Whenever I hear a chick talk about her chola Halloween costume, I cringe. It’s hard to watch a clumsy, ham-fisted farce of real people—people I knew growing up, people I wanted to be like so bad.
I was a for-serious wannabe, which gave me the sickest moch (New Mexico accent). But that’s life when you live a couple of blocks from John Adams Middle School on the Westside and then down in the Valley. The moch sunk in thick. In college, I sifted it out of my speech patterns. I wanted to sound regular. Whatever that means.
The first time I saw actor Lauren Poole become Lynette at a screening of the local film Imagi-Nation, I bristled. But Lynette’s legit. She’s a whole person with varied interests.
Her dream is to host a TV show called “Lynette’s Albuquerque.” She’s already made one episode. She goes to college. She loves her family. She auditioned to become the face of FOX. She loves the huevos at Barelas Coffee House.
Lynette’s “Face of Fox” audition tape
Lynette’s a character, not a caricature. The only way to nail that character is to grow up here—and, deep down, want to be Lynette a little bit. “My mom would never let me curl my bangs,” says Poole. “And she would never let me do the makeup. I always wanted to dress that way. Now that I’m a grown-up, I’m kind of not joking. I like that. I like how she looks.”
Lynette is the star of the “Shit Burqueños (New Mexicans) Say” videos, put up on YouTube by Blackout Theatre Company. The Blackouters knew people would like it, but they weren’t expecting more than 450,000 views. The troupe went on to make a sequel, featuring suggestions from Burqueños.
Most everyone digs the videos, that they celebrate some of what makes the state what it is. For Poole, it all comes from a place of love. “She’s just a total amalgamation of people I love and admire, people that fascinate me. There are little pieces of all these people from my life in there.”
There’s also the occasional “Shit Burqueños Say” hater, espousing the concern that the clips make Albuquerque seem stupid. But linguists will tell you there’s no wrong way to speak. There’s just the way people do it. Using colloquialisms from the regional dialect is not ignorant. You can’t talk good. And you can’t talk more good than someone else.
“It’s just an observation of how people say things,” Poole says. When people denounce Lynette, Poole says that’s telling of the accuser. “It’s like, No, you think people that have an accent are dumb.”
These days, the moch swims in my subconscious. It pops out when I burn myself on a hot pan from the oven or when I’m talking to my dog. Sometimes, it creeps into my enunciation when I’m interviewing a politician or whatever for the Alibi. I can hear it on the tapes. But I don’t worry about it much anymore.
Poole says she does it, too. “I don’t think about it. It’s not like I’m faking. I get that way when I’m with my mom or my cousins.”
Lynette—and her body-sharer Poole—was kind enough to sit down with me at Denny’s to talk about her life. She answered questions submitted by our readers, the gangbangers at the Alibi and even one from Orange County-based ¡Ask a Mexican! columnist Gustavo Arellano. She ate a heaping plate of chile-covered chicken-fried steak. The biggest. I’m not even kidding.
So you’re all famous now or what?
Yeah, it’s weird. I been trying to be the face of FOX, and they didn’t like my tape that I put. You know, I just like to be here, and I like to make my show, and nobody really cared, but it was always fun. So now it’s crazy. People, like, take pictures with me and stuff.
You think you’re all bad?
Noooooo. Oh si, I’m the same. My mom’s all worried I’m going to think I’m all bad.
Is she proud of you?
She’s embarrassed. Because she’s like, You don’t even dress up. She thinks I dress kinda sloppy. She’s like, Why don’t you put on some nice shirts or something when you do your show? I just say, Look mom. I am how I am. And that’s how I’m going to put myself out there. I don’t want to be fake.
Where are you from?
I been born here my whole life. I grew up around UNM, but my family’s from the Valley.
Where’s your job at?
I was working at my cousin’s mechanic shop, checking people in and stuff. And now, I work at my other cousin’s smoke shop.
Did you ever go to “Dance, Dance, Dance, It’s a Teen Thing”?
Hell yes. I got into a couple fights, but you know, that was when I was crazy. I’m, like, way more chill now. I love triple-D-I-double-T, man. That’s where it’s at. That’s where I found my love of broadcasting.
Where do you find that old brown lip liner?
My friend Jenny works for Mac, so she gets me some nice makeups. My brown lip liner was a nice eyebrow pencil, but I like to put it on my lips. I think it looks pretty that way.
Where do you get your eyebrows done at?
I wish I could pay to get my eyebrows done. My mom does them. We’re lucky. We have good eyebrows in our family, so I don’t have to pluck them that much. My friend Jenny that works at Mac, she makes fun of me because she likes to do her eyebrows all thin. The rest of my family likes to do their eyebrows all thin. I think mine are pretty how they are, so I don’t fuck ’em up.
What kind of car do you drive?
I want to get an El Camino. My cousin Ricky’s fixing it up right now in his shop. I have an old Honda right now. But it’s sick. It’s got a spoiler. It’s not too bad. It’s not as nice as I would like.
What’s your favorite coke?
Root beer. Any kind of root beer.
If you were a New Mexican food, what kind of food would you be?
I would be a biscochito. Because I’d be sweet with some weird spices in.
Red or green?
All the time?
Mostly. Red is like, my staple. Green is for certain things, like chicken enchiladas or rellenos. Red is for my everyday food. Chicken-fried steak with red is my favorite.
Why do people confuse New Mexico for Arizona?
Because they don’t know how to look at a stupid map.
Have you ever been an extra on “Breaking Bad”?
Hell no. But I want to. I get mad because they bring all these people on the show, and they’re like, you know, actors. And they’re good actors, but they can’t find real New Mexico people. They’re like California cholos, and they’re not really representing sort of the right language. But I love that show.
Do you exercise?
Yeah. I like to go to karate class. I like to run. I’m active. I think it’s good to be healthy and good to be fit. Because you never know when shit’s going to get real. I stopped hanging out with people that couldn’t climb fences a long time ago.
What’s your idea of a perfect day?
Wake up, you don’t have to work. Big breakfast with my family. Road trip somewhere cool. Go camping. And spend the night in the woods. It’s nice when you already have the stuff, and it’s cheaper than going out to bars, and you don’t have to worry about drunk driving or anything. We go out to Jemez or to Pecos.
Why did you put DWI in “Shit Burqueños Say”?
Everybody knows that it’s like a dark spot on our culture that there’s a lot of DWIs. It’s a joke about how some assholes just decide to drive because they’re lazy. They know they shouldn’t. I think everybody gets it. DWI is not funny, but it’s funny that there’s someone that dumb. That’s why we put it.
What do you do for fun?
We just go over to our friends’ houses. There’s a board game called Catan. We’ve been playing that a lot. I’ve been playing a lot of God of War on the PS3. I like to play games with my friends, and I have more guy friends than girl friends.
I like to cook. I think I want to do a cooking show maybe in the future. I could do “Lynette’s Blazed Kitchen,” and there would be too much food.
Do you have a boyfriend?
No. I don’t got a man. I’m waiting for a dude that don’t give me no shit. I’m just looking for a man that’s got a sense of humor. He’s done running games that get him in trouble. And he’s gotta be funny and treat me good and not freeload off me.
Do Burqueños say “Valentime’s” the way they do in SoCal?
Yes. I didn’t know they said that there, too. I thought it was us. Valentime’s Day.
Do you read ¡Ask a Mexican!?
Not really. I’m not really Mexican, but if I want to ask one, I could just go next door.
What are you?
I’m a coyote. My dad’s white, and my mom’s Hispanic. He’s been here forever, and she’s been here forever.
What’s your favorite song?
I know it’s old, but I really like “Ice Cream Paint Job.” Gets me all hyped up. I want my El Camino to have an ice cream paint job. I like the oldies. Sometimes I don’t like how the radios just put the same songs over and over and over. I like the “Old School Lunch” on KISS FM.
Does anyone ever bug you about not speaking good English?
I mean, like, I’m going to UNM to get a sociology and criminology degree. It’s not like I don’t know nothing. It’s just how I talk. I know how to spell. I know big words and stuff. I don’t feel like I need to throw them around to sound smart. Right now I’m working at the smoke shop, but I think I want to be a crime investigator. That’s my goal. Or a host of a TV show.
You don’t have a dollar?
Yeah, I have a dollar. I mean, I’m not going to not give you a dollar if you need a dollar. I’ll fucking give you a dollar. If you need it enough to ask me, then I don’t judge you. I’ll just give you what you need if I got it.
Do you know my cousin?
The one at CNM. He’s going to chef school.
Marcos Lujan? Oh yeah. He’s cool. I hooked up with him. He’s cool. We’re still friends, though.
Do you want to leave Albuquerque?
I don’t want to leave here. I like it. It’s, like, cheap to live here. I don’t want to leave my family. There’s so much different kinds of places here. You could be in the Valley where it’s green and have animals. Or you could live Downtown in a fancy loft. I like all the options that we have over here. I like that we don’t have earthquakes or tornadoes or tsunamis or other shitty things that other places have to deal with. I’m afraid of natural disasters, and I don’t want to live nowhere with earthquakes.
If you do more episodes of “Lynette’s Albuquerque,” where do you want to go?
I want to go to a fire station and hopefully they would let me slide down a pole and use the hose. I’ve always wanted to try using a hose to see if it’s like the cartoons and it will throw me around. I want to go to a police station and have them let me talk through the radio. Or a crime scene investigator. I think “Lynette’s Albuquerque” should check out different jobs so it could be like educational, too. But fun. You hear that, firefighters?
What’s Italian or British for “eeeeeeeeeeeee?”
Italian is “ehhhhhh,” and British is “my word” depending on the context. Or “really.”