‘Muy Excited’: A Discussion With Creator Andie Flores
By Richard Gonzalez
Living in Austin, Texas you usually get a single lifestyle perspective in the city—the laid back, Topo Chico drinking, breakfast taco at brunch aesthetic that we have all become familiar with. But what about being “down and brown” in the city? That’s the idea behind Muy Excited, the new web series created by writer and performer Andie Flores. Flores, a San Antonio native, is using her own experiences to create a series centering on a 26-year-old who is new to Austin and trying to navigate what she describes as the “muy white world of Austin, Texas”. The show will highlight her relationships and showcase a person coming into her own at a pivotal time in her life, with a lot of laughs along the way. We had an opportunity to speak with Flores about her influences, how the idea for the project came about, and her own perspectives on the Latinx community in popular culture.
You can donate to the project via Indiegogo.
How has being a member of the Latinx community influenced you creatively?
For me, a huge part of my Latinidad is this rasquache sort of mindset I’ve been brought up in. For me rasquache means that if you don’t have all the materials you need to make something, you have to get creative and find a way make it work anyway. This often changes whatever your project is from the idea you originally birthed in your head. And the end result might not be perfect, but your unique process of creation will pave the way for even more experimentation next time. I feel like as I’ve slowly taught myself new things creatively, this has been the backbone of the confidence I muster to try it all. I may not know how to do something, but I can fake it till I make it and then I can make it really good.
The flip side to that is that as a Latinx person, I think I’ve always been starved for a way to see myself in media, and so right off the bat in my creative work I’m aiming to figure out how to create work that I like, but also trying to carry the weight of wanting everything to be really really good, so that I can inspire other Latinx creators in the future.
You mention on the fundraising page that Latinx people are scarcely represented in the entertainment community, specifically comedy. What do you hope to accomplish with the series?
There is so much good that can come from people in positions of power helping lift up others. It builds community. It encourages more art. I hope the series gets in front of the right people so that it can show the world that Latinx[s] are not only capable of making great work on their own, but that they deserve a space in media and in mainstream comedy, and that they should get just as much money from big studios—money typically reserved for people in the industry who are used to getting by on their status or wealth. I hope people see that now is the time to put the full and total focus on stories by people of color. And I hope I might gain a bigger platform to tell more stories.
There can certainly be a cultural divide living in Austin, Texas and you take a humorous approach to tackling this subject. What are your experiences in dealing with diversity and how have you tackled the subject in Muy Excited?
With Muy Excited, I did my best to accurately portray the ridiculousness that people in our cast and crew have faced in the day-to-day of living here from a lot of self-described “well meaning” people. Like, okay, maybe you will see how ridiculous you look and sound if people of color are in charge of the narrative. One of the things we aim to show in the series is the impact of some of these interactions after the fact: what do microaggressions leave the marginalized person with? What do they carry now because of this thing you said or this look you gave them?
Austin specifically is home to a lot of people who choose not to see the needs and wants of people of color in their own communities (or in the communities they’ve chosen to overtake as their own), and as long as that’s the norm here, this city cannot and should not boast about its diversity. There are so many talented and creative people here, but the voices most prominently lifted up are the ones that are white and well-off. To me, that narrative is uninteresting and tired.
I went to Barbarella’s last weekend, for instance, with a group of 99% people of color, and we couldn’t even get through 2 songs without seeing white guys here for ACL boo when the DJ played cumbias or loudly saying the n-word in every rap song that came on. Like… that place then goes from a place of inclusivity to a hostile environment real quick. That’s Austin.
Who are your biggest creative influences, comedic or otherwise?
Icons like Gilda Wilder, John Leguizamo, Selena, and Pee Wee Herman, shows like All That (rather than Saturday Night Live because All That was worlds better at showcasing a diverse group of kids and talent, and it was the first time I dreamed about being a cast member on anything on TV), The Brothers Garcia, In Living Color, 30 Rock, Happy Endings. Modern creators like Issa Rae. Feeling like a straight up weirdo. Not being able to shut my brain off.
Web series have become such a fast-growing way for performers to reach audiences without using the traditional mainstream means. How did you decide to use the platform?
I applaud people who want to write for existing TV shows, but I think most mainstream media has deliberately kept Latinx artists out of the spotlight, so I’m more interested in making something brand new rather than giving any of my energy to people who haven’t sought out writers, actors, or behind-the-scenes people who look like me. Plus, a web series is a great way to package not only my talents, but the talents of everyone involved in a project to a wide range of different people. Access is important. Access builds community.
You’re originally from San Antonio, Texas, which is only an hour away from Austin but radically different culturally. What differences do you think the series would have if made in SA? Do you have plans to incorporate other locations like your hometown if the series continues?
Just like Austin, San Antonio is rapidly changing to meet the growing demands of newcomers. It’s happening at a different pace, but it’s happening. I’m not sure if San Antonio has some of the same elements Austin has in terms of claiming to be something it’s not, though. San Antonio keeps it mostly authentic, and for that, it feels so often like a palette cleanser every time I go back. The city has always been so beautifully rich in culture and definitely helped me develop my strong sense of self and DIY approach. I’m not sure if we’ll venture into San Antonio next season, but it’s not a bad idea!
Given the current political landscape, I can assume this will be mentioned in some way during the series? if so, how will you use the comedy to discuss the world around us?
There’s no direct mention of the big orange guy in the series or anything like that, because my friends and people I call my family have been dealing with discrimination, being alienated, being denied opportunity, etc., etc., etc., for long before this administration came into play. No matter what, they have found ways to let their light and amazing energy and talents shine, and that’s what we’re trying to keep focused on with this project.
I do think the current political landscape helped with my end of the writing of the series, though. Everything feels more urgent. Like, if the world is ending, I better get to work. Everybody needs to get a good laugh in before that happens! Ay yi yi…