Isabela De Las Casas and Jean Munson
DescriptionJean Munson (33) interviews her colleague Isabela de Las Casas (21) about leadership, gender identity and change during quarantine.
Subject Log / Time Code
- Isabela De Las Casas
- Jean Munson
Recording LocationVirtual Recording
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00:03 Today is Saturday, October 3rd 2020. I'm recording from Las Vegas, Nevada. And I know my partner today she is my colleague.
00:18 My name is Isabella. I am 21 years old today is Saturday October 3rd 2029 and I'm recording from Henderson Nevada. I know my partner because she is my mentor and colleague.
00:32 So we've known each other since 2017, I believe so three years have passed and I've gone to see you do good and great thing since then since we spent there six days at new leadership. I just want you to share with me briefly who you were before we met Isabella.
00:52 If I can put it correctly. I think I told you this like 5 times at least I had imposter syndrome written all over my face before I knew what it was and so I was incredibly insecure. I didn't know about that was going to be on didn't know who I was going to be. I just knew that was going to school. I was the first female in my family to go to us to pursue higher education.
01:17 Yeah, you know, I remember distinctly that we hear one of the few freshmen who even made it cuz usually be taken upperclassmen into the program and I watched you navigate through that we can really absorb like a sponge. I think you're really big breakthrough moment with a night we had karaoke which really brings the class together and I think you really found that you have is big and large boys and I got to see that when you really mobilize a lot of new initiatives at the community college. Can you tell me about your time? They're going to see us then I made it a lot of things again. I was just a way for me to I guess on The Voice. I realize I had from Newell, I gotta bring up a lot of things was when I was in my second year in student government. I really just pioneered this first like woman's week.
02:17 And there's no woman's name to wake me if you had women's History Month of course and we have two voices remixer, but they have a whole week is dedicated to his history with something. That was the first to me that I haven't heard of happening before and so I helped Pioneers this extra just because he has and has so many powerful and inspirational women on campus and I just don't like, you know, there's no highlight has no Spotlight and I gave them a panel. I gave him a platform to speak on I also ran this on feminine hygiene drive and that's really important to me just cuz it's one of those things that half of the population, you know how people on Earth to know share this coming struggle for the most part and it's like it's just kind of neglected and you know, everything in the pink tax everything for not being available in public restrooms everything from being the same as taboo and being able to just have a place on campus where we were
03:17 Personalized happening is not just something in the carpet and one I was able to collaborate with a homeless shelter and give him those needs his y'all think of food and clothes and water but you know, no one ever thinks of changing industry. Just one of those things I'd like, you know, I remember being younger and I was like, you know transitioning or not going through it and I had to be the one who figured out what I needed and I was like that was awkward but being able to provide these products to kids who are going through my age and just plain vanilla. This is nothing to be ashamed of this is not something that needs to be hidden. This is basic necessity you were able to make what we learned any new leadership really accessible cuz you know, we only choose 25 students a year based off what kind of very little funding we get and I guess, you know, it will come from two different.
04:17 CSN College of Southern Nevada, and you know you and I'm from UNLV and but every time I would go to CSN, your name would be dropped. Right? Like I was at different faculty visits and they're just like we know who we could you know, who we could talk all that is unseen government. I think one of my best things and I'm proud of with knowing you is the fact that you built a very strong cohort a relationship with the people you serve. It wasn't a one-way Street at leadership for you. Can you explain more about that with a people who became your best friends as well as co-leaders? Oh my God. Yes, I would like some of the best times I've ever had a really important for me because of my first year. I had a female my female. I guess they are shipping my son. It wasn't the best was an ideal.
05:17 She was everything I wanted to be she was headstrong. She was vocal. She knew what she wanted to know how to get what she wanted but she didn't extend that. She accepted that everywhere except you. I guess I have two senators and when I became her Bonet and her position of secretary, I told myself I want to be her but I also wanted to do things you didn't do I want to build relationships. Do I feel like I just wanted to connect with everyone. I felt like, you know, once I give everyone a safe place to operate, you know, cuz I feel like the biggest thing you can get from leadership is mutual respect. I scratch your back doing great things and you know, I'll come to these guys in the band. I'll go 30 minutes out of my way to make it to the curb and I'll take pictures Post online and I'll make it a key points you acknowledge that hey.
06:17 Jeffrey did a great job helping with this event. Hey, I just did a great job. I like to send a great job and I just think through that simple acknowledgment and realizing that these people are doing great things really help me build a relationship and on top of that represents representations and the importance. Of course, there's so much going on campus everything from the hate graffiti that happened a while ago the homelessness issue 1 can't really bothering me. And again, that was what brought the Fountain Drive cuz again, it's just sad to know that there's so many issues are struggling in that, you know, we're not doing anything to provide for them said something that was also important to me know it was important cuz I know what it's like not to have a voice and I just wanted to give out to others. So that was the biggest thing for me and it looks like you had a lot of fun even though
07:17 That you guys are like so tight even after graduating. What is that friendship look like now I want to hang out with them today actually distancing right? Sometimes it's scary but there's a distrust and still love that's their. Yeah. It's been about a year. Yes from yes, like so many friends, of course like I mean just one like the more memorable person is Isaiah Nelson and he has the nickname of a queen Regina and she is one of the best centers I've ever met and see if they will ever have in your life because she was so and I guess preface it by saying this cuz I guess make fun quotation mark quotation mark of people making sexuality and identity like being gay being bisexual them being further only.
08:17 Was like, yeah, it's like what and it's not fair because I know it's not it wasn't with a safe place to come out and now it is and people are owning bad. Now people are confident in their own skin their own identity their own pronouns people are offended like look at this person because they wanted their personality and then just hand for Isaiah. You know, I guess you could just
08:50 You know, he just had a personality. I was very kind and loving and he was just so outgoing and so warm and he was just kind of known as that person on campus and instead, you know, he was just so inspirational to because he never let it get to him ever. He did it for anything and power down and that was really inspirational. He use the empowerment to start the first lgbtq mixer at CVS and ever and it was actually one of the most successful of NCSI has ever had which is crazy because CSN being the smallest campus having the highest event turn on of any other candidates lined was incredible and to be able to help him with that and for him to ask me like, you know, what as you was a woman like what makes us event welcoming to women demands you informed as to get my opinion just include me wishes.
09:42 It's just it's just incredible and that's the kind of relationship with him. If he will, you know, give you the food on his plate if he's hungry himself with others is great to yeah, I think something that's really that you are daily practicing is decentering yourself, Isabella in a lot of ways right here willing to pay credit where credit is due you're willing to be an ally when that is a time in your life to be an ally and I think a lot of contention about Community College or sometimes they downplayed at their candy campus life, but you're in your legacy along with a very mutually Cooperative Board of leaders, you all did a great deal of campus life for people who are usually written off of other working student. So, you know, they didn't get into the large University, but that
10:42 Stop the perception that you can enjoy college life at that level and so is that I had so many resources. I had so many and like any of them to see if they like it's so diverse. There's so much diversity. Just remember when I brought my boyfriend, you know, he has a conception of Nevada being conservative and just you know, all white and he came here to the bank when he was like after we left there was a lot of different people and I'm like, oh, yeah conservative I watch them bloom and it was announced was in training. I just I'm just so used to seeing people of color people of different backgrounds. It's really nice to see that he immersed in that
11:40 And it's good to be seen right like in to recognize that their existing people in this community that are often not listed her recognized accredited. So I want to go into it. So you have to me a very flexible adaptable personality since we met and so what is 20/20 looking like for you? How are you taking care of yourself? What is Mew? What are you learning about yourself now? We're in a lot of things. I know that's going to change our lives for the better. Maybe both things was I was I wasn't I am still getting therapy on getting help. It was really hard during covid-19 covid like, you know that she couldn't accept any in-person visits and I just do online cuz you know, it's kind of a private conversation in private.
12:41 During the peak of the pendant. I want like a whole egg 130 without anything and that was that was rough being alone and does not have anyone to talk to you. I learned a lot about myself and my attorney how I want to be seeing a guilty about the noise when I was younger.
12:58 I can only Age II was and like you might be surprised to hear this and I'm sorry if I disappoint you but I was really close minded to the fact of like they're being more than like one gender wasn't like. Yeah, but in the sense of me being not for I was against it regardless and so it wasn't something that I was growing up with word the wishes, you know a girl that's it. There's no need to but it's not a difficult box choose or choose one. If you feel you need to go in to turn Russians going to that one. That's what I thought way back then and now she's being alone being surrounded by, you know different people getting it. I know that
13:37 Being told to sit up front to choose between two boxes is not fair and why choose from two boxes when there is this box? That fits me so much better and I owe nobody at all to fit in the Box I Saw the Sign. Primarily and so I explored that and I'm like, oh wait, I just told me the only two of them did why is everything to be so extra as everything has to be made a big thing and they made everything a big thing.
14:08 Restarting really into fashion just as we are truly a product of our time, right the ideologies that were exposed to and the growth in room to do so. So yes, I am astonished at how fashion-forward you are with stuff you come up with. I'm trying to find one thing I want to say is that it's hard to with everything happening. It's hard to just focus on one social issue save the kids children in cages and there's Muslims in concentration camps to come down to us when we become powerless. I feel like that's when everything stops Justice in the protest.
15:04 Something that I've been able to focus on that I put the word resonate with and woman and woman apartment. And one thing I found your fashion was that fast fashion, really xploitz female labor on specifically woman or paid?
15:29 What's a dollar-an-hour overseas to make clothes and I realized I was disgusted and it would hurt a lot because I had so many clothes from H&M from this was made by the sharing with me by a child and that was really painful and I'm like I can't miss the first of all when I and I'm on social media nice to let you know in my community Fashions a really big deal just everything from the earrings from the glasses to the shirts. The fan that everything is a massive just and I guess it's just part of wine to be seen and also just expression and that's something I've been able to express myself. It was like art and away and through fashion. I was able to I guess being seen and also recognized social issues like one biggest one being play labor overseas won the amount of clothes that go into a landfill annually and just destroy our environment that amount of water it takes just to make a single shirt and that's when I started really getting into on thrifting.
16:29 And support small businesses that support small businesses. And from there. I would just focus in on this one issue that I really cared about which was you know, a lot of things and give me a sense of identity like, you know, I belong in this community even though I feel like I don't cuz I feel like I feel like I'm supporting them I mean
16:55 I just like I belong now, which is something that they answer the question. You answered the multi layers of this question. But yeah, I think so. What I'm gathering is that your ship has never stopped for you, you know in terms of the way that you want to do impact you've done it at the large level. You do have the small level that still impact what we gave you is like a very capitalist right? Like how do we recycle recycle refurbish and you don't do this alone. It seems that you've done to these thrifting photo shoots on Instagram with your friends. How did you get them on board with you? How long was so spontaneous? There was just something I want more than anything like that. It's just for some stupid reason to be insecure about my hobbies in which shouldn't but it does cuz I refriend things have been working on that but I have so many passions that I like so many like thrifting
17:55 Billion things that stresses me out cuz I'm like all these things like what am I but now I'm kind of switch it around it was it was the day of it. I was just talking to North Las Vegas Anders. What type of word is that creative people campus? They have a lot of crazy ideas in a very outgoing I talked to them and I also like how much does it cost for an hour was like 50 bucks and I'm like, let's do it. Let's do 70s hit man themed the 70s Hawaiian Hitman theme shoot is Hitman coming back from a Hawaiian trip and they find out that they've been a wiretap and they're just fighting and going at it and that's just the same of it and I thought okay, that should be easy Hawaiian themed t-shirts. You know, I know a bunch of dads, you know by a Hawaiian t-shirt.
18:55 The word again give the Sabres so there was no shortage for drone ever ever be a shortage on Hawaiian t-shirt. So that was why we slept with the same but we just did that and we had a lot of fun. And from there. It was very empowering. I was like, oh, this is just something I can I'm just doing it and something I've never done or slamming shut willing to do what he's doing it on my always just let anxiety Center Johnstown anxiety go tell me you shouldn't do it don't do it. And I just bought that I like him and service anti-climatic in any way, but I just I just did it and it was so fun and never since I've been in love with Griffin available for tography. I've been in love with just doing spontaneous things. That's something I've just been doing. I have one today to it's the theme is against the 70s Hit Men reboot with Revenge clothing. Hopefully, it's better and then
19:55 We have a 90s retro gamer shoot. So I'm excited for that has to be your friend. I didn't know that there was honestly somebody from outside looking in and it's not as a kind of see how your polymath mindworks is always working and you are talented in multiple things and you want to share them which is additional work. But I think that when I saw that shoot, I thought this looks so high fashion for Thrift Store. Like I had no idea that it was and I think because you had this large narrative and intention to make it one of joy and fun that the confidence that each of your friends gate light Vibes off it it showed and it paid off in a lot of ways because it is uninhibited and yeah it was and I'm glad that I get to tell that to you on a day that you were doing it again and that you are continuing to do this.
20:55 Is of like badass like upcycling of thrifting so I hope it's and I hope it's an internet Trend. We need more positive internet trends like this, you know, so so I wanted to ask, you know to clarify here in 2020. Like if you could consult, you know, you were talking about, you know, adopting a new identity. So what is it if someone can consolidate to you? What is that? What would you tell people that you are now in Flames when you see her is fine, but I got anybody else. I'm actually comfortable with all-wheel it will conversation would be more so, you know, I'm non-binary I use she her they them pronouns and I've got a little pushback from like my loved ones where they would ask me know. What's the point like blah blah, why use both?
21:54 And that was to use those and just wear like, you know popular examples and Jeffree Star like he uses any promotion.
22:05 And then there's a person with one word relevant example is Rebecca sugar. She uses say them she her and again, it was just trying to explain to them because it was like, I don't know why I'm using both see her and say that I just know it feels right and they don't understand that and so it's been a hard conversation winnings is he was asking is cuz I'm weird and quirky and I use she her they them pronouns and I'm non-binary and if people ask me what my preferences, you know, like on the dealership on a put on bisexual, but I prefer the term gay or queer.
22:49 I just don't after just putting myself, you know as a label for so long that you know, I'm a girl I'm straight and now I'm here. It's like I see myself changing in the future forever or dad thinks. I'm just going to watch them queer and I just love the word queer cuz it's just such a beautiful umbrella term and then and maybe I'm wrong but I feel like we're was like a very derogatory word to you that it was like, you know, very bad to stay and now nowadays it kind of look at me. I'm queer and I'm here and it's just I told a lot more comfortable, Michigan. That's all I have to say. So so you bring up a good point about trying to explain to family would non-binary mean but I I want to ask a question away if you can explain how being non-binary is good for you, you know and in a way where you feel free and
23:49 Liberated and fluid I'm what would that look like it and I asked is because in case anyone whoever wants to me know cuz we talked about representation is important in case anyone can really identify with your liberated and say statement for that day that you take ownership of someone does that look like if you could explain it when you're just people's perception of my hair when you also share that was people like I'm sure every girl or fun person shares that idea of how people think and
24:26 Kind of bothers me a little bit and it's just you know right now, where are you? Are you buy and you know, so more than anything I would like to go to get a haircut this week. I'm out to get them all out and say whatever I'm going to mow it cuz that's what I want to do and be non-binary itself just gives me permission to be a Dragoness orff a more masculine without having to explain that he was like the biggest thing I was traveling with where was you know, when I was I was not masculine and then for a while I got this like no just appearing sound person and I was just like I was confused because I like I really like the androgynous like fight.
25:26 On their skin, but for me, it was like I'm not really a woman but for me.
25:38 It just gives me permission that I can be whoever I want to be without having to fit somebody that you'll perspective of what I need to be as a girl. I can be masculine. I can be again cuz all these things without needing somebody's approval which is really validating to me.
25:57 Yeah, I like the word permission in a sense that that permission is permission for for you and buy you which is a huge thing for non-binary folks. And so I thank you for you know, it's it's it's a new term for a lot of people and and I think that it's still being built by a lot of people as the adopt, you know this how old are generation that don't have it right even in my generation and it's I think that we have a lot of words that don't get to articulate fully and now we are at Liberty to do so and it scares people to be outside of comfort zone. So, you know, I I continue to wish you safety and having to lay down emotional labor. I hope that your current kohart of people they seem like they're down down for the cause. So, you know looking for we're almost at the end of 2020 and so
26:57 What are you looking forward to now with you here almost sending me going to therapy and Rosemead rediscovering myself was the most important thing so and I was really scared about that. Of course. I've been in school. I'm not there a lot. I should be insecure and I talked to my therapist and she was like, you're a very results-based person fighting fighting that are not fighting pushing it and I just did not see where she was coming from. I was like, why wouldn't you miracles person's house? Would you see progress? And I had not for a while just Drilling and drilling. I'm finally at a point where like where I I see what she's saying if I get to where I want to be but
27:57 What is focusing on growth and if that means like having one last like anxiety induced sleep like one time a week and that's gross and I'm looking forward to my one-year valuation and talking to my therapist in her saying like Okay. Well, it's been a year. What's re-evaluate how far you can come along and again, like I'm just happy that you know, I'm self-sufficient really looking forward to moving out to you and that's going to be a big style besides that I've just been really trying to focus on the growth and not the results and I think once I started doing that I started being a lot more confident in myself in a lot more proud of myself. So that's where I am and that's what I'm looking forward to the growth that comes this coming here.
28:41 Yeah, thank you for teaching me that in pandemic 2020 when sometimes the world seems on fire. One of the best things to do is to Center mental health because we're no good to the people out there. We're not good to ourselves. So it thank you so much. Do you want to say any Last Goodbye by good advice to anyone else out there with my family too and it's just been really crazy to see like what I was doing during the pandemic, you know again, I know a lot of us to know so bad that everyone's taking over the world and you know, maybe exercising trying a new diet watching his whole series and I've just been living and when I came here, you know my sisters and I was like, oh is my dad likes parading Mount but my dad and you know is also come to terms with that, you know.
29:34 Right now it's just a good time to live in right now, which is a good time to breathe and just re-evaluating Center yourself and not something I really resonated. She like he was hitting my father figure telling me we evaluate where you are and just accept that has been really comforting and just we're all in the same boat. We're all struggling and so that's how I found my peace and my place in the quarantine just accepting where I am.
30:00 Thank you Izzy. Thank you for sharing the space with me and your truth and your fluidity and your friendship.