The S.B. Questionnaire: Darla Bea

Spinning the Party Hits with Santa Barbara’s Mixmaster Extraordinaire

DJ Darla Bea at the Goodland Hotel. (Oct. 19, 2015)
Paul Wellman

Darla Bea’s favorite quotation is from Mad Men’s Don Draper, who advises, “Success comes from standing out, not fitting in.” She certainly walks that talk.

Over the past few years, Darla has become one of the most popular and ubiquitous party DJs in Santa Barbara, always standing out thanks to an assortment of stylish wigs and neon-pink headphones. She even managed to stand out amidst a flock of creativity during the latest Summer Solstice parade, when thousands of people watched Ms. Bea deejay up State Street atop a float with 50 Barbarella dancers around her.

Born and raised in Santa Barbara, Darla’s long love of music goes back to age six, when she started her a record collection with Yo-Yo Ma on vinyl, but hearing Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” for the first time changed her interests from classical to classic rock. Today, her set lists are wildly successful with a wide variety of musical tastes, and her sense of humor is always on-point. This self-described “night owl” also works as a public relations specialist for Web Marketing Therapy by day.

You can get a taste of her vibe on November 21 and 28 when she spins at the Goodland Hotel in Goleta from 1 to 5 p.m. In the meantime, the Queen of Santa Barbara’s party life answers this Proust Questionnaire.

What is your most marked characteristic?

Tenacity. I have a tremendous amount of drive and focus once I come up with an idea that I want to see through and make a reality. Seeing the final results and successes are most rewarding.

What do you like most about your job?

I like making people happy! I am really into themes, so each wedding reception, corporate event, or party becomes a full-fledged production with songs to fit the vibe and music to create memories. I liken my DJ job to being the Wizard of Oz behind the scenes, making the magic happen, helping to create the atmosphere, and watching the fun! I love it.

In my day job of public relations and online marketing, I promote a professional, business, or public figure’s brand. I get to orchestrate how much media visibility they receive. I build them up on their achievements by getting them PR and make sure their website theme matches their personal branding. Again, I work behind the scenes, however, it is nice knowing that when the public choses our client based on a great press release or social media post I was there to guide and support them toward their vision.

Getting to help fulfill someone’s dream is both exciting and extremely satisfying!

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Being content. Living in the moment. Taking it all in. To quote a greeting card I bought at Trader Joe’s: “Remember happiness is a way of travel not a destination.” (Roy Goodman)

What is your greatest fear?

Natural disasters.

Who do you most admire?

I have several strong female figures in my life that have shaped the way I work and play. My mother, Kathleen, was an entrepreneur who worked for herself most of my life. As a child, I sometimes visited with her while she hung wallpaper at famous estates in Montecito or ordinary tract homes in Goleta. Every day was at a different location, just like DJ’ing where the venue always changes. She was a role model of how to work independently and make it in this town in a niche field primarily dominated by men.

Teresa Kuskey Nowak, director of the La Boheme Professional Dance Group, has made me feel a part of a team — a reminder of my Santa Barbara High School years on the cheer squad. Teresa brings together camaraderie, great fun, and she encourages my creativity not only musically, but in my choice of themed costumes.

Lorrie Thomas Ross, the CEO of, has given me the space and confidence to hone my unique skills and trained me as her employee on how to focus, simplify, get stuff done, and celebrate my successes. Lorrie approaches business with professionalism, is a feminist, an accomplished public speaker, and brilliant teacher, and is modest, thoughtful, and a mentor who continues to inspire me.

My mom’s eight siblings are my main musical influence; the family name Muzikar is the word for music in Czech. My aunts and uncles are music trivia buffs with books like the Rock ‘n’ Roll Encyclopedia and ‘Scuse Me While I Kiss This Guy: And Other Misheard Lyrics brought to our annual campouts. As a teen, I looked forward to getting mixed CDs in the mail from my Uncle Mike, who always knew a hit song before it became one. My father, Dave, sang in a Doors tribute band locally and I designed his posters and promoted his gigs long before Facebook was invented. He went to radio broadcasting school in the Seventies and always loved rock ‘n’ roll, which influenced me to host a radio show.

What is your greatest extravagance?

Wigs and shoes.

What is your current state of mind?

Excited. No week is ever the same. I meet many different people in both my jobs from wonderful couples whose weddings I’ve DJ’d for to interesting marketing clients from Brazil to Manhattan.

What is the quality you most like in people?

Kindness. I hate mean people.

What is the quality you most dislike in people?

See above answer.

What do you most value in friends?

Acceptance; being nonjudgmental about what I do or say. I like to be around people who are just as kooky and creative and silly as I am so that we can dork out and have fun!

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

I don’t tend repeat words or phrases. I do have inside jokes with certain friends or family. To the public and in professional settings I don’t pull out my Saturday Night Live one-liners or “KnoWhutImean, Vern?” pop-culture phrases.

Which talent would you most like to have?

To be able to sing on key!

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I’ve been a “night owl” since I was a toddler and it suits my DJ job but truly I think my boss and grandma would be happier if I was a “morning person!”

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

I haven’t gotten there yet! I aim high in my goals. But if I had to name a few: winning Finalist for Best Event DJ in the Independent’s Best of Santa Barbara poll this year, DJ’ing up State Street in the Summer Solstice Parade in a spaceship float with fifty “Barbarella” dancers in front on me, and appearing with National Yoga Instructor and Bollywood Dance Star Hemalayaa on the KTLA Morning Show.

Where would you most like to live?

I am living there now. I love my hometown!

What is your most treasured possession?

My wire haired terrier/chihuahua mix named Freddie Mercury.

What makes you laugh the most?

Stand up comedy. My good friend Madelyn who can impersonate everyone from Robert DeNiro to my own father. Viral videos of dancing babies. Reruns of SNL.

What is your motto?

Rock It Properly. It’s also the name of my KCSB-FM 91.9 weekly radio show on Sundays 8-10 p.m., but is also a saying I use frequently because in anything that you do, you should “rock” it properly.

Which historical figure do you most identify with?


On what occasion do you lie?

I’m not a good liar at all. I blush too easily.


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