• Kimberly

QFX Staff Interview: Divina

Name: Divina

Pronouns: She/Her

Position: Director of Marketing

Hogwarts House: Ravenclaw

Twitter: @divinagpena

Instagram: @divinapena

Today we’ve managed to get Divina to take some time out of her busy schedule for an interview! First, tell us about yourself.

I’m a first generation Filipino-American that’s always loved all things film and television. I’m a professional marketer, but the past few years I’ve been trying to experience different things from doing improv to having my own YouTube channel to absolutely being sucked into Korean dramas and K-Pop. I’ve been told that I look unapproachable, but I really hope that when you see me at QFX in May, that you’ll say hi to me. I promise I’m a nice person.

How did you get involved with QFX?

I heard that Holly was thinking of starting a queer fan convention, and a friend that we have in common told me to reach out to her, so I did. After some long conversations and after sending a marketing and social media plan, I was welcomed on-board.

There are a ton of conventions out there, some that do cater to the LGBTQ+ community, how do you feel QFX is different?

For me, Holly played a big part in why I wanted to help. I believed in the mission statement and more importantly; I believe in her. I believe in her vision and what she’s truly trying to create for our community. We are all interconnected and we all want to feel like we’re a part of something and that we belong, and I believe that’s the experience that Holly is striving to create. I hope that when people come to QFX East, they can find at least one person they can connect with and feel safe to be who they are. If that can happen, then I’ll be happy.

Of all the guests that one could possibly ask for, who would you love to see or meet?

That’s a tough question. There are so many, but I’d love for us to get Margaret Cho. I don’t think she does cons, but one can always hope. She was one of the first Asian-American’s that I really identified with. Her standup was hilarious and she’s so unapologetic, strong and passionate in everything she does, that I would love to be able to meet her someday.

QFX has made it quite clear they are all about diversity, inclusivity and accessibility. What does this mean to you?

Diversity is being able to go to the dance, but inclusivity is being asked to dance, and for me, QFX is asking me to dance. And accessibility should consider all their abilities in order for them to get them to the dance and go through the doors and onto the floor to celebrate with everyone, regardless of their different abilities.

We may not be able to do all the things that people want us to do as it’s our first year, but as we continue to gain resources, we will always strive to make people feel that they are being invited to dance. They don’t have to be the wallflower that hopes to be seen, because we see you and just know we’re working on it.

We’ve all heard the phrase “representation matters”, but it can ring hollow in our current times. What do you feel or think when you hear it?

I think we’ve made strides in the right direction, but we still have a long way to go. It took 25 years for another feature film with an all-Asian cast to be made, and it took until 2018 for an Asian actress (Sandra Oh) to be nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series. My hope is that I don’t have to continue to wait so many years to see Asians represented in good projects and given an opportunity to represent on screen. I think we see some hope with Parasite getting so much attention this year, but I also hope that Mulan is successful both domestically and internationally this year. I have hope that Asians will be given more opportunities not only in entertainment, but politically and in business.

If we were sitting in your living room, wanting to watch a show or movie, what are the top five you would recommend we binge?

Wow, that’s such a hard question. But let me try.

  1. Parasite

  2. Imagine Me & You

  3. The Long Kiss Goodnight

  4. Big Little Lies

  5. Stranger Things

You’re into K-Drama’s (trust me Divina’s gotten me to watch some). What about them has drawn you in? Are there any ones that you could recommend?

I’m still waiting for you to finish The Rich Man’s Daughter (cough). I found a show on Netflix called, “Oh My Ghostess,” and I ended up binging the entire thing in one weekend, and afterwards found myself wondering what the heck did I just watch. The story was that bizarre, but really entertaining at the same time. Mentally, I think I just needed to see happy endings and love stories that seemed refreshing. I started off watching a lot of rom-com tv shows and there was something about them that just made me happy. Surprisingly, I found myself not caring that it was always a straight couple, because the stories were always so much fun and entertaining to watch. Even after two years, I’ve branched out to watching Asian dramas from other countries, and I’m still not tired of watching them. I actually watch more Asian dramas than English-speaking ones right now.

If I had to suggest some shows for someone new coming into the genre, then here are my top 5.

  1. My ID is Gangnam Beauty

  2. Fated to Love You

  3. While You Were Sleeping

  4. I Need Romance 3

  5. Kill Me, Heal Me

Your bio says you’ve been learning and teaching improv. Considering your job in marketing, have you been able to apply what you’ve learned?

Absolutely. In fact, I think I would suggest everyone try some improv classes to help them professionally and personally. Improv helps you with listening and being present. You’re able to respond better and it helps your confidence as well. You end up thinking on your feet faster too. Honestly, you’re basically playing make believe with other adults and you’re allowed to just be silly and creative and most importantly, you should feel supported. You hopefully end up finding your own people that you can relate with and get you in a different way.

Name one thing you do (hobby, quirk, or something else) that people might find odd?

That I watch Korean dramas and listen to K-Pop… lol.

To game or not to game… Do you? If so, which systems and what is your favorite.

I totally love gaming. I have a PS4, but I haven’t had time to play lately.

You said you wanted to have a conversation about your favorite artists… so discuss who you’re listening to now.

I suggest for anyone who wants to know what I’m listening to and who my favorite artists are, to go find my Mixtape on Spotify. I got into K-pop from watching Korean dramas, since some of the music was featured and they often have their own OSTs, so my gateway into K-Pop was Korean drama OSTs. Then there was YouTube. If you're really going to give K-pop a chance, you have to watch the videos. They're so well produced and the overall music production is pretty solid. I appreciate how they layer the tracks and handle the transitions between verses, chorus and the bridge, it's really impressive. I fell into the K-pop rabbit hole on YouTube pretty far, because there can be so much content about your favorite group. I started listening to Blackpink and Red Velvet, but eventually found EXID. I tried to hold back on putting their entire albums on my Mixtape… lol I’m still a bit heartbroken that they’re on an indefinite hiatus. However, I listen to more than one group and to different genres and concepts. But I’d definitely recommend EXID and listening to my Mixtape if people really want to know.

You’re a Ravenclaw, but that’s Universal/WB. I have to ask what Disney character would you be?

Would it be too obvious if I said Mulan? LOL

Final question, what do you hope people who attend QFX leave saying or feeling?

That they had a fun experience and that they liked the vibe that we tried to create. As I said, I hope they find at least one person that becomes a new friend that makes them feel comfortable. Someone that makes them feel seen, included and not alone.

That’s another interview in the books! If you want to know more about K-Drama or K-Pop, reach out to Divina on Twitter: @divinagpena or Instagram: @divinapena.

**Until next time, this is Kimberly “we’re family” Amato, signing off.**

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