Growing up in a Samoan-American household, Deison Afualo says she never saw people who looked like her and her family in media – other than former wrestler Dwayne, ‘The Rock’ Johnson.
“Growing up queer, I never saw any sort of Samoan or Pacific representation that were queer and what’s been really amazing about me being open about my identity and my story is being able to connect with other queer Pasifika people in media or who have been working in media for a really long time,” said Afualo.
“It’s really nice not knowing you’re the only one. That’s the most important part to me, is [showing] that there’s more of us out there. Those are the parts that probably make me the most emotional, is when people go like ‘Oh, you’re like the queer Pasifika representation I’ve always wanted,’” said Afualo who lives in the United States.
“Even though I didn’t get to have that, I’m really grateful that I get to be that for other people.”
She and her sister Drew have a podcast together called Two Idiot Girls, where they share funny stories and fan submissions.
“We basically were raised to be each other’s best friends, and we were raised as twins almost too, we’re two years apart, and it’s honestly been such a blessing and so much fun to get to work with my sister and my mom’s one of my managers too , like it’s truly a family affair,” said Afualo.
Drew Afualo’s TikTok account, where she often criticizes men who make negative comments about women, took off before Deison’s. Deison said she has learned how to handle negative social media comments from Drew’s experience.
“Getting to watch my sister go through that and she’s just like ‘They’re ugly and I don’t care about them’ has changed my perspective on how people perceive me in general too, especially when it’s from people I don’t know and I don’t value how they look at me or their perception of me or their opinion of me, and that’s why it just rolls off my back,” said Deison Afualo.
If you can be out, proud, and online safely, Afualo encourages Indigenous queer people thinking of becoming content creators to put themselves out there, because: “There’s someone out there that looks like you that’s looking for you.”