By Molly Snyder Senior Writer Published Oct 31, 2022 at 1:31 PM

OnMilwaukee's The Future Is Female series is brought to you by Alverno College and features some of the most interesting, innovative and intelligent women in the city.

We're publishing this story on Halloween and the day before Dia de los Muertos begins, but Maikayla Gutierrez's life is one of beauty and darkness all year 'round.

Gutierrez learned Santeria – an African diaspora religion from Cuba –  from her grandmother at a young age and started rapping when she was 10 years old. Today she is a recording artst, DJ and rapper known as "Puerto Wiccan" and she also works at a funeral home.

 "My life story as an individual is painful, full of struggles and can fill a room with gray clouds. But as a person, I take those situations and use them to create a more rewarding, impactful and beautiful outcome for myself," says Gutierrez.

OnMilwaukee: What do you do professionally and how does this connect with who you are personally? 

Maikayla Gutierrez: In terms of profession, I am a certified crematory operator and mortician in training. I perform duties such as body preparation, funeral facilitating and body transfers. I’ve been working in funeral service ever since my last year of high school, and as a side job I sell products from my spiritual brand “Infinites Essential Oddities” available at Altered State Of Mind in Bay View.  

I feel that being a mortician connects with me personally because as a person I like to create beauty within the darkness. Taking on the task of speaking with mourning families and caring for their family members is not for the weak, but I find it to be very rewarding. Being able to properly honor a decedent's life and provide the family with the opportunity to personalize a celebration for departure creates an everlasting impact on the families and allows them to enter a new stage of life. Providing this service takes a painful situation and turns it into something memorable and beautiful.

If you had a magic wand, what is one thing you would instantly change about Milwaukee?

If I could change anything about Milwaukee there would be no segregation and we would all be working together to make sure everyone has a home, food and all basic human necessities. Poverty would be non-existent and women and men would cherish and protect each other. I'm very strong on programs that help the youth do more effective and artistic things with their time to keep them out of harm's way, so I would use my magic wand to create more of those organizations and make them as accessible as possible. In a perfect Milwaukee, everyone would have an equal opportunity to be successful.

How do you fight the patriarchy in your own way?

As a female in male-dominated scenes, I feel like I fight the patriarchy by embracing my individuality through my lyrical ability in my rap music. I’m shamelessly myself and not afraid of feeling challenged or stepping out of my comfort zone to show what I am capable of. I stand 10 toes strong on all of my beliefs and ambitions and never allow myself to be swayed one way or another. People fear what they do not understand, and that is my leverage to stand on top of the world. 

If you made a soundtrack for your life, what would a few of the songs be?

If I made a soundtrack for my life, a song of my choosing would be one of my very own songs “Legacy." This song in particular is meaningful to me because it represents climbing the mountain of life. Some of the lines are “I’m a legacy of roots that have grown out of the pavement / a crystal to a stone, a stoner that’s getting faded, the body of a women, always degraded / but I’m embodying the moments my life has awaited." What this means to me is that when you come from broken places your vessel is often left open and vulnerable, and through time and challenges you learn to piece together your soul and re-find those parts of you that allow you to become beyond this vessel and everything all at once. 

What is your secret (or not-so-secret) superpower?

I would say my super power would be alchemy. I take thoughts and ideas, combine them and attempt to create meaningful transformations and outcomes. From thoughts to sound, from sound to music. From death to beauty and from beauty to memory. 

Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.

Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.