Exclusive | Video
HBO Max's Latinx social audience initiative Pa’lante! and its creative agency WORD, exclusively shares with Gaye Magazine that in honor of Pride Month they have released a new episode of their content series "ARE YOU LISTENING?" exclusively for Instagram and YouTube.
Episode one, titled "Sometimes Familia is Chosen", is an intimate piece on the life of the renowned Queen of Vogue, Leiomy Maldonado. The trans superstar of the hit Max Original Ballroom Competition series "Legendary" shared her unique story of personal growth, transitioning as a Latina, and living life under her own terms.
Led by mother and healer Emilia Ortiz, the piece forms part of the digital content series, Are You Listening?, a content and community campaign inspired by the HBO award-winning show “Habla.” The episode was released in conjunction with Legendary’s Season 3 finale which is available to stream on HBO Max.
During her interview, she expressed the recent loss of her grandmother who raised her to be the icon she is today.
“She raised me, she was like my mother and father," she told Emilia Ortiz.
Leiomy later detailed how she found her space and 'chosen family' within Ballroom.
“I left home at a very young age, and not because I wasn’t accepted but because I was not understood. When it came to my chosen family, I was receiving those flowers every day...[but] I needed that from my family."
Leiomy eventually did receive those flowers from her family. She went on to say, “After finally receiving that from them it felt good because for a very long time I struggled with wondering [if] they were proud of me...and the woman I became. Because even though I'm proud of it - we still need that.”
The struggles of being a part of the LGBTQ+ community are very familiar to many in the community.
“Everybody wants to be top tier and perfect...[but] no, I like to tell people that I was homeless one time...because of Ballroom, I was able to survive. Competing and making money through ballroom is the reason why I was able to eat. Like the show Legendary, it's so beautiful for people to see the family aspect of that show and to see how important chosen family is."
Leiomy ends by reflecting on being a public figure, "I want people to relate to me because I bleed too and I cry...I feel like the more relatable you are, the more you can inspire."
She has inspired us all for sure! Check Out the Full Interview Below: