Oct. 6, 2021

S3E6 (Cisco)

S3E6 (Cisco)

Gil and Eric were honored to be joined by Cisco, the owner, founder, designer and creator of luxury underwear and apparel brand YOCISCO  All apparel is fully sustainable and made of bamboo for that luxurious feel.

Check out YOCISCO at:
Website
Instagram
Facebook
Youtube
TikTok

Transcript
Eric:

Hello and welcome to the Q lounge. I'm Eric

Gil:

and I'm Gil.

Eric:

Join us as we discuss news stories and life situations. As they relate to the LGBTQIA+ experience, please visit us at theQloungepodcast.com and hit that subscribe button or listen wherever you get your podcasts. If you would like to follow us on social media, you can hit us up on Facebook @TheQLoungePodcast or on Instagram or Twitter TheQLounge Hello, welcome to the Q lounge. I'm Eric

Gil:

and I'm Gil.

Eric:

And today we are honored to be joined by Cisco, the creator designer, owner of the luxury underwear and athletic brand. YoCisco. So thank you so much for joining us. How are you?

Cisco:

Hey guys, I'm doing well. How are you doing well? Thank you. Welcome to the Q lounge. Yes. Thank you for having me. I'm excited to be here for sure. Yes.

Eric:

We're excited to have you, so tell us a little bit about you. Tell us about your. Awesome underwear brand and how that kind of got started. I know we'll probably go into it a little bit more in detail as we go on, but just to give the listeners who may not know about you, a little bit of background, I'm actually wearing a pair of your underwear right now, today, actually. And they're super comfortable.

Cisco:

We love hearing that we hear that all the time. And mainly it's probably because, our underwear is made of bamboo as far as the short version. We launched the YoCisco name was launched in 2008. We started as a a online magazine for gay men of color. And then it wasn't until 2013 that we actually decided to launch apparel, which was underwear, of course. So we've been in business eight years. We make a sustainable men's apparel lounge wear, so mainly underwear, but we've done some other things. T-shirts tank tops. Of course everything's bamboo. And then we also do sustainable accessories as well. We launched a line of bags, backpacks, duffel bags, chest pouch. And then we recently launched bamboo socks as well. So yeah, we consider ourselves a sustainable men's brand. And we're sold online, direct to consumer. And then we also sell wholesale to boutiques. So we can be found in some boutiques in the U S and then we're also distributed in Japan as well as the United Kingdom as well. So we have a pretty decent rate. That's really awesome. Awesome. Yeah.

Eric:

I I remember when you launched, cause I've actually known of you for a while and I've actually met you a few times when you were a go-go dancer at tracks.

Cisco:

I miss those days for sure.

Eric:

And then you see work for Club Papi as well.

Cisco:

Yeah, I have my go-go dancing career span 17 years. I don't know if there's like a Guinness book of world records, but yeah, that's how I'm grateful though. For those times I really was able to build up a really good following through of course, and then eventually Facebook.

Eric:

Yeah

Cisco:

or something, I don't know, like everyone's into the retro and everything. So talk to Zuckerberg about that.

Eric:

Yeah. So I remember when you launched the underwear brand, cause you, I remember reading you, I don't know if it was an interview or just something that you wrote about why you chose bamboo and all that other stuff. So I recently launched a t-shirt line. And so when I was looking for it, I was very like, Picky on the fabrics that I use. Cause I remember reading your thing on bamboo. So then like I was really looking for a bamboo and hemp and lyocell fabrics, which I did find a company that would do it, but then the owner turned out to be a racist. So that whole thing just fell apart. Yeah. So I had to give in a little bit on the fabric that I wanted only because the print qualities of the other companies that had the fabric I wanted were really terrible.

Cisco:

But I still do my homework. Huh? A good cotton fabric is always good. Aside from bamboo, but that does matter though, for sure.

It

Eric:

does. And I use them like a hundred percent organic cotton rightnow for most of my stuff. But yeah, I learned quality of fabric from just that little excerpt that I read from.

Cisco:

Glad I could educate for sure. I this whole process, even for myself with my company has. Education as well. Just going through the process and living and learning and making mistakes and learning from your mistakes and continue to move forward. So yeah, the apparel industries is extreme and you'll find this out, Eric and it's very competitive. It's a very saturated. We have to be very innovative in the way that you reach customers and the types of products that you're putting out. And of course there's social media. So it's it's a challenge every day,

Eric:

for me, it's just like a little fun side project and it's also how I sell our apparel for our podcast is through that.

Cisco:

Absolutely. Like you got to have your merch for sure. Absolutely.

Eric:

How is life treating you in a COVID kind of world? Whoa,

Cisco:

We, I know a lot of other people have been hit a lot harder than we have just myself personally. But it has affected the company. We originally were going to launch our bag line In March of 2020, and of course the pandemic hit in like January, February. So it wasn't something that we could just pull back on. Cause they were already in production and production for about six months. It was about six months in design. So we were counting on producing this back in like early 20, 19. So by the time the pandemic hit, we're like, oh shit, nobody's traveling. Nobody's going to need a bag to go anywhere. Everyone's locked in the house. So it did damp in a lot of opportunities for us. We our distributor in Japan was actually going to showcase us at the Tokyo Olympics in the Olympic village. Oh yeah. He's pretty, our distributors pretty extensive in Japan. And tokyo Olympics were canceled and everything was severely, shrunk down or even the Olympics this year in Tokyo were not where they should have been. So just opportunities like that. And, just trying to sell direct to the consumer things have been opening up. So things have been loosening up a little bit. But it's nowhere near where we should have been. And then of course, like shipping and production has been, it's become more expensive. So in that way, it's been difficult, but I will say people because they were staying home more, we're looking for more comfortable stuff, nicer stuff to wear at home. And so on that end the underwear, did fairly well during the lockdowns and things like that. So it's been like a bittersweet, I guess you could say, but nowhere near compared to what other people have suffered and some of the, the debts and everything that have been going on.

Eric:

I will put in another plug. They are super comfortable. It's like pretty much wearing like nothing, but you know that there's something there to protect you from the zipper.

Cisco:

Yeah, the bamboo, aside from it being a sustainable fabric, it does as compared to cotton it keeps you a lot cooler than cotton, a lot drier than cotton. So overall it's just, and it's just such a soft fabric. A lot of people think bamboo and. How has bamboo soft, you know what but it's a great fabric. It's just so luxuriously soft and it gets softer. The more you wash it to. So inclusively now in all our apparel,

Eric:

so really great at the gym too. I feel like my flexibility is even that much better, because like you said, it moves better.

Cisco:

Oh yeah, absolutely. It's great for, just like you said, the gym, if you're active, wearing them to work or whatever, just for whatever activity to be sexy. Exactly. And that's what you find funny. You say that with all the years go go dancing. The reason I decided to launch my own line. It's just because I had worn, literally every brand under the sun and I could never find anything that was cute. And then also comfortable. It was either like super comfortable underwear that was ugly as hell, really cute underwear. That was super uncomfortable. So I really wanted to create something that was both sexy and stylish, but then also comfortable with.

Eric:

I'd say you succeeded just from, I will plug away. So when did you realize that you were part of the LGBTQ plus community and how did you realize.

Cisco:

I think like most people in our community, we always, I always knew very young that I was different. I wasn't, as like I grew up in a very macho household, I'm Italian and Mexican. So you can imagine like the machismo household, toxic masculinity, and I was never like that super masculine, like my old, my older three brothers where I didn't play like football and I wasn't, just, I was very different. I was more into like dancing and performing and singing and those kinds of things.

Eric:

Yeah, exactly. I wouldn't

Cisco:

say professional, I like to be in, in front of people. And so I think just as I started to go through puberty and got older, I realized, wow, okay. Like I'm different. I know that. And it was just something I just hoped, I would say 13, 14, I knew that I was attracted to guys and I just, it was just something I thought, okay, I can just put that in the back of my head and just force it down and just hiding. So yeah, again, I just say everyone asks, like, when did you realize you're gay? And I was just like it's just been always just been something a part of me,

Gil:

and then how did your friends and like family take that when you did decide to do.

Cisco:

Luckily my family was super welcoming, super open. My brothers were very welcoming. I had a cousin who was a lesbian that came out years before me. They were prepared for that. The only thing my mom was worried about is cause I was, I had a young child. I was a dad, so she was just confused about how I was going to raise a kid, being a gay man. And keep in mind, this was like 1997. So it was a little bit different time back then, there weren't

Eric:

a

Cisco:

couple years

Eric:

older than 20 years younger than me.

Cisco:

I appreciate that. Yeah, I go way back for sure. So yeah, it was just. That was really my mom's only concern is how are you going to raise the kid? But other than that, I've been very lucky that my family has been very open and welcoming. Awesome.

Eric:

How was it being a single gay father with,

Cisco:

There wasn't like a roadmap for it. It wasn't like, this is what you do and how you behave. So I think. Figured it out and just made the rules as I went along. One of my biggest things with me is I never wanted to have to sit my daughter down and tell her, Hey, your dad's gay. When she's like 15, I wanted to raise her and immerse her in that from the beginning. So her growing up, she just always saw it as something that was normal. It wasn't really, until she started, like kids started realizing, wait a minute, you have two dads. What's that all about? And it got a little bit difficult for. But growing up, yeah, that was the biggest thing is but other than that, just being like a regular dad being there for your kid and loving them and listening to them and being interested in supporting them. So

Eric:

that's awesome. Yeah. We had a guest on last season and she raised her children the same way and I just thought it was beautiful to see like that much progression because of, like you said, like back in the nineties was a different time. And that was so I know, I still feel like the nineties was like five years ago, so I'm still bumping my nineties music.

Cisco:

It's weird to think. My daughter was born in 96 and she's 25 was 25 years ago. Oh, wow.

Eric:

And she got recently engaged. Didn't she? She

Cisco:

did. Thank you. Yeah, we're really excited. About three years to plan her wedding. So we have some time, but three years we've got three years of bridezilla

Gil:

good luck,

Cisco:

but I'm excited. I'm just glad to be here for it, excited to help her with

Eric:

it. So that's awesome. Did you have any personal struggles when you were coming out or have you dealt with any like internalized homophobia?

Cisco:

Yeah. I think growing up and I hate to put this on my dad, but being in a macho household, he would always tell me, like, why are you acting so femme? Or why are you so femme? And he would say it in such a way that he sounded so disgusted. That I, automatically knew that was something wrong. That was something bad. And I think I internalize that just about myself. I think it's severely expected. Just the way I think of myself and my self esteem. I think I come off as like very confident, but I always have that inside of me that I'm unsure of myself a lot of times, or and I know that just goes back to. Just being told, not to be so feminine or, act more masculine or why aren't you, why aren't you into boy things? And I think I, I still carry that with me today. Important. I

Eric:

can super relate to that. I've been told my whole life like, oh, you're so sensitive. Why aren't you so sensitive? You need to quit being so sensitive and be a man about it. And I just like,

Cisco:

okay. And

Eric:

so like now I still we were just talking when one of our last episodes that we recorded. I think that one that just dropped, like I've dealing with so much internalized homophobia that I didn't even realize I still had. Yeah. And now like that I'm like accepting it and like pushing through it. It's almost like a re coming out where I'm like pushing everything to the extreme, again, like painting my nails and wearing crop tops. And

Gil:

that's the thing it's we don't have that luxury of, the coming at, like what is it, the Rite of passage? To go all the way through. It's like with the re come out, knocked down another wall because it's built in

Cisco:

yeah. It's and I think especially being Latino, our culture is so much machismo that it is something that presents itself And it's difficult to overcome, for sure. And I think he also in the African-American community, as you guys know, my husband is African-American and, through my, throughout my time, dating men, I usually date African-American men. And I, seen that as well, pretty heavily in the African-American community as well. So I think just as people of color, we face that. That internalized homophobia and toxic masculinity.

Eric:

Absolutely. I think so, too. How do you deal with that and deal with those struggles?

Cisco:

I think I just have to do a lot of self-talk like talking to myself off a ledge or just like really just forcing myself like to do something. If I'm maybe in a room with a bunch of people, I don't know, I get really nervous or whatever, and just forcing myself. I think it's just a matter of realizing it, identifying it, and then just overcoming it in your head and realizing when it's hitting you or like when something that you're doing as a result of that, and then trying to correct it. But it's an everyday struggle. It's ongoing. For sure.

Eric:

Absolutely. I have those talks with myself all the time. And yeah, people always think like I'm super outgoing. I'm like, no, I'm really shy. I'm like a super introvert when I have to, when I had to be when I was a dancer and when I was performing, when I had to be on stage or if I was like dancing at a party or whatever else I was on stage, a different person, or if you put me in front of a camera, completely different person, like when I did acting and stuff like that. So I was like, oh, you seem like you're so much fun. I'm like, I'm really not. That's just that.

Cisco:

I think a, as a creative, that's the other thing, a lot of times creative people can be very introverted as well, unless they, they're forced not to be, but I think that's another trait of creative people too, is that they to be a little bit more.

Eric:

Yeah, I agree. And by the way, I love your Prozac and Xanax.

Cisco:

It's a favorite home designer of mine in that makes these different, I it's funny, cause I'm not on either Prozac or Xanax. No, they are cool.

Gil:

I feel like I am seeing this right.

Eric:

I've seen them before, like on a TV show or something.

Cisco:

They're from Jonathan Adler. Okay. He makes like housewares. Yeah. Like I've seen them before. Yeah. Yeah. They're fun. Yeah. That was one of the awesome,

Gil:

a lighter note. Who is your diva?

Cisco:

Lady Gaga by all accounts. Absolutely love lady Gaga, hands down. A good friend of mine actually I used to go go dance with a, was her backup dancer for a number of years, especially when she was first taking off Mike Silas. And we got to meet Gaga a couple of different times when she would come to Denver because he would always get us backstage and get us into the concert. My daughter. And just her being part of her being Italian and we're, I'm half Italian. We've just always just felt this really deep connection with lady Gaga. And I think like most gays, anyway, we. Yes. So yeah, hands down, lady Gaga. Don't anybody say nothing bad about,

Eric:

so I'm going to say something and you're probably going to smack me really quick, but I'll amend it very quickly. So I w I was late to the Gaga party. I was like, okay, she's cool. I like this on, I liked that song, but whatever it wasn't like, I didn't dislike her. I just was like, not completely moved by her. And then I saw a performance of hers. I was like, oh my God, I absolutely get why everybody loves her. And then it became like a big fan of hers.

Gil:

Yeah. When she was live with Tony Bennett, she came out here to the bay area and I was just like, God smacked with her. And I was like, oh my God. It was amazing.

Cisco:

Yeah. Yeah.

Eric:

And she's an amazing songwriter. Amazing vocalist.

Cisco:

Yes, so talented all around. And I think we always just like her it was, she was always very like avant-garde and whimsical, but then she's like dark and scary. I'm even thinking like the paparazzi video, my friend that I used to dance with is in the paparazzi video, but the model's all beautiful. And then I don't know. We just like, we, I don't know. I just think that's so cool. I love that

Gil:

that video is one of my more favorite ones. I know it's older, but I,

Cisco:

I enjoy

Eric:

that Juxtaposition of the glamorous and then the creepy is just. I always love that about her and she's quite the humanitarian and she's quite the ally, so

Cisco:

she's incredible. And again, I think it just goes deeper because we've met her, we've followed her career since my friend was down on the road with her. So yeah, hands down, lady Gaga, for sure.

Gil:

Do you have a, what's your top five songs?

Cisco:

Probably, I would say number one, just dance, all the old ones. I like probably Just Dance Paparazzi so you can, some of her old ones the there's nothing I can say. I don't know if you guys know, like any of the old Gaga

Eric:

I have the Stephanie, I can't say her last name. I have like her releases before she was Gaga

Cisco:

yes. Like any of the old stuff. Mon what does that monster like that? I don't know, now that you put me on the spot. I can't money, honey. That was another good one. But like just dance. So I think just hits I remember go-go dancing in the clubs when I think it was like 2007 or 2008, when it. Hit the clubs I remember up there and I was like, who the fuck is? This? This song is so like hot, but yeah,

Eric:

that's a great song.

Cisco:

Just dance. I know. It's so cliche, Gaga.

Eric:

That's my favorite Gaga song too. So

Gil:

bad romance for me.

Cisco:

Like I remember when that video, bad romance first came out, my daughter watched it and we just sat there after were like, looked at each other. We're like, we gotta watch that shit again. That was bad romance, probably the, one of the best music videos ever in my life.

Gil:

Eric, if you didn't know Eric it's a. Nonchalant fan of Janet. If you've heard of her,

Cisco:

no arguing with you there.

Eric:

And Gil's a hugeAnnie lennox fanyes, I

Gil:

will. Classic

Cisco:

dope too. You can't argue about any of those

Eric:

or divas are great. So what are some of your guilty pleasures?

Cisco:

I would definitely say brunch. I don't know. Is that a guilt? Can that be a guilty pleasure? Bottom less, I do yeah, like I like brunch. I like to go to the pool. I'm always a pool guy. Let's see. What other guilty pleasures do I have? Gorging cookies. My daughter's feeding me ideas carbs, I don't know. I feel like that maybe, smoking weed. I don't know if I should admit that on here, but Colorado. So tell you to edit that out. So I won't to tell you to edit that out. No, I actually just moved to San Diego. Oh, awesome.

Gil:

Great weather.

Cisco:

Beautiful.

Eric:

Oh, so you guys are both on the we're on the coast

Cisco:

in California? Yeah. I'm in San Francisco.

Gil:

Some up north. Yes. Yes. Yes. Welcome

Cisco:

the best coast election for sure. Oh

Gil:

God. Yes. I don't waste of money.

Eric:

Yeah, I was I praise California when we recorded that day to say, thank you for voting. No.

Cisco:

Oh,

Gil:

I couldn't believe that was even an issue, but it is what it is.

Cisco:

We got over that hump. So that's. Yeah. Yeah.

Eric:

Have you ever been pigeonholed into any stereotypes or are there any stereotypes that you feel like you fit? And what's your opinion on stereotypes? Actually, let's start with that.

Cisco:

Yeah. I think on stereo stereotypes can be unfair, but I think many times stereotypes can be rooted in some sort of truth. They don't always apply to everybody, but they can be rooted in some sort of truth. And I do think I have been pigeonholed and it's very frustrating, honestly. When I launched YoCisco initially, and, calling on boutiques, trying to get picked up in different stores. It's not always easy, right? There's a lot of underwear brands out there. If you're a new brand, a lot of times it's hard to get into stores. You have to do a lot of kissing ass and following up and, calling stores. And I remember there was one store owner that told us. He just kept putting us off and didn't want to talk to us. Didn't want to look at our stuff. And we kept telling them our stuff is great. It'll sell really well. It's made of bamboo. And finally, he just said, YoCisco just, it reminds me of that brand Papi. And I was like, oh, okay. He's yeah. And he's and I always see Papi at TJ max. He's and your brand just reminds me of that brand. And. I was thinking Ms. That because we're both Hispanic brand, Latino brands or, brands with more of a Latino type flavor. And I do feel like, I don't know, I don't want to complain too much, but I do feel like some of these other brands that are more, that not that are not Latino oriented or don't come off that way. Oftentimes have more success in certain communities than others. So yeah, I would say that's that's the best example I can give you a being pigeonholed and like, how do you even argue with that when somebody already has an idea of what your brand is about in their head, how do you counteract that? And the only conclusion I could come up with was because we were both Latino oriented brands. And it just didn't feel fair because I do feel like we have a better product than a lot of other brands out there.

Eric:

definitely just stick with your convictions and for

Gil:

sure.

Cisco:

Did that answer the question? Yes. Yeah.

Gil:

So what's the importance of pronouns.

Cisco:

I think they're extremely important. Honestly until, up until maybe a few years back, I didn't really, I don't think I was as cognizant of pronouns and how important they are just because, although I am gay, I do identify as. And he and I think seeing what trans people go through and the trans movement as it's gained more steam I think I've had to educate myself a lot more on how important pronouns are. And so I'm very careful of pronouns these days. And I do think they are very important and they should be important to everybody because, essentially. Your gender oftentimes is your identity. And if you don't identify as a certain gender or viewer one gender, you identify as another gender. That's extremely important. I can tell you, I remember as a little kid I remember one time I had gotten a perm. My hair was really curly and I think I had a doll face when I was little. And I remember a lady at the amusement park that I was a girl. And she was like, oh, shit for her. Or she referred to me as a, her and I remember my cousins, like laughing and making fun of me and it was so hurtful. And so when I think about people's pronouns, I think back to that time, how important it is to be called by the proper pronoun that you want to be identified by. And so I think pronouns are extremely important and should not be under.

Eric:

Yeah, no, I agree. Yeah, very

Cisco:

well. Put, I won't argue with you on that one at all.

Eric:

What is your opinion on representation and how it was like when we were younger, growing up and graduated and how it is now?

Cisco:

You mean representation for

Eric:

the LGBTQ community?

Cisco:

I think it's extremely important, obviously I think we've gotten more representation as the years have gone on. Obviously back when we were first coming out in the late nineties, all you saw was maybe like Ellen and there wasn't really anybody to really look up to. So I think representation is extremely important. We've got to have a seat at the table in everything that, that goes on, whether it be politics, whether it be entertainment. Because it gives the generation coming up something to look at and have a blueprint for. And it doesn't always have to be us, creating that path that's already been created and it opens the door for so much more so many more people from our community to do big things and just giving us more of a seat at the table. Yeah, it's extremely important. I do think though I think because LGBT has gone more mainstream in certain ways I think it has become more commercialized, which is a good thing, but I think also it's, it can not be a good thing as well, cause it doesn't come off as authentic anymore. I think that's what we were all shooting for. We were shooting for representation and it just it's something that, oh, you're gay. Okay, cool. Whatever. That's what we've always wanted. So I think there's good and bad at the same time.

Eric:

So would that go into what's your opinion on.

Cisco:

I think it's extremely important. I think even though it has become so commercialized I think it's extremely important. I think after the last four years of what has gone on in our government and the last administration, I think it really solidified why we still need to have a pride and why that still needs to be such a big part. The community at large, mainstream community. They still need to see that that we're here and we're not going anywhere. And I think pride is essential. And I again, just because it's commercialized, I think LA I heard LA was like LA pride. At one point it was all commercial, like booths and commercial sponsors. I think it's important to keep that grassroots element. In pride and at the same time as we grow it and it becomes more mainstream.

Eric:

What did I have? One other question. What are your, what's your opinion on gay for pay and not necessarily just like in the adult or sex industry, because there's obviously that, but also hetero heterosexual actors playing gay parts and all that other stuff.

Cisco:

So gay her pay to me as a little bit different than but when I hear gay her pay, I always think of okay, I'll have sex with no,

Eric:

You can take it that way too. You can take it that way. In

Cisco:

terms of that. Hey, like whatever floats your boat, I know there are porn stars out there that claim to be straight, or there are maybe escorts that are quote unquote straight, but they just, I think you have to have an element of something somewhere in order to do that to be maybe not, I don't know. I can't speak for everybody. But whatever I know, even like the go-go dancing, I know that, you a lot of go-go dancers are heterosex. But they go to make the money or they like the attention. As long as you're respectful of the community, I think it's fine. In terms of actors playing gay parts, I would always prefer somebody that's gay to play a gay part. Same thing goes for Latino parts should be played by a Latino character. But if you are going to play a part that you're not, be responsible with it, do your research and do it justice, but I do. As far as acting and entertainment goes, if you are going to have a gay part, make sure it's an actual gay person. I think they can add more authenticity to a role.

Gil:

Okay. That makes sense. Do you have any opinions on any ways we can improve as a community since we have become to a degree or getting what we wanted in the mainstream ness? So it's not so much of a rebel. I dunno. I want to say rebellion, but it's more of a. Edginess about coming out now it's become very, more accepted within, especially the new gen Z and then the future. What is it? Alpha I think is what they're calling them, but is there still ways that we can improve overall?

Cisco:

Yeah. I think because it's become so mainstream and coming out isn't as big of an issue anymore. And maybe we are facing as many like outright attacks. We're still seeing attacks and again, I'm I live in a city, so I can't speak for people in other, but I, I do think going back to our roots and coming back with that comradery that we used to have LGBTQ community again, I think. We're always quick to attack each other or talk shit about each other. And I think we can do that, because we're not as much under attack as we used to be, 20 years ago, 30 years ago, 40 years ago that we had to have that comradery. And I miss that. I wish we had we can still hold on to that. I think that just goes back to us remembering where we came from, remembering the struggles that we faced and remember the struggle struggles that we're still. Yeah, I think can help really bring our community closer together with each other.

Eric:

I do see as social acceptance has grown, we've also become like a little microcosm of the bigger picture. So now you have the different groups and the different cliques and a lot of in fighting, like you were

Cisco:

saying, it is, it really is.

Gil:

Yeah, I was going to say, especially with, I think the big issue right now within the community has been, you have the privileged gays, the ones who look a certain way, then you have the minorities and within the minorities, you have the cliques within that. And it's just that's interesting. I thought we were all one community cause they like to brand us that way, but we know

Eric:

people are very go ahead and say, people are so like willing to like, forget about. Part of them, as long as they're accepted with this, within this group. And I call them the Puerta Vallarta gays aren't the gays, the ones that like had to go to Puerto Vallarta for new year's and then there's boat capsized. They I have a right to party. I have a right to celebrate new year's. So you have a right to go to a foreign country and take your infections of COVID to a foreign country. Okay. That's a privilege

Cisco:

I was so disappointed seeing that kind of stuff, especially like parties going on during a lockdown and the pandemic. I feel like our community, I was very offended and I have to, I've always taken COVID very seriously from the beginning and still take it seriously. I'm vaccinated. But I wear my mask and everything when I go out. Yeah. Who wants to get COVID? Where was I going with? I went off on a tangent. That's

Eric:

okay. We were talking about,

Cisco:

we were talking about of,

Eric:

and the privilege. Yeah.

Cisco:

I lost my train of thought. Okay, let's get,

Gil:

we can't

Cisco:

get away all

Eric:

the time here all the time. Sometimes I'm like, oh yeah, we had that conversation like seven episodes ago, but let's finish it

Cisco:

now.

Eric:

It makes our podcasts episodic, even though it's really not.

Cisco:

I remember what I was gonna say. So I was going to just say that just our community, as far as the HIV and aids crisis, we lost so many people to that. And there was nothing we could do about it, honestly, for the longest time, the government wasn't doing anything about it to help us. And so it was really just disappointing to see our community go out and partying and just completely disregarding the rules. And again, I think that goes back to us, remembering where we came from, remembering our roots, remembering what we've been through and using that to help propel us forward as a stronger community. I remembered that

Eric:

you do too. I'm glad you did too. School us on that. What's your opinion on allyship and what makes a good ally?

Cisco:

I think we definitely need allies for sure. And I'm happy to have them. I have a lot of straight friends and I think it's important. And I think as with any ally of any community it's important to listen to that community. To not, come off everything, just shut your mouth and listen and understand and be empathetic, as an ally, especially like with the BLM protests last year obviously I'm Latino, I'm not black. And even as far as Latinos go, I'm very light skinned. So I realized that I have that privilege. And so even like for my husband, I don't understand what he goes through on a daily basis. You can pick him out of a crowd of white people or these unmistakably black, white people I might blend in, or, it's not as obvious. So I think being an ally is just learning to be empathetic to what people are going through and just listen to them and listen to their struggles. And then when you're amongst people that are not in that group to enlighten people or educate people And, at least help them get a different perspective.

Eric:

I agree with that.

Gil:

What advice would you give a younger you

Eric:

and you just did a beautiful tick tock the other day where you're talking to 19 year olds and I literally cry. Like I literally cried and I know I commented on it, but I was like, oh my God, that's so sweet.

Cisco:

Yeah, yeah, that's it talk was fun for sure. Yeah. So advice I would give a younger me would be. Watch out for the 2008 financial crisis. That was a nightmare for me. No that's minimal, but like I would say just know that everything is going to be okay. If you if you just live your life with just just live as a good person, That things will work themselves out. I think the point of that Tik TOK, especially with when you're in a bad situation, especially when you're first coming out, you really feel like things are hopeless. You don't know how things are ever going to get better or have like how they're going to resolve themselves. And so just, I guess just just trust that everything is going to be okay. And I think now at 44, I have, this point in my life, Finally feeling like I'm where I need to be. Just in terms of relationship business-wise with my daughter, everything, is good. So just trust, trust the process and just live as a good person and things will work themselves out again in hindsight, it's so easy to say. Yeah, exactly. But if I could say something to my younger self, that's what I would do. Awesome.

Eric:

I like that advice. what lessons have you learned just from everything that you've gone through and your journey?

Cisco:

Lessons. I think number one is honesty and being honest and being humble. As far as being humble, I when I was a go-go dancer I was always at one that would always like thank people or hugged people around and talk to people. I had a lot of other friends that would dance with me that were really like, not very friendly with people. And and I think that's kinda how I built a reputation in the community is being humble and just being a real person and not thinking that you're above anybody else, not thinking that you're any better than anybody else. I think I think that's one of the lessons. Just again, being honest and being open, being like an open book. I remember when I was first getting into the scene, I wrote a advice column called ask Cisco people would write it and Hey, Cisco, it's trying to come out. I don't know what to do. What is your advice on this and that? And I've always just been really like open to just sharing my experiences. Sometimes I overshare, I think my business partner tells me I'm too much of an open book. He's like mystery for people, you gotta leave them wanting more, but I don't know. I've just always been just very humble and very open just about myself and my life. When I go through. I don't know. I feel like those two have worked well for me.

Eric:

That's awesome. I appreciate the honesty and I appreciate the humility and Hey, if that's the authentic, sincere you to share with everybody, then I welcome it. So

Cisco:

I think that's great. In the end, like with my brand, and even as a dancer, like without those people there, someone watch pay to watch you, or without people buying our stuff, and also your customers are everything, your fans. I don't like to call them fans, but your followers or whatever. Without them, you're nothing. So you've got to recognize that and you've got to appreciate it and give back to that in one way or another. Yeah,

Eric:

absolutely. What type of things do you have going on now? What's the future looking like for you and for your brand and your company?

Cisco:

So as far as the brand we're always working on new stuff. That's one thing about the apparel industry is you have to always be coming out with new stuff. People always want to see something new. So we are we are working on going into other categories. Eventually we want to, I don't know how much my business partners going to be okay with me saying. But we do we want to get into other types of apparel, athletic wear. We also, ultimately I want to go into like home homegoods. All the apparel sheets things like that. I, for myself, I love decorating. I can go into a TJ Maxx and spend so much money or TJ max whore.

Eric:

That's awesome. Actually, TJ max has been getting a lot, at least the spotlight in my world. Cause I watch the Housewives. That's my guilty pleasure is the Housewives of almost every city and Erika Jayne from the Beverly Hills Housewives was just spotted in a TJ Maxx. And so people are all up in arms, but that's another story, but I'm glad that you're giving us a positive spin on TJ Maxx.

Cisco:

Oh, I love TJ. It's like, how do we say going to a TJ Maxx or going to a garage sale, but everything's new. I there's there not to get TJ Maxx, too many plugs, but because they're not sponsoring

Eric:

us

Cisco:

so we can. Yeah. But yeah, so the brand, I want to expand the brand into other areas, different categories, things like that is ultimately. And then just for myself, I think, personally getting my daughter, through it, through this whole marriage planning. And then my husband and I eventually want to buy a house once we can get settled somewhere. I don't know how long we're going to be in San Diego for we moved out here for his job. Once we know where we're going to be a little bit more settled, we eventually want to buy a home. So

Eric:

how long have you guys

been

Cisco:

married? We married in 2018, but we've been together since 2013.

Eric:

Okay, because Gil literally just celebrated his four year anniversary yesterday. Yeah.

Gil:

Yes. Wedding. Yes.

Cisco:

Oh, happy anniversary.

Gil:

Thank you. Thank you. But we've been together 12 years, so that's why I'm like, we're not restarting

Cisco:

from the day you meet. The wedding one thing, but like from the day you meet, it's the most important, it's the 12 years. That's

Gil:

good for you guys,

Cisco:

for sure. Yeah. Yeah. It's great. When you find your person, for sure. I'm extremely thankful for my husband. He's just the most incredible guy. I can't say enough. Good things about him. I still get butterflies. Oh,

Eric:

that's so sweet. That's still gives me hope for the single than I am.

Cisco:

You just, I feel like if you put it quick I don't want to sound cliche, but if you put yourself out there, I know that sounds so stupid, but I felt like I attracted him to me. Just manifested him. Because when I met him, I was going through a really difficult time in my life. And. I just was really trying hard, hard to manifest love and those kinds of things. And he literally just came out of nowhere. In my life. So I don't know. I feel like I manifested him oh,

Eric:

that's awesome. That's so beautiful. I love that story. I'm super, like I said earlier, I'm super sensitive and emotional. So I'm probably going to sit here and cry about how beautiful that story is. No shame in my crying

Cisco:

anymore. Oh, and I did think of one more guilty pleasure now that you said it, you actually made me think of, cause you watch Housewives watching.

Eric:

Watching politics. Yeah. I'm the same way I watched the view too. Like when I have a day off, I watched the view and then I totally let's see what CNN is saying. Let's see what ABC is saying, let me see what Fox news says, just so I can see what you're saying. And then okay, let me go back to some sanity. I get in

Cisco:

the habit of while I'm working, I just have it on all day. And I'm like, I've had fricking news on all day. Let me turn this off and unplug for a minute. But yeah, it's you can't look away. It's I don't know. I just. Very infatuated with politics.

Eric:

Yeah. I think, especially because I used to not be political at all, Gil is like, totally like polisci nerd that's his whole life. And I was like, eh, politics, whatever. I don't care. Blah, blah, blah. And then the last. The four years prior to where we are now, I was like, oh my God. I'm like super like enraged. And I was like, super deals. Wow, you are way involved. I

Gil:

know even, it was so bad that Chris who'd never voted in his life. My husband suddenly he's like, how do you register to vote? How do I get it? I'm like, who are, we've been together for years at this point, what, when did this suddenly happen? And I guess that was the good thing about the orange. Yeah.

Cisco:

Yeah, it got people paying attention. People take for granted our democracy and our custody and it's not guaranteed. And I think people just don't think about it on a daily basis until it starts to really, it can really affect us all at some point if we don't show up for it. So that's good. I love hearing that he's been more engaged. Good,

Eric:

awesome.

Gil:

Yeah, for me, what politics? I figured you should pay attention because you pay for it anyways and your taxes. So might as well know where it's going. That's

Cisco:

true. No, it's absolutely true. It affects us all, whether you want to be engaged with it or not, it's going to exactly whether it be laws or tax codes and all that kind of stuff, it affects us in one way or another, for sure. And then you have me where you pay too much attention to it and you. And then it can become, not a good thing. But that's why it's my guilty pleasure. Yeah,

Eric:

I'm right up there with you. I've actually had to make mindful movements in myself, but don't watch too much of this today. Don't watch too much of this. They do not read these articles. Do not pull up WaPo, do not pull up the New York times or just breathe for a

Cisco:

second. They didn't get through one day without turning on the news. I that's very difficult for me. I haven't done that yet.

Eric:

That's a goal

Cisco:

that

Eric:

happens. Like I had made a conscious effort to completely like unplugged from social media, took down my, I deactivated my Facebook account. I did a whole bunch of other stuff. And of course that was January six. Oh, I'm getting flooded with all this information from other people. Like people texting me. I'm like, what the hell did I miss? I chose to do it on this day when then I was like, I got assigned back on and ever since then, I was like, yeah, I'm just going to stay on because I need to know what's going.

Gil:

Yeah,

Cisco:

because on January 6th, I literally that day I was like, I'm not going to watch any news today. Like it's too much. Cause me I'm at the mall. She's do you see what's down? Oh my God. I was like,

Eric:

yeah, my mom was the one who called me to inform or she texts me. She's oh my God, they're storming the Capitol, blah, blah, blah. And it's what the hell is going on

Cisco:

crazy time because we were living through for sure.

Eric:

So what do you have going on for yourself?

Cisco:

As far as

Eric:

new things, new adventures for you?

Cisco:

I recently been trying to get back in shape. I've been my, my business partner reached out to me. He's have you seen what will Smith is doing the big Willie challenge? And I was like, no, he's he posted a picture of himself in black underwear and we had just launched Black underwear. I literally looked like one of our pairs of underwear. Unfortunately it was not we'd love for Will Smith to wear some of them don't have to wear. So I went and I looked at his Instagram and he's not he's severely out of shape. And the last time I remember will Smith was like from I am legend when he was like super built. And I was like, wow, he gained a lot of weight during the pandemic as did I. And so let's hop on The Big Willy challenge. And so I've been really trying to get back into shape. This has been the worst shape I've ever been in, in my life. Being a go-go dancer, I was always in shape, always had to keep in shape. And it's just a lifelong thing for me, fitness, but being in lockdown and everything, you eat a lot of bad food drink, a lot of booze. And I had gained probably about 15 pounds, which for me, I'm only five. I'm a short guy. So 15 pounds shows, honestly, I am the short guy.

Eric:

I'm not much taller though, by the way, I'm like five, six and three quarters.

Cisco:

Latinos, we don't ever get very tall to begin

Gil:

with. My other half is Asian. I was not destined to be tall.

Cisco:

Yeah. There you go. But yeah, so just, that's really just trying to get back in shape. Personally, that's about it, just the fitness and really all my time is consumed with the brand. That's literally all I do. I also teach as well. I teach at a college in Denver. I teach some fashion courses there as well. Awesome. That's great.

Eric:

Awesome. That's really cool.

Cisco:

So yeah, again, it's YoCisco and that's about it.

Eric:

Awesome. I know you guys have had, you've had some like bigger names, push your underwear and stuff. Like I know Armond Rizzo is a big fan of yours.

Cisco:

Yeah, he was just over for dinner last night. He lives in San Diego, dear friend of ours. But yeah, we've had some some people in the community, they have really large followings. Our brand ambassador, his name is Santana. He, we brought him on a couple of years back, so we worked with him. But we've never had any like major celebrities wear our stuff. So if you guys. Hear of any that are open to trying a new underwear brand. Let us know. When I joined the big Willy challenge thing I did get contacted by will Smith people. I guess they're doing a documentary about it and they wanted to use an image that I posted of myself that was mimicking his image. So who knows, maybe there's an opportunity for

Eric:

sure. Yeah. I want to say thank you so much for giving up some time to spend with us on this podcast and to chat with us and everything else. I've really enjoyed it and enjoyed being able to connect and chat

Cisco:

with you. Thank you so much. Thanks guys. Yeah. I've been listening to your podcast. I absolutely love it. And I think I think the topics that you're talking about and bringing to light are really important for people to hear. I think you guys are doing. Really important work with the podcast. Thank you. Thank you guys for having me on I'm honored to be one of your guests and yeah, just thank you for inviting me it's

Eric:

and anytime you want to come back, you are more that invitation's always open. You can just shoot me a message and be like, oh, I need to be on your podcast, but like cool. It's happening.

Cisco:

Bringing my, myself and my daughter on might be interesting. I would love that. We have a really cool dynamic. So I don't know, maybe like father's day around father's day or I don't know whenever I think of it, but we would, I know she would love to join me. So absolutely.

Eric:

We'll put that in for next season, if you want season four and that will go in through father's day. Cause we,

Cisco:

Yeah. Keep us maybe in mind for father's day, I'll pencil it in. I'll pin it on my board. So we just want to say thank you. Thank you. Have a great day.

Gil:

Thank you for joining us. We hope you enjoyed your time in The Q Lounge. If you have any comments, questions, suggestions on topics, or if you would like to be a guest or contributor, please email us at info.theqlounge@gmail.com or through our contact page at TheQLoungepodcast.com while you're there hit that subscribe button or listen wherever you get your podcasts. If you would like to further support us, hit that donation button

Eric:

until next time live in your authenticity.