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Faces of Flawless: Our Sisters

Happy April, all! Women's History Month may have passed, but the ritual of honoring, acknowledging, and uplifting our fellow women is timeless. As a dual celebration of womanhood and sisterhood, we would like to present the portraits of some of our lovely Flawless members, the women who keep the Flawless spirit intact.

Issel Solano-Sanchez

Theater and Performance, Class of 2020

"I love Flawless because I am constantly around women of color who are doing amazing things. They inspire me to do amazing things. Flawless is family to me. I looovvee Gina Rodriguez. I think she is just an amazing actress and is so outspoken about the diversity problem in Hollywood. She is a great person to look up to as an aspiring actress."

Jackie Menjivar

Journalism, Class of 2019

"I joined Flawless this semester, and it's been one of the best choices I've made here at Emerson. Honestly I wish I would have met you lovely ladies a lot sooner! Flawless offers the support and collaboration of a network of powerful, intelligent, caring, and unapologetic women of color. It's a place of acceptance and constant encouragement, which is sometimes exactly what I need as I work each day to fully embrace who I am and where I come from. A woman who inspires me is someone I just recently learned about; Minerva Mirabel, along with her sisters, helped topple the dictatorial regime of the Dominican Republic's Rafael Trujillo."

Amber Marie

Theater Ed, Class of 2017

"I joined Flawless because I wanted to share poems with women of color. I love Flawless because it's grown in numbers, in strength, and in legitimacy each year that I've been a part of it. It's an organization that learns from itself, and is always evolving. I admire Nyla Wissa for founding the organization and for trusting the group of us that became the board after she graduated to take her baby--morph, reform, and build it. Even though we've had some rough uphill battles, we continue to fight, and she continues to support us."

Valerie Reynoso

Marymount Manhattan College

BA Politics & Humans Rights, Class of 2019

"I joined Flawless Brown because I wanted a group of women of color like me in an overwhelmingly white college campus and it was honestly the best decision I made while I was there, love the girls I met there for the most part and made great connections and learned a lot. A woman I admire is Frida Kahlo."

Rochely Zapata

Film Production, Class of 2018

"I joined Flawless Brown for the simple fact that I've never been in a space of just brown women. I've lived in a primarily white town as well as went to a high school that wasn't very diverse. So by joining Flawless I felt like I was finally able to be surrounded by other women like me. What I love about Flawless is being apart of such a close knit sisterhood even though I JUST joined last semester. Also, the opportunities we get from all the different sections of Flawless is amazing! I'm in an actual comedy group with other hilarious women—something I never thought I would be doing at Emerson, but enjoy so much! A woman I admire is without a doubt is Mindy Kaling. She is such a power house and has been paving the way for other women of color in the industry. I think she's incredible and one of the funniest people on TV!"

Alexandra Vasallo

Visual Media Arts, Class of 2020

"What I love about Flawless is how every sister is genuinely there for one another. If there are any questions someone has or favors someone needs, a sister will always respond with open arms. Everyone is ready to hype each other up and remind one another that they are flawless and worthy.A woman I admire is Selena Quintanilla. She was beautiful inside and out. She was never afraid to be herself and break barriers between Latin American and American music in a male-dominated field. Selena did everything she did with a kind heart and grace."

Lissa Deonarain

Visual Media Arts: Documentary Production, Class of 2018

"I joined Flawless because I was so inspired by the Fall 2014 show and got the feeling that it was somewhere I belonged, before I had even joined it. I love everything about Flawless, but I really love the space it provides us to feel comfortable yet challenge ourselves. My favorite thing is that we are always there for each other, ready to talk, laugh, listen, cry and create. A woman I admire is Rihanna because she really couldn't give two damns what anyone says or thinks about her, gives back to her community, has a bomb sense of style and is proud of where she comes from (ayy West Indian gyals!!)"

Sydney Rae Chin

Visual Media Arts, Class of 2019

"I joined Flawless Brown last year because I wanted to be around other WOC as I had not been before going to majority white schools. I love how everyone supports each other in Flawless Brown and is unapologetic in every way. It's a place where people continually inspire each other and grow with each other. A woman who inspires me is Shonda Rhimes because she is outspoken and unapologetic. Not only that but a whole Thursday night is dedicated to all her shows, but Shonda is unafraid to speak out about so many issues regarding race in all of her shows in very complex ways."

Anahita Padmanabhan

Journalism, Class of 2018

"I joined Flawless because Taylor Carlington told me to, and it ended being such a great decision. I love Flawless because it's given me the opportunity to meet and become friends with incredible women, and it's helped me grow as a person to be surrounded by such amazing women of color.A woman I admire is my grandma. My Pati is such a strong woman, and she's been such a big influence on my life. She always is looking to learn new things, she handles everything with such grace and dignity, and she is the only reason people watch my snap story when I'm home. I hope one day I can be the kind of Pati she was to me to my grandchildren, and to make them as proud of me as I am of her. I love her so much, she's my hero."

Larianny Perez

BFA Theater and Performance, Psychology Minor, Class of 2017

"Theater for social change has been a passion of mine when it was first introduced to me in 10th grade. I joined Flawless Brown the semester it was formed in Spring 2014. I still remember the day of the first general meeting, urging my friends that we NEEDED to go to the meeting because we were women of color and studying theater. When I found out that we were going to be writing original content and performing it in a showcase I became nervous because it was something I had never done before - writing personal content in the form of poetry/spoken word. But, instead of being told, “it’s okay, you don’t have to,” I was warmly challenged to tap into the side of me. Fast forward 3 years and I had the opportunity to perform one of my spoken word at a Violence Prevention and Response event that featured Matt McGorry. That is what Flawless is about and that is why I love it. It’s about giving our members the platform to work on their craft and also encouraging them to try something new that they otherwise might not have had the chance/opportunity to do.A woman I admire is my mom. He strength is what keeps me going every day. She has sacrificed so much for my brothers and I and I love her so much for constantly supporting me and what I do! <3"

Vasantha Sambamurti

BFA Creative Writing, Class of 2020

"I joined Flawless Brown because I knew I couldn't live without women who looked and thought the same as me-- who had the common experience of being "othered." We are so different but, in my sisters, I see a common soul. Growing up in a pretty insular, Southern community, it was something I never had. In retrospect, my decision to join was one of my best in my life. Because of the love, warmth, and validation of my sisters, I've made it through my freshman year of college. I don't think they understand what each of them mean to me; my heart is nothing if not full of love and awe for them all-- my beautiful, talented sisters. There are so many women I admire; my mother, my professors, my friends. The one woman who I constantly think about meeting is Ana Mendieta. In the '70s and '80s, she was a Cuban-American artist working with film and photography. She was exiled from Cuba at a young age, so a lot of her art evinces this idea of displacement, lost belonging. She did imprints of her naked body in earthen surfaces, largely in Oaxaca, and filled these Siluetas with different materials, such as gunpowder, blood, twigs, flowers. She did that as a way to effect "a return to the maternal source." Everything she did was to challenge and subvert that parasitic, othering gaze: body distortions behind panes of glass, transplants of facial hair. Everything she says is art but, this quote really captures her ethos beautifully: "This obsessive act of reasserting my ties with the earth is really the reactivation of primaeval beliefs ... [in] an omnipresent female force, the after-image of being encompassed within the womb." She was such a seminal, powerful transmedia artist. I can't think of her without being overcome by awe. (The second photo you see behind me is one of her Siluetas, filled with gunpowder on the beach)."


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