GETTING TO KNOW LACHRISTA GRECO

GETTING TO KNOW LACHRISTA GRECO

I follow Guerrilla Feminist on Instrgram.  When I started the account for Nasty Woman Cosmetics my feed would show me these daily posts and I was immediately drawn to the page. Global, digital activist and founder of GF,  Lachrista Greco has amassed a following of over 177k followers on Instagram and its growing. She is not afraid to discuss extremely personal matters or say things that others think but would never utter.
Her daily posts point out the injustices marginalized groups deal with every day, remind us to practice self care, tackle current events and much more. I wanted to learn more about her, what drives her and what makes Lachrista the amazingly down to earth, approachable activist that she is. This is just a small piece of the pie.

Describe the neighborhood you grew up in.
For the first 5 years of my life, I grew up in an upper-middle class neighborhood in a suburb of Madison, Wisconsin. After my parents divorced, they had to sell our house, and my dad bought a smaller house in a middle-class neighborhood, while my mother rented an apartment in a lower-class part of Madison. My brother and I went back and forth between our parents separate homes. My mom eventually moved in with her partner and they bought a large house in another suburb of Madison. After they broke up, my mom, my brother, and myself lived in a hermitage on the grounds of an ecumenical monastery until my mom was able to afford the condo she still lives in; the condo I lived in from the ages of 13-18. 
What is a childhood memory that stood out from the rest?
This is maybe not the funnest childhood memory, but it's one of my first childhood memories: my parents sitting my brother and I down at the kitchen table telling us they were getting a divorce. I didn't know what it meant, but I knew from everyone's faces it wasn't good. I ran to the garage door and the front door yelling, "Nobody's leaving!" When I sat back down, my older brother said to me: "It's ok. We'll be ok."
Who were your female role models growing up?
My female role models growing up were my mom, my dance teacher, and Kristi Yamaguchi. My mom was always fiercely independent, and instilled this in me as well.
Was there an event in your life that catapulted you towards your current work as creator of Guerrilla Feminism and being an activist.
A few events, probably. My mom took me to my first Gay Pride March in the early 90s, when I was in preschool. The following day, I led my peers around chanting: "2,4,6,8, How do you know your kid is straight?!" Another event I experienced that probably led to my GF activism was attending my first Take Back The Night March in Madison in college. The March made me feel electric, and I attended shortly after having been raped (for the first time). It was incredibly healing and motivated me to be involved in activism more. 
What skills or attributes do you feel are most important to being successful?
Success is such an individualized thing. I realize society puts out certain "success" expectations, but for me, I don't see success as linked with how much money I make or how many people I'm supervising. Success to me is really about treating people how THEY wish to be treated, good collaborations, honesty, and making actual change in progressive ways. 
What is a typical day/week like for you?
A typical week involves me working my 9-5 job at the academic library I work at as a Publications Associate. I do Guerrilla Feminism work after work or on my lunch break. I'm also back in school now, so there is always homework to be done. Once a month, I volunteer at the local jail's library on Saturdays for a few hours. I go to Trivia with friends every Tuesday night at a local bar, and play D&D every Saturday night with other friends. 
What do you think about when you are alone in a car or lying in bed awake at night?
Usually all of the things I have to get done! Or sometimes the asinine comments on Guerrilla Feminism.
What have you learned about yourself since becoming a public figure?
I am not super public (in the way of others, anyways), so that's nice. I feel some anonymity. In terms of what I have learned: be prepared to fuck up and be prepared to apologize for those fuck ups in front of thousands of people. It has humbled me. It has thickened my skin. In some ways, it has desensitized me.
What is the best piece of advice you have been given?
My mom has always told me: "Trust yourself and trust that you know what you know" and this always sticks with me. 
I have read that you are getting a second masters degree in Library and Information Science.  What is on your book shelf right now?
So many things I want to read that I don't have time for. I'm hoping to read Emergent Strategy by Adrienne Maree Brown soon as well as The Feminist Reference Desk by Maria T. Accardi, and Eloquent Rage by Brittney Cooper.
How do you deal with the trolls?
In the nearly 7 years I've been doing GF work, I've learned that some people just are not worth my time and energy. I often block trolls or, if I'm feeling particularly energized, I might interact with them, which then only upsets them. Typically I block though.
What gives Lachrista joy?
My friends, family, dancing, reading, writing poetry, watching The Golden Girls, digital activism (most of the time), food!
What one piece of advice would you tell the 16 year old Lachrista?
I would say: "You are different. And that's the best thing ever. Embrace it. You are worthy of good things."
For women who say they aren't feminists, how do you respond?  
I get it. Mainstream feminism has often excluded women of color. I can definitely see why some women of color may reject the label of "feminist." I'm not in the business of telling people they are or aren't feminist. I think for white women who say they aren't feminists, it's more so about them not knowing what feminism actually is. I also dislike, however, when feminism is ascribed to any and everyone for doing any and everything. Not everything is feminist. And just because someone is a woman doesn't mean they're automatically a feminist. 
I think being intersectional is extremely important but I don't think the majority of middle america has ever heard this phrase.  In one or two sentences, how can you describe intersectional feminism.
Intersectional Feminism was coined by Kimberle Crenshaw to specifically look at the ways Black women's identities of being women, black, class status, sexual orientation, etc interconnect. "Intersectional" has become a bit of a buzzword and largely co-opted by white women, which is unfortunate, so as a white woman, I do not call myself an "Intersectional Feminist." I do appreciate and value the theory of Intersectionality, though.
Last year we did a giveaway called Nasty Woman of the Week.  We would have our followers nominate women in their lives who used their strength to empower others and the winner received a free lipstick. Through this I learned of so many heart warming stories of women uplifting each other and working hard in their every day lives to help those around them. Those stories stick out in my mind. I am sure you have had many women contact you to share stories of how your activism has impacted their lives.  Is there one you would like to share with us?
Sure! A couple of years ago, I had a woman in the Philippines message me for help as she was trying to leave an abusive marriage with her daughter. She messaged me asking for resources. I did some searching and gave her some potentially helpful resources. I didn't hear back from her for a while, but I thought about her a lot. Eventually, she wrote me to say she and her daughter escaped without harm. She thanked me repeatedly for the resources I sent her and for GF, more generally. It was incredibly heartwarming.
If you could pass a note to Donald Trump what would it say?
"Nuke yourself."
Where can we learn more about your work?
Many places online:
My website: lachristagreco.com

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