Dímelo

USC graduate student ‘Diosa Femme’ celebrates the brilliance of women of color and Latinx culture on Locatora Radio podcast

The podcast enters a new chapter in its 6-year history after joining the iHeartMedia’s My Cultura Podcast Network

[One-sentence description of what this media is: "A photo of a vaccine site on USC campus" or "Gif of dancing banana". Important for accessibility/people who use screen readers.]

“Are women actually bimbos or do we just want you to think that?” quipped Locatora Radio co-host Ariana Rodriguez, on a recent episode of the popular feminist chat cast.

“Because the girl boss is dead and we’re in an era of resting and we’re going to do what we want and lounge and not do free work – the free work is done!”

The podcast episode titled “Capítulo 120: In Defense of Bimbos’' presented a Gen Z-inspired sociopolitical analysis of various bimbo pop legends. Icons included: Fashionable sorority queen Elle Woods, the protagonist of the 2001 film “Legally Blonde,” and the snobby, trendy-environmentalist Hillary Banks on the ‘90s sitcom, “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.” Rodriguez then dove into a literature review that dissected how adopting a more carefree attitude could be reclaimed and used as a tool for self-preservation to push back against uncompensated labor in society.

The conversation reflected the bold, counter-narrative ideas or “loca epistemologies” that Rodriguez, 28, more widely known as “Diosa Femme” to her loyal fans, unpacks on Locatora Radio podcast which she co-hosts with her dear friend and creative co-conspirator, Zoe “Mala” Muñoz. Earlier this month, the show got licensed by iHeart Media’s My Cultura Podcast Network following a six-year run as an independent labor of love.

On the show, followed by over 25,000 users on Instagram, Diosa and Mala discuss intersectional feminism, sexual wellness, the struggles of late-stage capitalism, buzzy social media topics, arts, books and politics.

The friend duo, who also call themselves, “Las Mamis of Myth and Bull****t,” create a space that opens a powerhouse line-up that “archives and celebrates the brilliance of women of color.” In its latest season, the show spotlighted Flores, an Indigenous Mexican American R&B songstress; Eunisses Hernandez, a self-described police and prison abolitionist politician; and Kali Fajardo-Anstine, a critically acclaimed novelist. From start to finish, the episodes are infused with an L.A.-based millennial Latina feminist vibe curated unlike anything in the podcast media industry today.

The show’s unapologetically feminine aesthetic shines through across the show’s content, social graphics and imagery and extends into the duo’s fashion choices which become an extension of their artistry.

[One-sentence description of what this media is: "A photo of a vaccine site on USC campus" or "Gif of dancing banana". Important for accessibility/people who use screen readers.]

Diosa’s home office walls are painted in a chic soft pink that match her ultra-feminine wardrobe, coffin-shaped nails, three-ringed gold hoops and small azalea-colored Telfar handbag. A tattoo accents her inner arm that reads Nepantlera, a Nahuatl world which translates to the “in the middle.” The word is associated with Chicana writer’s Gloria Anzaldua’s descriptions of the “philosophical self living on and crossing borders” – so in all her essence, Diosa radiates the multifaceted experience that is so distinctly L.A.

“I’m a Latina that loves art, I love to read, I like to dance,” she said. “My identity envelops being bi-tri-cultural, liking all of these diverse things, or maybe things that you don’t see in common, but to me make sense,” she says.

Diosa grew up in Southeast Los Angeles in a Peruvian-Mexican household. In high school, she attended an all-girls Catholic preparatory school in the San Gabriel Valley. Upon graduating, she studied literature and creative writing at the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB), but the department lacked the diversity she craved.

Despite this, she found other paths at UCSB in the Chicano Studies Department, the Black Studies Department and women’s studies which resulted in some of her most formative academic experiences and eventually paved the path from which to channel her creative voice.

“I knew that in podcasting– there’s a writing aspect to it. It’s obviously very creative. And I felt I needed a break from writing. So, I said, this is what I’m going to [podcast] instead,” said Diosa.

When talking to Diosa you quickly sense that part of the reason her voice resonates with her audience is rooted in the fact that, at her core, she is aware that she’s navigating life as an artist from an immigrant, working-class, family — something that’s relatable among L.A.’s Latinx creative community.

Locatora Radio podcast has earned an ad in Times Square, yet, up to this point, the show has remained a part-time endeavor because her day job as a communications professional supports her and also contributes to her family’s household.

“I wouldn’t be able to be the artist that I am if I was stressed about money. On the flip side, though, how much more could I do if I was doing [podcasting] full time and nothing else? And it’s hard when you’re, you know, for lack of a better word, bootstrapping it. Because you don’t have generational wealth,” she said.

With these pragmatic and creative considerations in mind, over the summer, Diosa started the masters program in specialized journalism here at the University of Southern California (USC). Although she also received admission at Columbia University, she was aware that attending Columbia would bring about heightened financial burdens on top of being away from her core support system.

“At my age, all of the allure of the Ivy League is not enough,” said Diosa. “Maybe if I was an undergrad, but as a grad student, I think you’re trying to make the best and most practical decisions.”

Moreover, at USC she was captivated by the program’s cutting-edge multimedia curriculum and multidisciplinary approach. This coming year, she hopes to level up her audio and media production skills to continue building Locatora Productions, the emerging media company connected to Locatora Radio that aims to increase podcasts featuring Latinx voices across legacy media institutions.

As Locatora Radio begins its run at the My Cultura Podcast Network, the duo’s expansive goals are on the horizon but their distinguishable community-grown brand continues to shine through. A recent Instagram post promoting the show’s next chapter featured Locatora Radio’s first recording home Radio Sombra based in Boyle Heights and honored the community or artists who have helped them reach this important milestone.

Diosa also hopes to pay it forward to all of the women in Los Angeles that have opened the doors to opportunities when many other male executives have been unwilling to.

“Our mission has always been to our tribe, the legacies and the talent of women of color,” she said. “People have opened the door for us, we’ve gone through the door, we’re gonna leave the door open, and we’re pulling you with us.”