My interview was with Rizzhel Javier, a local artist working for the New Children’s Museum. We talked about her life growing up in Mira Mesa and how she wanted to go to college as far away from home as she could. When she finished her undergrad, she came back to San Diego for grad school. She now lives in the house she grew up in and does a lot of work in the community.

Identity was a big struggle for Rizzhel growing up, and she talked about how she could not find a Barbie doll that looked like her when she was a child. The project that she’s working on now is called the People and Places Project. We first met at an art-making workshop that she hosted at Casa Familiar, where we made dolls representing ourselves. This is one of her passion projects where she hopes both children and adults will be able to make dolls that look like themselves, encouraging conversations about race and identity.