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Star Amerasu, part 2

Nia: You said you were able to get into a transitional housing program and then how
were you able to find employment again?
Star: So I went into Larkin Street Housing and I went into this housing program called
Castro Youth Housing initiative. It was for queer youth 18 to 25, 26 or something like
that. I was living in the Castro on Market Street in the SRO. They pay for it and then you
pay. You give them part of your income and they put it in a savings account for you,
which is really nice. So I was doing that.
Nia: And your income, at this point, was still coming from sex work?
Star: It was part sex work. We got gift cards so while I waswhen I first was living in
SROs and I lost my job I then was able to stay with a friend's ex-boyfriends dad in the
Castro in his house for a month, which was really nice. And within that month I was able
to get another canvassing job on the phone. And so I was actually working part-time on
the phone. And that was like 20 hours a week. But we couldn't do full-time because there
was no full-time available. So I had a job, but I was making exactly like 200 dollars a
week and so my SRO was 200 dollars a week. And so I was just trying to make ends
meet. And I was asking my mom and she couldn't afford to help me. Eventually I got on
the waiting list for the homeless shelter, the youth shelter. After being on the waiting list
for like a month and then I was this close. I was like a week away from having to be on
the street for a week or something. And then I got my bed in the shelter, which was
perfect timing.
Nia: Yeah.
Star: And then I got into the housing program. And then I was working doing the phone
canvassing for a while and then I was going to have surgery in 2013. And so I quit the job
because I didn't necessarily have to be working to be in the housing program. So thats
when I was like "Oh this is perfect. I can quit my job right now and I can heal from
surgery." And then after I was feeling healed they built that Whole Foods in the Castro.
They were building it while I was in the housing program. And then before it opened they
had a big job fair at the LGBT Center. And so then I got hired at Whole Foods. So then I
got a job working there, which was much better to me than canvassing. I vowed I will
never canvas again. I've told myself that because of just like how hard it is. So I got a job
working at Whole Foods and that was when I was 21? No, I was 20. I was 20.
Nia: How did you end up in Oakland? What happened between where your story ended
and now?
Star: I started doing art projects
Nia: Thats the other thing I wanted to ask. Well, okay, so I'm going to go back a bit.
Were you always creative? Were you doing art when you were growing up?

Star: So I went to this fine arts academy in high school. I feel like I've lived so much life
from like high school till now. It feels like this intense thing, but I graduated high school
when I was 17. I skipped a grade. So I went to community college for a year in Austin
and then I actually applied to this college for musical theatre, Cornish College of the Arts
in Seattle. And so I went there for a semester, but I got really depressed in Seattle and I
dropped out. I went back to Austin and thats when the transition stuff happened and the
roommate and all of that.
So that happened, right? But musical theatre was like my passion and I wanted to get a
degree in it. And then I transitioned and I felt like I couldn't go back. So musical theatre,
first off, we call it Broadway. Sometimes the great white way and then its not gender
inclusive. Its like men are playing male roles or they're playing womens roles. And its
like funny with their playing women roles but there's no space. There's very few trans
characters in theatre in general and that was the thing. So when I got here to the bay I was
in San Francisco and I wasn't doing any sort of art for the first year.
And then Annie Danger put out this call for performers to be in this thing called The
Fully Functional Cabaret. And that was in 2012 and then I saw it - someone sent me the
email - and I was like, "okay." And then I did a Doodle, or maybe it was even like a
Survey Monkey back when people did those instead of Google whatever. I did one of
those and then I got in contact with Annie and then I was in. And I got in and I was like,
"Okay I'm going to do this." And so then I was part of that.
And I think that really opened the door for me for getting involved in the

Bay Area queer art scene. Because I was in this piece and it was a very emotional piece.
And I was a part of this like little community and then other people were like, "Oh, this
young Black trans woman is doing art." And I think thats something thats really
interesting, if you think about the Bay Area arts scene as it is, there are not very many
Black trans women creating art.
Nia: At least not getting supported, getting funding.
Star: But I mean in general. Even in 2012, I was like, "Where are all the Black trans
women at?" And I didn't feel like I was seeing myself reflected. I still don't really feel like
I'm seeing myself reflected. But, there was door opened and I stepped through the door
and then, after 2012, after doing that, I just got a lot of different art opportunities in the
Bay. And so then I was able to grow as an artist. Queer Rebels also got me in. There was
like 14 Black Poppies, which is this nonprofit that worked with youth in the city and they
got me involved in creating with them. And so I was just like, you know. I met these
people and networking and these people were asking me to do stuff and I just started
creating and being able to create.
Nia: Awesome. And then I would imagine one of the things we talk a lot about on the
podcast is trying to balance like How do you make art when so much energy has to be
spent on just surviving economically? And I would guess that when you were in and out
of shelters and SROs and experiencing homelessness that was not a time when you were
able to create a lot?
Star: No I didn't create at all. I think thats also the thing. Its like I didn't get into Annie's
piece until I was in the shelter. And I was like "Okay, I have this bed. I know where I'm
sleeping every night." I was also working at the same time. It was interesting because the
whole time I was in that piece I was living a homeless shelter. I think back on it and like
no one was like "Hey Star, you're staying in the homeless shelter. Why don't you stay in
our house instead."
Nia: Did they know that you were staying there?
Star: Yeah. I think thats really interesting, actually, of like the Bay. I didn't get an offer
to sublet someone's room until after the play was over and people like saw me in this way
of like being really vulnerable on stage. And then they were like "Oh, we're like looking
for someone to sublet a room. You can sublet the room." And then I was like "Okay, I'll
sublet this room for a month while I wait for my transitional housing program, which is
going to give me my own place to stay for like 2 years for free basically." But it was
interesting. I was in this homeless shelter and living in this homeless shelter and then
trying to create art, which was a really hard line to straddle, I feel.
Nia: Yeah, I would imagine.
Star: I didn't have a good sense of community here in the queer scene

Nia: Did you know anyone when you moved here?


Star: I didn't know anyone here. And then I made friends from work and those were most
of my friends. And then I had a friend who was going to Cornish with me, who was from
here, who ended up dropping out of Cornish and coming back. She was my one real
friend here. But I made lots of friends from working and just being around the city. And
then after living in the homeless shelter I made likeI have friends who I'm still friends
with from living in the shelter together. I think that bonded us for life because it was a
really interesting experience.
Nia: Do you want to talk at all about dropping out of Cornish?
Star: Yeah I dropped out becausefor a few reasons. It was like I went to the school that
was a lot of money and I couldnt afford to pay to live in the dorms. So I was living in a
shed in someone's backyard that I was renting. Because I was having to pay rent and
because I didnt have an eating plan or any of the plans. So tuition was just all that was
paid for. So then I had to finance eating. So I got on food stamps and I was working and I
had to be working really hard and it was a really intense art program. So it was really
hard for me to work a job and work at school and devote my time fully. And then at the
same time I was frustrated with the program that I was in. Because it was a musical
theatre program, but it was mostly theatre. And I was really missing the music aspect of
it. And they told us

that we wouldnt really get to sing or do that part until second semester.

Star: And so I started auditioning for professional shows and then I started getting casted
in shows and then all of this was happening at the same time as I was feeling depressed
from being in Seattle, and then feeling depressed about gender stuff. So then I just sort of
was like, "I think I'm going to leave school." And then I told my mom that and she was
like, "Okay." And this was when I was 18 and I was like, "I'm just going to leave." And I
just left. I was like, "I can't be in Seattle anymore." And I went to Austin. And thats
where the story started with the roommate and all of that.
Nia: Okay, so lets go back to where it left off.
Star: Yeah, I'm sorry its like so much.
Nia: No no no. Its cool. I feel like I'm the one who keeps making us jump around. So you
were working at Whole Foods in the city and then what happened between then and now?
Star: So this is 2013.
Nia: Okay.
Star: October 2013 I get hired at the Whole Foods. And then what was it?
Nia: [laughter] I am asking how you got from there to here.
Star: To now. What happened in between. So the past 3 years.
Nia: Right, because you don't live in the city or work at Whole Foods anymore.
Star: I dont live in the city and I don't work at Whole foods anymore. 2014, so I worked
at whole foods for like a year, almost.
Nia: And was living in
Star: And I'm in the SRO
Nia: That was paid for.
Star: That was paid for. I'm in the transitional housing program. I'm like 6 months from
the end of my two years. Because I got into the program in 2012. And then its 2014, and I
had been performing around. I had done lots of National Queer Arts Festival things. I was
like, "Mmm, I'm feeling my effervescence of my puss. I'm like, Yes I'm young." This is
before the young hip millenial thing had come to my mind. I'm young I'm like "Okay,
whats next?" I was over San Francisco already by this point. I was working at Whole
Foods. Because that Whole Foods I saw the Castro change because I was there in 2012
through 2014. In like 2 years time theres a Whole Foods now. And on top of the Whole
Foods there's these Lux apartments that are being rented. I think the most expensive one

was like 8000 dollars a month or something wild. And then all of these condos are getting
built. All these things are getting torn out. All these people are getting evicted. And I was
just like, "I hate San Francisco. Its gross. I hate everyone that comes to this Whole
Foods."
The only thing about working at Whole Foods I liked was the camaraderie of opening the
store and having friends who like, "Oh we've all opened the store together so we're all
friends." And I had friends from the housing program that got hired as well. So we were
all friends. They really wanted to hire people in the community so a lot of us got jobs in
different departments who were formerly homeless and in these different programs. But
then I just was like, "Uh, I don't like being in the city." And I was like, "I'm just going to
move to New York." And that was almost at the end of my housing program, so I was
going to get a lump sum, like a check. Because I had been saving. It was like you put in
money. I didnt save as much as I probably could have, but I saved some. So I had like
3000 dollars that was going to be coming to me. So I was like, "Either I'm getting plastic
surgery or I'm going to move."

This was before I think there's something about, for me, Oakland. I never thought
about moving to Oakland and I had friends that had lived in Oakland. But, I wasn't ready
to move to Oakland. And I think a lot of people, a lot of

The first wave of gentrification of Oakland was like the queers that came over from San
Francisco. And I wasn't ready to be a part of that wave.
I was like "I'm going to go to New York." And this was in 2014. I just moved. I moved to
New York. And this was a weird time. I was like "Okay, I'm going to move to New York."
But I didn't realize New York was like way harder to handle. And I actually transferred
Whole Foods jobs. So I kept my job. And then I was getting paid less though. So I was
getting paid twelve dollars an hour. And then I actually had to pay rent and it was 850
dollars a month for a room in Brooklyn. And I was just like, "Whaaat? Its just so
expensive. So I was paying that much and then I got another job, so I was working two
jobs. And then I got cast in someone's play for this theatre festival and I was feeling like I
was living my best life, but I was really stressed out about money.
And then at the same time, around that time I'd been contacted right before Id moved to
New York, by StormMiguel Florez and Annalise Ophelian to compose a score for the
Major film. So I got contacted about that in like 2013 and I started composing pieces. So
we had scheduled our first recording session for November of 2014 and Id already
moved at this point. But then I was too stressed, so I only lasted in New York like 3
months. I moved the end of July/August and I left in November. And then my friend in
Portland was like "Oh, you can come stay with me for free." And so I moved from New
York to Portland after three months of being in New York. And then in Portland I was
working at Capital One Bank. I had this weird 10 months where I was going through this
weird transitional like, "What am I going to do? I'm out of this housing program. Now
I'm like working again and I have to use my money to pay my own rent. And like what
am I going to do? So I was staying with my friend. And then Capital One was paying
coins. They paid $15.95 an hour. And it was Portland and this is the end of 2014.
Beginning of last year.
Nia: What were you doing there, like what was the job?
Star: It was fraud detection coordinator on the phones.
Nia: Okay.
Star: Which is really interesting. I don't know what I was going through. I was going
through something. So I just got a job and I was working. I was living with my friend,
one of my best friends
Nia: What did you actually do? Like how do you detect fraud over the phone? What does
that job involve?
Star: I can't talk about some of it, actually, because I signed like a confidentiality
Nia: Nondisclosure agreement?
Star: Yeah. You learn how credit card fraud is done and then you are basically calling

people to be like, "Was it you using your card today?" And then like how the system
knows that it wasn't them, I don't know. And then there's all these different things that we
have to go through, but that's basically it. So I was doing that. And I was doing that and I
was getting paid and it was full-time work. So At that time I had like I was there for 6
months I think, and then after the 3rd month I got my own place and I was paying rent.
Star: And then I bought music equipment. So a lot of the music I make right now is with
my looper pedal. So I bought a looper pedal and I bought all these things because I had
money to spend. And I was working and I created this whole body of work based on this
musicality that I was just learning because I got this looper pedal. And at the same time as
all of this I was really missing being in the Bay. So since I'd been gone from the Bay for
like 9 months, and I was making money. I bought a plane ticket to visit my friends and
then I was like, "Ah, I miss the Bay so much. I miss all my friends, but I don't want to
live in San Francisco." I was like, "Fuck San Francisco." Sorry I'm very anti
Nia: I feel the same way about San Francisco. I hate San Francisco.
Star: I like hate it. So then I was like okay, "Im going to go to Oakland. I have friends in
Oakland. Everyone's in

Oakland because we've all been priced out of the city. And now we're going to displace
the people of Oakland. Its such a weird thing how that happens with artists. Artists and
queers move to a place first and then it becomes cool and then everyone else wants to
move there - which I'm noticing in Oakland already right now - with this gentrification
that's happening. But, I decided I was going to leave Portland and I had been
Nia: It sounds like you had it so good in Portland. [laughter]
Star: It was nice but I hated the weather and I was depressed. It was just depressing to
me to be without the strong queer community because thats something. Also Portland is
just so white. And its like the queers are just super white. I was tired of being around a
bunch of white people all the time. It was good ass vegan food and like
Nia: Are you vegan?
Star: I am vegan.
Nia: Okay.
Star: Its really good vegan food and there's really good stuff going on. I like visiting
Portland, but I just couldn't live there. So then my friend who was working at the St.
James infirmary told me they were hiring. So I applied.
Nia: Before you moved?
Star: Before I moved. And then I interviewed. So I came to visit and I interviewed and I
gave them my notice to my other job. And because it was Capital One, you know, I had
paid time off. I had like 120 hours I could use. So I was using that to the max. Basically
toward the end I used up my PTO because I had worked there like 6 months so I had
accrued this and I used it. I was like, "bye." And then I moved back to the bay in June of
2015. So it'll be like a year that I've been back. But then I was doing the math also and I
was like, "For the past 7 months I've been out of the Bay for 4 months. Because I've
been traveling a lot.
Nia: I guess I'm trying to understand the trajectory of your career alongside the trajectory
of your survival. You've moved so much. How have you been able to like I mean you
talked about being able to build a body of work when you were in Portland. I dont know,
you're traveling all the time. You're getting so many gigs. How did you get to a place
where that was possible?
Star: I think my mom is very woo woo witchy woo. And she did this numerology thing
for me and she told me that cities that were bad for me were San Francisco and gave me a
list of cities that I probably shouldn't live in based on numerology. And then she write me
off a list of cities I should live in and Oakland was in the list. And San Francisco was in
the list of places I shouldn't live and Oakland was in the list of places I should live in for
manifesting or whatever. But I swear I moved to Oakland and all of these opportunities
that I already was sort of having Thats the thing is that I did Fresh Meat Festival and

stuff in 2014. And I've done lots of Queer Arts Festival things, but moving to Oakland
and having like my music that I'm doing, I just started doing shows and people were
really into the music I was making. I grew as an artist. I was in Portland and I bought this
looper pedal and I swear I was buying the looper pedal and then coming up with this like
looping style of music really took me to the next level.
And then I moved to Oakland and I was living in this house. And we had this free pile of
stuff. In the free pile was this electronic drum kit. And then I was like, "Oh, previously I
was doing a lot of my percussion sounds by beat-boxing into the mic or like tapping the
mic." So I found this little Yamaha drum kit and then I started playing with that in my
music. And then it was like, "Oh, well this sounds really cool." And then people were just
really into it. I think its just because of creating and having opportunities to perform
more and more people started being interested in it. And then I had decided that I wanted
to travel.
Also something that I think is part of it is like this fear of dying has really made me want
to travel a lot. Because I was thinking like, "Oh my god, I'm a trans woman of color."
Especially in the last 3 years there's just been so many Black trans girls being murdered
by their partners. So I was just like, Okay, well I guess I'm going to die pretty soon so I
should like travel. And I got my passport in New York for some reason. Oh, I remember
how this happened. A sugar daddy that I had Part of it has also been sex working like
this whole time. So this kind of sugar-

daddy type guy gave me money to buy a passport. So I got my passport in 2014 and I
didn't use it for a whole year. So I was like, "I have this fucking passport and I still
haven't used it." And then I was like, "Okay, I want to go to Canada." And while I was in
Portland and I had some expendable income I bought a ticket from the Bay to Canada.
This was like right before I had moved back. So it was like May. I bought a plane ticket
and it was only like 300 and something dollars.
Nia: To go to
Star: Montreal
Nia: Wow! From the Bay?
Star: Yeah, round trip. Every timeAlso I'm so good at finding cheap flights. Like thats
how I've been able to travel. And even flying this last time I flew from Montreal direct to
San Francisco for 185.00 one-way.
Nia: Thats nuts! I can't believebecause last year I went to Toronto and it cost me like
300 to 400 dollars to fly to Buffalo and then take the bus across the border.
Star: Oh, you should have just flown to Montreal
Nia: It was like 800 dollars. To go to Toronto it was 800. I didn't look at Montreal.
Star: Thats the secret. Fly through Montreal its cheaper. But even when I flew from
Portland, like recently flew to Portland from Toronto. Because I was playing shows in
Portland and I was just going to keep travelling. It was only like 200 something dollars
each way. But then I just flew one way and then I flew return. Thats something I do too
if I'm going to travel somewhere I'm going to be there for a while and make it so that I
can stay there and visit friends and build community. So in September of last year I just
sort of was like, "Okay, I'm going to go." And I bought plane tickets and I flew and I
ended up getting contact information from someone who books shows and they booked
me and they were like, "Oh we have a friend who does stuff." And
Nia: Are you talking about Canada or
Star: Canada. And then I jut got peoples contact information and I just ended up being
like, "Hey, I want to travel and I want to play a show here. Can I play a show?" And then
like Canada was really warm and welcoming and they're like, "Sure, you can play a
show." And then I got like a show in Toronto and a show in Ottowa and a show in
Montreal. And then I just went for 2 weeks and I travelled to those 3 cities and I played.
And everyone was like, "Oh, wow this Black trans woman is doing art in this way thats
really cool. We like her." So I had built some sort of like community. So when I was
wanting to go back in December I was able to book stuff again. And most recently when I
just went there this last month it was my 3rd time going now so it was even better. I got
more money more shows, workshops, all sorts of things because I've been there twice

before and people now know what I could do. So that was really nice.
Side note, I got paid from composing the music to Major. And that was how I was able to
afford to go to Europe. I bought those plane tickets. I got a check and I bought plane
tickets. Thats what I'll do. If I get a lump sum I'm just going to spend it. And usually I'll
like maybe spend it on food or fucking just partying or whatever. But this time I was like,
"Oh, I'm just going to buy plane tickets." Thats basically been what I've been doing is
being likeI think experiences are worth more than material things. And then so like I
dont really buy clothes. I get a lot of free clothes from piles of shit or like peoples handme-downs. I've really amassed this style that I've gotten from free clothes. I go shopping
sometimes, but I don't really spend my money on that. And I don't really buy lots of
things. I just travel. And I think thats my thing, is travelling. And think its also because
of moving a lot as a kid. I just wanted to travel.
Nia: Yeah
Star: Are we going too long?
Nia: No, no, no. We're almost at an hour so, I am going to try to sort of wrap it up, but I
want to talk to you more

about the economics of touring because I feel like you seem to have it figured out
[laughing]. I almost always lose money when I travel or like when I tour. So I'm really
interested in like

when you perform are you able to make back what you spend on the tickets and if so,
how are you able to do that?
Star: So when I went to Europe I bought my plane tickets 3 months in advance and I
only paid 200 and something 230 dollars to fly direct from Oakland to Stockholm.
Nia: What? [laughter] I need to have you book all my travel. I paid more than that to go
to Boston.
Star: I think the thing is having open dates right? I don't have no kids. I was working at
the same St. James Infirmary and they were very flexible. And at the same time I was
working on a project that was the Bad Date List and so a lot of the work that I was doing
was online work at the time. And we were developing an application. So it was stuff that I
didn't necessarily need to be in the office to do. So this last time I basically didn't work at
all. But the time before I was still doing some work so I was getting
Nia: So youre working while you're traveling?
Star: Yeah when I was traveling. So when I was travelling to Europe I was still checking
in and doing computer based work for St. James - maybe 10 hours a week or something
so not much - but it helped a little bit. But this last summer, basically, I just didnt work at
all because I was doing so much other performance work. But the economics of it for me
is like I usually pick dates where its no specificI will go on Priceline or whatever or
Ill go on the air-lines direct website and then I'll just go from day to day and see whats
cheapest. And sometimes you can save so much money just by doing that. Also Google
Flights sometimes shows you stuff thats cheaper. So I just buy cheap tickets and then I
was like, "Okay, for Europe I bought the tickets and then I booked the shows." And I
didn't really get paid much for the shows in Berlin I did. I did 2 shows in Berlin. One
show I didn't get paid at all because it was like a solidarity party for refugees. I don't
know they were like really iffy and I was really upset by that.
Nia: So they weren't clear about the fact that they weren't going to pay you?
Star: Yeah. But it was like booked through a friend of a friend. So it was really the friend
of a friend who didn't tell me that. But I had also booked a show with these other people.
I posted in Queer Exchange (Facebook group). I posted a video of me performing live in
the Queer Exchange like, "Hey I'm coming to this place like, book me." And it worked
for Berlin and Paris and London. And I got a show in each of those cities, which was like
really cool. Paris paid me like coins, actually though, to perform.
Nia: What is normal to get paid for a performance. How do you decide what your time is
worth?
Star: It changes and I feel like I'm asking for more now, depending on what it is. Like if
its a college, I'm asking for more. Because I'm like, "They have the money." I did this
show last night and I got like a little less than a hundred dollars which is fine.

Nia: Do they tell you up front how much you're getting paid or is it like part of the door?
Star: The one last night was part of the door, right? So it was a matter of getting people
into the space. But, when its not a matter of door it depends. Like I got paid different
amounts in Europe. I got paid like 300 euros to help with this like Queer Rock and Roll
Camp workshopping and teaching music voice lessons there. That was really good. And
then in Paris I got paid 250 euros for like one performance. But then sometimes you can
get more money depending on what you're playing or what it is. I think its really
interesting. Some organizations don't have the coins, but they have community I would
be invested in performing for. And so then I'm down to be like, "Okay, well whatever's
clever." And like other times its like "No, I should get paid." So I just like pick and
choose, I think. It changes.
Nia: You don't have like a going rate?
Star: If you're listening to this and you want to book me you can pay me upwards of a
thousand dollars a performance. But I have yet to be making a thousand dollars a
performance. Although in Montreal they reimbursed me my flight back and they paid me
like 500 dollars just to do a show. So its different. I feel like each organization thats

booking has different amounts they can spend. But I definitely feel like I know my worth
and I usually will turn things down if its more expensive for me to do it than it is for me
to get any return. This last Canada thing I did, I ended up staying with my friends in
Montreal for 10 days for free and when I was in Ottowa I stayed with a friend for free. I
was there for 1 night. And they get grants. Thats the thing about Canada. They get grants
for things. So you can get a lot of money to like just throw a show. They can get money
from the government just to throw a show, or to like record an album.
So like when I went to Toronto this last time Black Lives Matter Toronto booked me and
they were like really gracious and gave me some money. I also got booked by doing
workshops. And then the show that I did was at this space called Double Double Land.
And so it was a friend of a friend and they didn't really have to pay for the space. Then it
was like we got all of the door split between the three of us and so its like all of these
different ways in which I was just getting cash and I was like, "alright." I was stacking up
my bills. And I'm not having to pay for rent because I was subletting my room in the Bay.
And when you don't have to pay for rent I think its like much easier to travel.
Nia: Yeah, that makes sense.
Star: Yeah. And just like I'm just young and I have no responsibilities super much right
now. My job is important to me and I have to go back to that and I have to be working
hard on that and so I'm going back on Monday. And I'm kind of like "Okay, back to doing
real work in the community." But its rewarding work, I feel. So it doesnt feel as much
like work. And even at the St James I work I've reduced my hours to be 15 hours a week.
Nia: And you're able to live off of what you make there on 15 hours
Star: Yeah, because my rent is so cheap. Thats what its all about I think its like if you
have cheap rentthe reason that I'm able to travel right now is because I have cheap rent.
I have good friends in places around the globe who are able to let me stay with them.
Nia: Yeah, thats awesome. [laughter]
Star: International socialite. Dbutante. [laughter].
Nia: Is there anything else you want to share. Any advice you want to give before we
wrap for people who are trying to do what you're doing. Or just like young queer and
trans artists of color or up and coming queer and trans artists of color?
Star: Create something and have it documented. Thats really important. We were able to
pay. I had a performance at this place called Safehouse Arts and they have a guy that goes
and he like offers to the community, his names Mark Macbeth and he records for a lot of
venues. Like for The News, he records and videotapes. Hes a videographer who really
donates a lot of his time, does a lot of work for the community so that we can have
documentation of our art. But I think having documentation of your art means that you
can email. When you're applying for things you're like, "I have this list of things and

here's this documentation and here's where it was." And so people can see you
performing. And like because someone randomly recorded my Trans March performance
I was able to book shows in other countries just by showing that video. And so I think its
really important if you're going to do a performance and you don't have like lots of
money.
Get your friend who has an iphone to record your whole performance. Tell them to delete
shit on their phone and record it. Because I think having the documentation and having it
on Vimeo, having it on YouTube, or having on Facebook even. Its like really helps. And
then I also had a Facebook fan page that I really started working on and trying to do
branding and really starting to get mt brand under control. And that helped.
I dont know my like connections also. I was able, because of the St. James Infirmary I
was like interviewed for Vice and because of that Ellen Page is kind of like a friend of
mine. And so she reposted my YouTube video and tweeted about me and my album got
bought more. Use those people you know who are a step above you and have more clout
about you in certain things to like help you. Also my friends Alok and Janani helped me a
lot because they booked me to open for them. After I opened for them I got a lot more
fans who are in queer community people

of color who didn't know about me and now they do because of their support. So I think
its just a matter of being able to have something that you create that is moving and then
having the documentation of it so that people can see it and share it. I have friends who
I'm like, "You are a great artist, like wheres your fucking shit? Can you do this
performance? I'll hold the phone. I'll record it for you and lets put it on YouTube so we
can be like "Yes, we are in the Bay" and we are like doing all this stuff because its like
really important to have the documentation. In this day and age its so important.
Nia: Yes absolutely. Thanks so much.