Miss Nalgas USA 2022, A Performance Artwork

“Miss Nalgas USA 2022” is a performance artwork. Nalgas means buttocks in Spanish. The artwork is inspired by Arlene Davila’s book Latinos, Inc.: The Marketing and Making of a People and her discussion on the “commodification of ethnicity” and the “re-authentication of U.S. minorities in terms of the ‘right’ way of being an ‘ethnic.’” This artwork uses humor to encourage dialogue about ethnic identity, body image, and aging. The performance features contestants vying for the honor of Miss Nalgas USA 2022. The artist has invented this beauty pageant which focuses on self-identifying women over 50. There is a term for what happens to women over 50 in society; it is called the Invisible Woman Syndrome. Coahuiltecan/Spanish artist, Rosemary Meza-DesPlas is the character and pageant winner Miss Refried Rosi Frijoles. “Miss Nalgas USA 2022” pokes fun at the pageant concept and its role in promoting stereotypes of beauty and the feminine American identity. Dual identity, Latina American, leads to contrary beauty standards being foisted upon the Latina body. The dialogue of the performance incorporates common misconceptions about New Mexico and references specific geographic locations in the Four Corners.

The performance was held in the Farmington Civic Center on Saturday, November 12, 2022 in Farmington, New Mexico. Farmington is part of the Four Corners in Northern New Mexico. This performance artwork was supported by the Fulcrum Fund, a grant program of 516 ARTS made possible by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and the Frederick Hammersley Fund for the Arts at the Albuquerque Community Foundation.

The sole creator for this project is Rosemary Meza-DesPlas; however, the performance brought together community members. This performance included Karen Ellsbury, Doug Gonzalez, Patrick Hazen, Stephanie Jaquez, Scott Michlin, Amanda Robles, Lori Stephens, the Zia Chicks.

Refried Rosi Frijoles presenting her monologue in “Miss Nalgas USA 2022”. Monica Leaming and Cecilia Taulbee Leaming from the Zia Chicks in the background.

The performance includes a video artwork which opens with select images of my watercolors. A narration can be heard as the watercolors flash on the screen. The words are from Eve Ensler’s play The Good Body; this play revolves around the theme of body positivity. An excerpt of Carmen’s monologue (a Puerto Rican woman from Brooklyn) is heard, “Good butts, good assses, ooh they are different, they are everything. You want to stick it out, make it visible everywhere you go, particularly on the street, “Hi, baby.” We begin practicing when we’re young like driving lessons, backing them up, turning them around, shining them up (tss!) for display. You want them round, plumpy, and high.”

The judges for “Miss Nalgas USA 2022”: Stephanie Jaquez, Patrick Hazen, Amanda Robles, Doug Gonzalez. The judges’ banter, satirical and humorous, advanced the themes of the performance artwork. Each judge represented a specific personality type. Stephanie Jaquez (Uno) policed the authenticity of ethnicity. She was the hypercritical voice. Patrick Hazen (Dos) gave voice to ingrained misogynistic attitudes. Amanda Robles (Tres) was the compromiser; her centrist viewpoint balanced out the harsh criticism leveled by judge Uno. Doug Gonzalez (Cuatro) was the Latinx ethnicity expert. His role was to state rational information.

Scott Michlin was the emcee in “Miss Nalgas USA 2022”. Wearing a fake mustache, speaking overtly bad Spanish, and wearing a kitschy Mexican suit, the emcee represented the practice of whitewashing in Hollywood. This practice by movie executives serves to reinforce the invisibility of Latinos in film.

(L to R) Refried Rosi Frijoles with Audacious Raquel Arches and Rocky Rita Badlands were the contestants in “Miss Nalgas USA 2022”. As a whole, they presupposed the quality and quantity of ethnicity required to achieve a sense of authenticity. Breaking stereotypes placed upon older women in society, they slapped ass: these women candidly talked about ageism and self-critical body image.

The Zia Chicks (Cecilia Taulbee Leaming and Monica Leaming) complemented this artwork by performing music which matched the mood of each segment within “Miss Nalgas USA 2022”. Their music set the tone throughout the performance artwork and asserted a joyous sensibility.

NCWCA Exhibition F213 (Fahrenheit 213)

Arc Gallery & Studios, 1246 Folsom Street, San Francisco, CA 94103

EXHIBITION: April 13 – May 11, 2019

Saturday, April 27th, 1:30-3:30PM – F213 Curatorial Tour led by Dr. Tanya Augsburg, Lead Curator, F213 Exhibition
Thursday, May 2nd, 6:30-10PM – F213 Writer’s Evening, a book reading organized by F213 Writers
Saturday, May 11th, 12-3PM – F213 Panel Discussion and Closing Reception

Tanya Augsburg, Ph.D., Professor of Humanities and Liberal Studies, San Francisco State University, lead curator
Karen Gutfreund, co-curator, independent curator/artist
Priscilla Otani, co-curator, owner, Arc Gallery, San Francisco
Sawyer Rose, co-curator, activist artist
​Ariana Davi, curatorial apprentice

Artists provide the imagery. Writers respond. Together our voices will be heard. “F213” is short for Fahrenheit 213, one degree above the boiling point of blood. This exhibition brings together nearly 100 national and Bay Area feminist artists and writers who are incensed about what is currently happening in the United States.

San Francisco, December 11, 2018 – Women are rising. In unprecedented numbers and with ever-increasing volume, women are taking their outrage to the streets, to the press, and to the ballot box. As more and more women are openly voicing their fury about state-sanctioned abuses of power, the exhibition F213 spotlights strong and bold artistic expressions of feminist protest.

F213 is short for Fahrenheit 213, one degree above the boiling point of blood. This powerful exhibition by Northern California Women’s Caucus for Art (NCWCA) brings together over 40 national and Bay Area feminist artists who are, in a unique twist, paired with more than 40 writers who are incensed about the current misogyny, discrimination, and loss of hard-won civil rights in the United States, such as reproductive choice, freedom from unlawful detention, protection from police brutality, safety from gun violence, and more.

Curated by NCWCA’s feminist curatorial collective led by Tanya Augsburg, Ph.D., Professor of Humanities and Liberal Studies, San Francisco State University, F213 brings together a diverse and inclusive mix of multicultural, intersectional, multigenerational feminist artists and writers to express their concerns and offer insights to remedy current injustices and atrocities.

Augsburg says, “While we remain hopeful, we reject ‘thoughts and prayers’ as adequate responses to the corruption, cruelty, and discrimination we now experience daily in the U.S. Women, in particular, are past the boiling point and wish to make their voices heard. Artistic expression is our way forward toward social justice.” 

Pictured Below: 1) Rosemary Meza-DesPlas with her artwork “What You Whispered, Should Be Screamed”, 2) View of “What You Whispered, Should Be Screamed” along side of Nancy Hom’s artwork “No More Violence Against Asians”. 3) Kadie Salfi’s work “My Mom & Scorpio”, 4) Ester Hernandez discussing her artwork “Sun Mad”. 5) L to R: Sawyer Rose (Co-Curator of F213), Rosemary Meza-DesPlas, Karen Gutfreund (Co-Curator of F213), 6) Rosemary Meza-DesPlas with artist Judy Shintani, 7) Brenda Oelbaum’s artwork “Piss on Me: Trump Toiliet Trio, 8) Rosemary Meza-DesPlas, Ed DesPlas and Co-Curator of F213 Priscilla Otani. 

For more information on the exhibition:





Me at exhibitView of art on wallKathieesther hernandezKaren Sawyer RoseJudyBrenda artworkPriscilla