Niki, or better known as her ig handle and pen name “Venus Roots”, is a modern marvel to me because to this day I have never met any one as woke, conscious, and opinionated as her that still manages to be all inclusive. She is as bougie as they come yet it applies to her and her only, she is better than you yet… not better than you at the same time? She has sucked me in and made me think twice about my decisions just by the way that she LIVES what she preaches and doesn’t demonize those that go against her beliefs (unless you are of course an evil racist capitalist in which case you deserve it).
Her poetry is almost melodic and her fierce determination to fight for whats right puts her at the top of my list of women that keep me propelling forward. She’s shared such an abundance of wisdom in this short interview so I hope you enjoy…
What industry are you in currently?
I’m a community organizer working towards black and brown liberation at a local non-profit. Creatively, I am a literary artist and use the tool of storytelling to challenge oppressive narratives and stereotypes.
Is your industry one usually dominated by women? How did you fight stigmas?
Both of the industries I dabble with are dominated by women, and that’s because these are industries made up of healers.
What are you most proud of at the moment?
My job. I politicized at a fairly young age and have since then felt restless when thinking of ways to transform our society. Now, as a community organizer, I am able to not only re-imagine the individual and collective realities of people of color, but I’m able to dedicate my intellect and emotional labor to making these potential realities ours to live.
Any major life events in the last 6 months you’re working through?
In the last six months, I quit a toxic job for the sake of my emotional and creative health but faced many months of financial restrain which caused loads of stress. To cope with that stress, I wrote as if my happiness and stability depended on it–because it did.
What is your version of success? When will you say you’ve “made it”?
I’ve “made it” each day I wake up, practice gratitude, and make myself a vessel of empowerment and service to others. So, I’d say I’m doing pretty well for myself.
What’s one thing you’ve realized with age/time in the industry? (and want other women to realize as well)
Honestly, I’m still really young and make it a point to embrace my youth as a transient gift. With that being said, as I continue to grow, I’ve become less hungry for clout and notoriety. I’ve realized that the term “personal brand” is short for turning yourself into a profitable object (which becomes disposable quite quickly), which is something I personally have no interest in. I am here for the queer, the black, the indigenous ancestral wisdom I was robbed from, and for the ones who don’t get to be heard or seen.
Love or success? Should you have to choose?
I don’t think of love and success as mutually exclusive, but rather see the two as interdependent. In a hyper capitalist society like ours, success has historically been narrowly defined by status or monetary gains, which leaves little to no room for emotional success. Personally, my love ethic is present in everything I do and it is precisely what has helped me build solidarity and community with folks close and far. That’s what my success feels like.
Any new endeavors you’d like to promote?
I’m currently working on a short film which meditates on the natural divinity of femme energy, the pressing relationship between humans and Mother Earth, as well as antiquated gender roles and norms. I’ve never worked on bringing a cinematic work to life so it’s been a hell of a challenge but an amazing journey so far.
I know a lot of women struggle with whether or not to keep their relationship private on social media. You on the other hand share so much with us including your intimacy. Were you always so open with relationships or does it stem from the caliber and authenticity of the partnership?
-Right, and it makes sense for us to struggle with that because for women’s entire existence, a man’s presence in our lives overrides our identity, so it is a fine line to navigate (especially for myself, being in a cishetero relationship). With that being said, it’s true, I have been tremendously public with my relationship throughout the almost five years I’ve been with John. Some of it has gained us praise, some of it has gotten me in trouble—two sentiments which make me feel quite uncomfortable. I’d say the openness stems from the fact that I am typically a vulnerable person once I feel safe, and my partner has been and continues to be a highlight in my life and my personal evolution. From the start of our relationship, it was clear we challenged gender roles, sexuality, and even monogamy in its traditional context, so it was fun documenting our adventures that were NSFW. As time went on, we both honed our artistic endeavors and traveled the world and at that point, it’s too easy to share the love.
You’re my go to, and I know that is true for many of us. You’re starting trends such as the zero waste Gand and even nude in America what keeps you inspired?
I appreciate that! Curiosity and my incessant need to learn. I’m a low key nerd, I guess. Lately, I’ve been obsessing over systems of power and in that, I’m constantly looking for new ways to do and be better for my community-close and far. Creatively, I resort to wanderlust. It’s so clear I am my best self when traveling—I mean Nude in America is #mood.
When did you start writing? Activism? What was the catalyst?
I always had an inclination towards writing but the first time I shared it on a public platform was ten years ago (I was 14) on Facebook Notes. I shared a prose piece on sexuality and the absurdity behind virginity. It was received so positively by my friends which was crazy to me. For context, I grew up in a super affluent suburb here in Miami where I was one of the darkest people in my school, that’s how white Latinx it was. So you know, it’s super catholic too of course, and here I am as a 14 year old denouncing virginity. Writing became my outlet to justify living outside of the box, really. These days, it serves me as a storytelling tool which I use to build empathy for stories we do not hear enough.
I’ve seen so many become “woke” just to then become balls of hate themselves but you have a way of making all feel comfortable. I never feel oppressed by your views, elevated consciousness, and thrifty shopping though I am admittedly not there yet, and in that way it makes me double think my choices and ask how I can do more and better for myself. Even in dating a white male, many seeing the crimes of a race would hex off alllll. What are your thoughts on this?
Truthfully, I’ve had to work hard and long to shed my shell of cynicism.. I eventually realized it wasn’t serving me an upwards purpose. I’ve grown to understand and embrace optimism in a world that has too many in dire conditions. But as a woman of color who comes from a working class background, I’d be lying to you if I said I still didn’t feel resentment towards the system and perpetrators of it.
As for dating a white man, I’ve received backlash and criticism and although I have felt emotionally exhausted in this exchange, I find it’s a necessary dialogue. Acknowledging the brutal reality of colonization, we all need to commit to dissecting our relationships and working to break oppressive tendencies and this goes beyond race, too. So although I don’t expect everyone to feel the same, my partnership with John has allowed me to believe that yes, we can all transcend past the toxic roles and supremacy hierarchies set in place for us. In the words of Baldwin, “love takes off the masks that we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within.”
You can find her on instagram serving looks and hypnotizing you with her poetry en espagnol. Also don’t be surprised if you find yourself talking glass coffee mugs to work in lieu of “no waste” like I have.