One of the Babes: Yvette DeChavez
Fully engaging in anything—community, family, activism, education, self-care, business, etc.—takes effort, dedication and a lot of TIME. Often, we forget to pause, enjoy the little things and invest in the hobbies, passions and side hustles that make us the happiest.
Yvette DeChavez knows this feeling all too well. She's a PhD student, part-time teacher and a community activist. Thankfully, though, she's found a way to remind herself to breathe: NAIL ART.
Under the moniker "cholahontas," DeChavez has recently started her own nail art company. And she's good at it, too. Her designs, which feature anything from pizzas to evil eyes, are unique, playful and empowering (coincidentally, we use those same three terms to describe #bossbabe women). We're happy to announce that she'll be offering nail art to our wellness retreat attendees this weekend! Get to know DeChavez below:
Q: What inspired you to start your business? Did you have any role models or learn from someone, in particular?
A: Nail art began as a way for me to channel my stress. I'm a PhD student, teacher, writer and activist, and my work emphasizes the importance of equality and the fight for social justice. This is an incredibly stressful line of work, and I'm generally emotionally exhausted at the end of each day. To cope with this, I began painting my nails to release some of my energy while remaining creative. From there, it grew to painting my friends' nails, painting friends of friends' nails and so on. It was mostly a hobby until I began to realize that grad school was going to leave me in some serious debt. So, I decided to take a chance and offer my services to others! Nail art makes people happy, and I'm hoping it also provides the opportunity to pay some bills.
Also, I've been a fan of Meghann Rosales of Nails, Y'all for a few years now. She's funny, cool and extremely talented.
Q: Do you have any tidbits of advice for people with passions, in general?
A: My advice is to keep going—keep honing your skills, keep believing in yourself. I also think it's important to seek feedback from trusted sources who will offer helpful critiques of your work. When everyone around you is telling you that you've got talent, they mean it. Listen to them.
Oh, and fuck the haters. In the words of Kanye West (yes, that's right—I love Kanye, and I'm not ashamed to admit it), "Screams from the haters got a nice ring to it. I guess every superhero need his theme music."
Q: What have been your favorite moments of creativity?
A: Over the course of grad school, I've come to learn that my most important moments of creativity come when I realize that I am my biggest enemy and manage to push through this wall. This generally occurs around 1 a.m., when I'm exhausted, and the only way out is in.
Q: What have been your most challenging moments in your career, thus far?
A: I'd say that my biggest challenge is the fact that I'm a broke grad student. Nail art requires tools, and these tools ain't cheap.
Q: What's your day job?
A: I'm in my final year of a PhD program in English at UT, where I also work as an assistant instructor, teaching Mexican-American and African-American literature and culture. I'm also in the early stages of writing my first novel.
Q: When you're discouraged, what do you run to or away from?
A: I run to beer. Just kidding (mostly). I run to other creatives who challenge and inspire me: my partner, my friends, my family. I also find that hip-hop soothes my self-doubt.
Your favorite band: Fiona Apple is, and forever will be, my number one. She gets me, maaaan.
Your favorite book: Long Division by Kiese Laymon (It's a life-changer.)
Your local Austin gem: Nature's Treasures, hands-down the best vibes you'll find in one place. I collect crystals and read tarot, so Nature's Treasures is basically my happy place.
Stay tuned for Yvette's nail art business' website, cholahontas.com, scheduled to drop in 2016!