In a follow-up with GO, Rain and Sierra take a closer look at the passionate philosophies propelling their advocacy, and delve deeper into causes that inspire each of them. Find out what makes Rain and Sierra tick—in their own words.
Rain on Intersectional Feminism: “There is no singular way all ‘women’ are oppressed in today's world. Therefore, there is no one way to confront and have a dialogue about these things. There are so many layers to modern womanhood (and we’re not just talking about race here). When dating someone as incredible and different in background as Sierra, it humbly reminds me to be a platform and not a sole voice. It reminds me to share not only my experiences, but to share the spotlight and allow others to share their experiences. If we want equality, we must first equally hear the diverse paths!
Sierra on Gender, Labels and Staying Vocal: “I constantly get the question, ‘What are you?’. Most of the time that question comes from men, and it’s always targeted as a way to figure out what box I would check on a census survey. Rain gets the same question, except it’s targeted at defining her gender. Her ‘disadvantages’ have opened my eyes to my own privileges and the disparities any person (regardless of race, gender or sexual preference) may feel. She’s taught me never to give into the luxury of silence. I would never stay silent about the hardships women of color experience. And now, I’ve learned silence with regard to disadvantages any person experiences should not be tolerated.”
Rain on Being an Outspoken Role Model (And Model): “I'm here so people know that we have a voice that should be raised, so most certainly my comments (at times) have been controversial. It's been a very interesting journey because I'm still learning so much as I go. At times I feel I don't have the couth and knowledge I need to get a point across in a polite manner and be palatable for others. However, every day I gain more from this world and am more effective at taking a stand. While I'm striving to be the best representative I can be for a more positive and open future, sometimes I don't really care how crass I need to be to get a point across. Sometimes you need to be direct. I’m not in this industry for the money and clothes. I’m here to make a difference.”
Rain on "Presenting" and "Representing": I've always just done my own thing. I was sort of thrust into the LGBT spotlight unexpectedly when I started modeling and it's very interesting to see what they think of my lifestyle. There is an immense pressure to represent on a binary level (butch or femme). For me, I don't identify with any of it. Clothing is just cloth cut in specific shapes. It shouldn't hold political value. I wear what I want, and sometimes I wear certain things that I know I'll get flack for because I know it makes society uncomfortable. I'm pushing the boundaries intentionally because they shouldn't be there to begin with.
Sierra on Community Struggle: “I believe every human being is born with a degree of disadvantages and privileges. Sometimes, those disadvantages are even pointed out by your own community. I’ve been told I don’t look gay enough by my LGBTQ peers. I’ve been called spicy, exotic and hot-headed by people outside of the Latino community and white-washed by those inside. I would be lying if I said being a queer woman of color was easy every day. I’ve learned to deal with my disadvantages, and, to be honest, I’ve flourished in my career despite the stereotypes associated with them. But at the end of the day I can really only experience life through my own lens, and being with Rain has given me a glimpse of life through hers.
Rain on How Love Changed Her: “Whenever we find love, I believe it most certainly softens us. We find that the walls we put up emotionally, to protect ourselves, suddenly grow doors for another person to enter. Sierra has really solidified how important it is to push for the freedom to love—to be more open with people about our personal journeys and not isolate ourselves during the rough parts of the road.”
Rain on Career Challenges: “When I first moved to New York City, I was couch-surfing to save money and working Craigslist gigs and odd jobs to try to be flexible for this career. It certainly didn't help my ability to buckle down and get a lot of work. One day, Buzzfeed wrote an article and I received a bunch of messages from kids around the world. That moment made me realize just how important it was to make a bigger effort. I switched to night work and kept the days free to better manage my time. Over the past six months especially, my career has grown because of that. Time is life. Life is everything!”