Kim Guerra Brown Badass bonita
Courtesy of Kim Guerra
Culture

Digame: Kim Guerra of Brown Badass Bonita Discusses Her Mission to Empower Latinas

Digame is a monthly series featuring prominent Latinx leaders, activists, entrepreneurs, and public figures uplifting the community and making a difference.

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

Kim was born and raised in LA county’s San Fernando Valley, graduated from Cornell University, and received her Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy from Antioch University in Seattle. She’s 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 rules, challenge social norms, and pave their own path. Among those are my grandmother, she’s had to face a lot of trauma and still manages to open up her mind and continue to learn and heal, my first grade teacher Dr. Sanchez, one of the first women who took me under her wings and has stood by my side since, and Chavela Vargas, a queer Mexican artists who inspired me with her unapologetic sense of self and the depth of her music.

If you had a superpower, what would it be?

“Me vale” is a type of superpower I am attempting to master. It gives me the power to stop caring what people think or say about me. It gives me the power to not let fear stop me. This is the type of power I need to live the life I want and deserve. It is the paintbrush to making my life a masterpiece.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

“No te dejes” & “Your life is just as important as anyone else’s” These two pieces of advice transformed my paradigm and how I went about living my life. My grandmother taught me to stand up for myself desde que yo estaba chiquita. She instilled the fire in me to hold my head high and teach others to treat me with dignity and respect. The second piece of advice was shared by a random stranger on the internet. She read something I shared in a support group for people going through divorce and simply left a comment that changed my life forever: “Your life is just as important.” I chose to believe her and began living as if my life mattered.

What would you title the autobiography of your life?

Mujer Mariposa

What was the first thing you bought with your own money?

Purple Rollerblades from Target. I was in an after school program/Drill Team in elementary. I started selling candy out of my Power Puff Girl backpack to my teammates. I saved up my money and bought myself $60 rollerblades. It was a very proud moment for me.

What do you wish more people understood about what you do?

It’s actually hard for me to articulate what I do. I feel like I do what I feel is calling me and don’t necessarily see myself as doing just one thing. I run a small business, we are not an Amazon type of business pero le echamos ganas and do our best. I write, pero it can be a slow, challenging, terrifyingly vulnerable process, and I advocate for justice and liberation. I want to challenge myself to do more whilst caring for myself in the process.

What motivates you?

Intergenerational healing. Shifting narratives and being a part of the movement towards liberation. I want to see us using our wings and living with the love, joy, dignity, and rights we deserve. I want to see Black folks thriving, Trans folks glowing, queer folks loving, mujeres stepping into their power, kids without cages, and oppressed people creating new systems founded on liberation, abolition, and joy.

How did you end up on the professional path you’re on now?

I ended up on this path because I decided to love myself and invite people into the process. I began grad school and received my Masters in marriage and family therapy. I wrote out of necessity. I created to experience joy, express myself, and bring light to causes I care for. It is all out of responding to a need in my life and needs in my community. I use what I have and try to make magic with it.

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

Professionally: Finally finishing my masters degree, it took me almost 7 years, writing two books that have impacted my community in a positive way and going on a book tour. Also, receiving a Premios Juventud for my work in the community and getting on that stage and giving a speech about women’s empowerment, LGBTQ amor, immigrant community, and Black lives matter. Currently I am in partnership with HBO Pa’lante which has been such a beautiful opportunity.

Personal: Going to therapy, committing to my healing process, working on having a healthy relationship with myself, my body, and my mind; setting boundaries; investing in friendships that nourish me; embracing my queerness!!!, and choosing to love and be loved by my beautiful partner; leaving everything and moving to Mexico!!!

What is a goal you have that you haven’t accomplished yet and what are you doing to get closer to accomplishing it?

Writing a memoir/autobiographical book where I share a little bit more about myself and my life. I am slowing writing this— but it has been one of the hardest things I’ve encompassed. I know it will be worth it, but it can be a bit painful and vulnerable.

Quick fire:

Shoutout an Instagram account that could use more love: @queerenamoradas, the account my partner and I started to celebrate queer love!; @lavida.dacolores Yaqui is a dope creative photographer who adds color and magic to our community; @tamarindopodcast, the podcast my partner co-hosts around cultura, politics, and wellbeing

Shoutout your favorite Latina owned 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