Interview with Delicia Silva (Cigar Vixen)
I was eagerly anticipating my trip to Vegas to attend the 2016 IPCPR, representing Main Street Cigar Lounge in Daphne as well as tending to a few delightful chores on behalf of Cigar Weekly. Heck, I hadn't been to Vegas in 30+ years!!!!
While I certainly enjoyed most every aspect of the trade show, the highlight for me was definitely the opportunity to sit down and interview Delicia Silva. This lady has intrigued me for some time now. Of course, being no different from any other red-blooded male cigar smoker, I cannot help but be smitten by her charm. But more than that, I have always admired her business savvy and ability to create a life where she can share a passion for cigars and encourage as well as enable us to share that passion along with her.
The trade show always turns out to be busier and more hectic than I plan for. Thankfully, Ms. Silva was very accommodating and flexible, as well as gracious with her own hectic schedule to allow time for me to speak with her at length. So without further ado...
Me: "Delicia, my first question has to be...what got you started, how did you initially get involved with the cigar culture?"
Delicia: "I started with an interest in cigars when I was very young, but didn't really pay attention too much to the details of cigars, I liked them, enjoyed the camaraderie, good times and a way to get together. It was later that i actually started becoming a cigar nerd, really finding out what's behind these things, they're pieces of art--and that's how I looked at it. So when I started the use of video it was sort of just trial and error, "let's talk about smoking and cigars together and what do you guys get from it"? That was kind of the idea when I first started out, then it just started growing organically from there. Along the way I learned so much from going out there and visiting the factories, visiting the different farms and it's been such a fun experience along the way"
Me: "Fun indeed! Delicia, what would be the one most surprising aspect or factor you have discovered since becoming involved with the cigar culture and industry. Anything that has shocked you or had you stop and think, 'Geeeez I never would have realized'?"
Delicia: "I don't know that there is one particular thing that has surprised me, I think there are several things I was surprised to discover. I was amazed at all the different components that go in to the production of a cigar and the fact that are so many people involved with making of that cigar before it is ever sent out for me to smoke. When you go and see this process in person it adds a whole new dimension and appreciation for all of these people on the farms in the production of each cigar, it's fantastic. Another thing I really respect is that all these people really know their craft and while there are so many cigars that can be very similar,, they all have something unique which makes them special."
Me: "What are some of your aspirations in this business? Any desire to perhaps start your own line of cigars?"
Delicia: "You know that is something that initially I thought about and I've been approached by different people in the industry about that possibility, but as of right now I don't feel ready for that in the sense that I enjoy my role right now and I like that I can be helpful to everybody and if I had my own brand that would require my time and focus to be dedicated to my own brand, so as of right now I would say no, but you never know what the future may hold."
Me: "Okay, staying with the subject of creating your own brand, can you describe to me what would be your "dream blend"--and what would be the name of that particular blend?"
Delicia: "Oooooh, I'm not sure I can answer [that] with a name. I have a lot of different thoughts on that subject, it would definitely have to be something tied to history because I am a history buff--or music, one of the two. As far as what it would taste like, it would definitely be predominantly Nicaraguan. I love maduro, it's my "go-to" smoke, so I would probably do things a little backwards in the sense that I would most likely put out a maduro first and then maybe something a little milder later. I get excited about the flavor of a maduro and I think that is one of the largest misconceptions, that a maduro has to be strong or overpowering. I would encourage people to try a maduro."
Me: "If you could sit down and share a cigar and conversation with anyone past or present, who would that be?"
Delicia: "A person in the cigar industry?"
Me: "No, doesn't have to be."
Delicia: "I always thought it would be fascinating to have a cigar with Andy Garcia. I had the pleasure of meeting him not too long ago and that was the closest I've come, but didn't have actually get to sit down and have a cigar with him."
Me: "Do you have a favorite 'Cigar Destination'?"
Delicia: "I love Nicaragua. Nicaragua would definitely be at the top of that list."
Me: "In your travels, is there a factory that you most look forward to visiting?"
Delicia: "That's a tough one. I would say in Nicaragua I really enjoy visiting Joya, their hospitality is amazing and the blending experience is a lot of fun. In Dominican Republic, La Aurora is one I really like visiting, they are like family!"
Me: "How do you go about putting together and arranging your trips, and how do people sign up?"
Delicia: "Well, I work with a couple of gentlemen that have a travel company out of Nicaragua and we just sort of play around with different ideas on what do people want to do on these trips and I've tried to expand on the regular cigar safari of visiting one cigar factory, maybe two and tried to make it into more of a cigar vacation with emphasis being the cigar factories, but exploring more of the surrounding country and culture and enjoy that time. The way you can sign up is to visit my website, cigarvixen.com. And I'm always posting info on social media."
Me: "I was so jealous of your recent trip to Cuba!"
Delicia: "That was a lot of fun, such an interesting culture."
Me: "I've got to get down there before there's a McDonalds on every corner!"
Delicia: "Exactly, my thoughts before leaving too."
Me: "What is something you see that we could do to encourage more women to participate in the cigar culture?"
Delicia: "I believe that it starts with the retailers. The reason being is you have an opportunity when someone walks into your store to make that a memorable, positive experience. As a woman I can tell you there are times when I might walk in and get a dumb look, maybe they're welcoming, maybe they're not.....the ones that are, those are the ones that make you want to come back and that's the first step to get more women involved in the industry as well as events."
Me: "Where is your favorite place to relax and enjoy a cigar?"
Delicia: " Anyplace on or near the beach."
Me: "I understand you are a big fan of Frida Kahlo?"
Me: "What drew you to her art?"
Delicia: "I was in middle school and I saw a picture in an airport and thought "who is this, what's going on with these eyebrows--it just drew me in. I found a book and read her story and the fact that she had such a tumultuous life--her artwork and her strength, both just drew me in."
Me: "Delicia, your legacy in the cigar world--what would you like that to be?"
Delicia: "I would like to think that I have helped make strides where women can feel more comfortable in the cigar culture, one that is historically dominated by males. I believe in the last several years I have seen a little easing up of the "mens club" mentality and a more welcoming nature toward women in both the cigar culture and industry. I hope that I have been able to contribute a small part toward that."
Me: "I would say that you are definitely one of the key contributors in that area. Delicia, you make your living doing what many of us would consider a 'dream' job, so when you're not working, how do you spend your down time?"
Delicia: "Really,since I have started in this business, I haven't had much down time. I am constantly trying to come up with new ideas and stay ahead of that creative curve. It's something I can't just turn on and off, it tends go and go on it's own. I would say spending and enjoying time with my family members, I have a large family, hanging out with them while enjoying a drink and a cigar--I am always smoking a cigar!"
Me: "Okay Delicia, to finish things up, I have a few quick, stupid, 'Tiger Beat' questions....here ya go...Favorite color?"
Me: "Favorite food?"
Me: "Top 3 movies?"
Delicia: "1- Scarface
2- To Kill a Mockingbird
3- .......ummmmm, Jungle Book!"
Me: "Top 3 bands or musical artist?"
Delicia: "Ohhhhh that's tough.....Doors, The Beatles.....so hard to narrow down to just 3....maybe the Rolling Stones."
Me: "Favorite adult beverage?"
Delicia: "Rum, definitely a dark aged rum drink"
Me: "Delicia, thank you so much for your time. I can't begin to tell you what a pleasure it has been to to spend this time speaking with you. Good luck with the remainder of the show!"
Delicia: "Thank you Jon, my pleasure!"