There’s more to Sandra Guardiola then meets the eye. The 23-year-old Hooters waitress has a passion that not too many girls her age acquire: trying to become a professional deejay. Now if she could only get the chance to show off her skills.

Funk Flex

“This one promoter considered hiring me as a deejay but only if I’d wear a bathing suit doing it,” said Guardiola, an up-and-coming music-maker also known as DJ Champagne. “I told him, ‘Thanks, but no thanks. I’d rather wear clothes.'”

The Edinburg resident is originally from Monterrey, Mexico, and while struggling to find a gig she still keeps her skills sharp and hopes high.

“I felt bad because he wanted to use me in a different way, not for my music,” Guardiola said of the “offer.” “The thing is, I just need a serious opportunity to show my skills.”

Guardiola remembers the first time she touched a turntable. She was hooked.

“I started when I was 21 years old. Back then I was dating a guy who had a deejay for a roommate,” Guardiola recalled. “I started to mess around with his turntables and that’s what sparked my interest, but I’ve always wanted to be in music, ever since I was a little girl.”

Guardiola enjoys coming up with innovative ways to mix music but lacks proper equipment. She spent four months saving $1,800 for a set of pink turntables and headphones, but the up-and-comer still has to borrow speakers from the people she spins for.

“When I practice my music, I hook up my auxiliary cord to my computer and connect that to the TV,” she laughed. “Because I don’t have party speakers, when I deejay at parties, I’ll use their speakers instead.”

Guardiola enjoys listening to FunkMaster Flex, a prominent hip-hop deejay from New York, and suggests that deejaying is the most important component to any party/club scene.

“Deejaying isn’t just about putting a track of music on your iPod,” she said. “You need to pump up the people and get them going to have a good time. It’s what they’re there for.”

Gabriel Cabrera, a 24-year-old UTPA senior and promoter at Woodreaux’s Cajun Bar and Grill in Edinburg, knows the importance of a good deejay. As a regular at Hooters, he and Guardiola exchange feedback about the club scene.

“Deejays are the ones keeping the people there,” said Cabrera, an engineering major at the University. “If the drinks stop, people might still stay to enjoy the music, but if the music stops, it’s over.”

Cabrera puts a lot of thought into his promotional tactics to make sure that Woodreaux’s is the place to be for students.
“College students want to go somewhere that gets good. That’s the first question they ask,” Cabrera said. “I try to get as many people to go so that it does ‘get good’ and keep it fresh in their minds about upcoming events. Facebook has helped a lot with posting the events.”

Cabrera takes pleasure in helping new deejays find their way in the business he’s been promoting since early summer. However, he has not come across too many female deejays.

“It would be great to see more female deejays, but in the Valley, there’s very few,” he said. “When it happens, I’m sure people will jump on the idea because it’s so new. For now I think that there’s just fewer girls in that realm. I don’t see too many girls looking to be deejays, but I’m sure they could if they wanted.”

According Krystal Hernandez, a107.9 Mix F.M. deejay, deejaying for a local radio station is easy once you’re in. The 22-year-old met the station’s veteran voice DJ Alex at a meet-and-greet, and he encouraged Hernandez to apply.

“It took a good two months because they weren’t hiring at the time, but every two weeks he’d have me go in and record myself,” said the broadcast journalism major.

Soon enough Hernandez was hired and it was time to begin work.

“It freaked me out because as soon as I got hired Alex was like, ‘You’re going on tonight.’ I was super scared,” Hernandez recalled. “I remember that first night I didn’t even want to push the button to go on, and the adrenaline was crazy. I was hot and shaking. The feeling of nervousness is gone. Now I know what I’m doing.”

Hernandez too regrets to say that she hasn’t come across female deejays that mix their own music. She sees this in her work environment, as well.

“When I go into work it’s me, and the rest of the people there are mostly guys,” she said. Despite that, she too keeps her skills sharp to keep her listeners intrigued.

“I think you have to be entertaining overall, do give-a-ways and keep it fun, also, be informative,” Hernandez advised. “Whenever I talk on air, I like to pertain it to something local, like an event we’re having. I also like to go on the Internet and find stuff on people to talk about so it’s not boring.”

Meanwhile Guardiola keeps perfecting her routine with an even bigger smile on her face, despite negative comments from promoters, as she waits for the opportunity to shine.

“Everybody gives me a confused look like, ‘Are you kidding me right now?'” Guardiola said. “But I’m 23, I love to deejay and I will pursue it to the fullest.”

Written by Dimitra Hernandez for The Pan American Online