Interview By Carter Jung
You can tell a lot about a person by the profession they pursue. Lawyers? Slimy leeches who feed off the suffering of others. Oddly enough, their kind gravitate towards owning/driving Nazi sleds. Accountants? Meticulous people who are very much into routine. Their idea of a good time is counting beans. Editors? Well, I don't even want to go there...
Then, there are professions that require those with skill sets of a different kind; altruistic natures and hearts of the big variety. Teachers, counselors and nurses are fields I couldn't even begin to fathom. Patience is but a virtue and there isn't enough money in world for me to put up with the stuff they have to--hence the reason I get paid peanuts and work in the pro-bono world of editorial.
What about a person who works with the autistic; what does it say about them? For starters, a patience threshold deeper than the Mariana Trench is a must--a caring soul to the likes of Mother Teresa, a hefty plus. Now, what if the person who walks that path also happens to be a model? A smoking hot one, at that? I'd say you just found yourself a keeper.
Working towards her degree as a clinical social worker, Joanna Mata works with autistic children--surprising, considering she's a former championship-winning cheerleader-turned coach. Of Mexican heritage, although Ms. Mata no habla Espanol worth a damn, she does know how to say mantequilla, and better yet, how to use it. Sitting down with the petite 5'2" beauty after a long day's shift, we discuss, in great detail, why her tushy is better than Kim Kardashian's, how you too can turn your microwave into an instant bonfire, her semi-diabolical plan to beat the house in Vegas, and more importantly, what it takes to get with her. One word of caution: the line starts behind me.
Ready for your interrogation?
You make it sound scary... like something with guns.
That's just the Long Beach in you talking...
[laughs] I know... I may be short, but I can still drop kick someone. [laughs]
It's all the years of kung fu training...
[laughs] That's right!
That, and your black belt in cheerleading
[laughs] Hell yeah! I'll totally kick anyone's ass in cheerleading! I'm usually the one on top, flying through the air.
I'm sure you are. Do you have a cheerleading special move?
Yeah, but if I tell you, I'd have to kill you. [laughs]
Does it involve using your pom poms like nunchuks?
[laughs] Something like that. Maybe I'll show you one of these days, if you're lucky!
I could most definitely do with getting lucky. How long have you been cheerleading?
For about eight years. I also coached the past three years with my old coach for her All Star team.
When you mean All Star, are you talking "spirit fingers", Bring it On-type competition... er, not that I would know. Not like I saw the movie or anything...
[laughs] That's probably your favorite movie! I bet you could repeat the movie word for word! [laughs] But yeah, that's what I mean by All Star! It was pretty exciting!
If watching it nine times means that it's my favorite movie, then yes, I'm guilty. And All Star does sound exciting. Are you talking huge competition?
I knew it! [laughs] Yes, huge. They usually last two or three days, and are the best cause they're usually out of state, which means vacation! Woohoo! When I cheered in high school, we got to go to Hawaii. How cool is that? Even cooler was that we won!
You won? So, you mean to tell me this entire time, we've been interviewing the Kirsten Dunst of the modeling world!
Except for the blonde thing and the fact that we won, yes! [laughs]
Do you have any plans to pursue your cheering abilities?
Yes, of course! I'd like to be a Laker girl someday... but I think I'll try out to be a San Diego Charger girl first, to get some experience! I was going to try out last year but I got scared... those girls know their stuff, so I have to make sure that I'm on point!
Pshaw, what are you talking about? You're a champion... plus way hotter than any Laker girl!
Aww thanks... you're just saying that so I can get you tickets to the game and sit next to Jessica Alba!
Think of that complement as a deposit for a comp ticket in the future. And yes, sitting next to Jessica Alba wouldn't hurt.
Scalding! Good taste! Who else of the estrogen-packing kind do you think are hot?
Eva Longoria, for sure. I watch Desperate Housewives just to see her... I sound so lesbo right now! [laughs]
And I'm totally cool with that.
Oh, and Kim Kardashian. Some people say that I look like her which is a total compliment. Except I don't have nearly the nice butt she has.
Her's is a little too big. Like two handballs.
Maybe if I scarf down some more burgers I'll get there, too...
Don't! Contrary to popular belief, there can be too much cushion for the pushin'. Plus your's are more than fine. They are excellent.
[laughs] Okay, I'll go put the burger away, then.
Yes, please. On the topic of food, what's your favorite Mexican restaurant?
Well, my favorite restaurant is my mom's kitchen, but I'd say if something were to come close, it would be SuperMex.
They have bomb machaca con huevos...
I don't even know what you just said... you know more Spanish than I do! [laughs]
Huevos means eggs, right?
Por supuesto! No me digas!
No puede hablar espanol?
Umm... no? [laughs] I hate that I don't know it. I just pretend that I do so no one talks shit about me in Spanish.
But you grew up in the LA area...?
In Lakewood, aka `The Wood'. By the way, just because it has the word `wood' in it, doesn't mean its ghetto.
Growing up in LA, it's damn near impossible not to learn some Spanish! I'm Korean and yo hablo poquito! You didn't take it in high school?
You are so going to laugh... I took Spanish for two years and I passed with an A+! My teacher liked me so much that I didn't have to take my final! In hindsight, I wish I paid more attention in class!
She probably figured since you're of Latino heritage you were a shoe-in for an "A"
[laughs] No, she knew I didn't know a darn thing. The one word I did learn is mantequilla. [laughs] Of course, it had to be about food!
That's butter, right?
[laughs] Yes! Oh good! Now I'm teaching you some Spanish! I feel better now...
[laughs] How useful is having "butter" as your one word in a Spanish-speaking country? Outside of an international movie theatre, you're assed out!
Well then, it's a good thing I'm always at the movie theatre... plus, you can think of interesting sayings to use with butter. Like, `Hey, can I mantequilla you up?!'
Anytime, my dear, anytime. I'll even settle for I Can't Believe it's Not Mantequilla! Besides cheerleading and your obsession with butter, you work with autistic kids...
Yes, I have been for about three years and I love my kids! They're so precious.
What is it, exactly, that you do?
Well, I get assigned a case and I go to their house and work on behavior modification. I help them with their daily living needs and make sure they're not a danger to themselves or to others. It's pretty tough sometimes...
In what way?
Well, some of them can get pretty aggressive. Since I'm short, and about their heights, they have gotten me pretty good! They would be walking by me, and all of the sudden, decide to slap me. [laughs] I've gotten pretty banged up at times. One time, my face was all scratched up and when I came home, my mom thought I got jumped. [laughs] When I've had bruises all over my body, people would ask if I had an abusive boyfriend. [laughs] It's the sacrifice I make... and I still love it!
Yikes. Never in a million years would I have thought of Rain Man as a violent being...
Oh yeah! That's where I learn all my kung fu moves!
Explains it. Ever been tempted to take one of your kids to Vegas and tear it up on the Blackjack table?
There was this one boy who loved to play cards. I was like, `Hey, can I take you to Vegas and win some money?' He's like, `Yeah, let's go!' I'm already decent at Blackjack, so together we would've taken over!
I would've milked that boy for his entire card counting worth! Kidding. I think. Can I borrow him for a day? Or two? How about a week?
If it gets me to Vegas, yeah, sure! [laughs]
I am so going to get hate mail from the autistic community.
[laughs] We're not saying anything bad... I have mad love for my kids and I try to do anything to help.
Yeah totally. We could take them to Circus Circus. Plus, I would totally cut them in on the profits. It'll be like our own charity....
Sounds like a plan!
Butter, gambling... Any other hobbies?
I like to bowl, read sometimes, do puzzles, try and design clothes on paper... [laughs] I like to people watch and make fun of them.
Let me guess: autistic kids?
No! Just random people... like if you're sitting in the park and you see what people do when they think no one is looking... like picking their nose or butt.
As if you don't pick your nose or butt!
[laughs] I don't!
Hey liar, your pants are totally on fire!
Girls don't do that kind of stuff!
Speaking of that `stuff', during the photo shoot, your mom and I had an interesting conversation...
[laughs] Oh yeah? About what?
Something about you and farting...
[laughs] What? That I don't? Like I said, girls don't do that stuff, nor do they go number two.
Of course, because everyone knows that females live off of photosynthesis.
You are officially a dork.
Yes I am! I love being a dork. If you think you're too cool to be a dork then something is wrong with you.
Prove your dork-dom: share some stories.
Hmm... okay. You know how you can buff out scratches on your car? Well, I once tried to buff out scratches on my phone. Not sure if that was a dorky moment or a blonde one.
[laughs] Jessica Simpson would be proud.
Oh, I once caught a microwave on fire!
Well, I was working at one of my old jobs and I had to be there pretty early, so I brought my coffee in a mug to heat up when I got there. I put my mug in the microwave and I'm all like `la la la' and all of a sudden... poof! I was like, `Oh my god!' and took it out. Luckily, it wasn't a big fire... or I would've gotten fired. [laughs] Get it? Fire... fired!
Anyway, my boss came over and was like, `Joanna you can't put that in the microwave!' I was like why? She's all, `It's aluminum. Read the bottom!' I looked, and it said `Not Microwavable', which by the way, is the worst place to put a warning label. Who reads the bottom of mugs?
I've had one of those moments as a kid... except it was with tin foil. And instead of coffee, it was a very un-tasty AM/PM minimart hot dog. It was like a lightning storm. Regardless, you are very much dork approved! Any other ones?
Well, there was this thing four years ago, but I wasn't a kid... so it's more embarrassing! [laughs] That's all for now... I don't want people to think I'm not nearly as super cool as I look! [laughs]
If I've heard correct, you're recently single?
Yes, it's been like a month or two.
Rad. So what kind of guys are you into?
Tall, for one! I like guys with a bad-ass image but a major softy on the inside... confident; not cocky! I'm very sensitive and cry over everything, so I need to make sure he's not an asshole. I'm not biased either--I like all types of races. My type is men!
EOE: Equal opportunity employer.
Double rad. Describe what would be a perfect first date?
Hmm... a lovely candlelight dinner and then a walk on the beach. Afterwards, watching the waves while we have a picnic dessert and look at the stars... sounds so cheesy, huh? Or, just Disneyland!
I've got better: You, the autistic kid and me, and a road trip to Vegas! With a case of mantequilla.
[laughs] Sounds good!