenia que decirte adiós. …..Llevame contigo, ay llevame contigo
Hombre- NO NO! eso no….la guerra no es para una mujer. No me perdonaría si te pasara algo….
Mujer- Pero tengo miedo, miedo que te olvides de mi que , que encuentres a otra que nunca regreses y yo me muera de la tristeza
Hombre- No NO…. eso nunca. Yo solo respiro por ti, (caresses her face) mi corazón solo latte por ti….. mis ojos solo te ven a ti! YO solo soy para ti… (pulls her coser) ya sabes que TU eres la duen~a de mi corazón….
Mujer- Pero….siento que algo en mi se muere lentamente…mi espíritu no esta tranquilo cuando estoy lejos de ti…
Hombre- Mira, mirame a los ojos, (holds her face intently). Yo te amo…te amo…y aquí te dejo mi promesa. Te prometo mi amor. Te prometo que regresare por ti..… (pause). Te puedo pedir algo??
Hombre- Te pido..que me esperes que me esperes hasta que regrese por ti…te juro que eres el amor de mi vida la unica mujer que hace que mi corazón pare. que mi mundo se pare…siento algo aquí (ponits to his heart) que me dice que tu eres mi amor, la única que yo amare’ (places necklace in her hand)
Mujer- (pauses, thinks for a moment, in love. scared) Te amo…te amo, tanto que me muero pensar que no te podre ver (comes closer) ni besar tus labios que tu estaras lejos, lejos de mi, mi amor….pero te esperare!! Te esperare hasta que regreses hasta que regreses por mi.
Hombre- (pulls her closer) Te amo. Te amo y vas a ver que pronto estoy de regreso y vamos a ser muy feliz, nada puede parar lo que siento por ti….
(both move in as if to kiss…)
Diana- Have you ever been lost in a dream, or an illusion. Have you ever been so enamored by something or the idea of something that you lose yourself in imagining, what it would be like….
(sings) DEJA QUE SALGA LA LUNA..…PA QUE EMPIEZE NUESTRO AMOOR. Love, la promesa de lo eterno the promise of the eternal, THAT which can conquer all ..you see I fell in love with with love , with the stories on the bronze screen as I watched novellas with my abuelita and my mom…. I would always pretend to be the characters. My favorite was always the protagonist the mujer who finds true love whose destino leads her to to fall into a love battle but whose passion in the end allows her to survive the war…”Estoy tan feliz madre de que mi vida es perfecta y que dios me ha mandado el amor de mi vida!!! hay Miguel Ramon me haces tan feliz..” I dreamed with her ….what would my love look like, how would he sweep me off my feet?? would he bring me serenata? roses!!!! Maybe both! I couldn’t wait to fall in love!!! She was always played by a beautiful mujer who was petite, dainty, and meek….
And then there was the villainous cousin corrupted by greed and jealousy …. she was usually played by a mujer who was also beautiful except she seduced men with her voluptuousness and her uncontrollable passion….
“Todo lo que amass será mío!! Maria Jose, todo! Miguel Ramon sera MIO!!! aver quien puede mas primata mosca muerta….…..!”
As I grew older this enamoramiento, this love turned into a dream that I would be a STAR!!! LA PROTAGONISTA ESTELLAR!! Except instead of novellas I would go straight HOLLYWOOD. I spent hours online looking up auditions or trying to figure out the way it works how I could get in. I was convinced I needed an agent that it was only a matter of time before Id be found! Discovered…. But sometimes I felt that this dream was inalcanzable almost unreachable… calls for hispanic actors would catch my eye…but the only women I saw making it in hollywood that were Latina were Penolope and Salma. As I followed my destino I soon realized that I didn’t exactly look like the women on the screens that I adored Im not skinny and I didn’t really have nice clothes from expensive stores and so I thought I could never be beautiful or sexy. In middle school I wouldn’t eat because I wanted to make moves towards my dream I remember crying and thinking that I wouldn’t make it that there were no women like me in hollywood that no one would ever notice me. I don’t have an accent. Im not what their looking for……
You see dreamed that I would light up the screen!!! That hollywood wouldn’t know what hit them!! Id have my own show you see and it would be different from anything else because my show would be about people like me it would represent my gente tell their stories show what their life was like (lights change dim) “12 woman have been found dead in the desert of Juarez there are no leads the police are afraid to dig too deep… OR is that they themselves are a part of the whole murderous plot!”
Director- CUT!!!! (from offstage in sound booth) Diana I don’t know how to tell you this but the ratings are down you see at the end of the day this is … well American Television and the people they see you and well… they want something more spicy something more Latin….these ratings gotta go up…were selling an image and if people don’t buy it then were gonna have to cancel the show….
Diana- Alright lets take it from the top…… (dim to black) I think we can put something together
Director- alright lets take it from the top…your on in 3,2
Diana- (in the dark) Ladies in gentleman….your watching …LATINA..HEAT…
LIGHTS! MUSIC! (LA COMAY by Sonorra Carruseles PLAYS)
(enter 2 dancers 3 woman dance)
Diana- Latina HEAT!!! Donde aqui traemoooo puro (all) FUEGOOOO!
But I guess hollywood doesn’t care about las Mujeres de Juarez or a woman that can speak her mind. It’s only interested in consumption of the Latina body, my body the way it can sell what it can do for men in american households but the truth is the reality is I’ll never be Latina enough! never be sexy enough for you…and the moment I become too Latina you boot me off every channel! see you cant have too many people like me in hollywood because hollywood is what tells the rest of the world what this place looks like and I’m from California and all but I’m not exactly the California girl the rest of the world imagines even tho California’s demographic population is almost 50% Latino or Hispanic
Ratings wont go up if I’m not sexy enough if I’m not spicy enough if my body cant be packaged and sold in sealed with a stamp that reads AUTHENTIC LATINA. JLO adorns the cover of people magazine with a headline reading most beautiful woman in the world but she’s not on that cover because she looks like Selena and besides the allure of her nalgas and her now blonde hair I question what classifies as beautiful in hollywood…This predicament of being caught between virgen and puta, Latina or white, Mexican or American taught me to hate myself…taught me to think that I could never be beautiful to anyone…that the curves I had could not be desired I started to believe that my dream could not come true because no matter how great of an actress I was no mater how much talent I had I could never be what they wanted.
These feelings changed when I started to create my own art and carve out my own spaces for teatro and musica and dance. When I met mujeres who empowered me with their words because they danced on the hyphens and could not be labeled their art was chicano the best of both worlds.I became strong in my identity proud to not fit in, happily resisting the heat of the melting pot. But the feelings of not feeling beautiful never went away……
Our hombres have also been taught to seek beauty only in the slenderness of a woman’s curves they are taught to see through the lens of a hollywood camera rather than with their own eyes, with their own alma and sometimes they cannot see fire within our hearts, the passion with which we move throughout the world.
I want to reclaim these hips these curves not as symbols to be exotified or our ticket in but as markers of our strength pride in how we stand and the dignity our history carries even if we cant roll our r’s our shake our hips. To believe that we are beautiful just as we are….even when we are taught that our fuego within is too much to handle….
(looks at necklace…)
The truth is hombre Im scared to love you. Im scared that you don’t exist… Im scared to believe in your words Im scared to let you look into my eyes and see my fear of believing in your promises because I thought love….love is supposed to be…like in the novellas. That you could truly only see me that my words could soothe your soul no matter where you are….that my love is enough to be your In’lak’ech, tu media naranja. Because the way I love is like the ocean. Fuerte y appasionando. Constant and flowing like the tide crashing along the shore of an untouched beach in the dream lands of Yucatan…….
I wish that you could love me…love me for me….love me for me….just the way I am….
(Deja que salga la luna begins)
I am currently looking for my footing for a truth I am at the shoreline where the waves crash staring at the sea…contemplating what it all means.
Reflection and Response.