We had the good fortune of connecting with Paloma Riojas and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Paloma, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
Risk is defined as “the chance or probability that a person will be harmed or experience an adverse health effect if exposed to a hazard.” I think “risk” is a culturally misconstrued word. I can quote myself saying, “I risked it all to follow my passion.” And I want to take it back because I now believe that positioning following your passion as a risk is unhealthy. We should not feel the pressure of thinking we might be putting ourselves in harm because we want to follow a passion in any capacity.
What I’ve come to understand for myself is that the reals risks are, not chasing dreams, limiting myself, and being inauthentically conventional. My new take on risk has only benefitted me as a creative and in my career. It’s made me bolder in my creativity, smarter in approaching my goals, and the best part, happier.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I fell in love with storytelling before I could read or write. But it took me almost all of my life to think I was worthy enough to make it a full-time career. Maybe it’s because I grew up a bit of an outlier. Being a first-gen queer person of color has many, many upsides, but it also came with a lot of unwanted pressure of being othered. And that made me question my self-worth and affected the choices I made. Luckily my fire to write and tell stories was too strong to be suffocated by my insecurities. So here I am. The secret to my professional success is primarily due to my personal tenacity, passion, and ultimately learning to value myself and believe I’m hella worthy. My mom and grandmother also showed me the value of resilience. And I’ve learned that my superpower is the empathy and curiosity of others, who, like me, might not fit the status quo.
That is why I focus on stories that include all those so-called outsiders. I’m here to help shape culture by creating content that showcases how phenomenal, complex, and worthy we are as humans. And while I considered myself genre-agnostic (because I am limitless), I lean toward genres that sci-fi, period dramas, and stories inspired by real people/events. And I’m on a mission to light up entertainment culture with stories that explore humanity from new perspectives. I hope it inspires us to value ourselves and each other more.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Disclaimer: My planning is optimistically post-pandemic. I’d start by taking my friend to Venice Beach since I probably would pick them up from LAX. Venice is so iconic and eclectic. It’s a great place to kick things off for someone visiting. We’d grab some bikes and cruise the main drag, check out the vendors and the skatepark.
I’d have us ride over to Abbot Kinney for lunch at The Butcher’s Daughter. It’s one of my favorite plant-based restaurants on the Westside. I’d end the day back in West Hollywood at E.P. & L.P. for a drink and order us some local vegan favorites like Sugar Taco to eat at my place.
The rest of the week would definitely include beach camping in Malibu, happy hour at Nobu, Malibu, a foodie day in Highland Park (Cena Vegan, Donut Friend, Hinterhoff are my favs), and I’d throw in a Cinespia movie night. I’d also take them to a fun concert at the Greek Theater and something more intimate at The Troubadour. A day at the Getty is also on my list. But my favorite thing about L.A. are my artsy-fartsy friends, so we’d definitely have backyard dinners and support some local art. I think the trip would need to be for two weeks! There’s so much to do in L.A., in every nook and cranny of the city. The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My big Mexican-American family including my parents, brother, cousins, aunties, and uncles deserves a major shoutout for inspiring my curiosity about people, always having my back, and motivating me to make a positive impact in the world. Gracias!