A slew of thoughts come to mind when millennial comes up in conversation. The term is often used with a negative connotation, but for Tanner Diaz, it’s more of a confidence booster than an insult.
Diaz has allowed the benefits of “growing into one’s self” lead his passions and aspirations. During his time at Cal State Fullerton, Diaz has specialized in event planning and working with the Orange County Ronald McDonald House to prepare special fundraising events for families in need.
One of Diaz’s events in October, a gala in the City National Grove of Anaheim raised over $100,000 in profit for the charity work done by the Ronald McDonald House. The event itself attracted more than 300 people and featured aerialists, a fashion show, a live auction and an open bar.
Set to graduate in May, Diaz has ambitions to continue his work with the Ronald McDonald House and possibly expand on a career with Disney, where he worked for over the last year.
Diaz has been planning events since middle school. His event-planning passion eventually led him to a position within his high school’s student government. During his senior year, he became the first male member of the color guard in his high school’s 45-year history, a choice that set a tone for the self-appreciative mentality he has kept during his four years at CSUF.
“It was absolutely terrifying, but at the same time I was doing what I had been wanting to do for the last three years. It was so liberating that it didn’t even matter,” Diaz said of his first color guard show.
This year, he performed in full drag for the first time as his character and alter ego, Flora Fauntay during the CSUF drag shows in April and then again in October.
Diaz, who spent the first three years at CSUF living and working in housing, said that the housing department has been significant in his journey as a young adult and college student.
“I feel like (housing) has given me the resources to explore myself and also my way of thinking,” Diaz said.
Working in housing has been a creative outlet and challenge for Diaz as well. His first memorable event as the programs director for the housing department was a Marvel/Disney-themed brunch on move-in day, which introduced new and returning students to campus.
Diaz and Flora Fauntay have more similarities than differences, but Diaz admits that his drag queen alter ego is a reflection of his experiences and who he truly wants to be. In today’s world, Diaz feels that he is able to be both Flora Fauntay and himself because of the acceptance that millennials offer.
“It’s not so much tolerance anymore. It’s not even acceptance. It’s more like a celebration, which is what I think our whole generation is. We want to celebrate these people who come from all different aspects of life,” Diaz said.
Being someone who comes from past challenges with identity, Diaz’s insight on millennials is full of embracive overtones. The 21-year-old has a perspective on his generation that he proudly accepts.