My mission is to inspire those in all corners of the Earth to be themselves online or offline. By telling my own stories and sharing my experiences I’ve faced with self-acceptance, I invite readers in not only to question, but to take away from my words. I believe that in a world becoming so technologically advanced, it’s important to remind those to embrace the change that is yet to come. Inside and out.
Since I am the face of my own brand, I’ve developed a vision board (or what I call a “mood board”) to encompass all the goals I hope to achieve this year and for years to come. These goals and aspirations not only have to do with the content I wish to produce, but with my own character as well. Unlike broken new year’s resolutions, I believe that I’m at a place in my life now where I’m so unbelievably committed to my content that there is no way possible that I cannot achieve these goals as I’ve always been a firm believer that,
“you shouldn’t be asking yourself if your dreams are crazy. you should be asking yourself if they’re crazy enough.”
I’ve always wanted to create. Since I was eight years old, I would lay awake at night dreaming with my eyes wide open. I knew that I had the capability of inspiring others around me but I didn’t know how to make that dream a reality. Unfortunately, eight-year-old me wasn’t aware that the how-to’s lied right inside of myself. The dream of making it as a Youtube star never left my mind, but as I got older my dream felt farther and farther out of my reach. I cared far too much about what others around me thought of me than what I actually thought of myself.
It wasn’t until I was sixteen that I felt more comfortable putting myself online- doing various photoshoots with my friends at the local beaches. It’s insane to think about now because at the time our parents were driving us to these rendezvous points to take pictures with an iPhone 7 plus. When I put it into terms like that, it makes everything I do today that much more rewarding. It just goes to show that if you really want something bad enough, you’ll stay on your grind to make it happen. At the time, I never gave much thought to what I was doing, but four years later, I realize that even back then, I was trying to build a brand for myself.
At the beginning of my junior year, a lot of my older friends had graduated and moved away to start their lives at new schools in new cities. For the first time, I feel like I really hit rock bottom. Looking at it now, it was completely stupid to get this torn up about my friends leaving, but at sixteen it felt like the absolute end of the world. It’s funny how you have to hit an ultimate low in life before you decided that it’s time to start picking yourself up. I decided to start focussing on myself and that ultimately meant going to the gym everyday. I began sharing and posting my fitness journey with others, and it soon became a hit. Not only was fitness a coping mechanism for myself, but it also paved the way for my creative self to flourish. I started posting about my progress on several different media(s) and gained a lot of traction from all corners of the Earth building a small, but engaged niche audience. Even though, I’ve been back and forth with fitness since then, I was able to gain just the right amount of confidence I needed to get myself out of my rut. Since then, I’ve lived every day trying to inspire others around me to break free from their own selves.
I believe that my professional self is exactly who I am as a person. I’ve been working up to this moment in time for twelve years to actively put myself online, and everything I share is completely and 100% authentically me. I never post work that I don’t believe in, and at the end of the day if I can just put a smile on one persons face then that’s enough for me. Much like ‘Slacks Secret Sauce (Wilkinson, 2017),’ there is no secret sauce to becoming successful online. The great thing about the web is that everyone starts out on an equal playing field-nobody starts an account with followers, or a dedicated fan base. I wish someone would’ve told eight-year-old me that there was no secret, that every tool I needed to succeed lies within.
To think about my first few photoshoots shamelessly posing in front of an iPhone 7 plus, to now also shamelessly posing in front of commercial grade cameras and video cameras working with some of the most talented creators in Vancouver- nothing’s really changed. My dream remained the same, but my grind and work ethic just got harder. Growing my audience hasn’t been the easiest task at times, but I promised myself that no matter what- I would continue to push my own creative content, rather than just creating what’s popular. By staying authentic from the start, I’ve been able to organically grow my brand as well as my number of real followers. I focus on building what Kevin Kelly deems as, “True Fans” rather than just picking up likes and comments (2008).
To this day, I wish I started earlier. I used to constantly remind myself of this in the past, but what I came to realize was that I wasn’t ready to begin. I needed to completely strip myself down as a human before I was able to put myself online. The truth is, who I am offline is exactly the same person as I am online. There is no worlds-apart difference between either persona. I am me, and all I can do is be the best me I can be.
I am so unbelievably lucky to have broken free of my own creative constraints.
Kelly, K. (2008, March 4). The Technium: 1,000 True Fans. Retrieved from https://kk.org/thetechnium/1000-true-fans/
Wilkinson, A. (2019, June 20). Slack’s $25 Billion Dollar Secret Sauce. Retrieved from https://medium.com/@awilkinson/slack-s-2-8-billion-dollar-secret-sauce-5c5ec7117908#.2pzdc0z38
It’s been a whirlwind of a semester! As I spend more time at SFU, they seem to get shorter and shorter. I remember in my very first class here- which happened to be CMNS 110, Daniel Ahadi said that “it would be Christmas in mere minutes,” and he was right.
From start to finish, this blog has been a space for me to express how I feel inside and out as I continue to venture farther and farther into Vancouver’s creative industry. I’ve participated in fourteen shoots, created three major Youtube videos, and walked in a local fashion show. In these past thirteen weeks I haven’t thought much about what I’ve been doing as it’s been a regular routine since July. Although I’ve slowed down rapidly since the weather hasn’t been as permitting, I still feel fully engulfed in the creative industry. With that being said, I was able to open up about some of my personal struggles I’ve faced while trying to break into the industry. This platform gave me an open space to talk about how I feel well beyond a photo. When I first started this blog, I didn’t consider myself a model but now I feel like I’ve definitely earned that title. Even though it was never something I wanted to do, I’m out here every other week standing in front of a camera. I am so incredibly thankful for all the wonderful, creative people I’ve met along the way who have pushed me to create content beyond my wildest dreams. As I’ve gotten older, there definitely have been times where I’ve questioned if being a content creative is where I want to invest the rest of my life. There are times when I’ve asked myself if this dream is just a dream. And there are also times where I’ve pushed all those doubtful feelings aside and just done what I’ve always done best, which is to entertain.
For a solid couple of weeks, I struggled to pump out content. Especially during the peak season of papers and unpredictable weather, my creative gears have been getting quite locked up. As you may have noticed, I added another menu option to my site. As I started building up a digital portfolio, I couldn’t believe my eyes. It was absolutely insane and completely gratifying to see how many different things I’ve been so lucky to be apart of. Not only have I had the pleasure of working with different brands and companies as a model, but I’ve been able to meet and make connections with those on the team who have inspired me to keep creating and do what I love. Sometimes it’s hard to see the impact you’ve made until you finally take a step back to enjoy all you’ve done.
I understand that yes there are times I push too hard, and there are times when I prioritize my creative life before other important parts of my life, but I’m still learning. Since day one, if I wanted something in life- and I wanted it bad enough, I knew that no matter what it was, I would go to the ends of the Earth to go get it. No matter how much I’ve always wanted to create, I’ve had my doubts- mostly because I wonder if it’s a stable career path, if I’m getting too old, and if I’m relevant enough…The only thing standing in front of me and my creative life is and always will be myself. It’s a personal problem, but what can I say? The first step is admitting. I’ve seen an exponential amount of growth within myself and that has been mirrored in the content I’ve made.
I know I’ve always worried about graduating SFU with all but a piece of paper in my hand- but I know for a fact, that if I actually want this life for myself as much as I say I do- when I walk by the AQ pond and stare down at my reflection, I’ll have far more to my name than just that piece of paper. Most people would think that graduating university would be the end of a chapter, but for me, it’ll just be the beginning.
This week I had the pleasure to walk in the Vancouver International Fashion Gala (VIFG) on Saturday night. The theme of the night was Renaissance, which focused on the change in art in culture in Europe between the 14th and 17th centuries.
About a month ago, I applied for the casting call for the fashion show but unfortunately, I got sick the night before and couldn’t make it. I’m not going to lie, although I was sick, I was also extremely nervous to walk in front of a panel of judges since the last time I went to a casting call I didn’t make the cut. Fortunately, I was lucky enough to receive an email a few days later from the head coordinator of the event asking for my measurements and just like that, I was in the show. At this point, I couldn’t turn down the offer and this wasn’t an opportunity I wanted to leave in my inbox.
The event was held at the Vancouver Club, near Coal Harbour. I showed up for call time at 1:00 pm and walked into a room of complete chaos. Since this event is run solely by volunteer work, there were people running around everywhere. But to be quite honest, I thought it was absolutely amazing. The amount of real emotion you saw from people made the entire experience feel like the real deal.
My designer, Helene Hawthorn was unable to attend the show, so me and a group of three other girls got fitted last. Despite that, it was such a surreal experience to have someone personally fit me into my garment. After, I got my makeup professionally done for the first time. I’m so used to doing everything myself that I felt extremely special when I had others doing it for me. Halfway through makeup I was told that it was time for my section to head to the ballroom for the practice walk.
This was the most daunting part of the entire night, I was told that we’d be walking toe to heel which is different than most runways as you are putting the majority of your weight in your toes. Due to the theme, we were supposed to pace ourselves as if we were walking down a wedding aisle as it gave the audience enough time to look at our entire ensemble. The runway was in the shape of a ‘U’ which makes your overall duration on stage much longer than an average catwalk. I only got one chance to practice down the runway, and in that moment wobbling all over the place I wasn’t sure if I was going to make it. Although there was much self doubt, I knew that I had come much too far in the day to back out because of my raging nerves.
After I finished the practice walk, I went back upstairs to get my hair done. The team wove a large five pound crown into my hair and any finished the final fitting for my garment. The doors opened at 7:00 pm but we didn’t go on stage until half past. My section opened the show, and as we were lining up behind the stage, a wave of anxiety washed over me. It was as if everything I had been working up to in my career came up to this one point in time.
Runway is extremely daunting being well below the average height. I was the shortest model to walk that night besides the child of the production manager. After I was all dressed up, I felt like I belonged right beside all the other models. The minute I walked on stage, I took a deep breath and let my vision focus on one single point. From there I began walking and I wasn’t anxious or scared, I felt like I was completely in my element.
Unfortunately, I don’t have any high resolution photos taken from the event just yet, but I’ve included a couple of photos for you to get an idea of what I was wearing for the night.
Lastly, I was lucky enough to have Gary Mo (@yuen.wm) as my special guest. I’ve written many blog posts about Gary, and I was very happy to have him there supporting me.
After nearly a semester worth of blog posts, I’m beyond excited to be able to share this moment not only with those from VIFG, but with you. I’ve been apart of many different things in the creative industry, but never a full-scale fashion show and I really do feel as if it tested all my strengths and weaknesses. I still have one more post for next week, so to almost come full-circle, I am beyond thankful to Nina Pak for asking me to join the show. This was one of the most telling moments for myself as I was allowed to do something that I’d normally not be allowed to do because of my height. It was an incredible night and I hope to be walking in more runways in the near future.
As of late, creating has become seemingly harder and harder to do on a weekly basis. Both the Vancouver weather forecast and the final rush of the semester have both contributed to this creative roadblock. This week I was booked for a shoot with an aspiring young photographer, who currently goes to Langara College. We had plans to shoot a street/cityscape look, but unfortunately the weather wasn’t permitting for us to proceed. However, we rescheduled and I hope to be writing about that shoot in the next week or two. To fill this week’s post, I will be touching on some issues I’ve experienced that have also contributed to my partial creative hiatus.
In my last post, I mentioned that I left my personal life in the dust as I went on to pursue my creative one. This all ties into my inability to balance my own life. However, I specifically want to touch on how all aspects of my life differ from my personal one.
I’m have a type A personality, almost to a T. I’m aggressive, competitive, achievement-oriented, constantly stressed and completely work obsessed. Since I started writing this blog post, I’ve been mentally urging myself to finish faster so I can start working on a presentation for another class. It’s completely sick. To be completely honest, it’s as if I’m constantly fighting with myself about time management when I’ve been ahead of my workload since this semester started. I’m stressed when there’s work to be done, and I’m even more stressed when there isn’t work to be done. I’ve mentioned before that I’m the kind of person who requires a weekly schedule or else my life spirals (and we don’t want that). I was so worried about losing my weekly schedule, that I debated about taking another year of university just to keep myself in line. When I write all of this, I sound so unbelievably anal, but I assure you I’m not that anal and I can be fun.
I remember last April I asked my amazing friend, Gary Mo (@yuen.wm) if I should “full send” on my creative life. I was nearing the end of my six course semester, and I felt like I was finally ready to pursue a creative personality online- at this time I had only participated in a handful of shoots. He reminded me that I was unbelievably young and asked me, “what’s the worst that could happen?” With Gary’s blessing, I dipped my toes into the creative industry, but it wasn’t until July that I decided to completely “full send” and immerse myself with other creatives. Luckily, hard work and determination paid off which has allowed me to continue pursuing this goal well into the fall. Since then, I’ve been jumping head first ever since.
Sometimes I wish I had more of a carefree personality, and told myself “yes” more often. For example: I recently had course selections and the morning of, the internet went out throughout the entire SFU residences. I ran out the door after a hasty shower and cried on the floor of West Mall Center. I’m not someone who cries regularly or ever, so when it happened over something as little as a failed wifi connection, I knew I had been pushing myself to my absolute limit. My course cart was filled with another six classes, and believe me, even in that moment, I had no problem saying yes to my decision. I’ve never once doubted my ability to succeed in school, and the only reason for that is because I put everything and anything behind my education. However, I know for a fact, that much like my meltdown in WMC, that I’m going to go into Spring semester head strong and then somewhere around week six it’ll take a toll on me and I’ll push myself beyond relief to finish. This is the kind of “yes” I wish I didn’t use which leads me to ask myself why can’t I say yes to anything in relation to my personal life?
I’ve spent far too much time asking myself this question and pondering the answer. I’ve come to many conclusions, but I believe that I’ve spent the majority of my life in a rush. I’m in a rush to live. In my mind, living is finishing school, but then what? I’ve been rushing through university so fast that I’m going to walk by the AQ pond, look down and stare at my reflection asking myself if I’m ready to enter the real world. In reality, living isn’t about always being in a rush, it’s about making mistakes, making memories and having stories to tell. By always being in a rush to start “living my life” I will have completely missed the mark before I graduate.
Basically, I want to see myself pressing the “full send” button on my personal life more often. I’ve never allowed myself to because I’ve exerted all my time and energy on both my education and my creative works. So much so that it consumes me to the point where there are times when I’m not even enjoying what I’m doing anymore which is why I’ve experienced my recent creative hiatus. My “full send” example is one that has spoken to be since a very young age and it’s important because it ties into my final point.
I remember watching Halloweentown as a kid, which is about two different worlds that collide. One world is the real world and the other is the universe that Halloweentown resides in which is full of monsters and magic. The main character, Marnie discovers that she’s a witch and runs off to Halloweentown to pursue her studies. There, she meets her grandmother, Aggie who is also a witch and teaches her the ropes. Specifically, there was a scene where Aggie buys Marnie her first broom and Marnie asks how to fly it. Aggie turns to her and says, “All you have to do is want something, and then let yourself have it!”
A friend mentioned to me the other day that if I didn’t properly balance out my life, it would take a toll on my creative presence (it already has). If I lose interest in what I’m doing, then so will others, and neither of which are my goals. My problem is that no matter what I choose to do in life, I will do it until it’s done but there is an entire life to be lived outside one’s goals, or at least I like to believe there is. I don’t pursue my personal life because I feel as if I don’t have any control over it, and that’s because I don’t make enough time to focus on it. No matter how successful I ever become, I’m always going to crave more from life than just that. Sure, my creative life can be absolutely popping off but if you have no one to share that with, then does that really matter? It’s important to work towards a goal, but to what extent? It’s not worth achieving that goal if you lose yourself within that. So within the next couple of weeks, I’m going to make it a point to take more time and focus on myself which will keep my creative gears oiled. All I have to do is jump.
A/N: I’ve included several pictures from last week’s trip to Hope, because I’m also very hopeful that everything is going to work itself out.
I can’t believe that another semester has nearly blown by. It’s insane how fast time goes by when you’re drowning in school work. I wasn’t sure if I was going to share this on my blog, but while I was taking a slight hiatus from my creative life, I was brought great news on several fronts. About a week ago, I was contacted by Numa Models which is a modelling network primarily based in Canada. After speaking with one of their head models on a facetime call, I will now be working with the network in the near future for commercial work. On Monday, I was informed that I was published in not one but four different publications all set to come out within the next couple of weeks. I’ve never been published before, and I owe much of it to my two team members (@jeniegg & @yaboystephan). Lastly, I was contacted to walk in an International Fashion Show based in Vancouver that is set to take place on the 22nd of this month.
These last couple of weeks have been filled with a crazy amount of good news. I can’t believe that everything I’ve worked towards has been noticed by the right people. It is such a rewarding feeling to know that other people stand by my work. Now, I wasn’t sure if I should share all of this on here because I honestly don’t really like talking about my accomplishments. I never want to come across as someone who is bragging about what they do. As much as I like to share photos and videos of my life, I take my personal life into consideration especially the more immersed in the public eye, I become. I’m mentioned in several blog posts that I lack the ability to properly balance my life and I think that it’s affected the way I create. I used to think that if I pushed myself to constantly create, I would be happy. Although my creative life has been flourishing, I left my personal life in the dust. I like being in control, and my personal life is something that I’ve felt that I never had control of, so instead of trying to work on that, I continue to walk away from that problem by pushing more work onto my plate. I am truly in every which way possibly, a workaholic. And believe me, it’s beginning to catch up with me.
Although I don’t particularly love talking about myself, I think it’s important to reflect on yourself to see how far you’ve come. In order to keep moving forward and pushing the bar higher and higher, you need to reflect on who you were in the past.
Last semester I took Jody Baker’s CMNS 323W class on advertising. The final project was to create an ad for a product of our choosing (fake or real). This was supposed to be a group project but I decided to fly solo as I wanted to shoot my ad back in Tofino. Although the project was due in April, I started filming during reading break as it was the only time I could go back to the island. I not only acted and rapped in the ad, but I also filmed and edited the entire production. When April rolled around, we were instructed to go to the front of the class and talk about our video. I was so incredibly proud of my production, but in the heat of the moment I didn’t feel like I could back up my video. I remember leaving the room, and I don’t think I have ever been more disappointed in myself in my entire life. If you don’t stand by your own work, then why would anyone else? At the time, I didn’t believe I was in the same league as the other students as I was a second year taking a third year class. Although I made a major oopsie that day, I realized that I had a lot of growing to do on a creative front.
On Thursday morning, I went to David Murphy’s CMNS 226 class on digital media communication techniques. We were screening our 60 second video profiles, and this time I didn’t run away. I sat down with the rest of the students and watched as I was the centre of attention for an entire minute. I don’t think I have ever been that proud of myself in my life. It wasn’t necessarily about the content I produced, but it was more about being able to stand by the work I created and back it up in front of a room full of people. I have been filming clips for this project since mid October. This project shows exactly how far I’ve come as a creative and I’m unbelievably happy to be able to share this with everyone. It’s hard to be vulnerable, and tell your truths to people you don’t know but the more you do it, the easier it becomes. I’ve been completely immersed within the creative industry since July, and since then I’ve met so many amazing creative minds who have pushed me to continue to create and encouraged me to be myself. This project reminded me how much I love to create and lead me back into weekly shoots.
This week, I shot on three different occasions in three completely different areas.
On Monday I woke up at 5:30 am to catch the first bus off the Burnaby campus. I slowly but surely made my way to Richmond to shoot duos with Nicolas Scott (@nicolasscott_) and Jenie GG (@jeniegg). Nicolas and I met through an event company we both work for called, 20one Events (@20one_events). We shot at Iona Beach in autumn wear for a magazine submission.
After class on Thursday, I rushed off the mountain and headed to an Industrial loft near BC Place. I shot with a large group of creatives and was able to meet several new photographers and a new model! I had a great time at this shoot, but unfortunately due to the large group of people, I won’t be getting back photos for a while.
Lastly, on Saturday I went to Hope with my friend Gary Mo (@yuen.wm). We decided to spontaneously chose a place in BC that the two of us hadn’t been before and shoot there. We shot both photos and videos, and I must say I feel most in my element when I’m vlogging. I’m hoping to transition my audience on Instagram to YouTube within the next couple of years.
I’m glad I took some time off for myself since it encouraged to take a break, and take a breath. As much as I love the creative industry, it has the tendency to sweep you off your feet. My break allowed me to reconsider what I want to do creatively and reflect on what I’ve accomplished in such little time. It’s important to take a step back and praise yourself sometimes, hard work almost always pays off.
In my last two posts, I mentioned on several occasions that I’ve been experiencing a creative roadblock so I decided to take a break from shooting this week and regroup. Luckily for myself, my best friend from home came to visit the city and we got to meet up.
I’ve known Keya since I was born as our parents were close family friends. She’s my absolute best friend in the world. I know I’m gushing, but her and I are thicker than thieves. She’s the kind of friend that you don’t see often but you know is always there rooting for you. Since we grew up together, we know just about everything there is to know about each other which helps immensely when one of us is seeking advice. Every time we meet it’s as if no time has past, we’re the kind of friends that can spend years apart and come back talking about things as if nothing has changed. I value this friendship more than any other, because it’s not everyday that you meet someone like that.
We met at Waterfront Station on Sunday night for our go-to meal, which is sushi. Whenever we grab good together, we always go for a hefty portion size and force each other to eat until we’re both sick. When the food arrives, we spend very little time talking at the table. However, immediately after the bills have been paid, we’re generally both experiencing excruciating stomach pain so we walk off the pain with a lovely chat. Normally we’d head straight for the nearest beach back at home, but tonight we went to my favourite little cafe, Breka. They’re open 24 hours a day and serve nearly every dessert one could possibly crave which was a major red flag for the two of us. As we were still processing our dinner, we sat down and ordered a couple of hot drinks.
Since Keya and I don’t live close to each other anymore, whenever I see her I only ever get a little slice of time with her. To make the most of this, I make sure to lay out all my first-world life problems to get the most out of our chats.
In the last year, I’ve been questioning whether I want to extend my time here at SFU. I was projected to finish in four years, and I’ve taken up to six courses in some semesters to do so. In my first year, I came to SFU with a horrible attitude. Like many fresh high school graduates, I was faced with three options. The first being, jumping head first into university, the second was taking a gap year and considering what I’d like to build my future in and lastly, the third option was to stay on the island and work a full-time job until I decided to go to post-secondary. Although I was extremely unsure of what the next step in my education held for me, I decided to jump head first. The way I saw it was, the sooner I went to school, the faster I could live my life and that’s been my mentality up until recently.
Despite all the late nights, the three hour lectures and the flood of papers, attending SFU has been the best decision I’ve ever made. I’ve learnt far more about myself living in Vancouver than I ever would have if I stayed on the Island. Now that I’m in my second to last year here, I’ve recently begun questioning my rush to leave. When I was 18, I knew that there was no way I’d still be roaming the concrete halls by the time I was 22. I was in a rush, and only now do I ask myself- what’s the rush? I love taking the 95 B-line up the mountain as the sun sets through the trees as the rays cast blinding shadows on my face, or hiking up the eight floors of the Barbara Rae tower (because the elevator is always broken) to watch as all the city lights twinkle below us. A part of me never wants to leave. I’ve lived on the mountain going on three years now, and believe that I don’t want to leave because SFU reminds me much of a small town in comparison to what lies below. I’ve gotten used to the atmosphere around here, so much so that it’s become a crutch.
As I relayed this information to Keya, she stopped me and made an exceptional point- if I’m projected to finish in four years, then why finish in five? I will have already accumulated over 120 credits, and I’ve decided against getting another minor. So it was decided that night at Breka, I need to move on with my life.
I’ve spent nearly three years fighting with myself about building a career in the creative industry and finishing my education. Although I’ve wanted to put my creative life first, I would never put anything in front of my education. I’ve rushed my schooling in order to jump to my creative life. However, I’ve struggled immensely as I couldn’t just deny myself from creative projects for four years. So I’ve been trying to balance the two, and now I’ve found that I don’t want to leave school because I’m scared to jump head first into the creative industry. I’ve been so concerned with building creative projects alongside finishing my degree, that I have been spreading myself too thin. I think I’ve committed myself so heavily to my education because I feel as if it’s the only thing I’ve ever been able to control. Without attending class everyday, my life feels unbalanced. I’ve never experienced a September without a “back to school” and that scares me. But after I accept my degree it’ll be around the time to jump head first again and take a chance on myself in the creative industry.
In my first year at SFU, I attended Welcome Day with all the other new students. I remember saying a warm goodbye to my parents as they saw me off, the same way they did when I went to my first day of kindergarten. I came to SFU because I knew there was far more for me than here than what Vancouver Island had to offer me. I wanted to attend a school where nobody knew my name because I didn’t want anything from my past to define the person I was about to become. It was one of the scariest things I’d ever done, but looking at it now it was by far the best decision I’ve ever made.
Specifically, I remember sitting in West gym, surrounded by hundreds and hundreds of other kids who were just like me. They were all starting fresh, and some of them were coming from places much farther than myself. We all had something in common, we were all about to start the next step of our lives, leaving bits and pieces of our old lives behind us. High school was officially over, and it was time to start the next chapter. I sat there in group 63 for FASS, listening to Blake Fly give us an incredible speech. He said that University was hard, but our lives after would be much harder. He claimed that right now was the time to make mistakes and learn from them. We ranged from as young as 17 to 26, and we were all just starting our lives. Everything prior to that moment didn’t matter, but whatever happened next, was for us to decide as both students and young adults. As he strummed his guitar to Wonderwall by Oasis, he explained that we needed to balance our time- specifically with academics, our personal lives, and exercise and sleep. When any of those four things are out of balance, we suffer the consequences.
For the last two years, I had no handle on balancing my life whatsoever. I was doing university completely wrong. It wasn’t until this year that I’ve made time for myself and my creative life. As much as I love being a Communications major, it’s never been my ultimate goal to work a 9-5 job. That’s why I’ve been hustling so hard to create successful side projects to keep me afloat after I graduate. I had always told myself that I would get out of university by the time I was 21, which happens to be within the span of another year. I’ve taken up to 6 courses in past semesters in order to race to the finish line, but the closer I get, the less I want to leave. Lately I’ve had to take a step back and ask myself what the rush was. If this is really the time I’m supposed to be living my best life and making mistakes, then what is the point of always rushing everything? I know for a fact that I definitely don’t want to walk past the AQ pond dressed head to toe in my robes and wish I had balanced my time better here.
This week I worked with Gary Mo (@yuen.wm) for both a school project of his, as well as his own creative idea. He’s taking a course at Emily Carr and the assignment was to shoot monochromatic portraits using leaves. Unfortunately, he’s not a fan of leaves so we ditched the assignment quite quickly after we showed up on location. He brought large pieces of lace to create patterns on my face when the sun rays hit it. I always love working with Gary because we don’t have any time constraints or specific conceptual shots we need to get by then end of the work period. Gary holds a very special place in my heart as he was the one to give me advice when I was questioning my own creative decisions. He had advice much like Blake Fly, specifically voicing that I was young and asked me, “what’s the worst that could happen.” Since then, I’ve been fully committed to my creative life.
In my last post, I voiced that I’ve been struggling with a creative block and I think I was so focused on making it in the creative industry that I lost sight of my youth. I have a tendency to prioritize one or two things in my life, so I don’t have to deal with other things which is most generally my personal life. Never have I ever felt like my life was passing me by so fast until recently when people remind me that I only have one more year of school left. I’ve been working so hard on my creative projects that I’ve over-spun my gears. It’s not that I don’t to create right now, I think I just need to go out and take some time to reflect on myself and where I’m at in my own life. I spend too much time thinking about the future, and not enough time thinking about right now. In order to keep creating, I need to find that balance.
Lately, I haven’t been feeling as creative as I’ve had in weeks past. If you asked me why, honestly I don’t think I could give you a solid answer. You see, I have an extremely type A personality which forces me to be OCD, impatient, and anxious. On the upside, these qualities push me to be both, proactive and ambitious. However, I’ve recently noticed that there has been a repetitive glitch within my internal system. I’ve been told countless times before to sit down and take a break but the idea sends waves of anxiety over my body. There are only 24 hours in a day and I try to make at least 16-18 of them count. Not only that, but I’ve completely backburnered by personal life to pursue my creative one. I’m a total workaholic, I know. I understand that it’s completely normal to take a break, but it worries me that a break could cost me the rest of my creative career. I also understand that, that last statement sounds extreme being all of twenty-years old, but after hitting a creative-rock-bottom in the summer, I’ve tried to never be in that position again.
I went to back to Tofino over this past weekend to shoot a video for another class of mine. We were given the criteria of no criteria. The project is supposed to showcase exactly who we are in a one minute frame, imperfections included. Since there were no specific technical elements to fulfill, the project allowed for my wildest dreams to soar, leaving me in complete creative state of mind. Although I still don’t feel all that inspired to create content when I go back home, it was integral to my project. However, when I came back to the city, I felt ready to get a jump start on my creative projects- or at least I thought I was…
Normally I have around 2-4 shoots every week, either with local brands, local photographers, or my personal video shoots (for YouTube). All of these things take a significant amount of planning when shaping them into my hectic schedule, leaving enough time to build an outfit and create a light concept with whoever is behind the camera. For some reason, when I missed my weekly-before-class Monday and Wednesday shoots, I felt extremely unproductive and put down. Looking at it now, I understand that it’s not healthy to be down on yourself when taking a break but for myself I don’t understand a limit of reaching a content quota. In a creative mind, the gears are turning nearly 24/7, and sometimes I find it hard to sleep when I have a burning idea that I want to execute.
I suppose that I creatively push myself on a daily basis because I never want my creative light to die. I know what it’s like to sit there days, weeks and even months on end wishing to be creating, and believe me it’s the worst feeling in the world to want to pursue something but backseat yourself because you don’t have the inspiration. At this point in my life, I don’t understand what my limits are anymore. I have no idea what “a good work day” looks like, with creative projects there are genuinely loose ends that can always be tidied up. There is no right and wrong with creativity, which happens to be my biggest blessing and curse.
As I was a little off my game this week, I decided to try something a little new to get my gears spinning again. I rarely ever shoot duos, but since I’ve been playing it quite safe recently I thought it would be a good idea to work with another person in the frame. I’ve only ever shot duos twice before this shoot, and normally they look extremely uncomfortable when two people don’t share the same dynamic. I shot with Isaac (@mocharski.films) again this week, but we were also accompanied by another photographer and model named, Santiago Sevilla (santiagosevilla). I’ve worked with Santiago once before for a YouTube video we shot at the end of August, but he was behind the lens rather than in front.
We shot in gastown using the rustic bricked walls to frame up our pictures. Santiago and I had a little bit of a language barrier since he’s from Mexico, but we worked together just fine as we modelled Isaac’s new clothing brand. As far as posing went, we weren’t very dynamic but I believe that it’s something that comes with time. Much like everything else in life, practice makes perfect.
I was recently told by Dr. David Murphy who teaches CMNS 226 that sometimes you need to embrace your creative block. Lately I haven’t been interested in modelling at all, especially after nearly taking a week off of work. To be fair, it was never my dream to be a model, but lately I haven’t felt as creative as I have in recent weeks on shoots. Currently I’m at a loss because I feel like taking a break is a waste of my creative time, but pushing through and creating something that I’m not proud of isn’t a constructive use of time either. It’s not that I’m questioning my work, it’s more that I’ve been burning the stick at both ends. I suppose it’s time to take David’s advice, embrace my creative block and see if that gets my gears spinning again. I won’t think of it at quitting or giving up, it’s more like taking a couple days off of a project and coming back to it with a fresh set of eyes. After all, I’m only twenty.