The Queer Spirit Podcast

Episode 1:
Reclaiming UGLY as an Act of Queer Pleasure
with Vanessa Rochelle Lewis

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Vanessa Rochelle Lewis is the Founding Director of Reclaim UGLY.
She is a healer with a satchel full of medicine words,
A conjuror with desire to nurture other artists as they create magic and save lives,
A faery princess mermaid gangsta for the revolution,
A lush-bodied, Black femme Goddess motivated by sensuality and freedom,
An educator and performer with a passionate exuberance for silliness, laughter, and the stage,
A starlet who doesn’t want to be in the spotlight alone,
A lover of all things collective, emergent, and interdependent,
A wild-seed born and blossomed in South-Central Los Angeles,
A fighter with fists born of circumstance and a heart that refused to harden,
A warrior committed to freedom, brow dripping with resilience, wings crusted with diamonds that grew from trauma healed,
A sunbeam drama kid, always ready to explore the whimsy of imagination with others,
A dreamer who’s hungry for more—more understanding, more expansive enlightenment, more friendship, more growth, more compassion, more love, more creativity, more access for her people,
An activist committed to unpacking the seeds, kernels, and fabrics of social justice, liberation for all, and collaborative healing
An alchemist who knows how to turn spirit-wounds into magic, oppression into possibility, resentment into vulnerability, insecurity into self-expansion, anger into love,
An Ethical Hedonist and Pleasure Activist committed to the transformative potency of using joy as a tool for decolonial healing, connection, intellectual assessment and movement work,
A good witch who highly values compassion, love, curiosity, and using the forces that be for generative transformation rather than revenge,
A Domme Mistress with a love for tender, gentle things; devotion and nurture; power exchange; role play; deeply consensual BDSM relationships; subs of all genders and expressions; intimacy; and magic,
A survivor, through and through, and extremely proud of it,
An unapologetically integrated person—intersectional, full, able to be held accountable,
and unwilling to compromise any part of herself,
A Free Black Woman,
A lover of words and expression,
And a goofy, romantic, and rascally flirt.

Episode Highlights

  • Vanessa and Nick discuss the way culture has used the label of “ugliness” to oppress, dehumanize and disconnect us. 
  • Vanessa talks about her journey with her organization, Reclaim Ugly.
  • She shares how we can turn ugly on its head to uplift, glorify and love ourselves.
  • We explore where we find “uglification” in our country’s history as well as in today’s world.
  • Vanessa talks about the importance of taking care of ourselves without perpetuating the harm done to us.
  • We discuss the insidious uglification we experienced in recent events such as the January 6th Insurrection of the US Capitol.

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