Spotlight: Quinn Villagomez
Written by Roxanne Anderson
Quinn Villagomez is a Shimmazzing artist and activist. She is an on air radio personality and host on the longest running queer radio station in the nation. Fresh Fruit Show was original programming for the station, running some 38 years on KFAI radio 90.3 in Minneapolis and 106.7 St. Paul-Radio without Boundaries!
I first meet Quinn aka ‘Shimmer’ at a group run by the Minnesota Transgender Health Coalition 2 years ago. I remember it well, it was a Wednesday night and Quinn remarked she had wanted to be on the radio and had even studied broadcasting at Brown College, but couldn’t get a break and was feeling disappointed. So I invited her to come and sit in with me the following on my show. I hosted the second week of the month and we featured queer and trans artists of color. I could tell Quinn wasn’t really sure, but she showed up on time ready to participate. She is now the co-host of that show with me. But she didn’t stop there Quinn REALLY participated, she kept showing up, on time ready to go with questions for guests and suggestions for who to interview next. It wasn’t long before I asked her be my ongoing co-host, but still she didn’t stop, she joined committees and the board of directors for KFAI, she’s lead in the last two International Women’s Day(IWD) 24 hours of women’s programming and with the concerts to support IWD.
Today Quinn is a sought after MC and Stage Goddess and is the only person to gain exclusive interviews with both “The Queen of Bounce” Big Freedia and Broadway Performer and American Idol star Frenchie Davis. This Friday Night June 17th Shimmer will be interviewing Rah Digga one of Rap’s most prominent MC’s before she goes on at #KutThroat an Album Release for Minneapolis’s own Katana Da Don, 10pm at the Nomad World Theater. That interview will air on the 2nd Thursday in July RARE Productions hosting segment Fresh Fruit. I got to ask Quinn some questions for a change.
Quinn, When did you first know you wanted to do radio?
I knew I wanted to do Radio when I was in my early teens; I love Music and it is a big part of who I am; and so wanting to be in Radio Broadcasting has always been a dream of mine.
Were you born in MN?
Yes; I was born and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I’ve been here my entire life.
When did you first realize you were queer?
I realized when I was 5 years old that I was queer; I knew I was feminine from then on and had always knew I was a girl and not a boy.
How did you cope with being a queer Latinx person in MN
Being a Latinx person who is queer and Transgender has been difficult; growing up with the traditional beliefs that being an LGBTQ identified person was not acceptable. I was raised around the stereotypes and the typical set beliefs of what a "Boy" & a "Girl" is; so it was hard growing up -- today it still is, with other (non lgbtq) Latinx people sometimes they stare and are not quite sure why I am living as me -- as a Woman.
- It has been difficult to this day; but it is a bit more acceptable to an extent.
What did your friends and family think about you wanting to be a radio personality?
I know many of my family/friends have always expressed to me that I have "Personality" and that "Pop Culture" attitude and so many of them have said "Radio would be fantastic for you" or some career in the Entertainment Field such as TV Personality, Journalist, or TV Correspondent.
What did they think about you being queer?
I think to this day my family/friends are okay with me being Queer; but also I sense they have questions or feel certain ways about my lifestyle -- some have expectations and some are confused and some are just supportive. I believe they don't care --- but at times I think they truly have questions; but will not ask me as if they sense I will be hurt, sad or embarrassed.
Where are they with those things now?
I think my family/friends are at a place of acceptance and are just dealing with it; but deep down maybe they aren't and are not sure how to speak to me about me being a Transgender woman.
What's next for you?
...Well I want to continue hosting events/parties as I love doing that. I enjoy making people smile and having a good time. My biggest goal? I am working on is to be a top On-Air Radio Personality for a Pop Culture Station (KIIS FM, Hot 97) and to follow in the footsteps of my Radio Broadcasting Idol - Angie Martinez who is a woman of color, Latina and is the first Latina Woman in Radio History to be named "The Voice of Radio"; she truly has inspired me to fulfill my dream of Radio Broadcasting.
- I would also love to learn how to Deejay, write a Memoir & become a NY Times Best Selling Author, create my own Jewelry line & to be a TV personality.
How does it feel to hear people use the word you created Shimazing
When I hear people use the word "Shimazzing" it makes me feel fantastic and excited as I created the word on a whim --combining "Shimmer" and "Amazing" together and coming up with 'Shimazzing". I love that it is catching on to people and to hear people laugh, smile, get excited or use it elsewhere is SHIMAZZING. I hope one day it resonates itself in the Dictionary & hopefully I can get paid when my word is used everytime it's mentioned:).
What else do you want your fans and everyone to to know about you?
That I am grateful to be on this journey. That I have big dreams and believe in them. That one day I’d like to speak in front of a large audience like 5000 people.
If you want to book Quinn to host or MC your event:
Tweet: ShimmerGlitz @QVillagomez