words by Diego Medina • photography by Anissa Amalia • makeup by Jazz Odie & Vanessa Barba
What we worship is ultimately what we have chosen to believe in, to connect us to greater power, to guide us through life in the best way, and to give us strength. An idol is a reminder to push through and be present, conquer fear, and live with unyielding faith. And oftentimes, idols exist outside of ourselves. They are meant to be a shape--a placeholder--for that divine greatness we believe in. But no matter how you spin it, the greatest divinity, the highest power and the ultimate source of faith has always been from within. Idols are only meant to remind us of that but they aren’t the power themselves. In a way, they are a type of mirror that helps us see divinity within. So when someone is looking for an idol, the best place to start is always in a mirror. Which brings us to Zuri Audia, a 25 year old Los Angeles based DJ who understands what it means to be fully comfortable, and fully present in her own skin.
Name/preferred pronouns/how do you identify/where are you from/where do you currently live/age (optional).
My name is Zuri Adia, I’m a 25 year old Los Angeles native. I identify as a cis woman and go by the pronouns She/Her.
What mediums of art do you work in?
I work in Music, specifically DJing
When did you start djing?
I started Djing when I was 22, so 3 years ago.
How has being a dj given you a voice?
Djing has become a way for me to express myself and share my personal experiences through music. It has put me in the public eye, giving me an audience to share my thoughts and opinions with, and allowing me to advocate for issues I’m passionate about. I now have a platform where I can provide representation of Black women in music as well as deepen the understanding of the African Diaspora and Afro-latinos. It has allowed me to put my beliefs into action, and be the change I want to see. Giving me the opportunity to create parties that are safe places for Black and Brown POCs.
Why do you do it/who do you do it for?
I DJ because I Love it! I can’t tell you how much I truly enjoy mixing. I do it to create places for Black and Brown POCs to safely let go, to dance and be free. Free of all the worries of the week and/or the day. Free of toxic masculinity that often ruins party experiences for Tran & Cis Women, Femmes, and other Queer Idenitfying people.
Do you feel like a leader in your community?
I’m not entirely sure, I know that I aspire to be. I hope that I am or I’m on my way to becoming one.
What does being your own idol mean to you?
I feel like you become your own idol when you are fully in your own skin, and by that I mean you are truly comfortable with yourself. You are aware and accepting of your flaws and fully embrace them. When you push past your fears and go for your heart’s desires. Once you no longer compare yourself to others and work towards what you want without any interference of others opinions.
Who else do you look up to?
I look up to the women in my life, my Mom, my Grandmothers, my late Aunt Sharon and DJ mentor Killed By Synth. They are all so fearless and lead by example, which they’ve taught me to do. Each of them never let anything or anyone get in the way of their dreams, and worked their butts off to perfect their skills and crafts. So they are definitely big idols in my life along with RuPaul.
Do you feel like you are constantly having to work towards full self appreciation and admiration or is it something you have to work at?
I’m extremely hard on myself when it comes to my craft. I’ve had to learn to ease up and cut myself some slack, and apart of that was reminding myself how far I have come within a few year. Doing this has definitely helped me to appreciate and admire my growth and progress.
Do you recall a time in your life when you really struggled to love yourself (feel free not to answer if too personal)?
Yes I do, but I can honestly say those moments made me stronger and I’m thankful for them, because working through those feelings has brought me the confidence and love I have for myself today.
I remember in my pre-teen/ early teens I was the only girl in my class with really curly hair, and most importantly one of the only Black Latinos in an all Latino Catholic school. My hair was a huge target for two years straight. Thank God I only went there the 7th and 8th grade because sis, I was going through it. It wasn’t until my sophomore year in High School that I fully embraced and fell in love with my hair texture. At twelve and thirteen I didn’t quite understand the anti-blackness that I was experiencing, all I knew was that I was different.
What path did you take to get to where you are right now?
I’ve gotten to where I am by continually working on my craft and myself. I work with predominantly woman and we encourage and support one another. I have always practiced doing something for a good cause, not a “good look” and not forgetting the community that built you. Remembering not to be money hungry and that Karma is a real thing. Oh, and this is gonna sound a little corny but, always keeping my Faith. On the hard days when I was feeling overlooked or a little blue, I knew there was a Force greater than I watching over me and that it was all gonna be alright.
What’s one thing you want to thank yourself for?
For never giving up, always finding a way, looking beyond myself and finding a deeper meaning for my journey.
Do you have a daily routine you follow/what are your favorite forms of self care/self appreciation/self reflection?
Growing up I was never a routine person, I easily fall out of them to this day (I literally have ADHD). So they never last long. Thankfully my schedule as a DJ changes day to day which is perfect for my attention span. My days mostly consist of me answering emails, dancing around my house “researching materials”, and playing gigs. However, I love a self-care day. Some of my fav forms of self-care involve drugstore face mask, convos with my Mom, and therapy. Also sleep, which is major because DJing requires me to be up crazy hours. So anytime I get a chance to catch some Zzzs I jump on it. I’m also really into Crystal Healing. It requires me to do lots of self reflection which I’m all about. I express my appreciation for myself by setting time aside for self-care days. As far as self reflection, I really enjoy when it naturally happens, when it’s unsolicited. Those quiet moments with yourself that allow space for you to turn inward.
What are your goals for the future?
I want to be well respected and highly regarded as a DJ and Producer. Have won awards for my work, and made enough money to help and support my family. To make a positive impact on the world and pay something forward and still doing what I love.
What else should we know about you/anything else you want to add?
This is only the beginning, there’s so much more to come.