Open-Air Aunties (with Geena Rocero)

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Multi-hyphenate queen Geena Rocero joins the Aunties to talk about her book, “Horse Barbie.” Geena’s memoir follows her journey from trans beauty pageant queen in the Philippines to big name model in New York City, and why she had to go “undercover” in America. Geena shares her favorite thrifting spot in California, and they talk about how a spring roll or taco becomes “open-air” food. Plus, like all great Aunties, Geena snagged a great deal on a new beauty device she can’t wait to try.

Lemonada has teamed up with Apple Books to bring you the Lemonada Book Club. “Horse Barbie” by Geena Rocero is our audiobook of the month! Listen here.

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Kulap Vilaysack, Geena, SuChin Pak

Kulap Vilaysack  00:10

Welcome back to Add To Cart, it’s your auntie Kulap Vilaysack.


SuChin Pak  00:14

And I’m here less nice auntie, I had a bad day and I just I don’t know I just felt like that was who I am this morning but but you know prove me wrong.


Kulap Vilaysack  00:23

I honor that SuChin Pak.


SuChin Pak  00:26

We are deep in the throats of AAPI month. What we like to call our sunshine month here at Add to Cart and our guests today. Just hold on to your saddles, kids. I cannot remember the last time I tore through a book so fast.


Kulap Vilaysack  00:46

Yeah, so like a handy like a […] same. It was a gallop.


SuChin Pak  00:51

And it’s funny. There’s cliffhangers you know, there’s so much on the line. You know, like it’s just all those things, I love.


Kulap Vilaysack  01:00

All that you want, all that you want in a memoir. Let’s get into it, Su. Our guest today is a multi hyphenate powerhouse. She’s an activist, model director and producer in 2019. She made history as the first trans AAPI Playboy Playmate. She is the founder of Gender Proud and award winning media company that tells stories about what it means to be trans and gender nonconforming her book, Horse Barbie is Lemonada book clubs Book of the Month for me, please add to cart Geena Rocero.


Geena  01:39

Hi, wait, can I just say you said saddle. I mean this alluding to the Horse Barbie thing, right?


SuChin Pak  01:45

Yeah I mean, you know the joke. I’m not, I’m not a comedian, but I thought I’d throw it in there.


Geena  01:54

I mean, it kind of rolls with that, you know, it will gallop into it.


Kulap Vilaysack  01:58

There you go, I love it.


SuChin Pak  02:01

Please feel free to pass it around and use it. You know, I really like to share my comedic writing with the world.


Geena  02:09

We’ll take it from there. First of all, thank you so much. I love when I found out I’m doing this I was like, I’m gonna go with the aunties. Yeah, I love being an auntie, I’m a tita.


Kulap Vilaysack  02:20

It’s the best. I like that because SuChin, and I are both mamas. But being an auntie, the lower stakes, more fun, you’ve been able to dip in and out.


Geena  02:31

Come on multiple roles. I mean, yeah, I love being auntie, I recently spent, this is something I look forward to do on spring break. And I have three nieces that love thrift shopping. I love thrift shopping, but when we started doing this every time, you know, I would come to California to visit them from New York, that’s our bond thing moment. And it’s I love that they’re so into it, you know, they’re just about to enter high school and they’re like, into it already. And I also love a good deal. I also love a special special finds that you know, anywhere I could like teach them like, you know, in this sort of barrage of like options and choices. And they go to those places and they find something you need, you know, yeah.


Kulap Vilaysack  03:19

Hitting the racks with your auntie life lessons. Yes, it’s about clothes. You know, but there are so many choices that we have as adults. There’s bountiful metaphors on top of like, that looks really great idea.


Geena  03:35

There’s that but also like, sometimes I add that like, you know, there’s nobody else that would have this stuff, you know, only you so you get to really claim it and own it. And it’s special, it’s deep. Your thing you know, I love that.


Kulap Vilaysack  03:49

I have to ask, and I hope you are willing. When you’re in Los Angeles, what are your go to thrift shops?


Geena  03:59



SuChin Pak  03:59

I don’t know Iguana.


Geena  04:01

Iguana, okay, so there was a moment where my thing was, I was into cowboy shirts and like truly their skirt, and that I was finding all the bolos like I was wearing a lot of different like combination of that and Iguana on the one in it Sherman Oaks or it’s in that area. They have the best truly their skirt. And then all the cowboy shirt, you know they sell vintage copper shirt and it’s you know, one year that was my combination. I like going to Iguana.


Kulap Vilaysack  04:37

Hot Tip, and I want to pretend that it’s for our listeners, but it’s for myself.


SuChin Pak  04:46

So let’s get into your memoir from childhood, all those incredible stories that you have in the Philippines. And then you’re just like, rise in New York. It’s feels like a movie, as all great memoirs should, but give folks a little taste of it like how have you been sort of summarizing it for those that haven’t read the book yet?


Geena  05:11

I guess I’ll start with people always ask like what this Horse Barbie mean because like it’s I like to always say that was my race, this reclamation and also spirit. I say it’s a reclamation because you know, when I was growing up in the Philippines, at 15 years old, they started joining trans beauty pageants. And I was just finishing high school and I ended up winning all of them. So thank you, you’re good.


SuChin Pak  05:40

Don’t throw throw that under the, you know, under your breath loud and proud, yeah, the book you remember.


Geena  05:48

And you can imagine the tension I came into the scene out of nowhere and you know, in the most competitive first of all Filipinos love or pageants, I mean, all their missiles, rivers and all those things. On top of that, you know, with a bunch of trans girls being so feisty, they’re gonna give me names. So they used to call me like, I look like a horse. So they used to call me a horse, that horse girl, where’s the one that looks like a horse because the time had darker skin and the protruding side profile my lip, I had a long neck, and then the wig that I was wearing, so they started calling me that. And I think at one point, I, because I wanted to prove them wrong. I was walking on stage and my trans mother Tigerlily saw the way I move and she just like, you know, there’s an essence you look like a Horse Barbie, so I reclaim that.


SuChin Pak  06:40



Geena  06:41

And then, it’s a it’s a, it’s a spirit because, you know, when I moved to New York City, it was, it was the spirit that I had to remember that I was that bit in the Philippines, you know that I have to somehow just tone it down. Because at the time in New York and fashion, it was not allowed to be fully, you know, to be who I am, so it’s because of that.


SuChin Pak  07:02

I love when the hero of a story gets to take back. You know what, what you think is an insult, but you’re just like sweeping in all the crowds. I mean, you’re like, sure, sure, sure. Yeah, of course.


Kulap Vilaysack  07:18

Winning, right. Yeah, all of it.


Geena  07:19

You know, it’s just so I knew, obviously, I wanted to do that. But I never thought that, you know, because it’s transmitted to pageants, part of Philippine culture, like it’s part of our castling celebration, you know, that coexists with trans beauty pageants. I wanted to do this, I became obsessed. That became my thing.


SuChin Pak  07:39

We talk about that because I think the first half of the book when you really get into the culture in the Philippines, and how so many what you think opposing ideas and philosophies live together, you just said how Catholicism and then the trends sort of identity they live side by side. Can you give listeners just a little bit of that because I think that cultural and historical context that blew my mind.


Kulap Vilaysack  08:10

That was a complete education for me.


Geena  08:13

I always tell people like I’ve had that global perspective particularly in this very specific culture. Let me say, um, you know, Philippines have had a long history of gender fluidity in our culture. You know, transgender non conforming folks are, you know, had a place in society. I have a tattoo here. This is a pre colonial text in the Philippines called […]. This is our pre colonial transgender goddess of fertility and golden price, like.


Kulap Vilaysack  08:41



Geena  08:42

You know, we were an animus culture before we were colonized. And people pray to, you know, trans goddesses and, and we are 7000 islands. So each of those islands have different kingdoms. So the advisors to the rulers are trans people. And then 1521 were colonized by Spain does the introduction of Catholicism and our way of life or our pre colonial ways, or, you know, were erased. So it’s that amalgamation of that pre colonial gender fluidity and then when you have Catholicism, and then when we were colonized, you know, by the Americans and their early, you know, 1920s beauty pageant, as you know that what we know as an American format was introduced to the Philippines as a form of diplomacy. So you have those forces together. So in the Philippines, when we celebrate Catholic Fiesta celebrations that happens throughout the year, and it’s usually a five day celebration. The main event that usually falls on the Sunday to celebrate particular Catholic saints, is transgender beauty pageants. You know, and it just is.


Kulap Vilaysack  09:53

I love it.


Geena  09:55

It’s so mainstream, like kids are watching. It’s like the main event I mean, y’all see, like Filipino singing contest dance contest, yeah, they’re the early programs, we are the domain of that. Main Character energy.


Kulap Vilaysack  10:11

You were in the Philippines, you were a celebrity you had acting roles based on your fame.


Geena  10:17

Yeah, you know, the kind of rare trajectory, I, obviously so lucky to have a good Lily as my trans mom who guided me and she was obviously an iconic woman who make stars, you know, the she plucked him out of nowhere and all that fairytale life story, she saw something in me and the cover of my book was actually the font of my book was actually designed by her.


Kulap Vilaysack  10:44

So beautiful.


Geena  10:45

Yeah, I saw that she did that as a as a handwriting. So as a way to honor her.


SuChin Pak  11:03

Well, so it’s interesting, because you come from that culture. And then you come to the US, which obviously is, I mean, our I don’t wanna say polar opposite, but certainly very different. The universal theme that I think everyone can relate to, or a lot of people can relate to, but that specific to your story is about living in what you call a split realities. You know, on paper, you’re like, okay, yeah, we all somehow live split realities. But when you sometimes talk about it, and when I was reading it, it just felt like the stakes were so high, it didn’t feel ever minimized, or like just offhand, your first big gig in the US for, let’s say, a very, very well known artist. You know, you did the music video, and just about how nerve wracking that whole experience was.


Kulap Vilaysack  12:01

I want to interrupt SuChin or I think it’s important to say his because if great those who haven’t read it, I think it would entice people.


SuChin Pak  12:10

Okay, gosh, I didn’t want to yeah, I never know like, how much I want to give away. Yeah, how much.


Kulap Vilaysack  12:15

It was for a John Legend video.


SuChin Pak  12:18

I mean, massive, yeah.


Geena  12:22

It was and it was, you know, it was also, I think, I remember now looking back, you know, it was, it was getting grabbed me, but so there’s like a big music video. And it was one of those things that you know, obviously having that background in the Philippines of this transparency when having to contain all of that because the culture, the fashion media culture, into 2005, New York did not allow for a trans model identify fashion model to be out and proud. This was the dream that they had. So I had to do everything that get to that point, and whatever, whatever it takes. When you look back in those moments, now, it makes sense why I like spy genres. Because I really felt like I wouldn’t see, you know, I was in a clandestine operation for eight years modeling in New York City, particularly when I was in that music video where, okay, this is the job, you know, I’m wearing lingerie, and I’m doing this thing, I’m gonna do this pose. And, you know, I’ve been in photo shoots before, but there’s always something oh, we have to cut here. We have to, you know, take a moment here, and every single time somebody would say something, like, is it them? You know, finding out? Is it the way I flipped my hair? Some people would just think it is a natural way to just flip your hair. But for me, it was like, How do I hide my Adam’s apple? I know that could be a giveaway. Maybe it’s paranoia. So it’s just managing all of that. It was definitely very scary but you know, you’ve mentioned but you know, realities. And the other side of that. I was also living the dream, you know. And so it’s like that. Combining those realities was, this is a complicated.


SuChin Pak  14:09

Spy genre, as far as exactly, that’s exactly what you said that I was like, yeah, a lot of that is like, spot on.


Geena  14:18

Also, like, yes, there’s so much to say but he really felt like I was so visible, you can’t be more visible than in fashion, right in advertising in Times Square billboards. I was so visible while being invisible at this time. And I’m really a spy.


Kulap Vilaysack  14:35

That’s also what made it so nerve wracking to read. So then I can only imagine what it was like to live. And to have that type of anxiety while just like living your dreams, trying and like, going through it.


Geena  14:52

When I was writing my book, that part in New York City was the first one I wrote. If I’m going to do this, I think I want to tackle what they think is the most complicated and difficult to manage all that and even the choices what I want to share when I want to talk about. I definitely remember, there were moments when my editor was like, I know there’s some thriller aspect here. But like, let’s it maybe it’s just people might just just […] you know, in this moment because little every little moment my dreams could disappear because, you know, this is what happened to so many trans women that came before me, right? It was in a whisper.


SuChin Pak  15:32



Geena  15:33

By someone, this is a dedication to them as well, because in a way, they were not able to reclaim the fullness of their story. And I’ve lived that life that they live, but somehow I made it through that was able to reclaim it was the product of that culture, as you were saying session earlier. Like those the biggest like mental gymnastics when I moved to America, I was like, we had transmitted pathogens in the Philippines like this is how they treat trans people. And even though it’s like, this is not what America I was promised freedom. And but then because of my rare particular experience, this is not the freedom that I thought that I had.


Kulap Vilaysack  16:15

Yeah. Your book shows us a glimpse of you at pretty much every area of your life. And Su, and I were aunties in our 40s still learning new things about ourselves every day, sometimes learning the same lessons. Mostly, mostly that mostly that what era of your life look like? And what lessons are you taking away?


Geena  16:41

Yeah, I’ve just started 40 as well. I remember when in my 30s, when I finally was able to share my truth, there was a sense of catching up, there was a sense of feeling like, I did all that modeling, but then I wasn’t really I know, I was like not giving my full potential. So in the first 10 years getting to 40s, there was a lot of skilled and like, oh, I have to really push you know, I really feel like as I’m entering my 40s era, I just feel like, as an artist, as a storyteller, I really just want to own it and focus in tell stories that I really wanted to share, you know, being able to have a production company. I just feel like with all that experience, now, it’s almost like as a storyteller, I don’t want to explain the characters that I’m creating, like, I just want them to live in their fullness, after many years of trying to figure out how do I tell this story? Who do I you know, who do I have to please? And now is just let’s just be motherfucking unapologetic about this?


Kulap Vilaysack  17:49



SuChin Pak  17:52

Yes, having seen the media landscape change so much is that I hope and I think we are entering that era of like, there doesn’t need to be an explanation there doesn’t need to be like, well, where did this character come from? She’s so different than the rest of us. Let’s, you know, let’s get into the backstory, maybe put an accent on her and, you know, put her in a certain way of dressing and, and I just love that, you know, there’s just more and more out there more stories out there, that we’re creating that feel just like no, this is just a whole person living a whole life. And I don’t have to explain why this person is here.


Geena  18:32

All agreed, I certainly obviously, I recognize the degree of privilege that I you know, the platform that I’ve been given, you know, obviously, I’ve worked so hard to get to that point. You’ve you’ve seen that journey. And I remember watching, you know, TRL when I was still in the Philippines, and that was like, I distinctly remember this, usually we have a three o’clock, you know, mandatory like television prayer that shows and right off the TRL. And so, for us, you know, after school, that’s what we do, right? So even that remembering that media landscape and where we are now. And it’s you know, we’re in this culture of you know, trying to unpacked all these mythologies, all these stories that we’ve been led to believe you know, what this country is supposed to be and who gets to be even that very simple notion like who gets to be to reclaim like, as a full America? This are the bigger questions that’s being asked right now. And I think, you know, in all their albums of you know, social political conversation, media representation, like those are the deeper bigger questions.


Kulap Vilaysack  19:53

I find myself doing a hard pivot, Geena.


Geena  19:56



Kulap Vilaysack  19:57

Hard pivot.


Geena  19:59

All right.


Kulap Vilaysack  20:00

Because I, I want to ask you about shopping in your cart and you said something quite profound and true. And here I am asking you Geena, what kind of shopper Are you? What’s your style you mentioned thrift shopping.


Geena  20:15



Kulap Vilaysack  20:16

But how else?


Geena  20:17

So I like to cook too, I’m so strategic. I’m the kind that I cook so many different things but like I tried to make it a point that like my fridge is like completely gone. You know, like you know when they shopped.


Kulap Vilaysack  20:30

No waste?


Geena  20:32

Okay, I will let’s for example, I will cook for Chicken Adobo. You know, like all the regions and all the all the vegetables in it. And then the next day, what’s the remaining? You know, vegetable that I could put in a you know, omelette, you know, and oh, I have remaining red onion. I’m a red kind of girl like I anything I like dark, like my red onion. Oh, maybe I could like caramelize that remaining onion and put that on burgers to try to like really squeeze as much you know, it’s a challenge of like, what’s gonna make most out of here.


SuChin Pak  21:07

Geena? I would.


Kulap Vilaysack  21:09

SuChin, does.


SuChin Pak  21:10

Yeah, I wish I could invite you to a taco night at my house.


Kulap Vilaysack  21:14

Just gonna bring up your tacos. Nobody know what it is.


SuChin Pak  21:18

Anytime there is a person that doesn’t live in my house that’s invited to a taco night. I mean, let me tell you, it’s you’re in for a ride. You know, it could be at the end.


Geena  21:29

That would be anything. No, I love I mean, I got I’m from the Philippines. Yeah, I grew up in the Philippines. Like, how do you make the most and squeeze as much value and yumminess and something that you’re cooking.


SuChin Pak  21:44

Also were Asian. I mean, taco to me, it’s just stir fry. I mean, I don’t I get that that you wrapped in correct statement?


Kulap Vilaysack  21:54

Oh, I don’t know, I don’t know.


Geena  21:56

I am on board.


SuChin Pak  21:58

In my Korean eyes. I’m like, yeah, it’s just stir fry with different herbs. I’m like, okay, so anything can go on.


Geena  22:08

Because when I literally I just had some friends over and some of them were vegans, you know, when they made the taco and we had a crispy taco, and he started putting it almost like I like to call it like open air spring roll because it’s just like he’s not even like using a wrap you know? Just press B and stare in this open area no like I guess so we do it you know.


SuChin Pak  22:33

Open air spring.


Kulap Vilaysack  22:38

Open face sandwich, this is an open face.


Geena  22:41

I so know what are talking about yes. It brings light to things, every inch of it is open air. Oh my god I’m dying.


Kulap Vilaysack  22:53

It’d be a wrap anything can be a taco, that’s right.


SuChin Pak  22:57

I know I’m in the right company. We all know what I’m talking about.


Geena  23:04

There will be more than it seems like that you know give me a couple of to kill us to switch […]


Kulap Vilaysack  23:14

Well I need to know what you’re talking about with this AGE-R Booster Pro.


SuChin Pak  23:20

Ah this has been in our group chat.


Geena  23:23

You’re making the reaction right now. Exactly the same thing and they just had a big sale that’s why I also bought it on our last night we did a spa night. You know and my best friend works in beauty space. So this is expertise we did the facial exfoliator and then all the toner and then started using like all the different serums and then he pulled out like this other machine like a smaller machine with like led red light blue light and started telling me this is for the collagen production this is for like sunspots and all that and it’s like I want this I travel a lot so to get to hack you know when laying down as far and getting treatments but like if you could do it at home and that you can access it anywhere I’m doing so I’m really really excited.


SuChin Pak  24:17

Ku, would tell everyone what we’re talking about.


Kulap Vilaysack  24:19

So we’re talking about the Medicube, AGE-R Booster Pro.


Geena  24:25



Kulap Vilaysack  24:27

It is a they’re calling it a six in one skincare booster. We were just talking about Open Air tacos. I mean this feels like white, SuChin.


Geena  24:44

Opening poars. Open to a new dimension of listening skin.


SuChin Pak  24:52

Thank you, open air facial.


Geena  24:56

This glass skin has been reached yeah, there is no ceiling to this glass skin.


Kulap Vilaysack  25:04

Okay, so six key functions to achieve your skin goals, combining the latest skincare technology, electro peroration microcurrent EMS, electric needles, led and Sonic vibration. And it’s suitable to use for all skin types. So I’ve seen this on social media, we don’t know, we don’t know if it’s just a gimmick. This is just what’s being pushed on TikTok right now, but you got it. So that means I’ll probably get it.


Geena  25:38

Just like what you said about like the different skin types. And I go in between sometimes I’m a little like me, and sometimes I get oily. So to have those options, you know, and I’m so excited.


SuChin Pak  25:50

I know, I’m so excited you guys and and go ahead when you click on the link that you’ll find on our Instagram page. But just the clinical test, you know, this is about skin permeability improved by I’m reading this number with glasses on. So it’s very clear, it’s 785%. So when you talk about spending so much money on those serums and all of those things, most of it just evaporates and sits on top of your skin. This in some way pays for itself. Because now all those things you’ve paid for are actually doing what they say on the bottle. That’s what’s exciting. And it’s so exciting that you brought this because, this has been in our group chat for months.


Geena  26:39



SuChin Pak  26:40

Like should we should be does it doesn’t it? Is this what we call we this is what we call an open cart. Talk about an open Air Taco. This is what we call an open cart.


Kulap Vilaysack  26:52

We’re having we’re hiring. We’re indecisive, because it’s $490.


SuChin Pak  26:58

Listen to find out anything about Koreans. Anna, we got to get the sales multiple times a year, to get the sales. I have to imagine there’s gonna be.


Geena  27:09

Another set to guard right. Like this is 40% off I, yeah, I’m collecting this thing, you know, okay.


SuChin Pak  27:18

Oh my god, thank you so much for closing that cart for us.


Geena  27:26

We’re gonna have like, we’re gonna have like, catch up session on this one, right?


SuChin Pak  27:29

Oh, yeah.


Geena  27:30

Because it’s, I’m beyond excited.


Kulap Vilaysack  27:33

Oh, oh, excited. I’m thrilled. Oh, I love it. I love it. Let’s talk about what you’re removing from cart. And it’s something that I need to do, which you’re you’re moving from current less social, your your wait, hold on. Are you saying you’re doing less social media time, or you want to remove from cart doing less?


Geena  27:56

This is an open interpretation and removal. How’s that?


Kulap Vilaysack  28:03

Yeah, all right, all right. Open air removal, open air removal.


Geena  28:07

Open air removal, because this is I mean, at least in my context, right now, I just writing is really what gives me you know, the kind of engagement satisfaction and it just takes so much energy out of you. And you just get to the thing and say, Oh, this thing and this thing and this new reel and this new thing. And so it’s like, three hours went by, I’m supposed to do nothing. And I’m a morning creative. Nine to two it’s like really my time to get into the zone of whatever dialects are worlds and you really have to be really in it. And I feel it’s a sacred thing, but like when it gets interrupted by like just that one click and you get into the thing so it felt wish, you know to be aware of it. I don’t think you know, I said less. I didn’t say no, I said less.


Kulap Vilaysack  29:05

That’s realistic.


Geena  29:06

Open air interpretations here, ya know, and then. And yeah, that’s why I will algorithm in the cart because it just makes me aware of that. I have it girl you gotta write this.


SuChin Pak  29:18

Oh, I’m just curious. Like, what’s in your algorithm?


Geena  29:22

It’s skincare animals. You know what, surprisingly less food so animals, travel, because I think they’re saying I’m planning my summer vacation. So it’s definitely when I’m getting like weird places because I’m picking weird places to go. Every year I tried to travel to three countries ever been to so it’s like really not your typical like countries like it’s my thing. I want to travel to at least 100 countries in my life.


Kulap Vilaysack  29:47

Okay, well that’s that’s a major Add to Cart. That’s a huge Add to Cart.


Geena  29:52

I feel like it’s a it just creates a new synapse in your brain.


Kulap Vilaysack  29:56

Of course.


Geena  29:57

It’s a reset button, you know, to last year I went to Lisbon, Portugal, I went to Copenhagen and they went to Prague, Czech Republic. And this, is hilarious. I was at least the Lisbon part. So I went there to visit some friends. I know they were living there. But like when I went there was about to arrive to Lisbon, my friends, like, did you know that the Pope is arriving here. So it’s going to be crazy traffic, there is a schedule where he’s going to be traveling to different towns, right? We’re going to not go to where he’s going. I shared this to my mom, it’s like you have to take a picture with the Pope, you know, yeah. Oh, my I’m just there for like a very short time, but when they make the most, so we were able to move around without, you know, the Pope and the traffic and all the madness. On my last day, some of my friends were going to music festivals. I was staying in this band. It’s like, what do I want to do? I say, and I was looking at like listings that my friends shared. And you’re like, you have to go to this wich castle, you know this like, you have to go like two hours outside and you have to climb this mountain. And so I went there went to the witch castle, right.


Kulap Vilaysack  31:08



Geena  31:09

And then after this is like my last day went to which I got back to Lisbon. And I will say I come there blocking some of the traffic where I came from Wich Castle the Pope was driving by but not on the official tour. So there’s not like a big like barricades, blocking some parts. So I’ve learned that have been to have me waving with the Pope.


Kulap Vilaysack  31:30

Oh my goodness.


SuChin Pak  31:32

So your mother, your mother conjured it.


Geena  31:35

Well, this last one. I was I saw him. I was on the way to see a drag show.


Kulap Vilaysack  31:43

Cuz that would have been the coolest thing ever for there to have been a pageant. You just like you know what we’re putting on the pageant.


Geena  31:49

Yeah, so that was my Lisbon.


Kulap Vilaysack  31:51

Geena, thank you so much for being here. Thank you for being open air aunties with us. It was amazing to have you. Wow, was indeed a great.


SuChin Pak  32:04

I mean, so much fun. I love it we’re open air sometimes and sometimes we just gotta close that air.


Kulap Vilaysack  32:09

Sometimes you need a roof, that’s it.


SuChin Pak  32:11

That’s just for us aunties. But wait before we go, Ku I’ve been thinking about you all weekend. You had your wolf birthday. I’ve been howling at the moon over here for you.


Kulap Vilaysack  32:24

I mean, let’s look at my wolf connection merch. When they said when they said hey, the gift shops open. Me and my bestie Laura kindred couldn’t get in there quick enough. If there is an opportunity to shop her and I are there with our cards, ready to go. Ready to finalize purchase. Like we were so ready. Okay, so to back it up. On the day of my birthday. I decided I happened upon this woman and wolves program.


SuChin Pak  33:02

Again, I love it. You just have like happen that somehow in your surgeon got it wolf and woman.


Kulap Vilaysack  33:10

2pm to 8pm workshop. And I just knew this is where I had to be on my birthday. And it is in the Los of the Los Angeles, the Los Angeles forests. About an hour plus away from where I live. You are driving beside the mountains. These are curves.


SuChin Pak  33:32

I mean, they’re not going to make you encountering wolves. The journey, you know, easy. It’s gotta be perilous. You’re, you’re transitioning into wolf dumb. That’s a treacherous road.


Kulap Vilaysack  33:43

It’s a treacherous road. It’s the Wolf Hart ranch. It is in the National Forest. It is 140 plus acres. Like you’re absolutely right to Jed. Look, I told you we talked about this an earlier episode. They’re wolf dogs, but SuChin, they’re wolves. Let us be clear that these are wolves. And what they say is they categorize them by content. So a high content has a lot of wolf DNA in it versus mid or low.


SuChin Pak  34:20



Kulap Vilaysack  34:20

But even the low content wolves are there wolves. They’re simply wolves. And they still have content.


SuChin Pak  34:30

Wait, so you get to choose or or throughout the day, different content is being?


Kulap Vilaysack  34:37

Will they come as they are, this is a rescue. So that’s how they’re categorized, right.


SuChin Pak  34:43

So you don’t know what you’re going to encounter.


Kulap Vilaysack  34:45

Yeah, what exactly so, I just want to say overall, it was this amazing experience. And if you if this interests you in any way SuChin, will never go if you’re like me, for better or for worse. And that’s it. interest you in any way make a point of visiting. Again, this was a specific program that they do. But there are wander with wolves. There’s coed stuff is what I’m trying to say there isn’t just this program. There’s volunteer opportunities. And I am saying all this because know that by the end of the year I will be back.


SuChin Pak  35:22

Well, the membership has been not.


Kulap Vilaysack  35:25

Not a membership, but I will be back just like I will be doing the hawk falconry again, and I will be with the wolves again.


SuChin Pak  35:33

Give me one thing on the itinerary. Just give me one little snapshot of what what you guys did.


Kulap Vilaysack  35:42

We met wolves, they’re on leash with their handlers. And we really want to be specific here. Like if those wolves wanted to go, they would that that leash, there’s no leash that would hold on just the power of these animals to the the women who are handling them. And then we also hiked with wolves. At one point, we were hiking with three, three wolves. And then towards the end of the experience, we got to enter sort of the den area where there’s different enclosures. And in this place, it’s home to 44 wolves. And this den that we’re in, we went to was the original one, and probably maybe about 30 on that side of the property. And sometimes there’s two wolves in an enclosure, single wolf. There was an enclosure that had to yearlings and to kind of nanny wolves. And we silently walked near all of the enclosures. And then we were told to go back and sit in silence in front of any wolf that like, maybe you got some energetic hit from or yeah, he’s the reason you’re being drawn. I immediately turned my hill and knew exactly where I would sit, and me myself and another woman sat in front of us wolf named Daisy. And when I tell you, it was this powerful sort of mind meld that was happening between the three of us, you get to understand a little bit a fraction of like a little bit of wolf behavior, eye contact is really important to them. They’re going to do what they’re going to do. Just again, just to hit the point. More wolf than dog, you know, like a wolf is going to do what a wolf wants to do.


SuChin Pak  37:30

That’s right.


Kulap Vilaysack  37:31

Read energies, they are, you know.


SuChin Pak  37:33

Highly intelligent,


Kulap Vilaysack  37:35

Highly intelligent. And so, she sort of paste in front. And then she sat, she settled right in front of us, and, and sat and lay down there with us. And chill, we were just there. We were just that she was looking at. And then at one point, she started, like, they’re so curious and interesting and play, like, playful in their way, of course, respecting their way. She started kind of like, playing with the chainlink like, it was not it wasn’t an erotic behavior. I just just to be clear, it was this like, putting her teeth like it was we were laughing because it was there was this kind of joy thing that was happening throughout. And so we were locked in until we were like, asked to kind of gather with the group, there was this Lakota inspired medicine wheel that we all sat around. And at one point, while we’re sitting there and talking, the wolves started to howl together. And SuChin, that sound. It’s so haunting and beautiful and majestic, it is primal, it is primal. And Daisy who’s right behind me to be on the open doors. And you know, we’re in the trees were with them. It was so amazing. And at one point towards the end of that we did hell as well. And then they joined, so that was cool.


SuChin Pak  38:16

Well, you’re half wolf now.


Kulap Vilaysack  38:44

What I realized is that I was already wolf. And I need to remember those parts of me. But honestly, for me, I was just so content to be there. Like I was just so delighted. I was so delighted. It was so interesting to me. And it’s a wonderful organization they do a lot with at risk youth. And imagine a teen, with the obstacles that they have with those circumstances to be able to get therapy and to learn with these amazing, amazing creatures. It’s safe, these are people who care and understand these animals. Quite frankly, the four women that work at Wolf connection that lead this. They were wolves to. They were also wolves.


SuChin Pak  40:07



Kulap Vilaysack  40:08

There’s lots of ways to help out the organization. You basically sign up on Airbnb for like, walk with wolves wander with the wolves. For as much as you know, Gina was talking about social media. And, you know, taking that break to get out into the woods and to be and to see a being that just is but doesn’t need you want you.


SuChin Pak  40:30



Kulap Vilaysack  40:31

And they’ll oh, the last thing we did in that Den is that we went into an enclosure with two wolves without a leash and we just sat and they approach she, they would approach if they wanted. And the female hemma made some rounds and the male Bodie was like, nah, he was up, he was like, I’m not coming down. I don’t need pitches. As soon as we got another pen, he was like, okay.


SuChin Pak  40:56

It came down?


Kulap Vilaysack  40:58

He’s like, get going. Yeah, I want you in here.


SuChin Pak  41:01

I don’t need to perform for you. Yeah, you perform for me. You hula hoop for me.


Kulap Vilaysack  41:06

Yeah, and I might not like it, but that’s what it was like the lesson is like, we’re like that, like I perform when I want to perform SuChin Pak.


SuChin Pak  41:14

That’s right.


Kulap Vilaysack  41:14

Now the second word.


SuChin Pak  41:15

You came in, Wolf. Okay, you just left it a little more.


Kulap Vilaysack  41:19

I did, and that’s it Su, that’s it. I want to I have to share this because at the end, we pulled almost like tarot cards there wolf cards of the wolves in that pack. And I blindly pulled […] the joyful warrior. And I was like, whoa, this is 100 bullseye it says, In the past, I was known for my explosive joy. As I experienced the radical acceptance of my pack, I can remove the mask of happiness and bravely reveal all parts of me. Freedom comes from facing parts once believed and lovable. I fully surrender to the wonder and challenges of life. And I was like, this is it. This is what this is what 44 is for me.


SuChin Pak  42:12

That you pulled the auntie card.


Kulap Vilaysack  42:13

I pulled it. I pulled it in and pull, it was so specific to what my experience has been.


SuChin Pak  42:18

Yeah, take it or leave.


Kulap Vilaysack  42:21

Yeah, I was just this is who I am, or work through so much of my 30s and 30s was about reconciling those parts that I thought were like, unlovable or yeah. And and on talkable like things I can say. And so much of it was like the message to at the thing was like using your voice like the wolves do.


SuChin Pak  42:45

Listen, I can’t wait till we’re at like a party somewhere and you just are feeling it. You just get down, get down on your hunches. And just how.


Kulap Vilaysack  42:56

The truth of the matter is, is that at every party, I do do that. It may not be exactly what you’re describing. But that is who I am.


SuChin Pak  43:06

Oh, wow, I love it, I love it when you say it’s going to be just a just a light celebration this year. You know, nothing, nothing crazy.


Kulap Vilaysack  43:17

I still made it’s so funny because I still maintain that’s what I was.


SuChin Pak  43:20

Now I know like nothing crazy. It is you’re already well, your wolf already.


Kulap Vilaysack  43:27

Okay, so right before we recorded I received SuChin Pak’s present to me. And boy, boy, I saw the address and I had an inkling and an inkling what I was going to have because it’s a turn me Royal and I knew this is from SuChin Pak.


SuChin Pak  43:45

And I went through do not I went through everything I went through should I get her a tote bag full of socks, should I get her, you know, a classic Chanel lipstick. I just kept and I kept coming back to this. And I did. I did reach out to Olivia, your assistant and I said listen, these are my options. And she helped me she was like it’s got to be that. That’s like, I mean, I knew it was right but I was like, ah you know it but it kept coming back. So I’m glad I hope because I actually haven’t seen the thing. Usually they send you an image before, but I haven’t I don’t know if it was the timeframe or the time crunch but I haven’t actually seen the finest


Kulap Vilaysack  44:32

This is also a reveal to you.


SuChin Pak  44:33

This is a reveal to me.


Kulap Vilaysack  44:36

It is, SuChin, how would you describe this? I mean, it simply looks like I’ve been painted in oil.


SuChin Pak  44:47

Wait, hold on a second. I’m trying to think of what the name of this particular is you have to go through a lot of paintings to get to the one that you want. And I’m just wondering the one I want is called the Queen and her princess. Now did I go through a version where Scott was in there?


Kulap Vilaysack  45:09

He was […]


SuChin Pak  45:10

I did, I did a royal family.


Kulap Vilaysack  45:14

Uh huh but.


SuChin Pak  45:15

And I said, I said it just for some reason it was Mother’s Day your birthday I said no, I think it needs to be just female wolf energy sorry cat. There were other Princess outfits where it was a high frilly collar like the the the queen is in a typical Queen gown. And yet I snapped this off the shoulder. Just a peekaboo of a cleavage, it’s a drapey silky. It’s a queen in repose.


Kulap Vilaysack  45:51

She’s in the spring Palace right now.


SuChin Pak  45:53

She’s in the spring palace.


Kulap Vilaysack  45:55

Oh my God, look at little Amy, Look at me Amy.


SuChin Pak  46:00

Amy, I just want to let you know, Amy in this painting. Okay, Kulap, in this painting the emotion there is and what? Amy in this painting is giggling in on the joke. So you’ve got two energies that are both delighted and delightful.


Kulap Vilaysack  46:19

Honestly, like her her expression on her face here is like what they got it they got it.


SuChin Pak  46:25

I’ve done this for one other person. A very good friend of mine. I was lucky enough to be in the room when she opened it and fell off the couch. But I hope when you opened it you you held at the moon you were laughing so hard.


Kulap Vilaysack  46:40

When SuChin Pak, turned us all on to turn me Royal. I have gifted it twice. Once to Casey Caspin wants to Dana.


SuChin Pak  46:50

It’s just they’re so good.


Kulap Vilaysack  46:52

It’s so good not to get my own with my little baby boo boo. Happy birthday to me. It’s so good SuChin, I love it.


SuChin Pak  47:01

Well happy birthday to the, to the only wolf in my life. You know certainly the only one that matters.


Kulap Vilaysack  47:10

I’m the wolf. You’re wearing red your Red Riding Hood.


SuChin Pak  47:14

Yeah, I am. That’s it, we did it. I mean you guys that’s it for episode but you know we’re just we’re just starting to howl here AAPI month. We are open air and closed air and when we want to be because that is that is the true wolf way. You can find Geena on Instagram @GEENAROCERO her photos Kulap, are stunning stunning.


Kulap Vilaysack  47:45

And please pick up Horse Barbie wherever you get books or listen to it in audiobook form through Apple books, bye!



There’s more Add To Cart with Lemonada Premium subscribers get exclusive access to bonus content like where we tell you about the last item we bought or returned and why subscribe now in Apple podcasts. Add To Cart is a production of Lemonada Media. Our producers are Kegan Zema and Tiffany Bouy. Brian Castillo is our engineer. Theme music is by Wasahhbii and produced by La Made It and Oh So Familiar with additional music by APM music. Executive producers or Kulap Vilaysack, SuChin Pak, Jessica Cordova Kramer, and Stephanie Wittels Wachs. Be sure to check out all the items we mentioned today on our Instagram at @AddToCartPod. Follow Add to Cart wherever you get your podcasts or listen at free on Amazon music with your Prime membership.

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