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

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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?  

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Top Manfredonia NY
Jacket Nicholas K

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

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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! 

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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. 

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

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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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.  

East Coast Bound

I'm about to head out of town for two weeks. When I get back home I'm going to lock myself in my room for 4 days. (If you read my post yesterday, this will make more sense)

But I'm still excited to see all of you and meet you guys so please come say hi! Sometimes I have nightmares that I'll go to a school for an event or a talk and no one will show up. This hasn't happened yet but it's still a fear.

I've also been reading that people have seen me at some of the places I filmed ARDEN EATS and didn't say hi because they were scared, please don't be scared to say hi! I feel more awkward when you just stare and don't say hello. Maybe just time it right so my mouth isn't full of food right when you say hi. 

Looks like there will also be a lot of opportunities to meet in the next month so watch the video below to get the updates!

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog and for all the encouragement. I don't know why but I've been receiving it a lot more than usual. It's been really helpful during this season of my life. I really appreciate all of you. 

It's also nice to see that we're all so similar! All around the world, with different life experiences yet our hearts feel and hurt the same. 

I wonder how different things would be if everyone in the world could see into each other's hearts. If we stopped looking at each other as different races or countries or religions but just as people. If we saw each other as the same, maybe we could live together in peace.

INFP Struggles are real

I feel so overwhelmed these days. 

If you've been following my work for a while you know that I took a 4 year break from uploading videos on youtube and I recently made a come back of some sort. I've been uploading on Tuesdays, Fridays and now also Sundays. Initially it was really exciting to do something consistent and continuously share the things I love. But throughout this process I've learned I'm not good at planning. However, posting regularly definitely takes quite a bit of planning. 

I realize that when I used to upload videos, it was never a set schedule. It was honestly - whenever I felt like it. Sometimes I didn't upload for months and sometimes I uploaded 3 days back to back. 

I'm such a feeler. I'm an INFP "The Mediator" (introversion, intuition, feeling, perception) - basically known as “Children of the Myers Briggs World”. We're total idealists and dreamers, always trying to see the best in everyone and everything. Out of the 16 personality types, INFP's are referred to as the Healers. They're driven by a strong sense of right and wrong and a desire to exercise their creativity. 

I think this is why I like blogging. It helps me say what I actually want to say. It's not quite as eloquent or organized as I would like it to be, but it's a way to tidy my scattered thoughts.  

There are so many things I struggle with because of my INFP personality. I'll share some with you here. I'm sure only my fellow INFP readers will fully understand, there aren't many of us so I know it's frustrating but you're not alone!

People always mistake me for an extravert because I love to entertain and make sure everyone is happy and enjoying themselves. This happens often in a setting with a lot of people. Crowds make me incredibly uncomfortable so I'll usually be extra goofy to cover up how awkward I'm feeling inside. 

This can be exhausting, I'll literally go home and crawl up in a ball in my bed or cry after being around a lot of people for an extended period of time. 

It's weird because it's not that INFP's don't like people. Generally we care too much about other people and it's so intense that the company of others can become overwhelming. Confusing, I know.

My heart literally hurts because I care so much. I feel like life would be so much easier if I just didn't care. But I don't know how to switch that feeling off. 

I'm terrified of meeting new people and shy but I'm more terrified of being rude and not talking, so I'll force myself to be conversational - this is usually painfully awkward. 

INFP's are incredibly shy and incredibly sensitive. We also read into thing WAY too much. 

We'll often misinterpret text messages and think people are mad at us because of punctuation or lack of emojis. 

We'll always be the one who apologizes and we'll feel bad, even when it's not our fault. 

INFP's get caught up in their work very easily. On days I'm writing or working on something creative, I'll start in the morning and before I know it, it'll be sundown. I basically can't stop until I finish and I'll forget to eat. Which is the WORST. Because I love eating. I once started editing a video and didn't stop for 13 hours. I really had to pee. 

Sometimes I blurt things in conversations that barely have anything to do with what we're talking about but it's because it reminded me of one thing that lead to another thing that related to what we were talking about. Also because if I don't say it in that exact moment, I'll forget. This is borderline worse because of my INFP personality & my forgetfulness combined. 

INFP's are heartbroken constantly when they have great ideas. We love sharing them and we get so excited about our dreams. But it usually never goes as planned. I know for me it usually leads to someone poking holes in every logical flaw and crushing my dreams. Like even starting this new blog, all my friends said I was crazy to think I'd be able to blog everyday! 

Despite all this we still perceive the best in everyone and everything, this leads to lots of betrayal and being used all the time. But we never stop believing or having hope that people are good

INFP's are also great listeners. I've definitely had a bunch of friends that I'm pretty sure only kept me around for free counseling sessions. Which I don't really mind because although I'm not a licensed therapist, I have my BA in Psychology and it's nice to feel like I'm making use of that degree someway or another. 

INFP's are good at turning a superficial conversation with a stranger into a deep metaphor that reflects the greater meaning of life. This can also be awkward when the other person really didn't want to have a conversation. I know because it's happened to me at college campuses after my talks. Sometimes I feel like I should just shut up

Laughing randomly in public because I remembered something funny. Super awkward when it happens during a meeting or a serious setting. 

But then not laughing at something everyone else is laughing at. I'm also the one laughing during a movie in moments no one else is laughing and not laughing when everyone else is laughing... thanks friends for still watching movies with me. 

Anytime you're in a public setting you have at least a few face palm moments and you wish there was an "undo button" or a "rewind button" because you said or did something stupid or awkward. 

I know it's hard to open up and be vulnerable with people but learning these things about your personality can help you over compensate or even change the things you don't like. I've learned to be vulnerable with a few friends, it took me many years but none of my friends are INFP and they still totally see all this, get it and accept me for who I am. So there's hope! You just have to try. 

Feeling like a complete weirdo, being overly sensitive, shy and free spirited might suck at times but be happy because we're only 4% of the population, that makes us pretty special. 

Also this might be TMI but I've been working on this post all day and I think I've finally finished and now I've realized I really have to pee and eat. The struggle is real. 

Fun fact, INFPs you may recognize: Audrey Hepburn, John Lennon, Johnny Depp, William Shakespeare, Princess Diana, Julia Roberts, Alicia Keys, Lisa Kudrow and Tom Hiddleston 

Resurrection Sunday

I know Easter has become a very commercialized holiday, but for me today is the day we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus and the reason we are able to live. Thank you Jesus for this life and for setting us free. Though I fall short and I am sinful, I am able to live because Jesus died for my sins. If you're not a believer I hope you search for truth because even though you don't know him, he still died so that you could live. He doesn't ask anything of you except for you to know and love him. No matter where you are in your life, know that God loves and cherishes you.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him." John 3: 16-17

One of my most favorite things about church is worship. It's when I can be intimate and connect with God on a personal level. People have asked me why I sing Christian songs, but why do we sing at all? We sing love songs to share our feelings, fun songs to dance, etc and essentially Christian music is the same. They're love songs to God. I've realized many people don't know what it means to worship. Especially if you're not familiar with church, singing praise, or worshiping through music can seem overwhelming. But it doesn't have to be. 

Worship is basically the act of showing love and respect for God whether it be through song or prayer. For me, it's just how I feel closer to God. Here are some songs that I want to share with you today as we remember Jesus. If you're not Christian, that's okay, I hope you can still enjoy the music. God Bless you. 

What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus
What can make me whole again? Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
Oh precious is the flow
That makes me white as snow
No other fount I know,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

At the foot of the cross
Where grace and suffering meet
You have shown me Your love
Through the judgment You received

And You've won my heart
Yes You've won my heart
Now I can

Trade these ashes in for beauty
And wear forgiveness like a crown
Coming to kiss the feet of mercy
I lay every burden down
At the foot of the cross

Coachella Tips & Advice

Looks like everyone is headed to Coachella! I've been so busy with travels and work I didn't even realize it was that time of year again! 

Here's what I learned during my 3 day Coachella trip last year. 

There's a huge variety of music, so definitely check out the schedule ahead of time and figure out which shows are a must for you because a lot of the performances overlap. Also, get a good idea of which stage the shows are at. We made the mistake of planning a few shows back to back with stages miles apart! If you've never been to Coachella this might be hard to imagine but all stages are live simultaneously. This means they have to be far enough that the music doesn't leak from one stage to the other. So you'll be walking A LOT! I believe one of the days we calculated walking over 12 miles! 

Going with a big group is great but keep in mind it's almost impossible to stay together. So if you don't plan on wandering off alone, make sure at least one friend in your group has the same taste of music. Kat and I had a lot of friends at Coachella but we got split up and couldn't reconnect because there was little to no reception.

I've heard of groups taking walkie talkies - not a bad idea!  

Stay hydrated, wear comfortable shoes and sunblock, lots of sunblocks! But make sure it's non-aerosol sunblock as aerosol products and cans are not allowed inside the venue. It's also very dusty so eye drops is great to have along with sunnies to protect your eyes. If you have long hair, I definitely recommend wearing it up or in braids. The one day I had my hair down was a disaster! I had so much wind, dirt and sunblock in it that I could barely brush through it by the end of the night. 

I'd also recommend carrying a small - medium sized backpack, large ones aren't allowed. If you bring a bottle of water make sure it's an empty bottle, or you can purchase one inside. I'd also recommend carrying chapstick, sunblock, wipes, bandaids (for blisters because you'll probably have a few), and a small blanket or coverup as it can get a little chilly at night. 

A portable phone charger is also great to have because your phone will drain really fast from the lack of reception and all the videos/photos you'll be taking! A dead phone will be a really big headache at the end of the night if you plan on calling an uber/lyft to get back to your hotel! This happened to a few of my friends. If you don't have a portable charger keep your phone on airplane mode to save battery life! 

Remember they don't allow professional cameras so if you want, bring something small like a digital camera or a GoPro.  

Last tip, bring a hat and don't wear too much make up, honestly you'll just sweat it all off the first hour and it'll clog up all your pores. I definitely had eye make up on but had much less on my skin and face. An oil free tinted spf moisturizer instead of foundation isn't a bad idea also.

I know Coachella is a huge fashion scene but I feel like that's mainly on social media. When we were there, everyone was doing their own thing and enjoying the music. So don't stress out too much about what you're going to wear and go have fun!