It’s Hispanic Heritage Month. I challenge all of you to record your family’s immigration story in some way. Whether you use your voice memos on your phone or a fancy camera, it’s important that we keep a record of how and why we are here today. Here’s an interview with my father about his journey from El Salvador to the US during the war.
In 2013 I received my MA in Visual Anthropology (guess what that means!) from USC. I graduated from Chico State in 2011 with BAs in Journalism and Anthropology. My first writing gig was at my high school paper in Bakersfield and I’ve been doing the journalist thing ever since.
At USC I produced a short documentary about teenage farmworkers in California. Having grown up in the Central Valley I felt that the narratives of farmworkers are often overlooked despite the fact that their hands touch almost all the food we consume. What an intimate interaction to have with communities we know very little about. The film is currently on a hard drive waiting to go up on Vimeo on Demand.
After graduating from USC I interned, temped and read a lot of Hemingway and Austen. Most recently I’ve been filling in as Web Editor at Sierra, the magazine of The Sierra Club. That job allowed me to get paid to play around on social media with some fantastic content.
In the spirit of viral social posts here is a list to get to know me better:
10 Things You Won’t Believe About Bianca Hernandez
1. She won a Big Lebowksi costume contest.
2. Tacos are the only super-food she believes in.
3. She suspects cinema may have peaked with Kurosawa.
4. She was a high school Scrabble champ and it’s all been downhill since then.
5. Her goal in life is to work for the BBC.
6. She’s been known to take can-can classes.
7. Caitlin Moran is her lady-journalist hero (and style guru).
8. If given the choice, she would live in Belgium and subsist only on waffles, fries, beer and chocolate.
9. In 2013 she won the best producer award at Trojan Vision, the USC TV station.
10. She likes her sugar with coffee and cream.
“Clack clack clack down the hall. Clack clack to her desk and clack clack to the elevator. I fucking hate it. I don’t know why women wear them.”
I was at a friend’s house for a potluck and we were all discussing our day. Most of us worked in an office of some kind. This comment was made by a man.
My response: Just to be clear, we aren’t wearing the heels for you.
Man: But they’re dumb.
Me: Again, we aren’t doing it for you.
Inevitably the conversation went into a massive circle in which the women argued that we don’t wear clothes for men, that his judgment of someone’s character based on their attire was a problem and all manner of feminist preaching.
Inevitably the men weren’t listening and reverted back to arguments about comfort, disdain, the noise, oh lord, the NOISE the shoes made.
The problem with heels isn’t women, it’s actually men.
And the problem with men (aside from adjusting themselves in public, not being defined by their marital status, not being pestered about how many kids they have or plan to have, not being judged for not wanting kids, never having to be terrified about losing a job because of age, worrying about how they’ll get home after work because the streetlamp by the bus stop is out, making less money for doing the same job, having to bust their asses twice as much for the same recognition and a litany of other privileges) is that they still think it’s all about them.
I’ve been job-hunting a lot since graduating a year ago, and it seems I might actually get a decent position, so why not bestow some advice?
1. Be open – I want to be a producer at the BBC, but that’s not going to happen overnight. Or over a decade. Instead of limiting myself to specific jobs I’m open to anything that could help enhance my journalistic skills. So, always try to apply for the jobs that can help you land that dream career, even if that means utilizing one skill at a time.
2. Be shameless – This applies to networking events and calling in favors. Sure, I always feel awkward as an avocado having to ask someone if they’d be down to be a reference, or nudge their buddies to look at my resume, but I think all people are aware that job-hunting is synonymous with desperation.
3. There are no small jobs – If you land a job you need to run with it, especially if it isn’t your dream job. What can you do in your current position that can help you move in the direction you want? Recently, I was filling in for someone and I just went wild with the social media expansion. I created pitches and strategies and pretty internet things with cats. No, that wasn’t in my job description, but there was nothing that said I couldn’t do it (plus everyone else on staff was completely behind me).
4. There is no such thing as free time – I’m a workaholic. I’m aware this is a problem, but it’s no sleep ’till BBC for me, so I try to pack my non-work time with projects that keep me creative. I help admin at Drunk Austen, attempt to finish my film and read as much good reporting as possible. If you’re in school you should dip those fingers and toes into every bit of experience you can get. For me that included volunteering at the radio station, tv shows and zines.
5. Own it – Don’t let the job descriptions scare you. It says you need a minimum of five years experience, but you have three and you KNOW you can do the job? Apply anyway. Write a strong cover letter and highlight your expertise. What’s the harm? You get called in for an interview and they don’t hire you? In that “worst case scenario” they know your face and see that you want to work. Next time you apply at that company you’ll already stick out.
- Have multiple resumes to suite different jobs you’re looking for.
- Dress for the job you want. (Sure, this is shallow, but I was the best dressed intern at one place and was told that really helped solidify how seriously employees took me.)
- I don’t know if LinkedIn really helps or not.
- Cookies help with image. Just sayin’. (No, you can’t have my super secret Wookiee Cookie recipe because I changed it for maximum delicious.)
In which I review a fab book.
Originally posted on Drunk Austen:
You watched the vlogs, kept up with the tweets and repinned Jane’s adorbs clothes, but that’s still not enough. The fantastic creators of The Lizzie Bennet Diaries (LBD) have come up with yet another way to tell this story. They masterfully used transmedia to rehash the timeless Austen novel, so why not take on the medium that inspired it all?
The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet is a fantastic way to present a different side of the story. It’s not a long book, but it gives enough to reel us in. Sure, the plot mirrors the vlog, but there are new tidbits of the story and insights into Lizzie’s own feelings that wouldn’t have come across the same way in front of the camera. Her voice is still so clear; witty, crass and secretly funny. Plus, we are treated to pie charts, illustrations and even a poem from Lizzie.
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- Work – I know I’m just an acting editor, but dear-baby-raptor-Jesus there’s so much to learn and work on.
- Dance – I’m actually glad I have dance because it’s regular physical activity that I would not be partaking in otherwise.
- Getting it on – I said it. I went there. After a years-long dry spell I have something going on and it takes time out of my week to maintain that relationship (of sorts).
- Chores – My gma pretty much leaves all major cleaning to me. I just got over the Flu and the kitchen floor looks like the grossest bathroom in Scotland, if you take my meaning.
- Sleep – When I get off work I don’t want to spend my hour+ commute reading (especially since I most likely spent hours doing that), so I veg out to podcasts and music. When I get home I have to clean up other people’s junk, then I have dinner and try to catch up on my Netflix queue like any modern woman. But I mostly just curl into bed and hope my insomnia abates.
I’ve been trying to take care of myself and be fit since graduation. For the first time in four years I’m back to a healthy weight and I feel energetic and fab. The last time I was at this weight I had a really terrible experience, and I hope through sharing it other people won’t put up with the bullshit I did.
The last time I was at this weight (125, if you must know) I was working at a warehouse, lifting and moving heavy boxes, bins and materials all day. I had been pudgy when I started the job, but by the end of the summer I could feel muscles all over. It was amazing.
When classes started again I started getting compliments, and it felt good. It felt good because I honestly felt good. It was the first time in my life I was eating well and working my body. I was finding joy in going to the gym.
What could possibly bring me down from this body-positive cloud? Cruelty. Cruelty from someone I thought was a friend. A couple of weeks into the semester many friends came up to me, concerned about my physical state, rather than complimentary. I was confused.
They were concerned because this so-called-friend had been telling everyone that I had an eating disorder. Though she had spent all summer observing my healthy changes she began this rumor when the semester started, when other people started taking notice.
One person actually came to me on the verge of tears, so terrified by the rumors this single person was spreading.
I couldn’t believe it. Why do that to someone? Why go out of your way to make them feel badly about their body? I couldn’t believe that a woman would intentionally try to bring down someone else by using an eating disorder to put a negative spin on a positive change. If she had been concerned for me she would have come straight to me about any condition she thought existed.
My warehouse job had shifted my hours when classes started, so I spent less time at work, and in the gym. Eventually I lost a lot of my muscle and gained a lot of my weight back, but the more lasting, hurtful, impression from my last golden days as a fit person were tainted by the fact that many people thought I had an eating disorder.
I’m reflecting on this incident now because I am finally back to a healthy weight and diet. The exact weight I was when someone felt the need to tear down my body-positive state.
The bottom line is: if you think a friend is indeed suffering from an eating disorder DO NOT go behind their back. If you want to help don’t start rumors. There are numerous on-campus resources and free community programs you can refer someone to. Those same services could even help you figure out the best way to approach talking to your friend.
DO NOT be the person that tears down someone else because of jealousy. DO NOT tear down someone’s body-positive state because of your own insecurities. DO NOT be that person.