Tiana Ramos hails from Front Royal, a Northern Virginia town of 14,000 people, that lies within commuting distance from Washington, DC. Ramoa is a 17 year old high school senior, who opened her own bakery at a local mall in June. Naughty Girls Donut Shop is a kitschy mash-up of Tiana’s twin passions for World War II-era pinup art (Marilyn Monroe, Betty Grable, Bettie Page) and rockabilly culture; it evokes a 1950’s diner, splashed with hot pinks and bold reds, black-&-white tile floors, and glass showcases glistening with gooey confections. Tiana’s mom (and business partner) Natalie describes the place as “rockabilly and fun, family friendly, chalkboard walls, bring your kids, you can have them standing on the table, we don’t care.”
Tiana and a handful of her staff bake donuts every morning before their school day, then return for shifts afterward; she also works every weekend. Her employees “have all been through tragedies in their past,” she says, “between bullying or fighting with their parents so that they are no longer living with their parents, or living in a car.” She hopes her bakery will provide a refuge for anyone bullied at school, or who feels they don’t belong in Front Royal.
The “naughty” in the name gives a flirty wink to the portraits on the walls—and to those calorie-laden confections we all know we should probably resist, but don’t stand a chance. (Ingredients are sourced from local farmers when possible.) “Naughty” is also a nod to Tiana’s personality: “I dress like a total rebel,” says Tiana. “I got ripped jeans on and have shirts that have my favorite bands on it.” Moreover, “I have tattoos, and I don’t dress like the good kid that goes to church every Sunday.”
Donut Fried Chicken. Chicken fried in donut batter, with Honey Pecan Glaze.
Also available: Sriracha Glazed, Bourbon BBQ Sauce, Orange Chipotle Glaze, Jalapeno Herb Glaze and Traditional Buffalo Sauce.
(All entrees come with a side of donuts because of course they do.)
Tiana donates considerable time and money to her community, so far contributing more than $28,000 to support local businesses, and $2,000 to purchase back-to-school backpacks for underprivileged kids. She supports the local homeless shelter, 4-H club, athletic associations and high schools, Elk lodges, hospitals and charities. She was recently awarded a full scholarship to the Culinary Institute of America. Oh, and she mentors younger high school students harboring entreprenurial ambitions.
Very “naughty,” indeed.
Now readers might be under the impression that all of this would be enough to merit Tiana Ramos the elusive and highly coveted Perry Street Palace Major Award for Badass of the Day™. And I have to tell you, it would be a close call. But what catapulted her over the top is something she said—but we’ll get to that in a minute. First a little background (via Raw Story):
[T]he store’s name, and its framed artwork featuring photos of Marilyn Monroe and Betty Page, have drawn the ire of “a strong Conservative Alliance group” in the town, accusing Ramos and her business of promoting promiscuous behavior.
Within a week of opening, the teen’s mother said, someone drove past and threw garbage at the door.
“They literally threw trash at the door and said, ‘Naughty girls burn in hell,’” said Natalie Ramos. “I started bawling, right there.”
Harassment from cretinous conservatives has continued online: Yelp, Facebook, Twitter and email. Here’s one:
Comment: That is a ridiculous name for a donut shop, especially if you want customers! Perhaps you only want to attract male customers. I can assure you that I WILL NOT be patronizing your establishment, and will be sure that none of my friends will. I have a feeling we won’t have to worry about you for long.
Some outfit called “Local Catholics of Front Royal” are threatening a boycott, and a whisper campaign got back to the shop when the mother of a Naughty Girls employee reported being asked to boycott because…their logo features a stylized devil’s tail.
“They were talking about how the girls look like hussies. They didn’t talk about the food or the service,” Natalie Ramos said. “They were saying that the shop represents sluts and anyone who works there is promiscuous. It was a lot of negativity that didn’t need to be there.”
“I wish they would actually get to know me, because I’m not the person they think I am,” Tiana said.
Oh, I don’t know about that. Maybe you are, Tiana. You’re an ambitious, grounded, talented, independent, amazing young woman. And that’s exactly what terrifies them.
Fort Royal, as it turns out, has recently seen some other newsworthy happenings: the town has been embroiled in a heated controversy over efforts to overturn a decades-old ban prohibiting fortunetelling, “gypsies” and other “magic arts.” You see, some residents really want to keep that important ban (which by the way has never been enforced) on the town’s books because they fear—I shit you not—“Satanism.” (Note: The Palace does not endorse con artists plying their trades on the unwitting and desperate, and that goes for clergy, too, who are spewing exactly the same supernatural bullshit. But the fact remains that it is all constitutionally protected speech.) Let’s listen in on the Town Council’s public hearing on the witchcraft ban, shall we?
[Resident] Elizabeth Poel asked council why it would take the action to benefit pagans — a small part of the population…Poel also linked the thrift store on Main Street and the tarot-card reading operation to the Center for Workforce Development and its efforts to provide opportunities to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth. Poel said she surmised the center plans to recruit youth to increase the number of homosexuals in Front Royal.
“We do not advocate abuse or harm to any homosexuals,” Poel said. “Such would be contrary to the virtue of charity. However, homosexuals do not usually extend such charity much less tolerance toward homosexuals who do not agree with them. You need to understand that most parents want neither pagan practitioners nor homosexuals to have access to the minds, bodies and souls of their children.”
Poel told council a “strong connection” exists between homosexuality and paganism.
She seems nice. Not to mention very knowledgeable.
Thomas Centrella spoke against the repeal and warned that the presence of fortunetelling would cause crime to increase in town.
“Do you want it to be your legacy that you are the ones who opened the door in this community to make Front Royal a haven for witchcraft, fortunetelling and other pagan practices?” Centrella asked council. “I guarantee you that no American family, religious or not, will want to raise their children next to a shop that sells fortunetelling, tarot cards, witchcraft and so forth.”
See, Thomas, this is where your disconnect from reality just makes you look silly. Because I can guarantee you that American families are indeed raising their children next to a shop that sells fortunetelling, tarot cards, witchcraft and so forth, on Christopher Street right up the block from where I am presently sitting. (And it ain’t exactly cheap, either).
And speaking of Manhattan:
Eleanor Kelly speaks to Front Royal Town Council at a public hearing Monday on the repeal of a ban on fortunetelling. “I have come from Manhattan where I have seen a multitude of activities and, please, let me assure you that this activity is not one that will keep our community the wonderful community it is and it is in your hands, your responsibility, to keep it.”
Poor Eleanor has been here, and she has seen a multitude of activities! Apparently she missed out on the drag show at Lucky Cheng’s, though, because otherwise she would know that virtually every American community would be improved by that particular…um, multitude of activities. How one could even call Fort Royal a “wonderful community” without a Lucky Cheng’s is frankly beyond me.
(The town council d00ds were evenly split on the witchcraft ban: the mayor broke the tie to overturn the ban.)
But in all fairness, Fort Royal does have one Tiana Ramos going for it. Tiana was asked whether these crackpot loons could convince her to relocate her bakery. “Heck no,” she said. “They’re the reason we’re staying here.”
BOOM. There it is. That is the reason we are pleased to announce that Tiana Ramos is the recipient of the elusive and highly coveted Perry Street Palace Major Award for Badass of the Day™.
While I absolutely adore, admire and applaud Ms. Ramos for this statement, it is my fervent hope—and I say this selflessly, with no ulterior motives on my part whatsoever—that as soon as she finishes school, she will open a Naughty Girls Donut Shop in NYC. In my neighborhood. On my block. On the ground floor of my building. IN MY APARTMENT.
She’s going places. Watch her: