Hot AF, funny AF, and unwilling to dumb herself down, Erin Darling Torralva, creator of the Hot Pizza Ass podcast, is the kind of take-me-as-I-am force of nature every woman can (and should) appreciate. Torralva is a Latina writer, comedian, actress, and no-bullshit artist who delves deep (unrelentingly so) into body image, self-love, sexual orientation, and how women are all too often marginalized in society.
The Hot Pizza Ass podcast focuses on how inspirational people work through these challenges in their everyday lives to shine their light and become who they’re meant to be in this world. In other words, it’s not cotton-candy talk. It’s blow-the-goddamn-house-down kind of talk, and Torralva’s bubbly and snarky disposition is why it’s so entertaining.
Before Hot Pizza Ass, writing was her first love. “Growing up, I identified more as a writer than a performer. My favorite toy was a typewriter,” says Torralva. “I was always writing plays and trying to get my brother and cousins to act them out in the backyard.” In middle school, she attended a performing arts school. She loved the spotlight, but after she graduated from college, she was in an accident that gave her a concussion and left her face disfigured.
She battled a range of fears, uncertain of how her face would heal. But once she did heal, she saw life through a more daring lens. “It took me a while to feel comfortable on stage again, but then I just went for it,” she says. “You never know what tomorrow is going to bring. You might as well try everything you want to try and explore all of your curiosities and passions, so I took the leap, committed, and in the process learned how to believe in myself. That was also a springboard to me doing stand-up.”
Comedy comes naturally to Torralva. Through self-deprecating content, a waggish approach, and having the knack to turn the negative into a comical positive, she approaches every part of her life with alacrity. “My hope is that I can be a positive voice by making a conscious effort to do what it takes every day.” Torralva elaborates, “It’s so easy to be negative or pulled down by the situations around you—especially if they’re stressful. We’re only human after all, but when you focus on gratitude, empathy, and being kind to yourself, you have a shot at turning it around. It takes legitimate effort to be positive, but the effort is worth it.”
In a time where women are embodying the strength they yield as empowered and equal, Torralva owns her inner feminist and supports other women in the industry. “We [women] have to stop being competitive and stop comparing ourselves to our peer group. Go to their shows, retweet their good news, tell them when you like something they did instead of acting like you didn’t see it. And most importantly, stop talking shit. We have enough hurdles to jump. Let’s have each other’s backs. I’m a big believer in that.”
According to a KPMG Women’s Leadership study, 67 percent of women said they needed more support to build confidence and feel like they can be leaders. Torralva is also a firm believer in growing your confidence and recognizing what it is that makes you want to stand tall. “Crushing it makes me feel confident. Acquiring a new skill, committing to it, and getting really good at it,” she says. “Whether it’s communicating with other people, sticking it out through a really tough workout, or closing in on a goal I’ve been working toward—these are the things that make me feel confident.”
Born in San Jose in the Silicon Valley, Torralva was surrounded less with the entertainment industry and more with technology. The ever-increasing influx of evolving tech gave her a curiosity to learn. The Bay Area also happens to be home to several sports franchises she’s a big fan of. “I take pride in where I’m from. All of my favorite sports teams are still from my hometown. That will never change. I’ll always be loyal to my soil.”
Being devoted to where she’s from also translates into being committed to working hard and not being afraid of taking on new challenges. “I have learned that hard work doesn’t always pay off, but consistent work does. You can work your ass off every day, put pressure on yourself, lose passion, and burn out. Or you can focus on working a certain amount every day, be dedicated with the time that you have set aside for your art, trust the process, and stay inspired. I love seeing people really going for it, but talent takes time to develop no matter what you do or who you are,” Torralva says. “We often forget that because we’ve all been sold on the idea of becoming an overnight success. It’s so easy to romanticize, but slow, steady, dogged perseverance through obstacles, frustration, and rejection wins the race.”
One of the things that Torralva has done is take her own insecurities and flip them on their head by accepting her curves, her love of pizza, and telling everyone else to stop their inner mean-girl talk and be kinder to themselves. That’s how her podcast Hot Pizza Ass came to be.
“I posted an Instagram photo with a piece of pizza on my butt. I wrote a caption about self-love and acceptance. It read, ‘This is my body, it changes every day, and I love it.’ This was a big leap for me. I’ve struggled with eating disorders and haven’t always had the healthiest relationship with my body, so posting a photo that showed my body and announced that I was actively choosing to love it was terrifying for me. I was fearful that I would be made fun of, and judged.”
According to a study done by Dove for its Self-Esteem Project, by the time girls reach the tender age of 17, 78 percent will be unhappy with their bodies and 47 percent of girls aged 11 to 14 refuse to take part in activities that might “show their bodies in any way.” In that same study, only 4 percent of women worldwide said they consider themselves beautiful. Women’s relationship to their bodies has been one of complication, and Torralva wants to be instrumental in changing that.
Torralva admits, “I archived the photo three times after posting it. When I finally got the courage to read some of the comments, something amazing happened. I saw so much support. I realized I wasn’t alone. This feeling was relatable for so many others. I knew it was a platform I wanted to create for myself. If my moment of strength, talking about my insecurities, and my journey of self-love resonated with other people, I knew interviewing people about their self-love struggles could be inspiring and helpful to a greater audience.”