Also.Also.Also: On Aubrey Plaza’s Lasting Reign and the Legacy of “Moody, Deadpan Latinas”

Feature Photo of Aubrey Plaza and Jenny Ortega by by Michael Buckner/Variety via Getty Images

Have you heard of molletes? Because they are my secret weapon of vegetarian sandwiches (I do mine without the fried egg that’s on top in this recipe) that feel hefty enough for dinner and I had to share.

Saw This, Thought of You

Please understand, I am extremely here for it. In Praise of Jenna Ortega, Aubrey Plaza and Moody, Deadpan Latinas. Suzy Exposito is a favorite writer of mine, her piece about growing up a goth Latina in Miami (it’s linked in the essay above) is one I return to often to remember just why I do this kind of writing. Anyway, I’ve thought a lot about this for the last few months now, ever since Aubrey Plaza’s grand return to the front of pop culture consciousness this fall seemingly overlapped with Wednesday’s rise for Jenna Ortega, I but couldn’t figure out how to put it into words?

“Although Ortega’s sullen interpretation of teen Wednesday can be directly linked back to that of Christina Ricci, who played the character in the 1991 film ‘The Addams Family,’ Ortega’s affect as ‘Wednesday’ also calls back an earlier model of Latina malaise: Aubrey Plaza as the character April Ludgate in the 2000s comedy ‘Parks and Recreation.”

There are so many legacies that we are only just now getting to build, as Latinas (and also for Plaza, as queer people), because we weren’t here before. We weren’t able to build tropes — and not stereotypes! because there is a difference! — of our own making, in our own name? And something about watching traces of Aubrey Plaza in Jenna Ortega happen in real time is just… chilling. In the best of ways.

Speaking of pop culture legacies! Judy Blume Goes All the Way. “A new generation discovers the poet laureate of puberty.”

Queer as in F*ck You

OK — a little pride for my home state for a second, however! So much of the news we get on the state legislature level about LGBTQ rights is awful, how about some good news for once? Michigan State Senate Passes Bill to Protect LGBTQ Rights

But I do have a round up of those other kinds of state news, too:

But we’re still here, we’re still queer, and fighting back: Students Across Iowa Take Part in Walkouts to Protest LGBTQ Bills

Transgender Athlete JayCee Cooper Wins Discrimination Case Against USA Powerlifting. (Oh you’re interested in trans strength training? Have you read Stef Rubino’s work yet?)

“I rely on Black queer feminist models of community and kinship to determine how I will raise my children and build community around them. As bell hooks writes in All About Love: New Visions, ‘Capitalism and patriarchy together, as structures of domination, have worked overtime to undermine and destroy this larger unit of extended kin.'” What Monogamy Misses by Dr. Jenn M Jackson, for Yes!

Political Snacks

ICYMI, “Lightfoot, the first Black woman and out LGBTQ+ person to lead Chicago, has failed to make an April runoff, with challengers Paul Vallas and Brandon Johnson moving on.” Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot Loses Reelection Bid

Iran Investigates Poisoning of Hundreds of Schoolgirls With Toxic Gas. “Many Iranians believe the toxic gas poisonings are a deliberate attempt to force schools to close.”

UN Urged to Intervene Over Destruction of Us Abortion Rights. “Exclusive: letter from human rights groups says overturning of the constitutional right violates US’s obligations as a UN member state.” As it fucking should.

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Carmen Phillips

Carmen is Autostraddle's Editor-in-Chief and a Black Puerto Rican femme/inist writer. She claims many past homes, but left the largest parts of her heart in Detroit, Brooklyn, and Buffalo, NY. There were several years in her early 20s when she earnestly slept with a copy of James Baldwin’s “Fire Next Time” under her pillow. You can find her on twitter, @carmencitaloves.

Carmen has written 700 articles for us.


  1. As a Chicagoan, it’s been really frustrating to see how national news (an a lot of mainstream local news) is portraying the election and Lightfoot’s mayoral legacy. Yes, she’s a Black lesbian, but progressives and activists in Chicago often cite her as an exemplar for the shallowness of purely-representation politics. Yes, Daley and Rahm were awful, and the fact that they were straight white dudes played into how long they stayed in power. BUt Lightfoot has been actively harmful, much of which is summarized in
    this Twitter thread. Other low-points include raising the bridges to separate downtown from the rest of the city and blaming crime on progressive Attorney General Kim Foxx.

    Not criticizing this link/coverage in particular, just context that feels relevant. This run off is going to be intense. If Vallas wins it’ll be awful (and if my choices had been him or Lightfoot I would have voted for Lightfoot), but if Johnson wins we might get to have an actually progressive mayor, which would be incredibly exciting. But either way there is a lot more happening than just how people feel about crime (which seems to be the focus of most national articles).

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