It’s a rare night at Sidebar in Miami. Normally hosting some of the city’s most notorious turnups, tonight the spacious music venue plays host to the Magia Zine Fair, along with its weekly Ice Cream Thursday party.
From behind a long plastic table adorned with stickers, pamphlets, and T-shirts, Kristabel Delgado is busy keeping two shows running – working the Muses of Miami booth as well as fulfilling her hosting duties for Ice Cream Thursday.
With a slick smile on her face and her eyes behind oversize black-rimmed glasses, Delgado is both the face of Muses of Miami and the driving force pushing it forward.
Still in its infancy, Muses of Miami is an outlet designed to highlight the burgeoning art scene in South Florida, a region too often reduced by outsiders to a collection of South Beach megaclubs and reruns of Dexter. Muses of Miami’s early collaborations and interviews include sultry, singing sweetheart Venus Amor and Rawkc, the tuned-in woman behind the Oh Rawkc Show, a weekly radio program featuring South Florida’s emerging artists.
Along with longtime friend and new business partner Valentina Jadue, Delgado has spent the past year building Muses of Miami from concept to reality, traversing a maze of nightlife and overcoming the extra obstacles that come with being a young woman in an industry that polices women’s behavior with added scrutiny.
“I think nightlife politics are just like society’s politics – in a way, I always have to be on my best behavior. If a girl has a reputation for getting drunk or being sloppy and immature, she gets exed out.”
Tangled web of respectability politics aside, Delgado has hedged her eye for talent and knack for marketing into a full-fledged operation.
“Starting out, I was there [at Sidebar] every Thursday, not getting drunk, trying to help, getting there early and staying till close, with Muses of Miami always on my mind.”
Now, a year after diving into the scene and celebrating the first anniversary of Ice Cream Thursdays, Delgado describes her journey from New York homeless shelter to Miami entrepreneur.
“I moved to Miami from the Bronx in 2008. I grew up with a single mom in poverty, and I’ve seen and lived that life. I think that’s what helps motivate me. I’m not going back to that.”
Still, a difficult adolescence rarely leaves a person unscathed, and Delgado is no exception. She credits her friend, business partner and public relations maven Valentina Jadue for reining her in when she acts out or doesn’t subscribe to society’s unseen rules.
“Valentina is the best person I could’ve asked to work with because I didn’t grow up with someone telling me when something isn’t cool to do.” Delgado continues after taking a deep breath: “Growing up, people were always coming in and out of my house, so sometimes I’ll just walk into a friend’s house without knocking. Valentina will pull me to the side and be like, ‘You can’t act like that.’”
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From a chair in her Miami apartment, a blanket wrapped around her, Delgado fleshes out what Muses of Miami is all about and where she and Jadue hope to take it.
“With every Muse, we want to set up collaborations... and produce something – videos, interviews, apparel – as a way to support our local artists and, honestly, to provide companies and brands a real glimpse into the scene here so that people can make some money.”
After a yawn, with her bed underneath a large pink flamingo vinyl sticker associated with her brand just a few feet away, Delgado waxes poetic about the grind, with the hard-earned sleep she was ready for hours ago heavy on her mind.
“People see what I do and think it’s cool and glamorous, and it can be, but they don’t see where I live, how I live. I earn my sleep.”