Maria Montaño Challenges Social Norms, Political Structures as ‘Best Thirst Trap’ Nominee in Pgh City Paper Best of Pittsburgh Awards

Photo courtesy of Maria Montaño

For so long, trans women and our bodies have been sold as objects under capitalism. This has led to our marginalization – and the belief that we are nothing but sexual deviants is directly related to the way we are demonized by so many. Capitalism has deprived us of our humanity, and our own sexual fulfillment. By owning my own self, my full self – including my sexuality, sensuality, femininity, I am taking back my power from the way capitalism abuses women like me. 

We are in the final days of the nomination round for Best of Pittsburgh sponsored by the Pittsburgh City Paper. One contender is Maria Montaño in the Best Thirst Trap category. I noticed her having fun with the concept on Twitter – especially referencing her socialist beliefs. Maria and her wife Deanna are friends of mine so I asked them to answer a few questions. I did not know much about thirst traps, so I appreciate the education. And I’m voting for Maria!

Be sure to check out our 2020 Q&A with the City Paper Editor-in-Chief Lisa Cunningham about this annual feature.

Your Name: Maria Montaño

Your Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

How do you describe your identity? I am a proud trans, queer, latina woman.

Maria, you are nominated in the Pgh City Paper ‘best thirst trap’ category of the Best of Pittsburgh awards. Let’s start with the basics – what is a thirst trap? a person? a photo? like a bear trap? Who is thirsty? 

A thirst trap, for me anyways, is a photo, video, statement meant to entice, attract, or draw in someone. If someone is “thirsty” it just means they have found something about you to be stimulating – and they want more.

What was your reaction to being nominated? 

My initial reaction was to laugh – but honestly it is very flattering.

How would you describe your thirst trap aesthetique? 

I think my thirst trap aesthetique is very much a reflection of my own personality. From a visual perspective I’d say it’s very classic, vintage inspired – but not full pin-up. More of a modern day Morticia Addams vibe.

You wrote on Twitter “But my competition doesn’t think I deserve to win.” Is that factually true or part of your campaign? 

I was having a playful take and a bit of a jab at the lazy way a lot of politicians try to grow their twitter followers. So no, I don’t really believe that my competitors don’t think I deserve to win.

Is there a feminist element to thirst traps?

Absolutely. For most of my adult life, I never really felt like I was sexy, or even desirable. But recently I’ve been learning to own my own sexuality, attractiveness, and desirability – and learning to love myself the way I love and celebrate the people around me.

There is a power in owning and celebrating my own femininity, and my own womanhood. I recently read an essay from feminist writer/author Mona Eltahawy on Delibirate Beauty and that really helped shaped my perspective about how I view my beauty and my relationship with the ritual of preparing to create a thirst trap, or to tap into my own power as a woman.

“Every morning as I lovingly paint around my eyes, I am protecting myself with daily joy and building strength for what is to come. My ritual of Deliberate Beauty is an investment in the strength of my heart. It connects me to a heritage extending millenia before me and which demands, as it looks ahead, urgently, ‘Find beauty! Joy is coming!’” (https://www.feministgiant.com/p/deliberate-beauty

Thirst traps are described as being about teasing, restraint, and inaccessible fulfillment. How does that relate to your socialist politics?

For so long, trans women and our bodies have been sold as objects under capitalism. This has led to our marginalization – and the belief that we are nothing but sexual deviants is directly related to the way we are demonized by so many. Capitalism has deprived us of our humanity, and our own sexual fulfillment. By owning my own self, my full self – including my sexuality, sensuality, femininity, I am taking back my power from the way capitalism abuses women like me.

Your Name: Deanna Garcia

Your Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Deanna, when did you realize you married a thirst trap? How did that transform your world? Did she tap into your thirst? 

Well, we met in the bathroom of a skeezy gay bar in Colorado. Long story, but Maria was caring for a very inebriated friend. Back in the bar, I approached her and struck up a conversation. The term “thirst trap” didn’t exist way back then (2007) but I was immediately drawn to and captivated by her and thought she was WAY too cool to have time for me. Being a part of her journey, especially when she began to find and embrace her style, has been wonderful, and has also helped me embrace my own self. In that way, yes, her thirst trapness has transformed my world.


it allows me a new venue to educate and talk to folks about issues that impact the trans community, and politics at large. Come for the thirst traps, but stay for the witty political and social commentary.


Deanna, does the wife of a thirstrap have privileges? 

I will have to look into that lol. It would be nice if it somehow translated into someone cleaning our house, cooking our meals and doing our laundry. Kidding.

Deanna, does the wife of a socialist have privileges? 

I’d say education. I have learned and continue to learn so much from her and her work and activism.

Maria, what would you do to win this contest? 

I’ve been doing a lot of outreach and asking friends of mine – obviously posting a lot about it on twitter. If I make the final round I have a plan in place to really push it out there in a fun creative way.

Maria, what is your preferred platform for posting?

Twitter is my preferred platform for posting my thirsty content – but also instagram. Folks can find me at either one with the handle: @TheMariaMontano

Is thirst trap a universal social media phenom or does it have more traction on certain platforms?

I think it is fairly common across social media for sure. Each platform has their unique way of how they work. One of the great things about it, at least for me, is seeing how people respond or react to something that you have created for their enjoyment. Some of my TikTok transformation videos have been both silly, and thirsty – and its always a fun way to try and show a bit of your humor/personality to it.

If you win, how will that change your life? 

Well It will make one heck of a twitter bio! But also I think it would be really refreshing to have someone like me win. Plus it allows me a new venue to educate and talk to folks about issues that impact the trans community, and politics at large. Come for the thirst traps, but stay for the witty political and social commentary.

I still don’t quite understand thirst traps. How can I learn more? 

A thirst trap has become part of modern vernacular, but the concept of being tantalizing, or sexy has been around for forever. Much like burlesque performances creating thirst traps is about me connecting with my own power and tapping into it. Yes – it is for others to enjoy – but it is on my terms, and how I get to portray it.

I think to learn more – follow other creators who do them – and learn from them.

Why should we vote for you? 

Folks should vote for me because they enjoy my style, my humor, my witty internet banter. Or because I’m sexy and deserve to win just on that alone.

Where can we vote for you?

You can vote me here: https://citypaper.secondstreetapp.com/Best-of-Pittsburgh-Readers-Poll-2021/gallery/?group=388190

Thank you, Maria and Deanna.


Hey. I’d also appreciate your votes especially during this crucial nomination phase. You can vote 1x daily through July 9 to promote your favorite nominees. A few weeks later, the top nominee vote getters will be part of the finalist round.
I’ve already one Best Blog twice, including the first year it was established. But I’m nominated again and cannot pull out (“the people want what the people want” is what the CP editor says”)
Me or my projects are nominated for
– Best Writer
– Best Twitter Account
– Best Facebook Page (Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents)
– Best Changemaker
– Best Pandemic Relief Effort (Pittsburgh MasQue ProjecT)
I’d appreciate your votes and especially if you can vote daily through July 9.
Thank you!

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