I‘m usually in front of the camera. However, I also love to help create with my friends. In CREATING CONTENT, I’m sharing my experience as I get behind the lens and try my hand in photography! Today we have Natalie Caro. Writer, artist, teacher, and fellow Bronxite.
Natalie and I have been in the same social circles unknowingly for a very long time. She has been doing amazing work highlighting the creatives in the Bronx and helping families embrace arts through her work with the BxArts Factory. We always run into each other at events and I’ve always wanted to feature her. Well, we finally found time.
INTERVIEW WITH Natalie Caro
Diego: So Natalie, who are you?
Natalie: I’m Natalie Caro, I am adjunct lecturer at Lehman College and advisory board member, plus blog editor for the BX Arts Factory.
We go way back! How back exactly?
How do we know each other, Diego? So, Diego – you are younger than I am.
Haha, I think so.
We actually met through a mutual friend. You were dating a friend of a friend and then we realized we had both gone to the same elementary school, and I realized we had both written for the school newspaper, which was called the Golden Voice over at St. John Chrysostom!
Haha, I used to write video game reviews and Top 10 lists. So, Natalie, I know you have many passions, including being an amazing writer. And you also are great at arts and crafts. When you write, where does the fuel to write come from and why do you write in the first place?
So when I was younger, like many teenagers I was fueled by heartbreak and whatnot, but as I got older and as my political consciousness grew so did its place in my writing. And so what fuels my writing now is sort of political consciousness and community awareness and sort of creating the circumstances for improving the environments that we grew up in.
I know you’re from The Bronx. So what neighborhood and what’s your background?
I grew up right off of Freeman and Southern Boulevard and my mom is Puerto Rican – Italian and my Dad immigrated from Colombia. They actually got married for papers, but then they fell in love.
And who hasn’t, haha. What are you currently working on right now?
I am currently working on getting ready for the Fall 2017 semester. I’m going to be teaching 3 sections of freshman seminar and I’m really excited to embark on this journey of self-discovery with my first-year students.
What’s your inspiration when it comes to writing?
When it comes to writing, people who use their voice to create social change and to draw attention to the ways in which other peoples are oppressed and the ways we can help diminish oppression in our own communities. I’ll be honest with you, a lot of writers, sometimes we sort of take a step back from reading a lot of content because we are afraid of having our ideas sort of overly influenced. Right now, the writing world, especially the Latino writing world is seeing like a huge renaissance. Especially in the Bronx, like there’s all these open mics now that like didn’t exist before.
Is there anyone that I should be reading right?
Old-school. His name is Milan Kundera. He’s a Franco-Czech writer, he really made me a deeper person. He gave me a greater depth of soul and spirit.
Where can I find some of your work?
Most current publication, Manteca!, it’s available on Amazon and it’s published by the Arte Público Press University of Houston. I’m situated in that text along some really notable folks, so I’m kind of proud of that. You can also find my work at Where to find my work at www.natalie-n-caro.com.
I enjoy your style! When you’re picking out your clothing, what usually goes through your mind?
Color and texture. I was a heavy, heavy fashion magazine consumer growing up, like I was reading Cosmopolitan when I probably shouldn’t have. Back in the day, I would watch local access channels and they used to show Fashion Week, Manhattan Fashion Week. It’s kind of rinky-dinky, but it was good. It gave me like a new lens into the world, and a new vehicle towards self-expression. I think I’m sort of a bright, bubbly personality and I really tend to gravitate toward aesthetics that are sort of bright and really like multi-layered and multi-faceted.
In The Bronx, where do you usually shop for clothing?
I usually go to Le Point, which is actually right next to the Bronx Music Heritage Center. And there’s another store called Unique up by 238th. I’m a big thrifter. I’m taking a break from shopping until corporations start to reevaluate the way they pay the people who actually produce their clothing, I want to take a break from filling those pockets. When we put money into the pockets of those who seek to oppress others, we de-facto become oppressors ourselves. Even by accident.
Can’t challenge that. Where do you see the Bronx going in the next 10 years?
I think we are headed in a really amazing direction if all of us activate and realize the ways in which we are catalysts for social change in our own communities. I think we can do what other communities have not been able to do in terms of building and, hell, we can structure how developers come and build. We can structure the stores that exist here, we can structure the enterprises that emerge out of this place. We have so much power, but we don’t know it. We just got to become aware.
We can’t sleep on it.
We can’t sleep, we’ve been asleep too long.
Very true. Any events that we should be looking towards?
I have a reading on August 26th, part of the Brimstone something. I’ll email you the exact details. Of course, you’re always welcome to come to any Bronx Artist Factory. I know you like to paint the night away! Also check out Boogie on the Blvd, September 10th, crafting on the Grand Concourse.
Thanks for reading, y’all stay dandy. 😎 Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram!
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