Interview With Bionic Bad Bitch: Dayna Troisi
There I was, 16 years old in a new gay panic, scouring the internet for any gay advice I could get my hands on. I believed I was going through the motions. I had booked an appointment for a pixie cut and bought my first button down shirt. Doing everything I thought I had to do to "look gay". After taking a tenth "am I gay test" online, I clicked on "Ten Ways To Look Gay AF When You're Femme AF", an article written by Dayna Troisi. This article changed everything for my baby gay self. It wasn't the typical lists I had seen before, boxes to check off to be validated as gay. It was an article about feeling comfortable. About dressing and presenting yourself authentically, whatever that looks like for you. This was a revelation for me. The first time I had felt validated without needing to change myself. Ever since, the writer of the article, Dayna, has been a hero to me.
Of all of my gay icons, Dayna Troisi is at the top of my list. She is the managing editor of "Go Magazine", the nation's most widely read free lesbian publication that discusses lesbian pop culture, news, and much more. In addition to this she is a New York based writer, poet, badass internet personality, and self proclaimed "dyke princess" (I totally agree). She often writes about queer topics, dating, beauty and fashion, and her badass bionic arm.
I interviewed Dayna to talk to her about her work, writing, advice, and more:
From being the managing editor of Go Magazine, to poetry, to writing important articles about politics, lgbtq+ issues, feminism, disabilities and more, you truly are the ultimate queer bad bitch. What inspires you and drives you and your work or writing?
Thank you! The ultimate queer bad bitch is all I've ever wanted to be. The need to create drives my work. Like my best friend/ writing partner Zara Barrie says, "write or die." I write because I have to. I write because it's in my bones. I write because I have something to say and I'm a narcissist so I want other people to hear it. What inspires me: Lana Del Rey and other beautiful sad girls, writers like you!, readers who DM me and make me feel like I truly make a difference in other people's lives, Cat Marnell, drag queens, my family, black chokers and fishnets, gay bars, New York, my lover, my past students, my past teachers, embarrassing moments, and wine.
Who did you look up to growing up? Who were your biggest inspirations or influences? How did they impact your path in life?
Growing up, I was obsessed with Janis Joplin, Gwen Stefani, Britney Spears, and Black Sabbath. I feel like that combo of artists really sums up my aesthetic. The first short story I read that blew my mind and made me fall in love with writing was White Angel by Micheal Cunningham. I was a student of Heather Macadam at the Young American Writers Project, and everything she introduced me to was like magic. She then called my mom and insisted that I was a writer, and to keep taking classes. That really changed my life. Then I met Melissa Petro while taking her class at Gotham Writers' workshop. I started working with her one on one and she taught me how to pitch editors. Jia Tolentino from Jezebel accepted my first published essay, Getting Slutty At Amp Camp. Then I met Zara Barrie, who hired me as her associate editor at GO Magazine in 2017. It's because of these talented, fierce, iconic women, (including my mother) that I have honed my craft and launched my career. I owe so much to these powerhouses for letting me in their worlds, being generous with their time and wisdom, and for seeing the light burning in me.
|Photo from Dayna Troisi|
Many of the pieces you write perfectly combine humor with truth. It’s so comforting, and almost feels like reading a message from your best friend. It makes topics feel more approachable and less taboo. Why do you feel it’s sometimes important to be playful and humorous when writing about heavy topics?
If you're not laughing, you're crying. For me, nothing is off limits and everything can be funny. I get that this irreverence sometimes makes people uncomfortable or they don't get it, but those aren't the people I write for anyway. I write for badass bitches that can laugh at their pain and weep at their beauty. It's important to be playful and humorous when writing about heavy topics because it's also a way to get the truth in. The truth, usually, is fucked up and painful and even grotesque at times, but it's also hilarious. That dichotomy and nuance is in everything I write.
What advice do you have for young lesbian or lgbtq+ people in finding the confidence to be who they are?
Do whatever the fuck you want as long as you aren't hurting anyone. Wear what you want, write what you want, kiss who you want. If you are queer, then you are already different, so give up any hang-ups about being normal or fitting in, and just embrace who you are. For me, I was born missing my left hand, so it's pretty impossible to blend it, so I choose to slay standing out. You should too.
Do you have any upcoming projects you’re excited about?
My fabulous agent Agnes Carlowicz of Carol Mann agency is currently shopping my book around. When an editor accepts it, I think it will be the most exciting day of my life.
Follow Dayna on Instagram
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Check out Go Magazine
Thank you to Dayna for allowing me to interview her!