We had the good fortune of connecting with Ruby Barrios and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ruby, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
I used to wear my burnout as a personal badge of honor. Both my parents sacrificed their own well-being for the sake of my sister and I. There was no break and any spare time would be spent selling chips at the park. This being said, working hard has always been second nature. The thing about being burned out is that society glorifies it. Our media rewards the person on five hours of sleep, getting by on espresso shots and always on the go. So, when I became that person, I hardly noticed that I was far off from balance. It wasn’t until my body suffered the consequences that I snapped out of it. We can be driven and hard working without burning out. Every moment I decide to enjoy being with my friends and family instead of hooked on my laptop screen, I am allowing myself to experience every aspect of life. Life can be more than work. Although I will burnout at some points, it’s no longer something that validates my work or what I aim for.
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.
In addition to auditioning, I am always raising visibility for underrepresented narratives. I am grateful that I can merge my writing with my social outreach endeavors. Since the pandemic, I have visited L.A.U.S.D(Los Angeles Unified School District) virtual classrooms to host Ruby’s Button(my first published children’s book) Read-Alouds / Q and As. By showcasing sketches, edits and the overall process for publishing Ruby’s Button, I am shifting what success looks like. Many students feel a lack of motivation and by encouraging them to write for themselves, I hope they can start to explore their outlet. I find this dialogue also following me when I visit UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital and Children’s Hospital LA. I am currently developing my second children’s book, Ruby’s Melody, which touches on finding an oasis within the hospital through art and imagination. I discuss more about advocating for visibility while also pursuing a career in the entertainment industry in an episode of What Can You Do? titled, Ruby Barrios: Making Space for Chronic Conditions through Children’s Literature and Artistic Activism. What Can You Do? podcast(hosted by Skylar Clark and edited by Emma Zhao) demystifies the activism process by “creating a forum for youth activists to discuss their process, motivation, mission, and most importantly their stories.” I am honored that I was able to share my process on such an empowering platform.
Especially in an industry where people are put in boxes and there is lack of different stories being broadcast, creating original content has been very healing. I strongly believe that you have to vouch for yourself before anyone else can.
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.
The Walt Disney Concert Hall is a must for its magnificent architecture and the magical essence inside the building itself. The walls are lined with concept art and original scores. Being in DTLA, our next stop would be the Grand Central Market which has amazing food and an essential, iced coffee! There is something there for everyone and the neon lights in the market give you the city feel while also bringing a hole in the wall experience. We would also admire the street art and nearby parks.
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?
Inner-City Arts and 4C Lab continue to be my safe haven. Inner-City Arts not only encouraged me to grow as an artist, the faculty have become lifelong friends. Inner-City Arts is always there to spread the word and support my art. They have also given me the platform to create art for empowering collaborations, such as the ICA x LA Chargers Black History Month Virtual Art Showcase. Through this event, we celebrated living Black Angelenos who continue to impact their communities. 4C Lab is the reason I can make genuine connections with other artists and gives me the chance to have fun with art making. Marissa, founder of 4C Lab, continues to change what networking means to me. In her own words, “It’s not about who you know. It’s about who remembers you.” Marissa is also someone I admire and motivates me to continue to believe in my stories.
Youtube: Ruby’s Button by Ruby Barrios (Read Aloud) | Book Review | Children’s Book by Gilbert-Ian Rueda
Other: Ruby’s Button- https://www.amazon.com/Rubys-Button-Ruby-Barrios/dp/1077906099 What Can You Do? Podcast-@whatcanyoudopod ICA X LA Chargers Black History Month Showcase- https://inner-cityarts.org/bhm LA Chargers Article-https://www.chargers.com/news/chargers-inner-city-arts-black-history-month
Headshot-Light and Shine Photography by Conrad