We had the good fortune of connecting with Guelmo Rosa and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Guelmo, let’s start by talking about what inspires you?
Im inspired by life within my community. Seeing how much we have endured throughout the years and how we always come up on top no matter what life presents us. We are facing though times (have been for many years) but recently it feels like the government just doesnt want us to exist. This gives me inspiration and pushes me to create work that represents my people. Its made me want to create beautiful accesories to adorn ourselves without being overly expensive. I want my community to feel seen and to adorn themselves without having to drain their pockets (bank account) Ive been working in the costume jewelry for 9 years now and I know how pricy things can be. I create for my people, my queers.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
A queer puertorican 80’s kid who knew from a very young age that he was different from everyone else his my family. Father who was extremely homophobic to the point that he disliked me. Anything I did irritated him and by default I was always getting reprimanded. I was forced to participate as much as possible in the catholic church to scare away the gay. They put me through some sort of convertion therapy as a high schooler and eventually I knew I had to leave my home at an early age. Im 40 (about to turn 41) and ive been on my own since I was 17 that I left my little small hometown in Puerto Rico.

Many of us have gone through similarities in our upbringing but what sets me apart in this aspect is that I never gave up on my dad. I knew there was a kind heart under his “machismo” and at age 34 I was able to break that hard exterior and today he is my best friend.

Like I said in the previous question, ive worked in the jewelry industry for some years now, I know all the secrets. What the pieces actually cost and how big brand companys inflate the prices to drain peoples pockets and keep the rich richer and the poor poorer. I made it my mission to make quality pieces in affordable prices.

I know my community loves fashion and likes to be In on trends. So, I study the trends that will be hitting stores a years prior to its release. and I design pieces to give accesibilty to my community without having to overprice them. I design for my queers. For my babies that want to look good and dont necessary have to coin to buy designer wear. I also love collaborating w drag babies and helping them assemble their looks for pageants or performances. I also have 5 “queer kids” that I have taken under my Papa wing. Im always available to talk about life, help them out w situations of their daily life and at my house there will always be food for anyone in need. I know what it is to be alone in a city and sometimes not even have a dollar to eat a slice of pizza, cause sometimes you just have to secure the roof over your head instead of feeding your body.

Thats why many call me Papa G.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
whenever I want to show people a good time (which I do a lot) I invite peeps to travel with me to my beautiful Puerto Rico. I will take them to all my sacred places. Secret beaches, rivers and sites where I normally go to center myself. The beach to me is the place where I feel the most connected to my ancestors.

In New York, I like to take them to the parks, visit brigdes and New York landmarks that even though are turisty; people always want to visit.

Im not much of a party person , as I consider myself an introvert, but I will always take friends to a drag show this way Im always helping my Drag Queen get recognition and some coin too.

I will most definetly host a series of brunches or Dinners and invite all my closests friends and other queer artists with the hopes of expanding even more my circle of friends.

I love cooking, this is the love language I learned from my mothers (mom, her sisters and Grandmother) through food i can let someone know that I love them. So a puerto rican culinary experience is always in the plans. Sweet plantains will be in every dish if possible .

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Matthew Dean Stewart. Photographer and Candle maker

He is my collaborator when it comes to my never ending project “The Many Guelmos”
in which I like to tranform my persona into other characters that live within me

On my website www.g2ther.com you can see some of the images we have created together. I call him and tell him about the idea; he gets excited and from their it becomes magic. Ill create a look, do makeup on myself and tranform into these other characters that Matthew knows how to capture through his lense in the best way possible. He was also the one who helped me set up my website and is constantly pushing me to try new things. Thats my good Judy

Website: www.g2ther.com

Instagram: g2ther

Image Credits
1st -selfportrait 2nd – Taken by me 3rd – Matthew Dean Stewart 4th – Jeremy Lucido 5th – Jeremy Lucido 6th – Matthew Dean Stewart 7th- Matthew Dean Stewart

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