Michele Carlo

Jun 15, 11 Michele Carlo

City you live in:
The best on the entire planet: Brooklyn, Nueva York, USA

Occupation and why?
I’m a writer and performer because they are the only two things I seem to be any good at!

A regular day consists of?
Juggling my day and night jobs. During the day, I work in production at a fashion ad agency. At night, I’m either doing a performance or a reading or going to support someone else’s performance or a reading. It’s like how some people do the game “Second Life”. Only my “second life” is a reality.

How do you define success?
When time and money are balanced and in sync. Because usually when you have money you have no time; and when you have time, you have no money. Validation, recognition and respect also help.

What has been your biggest challenge?
Making the transition into being a fully, self-supporting writer and performing artist. For example, I thought the hard job would be writing “Fish Out Of Agua” but what I’ve learned is writing the book was the easy part. The real work is promoting your book which you basically have to do entirely by yourself, because unless you already are a celebrity, your publisher will give you a month of publicity support max and then they’re on to their next books. So besides social networking, and trying to get as much press and as many readings and storytelling performances as I possibly can, I’m also working on an hour-long solo show based on “Fish Out Of Agua” for the theatrical and college circuits that will debut later this summer.

What advice would you give a Latina who wants to follow in your footsteps?
Don’t give up, no matter what your creative (or any kind of) dream is. If you have a burning desire to do or create something, it was put in your heart for a reason. I remember this poster for the School of Visual Arts that ran when I was trying to get into art school. It had a picture of a window grating with the caption “Paul Gauguin worked for a bank until he was 35 it’s never too late.” I agree, it’s always better to try than to deny yourself.

What’s on your bucket list?
I don’t have one. I keep filling and emptying mine as life goes along.

I am proud to be Latina because:
No other people on Earth are as diverse racially, demographically or geographically. I believe that we are the future of this planet and a voice that is only just beginning to be heard globally.

How do you get your Latin fix?
Familia. The best way.

Spanglish, English, Spanish?
English and Spanglish. I didn’t grow up bilingual, so I joke that I’m one-and-a-half lingual.

My favorite Latina stereotype is:
The fundillo. Absolutely. Even us skinny minnies will have un fundillo. Ironically, the first story I ever published was about mine.

Best advice from mami and/or abuelita:
“Dime con quien tu andes y te digo quien tu eres.” It’s true. If you’re around negative, unmotivated, fault-finding stagnant complainers, you’ll be the same. If you want to walk on a higher road, you need to find companions who are already on that same path.

Favorite home remedy:
What my cousins used to call “Puerto Rican Nyquil”: A cup of hot water, lemon juice, a tablespoon of honey and a shot of dark rum. Along with a couple of aspirin and some Vicks Vaporrub on your chest—adios resfriado (o monga, lol)!

Favorite Quote
My abuela also used to say this. I don’t know how to say it in Spanish, but the paraphrased English translation would be: “At 20 you have the face God gave you. At 40 you have the face Life made you. At 60, you have the face you Deserve. That’s scary, isn’t it? But when you look at some people, you can see that it’s all too true!

[fun]♦ I can speak English with a believable Spanish accent, but my Spanish sounds totally American. I can also roll my rrr’s for thirty seconds and cross just one eye. Believe me, it’s a talent .[/fun]

[career]♦Publishing my first book last fall, “Fish Out Of Agua: My life on neither side of the (subway) tracks, Citadel Press. Being chosen to do a panel with the PEN American Center’s “World Voices Festival” and to be among NYCs best storytellers representing at “Slam Nation” at the The Philadelphia International Festival of The Arts, both later this month (April). [/career]

[description]“Don’t give up, no matter what your creative (or any kind of) dream is.”[/description]

1 Comment

  1. Thelma T. Reyna /

    Wonderful interview! Michele Carlo sounds like a person full of life, of dreams, and of talent! She’s fulfilling her dreams by dint of very hard work, it sounds like. With that, and the guidance of her wise grandma’s dichos, she’ll be a huge success.

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