Interview by Visual Collaborative
March 2020 9 min read
Diana Escalera is a wellness consultant, author, dancer, and storyteller among the many hats she wears. As a woman of color, she uses her gifts to assist the community and people of similar backgrounds. As a feature in our TwentyEightyFour interview series, Diana talks to us about her art, upbringing, and views as an American creative Eye Survived. She also touches on her transition from Brooklyn, New York to her current residence in Baltimore.
(VC) You grew up in Brooklyn, New York which has its own kind of energy and culture. What do you remember about your time there, comparing it to where you reside now in Baltimore?
(Diana) Brooklyn has a reputation of using survival tactics to push past the struggle that is faced on a day to day basis. Growing up in Brooklyn, New York I remember having to have a hard heart as a child. Tough love in our community was our way of living however it taught us to overcome every and any battle life can throw at us. I remember walking through Park Slope which is in Brooklyn and seeing friendly neighbors walking their dogs, smiling and it seems as if peace lived there. Then walk a few blocks down, the energy shifts and now I’m back in the atmosphere of the “HOOD” where survival tactics are now active. Baltimore is the same for me. The toughness yet the love is strong in Baltimore. How two different worlds exist within blocks of each other and yet the mentality of it all is the same for Brooklyn. Brooklyn and Baltimore live a BEAUTY and The BEAST kind of story and that’s why I chose to live here because Baltimore reminds me of my first home – Brooklyn.
(VC) In your quiet or noisy moments, how do you get inspired? What makes you create the work you do. Are you religious or psychological like many creatives for muses?
(Diana) Honestly, whether I am in my quiet or noisy moment, my inspiration always comes from listening. I practice Spiritual Listening every chance I get. To stay silent and still has caused me to pull my inspiration from conversations, music, observing social media, hearing stories and even in nature. My experiences in life have been so overwhelming to the point where life has sat me down and taught me the benefits of listening. That all answers are already displayed in your life if you listen to what’s given to you. I never had the urge to repeat the problem many of us face only to help those seek answers within themselves I don’t have a specific category beside being a “free-spirited sunflower” that defines how I define life and where my creativity stems from. I usually tell people I am all religions in the sense of having the ability to learn from all religious and non-religious practices. Love is written in EVERY religion and non-religion beliefs. That is my core. To be my truest self with no class or group pinned to me and to create from love- always, even during the darkest of moments. “Light does not live without dark”.
I encourage every sunflower to stand in their truth no matter what and to remove that button on their voice because once America knows you are out here making a difference, there will be thousands of other women searching for someone who shows them that fear is a mere illusion
(VC) As a black woman in America, who is well in the trenches of living life through storytelling, what do you tell the aspiring young woman or an entrepreneur about success and business risk?
(Diana) As a black woman who is Latin and has had relationships with men and women in America, I have had many hardships and risks against me. I’ve always taught young women that once we are born, we are considered two things in this world: To carry the population of mankind and to have a volume button on our voices. The gift and the curse. Now adding success to our business can be considered a threat in America due to changing the narrative of old history. I encourage every sunflower to stand in their truth no matter what and to remove that button on their voice because once America knows you are out here making a difference, there will be thousands of other women searching for someone who shows them that fear is a mere illusion. I give them tough love advice on the hardships they may face such as hearing the word “No” more than “Yes”. There can be lots of decline in business collaborations and the reality of how the shades of your black skin can determine the process of your success. There is a great need to show how strong and necessary a black woman is in America, not just emotionally, but spiritually, mentally and physically. “Success isn’t about how much money you make, its about the difference you make in people’s lives”-Michelle Obama. In this case, seeing a black woman in America with a successful business gives other black women the hope of changing the statistics of black people seeing themselves as minorities.
Photo courtesy of Eye Survived
(VC) As a creative with a coaching perspective, how has the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic affected your engagement with life as it relates to your collaboration?
(Diana) As a creative, my heart goes out to other creatives in this time of need, due to the fact of limitation on contact with other people. Now having a coaching perspective, COVID-19, in my opinion, is another “obstacle” in life and just like all obstacles you always find another way around the problem to get to the solution. Collaboration is basically getting connected with people to bring an important vision to life for a purposeful cause. It reminds me of when the internet didn’t exist or when social media first began. It creates more of an emotional, personal energy for each other whereas we find any way to still connect. To get back to humanity is what my life revolves around. I have made more calls to my family and friends than when I was caught up being busy 24/7. I have seen more humane gestures in supermarkets and gas stations than I have ever seen in the past year. This pandemic affected my life in a strong sense of unity, communion, and village. Many artists, entrepreneurs, and creatives have contacted me to do virtual classes or just to check-in and that’s what we need during this time. In a financial sense, our motto in my village is #wealleat. There is more than enough to go around so together we stand so no one is left out. During this time, my mission is to spread that wisdom to as many people I can, so faith will not be lost.
in Self-awareness, there will be moments where you find out that the perception of your reality is an illusion formed by everyone else’s reality
(VC) What does Self Awareness mean to Diana?
(Diana) To be aware of 3 things: Your conscious, subconscious and unconscious mind. These three are developed by your environment from the time you were born to the time you leave this world. Having self-awareness will give you a deeper understanding of your character, your boundaries and your spirit. Self-awareness is not to be looked at as a diet of some sort, or a routine, or a checklist. It’s a way of life. To understand who you are before the world tells you who you are. To hold yourself accountable and to understand the only control you have is self and the reaction to anything outside of you. Everything else is already destined and aligned whether you deem it good, bad or ugly. To practice detoxing your emotions rather than controlling them. When living in Self-awareness, there will be moments where you find out that the perception of your reality is an illusion formed by everyone else’s reality. Your mission is to get back to the inner child in you.
Photo courtesy of Eye Survived
(VC) At this stage of your public milestone and accomplishments, if you can collaborate with any creative or public figure, who will it be and why?
(Diana) I will love to Collaborate with Raven Paris, a speaker, host and influencer, Michelle Antoinette (LovethePoet) and Jada Pinkett Smith. I feel connected spiritually with these women specifically. These Queens come from a background of life struggles and each woman showed bravery in exposing their vulnerability to the public during their journey of success. From the genuine attitude of helping others to become the voice of what a Black successful woman looks like in America, they have helped build a strength in me I once thought I never had. They don’t know how much they inspired me personally and being able to collab with them to continue to create a difference in this world for other brown and black people will mean the world to me. Now if Jada contacts me, I will pass out then wake up ready to work! [Laughing out loud] Raven Paris has my spunky, light up the room energy, Michelle has this strong presence of “I am here and I am not leaving” vibe that just define who I am 100% and Jada Pinkett Smith is my alter ego. I will be forever grateful to collab with any of these women.
(VC) What kind of commercial or personal work can the world expect from Diana Escalera within the next 12 months?
(Diana) My B.O.S.S MOVEMENT (women networking series) in the next year will be across states. B.O.S.S. (Breaking.Our.Sisters.Silence) is about living in your truth out loud as a woman in this world. To uncover your story and voice who you are. There will be a co-ed edition in June for our men as well. I am also a fitness dance instructor, so virtual videos for “EN3RGIZED MOVEMENTS” will be out soon added to my group and one on one dance/workout classes.