Author, educator, and visual artist Reyna Noriega is having a big moment, but she is no stranger to the art industry or classroom. A native of South Florida, her career has spiraled from artist to teacher to art director to full-time illustrator and Instagram darling. Her Afro-Latin culture is a guiding light in a body of work that spotlights women of color, and she’s committed to portraying vibrant females of different shapes and shades that have been historically underrepresented in the art world.
Reyna was gracious enough to chat from her Miami Beach home, with her cozy apartment currently serving as home, studio, and now quarantine locale. We were lucky enough to catch her over a late breakfast and between work sessions. Thanks for answering our silly questions, Reyna.
Q: Would you travel to Mars if you knew you would make it back?
Oh, hell yeah. I can’t wait ‘til they let us! I would want to deep-sea dive as well, but I’ve never been a strong swimmer. But I feel like that’s a different sense of the vastness – it’s all around you and you’re in it.
Q: What’s one thing you say in a “Miami accent”?
The stereotypical “yeah no!” and “no yeah!” I do that often.
Q: First item on your bucket list?
Ziplining, because I really don’t think I will do it! I’ve skydived, and I don’t know what it was about that that was better. Ziplining…I just see the ropes snapping. I was on a cruise once that had it, but the last day it rained and I was like, “Thank god!” But I know that if the right circumstances present themselves, I’ll do it.
Q: Maduros or tostones?
Q: Do you talk to your plants? What do you say?
I do and I always do a voice – it’s usually a pep talk or a conversation I need to have with myself.
Q: Retirement goals: city, suburbs or country?
I’ve loved the city so much, but I always saw myself in a country cottage really hidden away, probably just writing and painting and not worrying about anyone. Social distance to the max.
Q: Who wins in a race, Roary the Panther or a Miami Dolphin?
Probably Roary – he was very athletic.
Q: If you could wake up tomorrow as a comic book character, who would you be?
Always Wonder Woman.