By Melissa Delgadillo | December 2018
hen the whimsically iconic Mexican-born, San Antonio-based artist Giovanna DiZurita enters any room, upon first impression you might wonder if unicorns truly do exist, and a real-life spirit animal has just entered your life from stage left. With her vibrant personality accessorized through her boldly chic attire, her ever-changing hair styles of pink and blue hues, and her captivatingly vivacious and loving personality, ‘Gio’ is undeniably a budding icon (cue the glitter, confetti and a billowing breeze to herald her entrance).
I first met Giovanna at a Gala for the Red Cross of San Antonio a few years ago. I had just been asked to serve on the Board of Directors, and Giovanna was seated at my table because she had created a custom piece of art to help us reach our fundraising goal.
As Opera San Antonio serenaded the supporters and opened this gala, I sat listening to the performance in awe, thinking…who is this magical woman sitting across the table from me? It wasn’t until the end of the evening that we had a chance to properly introduce ourselves. As we exchanged niceties, Giovanna told me to call her ‘Gio’, as she does with everyone she meets. When she does this, you immediately feel as if you have been invited into a special club: a club where the rarest things of the world exist, and you need a password (and a passport) to enter.
As the years went by, I joyously watched Giovanna from afar, as she blossomed into her true identity. I always saw a sophisticated woman with a heart of gold in her, and it has been very special to observe her wearing that on her sleeve, both in her work and in her public persona. A woman who uses her immense talents to serve those around her, Gio continually lifts the spirits of every person she comes into contact with. She has made great sacrifices in her early adulthood, working year-after-year around the clock to make her dreams come true.
When Ellie and I were conceptualizing the Juana Inés feature, we immediately thought of Gio to help create the magic. We were originally going to ask her to be the featured visual artist of the shoot, but when we sat down to speak with her and explained that the November issue would feature Juana Inés de la Cruz, Gio’s face sparked and light poured out of her soul. The legacy of Juana Inés had already had a deeply meaningful impact on Gio’s life, unbeknownst to us, and had inspired much of her personal and artistic development. When Gio recited one of the historic nun’s poems from memory, we knew we had found our Juana, and our performance artist.
Watch the video below to see behind the scenes footage of the Juana Inés cover shoot, to hear about Gio’s journey to Mexico as she visited El Claustro (Juana’s convent) for inspiration, and to hear about her transformational experience of becoming Sor Juana for a day.
Melissa Delgadillo is the Deputy Editor and Associate Creative Director of ELEANORA. A creative enthusiast with over a decade of experience shaping brand stories, she thrives curating experiences and producing uplifting content that inspires the imagination. Follow her journey as she creates out-of-the-ordinary experiences in her column Atypical Avenue, and connect with her on social media @melissa__delgadillo.