FEARLESS FEMME FRIDAYS: 5 BADASS WOMEN IN THE NEWS

Happy Friday, vinas! Another week, another batch of ladies to celebrate!

OLIVIA WILDE

Image via iMDb.

It’s officially the month of Olivia Wilde’s directorial debut! Her film, Booksmart, starring Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever, is out on May 24th. It’s all about two best friends having one wild night before their senior year of high school ends, and it looks amazing. Wilde directed the film, and we’re so excited to see more female filmmakers shine! Watch the trailer here.

GINA MARTIN

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Gina Martin is an amazing UK-based activist who recently provoked change into making “upskirting” (the act of taking photos up someone’s skirt) a criminal offense. Martin is devoting her time to helping end abuse against women and minorities, and we applaud her.

AMIKA GEORGE

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When she was seventeen, Amika George founded a campaign to raise awareness to the amount of people who have to miss school because of their periods, called #FreePeriods. Anyone with a period knows that sanitary products are expensive — way more expensive than they need to be. Thanks to George and her mission, hospitals in England will provide free tampons and pads to menstruating people who need or ask for them!

ERICA MALUNGUINHO

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The story of Erica Malunguinho is a pretty incredible one: she is the first trans woman to ever hold a state representative position in Sao Paulo, Brazil! She wants to use her position to fight for the rights of the LGBTQ+ community, and serves as a huge inspiration for those who hope to provoke change.

TARANA BURKE

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Tarana Burke, founder of the Me Too movement, was featured on the TIME 100 list with a profile by Gabrielle Union. In the past decade, Burke has dedicated huge amounts of time and energy to activism for sexual assault, particularly for Black survivors of sexual assault. It’s important to remember her name and mission when discusses Me Too, because not only is she the original founder, she brings awareness to uniquely Black experiences.

Want more fearless women? Check out Hey! VINA today.

TABOO TOPIC TUESDAY: MOVING ON FROM A FRIEND

Maybe they don’t make you feel your best. Maybe they haven’t been supportive of an exciting new chapter in your life. Maybe you’ve been meaning to do so for a while.

No matter how you slice it, cutting ties with a friend or someone you care about can be really painful. When you make the decision to end a friendship or move on without someone, it’s understandable to feel sad or upset about it. But likely, it isn’t a decision you’ve made lightly.

It can help to ask yourself a few questions about the situation (maybe even write them down in a letter you won’t ever send to the person/people you’re moving on from) to alleviate your own feelings of hurt and help you understand that you’re doing this for you.

Do they support me?

Of course, it’s not ideal to have blind support from your friends; we need our friends to tell us if we’re being self-destructive or making decisions that can harm us in the long run. But if a friend or group of friends isn’t there for you during hard times? Maybe let them go. Conversely, it can really hurt if you have a new opportunity that might be really exciting, and they choose to make it about them without showing any support for you. If they can’t be happy for you about the amazing new parts of your life, it’s time to find people who will be.

Do I feel better after talking to them?

This doesn’t necessarily have to mean after talking to a friend for advice or when you’re looking for comfort; this can just mean in general! Do you always feel worse about your body after having dinner with a friend who constantly talks down about themselves or you? Do you leave their house with a sinking feeling after they spent the entire time you were hanging out filling your ears with mean-spirited gossip about other friends, when all you really wanted to do is discuss the latest episode of The Good Place? If you feel worse after speaking to them than you did when you walked in, it might be time to move on.

Do they treat you the way you deserve?

Sometimes the people we thought we cared about the most are the ones that show their true colors when you’ve had a communication mishap or you have an argument. Are they mature when it comes to handling disagreements? If they never apologize or take responsibility for their actions, that puts a lot of pressure on you to diffuse conflict and tension. You deserve respect, and you should be treated with some.

These questions aren’t the end-all be-all; it can be really difficult and extremely complicated when dealing with friendship problems. Just remember: if you’re considering cutting ties for your own mental and physical health, you should trust your gut. It’s usually right.

Start swiping and find some awesome new friends on Hey! VINA today!

FEARLESS FEMME FRIDAYS: 5 KICKASS WOMEN IN THE NEWS

It’s the end of another week, vinas! You know what that means…time for another roundup of amazing women in the news!

AGNÈS VARDA

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Agnès Varda, French filmmaker, passed away on Friday, March 29th in Paris. She was a pioneer in the French New Wave cinema scene of the 1950s and 1960s, paving the way for many women to follow in her footsteps and become filmmakers themselves. She frequently addressed feminist issues in her films and progressive ideas about race and gender. She will be greatly missed, but her legacy will continue in the film industry and serve as a reminder for female filmmakers everywhere that they can be whoever they want to be.

MUFFET McGRAW

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Muffet McGraw is the head women’s basketball coach at Notre Dam, where she is campaigning for equality in sports. In a press conference, she said that she has no intention of hiring men for her coaching staff, saying, “when you look at men’s basketball, 99 percent of the jobs go to men, why shouldn’t 100 or 99 percent of the jobs in women’s basketball go to women?” She’s absolutely right, and it’s great that as a result of her stance on this, more girls will get to see themselves represented in sports.

EMILIA CLARKE

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Emilia Clarke recently wrote an essay for The New Yorker about her struggles with two brain aneurysms right around the time she was finishing her first season of HBO show Game of Thrones. She recalls the anxiety and fear she felt during some of the most terrifying health scares possible. As she enters the last season of the show, she took some time to reflect on what she learned from one of the hardest times in her life and expresses her gratitude for where she is now.

ZUZANA ČAPUTOVÁ

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Zuzana Čaputová was recently elected to be the first female president of Slovakia! It’s a huge achievement for someone who is both a woman and political newcomer. She said to some of her supporters that she hopes to change the tides of Slovakia’s political climate to a more just and fair environment, and turn away from the more conservative and populist movements that the country has seen thus far.

BAILEY DAVIS

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Bailey Davis, a cheerleader for the New Orleans Saints, has been leading the charge to end sex discrimination against cheerleaders after she was fired from the team for posting a picture of herself in an outfit deemed inappropriate by the Saints. Since then, she has filed a discrimination lawsuit herself, saying that the NFL holds their football players to different standards than they do for cheerleaders. People have taken notice and as a result, cheerleaders for the Saints have been given more conservative outfits to wear. We applaud Davis for not backing down!

Want more fearless ladies? Start swiping on Hey! VINA to find ’em.

SPRING BOOK CLUB: THE BEST NEW BOOKS TO READ THIS SPRING

The sun is coming out, the weather is warming up…what better way to celebrate the start of spring than with a new book?

Maybe you’ve been wanting to start reading something new for a while, but just don’t know where to start. After all, it feels like the lists of new releases are nearly endless! Or maybe you just finished something fabulous and you’re looking for something just as amazing! No need to stress about it — we’ve got you covered. Here’s a list of new releases by female authors for you and your vinas to devour.

DAISY JONES & THE SIX by Taylor Jenkins Reid

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Released on March 5th, Daisy Jones & The Six is the fascinating story of a fictional seventies rock band and their rise to fame…and their downfall. If you love Fleetwood Mac and the wild stories that came out about the recording of their 1977 album Rumours, this one is for you. It’s also told in the format an oral history, which makes it a fast read — but one that will still break your heart.

SING TO IT: NEW STORIES by Amy Hempel

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Amy Hempel, a renowned short story author, is back with a new collection for the first time in a decade. Sing To It (published March 26th) features fifteen short stories about loneliness and the search for connection, and it’s perfect for those of us feeling lost and in need of some dazzling prose.

YOU KNOW YOU WANT THIS by Kristen Roupenian 

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If you missed out on reading “Cat Person,” the short story published in The New Yorker that took the Internet by storm in December of 2017, never fear: it’s included in author Kristen Roupenian’s short story collection. Featuring stories about sex, guilt, anger, and pain, this is one you won’t want to miss (out January 15th).

THE PROPOSAL by Jasmine Guillory

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This fun romance novel was Reese Witherspoon’s book club pick for the month of February, and it’s perfect for the start of spring. Pick it up and follow the excitement of a failed Dodger’s stadium scoreboard marriage proposal and a rebound relationship with all its twists and turns!

RED, WHITE & ROYAL BLUE by Casey McQuiston

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Is there anything better than an enemies-to-lovers trope in a story? Nope, unless it includes a fake relationship that turns into something more…which this one totally does. McQuiston’s debut novel, out on May 14th, tells the story of what happens when the son of the American President falls in love with the Prince of Wales. Big-hearted and a lot of fun, be sure to check this one out when it’s released!

Want to talk about all these amazing new releases with someone? Start swiping on Hey! VINA and find someone to start a book club with!

TABOO TOPIC TUESDAY: THERAPY

Mental health is still a tricky subject, and there are many people who still think that going to therapy is somehow shameful or something to hide. No way! Therapy and counseling are amazing resources that can be used to your advantage.

Here are just a few things to know about therapy, if you’ve been on the fence about using its resources.

IT HELPS TO TALK IT OUT.

Talk therapy can be incredibly beneficial when it comes to discussing your mental health or anything that’s on your mind. Sometimes, we have clear ideas of how we’re feeling in our head, but when we articulate it into words, it turns out that there’s a completely different reason for why we’re in a funk.

YOUR THERAPIST PROVIDES AN OUTSIDE PERSPECTIVE.

Sometimes you need someone completely removed from your life and from the subject that’s bothering you to give you some help. Outside perspectives allow you to see things in a way that maybe you wouldn’t have before, and it can be super helpful if you’re spending too much time in your head or you’re in a close relationship with someone that’s causing you problems.

THERAPISTS WILL GIVE YOU WAYS TO COPE.

One of the main things that therapists do is provide coping mechanisms so you can enact healthy ways of dealing with mental health hiccups (or even just a bad day) when you’re not in your therapist’s office. If you can use these coping mechanisms to your advantage, you’ll hopefully be able to learn more about yourself and what works for you.

IT HELPS TO KNOW YOU’RE NOT ALONE.

Just talking to someone and having them provide legitimacy for whatever is bothering you can be a huge weight off your chest. Therapists or counselors will validate the fact that, yes, you’re going through something…and they’ll help you think of ways to combat those feelings.

YOU’LL HAVE TO WORK AT IT, TOO.

Your therapist isn’t there to solve your problems; they are there to help you find ways to work through your problems so when they inevitably rear their head again, you’ll be prepared. It will take work on your part to enact healthy coping mechanisms and practice getting to know what works for you.

Here at Hey! VINA, we’re strong advocates of doing whatever you need to do to ensure that you are your best self.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, SANDRA DAY O’CONNOR! 8 FACTS TO CELEBRATE THIS TRAILBLAZER

Sandra Day O’Connor turns 89 today! The former Supreme Court Justice has a lot to celebrate this year, and here’s a few reasons why you should throw a little party for her, too.

Image via Wikipedia.

SHE GRADUATED FROM STANFORD 

She was one of four women in her class at Stanford’s law school, and said that she had no idea how hard it would be to hold a career as a female lawyer. Despite that, she still graduated third in her entire class!

SHE WAS THE FIRST FEMALE SUPREME COURT JUSTICE OF THE U.S. 

When O’Connor was sworn in on September 25th, 1981, she was the first woman to ever hold a Supreme Court seat! Three other women have followed: Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan.

SHE WAS KNOWN FOR HER ANALYTICAL APPROACH TO SUPREME COURT CASES 

O’Connor was methodical and practical when it came to her decisions on cases, such as Mississippi University for Women v. Hogan in 1982 and Planned Parenthood v. Casey in 1992.

SHE DOESN’T LIKE BEING CALLED A “SWING VOTE” 

O’Connor ended up casting the determining vote in many high-profile Supreme Court decisions, many of which touched on abortion, affirmative action, and other contentious topics. However, she wants it to be known that she doesn’t like the term “swing vote,” because she doesn’t think justices “swing” back and forth on issues — they make decisions based on legal principles.

SHE DEALT WITH HUGE INVASIONS OF PRIVACY AS THE ONLY WOMAN ON THE SUPREME COURT 

O’Connor mentions that she was the subject of “intense scrutiny” because of her position on the court, saying that people went so far as to dig through her garbage and do whatever it took to get access to her private thoughts. She also said that this didn’t change until Ruth Bader Ginsburg (another amazing vina) joined the court in 1993 — and O’Connor was kind enough to show her the ropes.

SHE KNEW HOW TO HAVE FUN 

It’s hard to be a justice, and O’Connor made sure she found some time to do her own thing. She liked to play golf and tennis, and she also used to spend time with her clerks by having picnics with them!

SHE’S STARTED HER OWN NONPROFIT 

After O’Connor retired from the Supreme Court, she founded iCivics, which is an organization that is used to teach students about the government and encourage their participation in civic duties. She considers it to be her greatest legacy!

NO MATTER WHAT, SHE’S PAVED THE WAY FOR A MORE WOMAN-CENTRIC SUPREME COURT 

From left to right: O’Connor, Sotomayor, Ginsburg, and Kagan. Image via Wikipedia.

Thanks to O’Connor, it’s no longer a first for women to be Supreme Court Justices. Her legacy will live on for generations, and hopefully inspire lots of young women to follow their dreams and become Justices. Here’s to many more to come!

Sandra Day O’Connor is all about empowerment, and so are we here at Hey! VINA!

FEARLESS FEMME FRIDAYS: 5 KICKASS WOMEN IN THE NEWS

Another week means another dose of amazing women to celebrate! We’re so here for all the amazing ladies in the news this week.

LILLY SINGH

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Late night TV just got better. Lilly Singh (otherwise known as IISuperwomanII on YouTube) announced that she’s going to be hosting her own late night show, A Little Late with Lilly Singh! She will be replacing Carson Daly’s show — Last Call with Carson Daly — making her the first woman to have her own show among the current line-up of late night hosts. We can’t wait to tune in!

KAREN KESKULLA UHLENBECK

Image source via Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters.

Uhlenbeck is an American professor and mathematician, currently teaching at the University of Texas at Austin. The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters announced last Tuesday that she would be the recipient of the Abel Prize, seen by many as the Nobel Prize of mathematics, making her the first woman to ever receive the prize!

JACINDA ARNDERN

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After the horrific terrorist attack in Christchurch, New Zealand, Prime Minister Jacinda Arndern made the pledge to immediately change New Zealand’s gun laws just six days after the attack. Fast action is key in these types of situations, and we applaud Arndern for making a decision that will prevent these attacks from happening again in the future.

LESLEY REGAN

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Lesley Regan, one of the United Kingdom’s top gynocologists (who is also a professor!) has announced that she will be co-chairing a women’s health task force with government minister Jackie Doyle-Price. This aims to help women and girls receive the help and care they need — particularly with their reproductive health. In an article for The Guardian, she says, “In an ideal world, ‘an adolescent girl can go along to a well-woman clinic, facility or shop and she can access her smear, her contraceptive advice, she will get very simple, preferably infographic, information about what she needs to do to prepare herself to have safe sex and when she wants to get pregnant to have the best possible outcome for her pregnancy.'” Way to go, Dr. Regan!

MEGHAN MARKLE

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Meghan Markle, now Duchess of Sussex since her marriage to Prince Harry last May, gave a powerful speech on International Women’s Day where she spoke about gender, feminism, and menstruation. It was her first public unscripted appearance since her wedding, and she spoke as openly as she could about the issues that she felt were pressing to women and girls everywhere. In an interview for the New York Times, journalist Anne McElvoy says in regard to Markle’s activism compared with the history of the royal family, “I think she has kind of moved the dial. I think the rewards now very clearly outweigh the risks.” We love to see Markle changing the norms and we hope she continues to do so!

Find your own group of fearless ladies using Hey! VINA today!

TABOO TOPIC TUESDAY: GAP YEARS

It often feels like there’s a huge pressure for just-graduated high school seniors to rush right off to college to immediately continue the next phase of their educational life. However, after twelve years of education, the desire to drop tons of money just for four more years of school might sound truly dreadful.

However, more recently, gap years — a year off between high school and starting college — have become increasingly more prevalent and may even be healthier in the long run for students about to begin four years of higher education.

Here are a few reasons to consider taking a gap year.

IT CAN GIVE YOU A BREAK

Twelve years of school (in a row) is a lot! High school especially can be draining both physically and mentally, and there’s no shame in recognizing that maybe college isn’t the right place for you right now. A year off can give you time to rest, recuperate, and prepare for the next phase of your lfie.

IT CAN GIVE YOU A CHANCE TO EARN SOME MONEY

This might be a shocker, but college is expensive. Sometimes it just isn’t economically feasible to jump right into something that might cost you many thousands of dollars. Scholarships and financial aid are great, but if taking a year off to work and earn some money is the best way to ensure you’ll have a healthier and happier college environment, that might be the way to go.

IT CAN GIVE YOU OPPORTUNITIES TO TRAVEL

This, of course, depends on money and funds — you definitely shouldn’t take a gap year just to go into debt. However, some schools actually offer gap years where you get the opportunity to defer your acceptance and travel in the school’s name. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has a prestigious Global Gap Year fellowship that allows the student to travel anywhere they want with a stipend given to them by the school.

IT CAN GIVE YOU SOME BREATHING ROOM

It can be tricky to learn who you are, what you love, and what you want to do for the rest of your life when you’re surrounded by four walls and mandated rules by an education system. Taking a gap year means that, at least on some level, you have a chance to focus on you. Maybe you learn that college in general just isn’t for you. That’s okay. Maybe you learn that all that free time makes you antsy, and you can’t wait to get back into the classroom. That’s also fine! It might be beneficial to take a year and figure out what it is you want before you jump right back into a rigorous academic setting.

With Hey! VINA, you can find vinas all over the globe, traveling on a gap year or not!

FEARLESS FEMME FRIDAYS: BADASS WOMEN IN THE NEWS

A new week means a new round-up of kickass ladies to celebrate. From the Oscars to the open seas, take some inspiration from some incredible women making headlines. And here’s a bonus: we’ve gathered seven awesome women to cheer for this week! Score.

MELISSA BERTON & RAYNA ZEHTABCHI 

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Berton and Zehtabchi (producer and director, respectively) won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Short for their film Period. End of Sentence. The documentary focuses on the taboos surrounding menstruation in a rural village near Delhi, India, and discusses how the stigma still surrounding periods prevent young girls from receiving appropriate sanitary products and result in having to drop out of school. Berton said that because of the film’s nomination, their team has received tons of requests to install sanitary pad machines in various communities across the world, with the help of a non-profit called “The Pad Project,” which you can learn more about here.

SERENA WILLIAMS

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In addition to being an incredible tennis player, Serena Williams is also a fierce advocate for equality. In a new Nike ad, featuring all women, aired during the Oscars and Williams narrates a list of all the adjectives women are called to undermine their passion: hysterical, irrational, crazy, etc. Williams urges young women to go out and find their voice, regardless of what anyone says about them.

KATE McCUE

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Kate McCue became the first American woman to captain a cruise ship in 2015, and beginning later this year, will sail a billion-dollar ship (the Celebrity Edge) designed entirely by women. In an interview with The New York Times, she talks about how she knew she wanted to sail cruise ships since she was 12 years old, and eventually worked her way up from working on banana boats to working on a Disney cruise as a third mate, where she climbed the ranks from 2003 to 2015. Read more about McCue here.

ILHAN OMAR

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The 119th Congressional committee is the most diverse it’s ever been. Ilhan Omar, one of first two Muslim women ever elected to Congress, spoke to Rolling Stone about what her first experiences in the United States (she immigrated when she was 12) and what it feels like to now represent her country during a contentious political climate. She discusses the importance of advocating for people like herself, as well as the necessity of owning up to her mistakes. Read the interview here!

 

HANNAH BEACHLER & RUTH E. CARTER

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These two women made history at the Academy Awards last Sunday when they won Oscars for Production Design and Costume Design, respectfully, for their work on the Marvel hit Black Panther. They each became the first African-American women to win awards in their category, as well the first African-American women to win in a non-acting category since 1984! Their contributions allowed Black Panther to be an authentic and beautiful film that will live on in history.

Want to meet some badass ladies of your own? Check out the Hey! VINA app today and start swiping!

WHAT TO KNOW BEFORE COMING OUT AS LGBTQ+

Coming out as LGBTQ+ to friends and family (or anybody, really) can be super nerve-wracking and scary. It can be tough to be vulnerable and tell people about yourself without knowing how they are going to react. It can also feel like there’s a lot of pressure to tell people, or just to “get it over with.” There’s no need to rush it — after all, it’s a big step, and you deserve to feel comfortable with your decision.

You should come out at your own pace. In fact, it’s totally your decision whether or not you want to come out at all — you don’t owe it to anyone! You know yourself best. This isn’t a list of things you have to do, either — just a few tips and tricks from someone who has been there before.

Make sure your safety comes first. If you’re in a position where telling friends, family, colleagues, or people important to you will end up being harmful, it’s okay to wait. Prioritizing your mental health and safety is always priority number one. It can be hard to keep things from people you care about, but if you think their reaction will be detrimental to you in any way, you’re allowed to take a step back.

Remember that you’ve lived with this for much longer than the people you’re telling. Sometimes it can feel hurtful when people you’ve come out to tell you that they “need some time to process,” or any variation of the sort. It doesn’t always mean that they aren’t accepting! Remember — you’ve known this about yourself for a long time and you’ve had time to embrace it. If the people you’re coming out to have no idea that it’s coming, it’s natural that they might feel a little shell-shocked. They really, truly might just need a minute or two in order to let what you’ve told them sink in. It’s a big deal! There’s no need to rush it.

Let people ask respectful questions. If your friends or family have questions, that’s okay. Sometimes people who are unfamiliar with the LGBTQ+ community will have a lot of them; it usually just means they’re trying to get to know this part of you better. As long as the questions aren’t intrusive or rude and you feel comfortable answering them, it might put both you and the asker at ease.

You don’t have to have a label. Maybe you’re just figuring things out and don’t know what to “call yourself.” That’s cool! Sexuality is fluid and you don’t have to have all the answers right away. Leaving things open can reduce some of the pressure, and it gives you some more opportunities to get to know who you’re into.

Some people aren’t going to get it. And that’s okay. Despite how far we’ve progressed (it’s 2019, after all — at this point, it shouldn’t even be a thing!), some people won’t understand and won’t try to understand. This is hard, but it doesn’t change the fact that you’re completely awesome and brave for being vulnerable enough to share it with someone. Their opinion doesn’t negate your identity.

Finally, you’re valid in who you are. You can be who you want, love who you want, and dress how you want. No matter what people’s reactions are, remember that you’re full of incredible courage and completely awesome.

Be sure to check out Hey! VINA to find other amazing vinas in the LGBTQ+  community!