Kim Guerra, Founder of Brown Badass Bonita, Talks About Empowering Latinas

Digame is a monthly series featuring prominent Latinx leaders, activists, entrepreneurs and personalities who uplift community and make a difference.

Kim Guerra is a queer woman of color, writer, activist and entrepreneur who founded Brown Badass Bonita, a brand and movement dedicated to self-esteem and empowering her community. Kim is the author of Mariposa and Mija, collections of bilingual poems, revolutionary affirmations and love letters. She received the “Agent of Change” award from Univision’s Premios Juventud and continues to use her platform to empower herself through her verses. Brown Badass Bonita includes groundbreaking love letters, artwork, poems, and books that explore the intricacies of being a Latinx, a mujer, a PoC, a survivor, and a warrior. She is also the co-founder of Queer Enamoradas, an Instagram account dedicated to celebrating queer women in love.

Kim was born and raised in the San Fernando Valley, Los Angeles County, graduated from Cornell University and received her Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy from Antioch University in Seattle. She is currently based in Los Angeles and Coyoacan with her partner Ana-Sheila Victorino, co-host of Tamarindo Podcast, and her dog, Chancho.

Which Latinas have had the greatest impact on your life and why?

The mujeres who dared to break the rules, challenge social norms and forge their own path. Among these is my grandmother, she has had to deal with many traumas and still manages to open her mind and continue to learn and heal, my first year teacher Dr Sanchez, one of the first women who took me under her wing and has stood by my side ever since, and Chavela Vargas, a queer Mexican artist who inspired me with her unabashed sense of self and depth in her music.

If you had a super power, which one would it be?

“Me vale” is a type of superpower that I try to harness. It gives me the power to stop worrying about what people think or say about me. It gives me the power not to let fear stop me. It’s the kind of power I need to live the life I want and deserve. It is the brush to make my life a masterpiece.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

“No te dejes” & “Your life is as important as that of others” These two tips transformed my paradigm and the way I led my life. My grandmother taught me to defend myself desde que yo estaba chiquita. She instilled in me the fire to hold my head up high and teach others to treat me with dignity and respect. The second tip was shared by a random stranger on the internet. She read something I shared in a Divorce Support Group and just left a comment that changed my life forever: “Your life is just as important. I chose to believe her and started to live as if my life mattered.

What title would you give to the autobiography of your life?

Mujer Mariposa

What’s the first thing you bought with your own money?

Purple rollerblades from Target. I was in an after-school program / exercise team in elementary school. I started selling candy from my Power Puff Girl backpack to my teammates. I saved my money and bought myself some $ 60 inline skates. It was a very proud moment for me.

What would you like more people to understand about what you do?

It’s actually difficult for me to articulate what I’m doing. I feel like I’m doing what I feel is called and I don’t necessarily see myself as doing one thing. I run a small business, we are not an Amazon type business pero le echamos ganas and we are doing our best. I am writing, pero this can be a slow, difficult, terribly vulnerable process, and I am arguing for justice and liberation. I want to challenge myself to do more while taking care of myself in the process.

What motivates you?

Intergenerational healing. Change the stories and be part of the liberation movement. I want to see us use our wings and live with the love, joy, dignity and rights we deserve. I want to see black people prosper, radiant trans people, loving homosexuals, mujeres come into their power, children without cages and oppressed people creating new systems based on liberation, abolition and joy.

How did you find yourself in the professional path you are currently following?

I found myself on this path because I decided to love myself and invite people into the process. I started my graduate studies and got my master’s degree in marriage and family therapy. I wrote out of necessity. I created to experience joy, to express myself and to bring light to the causes that are close to my heart. It is about meeting a need in my life and the needs of my community. I use what I have and try to do magic with it.

What is your greatest professional achievement so far? Personal achievement?

Professionally: To finish my master’s degree, it took me almost 7 years, to write two books that had a positive impact on my community and to do a book tour. Also, receiving a Premios Juventud for my work in the community and getting on that stage and giving a speech on women’s empowerment, LGBTQ love, the immigrant community and black life matters. Currently, I am in partnership with HBO Pa’lante which has been such a great opportunity.

Staff: Go to therapy, engage in my healing process, work on having a healthy relationship with myself, my body and my mind; set limits; invest in friendships that nourish me; kiss my queerness !!!, and choose to love and be loved by my beautiful partner; leave everything and move to Mexico !!!

What is a goal that you haven’t yet reached and what are you doing to get closer to achieving it?

Write a memory / autobiographical book where I share a little more about myself and my life. I’m slowing down on writing this, but it’s been one of the hardest things I’ve gotten around to. I know it will be worth it, but it can be a bit painful and vulnerable.

Rapid fire:

Shout out an Instagram account that needs more love: @queerenamoradas, the account that my partner and I started celebrating queer love! ; @ lavida.dacolores Yaqui is a creative photographer who adds color and magic to our community; @tamarindopodcast, the podcast that my partner co-hosts around culture, politics and well-being

Shout out your favorite Latin American business: @ixiqdesigns @valdebeauty @alegriamagazine @xicaliproducts @eladaniiii @cruzemilia @artkidshirley @tarjetitasconamor @nalgonapositivitypride @gatasalvajemerch @lacharcuteriechica

Name your favorites:

Snacks: fruta con tajin y limon
Song: “Resisto y Ya” Lido Pimienta
Artist: Chavela Vargas, La Marisoul, Lido Pimienta, Meg the stallion, Cardi, BIA, Jessie Reyez

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