With mija mgmt, Doris Muñoz is Raising Up Latino Artists - and Funds for DACA Recipients
"I know it sounds super corny, but I used to paint my walls a lot when I was a kid. I think I was 11 and I put my handprints on the back of my door, and it says ‘these are the hands of Doris Anahi Muñoz, and they’re going to touch the hearts of millions,’” says Doris Muñoz, founder of artist management and non-profit event production company mija mgmt. “It’s just such a trip, that’s just always been my M.O.”
Muñoz has always been one to set high goals for herself. She graduated high school at 17, giving her a jump start on the path to college. By 20, she was ready to graduate with a degree in Theatre Arts at Cal State Fullerton, but decided to take on more courses to earn a second major in Communications with an emphasis on Entertainment and Tourism. While funding her education through waitressing, Muñoz also held a job as an on-campus concert coordinator booking shows at Becker Ampitheatre, as well as interned at Los Angeles artist management company Tribe, Bardot’s School Night series, RCA and Columbia Records. By 22 — while still in school — Muñoz was acting as the day-to-day tour manager for Léon, an artist who in 2016 Columbia was pushing as their next Adele. If that all sounds insane, it’s because it is — “I literally had zero days off pretty much the entirety of my fifth year of school,” she says with a laugh. “But, you know that immigrant work ethic, that example that my parents set. It’s just kind of like, ‘if there’s a will, there’s a way, and if you don’t have a ‘plan B’ you better figure out your ‘plan A.’”
Now, at 24, mija mgmt is Muñoz’s “plan A”. She’s circled back to her childhood goal of touching hearts, and so far, she’s doing a pretty incredible job. With mija mgmt, which she founded in February 2017, Muñoz has already helped launch the careers of several artists of color, including Hunnah, a first-generation Toronto singer-songwriter from Ethiopian refugee parents, August Eve, a Mexican, Jewish, dancer, director and singer-songwriter, and Hawthorne heartthrob Cuco, who, fresh off of performing at Tropicália Fest alongside Jhené Aiko, Kali Uchis and Chicano Batman, recently sold out his first headlining show at the El Rey within 5 minutes; when Muñoz first met him this February, Cuco was playing out of a garage at a house show in Commerce. “I grew up seeing the house show scene and all that stuff, and I had never been in a place with hundreds of Latino teenagers surrounding a garage singing every single lyric from this kid who had never even played a venue,” she says. “Being a Latina, growing up and listening to indie music, our community has never really been represented.”
“I never had a brown boy to fawn over in high school. Maybe I would’ve loved myself a little sooner had that representation been there.”
Cuco (left) and Doris Muñoz (right).
Photo by Jay Aguilar.
For Muñoz, her passion for representation is the driving force behind everything mija mgmt does, from motivating others in her community to go after their dreams — “if these kids can see [Cuco,] a little 19-year-old kid from Hawthorne who was in marching band and didn’t have any friends growing up do this, it’s a smidgeon of hope that they can do something with their lives” — to celebrating the beauty of her heritage: “Now I’m just really excited because girls have somebody like Cuco or Jasper Bones to fawn over,” she says. “I never had a brown boy to fawn over in high school. Maybe I would’ve loved myself a little sooner had that representation been there.”
mija mgmt goes far beyond simply representing Latino and other artists of color, though — every other month, Muñoz puts on a benefit show to raise funds and awareness for everything from suicide prevention, to scholarships for undocumented college students, to funding DACA recipients’ renewals. Her latest benefit show at the Hi Hat, Selena for Sanctuary on November 24, is the 5th installment of her Solidarity for Sanctuary series, which she started in order to raise money for her parents’ legal fees pertaining to their immigration petitions. “It’s scary when you see ICE knocking down people’s doors and deporting people. I just knew I needed to take action to protect my parents,” says Muñoz. “Our community has been targeted in this administration heavily, and that’s why I wanted to use this platform that we were building [mija mgmt] for good.” So far, with her help, Muñoz has helped protect her parents and others in the undocumented community from being uprooted from their homes.
“What you’re doing on this earth, it’s like a vapor of what eternity is,” she continues, projecting wisdom far beyond her young years. “I always knew that I wanted whatever I do on this earth to live beyond me, and to actually make a change while I’m here.”
mija mgmt presents Twin Peaks Night featuring August Eve at The Continental Room on December 4. More information here.