In Convo with Dannielle Owens- Reid

As part of my interview series, We Chat, I wanted to share recent conversation with Dannielle Owens- Reid, activist, author, musician, artist, and South Carolinian ginger. I met her in Chicago, before co-founding Everyone is Gay, or writing This is a Book for Parents of Gay Kids, or contributing poignant commentary on modern society at Lesbians that Look Like Justin Beiber.

When I first met her, I was confused but cautiously impressed of how she could just make interesting thing after thing, all the time, and with so many unique people. At a time when life seemed *so complicated* – those messy and ugly post college years- she was using her mind and her tremendous kindness with people and building so much.

For example: She’d think of an idea, “let’s do talent show at our coffee house job!” People wouldn’t bail on her- they’d actually participate and throw a delightful talent show. The show would evolve into a hilarious, *weekly* web series full of comics and disparate peoples, and create this *fun* and well put together, scripted & edited event for people also struggling with recession era mid 20’s angst, to be creative and produce things…

Dannielle’s like that; she puts people together, brings out the talent in others, and takes fun ideas to tangible fruition. Without a doubt, she’s the most prolific and industrious person I’ve *truly* known. She also has tremendous heart and puts her energy towards the causes she cares about-but that benefit everyone else- such as DAPL, LGBTQ, and so many more. The sky’s seriously infinite for what she will create.

Take a peek at her responses to a few questions I pitched to her recently….


Tell me about yourself in a haiku…

had to look up rules
to write this haiku for you
not a big poet 

How would you label yourself personally? professionally?

Professionally – Author / Speaker / Activist / Organizer
Personally – Organizer / Activist / Speaker / Author
— wow this was actually weirdly eye opening for me, i just realized I always tell people who I am by first saying the career aspect I enjoy the least. This says a lot about me, I’m going to think about it.

Do you miss those early Chicago days? Coffee shop escapades, thrift store shopping, or playing in a dynamic trio, Vintage Gramma? 

i miss vintage gramma, chicago, dollop, comedy friends, living off of $400 per month and eating day old bagels for almost every meal. I miss it all and I miss it often. I miss seeing you and the rest of the dollop crew. I don’t know how many groups of people working in a coffee shop are as lucky as we were, to actually enjoy each other’s company.

 

What is the most important thing someone should know about you?

I am always honest. Don’t even handle tiny white lies, they make me uncomfortable. I also can sense lying right away and sometimes jump to conclusions about someones character if I know they’re lying. It stresses me out.
DannielleOReeds_recline
Dan reclining with “my friend Kate’s dog, STELLA. She’s PERFECT.”

What is the most important thing someone should know about your work?

My favorite thing to do RE: work, is take creative ideas and make them happen. Most of my recent work has been with very talented and inspiring friends of mine who say, “I want to do this” and regardless of what it is, I make it happen.

Why do you do the things you do?

I figured out sometime last year that my life objective is for everything I work on to contribute to making the world a better place and to make people feel good about their choices. That is my #1 priority, everything else kind of falls in place. 

 

Who inspires you? How do you keep track of these things? How do you manage your thoughts and feelings about these things? How do you deal with creative pressure?

My friends inspire me. A lot. They’re all very creative and talented in such different ways. I find ways to work with almost all of them. I’m surrounded with true hustlers and every single one of them has such a huge and beautiful heart. It’s really nice to work with people who have interests other than their own at the forefront of everything they’re doing.

What’s next for you?

I’m launching a gender neutral clothing brand very soon. RadmioLA is where all the latest updates hang out. But should be out this June. I’m in the middle of the very tedious part right now (since it’s just me) adding in dimensions, prices, pictures, info, sizes, variants. It’s taking so long, but obviously so worth it.

 

What are you most proud of? Do you miss your Grammaw band days?

I am most proud of the things I’ve been working on currently. I’m working with a lot of people who really respect my ideas and make me feel very valued. A friend of mine is a victim of revenge porn, I wrote her a script to talk about her past and mindfulness / wellness. I am happy that script is in the world. I just worked on my friend, Kate Nash’s, Kickstarter and we killed it. I’m elated for her to make music with no restrictions from a label or *insert creepy greasy music industry dude* and I am very proud of what we did together. I’ve helped a few people incorporate activism into what they’re already doing and that feels amazing.  

 

Why did you decide to write your book? 

The business I used to run kind of took shape on it’s own. We were using our life experience to talk to queer and trans kids, quickly realized there needed to be a similar resource for parents. Created that resource online and started to form it into a book. We had a lot of help from our literary agent and publisher to kind of mold it into what would be most palatable for the average american parent. It seemed to work out very well. Kind of a natural progression!
Thank you, Footlong!
This means a lot for you to share your creative thoughts with me and on my blog.

Reads & References

XO,

H

All content has been posted with Dannielle’s permission. Edited for emphasis and flair. Photos belong to Dannielle and were taken by Charlotte Patmore.