Paris Riche Lenese Griffin Chuckstr
77three Magazine Issue Number Four: Fall 2013 -September 77three.com
Jakina Hill: Creative Director
Jakina is a proud Chicago born and raised, Southern Illinois University Alum, photographer, designer, writer and storyteller with dreams of quitting her day job. She considers herself to be just your average Chicago hood chick. Twitter:@ JakinaAdo
Kei Michelle: Makeup Artist/ Hair Stylist
Kei is a Chi-Town native who is passionate about all things beauty! She is a graduate of Chicago State University with degrees in both Sociology and Social Work. Her mission is not only to become the world’s most successful and sought after beauty expert, but she also wants to be known for her contribution as a health, life wellness, and fitness coach. Facebook Page: Kei Michelle Makeup Artist and Hair Stylist
Senyo Twilight: Writer
Senyo Twilight is a contributor hailing from the suburbs of Chicago via Ghana, West Africa. He spends the bulk of his free time challenging himself with zany science projects and writing poetry. Most of all he considers himself a servant, volunteering his time to several “go green” initiatives and teaching elementary school. Of all his work, he takes the most pride in grooming his son for impending greatness. Twitter: @Senyo_ Twilight
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Jakina ado Photography
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MODEL CITIZEN: PARIS
What is it like being an up and coming model in Chicago? Well for me its kind of hard because in Chicago it’s like a height limit and I’m about two inches over it. Most times I can only get freelance work, its really hard trying to get signed out here. Yeah so probably try to go to New York soon.
just didn’t do anything for a long time. Then maybe my sophomore year of high school I met a photographer, her name was Nuru and she wanted to shoot me really bad. She wanted to shoot with me for a long time and so I finally shot with her and after I did the shoots with her it just started coming in after that.
As far as like what’s going on here in Chicago, what are some of the things that you go through just trying to get work here? A lot of times its like, a lot of people will use the same models so a lot of times you have the same exact competition and you kind of know who’s popular at the moment so when you see that certain girl at the casting your like okay. Besides that its pretty fun I guess.
How do these shoots come together how do most things happen for you? After a few years people just kind of knew me from doing little stuff so now I get contacted. But initially I did a lot of stuff through Model Mayhem or like just people I knew. I hang with a lot of tall girls, all models, so they’ll be like oh you want to do this show or this shoot.
Are you with any agency? No, not at the moment How did you get started in modeling, is it something you grew up wanting to do? Actually no, when I was about 13 I did, I got signed to Ford at 13 but I didn’t really stay there long I guess cause I was young, like really wasn’t into it yet. Once my contract was up I 4 Spring 2013
What do you do in your free time? Actually I have a group now that’s called tag team we’re all about 5’11 plus, so we’re all really tall. Right now we promote parties and we host them. And their all models to, but its like different types of models, its like glamour models and video models in there, runway and high fashion. That sounds really cool like it could be an
agency. Yea we actually just got two new girls and they moved to Vegas so they’re going to start in Vegas. What do you prefer, like high fashion, photo shoots and campaigns and things like that or runway. I think I lean more towards editorial, I’m good at runway but I rather just take pictures. Outside of modeling what are your goals? Well when I was in school, I just took a year off, but when I was in school I was doing public relations. I guess I would be more so on entertainment side of it, I like to plan things and events and stuff like that so when I go back I’ll probably just keep doing stuff like that.
So I saw on your Twitter that you’re from, are you from Trinidad or just like your people? No, my family is from Trinidad. So you were born here though, in Chicago? Yea Do you have a day job? Oh I work at Hooters, I’m a hooters girl. What are like your dream shows to walk in or campaigns or who do you like really want to work with? I’ve always wanted to do a Versace campaign and Channel probably, just like all the high ends. The iconic stuff? Yeah. Twitter: TreexGod Instagram: treexgod
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EYES HAVE IT: Photographer Charles Olu-Alabi A.K.A. Chuckstr
Interview and Photo by Jakina Hill Tell me how you got started in photography?
I kind of just picked it up, I guess, my dad always had cameras around the house he had a older canon film camera and I kind of picked it up and he would tell me do this or do this. He kind of credits himself for what I know now, but I’m like no not really.
Did you study in school? No, I did not.
Can you tell me about your career goals, like you’re here now, how far do you want to take it?
Well, I want to take it pretty far. I know that sounded vague but right now I’m just working to put myself out there. I know a lot of people like bloggers and stuff, that always help me out but I think that connection really helps. I know people that tell me you should make it like a big company but I don’t like being somebody’s boss. That’s kind of why I started doing this in the first place, I like to work for myself so trying to be somebody’s boss is just kind of, I don’t know.
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Tell me about some of your career highlights so far, best gigs that you’ve had. Well I just got a, well I’m not going to talk about it but I got a email the other day that was looking really nice, but I’m not going to jinx it.
Give us just a little, is it a big company or person? Um you’re not going to put it in the issue?
This one you can take out, cause if it doesn’t happen I’m going to look stupid, but a friend of mine, she’s a blogger her name is Afrobella, I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of her?
I’m familiar, I think that’s sort of how discovered you actually.
Oh ok, well she’s helped me out a lot, and she’s interviewing, again don’t put this in, but she’s supposed to be interviewing Janelle Monae.
So she asked me to take some portraits of Janelle while she’s like doing the interview and stuff so I
was like (pause’s slightly) yes please.
Okay, I won’t name names.
If it works out, I’ll let you know and you can throw that in there but otherwise, just traveling cause I started like four years ago so I didn’t think I would be where I’m at today. It happened pretty quick from talking to different people, just being open and just letting people come into your life and not necessarily telling you what to do but just help you, so travelling.
What about some of the lows?
I’ve had a few clients that, you know, they’ll like tell me what they want and it’ll just…like I’ll sit down with people and then we’ll go over it, but one in particular it was kind of like a language barrier. I thought I did a good job, but she didn’t. It was the first time it ever happened to me and I was like wait what? I was shocked cause I thought I did a really good job…
Like I killed this.
I know, I was like I snapped but she didn’t like it too much but it happens.
Are there other photographers current or old that you have been influenced by or artist I general?
I’m not one of those photographers that are like, I was influenced by Gordon Parks, or this, you know? I love Gordon Parks I love his work his street photography stuff, but I like a lot of people that are actually closer to my age. It’s this guy in New York I met a couple years ago, through another friend of mine and his name is Andre Wagner.
I interviewed him actually, a few years ago in New York.
Really? Yeah, I love his work, another one, he knows, they’re really good friends is Rog Walker, and just like random other people that I just know. I’ll just see work and I’m like damn that’s really good. That’s kind of like what motivates me, like if I see something that’s good I want to be better than that. Like I’ll just see it and I’m like, alright, let me exit out, let me go to work.
Get off the computer…
And go out, take some pictures and just like shoot.
What would say your style is? Are you more into people or just anything that you see?
Culture I guess in a way but it doesn’t seem like it if you go on my website, I’m going to change that up a little bit but on my Tumblr, on my blog, photo blog, you’ll see more of that like landscape work like Chicago. Even on my Instagram you’ll see that, just street photography when I went to New York just a few weeks ago I was just like wow, cause like New York, especially Brooklyn, Harlem, Brooklyn is like incredible for street photography. I just stopped to take some pictures every few blocks.
You can’t get a whole block probably.
Yeah, like I swear within a whole block, I literally took 100 pictures. I don’t consider myself a street photographer but I love street photography. I love landscape photography but I consider myself more a portrait and lifestyle photographer and then lifestyle is the events and weddings and all of that.
How would you say you’d like to be remembered like the further you go in your career what do you think is going to be the Chuck thing?
I don’t think they’ll have like a specific thing to say cause I mean, I get it now, I feel real humble about it, but its like people telling me I love your work and I’m like I’m not even where I want to be. I want to be better than that cause I was looking back, two years ago I looked back on my work and I’m like what is that, you know? I’m sure you have something like that to. You look back and you’re like I could have done this way better. What was I doing, so I think I kind of just want people to be like wow, he’s a great photographer, that’s pretty much how I want to be remembered. I don’t care what it is, even if I’m just photographing bikes or something, I just want to try and be great, like his eye is different from everybody else. Twitter: @chuckstr Instagram: chuckstr
Photos by Chuckstr Spring 2013 7
Fashion Designer Lenese Griffin
This young designer has been quietly working to leave a permanent mark on the fashion business but with a powerful name like Halston behind her she canâ€™t help but make some noise. Story and Photography by Jakina Hill 8 Spring 2013
he name Calleea Vatein is as unique and bold as the designs behind it. The rising talent behind the name is Lenese Griffin, a 24-year-old whose ambition is as palpable as her garments. Griffin knew from an early age that she wanted to design clothes, having grown up watching her grandmother sew. The name Vatein is the combination of both her grandmothers’ names and Calleea is her middle name.
She started sketching in 5th grade and got her first sewing machine in 7th grade and has been fashion focused since. “ I called myself buying patterns, oh my God it was terrible. I think I actually accomplished making a shirt, really nicely, and once I realized I couldn’t do the clothes I just stuck to skirts because I realized they were the easiest, and pillows. I was the pillow girl in grammar school.” Pillows and patterns were soon a thing of the past by the time Griffin reached Columbia College Chicago where she truly came into her own. Her go getter attitude fueled her as she not only balanced the course load of a design student but held down multiple retail positions, at stores like Aldo, Banana Republic and Akira, and founded an on campus fashion organization that is still around even after graduating in 2012. At a time where most students are beginning to consider internships Griffin was hard at work producing her collection and subsequent fashion show, and this she mentions as a career highlight with more enthusiasm than the time model Selita Ebanks wore her designs or former 106th & Park host Rocsi wore her clothing on the show. Griffin may be Chicago born and bred but the designer’s Jamaican roots are evident in her brightly colored and strategically cut dresses. With a clear direction for the future of Calleea Vatein, Griffin began to phase out of custom orders for Chicago’s fashion savvy and focus on her collections when the opportunity to work for Halston Heritage presented itself. Griffin didn’t hesitate to accept the opportunity to work for at the company of one her major influences. “I actually want to work for the company I work for now. Halston was an American based designer and he influenced your Tom Fords, your Donna Karen’s and Michael Kors.” Having been told during the interview process that it was only a matter of time before she would be designing for the iconic label, Griffin is right on track to becoming a major influencer in the fashion world.
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Top: Calleea Vatein (m
Dress: Hazel (msrp 80.00) Boots: Ugg (msrp 168.00) All Jewelry Throughout: models own Front and Back Cover: Top: Ginger G (msrp 22.00) Pants: Calleea Vatein (msrp 80.00)
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msrp 50.00) Pants: Mine (msrp 30.00)
Edge of Fall
Top: Velvet Heart (msrp50.00 Pants: Mine (msrp 30.00) Shoes: Dolce Vita (msrp 80.00)
Styling and Photography by Jakina Ado Hair and Make-up by Kei Michelle Model: Taja Maynie
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Issue four September 12, 2013 77three.com