southside houston

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The Folk Feminist Struggle Behind the Chola Fashion Trend

Growing up in the 90s on the Southside of Houston I watched my older sister Lynda set the chola beauty standard. She lined her lips with berry-colored lipliner, plucked her eyebrows thin, and teased her permed hair with Aquanet hairspray, creating a stiff asymmetrical bang wave with a height capable of competing with all the homegirls in the neighborhood. She wore baggy polo shirts, gold jewelry, and had a gangbanger boyfriend named Angel with a bald fade and a lowrider car. She was a beautiful, highly accessorized chola who was respected in her world—most of all by me.

When I turned 13, Lynda began initiating me into the chola scene. By then, the look had evolved a bit—bang waves were no longer the style—but the core elements of the culture remained. Lynda and I drank Smirnoffs together, danced to Tejano music at the bar, and, at the end of the night, watched the boys fight in the parking lot. At 15, she bought me my first golden nameplate and I started dating one of Angel’s friends. She taught me the moral codes of what would become a sometimes violent teenage lifestyle—codes she had learned growing up in our rough neighborhood.

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DJ OJ x Saundra TV

Saturday I spent the day with #SaundraTV; eating, dry flippin’, interviewing, filming, bike riding to locations, cracking up, & all in all, having an amazing time. Above are a few candids that were captured on the last leg of day 1.

Sunday I had a couple hours free before hoping a return flight to LA; so we reconvened at an undisclosed location for some final images and interview questions. A simple pop up meeting turned into a full blown iPhone photoshoot complete with a hunt for props, a local corner store run, Another impromptu photoshoot at the corner store, (because it was just to gritty to pass-up) & before we knew it, a whole slew of fun new images, videos and soundbites we hadn’t even prepared to capture.

I’m looking forward to the final compilation of our adventures, & even more excited to share a little bit more about myself with y'all, & my journey as a female DJ out the Southside of Houston, Texas.. ;)