Eliza Romero - Blogger, Writer, Podcast Host, Aesthetic Distance
Eliza Romero began blogging in 2014 and has since created a multi faceted career. Her blog produces fashion editorials along side her opinions on pop culture, race related issues and activism. She’s co-hosted podcasts, hosted the Charm City Night Market and Katipunan’s Filipino Fiesta, moderated panels, and is the Public Relations Officer of Katipunan of Maryland. Eliza is about community involvement, creating her own content, and has launched her own podcast this month!
Website and social media:
I am a blogger, pop culture writer, podcast host, and the founder of Aesthetic Distance. I am also the Public Relations Officer for the Katipunan of Maryland, which is the oldest Filipino cultural association in the state. My parents were highly involved in it and I grew up with it. Now that I have kids of my own, I love being able to share our work and philosophy with them. I manage all of their social media accounts and am one of the co-founders of the Filipino Cultural School for children. I also re-established the Katipunan book club.
How did you begin blogging and create your career?
I started blogging back in 2014 on Tumblr, before I knew how to create my own website. I can't even remember what my first blog post was. It was probably some generic, get-to-know-me type of post. Not my best work but everyone has to start somewhere! In 2015, I finally got my own website and domain name and established a regular publishing schedule and in early 2017 my blog really took off. Around that time, I started podcasting too and fell in love with the medium.
Was incorporating pop culture, race, Asian American identity, activism in your blog important and something you always wanted to do? And how was it received?
It's something I was always interested in and when I couldn't find anyone who was making the kind of content I wanted to see, I just made my own. At first, people were really surprised because some of the stuff I wrote and talked about was pretty controversial. People weren't used to seeing that on a fashion blog. But it got people talking, which was always a goal of mine.
What is the biggest challenge in the work you do?
There is never enough time for everything! Every week I record and edit a new podcast, I write a new blog post and I have to create photo and video content for my Instagram. And then there are all my responsibilities for the Katipunan!
How important is representation and diversity in your work?
It's a top priority for me.
How did you get involved in Charm City Night Market, book festivals, and Katipunan of Maryland?
I got involved with the Charm City Night Market when Stephanie Hsu, the founder of the Chinatown Collective, reached out to me and invited me to host their first event, a night market festival in downtown Baltimore. We got along really well and enjoyed working with each other and I was asked to host their second event at Center Stage Baltimore too.
CityLit Project saw me on Buzzfeed News' live morning show, AM2DM, when I talked about the importance of Asian authors and Crazy Rich Asians. They asked me to curate and moderate the first all-Asian panel at the Baltimore Book Festival this year, which I ended up doing. The topic I chose was "Where are all the Asian beach reads?" and it was one of the most attended panels at the festival. I'm going to be curating and moderating another panel at the CityLit Festival in April 2019. This time we're going to discuss redefining the classics and required reading for Asian Americans and who belongs in the Asian American literary canon.
I grew up in the Katipunan. My mom was a former president and my family's social circle was heavily involved in the organization. After my blog started getting more and more attention, the board of directors invited me to run for Public Relations Officer, which I did. I'm in my second term now and love it. We've rebranded the organization in the past few years because the new generation of members uses it differently than the old one, which was primarily made up of first generation immigrants. It's much more of a cultural organization than a social one now and we focus more on connecting people to the language, language and history of our homeland.
What is your favorite content to create? Some of your favorite projects?
Nothing makes me prouder than publishing an article or a really great podcast! I've been doing more video lately too and I love all the collaboration that goes into it. Over the summer, I had a small role in this Crazy Rich Asians parody video that my friends, Krewksi, filmed.
What are some goals you want to accomplish through your work?
I want to help establish a strong community for Filipino Americans and other Asian Americans. We've spent a lot of time trying to assimilate into mainstream white society and not enough time trying to build our own youth culture and unique identity as Americans. I hope to help change that for the next generation.
Please describe your biggest driving force?
Filipino pride has always been my biggest driving force.
Do you have any projects, events coming up that you are excited about?
My very own podcast launches on December 1st! After co-hosting two other podcast shows in the past two years, I'm finally putting on my own weekly show where I can talk about whatever I want. I've been planning for this launch for about six months now and everyone behind the scenes has put in so much work. I'm not focusing solely on Asian American and Fil-Am issues; but we'll be talking about those issues ostensibly through pop culture, current events, entertainment, politics, you name it. And all through an Asian American lens. You can listen to the trailer here.
Photos courtesy of Eliza Romero