2016 Babe of the Year: Ezra Edwards
In the first few months of the new year, we're celebrating the babes who helped buoy our community in 2016 with their inspiring ambition, work and success.
Driven by a genuine need to help people and a commitment to the non-9-to-5 lifestyle, Ezra Edwards — perhaps better known as DJ GirlFriend — has been creating spaces for the Austin queer community since 2011. Responsible for events from Neon Rainbows to Middle School Dance Party to gAyCL, Edwards has leveraged an ability to throw a damn, good party into opportunities to raise funds for organizations including SafePlace, Out Youth, Equality TX, and Planned Parenthood.
For that (and maybe also for the Beyonce vs. Rihanna dance party we can credit GirlFriend for), we're proud to have Edwards as part of our community on into 2017.
Where does the drive to do what you do — even when the struggle bus pulls up — come from?
My drive comes from the desire to be my own boss. I realized a few years ago that I'm a "non-9 to 5'er."
Being able to set my own hours and have has much creative freedom as possible keeps me going. There's just no other way for me. The idea of self-actualization pushes me as well. To be able to live out my full potential as a human being is my ultimate goal. Also, I just feel the need to help people.
What have been your favorite moments of creative energy this past year?
I can usually fly solo when it comes to creativity however I've learned that collaborating and opening up my ideas to others (as well as staying open to their ideas) seems to fuel the fire and paves the way for great things to happen. Collaborating with the Boss Babes and Equality Texas this past year on the Peaceful Pulse event was a big turn. Not only were we sharing ideas and making them happen, a lot of people in the community (and not just the queer community) really stepped out and showed up. It's the moment when you see your ideas playing out in front of you that are the most rewarding, especially when you see how they help people come together.
What have been the most challenging moments throughout your career and perhaps in this year in particular?
Honestly, a challenge this year for me was being distracted by things and people that tried to detour me from my goals. When you can shake those distractions, that's when things really start to happen and come together. Focus is key.
What's the one thing you're most proud of accomplishing this past year?
Well aside from being one of the Boss Babes Babes of the Year (!), I would say being nominated for Best DJ in the Chronicle's Best of Austin alongside two of the best DJs in town was quite an honor, even though I didn't win. It felt good to be considered among their ranks. Also, I would say maintaining a consistency in the events that I produce. People know when they come to a GirlFriend event they're going to have a good time!