In some ways, Ana Castronuovo’s heart is in California and the music industry, the realm of her original career aspirations.
The Bronx native, who lived in Fairfax, Va., for much of her growing-up years, lived in San Diego and West Hollywood from 1997 to 2002.
“I miss it and love it,” she says. “It was a great experience and something where you look at shows and concerts and you think it’s this big high life of partying and non-stop fun but the whole business part of it you don’t realize. That’s what really attracted me.”
The 35-year-old lesbian returned to Virginia “for family reasons.” And she’s happy doing office administrative work for Arlington’s Westwood College. She also does event promotions and PR for DJ Drew G, one of Cobalt’s resident DJs.
Castronuovo met her girlfriend of four years, Karen Diehl, at a Joan Jett concert. She likes music, fashion and wine. Her favorite way to relax is with a glass of Pinot Grigio or Riesling while enjoying TV sitcoms. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)
How long have you been out and who was the hardest person to tell?
I lucked out because I didn’t have a problem coming out. I came out when I was about 24. I thought the hardest person to tell would be my grandmother. She told me that she already knew since I always liked to hang out with pretty girls. She was just waiting for me to figure it out.
Who’s your LGBT hero?
All the men and women who have served in the military all these years to fight for a country that made them hide their true identities. We have come a long way with DADT overturned, but I think the battle isn’t over yet.
What’s Washington’s best nightspot, past or present?
Cobalt, without a doubt. Tracks was the best spot back in the day (I think I just aged myself).
What’s your dream wedding?
My dream wedding involves family and close friends at a warm, exotic location. It ends with a huge reception that mirrors a dance club party.
What non-gay issue are you most passionate about?
Abortion — pro life vs. pro choice.
What historical outcome would you change?
The recent deaths of Tyler Clementi, Asher Brown, Seth Walsh, Justin Aaberg, Raymond Chase, Billy Lucas and anyone else who has taken their own life because of how someone else made them feel. No one has the right to dictate how you feel inside; every life is precious. Bullying has been going on for a long time and I think that it’s a tragedy that it took the deaths of these people for us to wake up and realize it’s time to do something about it.
What’s been the most memorable pop culture moment of your lifetime?
The death of Princess Diana. I had just moved to San Diego and was sitting in the living room watching it on the television — an absolute tragedy.
On what do you insist?
Live the life you want and love the people around you with everything you’ve got. The best gift you can ever get is something you give to yourself — it’s called happiness.
What was your last Facebook post or Tweet?
It was shameless advertisement about downloading “Dirty Pop 10” by DJ Drew G.
If your life were a book, what would the title be?
“Rock and Roll Stole My Stilettos”
If science discovered a way to change sexual orientation, what would you do?
I am 100 percent confident with who I am and who I love. I wouldn’t change a thing.
What do you believe in beyond the physical world?
There’s a greater force out there. I don’t know what it is. But it’s there. You can feel it sometimes when you pay attention.
What’s your advice for LGBT movement leaders?
Be patient, fight hard and never give up for what you believe in.
What would you walk across hot coals for?
Karen — she’s the most amazing girlfriend/partner I could’ve ever hoped for. My grandmother, who has been the most influential person in my life. And Steven Tyler, if he had a million dollars in his pocket for me.
What gay stereotype annoys you most?
Most stereotypes annoy me. I can’t even keep track of them anymore. I had a discussion at brunch last weekend about otters and bears. And then I get the typical “who is the boy and who is the girl?” when discussing (my own) lesbian relationships. I don’t identify as femme (although my girlfriend may beg to differ). Why can’t someone just be gay or lesbian and leave it at that?
What’s your favorite gay movie?
Even though it’s not a traditional gay movie, most definitely “Party Monster.”
What’s the most overrated social custom?
Facebook. It revolves around everyday life more than actual interpersonal interactions (even though I’m guilty of this myself). All you hear these days are people talking about what someone has posted on Facebook or if they are “Facebooking” (sadly, it’s become a verb as well).
What trophy or prize do you most covet?
My (deceased) father’s albums and stereo system from the ‘70s. It’s a part of my father that I never knew and defines a part of who I am today.
What do you wish you’d known at 18?
I should’ve been a little more frugal with my spending habits — gotta love credit cards at a young age.
Why not? It’s a city full of culture, history and the American dream. You can find something beautiful on every corner.