Isabel Ann Castro
CITY: San Antonio *cups hands around mouth and yells in a deeper voice* Southsideee!
ETHNICITY/RACE: "Other. Latino. There’s always that identity crisis when filling out forms. Like “I sure as fuck ain’t checking White so I’m gonna pick Other.” Fucking up the census, I guess."
EDUCATION: Texas State University - Bachelors in Communication Design
Palo Alto College- Associates in Art & Associates in Liberal Arts
"I mention my community college because people think community college ain’t shit but really it’s tight for students in lower income communities seeking higher education. Sometimes it’s cool to stay home, earn credits, and grow up a bit before leaving home and taking on student loans."
FAVORITE IG ACCOUNT: "@helloreg cause she’s the baddest"
WHAT'S YOUR STORY?
"I spend my days drawing and watching movies. I don’t make a lot of money doing it but I do happen to do a lot of work for people in my community which is fun. I’m trying to fill the voids in representation, specifically brown fat bodies, like my own.
I also work on a zine called, St. Sucia. It is basically a Latina feminist periodical. We collect, curate, and publish Latina art and literature. It started off as a small DIY project for local brown women to talk shit and be honest but exploded into a platform for a spectrum of Latina narratives outside of media stereotypes."
WHAT'S YOUR PURPOSE?
"I think purpose is something that shifts a few times in our lifetime. And I don’t think we can have a single purpose for existence at a time. My mom’s purpose right now is to be a mother that guides my sister and I, be a teacher that educates 6th graders about science, and a caregiver for my grandparents. She doesn’t get free time to really chill except sipping a cold Bud Light and watching the Spurs. My purpose right now is to create the things I needed when I was little. Representation is a huge thing to me so I’m hoping to help refine what being a brown woman is."
WHAT'S THE BIGGEST HARDSHIP YOU'VE FACED?
"Now that I’m through it, it doesn’t seem so bad or maybe I’m just less afraid. I used to be in a emotionally and physically abusive relationship. Sometimes you meet someone who isn’t who they say they are. Months after exiting the relationship, I felt intense amounts of shame and suffered from PTSD. I was incredibly embarrassed. How could I, a strong-willed college educated woman, not see the red flags and get caught up with a dangerous person. I was gaslit so much that I struggled (and still struggle) with my own memories. The shame was overwhelming. There was such a weight on my chest. I didn’t know how to cope so I started drowning myself in alcohol. I was often late to work but mostly still held shit together and remained productive. I started speaking out about my abuse and and find out I wasn’t so alone. I slowly came out of that darkness and the weight on my chest became less and less. Most of the real badass women I know have had some shit person nearly destroy their life or almost take it. They went on. They endured and thrived so I will too."
WHAT'S YOUR CONSTANT MOTIVATION & WHERE DOES IT ROOT FROM?
"When my dad was a kid, he spent summers with his aunt in Tijuana and washed windows at a gas station. He’d send money home, keep a bit for himself to ride to enjoy an elote at the lucha libre fights on weekends. Not long after, my dad completely dropped out of school in 6th grade to work and provide for his family. Growing up, he worked many jobs before immigrating and sticking with carpentry. I’d see my dad get up early in the morning and leave, coming back dusty from drywall and wood. I have my dad’s rough and calloused hands memorized in my mind. On weekends, he’d have a little side hustle selling tools and stuff at the pulga. He was in a car accident when I was in college. A car ran a stop sign and t-boned the truck my dad was in, injuring his knee. He wasn’t able to work again and stayed home. Working was all my dad ever knew and did it so long he didn’t really know what to do with himself besides have a cold beer, cut up fruit, and watch Caso Cerrado. I think it depressed him not to work and earn his own money. By the time I graduated, he was too sick to attend the ceremony.
There are things I’ll never know about my dad. Things I didn’t get to ask him everything before he passed away. One question is, if he could have been anything, what would he have been? He and my mother worked very hard to give my sister and I everything they didn’t have growing up. He always pushed my sister and I to be a doctor, lawyer or nurse. Ya know, something he could understand and makes money. Neither my sister or I became any one of those things. I’m not that smart and probably shouldn’t be trusted with other people’s lives...but my dad believed that we could do anything. But I wished I asked him if he could do anything, what would it be? Did he accomplish everything he wanted? But I don’t get to know that answer. I only get to set my own goals and hope I can live out my own dreams. I can be thankful for the opportunities he and my mother sacrificed so much for my sister and I to have. In an interview with Larry King about living forever, Neil deGrasse Tyson says,
“It is the knowledge that I’m going to die that creates the focus that I bring to being alive. The urgency of accomplishment. The need to express love. Now, not later….I fear living a life I could have accomplished something I didn’t.”
I have an urgency to accomplish as much as I can and have a fulfilling life that is worth my parent’s sacrifices and hard work."
FAVORITE QUOTE, BOOK OR SONG AT THE MOMENT? WHY?
In the opening sequence of Indiana Jones & The Last Crusade, young Indy and his boy scout troop are riding horseback around the scenic canyons of Utah. The boys dismount and start exploring the caverns and shit. Young Indy and his homie Herman hear some shit going down in a cave and decide to investigate. They come across some looters finding hidden treasure. The looters hand off a box to their leader, a man in a brown fedora and leather jacket, who opens the box to find the Cross of Coronado. Indy knows these guys are pieces of shit and only want to profit off this “important artifact” and firmly believes “it belongs in a museum”. He turns to Herman, who is being a little bitch, and tells him to tell their scout leader about the looters and brings the sheriff. As Herman runs off, young Indy sneaks down and steals the Cross. As he’s making his escape, the looters see him. 😳
Indy runs out of the cave 🏃 and doesn’t find his troop. He whistles and calls upon his horse. He rides off but is pursued by the looters in a car. Indy catches up with a circus train, jumps on, and climbs up to the roof. Followed by the looters, he runs roof to roof away from them into the House of Reptiles car. He falls into a pit of snakes and freaks the fuck out. He gets out of the car and jumps on to the next car. On his way up to the roof, he is tripped by a looter and startles the rhino below inside the car. The looter is trying fucking knife homeboy when the rhino begins using its horn to break through the roof nearly injuring our hero. Indy fights off the looter and grabs onto a catcher pouch (mail bag thingy) and swings away from the looters catching up to him. He swings all the way around only to land back on the train in front of the man with the fedora. The man in the fedora, Garth (known as “Fedora” in script/credits but was actually named “Garth” in the junior novelizations)...uhh..okay, so Garth steps towards him just as Indy falls through the roof. Indy lands hard inside, dropping the Cross, and looks up to see he’s in the lion car of the train. The lion roars and Indy jumps up to grab the whip on the wall. The theme melody plays because it’s a defining moment for young Indy. He cracks the whip only to snap himself on the lip. The lion roars again but Indy keeps cracking the whip over and over demanding some fucking respect until the lion backs down and away from him. He picks up the Cross of Coronado. Garth yells at him to toss up the whip and pulls Indy up out of the car to safety just as the lion makes a leap for his ass. Surrounded by looters, Indy stands up. Garth acknowledges young Indy’s bravery but he’s gotta hand over the cross. Again, Indy says it should “be in a museum”. A looter reaches for the cross but ends up with a snake leftover from earlier and flips out. Indy runs aways into the Magic car. Making sure he doesn’t double back, the looters go towards the front of the train. Inside the Magic car, Indy is like “awwww shit this door is locked” and hides in a magic box just as Garth walks in. Garth opens the lid to find it empty. It was a trap door! Garth runs to the back door of the train to see Indy running away with the Cross of Coronado and smiles.
Indy runs to town and all the way home to his dad’s house and tries to interrupt his dad working. Not wanting to be disturbed, Dr. Jones Sr. makes him count to twenty...in Greek. While counting, Indy sees Herman (and hears him playing his stupid trumpet) and some older dudes roll up in a car. Herman brought the Sheriff. Indy greets the sheriff and starts informing him about the looters. The Sheriff is like “yo chill out, son. You still got that cross?” Indy is like “Yeh boi”. The Sheriff takes the cross and says the owner won’t press charges, which is not what Indy was expecting. Just then, Garth and the looters walk in all chill while some posh dude in a white suit and Panama hat stands outside. This crooked fucking Sheriff hands the Cross to a looter, who runs outside to hands it off to the Panama in exchange for money. The Sheriff tips his hat, says good day, and walks out with the looters.
Garth stays behind and says, "You lost today, kid, but that doesn't mean you have to like it."
He places his hat on young Indy as the theme music plays. As Indy lifts his head, we are now with grown ass man Indy but he is getting beaten up on a boat while trying to recover the Cross of Coronado from the same Panama hat dude. They fight it out. Shit happens. Indy grabs the cross and jumps ship. He grabs onto a life preserver as the boat sinks and the Panama hat floats by telling us the dude died in it’s sinking. Cut to Indy in his classroom teaching college students about archeology. As the students leave, Marcus Brody (family friend, archeologist and historian) comes in, congratulates Indy on what has taken him nearly his whole life to accomplish and finally takes the Cross of Coronado TO. PUT. IN. A. FUCKING. MUSEUM.
All that being said, I quit my job in November to go into illustration full-time. Working for myself...at my home studio...in my mom’s house, I’m learning to overcome failure and tremendous amounts of self-doubt. I’m constantly at odds with myself.
Example: Can I make a living drawing? Nobody wants my stupid drawings! Why the fuck did I quit my job? I don’t have insurance. I didn’t get picked for that project because I suck. I can’t afford name brand Pop-Tarts and my phone bill. I’ll never be a successful artist. Why try? There are loads more people more talented than I am. I should give up. Hey! I sold a print of my work… *hold $200 check in hands* I’m so goddamn talented! 🙌 *raises roof*
Trying to succeed at anything will have obstacles and metaphoric lion dens and snake pits. You gotta improvise, problem-solve, and figure shit out. You gotta believe that in what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. Even when you make it through everything and get through all those obstacles, sometimes you still lose. And that is ok. Young Indy went through all that shit and still failed but kept trying until he won. Acknowledge failure, learn from it and keep trying until you succeed. I have to keep working and trying until my personal/metaphorical Cross of Coronado is in a museum."
WHAT'S SOMETHING THAT SOMEONE WOULDN'T KNOW ABOUT YOU?
"My best friend was a goat when I was a kid. We raised goats on our property and one baby was rejected by the mother so I helped take care of it. Her name was Daisy and she would play with me… or just kinda chilled next to while I hula-hooped and shit. Anyway, she was sold to Mi Tierra for meat. RIP Daisy."
IF YOU COULD MEET ANYONE DEAD OR ALIVE WHO WOULD IT BE?
"I’d like to kick it with Tim Duncan, watch the extended editions of Lord of the Rings, and eat an H-E-B Fully Cooked Brisket that he prepared."