It's been a while since I've had a photo shoot. I went back to back from shooting Miss 2059 to the movie Honored so I haven't had a lot of time for photos. But it's always fun to play and shoot. This is an incredibly close up shot of my face. I feel super vulnerable but I kind of like it because it's different. 

IMG_9099.JPG

This was my first time working with Timothy, love how he shoots! It was super quick and fun. We've been meaning to shoot for a while now. We actually tried shooting in Chicago last year but our schedules didn't work out, so it was great to finally get to work together.

IMG_9100.JPG

I'm loving this natural clean look by Chloe. I've never seen my face so clean! I feel a little naked without all my moles and beauty marks but I get that it works for the final images.   

IMG_9101.JPG

It was all very last minute and spontaneous so we had a pretty small team, my friend Caroline helped me style and pick out the looks. She found this oversized sweater and I'm in love with the lace up back. I also love that this look has a boyish feel but the lace skirt makes it girly. I'll always love my sweats but lately, I've been into dresses. 

IMG_9102.JPG

This is probably my favorite shot out of the bunch. I rarely like photos where I'm looking directly into camera. That always makes me feel uncomfortable, so you'll catch me looking down or away for most of my instagram photos. Maybe because as an actor you're never supposed to look into the lens. I'm definitely more of an actor than a model so looking into the lens always makes me feel like I'm breaking the rules. But here I feel like I actually connected, and not in an awkward way. 

IMG_9104.JPG

Someone once asked me why we never smile during shoots, honestly... I have no idea and I'm always smiling a bunch but those images never make the cut. I'm not sure why? 

 

IMG_9105.JPG

Maybe it's because when we're smiling the attention goes to our face but a lot of these fashion style shoots are to showcase the wardrobe and not the model? I guess I should smile more since we're not really "modeling" the clothing. We're just shooting. *shrug*

IMG_9127.JPG

Sweater & Lace Skirt: Zara
Boots: Louis Vuitton

Anyways, I'll share more for this shoot later. In the meantime, check out the video below to see what kind of silly things we do on set. We played a game of would you rather and some this or that questions!

Photographer: Timothy Fernandez
Make up & Hair: Chloe Schlossmann
Video: Eunice Lee

IMG_8189.JPG
IMG_8190.JPG

I found these candid phone shots my friend Caroline took of me on set. I love that I'm just awkwardly smiling in all of them, of course I included my mean mugging shot on the bottom right because I was looking in the mirror, probably practicing. Pretty different from the final images huh? Photo magic! 

IMG_8177.JPG
IMG_8185.JPG

I would be happy if...

"You look so much happier these days."  

I've been hearing this a lot lately. I guess I didn't really notice but I am

This year has been filled with so many changes, distancing myself from toxic people, taking better care of my health and body, and feeding my soul. I started making adjustments in my perspective, attitude and expectations as well. I can't pin point the moment it started changing and I definitely can't say what it was exactly because there wasn't an aha moment. But they were all necessary changes and everything had a purpose.

I'm not a naturally happy person, as surprising as that may be. I know I might come off as a happy individual. But that's not my default. It's easier to be sad, at least for me. 

It's easier to feel sorry for yourself and to mope and do nothing. I've done plenty of that in my life. Years and years of it, so I'm guilty. But that's ok! It was definitely a season in my life, many seasons.

A lot of people say I would be happy... if I had a better job, if I had a significant other, if I made more money, if I had kids, etc...

For a long time I thought if I could retire my parents, if I had a husband, if I had kids and if I had a stable career with no financial struggles that I would be happy.  

Someone asked me earlier this year, if I had all those things right now, in this exact moment, would I be happy? Initially I said "of course". But as I thought about it, I realized the truth is, no. All those "ifs" wouldn't make me happy. Sure, I might be more comfortable but it wouldn't bring me happiness. Why? 

For myself, I've come to realize that a lot of those things are ideas of what I thought I needed to have a good life. I needed to be a good daughter, a great wife, an amazing mother because that is what I always defined as success

But those are just circumstantial things and they would not have made me happy. Yes, I would have hit the check list. Felt accomplished. Financial burdens and stresses would have been lifted. But the unhappiness would have been momentarily masked and I would have found myself unhappy again. It would have been a temporary bandaid on a much deeper wound. 

I'm currently unemployed as my film wrapped a couple weeks ago and I'm not shooting anymore shows. I'm on a constant hunt to find a new job and my days are filled with constant rejection. Having no job, no financial stability, no spouse, no kids I should probably be very unhappy - and for many many years I was. But I'm not seeking circumstantial happiness anymore. Because you can lose your job at any moment, you can lose your home, your loved ones, your health. Tragedies happen in life every second and I don't want to let circumstances define who I am. 

I don't want to wake up one day having checked everything off the checklist with no memories of how I got there. I'm going to enjoy this time and be happy with who I am regardless of what I have. It's just one chapter of a very long book. Don't be so quick to turn the pages. Enjoy the journey, or at least try to and who knows, you might find happiness before you reach your destination. 

 

Age Shaming

When I was in grade school I felt small because I was shorter than all the other girls in my class. When I was in high school I felt ugly because I hadn't developed into my body and I looked like a skinny little boy. In college I felt fat because my body was changing. The last few years I felt old because I started to see wrinkles.  

 

I was never ever happy with who I was. I never felt beautiful. I always wanted to be someone else.  

 

I think one of my biggest regrets is not loving myself properly as I was growing up. I never would have said the things I said to myself to any other girl, woman or person. Why are we so harsh on ourselves? Y ou're ugly, you're fat, you're disgusting, you don't deserve to be loved, no one will ever love you  ... would you have said this to your younger self? To a child? I know I wish I didn't. Unfortunately, through the years I think it became a habit. 

 

Self deprecating comments became a part of who I was and it slowly ate away at my soul, my confidence, my life.  

 

I started blogging earlier this year and then I kind of stopped for a few months. There was a week that I shared about singing the National Anthem, I was really scared and happy. I had accomplished a life long dream. But I saw a comment about my legs being weird (I'm double jointed so they're a bit inverted) and then I saw this comment:

FullSizeRender.jpg

Usually when I see negative comments it's things like: you suck, go kill yourself, stop posting, you're ugly, you'll never make it, you're done.  

 

I feel like they come from a place of such anger that I just try to brush it off. But this was different. It was true, yes, my age is starting to show. Sure, I could get defensive and say - "Hey I was so nervous I hadn't slept in 3 days or eaten anything for 24 hours, yea I was in bad shape". Or I could also say, "these aren't photoshopped and the images of women you're used to seeing are photoshopped to look younger". But the reality of it is, I AM getting older. I AM starting to show age. This is natural and normal. But why was I so ashamed? Why was I so sad? Why did I want to stop posting, stop writing, stop sharing? 

 

Society has made Age Shaming such a normal thing. We rarely see a women in her true beauty because everything is so polished and "touched up". It's as if the media fears older women. But this needs to stop. Why do we shame others and ourselves for things we cannot control? In my late 20's was the first time in my life I could look in the mirror without cringing or saying something terrible to myself. I was finally maturing. Learning to love myself and my body the way God created me. Took me a while to get there, shouldn't we be celebrating maturity? 

 

I dont know what what kind of wrinkle cream or eye cream to use. I don't know how to stay looking young. I guess I'm just starting to learn those things but I don't want to obsess over it. I love seeing a woman who has gracefully aged with wrinkles, silver grey hair and the beauty of time on her face. It's natural and beautiful. 

 

My my mom used to tell me I wouldn't blossom into a beautiful woman until my mid 30's as she said that was her prime age,  when she was the prettiest. Unfortunately society loves to age shame so much that I haven't even reached that point in my life and I'm already starting to feel old and ugly. But now that I catch myself doing that, I'm going to stop. The only thing I want to fear as I'm getting older is potentially becoming stuck in my ways, stubborn, bitter and not discovering or learning new things. 

 

My physicality will will always be changing but it doesn't define who I am or change my worth. I want to continue learning, laughing and living with a healthy mindset. Shouldn't growing up be fun and beautiful? 

Disappointment & Friendship

Last week I shared about the disappointment I felt in my life. Since then my inbox, comment section and phone has been filled with so much love and encouragement. There is no doubt that I have love, friendship, family and support in my life, but it also got me thinking... What led me here? 

I noticed so many of you related to my experience and were going through a very similar season. Thank you for sharing your stories as well, it was nice to read other perspectives and learn about your experiences. As I spent the last week reflecting, I realized a few things.

This year has been the start of my journey in taking care of myself. I've been working since I was young, paid my way through University and was always taking care of everyone else. It was hard but I didn't mind it. I felt like I had a mission and a purpose. I'm glad I had to work hard and fight to survive, of course there were many days I wished I had a rich family or I wished someone could take care of me but having to work and take care of myself made me strong and resilient. Unfortunately, it also caused me to burn out. I was constantly trying to make everyone else happy. Wanting to serve others, to earn love and make my parents proud. I was too prideful to ask for help when I needed it and I thought I could just tough it out. 

So when I needed care it wasn't really there. And the people I expected it from didn't notice or disappeared. Which led me to feel disappointed. But why did I expect anything in the first place?

I guess it comes down to how I define friendship. Some people define friendship as a companion, someone who is just around. But I've come to realize that I have a very different definition of what being a friend means.

I guess this is where I might have been in the wrong. I have always thought a friend as more than a companion. Someone to love and care for, share experiences both good and bad. Friends should respect one another, be honest, encourage and cheer each other on in this crazy journey of life. 

But during the most difficult points in my life, I learned I had a handful of friends who were only takers. When I was at my lowest points with little or nothing to give, they were gone. Whenever I was back on my feet they were back to take. 

As I started seeing the pattern through the ups and downs of my life during the last few years the true colors of some of these friends were revealed, it broke my heart. Some friendships that lasted almost a decade. Gone. Friends I had loved on and cared for years and years. Gone. I felt betrayed, used and beyond disappointed. 

But maybe these friends were never meant to give me anything other than companionship during my good seasons. Through some of those friendships I learned to love, care and most importantly, I learned to forgive. They say we should love without expecting anything in return and I failed. I expected the same amount of love and care. I expected them to return what I had given.

So now I'm trying not to be disappointed and I'm trying to move on. I don't want to be angry or hurt anymore. We have different friends for different reasons and we can't expect all our friends to have the same exact values and character. This year I've been blessed with friends I didn't expect to love on me so much, step up and show me love I could not imagine. I may even disappoint those friends one day by not loving them in return as much as they have loved me. 

I guess this is the first time in a long time that I'm at peace with these distanced friendships. 

Almost feels like a breakup. I feel like I went through the 5 stages of grief... denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. It's hard when you break up with friends but like I said, different friends for different seasons. This separation has also allowed room for new friends.  

I've also been reminded that you can't earn love and you shouldn't try to earn love. Just love with no expectation and unconditionally because you are loved. 

"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast." Ephesians 2:8-9

Humbled.

I shared something I wasn't planning on sharing. I hate showing weakness. I hate asking for help. I'm prideful and I'm stubborn. But sometimes it's in our weakest moments we learn the most. 

I didn't expect many of you to actually watch it, I figured most would click away because it was boring. I figured I would receive more criticism than love. I figured I would regret sharing it as well. 

But I am humbled. 

My assumptions were wrong. I was showered with love, encouragement, prayers and wisdom. I was reminded of so much goodness. I couldn't even keep up with the comments and messages. I wish I had the capacity to reply back to each and every single one of you. I really can't say thank you enough, especially for the prayers and the bible verses. 

I trust that God is leading my life in the way it's supposed to go. I'm so thankful I have such a big family and a community of love, one I could have never imagined. 

"The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever." Psalm 23

This is the video I shared yesterday.

August 30 2017

 

 

 

 

Dreaming Vintage

The weekends seem to be shorter and shorter. It's already Monday and I feel like time is slipping through my fingers. Can you believe we're already half way through the year?  

These days I feel like I'm definitely doing a lot of waiting. Waiting for good news or the right phone call. The business of acting is really the waiting game, before you book the job and even when you book the job. There's a fairly common phrase that I find to be very true in this line of work -- We're paid to wait, we throw the acting in for free. Luckily, this year has been pretty consistent with work, just not the show I want to "live on" or the film that really excites me. So the waiting continues.

These days I feel like I'm definitely doing a lot of waiting. Waiting for good news or the right phone call. The business of acting is really the waiting game, before you book the job and even when you book the job. There's a fairly common phrase that I find to be very true in this line of work -- We're paid to wait, we throw the acting in for free. Luckily, this year has been pretty consistent with work, just not the show I want to "live on" or the film that really excites me. So the waiting continues.

Despite my somber face, I was having a lot of fun at this shoot. I love vintage trinkets and vintage clothes, I feel like they're not just things, vintage pieces have a story. 

Despite my somber face, I was having a lot of fun at this shoot. I love vintage trinkets and vintage clothes, I feel like they're not just things, vintage pieces have a story. 

I wonder what pieces from 2017 will end up being vintage to those in the future? Who knew "mom jeans" from the 90's would make such a strong comeback. I personally love them. I was never a fan of the ultra low waisted jeans. 

I wonder what pieces from 2017 will end up being vintage to those in the future? Who knew "mom jeans" from the 90's would make such a strong comeback. I personally love them. I was never a fan of the ultra low waisted jeans. 

Here I am dreaming, as usual, about food. The other day I was going to lunch - very excited - and as my friend and I were walking in I was already planning out what we should eat for dinner. He pointed out how weird that was of me, I guess I've always thought that was normal. You guys don't do that? I'm pretty sure the most exciting thing for me every morning is - what am I going to eat today?!

Here I am dreaming, as usual, about food. The other day I was going to lunch - very excited - and as my friend and I were walking in I was already planning out what we should eat for dinner. He pointed out how weird that was of me, I guess I've always thought that was normal. You guys don't do that? I'm pretty sure the most exciting thing for me every morning is - what am I going to eat today?!

I'll be sharing more photos from this shoot but incase you missed it, here's the behind the scenes shot by my lovely friend Eunice Lee.

Photographer: Kaitlyn Mikayla
Stylists: Ryan & Mandi of Hill People
Hair: Goldy Ilowitz
Makeup: Michelle Singh

Fear

Not a lot of people know this but I have a pretty big fear of singing in public. The thought of it makes me dizzy and nauseous. My heart races and I start shaking even when I'm just thinking about it. 

When I was in college, some friends threw me up on stage for a karaoke contest. I completely froze, no sound came out of my mouth and I was humiliated. After that experience, I swore I would never try to sing in public again.

This didn't last long, I love singing too much. 

The next year I ended up singing on stage for a pageant. I got on stage, started singing and I was so nervous I completely spaced out. I came back to people clapping. I guess due to muscle memory I made it through the song but to this day I don't remember singing a single word. I got off stage and the first thing I asked was - did I sing the whole song? Apparently I did. 

I'm sure you're thinking this is weird because since then I've had concerts, shows and I sing at church. To clarify, I don't get as nervous singing at church, I think it's because it's not about me and we're all singing together. But I get really nervous for my concerts. I always think it'll get better with more experience but it still freaks me out and I'm panicking for weeks up until each show. The nerves never seem to go away. I love singing so much but I don't do it often because of fear, I wish I wasn't so scared. When people sing along to my songs or I see big smiling faces it calms my nerves but I think the initial fear and anxiety will always be there.

The last few years I've been asked to sing the National Anthem at Basketball and Baseball games but I've always said no because I'm afraid. Afraid I'll freeze up and choke. Afraid I'll get affected by feedback or the environment and be pitchy. Afraid I'll be too nervous and forget the lyrics.  Basically, just afraid I'll suck.  

But this year I'm trying to say yes more and do things that scare me. 

I want to overcome my insecurities & fears. Even if it means trying and failing.  

So I finally said yes. I'm singing the National Anthem for the first time at the Dodgers game tomorrow! I'm also singing the Korean Anthem as well. Two firsts in one night. My stomach is churning even as I'm writing this post and I already feel like I want to puke but I guess I have to start somewhere. I've considered backing out. But I shared it on social media instead, almost feels like it's keeping me accountable. It's too late to back out and no running away. I have to do it! I'm terrified but I really want to accomplish this, especially because I love to sing, I don't want to be afraid forever. Anyways, I'll let you know if I survive... wish me luck. 

May love be greater than fear. 

Late Night Shoot in NYC

IMG_9614.JPG

Did a late night shoot in New York after my Leonard & Church event a couple weeks ago. Here are some of the shots as well as the behind the scenes video!

I'm loving this slicked back hair and cobalt blue shadow. So dramatic! I rarely wear bold colors on my eyes in real life but I really like it for photoshoots. Would you guys rock this blue?  

IMG_9615.JPG
IMG_9620.JPG

Top Manfredonia NY
Jacket Nicholas K

IMG_9618.JPG
IMG_9616.JPG

This Levi’s denim jumpsuit was one of my favorite pieces! I could live in all kinds of jumpsuits. 

IMG_9617.JPG
IMG_9619.JPG

This matching two piece from Nicholas K was also a really cute outfit. I love how it's so light and simple, I just wish it didn't wrinkle so easily! 

IMG_9613.JPG

I really love the lips on this last clean beauty look! This is a fairly easy beauty trend to try, I've been mixing a lot of different lip colors for two toned lips & ombre lips! Do you guys like this trend?
Black top Clavin Klein
Earings H&M

Photographer: Matt Brown 
Stylist: Shay Dixon
Make Up & Hair: Abraham Sprinkle
BTS: Eunice Lee
 

I hit 2 million on instagram today...

I know in real life, instagram and following doesn't matter. If I wasn't an actor and if we didn't have to represent our brand, I probably wouldn't even use instagram or social media. I'm generally more of a private person.  

But these days, being an actor means you have to do it all. You have to "upkeep" your brand and market yourself. I feel this pressure even more because I'm a minority, we are constantly having to prove our worth and value. I've lost movie jobs after being pinned as their first acting choice because I didn't have enough of a social media following. My agent will tell me, well so and so has 10 million followers, this is her first movie but she has clout, *shrug*. You would think the most important factor would be your acting ability but most often it isn't. The things you think wouldn't matter often affect the decision making process - at least in my experience. But I get it, a lot of the people making the decisions are just trying to make smart investments. Simply put if an opportunity comes down to me and another actress who happens to be Caucasian, it will most likely go her way. Because she is more "marketable", most of America is "white", or so they say. 

So I consider every single person who follows me on my socials or subscribes to my YouTube channel to be an important part of the journey. YOU are all part of the team and I wouldn't be where I'm at without you. Thank you. 

IMG_0365.PNG

Still can't believe 2 million people care about little ol' me... 

IMG_0364.JPG

August 2017 will mark my 10th year in tinsel town. Who knew I'd move here and end up sticking around this long? Los Angeles, the city of dreams and many broken souls. This business is quite the grind and despite the challenges, I'm in it for the long haul. 

IMG_0368.PNG

Some of you might say, what's the big deal? It's just instagram. And you're right, I'm surprised I'm even excited. I didn't really care up until this point. Honestly, the reality is, I have friends who have way bigger followings and I'm auditioning with girls who have 20 million + fans. I'm a small fish, essentially a nobody, who doesn't stand a chance. I even wrote a post a month ago about how irrelevant I am, which is still the case. But sometimes it's better not to compare yourself to others and just be thankful for what you have. Bottom line is, I moved to Los Angeles with a dream and no followers. I never would have imagined 10 years later, 2 million people would be following my career. For that, I'm forever thankful and satisfied.

IMG_0366.PNG

I love you guys, thank you, especially the CHOsens who have stuck around. 

Jumping Around

Whenever I try to take a photo of Chewy she looks away but anytime someone is taking a photo of me, she needs to be right in front of me to get in the shot. It's hilarious. Especially when I'm at home self taping an audition or filming a video, she'll walk right into frame. Silly girl. 

Yes dear?

I believe I was like "please move Chewy, mommy is trying to shoot some jumping photos". 

"Oh yea? Look at meeee, I can jump!" - Chewy 

We shot a couple snaps but then I ended up just playing with Chewy. 

Here's one attempt. Looks like I'm getting beat up by some unknown force. 

This is me trying to fly and regretting all the pizza I ate. 

Trying to sit cross legged in the air isn't an easy task. 

Also, these were not photoshopped to make it look like I was jumping higher than I actually was. Key to jumping photos? Ask your photographer, nicely, to get as low as he or she can! All about the angle baby! 

Photo Credit: Robby M

Better to try and fail than to never try at all

I guess it was ambitious to think I'd be able to blog every day. I went strong for almost 2 months. I was devastated I missed a post. But I was so exhausted I just couldn't write anything. I opened my computer and fell asleep before typing anything out. 

But missing one post was dangerous, I missed one and then another and then another. Subconsciously I had been so consistent because I didn't want to "break" the record but once I did, it was like it all spiraled down hill. It's almost like "working out", I'm always really good for a few weeks, then I miss one day and a week will pass with no trips to the gym. Then I'm basically starting all over.

Does this ever happen to you? 

It happens to me quite often but I think that's okay, some might consider it failing but at least I tried. No one's perfect. Better to blog and go to the gym for three weeks and take a break than to never do it at all, right?

I'm currently in Boston, I've been recording music and working on some covers for you guys. I love music so much, it's nice to be back in the studio.  But I really miss home. I miss Chewy, maybe it's this cold rainy weather but I feel extra home sick. 

I've also been quite preoccupied because I'm speaking at Boston University tomorrow. I've rewritten my speech about 17 times. I don't know why but I'm so nervous. I frequently have 1-2 hour talks at Universities but they're generally a very casual format, moderated and a lot of q&a's. But tomorrow's event is formal, an open stage and just me for 20-30 minutes. *panic* I also have to wear a dress and heels. *gasp* Basically everything's out of my comfort zone.   

Anyways, I'll let you know how it goes. I should probably be sleeping or rewriting my speech for the 18th time, it's already 1am. Goodnight. 

Photography by Robby M

Photography by Robby M

Wish me luck and please pray it goes well. Thank you.  

Wandering New York

Literally feel like I laughed my face off last night. Sometimes you just need a random night to wander New York City with your friends to get your mind off work & stress. 

We had a little too much fun on the subway. If you follow my instagram you saw all the stories and boomerangs. And of course, Alex flexing his photography skills again. 

Maia, you're just the absolute cutest. I'm still laughing. Last night was just too silly. 

I'm in New York a few times a year but this is one of the first times I've hung out in the city with friends from out of town. Usually my friends from New York will take me around. This time Alex and Maia basically took the lead! Incase you didn't know, they're from Michigan. We usually only hang out in Los Angeles but coincidentally we all happened to have work in New York this week. 

This was basically the last moment we used our phones. We uploaded our boomerangs and put away the cameras and phones for the rest of the evening. Sometimes you just need to disconnect and be in the moment! 

We're all busy so I'm really happy the timing worked out. We checked out a new restaurant, walked around the city, discovered a cool lounge and even watched a live 90's concert! Total throwback. I've been singing Britney all day. 

Life is all about balance. These two train so hard and are incredibly disciplined with their lifestyle and diet. They're model athletes to the core. But they still have a great sense of humor, don't take themselves too seriously and know how to enjoy life. I'm jealous of their fit bodies, but I'm also glad they're down to have cheat meals with me. They're amazing so make sure to follow both Maia & Alex on their socials and subscribe to their ShibSibs channel to stay updated! Big year for them, Olympics are just around the corner!

Photography by Alex Shibutani

Unicorn Frap Madness

So I'm definitely not big on trends and I'm usually the last to find out about anything. Most often when it's no longer a trend. However, I've been working with Miss Eunice who is so up to date and internet savvy. She actually told me about this Starbucks Unicorn Frap 4 days ago when we were in LA!! She was like OMG we have to try it!!!!!! I was like *shrugs* looks very pink. She predicted the next trend! *gasp*

We finally had a minute after my shoot yesterday so I caved in and gave it a try. She was like a kid in a candy shop. I wish you guys could have seen how truly happy she was. I haven't met a girl who loves sugar and unicorns as much as Eunice. Too cute, I gave her a hard time but here's how it went. Have you participated in the Unicorn Frappuccino Armageddon? 

Yay or nay?  

Gold & Glossy

Here's a sneak peek at a shoot I did with Felix Mack. We did a quick 3 look shoot and this was one of the looks. Glossy gold eyes & glossy lips. I look a little different but I love these! I love trying new looks and transforming for photo shoots. It's like becoming a new person.

IMG_9202.JPG

Someone recently asked me - how do you model? I don't know if I can answer that because I'm not really a model. But when I get my photo taken, I always think about connecting with the photographer. The way dancers connect and are in tune with each others movements. I also try to think of a mood or a feeling and emulate it. Like a chameleon. If the clothes are fun and colorful I generally vibe off that feeling and the energy is high and exciting. If the make up and wardrobe is moody then I'll think mysterious or bad ass. We're all working together to either bring a character to life or to capture the true essence of an individual. 

IMG_9201.JPG

It's fun to be able to tell a story through the photographs. I definitely think the shots Felix took of me tell a story. What do you think? What do you think this girls story is? 

More coming soon! 

Photography by Felix Mack
Make up by Illyne Michel 

 

Relevant Today, Nobody Tomorrow

What a day it's been. It's 10pm in New York and I finally have a minute to sit. We had our Leonard & Church + Blacklist event all day and I ran off to a photo shoot right after. I took a break for lunch at 3pm but it's basically been non stop. I haven't had time for dinner and I still have more work to do so I'll probably post this and then grab a bite before I finish up the day.

Today was quite overwhelming but also exciting. Thank you to all the people who took time out of their busy day to come out and say hi and support my company! I can't believe I got to make a watch for a hit tv show and it was so cool to see everyone so excited about it! We had a great response from the people at Sony, NBC and all the fans. Who would have thought our tiny company would get this much attention?

Small but mighty. 

This is the second event I've had to plan for Leonard & Church and I can honestly say, I've learned a lot. Any type of business is hard and filled with obstacles. We've been working on Leonard & Church for years and haven't made any money we can take out. Smaller businesses especially struggle because we're essentially competing against multi million dollar corporations with almost nothing in the bank.  It sounds like an impossible task. But good things take time and hard work eventually pays off. So we keep on going. 

But it's interesting to see the people who show up.

You see, when you're successful or relevant, everyone's around and then when things slow down it's like crickets. I know this because the last few years when I was on Teenwolf and there was a lot of buzz, everyone was calling to hang out and what not. But the second I left the show. The phone stopped ringing. So funny how quick it changes when people think you're irrelevant.

I know this sounds harsh but it's the truth. 

This industry is rough. You're relevant today and nobody tomorrow. That's just how it is. Up and down. To stay sane, you have to be aware of it and accept that reality. Your value & worth can't be based on your popularity or the number of likes you get. It doesn't matter if 2 people like your photos or a 100. It matters if you like it. If the foundation of your identity is rooted in something so fleeting, like the approval of others, you're never going to be happy. You'll also never be satisfied and eventually crash and burn. Chasing something like that is running a race that has no finish. You can't really measure the level of success or fame, you might be the most famous person to someone and irrelevant to another. You might also be the richest person but also the poorest. 

We started Leonard & Church because we had a vision and a dream to bring the best quality watches at the fairest price to our consumers. What I've learned along the way? People think expensive is better - it's not. People think what bloggers post is better - they're usually paid to post. People think the party with influencers is cool - but they're all usually paid to be there. Very little is authentic anymore. Everyone is so easily influenced by social media. I feel like a lot of people don't even know what they like, they just like what they think they should like or what they're told to like. 

We're a baby company taking baby steps. It's just 3 of us, working nonstop. Doing the best we can do. But we are growing and I'll definitely remember the people who stuck by us and believed in us.

I'll remember the people who showed up when we didn't have any marketing budget or fancy gift bags.

I'll remember the influencers and actors who showed up and supported when we had no budget or rate for their time. 

I'll remember the friends who insisted on buying a watch and supporting. 

I'll remember John Cho, I look up to him greatly as an actor and a human. We're not super tight friends, we don't hang out on a regular basis. But when I mentioned what I was doing with the company and shared a watch with him, he happily shared and supported on social media before I could even ask. Definitely took me by surprise. 

Anyways, I'm always surprised by the ones I think will support and then the ones I never expect to support that actually end up supporting. Has this ever happened to you? You hit rock bottom and the friend you reach out to doesn't give you a hand while a stranger does? This has happened to me many times in life and I think it's an interesting lesson.

I think struggles are good, you learn to ask for help and you see who your true friends are. Sometimes you need to weed out the bad ones, you don't want them around when you really start to bloom.