Staff Spotlight: Nicole Martinez

Nicole is a writer, comedy gal, amateur baker, podcast enthusiast, and ABC's Communications & PR Associate. Nicole’s creative work has focused on uplifting the voices of BIPOC and LGBTQ+ folks. She is one of the co-creators of Dead-Enders, a comedy web series about the zombie apocalypse which aired in 2020. She hopes to continue her work in helping cultivate artistic spaces and structures that are accessible, inclusive, and welcoming.

SAMY: What does your activism look like?

NICOLE: To me, self-awareness and support are two key aspects of my activism. I think a large part of the hesitancy to fully get behind this idea of being a social activist is a reticence to admit one’s shortcomings and privileges. To be aware of them, to embrace their existence and to actively work against them is to be a better activist. To deny any biases any areas for growth is foolish and negligent. I think we can all learn a lot from the mantra inspired by Ice Cube’s hit 90s single, “check yourself before you wreck yourself.” Seriously, one of my biggest pet peeves is social activists who essentially peaked at the second-wave of feminism. It is personally frustrating and, on a societal macro level, incredibly harmful to have any lack of introspection.

To be aware of [one's shortcomings], to embrace their existence and to actively work against them is to be a better activist. To deny any biases any areas for growth is foolish and negligent

Something that arises a lot in my artistic community (theater primarily) is the practice of white creatives who identify as activists consistently neglecting to update their rolodex of ways to be a good ally. If you’re a white writer and you’ve written a play about an Afro-Latinx family and your entire production team is white, this is an issue, Karen!

These are the moments in which I find my voice. In college, I originated the role of the Diversity Dramaturg in my student theater group. The role was centered around this idea of reinforcing conscientious and productive representations of underrepresented communities, particularly LGBTQ+ folks and characters of color. Although I’m not in a student theater group now, I’ve found that there have been many times in my professional, artistic, and personal endeavors that I have embodied this role again, ready to speak up against moments of negligence and harm.

I have also found that in the public-facing field of Marketing and PR, I have a duty to the communities and people I’m aiming to serve to be diligent about representation and inclusivity. This can be anything from the content we’re sharing on our social media, the people we feature in our marketing materials, the firms we’re collaborating with and investing in, etc. Whether our supporters are conscious of all of this or not, I’m always thinking about it. 

I have also found that in the public-facing field of Marketing and PR, I have a duty to the communities and people I’m aiming to serve to be diligent about representation and inclusivity.

SAMY: What is your relationship with art and artistic practice? What kind of art do you create?

NICOLE: I’m a writer of all trades, with a penchant for the stage, screen, book pages, and dumb tweets. My relationship with art is a heavily emotional one. I’m obsessed with fiction media that is very character-centric. I love to be fully invested in not just the stories, but the overarching arcs of the characters, their interpersonal relationships, their growth and their potential. This means that I lean more towards longer form content like TV series, book franchises, and actual-play Dungeons & Dragons shows and podcasts.

 

SAMY: What are you working on now that really excites you?

NICOLE: I’m a co-creator/co-writer/co-star on Dead-Enders, a comedy web series about the zombie apocalypse. This project was actually conceived  during the early days of the COVID pandemic. The entertainment industry ground to a halt and friends who were independent artists were already feeling the ramifications. So, Anna Stacy (my longtime collaborator and best friend) and I brought together an incredible group of six artists to create Dead-Enders. Filmed entirely over Zoom, the show follows a group of doomsday preppers during the zombie apocalypse. We wanted to frame the show through a light-hearted, comedic lens so that it was removed enough from the realities of New York quarantine to provide some sort of escapism.

You can watch all of season one (and our Halloween special) on our YouTube channel.

A total sidenote of what I'm working on that excites me, I’m DMing my first Dungeons & Dragons campaign and I am very excited to participate in more collaborative storytelling. 

SAMY: How have you supported POC in the last year?

NICOLE: Especially during the early months of the pandemic, I wanted to try my best to support those who had suffered most, those who had lost their primary sources of income, those who were let down by this administration time and time again. I purchased and enjoyed things from BIPOC-owned and LGBTQ+ friendly places and spaces and encouraged others to do the same. I have used my obnoxious and loud personality to be actively vocal on the interwebs to advocate for movements, political candidates, and legislation that are incredibly crucial to the safety, wellbeing, and success for communities of color. 

In the art that I created, I wanted to be sure to include thoughtful, diverse, and inclusive representation. This goes for things that people could actually consume (like my web series) and things that are private for now (like the children’s book I’m writing). This is something I’ve been practicing since I actually started writing. Why on earth would I, as a queer Latina, write anything with white straight people in it? That’s an exaggeration and I stand by it. 

SAMY: What's your favorite quote?

NICOLE:

“After 8 p.m.--: I tend to be very stupid and we won’t talk about this.” - Ursula K Le Guin

 

SAMY: What's your favorite summer/fall/winter treat?

NICOLE: Pumpkin pie is an eternal fall/winter fave. If we’re being more winter specific, some sort of peppermint chocolate combo is peak.

This interview has been edited for length or clarity.