#STUKGIRL OF THE MONTH: MARISOL

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“A #STUKGIRL is a multidimensional woman of substance. She wears many entrepreneurial hats in this life, embraces her own creativity and self love to the fullest. She does what she loves and inspires others while doing it. And she helps teach girls about self love” – STUK Designs

Introduction:

Hey y’all, STUK founder Brette SIms here. I am so excited about this interview! I met Marisol when we worked vending a SolSisters conference together! I was immediately drawn to her colorful booth. We exchanged goods and I got a bow headwrap form her, which I wore to like every event for 2 month straight lol, and still wear! We started chatting! I found our we had a lot in common and she massively inspired me as an entrepreneur in just one meeting! We stayed in touch and her content continues to uplift and inspire me on the daily, so I hope it does that for you all too! Get into her story!


Your Name:

Marisol Catchings-Frank

Your Zodiac Sign:

I am a well-balanced Gemini.

Where are you from?

I am from the SF Bay Area, where we say hella say “hella”.

What’s your focus, purpose, passion, and contribution to the world?

I was put on the Earth as an artist and healer.

How do you do it and who do you do it with?

Presently, the way in which I can impact community the most is through entrepreneurship. I have two businesses, Azteca Negra and Just BE.

Azteca Negra is a celebration of the African influence in Latin American cultures, through vibrant hand-crafted jewelry, headwraps, and accessories. The name comes from my own background, as I am a mixture of African American, Indigenous Mexican, and Afro-Mexican ancestry. I began creating these pieces six years ago, because at the time, I hadn’t come across adornments that highlighted the contribution and beauty that African ancestry brings to Latin America. I wanted to create art that uplifts, creates awareness, and celebrates culture. When you can express yourself, your values, your culture though they way in which you adorn yourself, it makes you feel beautiful and seen, and that makes the spirit feel whole.

Just BE is a community for Black Women Entrepreneurs. Just BE was founded in 2017 by myself, and my partners, Hope Lehman and Kamilah Mathias. As entrepreneurs, we had experienced just how lonely, isolating, and sometimes disorienting entrepreneurship can seem. As Black women, we were also aware of the systematic exclusion and lack of resources and capital that Black Women Entrepreneurs face, even though we are the fastest growing group of entrepreneurs in the U.S. We created Just BE to provide a space for Black Women to find a sense of community, connect with one another, and share resources for the growth of our businesses.

My goal is to share love and light through all of my endeavors and with everyone I meet.

What are your special talents?

On the more serious side, I spend a lot of time exploring my spirituality and calling on the ancestors. One of my favorite things to do is to create healing candles- but my hands do the work, the knowledge/talent comes from my ancestors.

On the less serious side, I love singing- but only in my house. My husband and I will randomly and very loudly break out into song, so I’m sure our neighbors think we’re crazy.

What are you working on at the moment?

I am working on keeping all of the life things balanced. I am newly married, and with that came a change in perspective. Before marriage, I was so immersed into my art and businesses, and now I’m reconfiguring how I want my life to feel, family planning, and incorporating more travel and time for self-care. I’m learning how much energy I need to consciously direct to the various parts of my life.

Azteca Negra is so supported by community that I am getting ready to rebrand and bring in more help. (So exciting!) I have spent a lot of time over the last five years vending at small and large events and festivals, and now I feel that I’m ready to expand my online reach and wholesale product line. I am also working on relaunching my cultural craft workshops.

My Just BE co-founders and I are planning our fourth annual Holiday Pop Up event in Oakland, featuring all Black Women owned businesses!.

What does your art mean to you?

My art is representation, visibility, positive energy, love, and resistance.

There is a quote by author, Junot Diaz, that I feel sums it up perfectly, “You know, vampires have no reflections in a mirror? There’s this idea that monsters don’t have reflections in a mirror. And what I’ve always thought isn’t that monsters don’t have reflections in a mirror. It’s that if you want to make a human being into a monster, deny them, at the cultural level, any reflection of themselves. And growing up, I felt like a monster in some ways. I didn’t see myself reflected at all. I was like, “Yo, is something wrong with me? That the whole society seems to think that people like me don’t exist?” And part of what inspired me, was this deep desire that before I died, I would make a couple of mirrors. That I would make some mirrors so that kids like me might see themselves reflected back and might not feel so monstrous for it”.

My art is representation and love for Black and Brown folks. It’s empowerment for my Afro-Latin people whose existence is hidden or denied, for my indigenous folks whose cultures are erased from history, and my African American family whose shine impacts the world yet that impact is constantly unacknowledged. The pieces that I create are mirrors too, and I want the people that wear my art to see themselves reflected..

What does love mean to you?

Love is the source energy. It is constantly flowing and ever abundant..

How does your zodiac sign impact the way you love?

Geminis are known for their duality. I feel that the duality allows for me to see the bigger picture most of the time, because I can see things from separate perspectives. This allows me to be flexible in the way I show love, and to assess the needs of the person or situation.

What does God mean to you?

The idea of God has evolved for me over the years. I grew up with half of my huge family being Mexican Catholics, the other half Evangelical Methodists and Jehovah’s Witnesses, my father is a geophysicist who explains things with super science-based logic, and I went to a very Christian school- so my views of God were very confused growing up.

Over time, I decided that I wanted to respect what others believed and believe in what made sense to me. Love and nature made sense, and eventually the Universe = God is what I landed on. As I explored further, it led me back to my indigenous and African roots and original belief systems.

When did you learn self-love?

I learned self-love as a child. My parents always worked to instill a sense of pride and confidence in me. I finally understood self-love when I was 25, and was trying to work my way out of a terrible depression. I began to see a therapist, I read every spiritual and self-help book I could get my hands on, I began to meditate, build a community, and learn from and about my ancestors. This is how I started the journey of shedding what no longer served me, and to put more conscious thought into what I want and need for myself.

How has practicing self-love changed your life?

I now can put more thought and love into what I do for myself and how I think about myself. My practices allowed me to clear space and prepare myself for the kind of love I wanted to share with a mate. I very rarely get truly angry now. And operating from a place of love helps me to more easily navigate my way through life.

What is your philosophy of life?

Operate from a place of love and you can never go wrong.

What advice would you give someone who is attempting to make a dream into a career?

Take the leap! It’s terribly scary to believe in yourself enough to take that kind of risk, to bet on yourself when you’ve never done that thing. AND it’s the most rewarding thing in the world to take that leap and soar.

No one can see your vision the way you do, and no one can make it happen for you. It will take time, patience, and planning to be successful, so don’t let social media deter or discourage you.

Also, find a tribe! My father told me that if you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room. So, if you’re isolated, you’re the smartest and only person in the room, so how can you ask questions, learn, and grow?

*This is a bonus, but a goodie. Entrepreneurship, though amazing and rewarding, will bring out every single insecurity you have to give. You’ll need people who will understand and who will support you in this journey. Therapy is a great idea.


Nobody knows I am.... am addicted to movie theater popcorn. It’s so bad that I will drive to the theater, buy a large popcorn and ask for the refill, then go home to eat it on my couch.
I wish I could stop... how terribly we treat each other.

Self love means... putting yourself first, so that you can then take care of everything else.

I find true beauty in… nature. One of my favorite things is to be barefoot on the grass to absorb the energy from the earth.

I want to teach my child or children that... they are born whole, love is their light, and it is their job to share their light with others.


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