Dispatches from the Moth · Posted On: Jul 13, 2021

Storytelling School with The Moth: Monthly Storytelling Activity #39

by The Moth Staff

Lesson #39: NERVES "Purple Hair"- Diamante Ortiz

Happy summer from Storytelling School with The Moth! School is out, but don’t forget to keep those listening and discussion skills sharp with today’s story. For this month’s blog, we’re taking a look at a story about making a change to look and feel more like yourself.

This month’s Storytelling School story is:

“Purple Hair” by Diamante Ortiz

  • Watch the video

  • You can read the transcript of Diamante’s story here.

After you’ve watched and read the story, you can do the following activities: 

Talk to each other about Diamante’s story. 

For each post, we’ll highlight a different crafting strategy for how to make your story compelling. For this post, we’ll focus on NERVES. At this Education Program GrandSLAM, Diamante was the first storyteller of the night. It is hard to go first, and the host (Hasan Minaj) tells the audience to cheer like Beyonce is coming to the stage so Diamante can feel that support from the crowd. Being nervous can be a little uncomfortable, but it can also give the performer an enormous boost of energy. We encourage our tellers to embrace that feeling. Being nervous means you care about what you’re doing!

  • When Diamante gets to the mic, she tells us she’s ‘wicked nervous’. How does the audience respond? And what effect does that response seem to have on Diamante? 

  • Diamante acknowledges her mom in the audience in the middle of this story, finding a parallel between the present and another time her mom was taking tons of pictures. She also slips into her mom’s voice for a moment, speaking in Spanish and praising her daughter. What is the effect of this moment of dialogue on the story, the audience and Diamante’s delivery? 

  • Watching the video, you can tell that Diamante starts to relax as she goes. Instead of describing the ‘Napoleon Dynamite’ dance, she actually dances for a moment. There is a connection between nerves and physicality. How does this moment change Diamante and her connection with the audience?

Let’s Play “Have You Ever”

Raise your hand if … 

  • You’ve ever repeatedly asked a parent or guardian for permission for something 

  • You’ve ever had to wait until you were older to get something you wanted

  • You’ve ever looked in the mirror and seen someone unexpected 

  • You’ve ever aspired to be someone else

  • You’ve ever recognized your resemblance to a family member

  • You’ve ever felt like your parent or guardian trusted you

  • You’ve ever been the “weird girl/boy/person”

  • You’ve ever made a big change to your appearance

  • You’ve ever been dissed by a child

  • You’ve ever felt like you were still figuring out who you are

  • You’ve ever seen yourself the way you want to be seen 

Did you raise your hand? If you raised your hand even once, that’s a story you could tell! Find someone to tell it to and try out a draft!



  • Have you thought about making a big change to your appearance? If you change it, without any consequences, what would you want to do? Maybe a new hairstyle/color, a piercing, a tattoo, or something else? Try drawing it and see how it would look! You can even virtually try out hairstyles with websites like this one.

Share this post with a friend!

And check back the second Tuesday of every month for another story.

Storyteller bio

Diamante Ortiz (pronouns: she/they) is a Moth Alumni who attended The Young Women's Leadership School of Brooklyn (Class of 2016), and continued to pursue their love of storytelling and advocacy at Temple University (Class of 2020). Growing up in the Los Sures area of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, Diamante has seen the wonders of storytelling and oration within QT/BIPOC spaces that have been traditionally marginalized. Currently, Diamante continues to uplift these same communities within their work at Reclaim Philadelphia, where she serves as a Communications Organizer, as well as being a co-founder of the Black and Brown Coalition of Philadelphia. Diamante still rocks the purple hair which you can see on her social media. (IG/ Tumblr)

The Moth Education Program works with young people and educators to build community through storytelling workshops, performances and innovative resources. To learn more, visit themoth.org/education