I saw her as soon as I entered the outdoor patio of Far Bar in Little Tokyo. This was only our second time meeting face to face, but being that we speak almost every day, it felt very familiar. I don’t know where to even begin with this incredible human. With merits in both her personal and professional life, this interview was definitely full of knowledge worth passing on. Professionally, Marissa Herrera is CEO/Creator of De Mi Alma Productions and is a member of the National Hispanic Media Coalition-Network — an advisory committee to the NHMC in moving forward in creating opportunities for Latinos in front of and behind the camera. Having gotten to know Marissa first through social media, I soon realized that this woman was no joke. Bringing a strong, creative voice to two amazing contributors for the Latin community, being a creative visionary for a million side projects, and the unusual circumstance that brought us together, I jumped at the opportunity in making her my next CHINGONA.
Most of our interview consisted of a respectable amount of margaritas and an inside look at her personal life. Marissa answered questions that I hadn’t even thought of, gave insight and advice on love within the self as well as love towards others, and made inspiring connections in regards to Latin women. She spoke with such passion and transparency, that I couldn’t help but use her voice throughout the majority of this piece.
Being a Mexican American has its pros and cons. One of those cons is something she called a ‘generational struggle’, meaning that every generation before has had their own battle to overcome. What she wants is to be ‘a living example of breaking the paradigm of generational pain, silence and suppression.’ “We now have the tools to process things differently than past generations. You’re [essentially] healing everyone that came before you and breaking paradigms for the next generation.” She is well on her way towards breaking that generational paradigm, all by being herself.
As long as you’re authentic to yourself, everything will work out.
A resilient force in the Latin community, Marissa has acquired a multitude of fans, including myself. When asked how she felt about women looking up to her, she answered with feeling ‘honored, but with a huge amount of responsibility.’ Growing up, she felt the need to be perfect all the time, which didn’t allow her to feel comfortable with sharing her authentic self. “It’s okay to not be okay. I’ve learned that there is value in sharing your authentic self, which is where my strength comes from.” And let’s be honest, most people aren’t very comfortable nor willing to be themselves unless they have self-love.
In order to be self-less, we have to have self-love.
“As Latinas, we are givers and put ourselves last.” This is extremely relate-able in my own life, as I’ve seen my mother, aunts, and grandmother all take care of others, while never doing things for themselves. I’ve been guilty of this stereotype in my romantic relationships, ultimately teaching my partners that I come second. As this may be a natural tendency of Latin women, Marissa has seen not only the importance, but the positive effects that can come from loving and putting one-self first. And part of having self-love is knowing how to protect your energy.
Learning how to say ‘no’, to be able to say ‘yes’.
Marissa, already establishing that she is a Latina, is a giver. That being said, the word ‘no’ has had to be painfully integrated in to her vocabulary in order to protect her energy. To be able to give 100%, she sees the importance of making time to recharge. Alone time, meditation, music, and setting healthy boundaries are her tactics to refuel and feed the world with all her glory. Unlike a lot of the world, her main glory is being a vessel for love. Like most of the world, she too has learned a few lessons on love that have only made her stronger, not only for herself, but for the right partner.
All or nothing.
I consider myself a hopeless romantic, so the topic of love was a favorite of mine during this interview. I asked Marissa what her biggest lesson in love was, and she gave me two huge answers that are tailor made for current or inspiring chingonas who have been screwed over one too many times.
Lesson #1: “Seeing things for what they are and not what you want them to be. That’s on me, and not on the other person. Trust your instinct.”
Lesson #2: “My biggest lesson about love is the most intimate relationship I’ll ever have in my life, and that is with myself. We think about making a commitment to someone for life, unconditional, in sickness and in health, good times and bad times, till death do us part. But the only person we know we will be with ’till death do us part’ is ourselves. I’ve spent my entire life seeking truth and unconditional love in myself, and it’s an everyday life long process. I have done so much healing and can finally say I’m at a place where I love myself and I finally have peace in saying I’m the person I can love unconditionally until my dying day. I had to get to this place so I could be the best partner I could be for someone else, and to say I am complete in myself, whether I’m in a relationship or not. No one completes me but me, so in meeting a partner they have to be in that same space. We can’t truly give the love we want to receive unless we have already fulfilled it in ourselves. It’s not something we seek to find in someone else to complete us. I love myself and I am enough – period. All…or nothing. “
Marissa Herrera is truly a gift to this world, and I am so honored to be able to call her my friend. Yes, she may struggle with having too much empathy and for loving a little too hard towards those who may not deserve her. But she is a woman who built her strength, courage, and brilliance with her own two hands. She is delicate, yet strong. She is soft, yet incredibly tough. She is the perfect example for all of us on the quest for truth, self-love, and creating a life you love. In her work, in her friendships, in her love life, in her alcohol intake during happy hour, it’s always the same. She gives you her all, or she gives you nothing. As for me, she gave me everything. I am forever grateful for the bastard who put this chingona in my path.
-Downtown Los Angeles
All content is a L.A. CORONA original unless otherwise posted.