Norma Moreno Talks 2DopeBitches, YesJulz, and Runnin' the Club in the 305
Photo by Devin Christopher
The first thing you should know about Norma Moreno is she loves Chinese food. Tonight, it's lo mein. And after a few bites, it's evident Norma is not rocking her gold fangs.
"I guess I'm not into wearing them as much as I used to," she says. "They're kind of annoying too. I can't eat with them and stuff. I got over it."
The fangs had become Moreno's trademark, garnering fascination and helping to distinguish her as she builds the Norma Now brand.
Over the last year, this dope bitch has successfully curated and hosted some of Miami's best parties, from Peachfuzz to Trap Paradise and the Best Day Ever pool parties. So recently, Moreno hung out with Crossfade to talk about her friendship with fellow 2DopeBitch Aja, working with YesJulz, and the meaning of "trap."
Those 2DopeBitches named Norma and Aja.
Crossfade: When is the appropriate time to wear your golds?
Norma: Better question is when was the last time I wore them. Lately, I've been trying to push myself to be more of a character because I'm realizing that as my brand is developing and as I'm going to have to start marketing myself as Norma, not 2DopeBitches, I'm going to have create the image that people are used or the image people want to -- create the cool. I've been trying to push myself to wear them more, so I would say the perfect time to wear them is at a corporate event, at my concerts, my parties and be what people are used to seeing me as.
How did your friendship with Aja start?
It started because our ex-boyfriends. Aja had an ex-boyfriend, I had an ex-boyfriend, and they worked at the Levi's store in South Beach together, and Aja and her boyfriend were really close together, they lived together, and my boyfriend at the time, whatever he was to me, he was like, "Oh, you should meet my girl. She's really cool. You guys will get along together. So I finally came back around, and we instantly clicked. What I loved about Aja was that she's so pure, and, I don't know if the right word is unadulterated. She's so real. I don't like that word, but she's just so approachable and so fun and trusting. I know there was an innocence about her that I didn't find in other friends, and she was always down for everything. Everything you wanted to do. if I was like, "Hey, you want to go to this flea market and look at some jewelry, because I want to buy some cheap jewelry," she'd be like, "Yeah, let's go." Like, "Oh, want to go to this mixer and then after we'll go to this concert, and maybe you don't know the rapper, but let's just go," she'll be like, "Yeah, I'm down to go." It became a relationship where just, "Hey, let's go out and do things together," and it was really, really fun. And we have highs and lows of going out. That's when we decided that we should document this because we were going out to LIV right when it just opened and just the weirdest things we would just end up into, like walking into LIV with AJ from 106 & Park randomly to going to a concert and getting backstage to all these unique experiences, and we're like we should share these things with the world. And we started doing the blog.
See also: Downtown Miami's Five Best Dance Clubs
Ms. Moreno, in the streets.
Photo by Derick G
Did you and Aja seek permission from 2DopeBoyz?
This question always comes up, and we honestly...
Yes. And not necessarily about permission but the name. And the name only came up because around the time me and Aja met was when the 2 Girls 1 Cup thing was happening.
I never saw the video.
I did end up seeing it. And for some reason, I was like, "Oh, 2 Girls 1 Cup, we should be 2 Girls 1 Blog. That would be so funny." And when we looked it up, somebody had the blog already. I was like, "Damn, that sucks, and they don't even use the website. It's like a static homepage."
We were literally in front of each other like, "Ok, 2 Girls... 2 Dope" -- you know what I mean? We started experimenting like 2 Cool Girls 1 Blog. I think that was taken. So we ended up at 2DopeGirls. That's kind of weird; let's make it cooler. 2DopeBitches. So it had nothing to do with 2DopeBoyz at all. And actually, down the line, they thought that we took that from them to the point that just this past six months, I did an event called the Dope House, and it had one of the guys that do 2DopeBoyz...
Mekka. And he had apparently been saying, "I don't like them. That's not right. They took our name." And I had been pleading my case to all his friends like, "Hey, you know that's nothing personal. We didn't do it on purpose. No offense to you. We respect you and admire your grind as much as anyone." I told whoever around all his friends because he didn't speak to me directly. We're not even in the same lanes at all. We're two girls, we don't talk about music, we're not consistently blogging. I don't understand where your beef is coming from. And when he came down, he ended up just sending me a quick message after the event. He was like, "Hey, everything is OK. I hope we can do something in the future."
How is it that you guys mesh so well together?
I feel like she has a lot of creative energy. I'm the one that puts the energy in motion.
YesJulz and Norma Now.
And now you work closely with YesJuelz. How did that come about?
I have always been into street wear. I've always been into sneakers. I ended up working at the LeBron James store, Unknwn. And there they were really close with LeBron, obviously, and all of his managers and people that manage his promotional marketing company. And Juelz, one of her mentors, is part of LeBron James' marketing production team. She came by the store, and I remember, a lot of people came by the store and a lot of girls, so when she came I turned to one of the owners and I was like, "Is she cool or, is she just like everyone else? Is she just any other girl?" He's like, "Nah, she's cool. She's down with the team. She's cool." And so we ended up doing an event, and we went to FDR and she's always been from the beginning like, "Oh, I think you're cool. Come out." She showed me special attention, I guess you could say. I don't like to take advantage of people, so I was very honest with her. And even if she'd invite me out to the clubs or invite me to dinner, invite me anywhere, I would be like, "Don't worry. It's OK. I appreciate it. I'm OK." After a while, she was seeing that I was doing stuff, doing events as well, and I think that she was building up towards wanting to do that too, so naturally it just came together where she's like, "I'm doing stuff, you're doing stuff. Maybe we can do some stuff together."
She's just somebody who really wants to motivate and push people around her. And I feel the way I am too, I don't take you seriously unless you're trying to make momentum. So she saw I was making momentum, and she's like, "I want to be down with you."
See also: South Beach's Ten Best Dance Clubs
What is "trap" to you?
I guess trap music as a genre?
You can take it how you want.
I think even in the sense of the original meaning of the word, I mean, it's Ebonics period and slang. People are using this work. It's not me. People in those circumstances that are using it to deal with, I don't know, drug culture. I'm sure there's equal use for it. I don't know. Man, that's a bad answer [laughs].
It's all good. It doesn't have to be what the general consensus is or what it historically means.
I mean, to me it's just a slang word. And it's a slang word used for drug culture. That's really it. If it's my party called Trap Paradise, it could've easily been Coke Paradise or Baggy Paradise or something. You know what I mean? I don't know, Dub Paradise. Ounces. Any kind of word that was there, but I think the party needed a word that kind of tied in what was going on at that present moment, and the "trap" word hadn't got played out, but it was right there.
The literal definition of this party was we wanted to bring together the street and high-end fashion, street wear, art and stuff. So it was like, OK, this high and this low, where do they come together? And it was like, OK, Trap Paradise. That's all it was to us. Now everyone is all about trap music. Trap music to me is Gucci and Atlanta. This gritty urban music that is not mainstream, it's not on the radio, and you really have to like that music to really like it.
I had some people in my team that were really in love with trap music. Miami Marci, he really, really loved trap music, like as a genre. He's really in love with the history. He lived in Atlanta. He felt he understood that culture well, because he studied that.
I think our first Trap Paradise party was us being ahead of the curve, and that's why we put together such an amazing party that we honestly haven't lived up to yet because it was so magical at that point.
And now you're doing Best Day Ever.
I started Best Day Ever -- it was right after the last Trap Paradise, after Winter Music Conference, and I knew that I wanted to break out Norma Now and my own brand. And I used all my savings and money, and I ended up a week before the actual day it was going to happen just going to the venue, securing who was going to play and just getting the flier together and making sure my friend Ashley Outrageous was leaving, and I wanted to make sure I did something before she left.
I made this little event happen at Gramps, and that's how it first happened. I asked people to pay $15 to support me because I was paying it all out of pocket. I always tell people, when I'm on Twitter trying to promote an event, I'm like, "Hey, man, you don't understand. It cost money to do this stuff." Even though I did it at Gramps, it cost me about $1,500. It's just money I have to give and hope I get back. So it was cool to see people come out and be happy to give me $15. It was a really magical night. I really wanted to go all out, but I only had so much budget. After seeing that, people just wanted somewhere to go and hang out and be themselves. I'm so anti-South Beach and anti -- I love Trap Paradise because you can come as you are.
Once I saw that, I knew I kind of wanted to add maybe a cool pool element or have more freedom to do cooler stuff. When I told Juelz and I was sharing these ideas with her, she was like, "You know what? I think we can get it a pool." And we ended up getting the Mondrian because of her connections. And that was beautiful. It's only gotten crazier and crazier since the Mondrian, to the point we needed to go somewhere where they would let us do what we now envision as an adult field day.
Tell me something you're planning but haven't put out there yet.
Well, we're doing Halloween. I've been hinting at it, but I'm glad I'm refocusing on Trap Paradise, because I don't want that brand to die.
So now that Art Basel is approaching, working on Art Basel as well, but in between then, I want remind the public, we want to remind Miami that hey, this didn't go anywhere. Aja and me didn't break apart. Also, somebody that was involved with that, which is Miami Marci, is not a part of that anymore. And I don't want people to assume, like my general circle, like, "Oh, what's this Norma Now now? Miami Marci isn't a part of it. It might have broken apart." So to come back for Halloween and be like it's strong, it's back, and you're probably going to have the dopest time ever because we're going to go back to our roots. And what people loved about the first Trap Paradise was that it was at Villa 221, so it was like a house party vibe, and I want to bring back that house part vibe.
What's your ultimate goal?
Personally? I just want to do cool things. I want to curate the cool, and I want to bring unique experiences and memories to the people that attend my events or attend my concerts or attend my parties. I'm really big on memories and building memories with people. I'm the kind of person that I'm trying to invest in myself more materialistically. But I'm the type of person instead of buying a $300 purse I'd rather have spent that $300 on taking a trip to Orlando with my friends.
I love when you go to something and you remember it. Everyone remembers their first house party. Everyone remembers their 15th birthday, their quinceañera as a girl. There are things that you remember, and my ultimate goal is to create lasting memories. Eventually I would love to be open to doing... I mean, I want to do weddings. I want to do a baby shower. I don't know. I can create whatever it is. From the logistical side of me, I just know what it takes to run an event or a club or an experience. When you gather people, what has to be involved there to have the people have a good time? And I think I know, at least for our scene and our culture. That's why working with Julez had allowed me to expand my circle, and not only know what is it that urban Miami likes but what does South Beach Miami like. And what do high-end athletes and singers like. I eventually want to get to what do white people like.
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