Culture and Identity

I am a second-generation queer Chingona, and you might be wondering what that means. My Aubelito (my grandfather) came to California from Durango Mexico with two of his siblings in the 1950s to start a new life. He met my grandmother, and my father was born shortly after. Fast forward 17 years and into the world I come, changing the lives of both my parents. My mom's family lived in the states LONG before they were ever called the U.S. My great-grandmother used to tell me that all the time as a reminder that this land was once Mexico and we didn't move here, we lived here. These two people play a huge role in how I understand my identity as a Mexican-American.

What does it mean to be Mexican? Well, to understand that question one has to look back at history. Before the arrival of Europeans large and complex civilizations existed in what is known as Mesoamerica. As time went on and cultures mixed, Mexico developed into a unique multicultural society. Combining Indigenous traditions, colonial influence, and African customs, Mexicans were born. We come in all shades of brown, from light to dark yet people are still surprised when they encounter an Afro-Latino or Mixtec individual. A few years ago, I did a genealogy test and was not surprised to find out that I am more than 40% Native American, nearly 40% European mix, and 4% African mix. Does this make me mixed? I don't think so, I'm Mexican, through and through.

My project, the History and Evolution of La Catrina, is about identity and how the evolution of one of Mexico's most recognizable symbols came to be and how she is celebrated today. This multimedia project is going to be my biggest, most in-depth project to date! Of course, it's going to consist of vibrant images of people sharing their identity and connection to Catrina, but it's also going to include an informational booklet about the history of Catrina, Dia de Los Muertos, and Mexico in general, as well as my first documentary film. Everyone's experience and identity are unique, and I'm excited to weave together these stories, images, and knowledge into a film that expands on Mexican and Mexican-American identity while also connecting to my culture.

The Project

The History and Evolution of La Catrina

A Multimedia Project

La Calavera Catrina is one of the most recognizable symbols of the Día de los Muertos holiday - yet many don't know where she originated from or the evolution of her meaning.

My VIsion & GOals with The Project

The Vision

Authentic cultural experiences and connections to Día De Los Muertos and one of its most recognizable symbols.


Be A Collaborator

Are you Mexican, Chicana, or Chicano? If so, I would love to work with you. I'm looking for collaborators to take part in this creative project and to help me expand the scope of media associated with Mexican identity.

I am looking for Make-up artists, stylists, designers, models, assistants, historians, artists, and anyone who is interested in in sharing their story and connection to Catrina. This invitation is open to ALL bodies, genders, identities, and ages. This project is prioritizing those who are not often presented in the dominant culture media, such as LGBTQIA+ voices, Black and Indigenous experiences, and differently abled Mexicans, to just name a few.

If this is you, your voice matters and if you're willing, I would love to share your story, perspective, and experience though this multimedia project.

Still want to support the vision, but collaboration isn't the path for you? Consider becoming a funder and donating to bring this expansive project to life. Every look is an elaborate process and the funds received go to the makers and artists involved in brining each look to life. Any support in producing this project is valued and appreciated.

Photo by Jessica Lagunas