When I first read Gabriela Rivera-Morales’ Huffington Post article “Heavy Makeup, Fishnets, and Short Shorts Don’t Make Me Less of a Feminist” a little over a week ago – I knew I needed to get in touch with her as soon as possible. SmartGlamour firmly believes in using fashion as a vehicle for feminism among body positivity, wellness, and other women forward movements – and clearly Gabriela agrees. Allie and I met up with her soon after to ask her some questions and talk all things feminist and fashion. Check out what went down below.
Amidst the cargo shorts, plaid short-sleeves, and freshly brewed cups of coffee enters cat-eyed and army green dress wearing Gabriela Rivera-Morales, our SmartGlamour Woman of the Week.
“I’m not even in my usual attire, this is for work,” she said with an infectious energy to match her purple socks.
I think to myself how Gabriela rocks her bleached ombre hair and how she has a style uniquely to her own, like the gold ring on her left pinky. Somehow this ensemble just really works.
She once wore a dress with daisies intentionally sewed on the breasts to show she was proud and open about her body. For any on-lookers who couldn’t get past the décolletage, Gabriela’s intention was to provoke thought: they are just boobs, and sir, you are groveling.
We love her.
She is a woman so confident, poised, and intelligent. Somehow she exists within a balanced realm, despite pushing boundaries through fashion and writing.
Gabriela’s recent article in the Huffington Post, where she works as a HuffPost Blog Fellow, shares her self-journey of using fashion as a tool to redefine definitions of self, others, and gender identity. For example, just because she wears extreme make up does not make her any less of a feminist.
Together, Mallorie, Gabriela, and I remark that many women wear natural make up everyday and are then taught to pretend the application was effortless, as if no time at all.
Gabriela responded: “I want my effort to show.”
If she’s spending time applying make up, then she believes people should see it.
“It’s considered feminine to care about things, like make up,” she said.
But we collectively discussed that to some of the strong-fisted, fiery feminists, you could be considered less of a feminist because you may like, dare I say, something girly.
Whether or not feminists and other people-alike realize, “we cast an image, and we can challenge those images through fashion,” Gabriela said, sipping her latte. “Feminists shouldn’t have limits.”
Gabriela’s hair has seen every color of the rainbow, and the same could be said for her eyebrows. When I asked for her response to any kind of opposition about her fashion statements, she reminds herself that she’s creating awareness.
Gabriela casts different perspectives, emotions, and thoughts based on what she’s wearing. So freaking cool. The “haters,” as she summed up, also give her some new perspectives to consider.
For example, a middle-aged woman said to Gabriela that what she’s doing is fun and evocative now; though wait until she’s older. When she supposedly will be invisible. That’s all the more reason to wear bright lipstick and crazy nail polish. Gabriela creates awareness through uncovering opposition, like helping this woman find her voice when she can “no longer subscribe to standards because of age,” she said.
Our conversation with Gabriela covered a multitude of topics about gender identity, self-identity, feminism, and briefly on stigmas men face, though “that’s a whole other topic,” Gabriela said, playing with her ponytail.
She tells us she seeks to crossover worlds of fashion, beauty, and feminism through writing and journalism. Her bachelor’s is in English literature, and her master’s degree is in education. Though Gabriela is not following the route of education, she teaches lessons everyday: to be unconditionally you, to love the body you’re in, and to give this world your full self.
When I asked Gabriela for advice to share with women and teenagers who struggle with their insecurities, she said, “focus on yourself, your motives, and where you’re going.”
As we stood up, threw out our plastic cups now slick from the melting ice, and headed out the door, she flashed a smile to add, “and don’t waste your time with someone who is scared of the word feminist.”
You can find Gabriela getting people to step outside their comfort zone and writing, occasionally for the Huffington Post. Interested in learning more about this lady or hiring her for freelance work? Contact Gabriela at firstname.lastname@example.org.
-Interview and Article by Allie Duarte