Can you tell me first of all a little bit about yourself? How old are you, where are you originally from and where do you reside now?
I´m 23 years old. I´m from Lima, Perú and still living here.
What do you do besides your zine?
I´m finishing the career of Painting at the university and own a store of design clothing, vintage accessories and any kind of crazy and cute useless stuff.
Are you currently in any other projects involved?
I help with the design and illustration for the music fanzine “Autobus”, where I just wrote a musical review for the first time in my life. And also I´m involved in the magazine of the Art Faculty of the Ponticia Universidad Católica del Perú where I study, “Prótesis”.
What is your zine Dos Chicas about? What topics do you discuss most often?
We just have 1 issue on the streets, these was about our relationship with the city and at the same time different items related to the fact of being a girl. That´s the part I took care of and there I put pieces of information picked from any kind of sources: a song of a popular band about being single, a page of a book called “English for the woman” teaching words in English related to cooking, cleaning, love and make up. Also an article from an old women´s magazine about how vietnamese women still vanish despite of the war, a comic I made when I was 11 and other things. I was more interested in juxtapose meanings and offer an open reading rather than telling things directly or in an obvious way.
For how long have you been running your zine now? Are you the only editor or is there a team?
We started it in the beginning of 2004, me and my fiend Andrea. We are a team of 2 girls (“dos chicas” in Spanish).
What made you decide to start this project? How did you come up with the idea and the name?
I always wanted to do a zine, but last year in a congress a friend of mine made a conference about zines showing zines he had from many parts of the world, including one from a 35 [year-old] girl. So my friend Andrea saw the conference, got excited about and turned to be the partner I´d been waiting for to start something. I thought about the name immediately, and then tried to convince Andrea to use it. Till luckily she agreed.
What was your first exposure to zines? How did you find out about them?
I think my first exposure to zines was when I was 15 and used to go a lot to a street named Quilca, downtown in Lima where is a strong underground scene. There´s always people in the street selling zines or music, and they make concerts and political activities. So there was where I found out about them, and immediately got interested
What do you hope to accomplish by making and distributing your zine?
I hope to be able to show people how anyone can share ideas and feelings without needing much money or without having to use the traditional ways of communication, than in most of the cases are ruled by influences and power. How there are more simple ways to express ourselves than we usually think and that those can be more creative and personal than normal newspapers, magazines, tv or radio. I also would like to know that what I did ended in the most unsuspected hands and places. And that people who read it would enjoy it, ´cause it´s fun. But also that people who read it would question themselves about what makes possible that we can laugh about a time where publications told directly to women what to do and if are we really over that time now.
What do you love and find challenging about zine making?
How its such an sincere way of communication. By making it, you get involved with all the process: cut, paste, design, think the concept, find images, information or simply draw or write. All depends on you, and you can put lots of love while doing it. You then have to distribute it and maybe make publicity and then you make new connection of people who got and possibly like it. You can make friends or share ideas with people you never thought you would knew, cause once it´s in the street you won´t be able to control where will this end. It´s totally full of possibilities.
What advice would you give to someone who wanted to start a zine?
Just to start it and don´t be lazy. Once you start it, finish it and continue doing it!!
Do you feel part of a (grrrl or general) zine community or network and what does it mean to you?
In Lima there aren´t much people making zines, and the concept of grrrl isn´t much known. I feel part of a group of people (where my friends are included) that is trying to create new ways of communicating and giving live to cultural scene here. Doing music, projecting films, painting, doing comics or zines. Even designing clothes: we are looking for ways to show our individuality and say that we don´t agree passively to everything that surround us.By the other hand I feel I share things in common with grrrls I find in the web. Sometimes we make contact, sometimes we don´t but it´s great to see so much independent work done everywhere. Now that I got the chance participate in this web page I feel part of it. I had made contact with girls from other countries who had been interested in our zine and in that way I feel that there is people working with things in common.
Do you consider grrrl and genderqueer zines as an important part of a social movement? Do you think grrrl, lady, queer and transfolk zines, resource sites, and projects can effect meaningful social and political change at large - or do they have significance mainly in individual lives?
I do consider zines that you talk about as an important part of a social movement. In a way I consider any kind of independent effort to communicate ideas important. I think that this is a way to be involved in what surround us, and not stay passive receiving information or experiences without sharing the way we live. These are ways of start to think that communicating with people shouldn´t depend on contacts, power or money, like we are thought to think. That these only depends on creativity, intelligence and open minds to hear what the other has to share. Most of all when we are interested in such things as feminism, or gender stuff, we have to realize that we don´t have to start from zero. There´s lot of people out there with the same preoccupations and if we don´t share it creating connections we´ll feel lonely and think that our job is bigger than it is. Even if we think that these publications have mainly significance in individual lives, It´s also important ´cause us, like individuals who feel identify with these zines benefit people that surround us with our acts. These don´t have to be something spectacular, smallest gestures are that change daily life.
What were some of main influences that have empowered you in your life?
My mother and father: the way they had been consequent with them principles although it´s hard to stay this way in such a country like Perú. My friends who I feel are sincere in them work, most of them are artists and I feel they are capable of making great things. My sister trying to make life what she really wants it to be, the way she lives in her own world, but sharing it with her beloved. Also artists such as Tracy Emin, Marlene Dumas, Nan Goldin, Julie Doucet, Natacha Merritt, Sophie Calle by the way they make such a sincere work, finding different ways each time to communicate them ideas and feelings, making a personal work which you can get identify. Also movies like “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” and music acts like Chicks on Speed which I think have a really global way of working, intelligent, direct and with humor. That not only play music, but have a whole way of integrating the ideas they share in them music with everything they make: design, publications, clothing. They are truly aware of the way that nowadays everything we make, create and consume is sign of something, and that developing our identities depends of no one but us. That we have to be alert of the way the system works, not to be passive or naïve.
Which role does play the Internet for you?
A very important one, Here in Lima is hard to get information of brand new things related to art and culture. The state doesn´t show any interest about none of these things and also political movements are almost dead, totally out of new and fresh ideas. Internet is getting each time more important for me, specially ´cause finding information about certain items isn´t easy in Lima. My university is one of the most important in Perú and I can count with the fingers of my hands how many books about feminism I found in the library. Also to know what´s going on in art and ´cause it´s the way to way any kind of independent initiative, like things related to grrrls, which I wouldn´t had been able to get to know if I wouldn´t had access to internet. The internet is the way I have to collect information of things I´m interested to, and to keep in touch with my zine partner Andrea which now lives in Spain. And with people from any part of the world who could be interested in sharing points of view.
Do you define yourself as a feminist? What are the most pressing issues you are confronted with in daily life (as a woman/feminist/…)?
Actually I´m working on trying to know how I define myself. I think I´d easily define myself as a feminist, but I´d like to know more about what does it implicate. To be more conscious about it and get to be proud of it. Anyway last couple of years feminism had been part of my daily worries ´cause it´s related to my artistic work.But the reason I´m not so sure is ´cause there are things I feel I should know and I don´t, like theoretical stuff. This is ´cause we don´t have here so much access to that kind of speech, I feel kind of lonely in a way by having these preoccupations. Also I feel sometimes ridiculous worrying about theory or saying that I´m a feminist when there are so big injustices to the women in my country and I´m not doing anything concrete to change it. I´m talking about violence and education and the way women are totally unprotected by law here. With less access to (the bad) education we have in the country and also without good knowledge about contraceptive information or not even dreaming to discuss about abortion. The way I live (in the capital, studying art at the university) problems aren´t so serious but I feel assaulted by men in the street all the time, sometimes inhibited to dress or act in any way and most of the time unsafe.
What do you think about feminism today? Do you see yourself as part of “Third Wave Feminism” and if yes, what does it mean to you? Or, why not?
I think that effors to improve quality of life for women are important and necessary. I´m starting to feel part of this third wave of feminism but I´m also afraid of putting labels to persons or movements. I think sometimes these can be self-defeating ´cause as feminism is a word with historical references and related to so many clichés it can push away people instead of getting closer with people who isn´t part of the group. While I decide how to call my self I have something clear: the important is to keep doing things, make connections to people and help in anyway possible, stay awake, active, keep informed to be critic and not to be naïve. Anyway, it´s clear that there is a big place in political and cultural life in the world waiting to be taken by women and also that the things women had done in history need to be told.
Many thanks for the interview, Eliana!