local wolves magazine â€” 1
arch is an interesting month because there is usually nothing to look forward to besides counting down the days until spring break. Fortunately, this year I am excited to work on some creative projects including being a part of a few podcasts where I discuss more in-depth about Local Wolves, our wolfie readers and day in the life as an editor-in-chief and full-time student. It’s not always easy to balance both school and working but onto the question of all time: “What are your plans after graduation?” came to my attention because when you’re a college senior, you will be asked this question on a daily basis. Forget what people ask, the answer: “I don’t know,” is totally normal, not everyone who graduates with a specific major who will automatically get their ultimate dream job. It’s a pathway with many challenges and go showcase your craft, hence the breakthrough issue. I would love to mention my favorite breakthrough and up and coming artists. If you follow me on Twitter (@cathrinekhom), I always tweet about DIIV and Majid Jordan, both great bands with their own authentic sound. Kehlani and Drake are my ultimate faves at the moment, just their energetic presence and fresh vibe. // Illustration on the right by Laura Filas.
Cathrine Khom founder / editor-in-chief
do it yourself
F E AT U R E S 26 28 32
jess glynne nathaniel crawford mainland
40 42 44
jordan doww raymond braun tiffany ma
nyfw: claudia li
ISSUE 35 // GALLANT local wolves is an online and print publication based in southern california with a talented team from all over the world. We focus in embracing the local scene in art, music, entertainment and film for creative minds. SAY HELLO // LETâ€™S CHAT print: magcloud.com/user/localwolvesmag general: firstname.lastname@example.org press: email@example.com get involved: firstname.lastname@example.org
founder / editor-in-chief cathrine khom copy editor sophia khom playlist editor sena cheung maker madison bass-taylor videographer jessica eu, summer luu head stylist katie qian hair/makeup artist jessie yarborough website coordinator kristy cheung publicist ashley bulayo social media caroline edwards, nicole tillotson front cover logo fiona yeung back cover logo isabel ramos cover photo karen hernandez
gallant @sogallant los angeles, ca
design / illustration kelsey cordutsky, christine ennis, laura filas, lisa lok, leah lu, megan kate potter, lauren wright contributing writers lexie alley, kamrin baker, sadie bell, kendall bolam, ashley bulayo, orion carloto, sydney clarke, rachel coker, karina diez, brindy francis, anna hall, morgan eckel, alexis jarrett, chloe luthringshausen, hudson luthringshausen, kaela malozewski, emma matthews, nathaniel crawford, harriet stanley contributing photographers lexie alley, mila austin, pamela ayala, madison bass-taylor, megan cencula, viviana contreras, amanda harle, lindsey harris, katy johnson, rachel kober, chris lampkins, sam landreth, summer luu, lhoycel marie, penelope martinez, jenson metcalf, roxana moure, meagan sullivan, melissa tilley, ashley yu
jess glynne @jessglynne hampstead, uk jordan doww @jordandoww los angeles, ca kara smarsh @karasmarsh los angeles, ca
parson james @iamparson brooklyn, ny
luke beard @lukesbeard san francisco, ca
soulpancake @soulpancake los angeles, ca
mainland @mainland new york, ny
tiffany ma @misstiffanyma los angeles, ca
michael willett @misterwillett los angeles, ca
viviana loh @viv_loh new york, ny
nathaniel crawford @terminatetor central illinois
connect localwolves.com twitter | instagram | snapchat @localwolves
olivia avenue @oliviaavenue philadelphia, pa
COVERAGE: SENA CHEUNG
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munchies + ROOT & BONE +
What is the inspiration behind Root and Bone? I think it’s that we’re searching for a sort of authenticity in everything we do, and like, we want it to feel like home and honest, and there’s a very clear intention behind everything. We just try to do our thing as best we can with the best ingredients we can, with consistence behind it. Are there any other big plans in the future of Root and Bone? So, Jeff and Janine are opening up two restaurants in New Hamming, that’s the next stop. Not Root and Bones but different concepts. We’re sort of exploring options of expanding in New York City, maybe opening another location in New York, or perhaps moving to a different space. For now, our focus is just making sure that this restaurant is good. What has been your restaurant’s biggest milestone so far? I think making a year for any restaurant in New York City is a pretty big thing. We had our one year anniversary in July.
What is the story behind the name of your restaurant? Okay, so the idea was that they wanted a name that represented a sense of sort of heritage, and kind of a lineage with Southern tradition. The idea is that everything either has roots or bones, and we are all connected by our roots and bones. What are some of your favorite items on the menu? My favorite thing is the meatloaf. It’s so awesome, it’s braised short ribs that’s compressed into a loaf. It’s tender and flavorful, and it’s just really, really, really good. Also the biscuits, because the biscuits really bring me back— I’m from South Carolina so these biscuits are the perfect, perfect biscuits. What are some of the customers’ favorite items on the menu? The most popular thing is easily the fried chicken, and the mack and cheese. The biscuits and deviled eggs, too.
How did you guys become so popular? Oh god, I have no idea! Well we do have two very cute, attractive chefs, which helps. And I think that people really respond to this space and like the feel of it. People like being in the restaurant and the food is really good. I also think that Jeff and Janine being on Top Chef certainly didn’t hurt at all. Has anyone particularly famous dined at one of your locations? Paul Giamatti, John Slattery, Mamie Gummer… I mean I think we get a lot of famous in New York people that aren’t necessarily famous worldwide, like a lot of fashion bloggers and food bloggers. Lastly, what is your favorite part about being here? This is actually a legitimately sincere answer: I really like the people. Yeah, it’s a good group of people who really takes it seriously and does a good job. We laugh a lot and enjoy each others’ company. COVERAGE: SOPHIA WILSON LOCATION: EAST VILLAGE / MANHATTAN CONTACT: ROOTNBONE.COM
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do it yourself + LEATHER KEYCHAINS +
SUPPLIES + leather + leather punch + mallet + double cap rivets + rivet setter + keyrings (all supplies bought at michaels craft store) COVERAGE: MADISON BASS-TAYLOR
cut your leather to your desired length and shape. use the leather punch to punch the spots your rivet is going to go to connect the two ends of your keychain TIP: try and use some leather stamps to personalize your keychains (do this after step 1)
fold your leather strip in half over a keyring, put the rivet through the two holes, cap the rivet, and hammer a few times to secure it
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We are constantly inspired. Through people, films, books, music, fashion, and art. These things are what help shape us into the people that we are and the art that we choose to create. Now, I could sit here and dabble on about how many amazing artists inspired a lot of the art I’ve created, but this month is all about you. For starters, my readers inspire me. You all keep me grounded and remind me every day why I love doing what I do. So this month I wanted to thank you guys by putting the spotlight on you. I asked on my tumblr (skeptical.tumblr. com) for you all to submit what form of art or what artists inspire you. After shuffling through hundreds of beautiful faces and heart warming stories, I chose a few that’d I’d love to share with everyone. Hope you enjoy. xx
LARS // TEXAS, USA Well, to start off I want to mention who is my inspiration and that’s none other than Lana Del Rey herself. However, I know most people might say that she’s their inspiration. Additionally, not only is she beautiful, talented, smart and funny but she’s brave. Even though she’s been through a lot since at a young age, she’s managed to stand tall even when she wanted to quit her career, she has constantly shown how she’s proud to be free and how she wants to ride but that all has a different meaning to me. With this in mind, I say she’s taught me that to be free is to open up; go out and explore, travel, make new friends and just have fun even when times are rough. For this reason, ride for me means to keep going no matter where life takes you, to work hard and push to get what you want and never ever give up.
NOAM // SOUTH CAROLINA, USA
LANA // UNITED KINGDOM The creatives who inspire me most are Emily Bronte and F. Scott Fitzgerald. Both were extremely gifted at expressing the raw honesty of both the ecstasy of life and the horror of life— concepts that went hand in hand to create their respective tragically beautiful works. Both were struggling writers in different eras, whose creative works were severely under appreciated during their lifetimes; both died believing that their finest works were failures. These two creatives inspire me to fully appreciate others work, to go out of my way to make sure none of my peers who are trying to make it as a writer/artist/musician go unnoticed. They remind me that right now, what I am creating may not have the effect on people I want them to have in that very moment.
There are plenty of extraordinary writers, one who has impacted my writing is Phoebe Gloeckner. She wrote the book, Diary of a Teenage Girl which went on to become a film. This book she wrote, is astonishing. Her words are raw, genuine, and heartbreaking. The book is about a fifteen year old girl, living in San Francisco during the 1970’s. Mostly, I found both the book and the film relatable. Being fifteen myself, as I was reading her book, I flipped the pages and couldn’t help but relate to everything she has written. She portrayed this character in an unbelievable way. I aspire to be as extraordinary a writer as Gloeckner, she’s a lovely human being with endless talent. My favorite creator of all time. LAUREN // FLORIDA, USA Who are my inspirations? Honestly, it’s hard to pinpoint one exact person that has influenced me creatively. Anytime I watch a movie, or read a book that I really love, it sticks with me. It inspires me. All of those movies and all of those books probably come out in my work somehow, someway, without me even knowing it.
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JAYDN // NEBRASKA, USA My dad is a custom artist and my mom is a stained glass artist, so everywhere I turn I am constantly inspired for my own art. Someone who influences me is Eden because his music is so truthful. I love the way he talks about life and the earth, and he always gets my creative juices flowing.
DAPHNE // CALIFORNIA, USA You know that feeling you get when you feel at home, whether it’s an actual place or a person. That place for me is the stage. Nothing makes me feel more comfortable, excited, nervous, etc., than when I’m performing in front of people. Being an actor isn’t easy with all the negative energy from people constantly telling you to find a more realistic job. But what they don’t know is that when I’m on stage, I’m at my best, on a pedestal and no one can touch me. My motivation, is the feeling that I have when I go on stage because nothing compares to it, and I’m not willing to let it go. SORAYA // SWITZERLAND I have a band that inspires me, it is Tame Impala, their song followed the way I grew up theses last 3 years and made me who I am. I love the lyrics; it helped me with English and their style... I discovered a complete new world. There are so many artists that inspire me like Lady Gaga, because she’s very open minded, beautiful, and isn’t scared to be who the f*ck she wants to be, she has her own opinion.
RAECHEL // WASHINGTON, USA Personally, I am really inspired by writers not one in specific but people who are able to put out such raw words that encapsulate all of their emotions really inspire me to search for something that allows me to express my creativity in some way.
SHIRA // ARIZONA, USA Someone that really inspires me is Michael Faudet. I bought his book, Dirty Pretty Things because of you and the writing was incredibly beautiful, I’ve read through it 5 times now, trying to permanently etch each word into my brain. He and Lang are absolutely outstanding writers and have inspired me to start working on a novel which I am halfway through now. And it’s just the simplicity of his words and all the situations he explains transports me to a metaphysical world. ANA // FLORIDA, USA I am a writer. I write across various different genres, I’ve written short stories, poems, journalistic articles, but my favorite genre of writing is film/play scripts. I am inspired by my surroundings as well as things that happen to me. Personal experiences will often trigger an emotion that will send me on a rampant course of scribbling all my feelings and thoughts down, then putting in effort to create that into a story others can resonate with. Most times there will be a song or a real-world event that will spark an idea for a piece of writing. I love writing because I love the idea of creating something other people can relate to. I also seek out to write things that can inspire someone else.
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#breakthrough + WOLFIE SUBMISSIONS +
This month the wolfies discuss their favorite breakthrough creatives – whether it be in music, fashion, entertainment and the list goes on. ILLUSTRATION (ABOVE): LAURA FILAS // ILLUSTRATION (LEFT): ROMEO M. VIRAY III / MANILA, PH Declan McKenna’s breakthrough into the music industry is best described as an action movie slo-mo-explo, that sees the seventeen-year-old fronting the parade of an explosive sound, with a saunter too cool to look back. Slow motion has to be emphasised here, with a year long wait between singles, but none of us are about to step forward to rush him along. His first single, “Brazil” was a catchy ear bug with an underlying political commentary on the state of FIFA that immediately caught our attention and set high expectations for the follow up single. I don’t think any of us were expecting “Paracetamol.” The song is best described with the ever useful phrase, ‘it’s a grower, not a shower.’ At over five minutes long, the song is a step away from its pop-y predecessor into a much more sophisticated territory that gets better with every listen. Where “Brazil” caught our attention, securing impressive radio play across the United Kingdom, “Paracetamol” is holding firmly onto it. Declan’s knack for clever wordplay keeps us on our toes, while the subject matter has us already feeling more politically charged. He writes with a wisdom and awareness beyond his years and with a promise of increasingly better things to come if the leap from his first single to his second is anything to go by. The breakthrough may well be a slow one, but is certain to be ground breaking, as Declan, far from being a record pumping machine, carefully configures an atomic bomb of sound that is sure to leave no survivors. – AISLING MAC / TORONTO, ON
To cut straight to the chase, one of my favorite breakthrough artist at the moment is hands down Kehlani Parrish. Everything about her from her music to her essence just completely infatuates me. I remember discovering her on one of Cashmere Cat’s playlist on Spotify last spring. I remember being absolutely blown away by her voice, her flow, and just the whole sound in general. It took me about a week to really start doing my research about her and her music. After scrounging around on her social media, I picked up on how she was so down to earth and extremely strong minded. I respect everything she stands for which is mostly surrounded by peace, growth, and being able to hold your own. She became a part of my growth process. Her music wasn’t necessarily different, but it’s something we’ve been missing from the music world for a while now and I’m really appreciating it. Her songs range from ballads expressing self love and reassurance to R&B/Hip Hop tracks about growing up and working for herself while in the midst of being in relationships. As soon as you turn her music on, you get a sense of empowerment and motivation to do things for yourself. It’s a reminder for me to keep growing even when others seem to stick to their immature ways. It’s crazy how young she is (20) and how high her maturity level is. It truly shows that maturity doesn’t always correspond with age and that gives me way more confidence and wider eyes. All in all, Kehlani’s my favorite breakthrough artist because she’s come as a reminder to the youth to keep expanding your mentality no matter how many times people try to spite you or hold you back. – NESA GORDON / NEW YORK, NY
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ABOVE LLUSTRATION: JESSICA MORDACQ / WHEATON, IL
ABOVE LLUSTRATIONS: LEAH LU / LA MIRADA, CA
ILLUSTRATION: JOLENE UNG / LONG BEACH, CA
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I’ve recently discovered a rapper who goes by the name of Gnash. Before you flip the page in disgust, annoyance, or anything else, hear me out: Gnash is so much more than just a rapper. His intermixture of rap, pop, and electronic music is something that’s never been done before, and it’s exactly what the music world needs right now. His ability to put out songs that leave you feeling like you’ve just witnessed the entirety of a relationship—as well as its aftermath—is nothing short of astounding. Basically, gnash is the Taylor Swift of rapping. Personally, I’ve never been the one to prefer any type of music other than alternative, but something about Gnash and his music has the power to sweep me off of my feet. Maybe it’s the eloquence of his words, or the fact that his voice is like honey gliding through the soundwaves. Not to mention the fact that all of his social media is filled with nothing but absolute positivity. At any given time, you can check Gnash’s twitter (his handle is @gnash, in case you were wondering) and all you’ll see are tweets upon tweets of motivation and inspiration. He simultaneously radiates heartbreak and happiness. These few hundred words are barely able to scrape the surface of what Gnash has to offer to not only the music industry, but also to his rapidly growing fanbase. No amount of words can express the vast amount emotions that gnash taps into with each song he writes. And as he continues to unveil himself to the world of music, I hope each and every one of you come to listen to and love him as much as I have! – HANNAH GREIL / DAYTON, OH Breakthrough. A first (notable) success or a progress in knowledge. To me, a breakthrough in its essence is much more than just that. To achieve a breakthrough, one must sometimes dive in head first—or as some people where I’m from like to say ‘with your head through the wall.’ It’s breaking down barriers, personal or ones put up by the society we live in; it’s stepping over certain boundaries in order to send out a message. And the latter is perhaps what matters the most in order to achieve a breakthrough. Your message matters, whether it’s meant for the larger public, the little bit of world around you or simply yourself. It has to inspire, it has to have the force of impact. It has to hit hard, struck the right chord. Sometimes it’ll give people hope, other times it will give them the drive to do better, to try harder. When thinking about breakthroughs, I realize I’m living in a world where breakthroughs happen practically on a daily basis. Whether it is victories that have a worldwide impact such as the newest developments in the search for the cure for cancer, gravitational waves being detected years after their prediction, Kendrick Lamar’s Grammy award winning album To Pimp a Butterfly, Malala Yousafzai becoming the youngest recipient of the Nobel Prize, or smaller victories that affect my personal life, the little bit of world around me like my friends coming out, moving to a different country with their own hard worked for money, my family and friends achieving personal victories and growing and lastly myself growing and learning with them, because of them and sometimes in spite of them. Breakthroughs. At the end of the day I find myself appreciating and applauding to every one of them – MAJA PODOJSTERŠEK / LJUBLJANA, SI
Ballet thrives off of making what is extremely difficult appear effortless. As a kid, when I would proudly tell classmates that I took ballet twice a week, boys would make faces and mockingly twirl while girls snickered. When coming to school after a long night of Nutcracker rehearsals, complaining of sore hamstrings and quads, my soccer-player friends would laugh and call me a sissy. Ballet isn’t taken seriously because it’s made to look graceful and light—but behind the soft stage smiles, you’re working your gluteus maximus off. Ballet not only expects perfection in technique but “perfection” and identicality in appearance. When attending a professional performance of Cinderella or Coppélia, one will notice that the principal dancers and the corps de ballet are all tall, willowy girls with boyish figures and long hair. And, yes, almost all of them are white. These pseudo-requirements for professional ballet dancers—which trickles down to the aspiring young ballerinas--are what have been broken by Misty Copeland, the first African American principal dancer at the extremely prestigious American Ballet Theatre (yes, the first). Besides being a prodigy who performed professionally after only a year of ballet training and having technique that leaves me in tears—Misty’s presence as a black ballerina is a true breakthrough in the ballet world. Representation matters, and having an African American woman as the face of the most famous ballet company in the country is what will truly inspire young women and men of color to explore ballet. Seeing her on TV or in her Under Armour campaign will tell little girls who don’t fit the Eurocentric beauty mold that they can still be the ballerina princesses they dream about becoming. Misty and other black dancers have progressed ballet forever and introduced a new wave of diversity and inclusion to the stage. – JADE HURLEY / APTOS, CA Last year I discovered or rather heard a song titled, “Return to the Moon” which really caught my attention. The song had a mix of disco infused with alternative and indierock roots behind it. I did some research on the song and learned that the band was called El VY, it was formed back in 2014 and then they became more active in 2015 and released their first song off their album titled “Return to the Moon.” Overall I found their artistry very interesting and different from what can be heard on the radio nowadays. The lead singer’s vocals are baritone which go very well with the songs sung within the album. Overall El VY is a great upcoming band with a unique sound and style, they’re great to listen to whether you’re on drive or trying to get some studying done and finishing assignments. – ROBERTO JIMENEZ / SALIDA, CA This is Shane and Emily. And, their sound reflects their joyful hearts, silly personalities and passion for loving people. I chose these guys for this #Breakthrough submission because they’ve touched my life and so many others in the area. I believe their mission to show love through their music needs to be heard around the country. – SYDNEY NORBERG / ORLANDO, FL (PHOTOS TO THE RIGHT) ⊲
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pinpoint + INDIVIDUAL MEDLEY + STORY: HUDSON LUTHRINGSHAUSEN // PHOTOGRAPHY: MADISON BASS-TAYLOR
For Justin Boyes and Monica Navarro, dreams have been a long time coming. But it wasn’t until they were married and sold nearly all of their belongings that they could achieve it. The couple got rid of everything only to devote everything they had to this dream. The dream? INDIVIDUAL MEDLEY. But, no, it’s not the swimming race (although, that is where the name comes from). Individual Medley is “a store for the environmentally and health-conscious person who enjoys the company of neighborhood friends and appreciates beautifully designed items.” Simply put, it’s a store. But their brand cannot be described so simply. Playing host to cocktail parties, in-store pop-ups, an online shop and a blog accompanying… Individual Medley is just as much a social venue as it is a place to purchase goods. “We are here because of the community Atwater Village brings us. We want to be a driving force in bringing people together and having those events and the journal helps keep our neighborhood connected,” says co-owner Monica about
their unique approach. What’s special about this couple is their commitment to maintaining an inventory that they love and that they know their community will love, too. Their inventory is stocked under a certain vision— and one look at the storefront would confirm the quality of their taste. They even live a stones throw away… so they aren’t kidding about making Individual Medley a kernel of their community in Atwater Village, the LA neighborhood where they have brought their dream. “Living a few blocks from the store gives us an even stronger sense of community and pride for Atwater. Our customers aren’t just faces to us, but friends and neighbors that we’ve built relationships with.” For anyone interested in joining the community, Individual Medley makes it easy. As noted, their community extends online where they share journal posts and sell merchandise. But it’s worth a trip to Atwater Village. The pair says they are in the works of remodeling as well. Oh, and they have big plans for their store anniversary party.
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jess glynne STORY: KARINA DIEZ PHOTOGRAPHY: KYLE BLATCHFORD
In January of 2014, JESS GLYNNE collaborated with Clean Bandit on a song so incredible, it was stuck in all of our heads for the entire year. In February of 2015, “Rather Be” was declared Best Dance Recording of the year, awarding Glynne with her very first Grammy. “It was so surreal. I had always watched the show and dreamt of winning a Grammy,” said Glynne. “It was the most insane moment.” The British pop singer approaches the struggles of heartbreak and vocalizes those sentiments through upbeat melodies, an uncommon pairing. She expressed her desire to share her personal experiences with love and heartache through music that instills hope and positivity. Not only did Glynne find troubles in love, as many of us have, but she also had to overcome the obstacle of undergoing an operation on her vocal chords in June of last year. Lucky for us, that surgery was successful. “There is a light at the end of the tunnel. Don’t let it beat you.” said Glynne. In terms of performances, the most unforgettable experience, in Glynne’s personal opinion was at The Independent in San Francisco. “It was an amazing show and crowd. Just the feel of [it],” said Glynne. She is currently filling venues across the United States with her electric sound on her I Cry When I Laugh tour. Jess is thrilled to experience her album with her fans from all over the country. “Every song has a special meaning,” said Glynne.
Growing up, Glynne was greatly influenced by the late jazz sensation, Amy Winehouse. “Her lyrics, sound, art… they struck a nerve,” said Jess. “She was writing about life. Amy’s albums were about a journey, an influence that can be seen in Glynne’s debut album, I Cry When I Laugh. Before deciding to share her talents with the world, Glynne worked behind-the-scenes in the music industry at a music management company. She explained that she worked with a few particular artists who had taken the opportunities they had been given for granted, inspiring her to make the most of her life. Through this experience, she realized that she was not meant to be backstage, but front and center. Glynne’s main concern is not being famous, but rather being a successful singer.
“I HAVE NOT YET REACHED THAT GOAL. I HAVE REACHED A NUMBER OF GOALS, BUT I HAVE MORE TO ACHIEVE,” SAID GLYNNE. “IT’S NOT ABOUT THE SPOTLIGHT. I AM KNOWN FOR NOTHING OTHER THAN MY MUSIC AND THAT’S AMAZING.”
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nathaniel crawford STORY: A SH LE Y BU L AYO PHOTOG R APHY: PENELOPE MARTINEZ
Raise your hand if you’ve found yourself scrolling through Instagram at the exact time you’re at the tipping point of becoming hangry. You’re not alone. It’s the worst feeling because you’re craving absolutely anything and everything at that moment. But then, it’s an amazing feeling to scroll past all these amazing dishes that you wish could appear in front of you as soon as possible. One feed you should consider following is chef/ blogger, NATHANIEL CRAWFORD. Central Illinois-based Nathaniel Crawford runs the food blog, TermiNatetor Kitchen which launched back in January 2015. “By day, I’m a junior in college studying Hospitality Management at Eastern Illinois University, and by night, I’m a home chef, blogger, and small business owner. I also work with clients, such as Clabber Girl and
Aunt Millie’s Bread, with recipe development/ photography/blogging services.” To say Crawford is a busy guy is an understatement. Let’s start with his food blog which he describes as ‘Southern Gothic meets Martha Stewart.’ Interesting take, no? Everything about Crawford’s history is interesting! His journey with food started by accident back in 2013 when he would be stuck at home all day while his family members were at work. It was his mother who suggested Crawford to start making dinner for the family. First dish? “The driest stuffing casserole known to man. It was embarrassing and kind of a letdown but something inside of me kept pushing me, telling me to cook more and more. It happened slowly then all at once. I had fallen in love with food. The rest is history and I haven’t stopped since.”
A year later, his photographer skills picked up and so did his hobby of following fellow food bloggers. He mentions, “I love the idea of storytelling and being able to depict a scene from just a single photo. Food blogging allowed me to harbor all my passions into one medium: cooking/baking, photography, and writing.“ Now here he is a year later, juggling school, working part time and creating content for his blog. It’s a struggle but he makes it work. “[Food blogging is] something I find important to my happiness and I take that very seriously.” If you didn’t know Crawford, you wouldn’t know what he had to endure to reach his pure happiness today. A few years ago, life wasn’t all sweet recipes and drool worthy photos. “In high school, I was a completely different person. I had zero confidence and sought out acceptance in people who frankly could care less about me. I based my entire happiness on the happiness of others,” says Crawford. “I lacked a confidence in my voice. As being a person who stutters, I was completely petrified of stuttering. Stuttering is speech disability, which affects the fluency of speech which can come in the form of elongated words or blocks in phrasing. It wasn’t a fear of stuttering I had. It was a fear of humiliation. Even though I stuttered, I was (and still am) a relatively outgoing person who loved people, and especially being in front of people.”
We’re happy to say that this story has a happy ending. Since being in college, these past two years have been some of the best in Crawford’s life. “College was when I started the blog and when I came to terms with my stuttering and learned to love myself and find happiness within myself rather than in others.” He mentions a moment back in his summer speech class, “Towards the end of the semester, one of our male classmates (who was an impeccable public speaker) said out loud, ‘I hate speaking after Nate because he has such a good voice.’ It was like being hit by a train. ‘A good what? A voice?’ For the first time in my life, I was being judged not for my fluency but on my effectiveness. I learned in that class that just because I was dysfluent didn’t mean I was ineffective.” He goes on to advise our readers: first, do not be discouraged or ashamed by the journey you’re on and second, don’t be
afraid to love yourself first. Take Crawford as your role model. Here he is two years later. Happy. Content. Confident. Today, it’s his food blog he turns to when the going gets rough and needs a moment of relaxation. We know this isn’t the last we’ll see of him. In five to ten years from now, Crawford would still love to be blogging and hopefully move to a city with a more diverse and thriving food culture (ex: Baltimore, New Orleans or Chicago). He says, “My goal would be to grow the blog and my photography career to where I could do it as a part-time job. I still want to work in the hospitality industry, so maybe working in sales or events. Maybe food and beverage. Maybe even chef! Life is full of twist and turns, I just want to document it. All I know is that I want to do a job that makes me happy. If I’m not happy, I’m out.”
“DO NOT BE DISCOURAGED OR ASHAMED BY THE JOURNEY YOU’RE ON AND SECOND, DON’T BE AFRAID TO LOVE YOURSELF FIRST.”
“COLLEGE WAS WHEN I STARTED THE BLOG AND WHEN I CAME TO TERMS WITH MY STUTTERING AND LEARNED TO LOVE MYSELF AND FIND HAPPINESS WITHIN MYSELF RATHER THAN IN OTHERS.”
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mainland STORY: BRINDY FRANCIS PHOTOGRAPHY: JENSON METCALF
“We’re at home on stage. We get to express ourselves and perform our art. It’s our favorite thing to do.” New York City’s loveliest MAINLAND is an alternative band with leanings British postpunk, 60’s garage, and new wave. “Did we mention we like hip-hop?” They are a threepiece band comprised of Jordan Topf on guitar and vocals, Corey Mullee on guitar and synth, and Alex Pitta on bass. Mainland is the kind of band I will blast in my room at 2:00 AM and dance until I can’t feel my legs. We asked what image they think their lyrics convey. “Our songs portray a lot of things. There’s a common thread of nostalgia whilst looking back at how love, the city, change, and struggle affects you. Then there are songs that make you wanna skate parking lots, dance, and skip class to go make out underneath the bleachers with your first love,” Jordan Topf states. Music making isn’t as easy as it looks and nobody does it the same. Topf says, “I write and demo the skeletons of the songs in the home studio, which typically include drums, bass, guitar, vox, and keys. Then the band deliberates like a committee on the song before we work it into the live setting.” Together, the band is inspired by many other artists. The ones that stick out to them to most are Young Thug, The Clash, The Cure, Joy Division, Big Star, The Velvet
Underground, and Spector. The non-musical influences that influence their work are William Eggleston, David Lynch, Vincent Gallo, and Taxi Driver. These band members seem to be all in this together. They’re all creative, patient people who just love the idea of making art. “On tour, we like finding the best vintage stores and looking through the old clothes. It’s therapeutic and somehow takes our mind of music for a split second.” Tour life seems like something that can be nerve racking. “Tour life has been so good to us. We just wrapped a tour with Canadian Pop heroes Marianas Trench that took us completely across the country,” he says. “I think the wildest story is one that happened to us yesterday. We played a radio show for GO 96.3 in Minneapolis and the next day began the 19 hour drive back to NYC. Somewhere in Wisconsin we got the call to turn completely around and head to Omaha, Nebraska to start a two week run with Jukebox The Ghost.” The number one thought when thinking about band members’ personal lives is how they became a band in the first place. “When I was growing up in Santa Cruz, California to pass the time friends started bands. It was such a small scene and everyone knew each other. My first band was called The Vox Jaguars and we did well enough for me to want to move to New York and start Mainland in 2011 with Corey Mullee,” says Topf.
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We were very curious what Mainland thought distinguishes an “artist” from a musician. They say, “Anyone can play a guitar and sing a song, but to perform a song is a totally thing. Performance is an art. It’s our biggest asset as a live band. We also have different artistic pursuits like film photography, art direction, and doing our own music videos.”
ation with, you can work through those charge through them. “I think an obstacle for us was taking chances with our songwriting process and what we were trying to achieve concept wise. Writing more from the heart and putting ourselves out there in a more vulnerable sense has opened up the flood gates for people to connect with the music on a more personal level.”
Many bands have different experiences in the music industry. It seems this band is loving every second of it. “It’s a mountain you have to climb, but we would rather be be underdogs that stick around for many decades to come then a flame to a short fuse.” All bands or even all human beings go through all sorts of bumps in the road, but if it’s something you have a large infatu-
Where will you see Mainland next? Right after their Outcast tour, you will catch them on The Jukebox the Ghost Tour and SXSW! By the end of 2016, they are planning on releasing an album and headlining a US tour. They would also like to go to Europe, since “British music is such an influence on us.”
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luke beard STORY: ANNA HALL PHOTOGRAPHY: KATY JOHNSON
What do you want to be when you are older? That’s a question you’ve probably been asked repeatedly, year after year. But in today’s climate of unceasing technological innovation, a large majority of future jobs haven’t even been created yet. Take LUKE BEARD, for example, a designer who fused his love for photography and travel with technology to create an entirely new platform that is now his job. Luke is co-founder and creative director of Exposure.co, a web-publishing tool focused on allowing individuals and organizations to create beautiful photo narratives with a simple drag and drop. Exposure’s principle aim is to “do something meaningful with your photos.”
Luke’s background in design was integral to the founding of Exposure. The platform’s reserved design allows users space to be creative with their own photo narratives and is something that Luke believes is important to good storytelling. “Designing content that is meant to be consumed on a mass scale is a challenge as you don’t want the design itself to get in the way. For Exposure, focusing on photo stories has been interesting as the photos themselves set so much of the mood that we are able to really reign back the design to a very minimal and (hopefully) striking design aesthetic. Authors and readers seem to really respond to this as it’s a trait we hold dear.”
“I’m always blown away by the stories that are posted and humbled that organizations like the WWF, Baltimore Ravens, Strava, Filson, Philips and many others are using it to create their photo stories,” Luke says. The World Wildlife Foundation’s Exposure page, for example, reveals incredible photo stories of environmental projects in the Great Barrier Reef, Malaysia, and Mozambique, proving that good storytelling can be more than just entertainment, even offering a platform for change. “Exposure is my first company and it’s been the most challenging and rewarding experience of my life,” Luke says. “I have many lessons left to learn.”
Luke’s career in design might have begun at his grandmother’s dinner table, doodling spaceships, but it formally began during a course in general ICT when he was 17. There were two classes that sparked his interest: Photoshop and basic web-design. From there, he continued to teach himself more advanced skills in print and web-design and proceeded to work on several design projects in the tech/start-up industry, including hipstamatic. com, buffer.com’s first iPhone app, and an iPad RSS reader app called Skimn. He has also worked on print projects, designing posters for two ESPN 30in30 films.
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“HAVING AN UNDERSTANDING OF HOW A DESIGN IS BUILT (REGARDLESS OF PLATFORM) IS IMPORTANT AND MAKES YOU A BETTER DESIGNER.” Learning to code has also been vital to Luke’s design career. “I’m able to design in browser for the most part and help build the whole product. Having an understanding of how a design is built (regardless of platform) is important and makes you a better designer. I’m not saying “go learn every language!” But I think you should at least take a deep look at how the guts of digital projects are being created.” Exposure not only reflects Luke’s interests and passions but is built on a strong and sustainable business foundation. Where the millennium’s dot-com bubble crash still looms over Silicon Valley, young creatives are having to answer the question, ‘are we in a tech bubble?’ It isn’t a clear “yes” or “no” but a big problem right now is companies that aren’t prioritizing revenue early on. “If your favorite app/service goes away, it’s usually because they ran out of cash to keep growing it and because they could not grow it nobody would invest any more money. We pride ourselves on our revenue and staying small to create a company that will last forever. Lots and lots of folks jumping into tech don’t get that.”
Exposure is set to grow considerably throughout this year. “There will be many, many, many upgrades to exposure.co as well as lot’s more partnerships with some very exciting companies. I can’t say much about right now, but for real. Very cool.” Also in store for 2016? “I work from home so every day includes my cat ruining my workflow by sitting on my keyboard.” If you want a career that you’re passionate about you need to make your own luck, Luke advises. “Nothing comes your way on your own. Your personal projects are your resume. So try to make lots of stuff and get it out in the world.”
“IF YOU WANT A CAREER THAT YOU’RE PASSIONATE ABOUT YOU NEED TO MAKE YOUR OWN LUCK, NOTHING COMES YOUR WAY ON YOUR OWN. YOUR PERSONAL PROJECTS ARE YOUR RESUME. SO TRY TO MAKE LOTS OF STUFF AND GET IT OUT IN THE WORLD.”
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jordan doww STORY: KAELA MALOZEWSKI PHOTOGRAPHY: VIVIANA CONTRERAS
Followed by nearly 60 thousand users on YouTube, JORDAN DOWW has made it his mission to “bring you somethin’ funny.” The online sensation with over 1.6 million video views has not yet failed and continues to bring quality content to viewers worldwide. The very personable Doww describes himself in the same way his mother did when he was a young child. “She would always tell me that I would talk to anyone that would pass us in the grocery store and tell them a joke,” he shared. “Apparently, I was hilarious.” And it seems as though this feeling of being at ease with the public has not wavered over the years. “If that doesn’t describe who I am today, then I don’t know what does!” said Doww. “For some reason, getting up on a stage or speaking to a large audience, or even communicating via digital content, gives me a rush of pure enjoyment and fulfillment. It’s almost like I’m doing exactly what I was set out to do with my life.” Every part of Doww’s childhood was conducive to his current career path. In elementary school, he shares, “I’d hang out with my neighbors every single day in the summer and we would make the cheesiest home movies all day long on our VHS tapes and then showed them to everyone on the block.” This creative exercise eventually sparked the relentless desire in him to want to perform, and this time, on a stage. “I began participating in plays and musical theatre, and eventually I enrolled at a local comedy club and tried comedy improv with adults.” In this environment, Doww truly found his calling. “I loved the stage and I loved to make people laugh,” he said. “I truly loved mastering this art form that allowed me to tell stories in a variety of unique ways.” Eventually, his taste of the stage led him to take classes at Second City in Chicago— classes he commuted to every Saturday all the way from Detroit.
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Between learning the ropes from professionals and attending school, Doww launched himself into the world of YouTube in his freshman year of college. “I created my newest YouTube channel and Vine account that people know me from today. All this digital attention eventually led me to want to write my very own live comedy show,” he said. Not only did he succeed in writing this show, he recently performed it at a sold out event for Hollywood Improv. With such success comes a lot of noise that can occasionally become distracting. When asked how he stays afloat and focused, Doww praises his mother for being a great inspiration, friend, and mentor in his life. “When I say I started from the bottom, I really mean it,” he shared. “Growing up with a single parent and going from baby sitter to babysitter while she worked and went to school to provide for us was not easy on our family.” And as Doww knows well, with hard work comes great success. He shares that his mother is very successful in the auto industry and has just released a car she designed herself at the 2015 LA Auto Show. Being a content creator like Doww is a task that requires an unlimited flow of creativity. When he sits down to plan and create a new sketch for his channel, he admits he struggles with writer’s block. “It’s hard to come up with new ideas!” he shares. “To overcome this, I make sure I am observing everything at all times because I find the smallest of ideas can spark big ones.” These ideas he jots down in a notebook he carries at all times. But according to Doww, the true cure for writer’s block is coffee. Though he takes pride in bringing laughter to his audiences, Doww is sure to acknowledge real issues that may be heavier to discuss on his channel. “I didn’t want to simply be seen as the “funny” guy,” he said. “Life isn’t exactly ‘easy’ and I want people to know that there are indeed many bumps in the road, but that ways to cope and manage do exist.” Perhaps one of the most difficult subjects he’s addressed is that of sexuality. Doww openly came out on his channel in his video “Coming out: I am gay, I am human,” and inspired many to feel comfortable in embracing their authentic selves. “I really do have to admit, truly admitting to yourself who you are is the toughest thing, ever.” said Doww. “For someone who may be struggling, I want to remind them that things will and do get better. When you finally come to terms with yourself, you will see a major change in your life and you will begin to blossom into this new, confident, amazing human being.” Throughout his video, he reminds viewers that the day they chose to become comfortable with themselves is the day they truly begin to live.
tiffany ma STORY: EMMA MATTHEWS PHOTOGRAPHY: DILLON DELGADO
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“I think a lot of the criticism YouTubers get is from the poor understanding of what we do. I can tell a stranger I make videos on the internet and they can take that in so many wrong ways. Aside from those who don’t understand YouTube, sometimes we get criticism from our own viewers especially towards sponsored videos,” starts TIFFANY MA. Known for her quirky videos that explore everything from thrifty DIYs to life advice, the 22-year-old has built a community of over 600,000 subscribers. Tiffany first started YouTube when she was 17, where she posted beauty tutorials. As soon as she started college her studies quickly took over and the channel was shortlived. “To be honest, I was never that great at makeup to begin with. The second time I started YouTube was when my grandparents passed away in my junior year of college. Both of them passed away within 30 days of one another, and it hit me like a ton of bricks. I needed to do something that kept my mind busy and YouTube videos became fun again. I’ve been in love with it ever since!” she explains. More and more people are turning to the platform to share their thoughts with the world. For Tiffany, the site has allowed her to flourish in confidence and overcome personal hurdles. “I’m less shy, less awkward, less anxious,
more outgoing, happier, more confident, seriously the list can go on. I used to get anxiety when speaking up, it’s something I still feel but I realized I had tremendously overcame when I gave a speech at my high school graduation,” she recalls. “For some reason, making videos for strangers on the internet helped a lot on my social anxiety. So if you deal with any of these, seriously think about starting your own YouTube channel!” Sure, it’s easy enough to start a channel, but what’s the key to success? Fancy equipment? No. Even fancier editing skills? Definitely not. If Tiffany’s proven anything it’s that creating reliable, down to earth content remains crucial. No matter how many subscribers you have! “I kept YouTube hidden from my personal life for as long as I could. I still get shy telling people I don’t know too well about what I do. My friends and family find this so funny and weird. I think my best promoters are my best friends from college, they love seeing me squirm when they tell people about my channel,” she says. “If you watched my videos from the very beginning, you saw me grow up from an awkward and shy 17-year-old, to a still slightly less awkward 22-yearold. I still watch a ton of the ‘old generation’ YouTubers and think they’re just talking to their friends even though they’ve become incredibly successful.”
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“My style has been in constant evolution since high school, and that jumped into turbo-drive when I entered college. Even work that I’d created only a year apart looked like two completely different people made them!” New York City’s VIVIAN LOH is a creator, illustrator, fashionista, photographer, and extreme internet-er. Loh’s work could be called inconceivable, but she didn’t feel that way about her own work for a while. “I don’t think I actually felt comfortable with my style until my final semester of college. Going to school for illustration was like information overdrive; I was exposed to so many different styles and ways of working! Coming to recognize my own strengths and weaknesses as an artist, I also found myself a lasting illustrative identity: colorful, playful, and clean!” We asked Loh what her process was when illustrating. “I’m not much of a sketchbook user these days. My most recent one is filled with singular words or short phrases that allow me to picture exactly what I mean. Instead of trying to sketch that vision onto paper, words work best for me,” says Loh. “I also tend to look at shape and silhouette before color. Composition is so important for me, since all my work is extremely clean. There are no excessive flourishes, I like every strand of hair or cloud in the sky to have their own impact.” Artists always have a certain message they want their work to portray. “I want to show everyone a fresh new perspective.” But what inspires a person to continue pursuing their passion? Loh takes an extreme interest in fashion. “Fashion has and always will inspire me. There is nothing more exciting than self-expression through what you put on your body! I love brands like Jacquemus, Eckhaus Latta, and Hood By Air. To me, they’re all changing what it means to wear clothes!” We’ve all been through some awkward clothing stages. Sometimes you just want to see a flip book of your fashion taste over time, right? Now think about your style now. How would you describe it? Loh knows just the feeling. She says, “My sense of style is really in transition right now; I spent the past three years dressing monochromatically in only black or white, but now I’ve been opening up to grey, navy, and nude tones. Regardless of my current color palette, I think I will always be quite a tomboy!”
STORY: BRINDY FRANCIS // PHOTOGRAPHY: ASHLEY YU
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“EVEN THE SMALLEST GESTURE FROM THE HUMAN BODY CAN SPEAK VOLUMES IN A PHOTOGRAPH, AND I LOVE FIGURING OUT HOW TO MAKE MY SUBJECTS STAND OUT.”
Loh is also a big fan of photography. “There has never been a day where I’m not photographing another human being. I love taking pictures of people, it doesn’t matter to me if it’s on the street or in the studio. Even the smallest gesture from the human body can speak volumes in a photograph, and I love figuring out how to make my subjects stand out.” What do you think genius creators like Loh do on their free time? “Honestly, though? I’m such a homebody. I love just kicking back, watching shows, online shopping, and eating really good food!” Who could blame her? There’s nothing better than kicking back, eating, and listening to some tunes. Loh describes her music taste as “sad girl music.” Something to remember is to really live in the moment. Enjoy your youth. It goes by quickly. “I always feel like I should’ve traveled more. I mean, I’m only 22, but now I’m in this zone where it’s all about finding a stable career path, and hustling to make ends meet, but once I land that full-time job or get tied up in a gig— when will I be able to find time to travel? Being in your early 20’s is like the ultimate catch 22: you have all the energy to do fun, great things, but not necessarily the money! And when you have the money, you can’t leave your post!” We all get stumped sometimes. Think about it. You start a painting and you are loving it! Then, you run out of new ideas. The painting becomes unattractive and old. “When I’m feeling burnt out, that’s usually when I go to my friends for advice. There is nothing better than a fresh pair of eyes on a drawing you’re practically sick of!” Take it from our pal Vivian Loh. “Just don’t stop working at it! Perseverance is key.” What will we see next from our new best friend, Vivian Loh? “Right now I’m working on some new photo projects with other collaborators and friends. It’s been really exciting to come up as an artist in this city!” Loh’s current aspiration is to be a brand’s creative director.
STORY: ASHLEY BULAYO PHOTOGRAPHY: KAREN HERNANDEZ H/MUA: JESSIE YARBOROUGH STYLING: KATIE QIAN
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Imagine if you lived your life going off what other people had to say. One person says you can’t do this or you can’t do that so you believe them. What if they were wrong? What would your life be like if you didn’t listen to the naysayers? You’d feel accomplished. You’d feel proud of yourself. Take Gallant for example. If he were to listen to the advice that his lyrics were too strange or didn’t fit a certain genre, Gallant would never be where he is today. Los Angeles based singer CHRISTOPHER GALLANT AKA GALLANT (pronounced Guh-lant for those of you curious like me) never fit the cookie cutter formula of an R&B artist. But really, why would you want to be similar to your peers? When asked on what Gallant would say to the negative feedback he used to receive, he responds, “Honestly, I would ask them how it’s going for all those dudes they championed for sticking to strict guidelines and suggest they open their minds to a broader range of possibilities if they want their opinions to have any serious clout in the future.” Gallant’s career path stemmed completely out of nowhere. Actually, it came from pure boredom after school. He was drawn to “messing around with melodies and lyrics.” Next thing you know, writing songs came naturally and took the place of writing in a journal. See, there’s nothing wrong with being bored! Great things can happen. Since then, Gallant pretty much can’t picture his life without creating music. If he didn’t move forward in this industry, he wouldn’t know what he would be doing right now. The singer goes on to say, “I’m sure I’d be living a life that I’m totally happy with, assuming we’re talking about an alternate universe where I didn’t connect with music and therefore didn’t go forward with it. Otherwise, I would probably be spending a lot of time wishing I was doing something I actually liked. Who knows? It’s just not the current reality so it’s hard to speculate.”
The current theme of this article? Don’t let anyone stop you from doing what you love. You’ve heard this a million times but Gallant is full proof. This year, multiple sources have labeled him as the “Artist to Watch.” With his act going on the road to performing in shows like Coachella this April, this is just the beginning. In at least five years, Gallant hopes to sit and listen to a few of his albums and say to himself, “Wow, I’m really proud of that” or “Oh yeah, I remember that moment” all while drinking coffee and watching some Cartoon Network. A few of the tracks he could listen to in the future include his string of hits such as “Weight in Gold,” “Blue Bucket of Gold (feat. Sufjan Stevens)” and his recent collaboration with Jhené Aiko, “Skipping Stones,” which collectively generated over seven million hits on Spotify alone. (Gallant adds, “[Jhené is] an incredible human being, the process couldn’t have gone more smoothly and I would love to do it again. I do have some more collaboration in the vault that I’m really excited about.”) His 2014 Zebra EP received many positive reviews with comparisons to artists such as The Weeknd or Maxwell and surprised reactions when finding out that some of those songs were recorded in unconventional ways. Ex: “Jupiter Greyscale” was recorded while laying down on his mattress with a box of Oreos. His method of recording songs is just as nonchalant as him putting his actual songs together. With no real formula or pattern to go off on, “it’s pretty much different every time. It’s sort of like ‘How do you go about deciding what to eat for dinner?’ Most of the time an idea just pops into my head and I roll with it.” Look, who knows? You’ve probably have heard or seen Gallant and you just didn’t realize it. Next time you’re driving around, peep for a huge billboard with his name plastered across it. “I’m obviously very humbled and thankful and undeserving—but I find [the] fact that my face is up on the side of a building just really, really nuts.” And, for those of you who have yet to hop on to your preferred streaming website to hear his music, Gallant has a few words for you, “Hey. I made some songs where I talk about how I’m feeling—let me know what you think.”
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parson james STORY: ALEXIS JARRETT PHOTOGRAPHY: MADISON BASS-TAYLOR POLARIODS: PRISHTINA GJONAJ
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Musical artists often aim to bring light to a certain issue or idea. However, southern-born PARSON JAMES is reaching his audience on a new level. He released his EP, The Temple this year on February 5th. The greatly anticipated EP featured three popular hit singles “Temple” and “Sinner Like You” alongside two previously unheard of tracks “Slow Dance with the Devil” and “Waiting Game” as well as the original version of the hugely popular hit single, “Stole The Show.” Inspired by “Hypocrisy, hope, fear, and love,” James said that he is excited that he is able to release music, let alone a successful EP and mini-documentary. “When I think about all of the years prior to this happening and what has [gone] into creating these bodies of work it’s overwhelming to me. I was a different person a few years ago,” he said. “I wasn’t fully comfortable with myself as a person and things from my childhood prohibited me from fully expressing myself. I think I’m most excited about the fact that I can be completely open and honest and tell these stories the way that I want to sonically and visually and that people are actually paying attention.” Most artists encounter obstacles when it comes to releasing works of art. James said he had to overcome an obstacle in the process of creating the EP and the mini-documentary. “I think [it was] just learning to be completely vulnerable and honest with my art. It’s very scary to be so open with something you care so much about.” Along with the success of the EP, James has also been making appearances and making his name known. He performed the co-written single, “Stole The Show” with Norwegian tropical house maven, Kygo on the Ellen DeGeneres Show this past January. The single peaked at #4 on the Global Spotify chart and has over 320 million streams on Spotify worldwide. It also hit #1 on the Hype Machine chart and peaked in the Top 10 on the Shazam Worldwide chart.
“AN ARTIST WITH MANY FEARS AND INSECURITIES BUT AN ARTIST WITH HOPE AND COMPASSION. ”
“I THINK THE BIGGEST OBSTACLE IN MUSIC IS BEING ABLE TO TRULY BE YOURSELF WITHOUT LIMITATIONS.” When asked of the success of his EP, James said that he is still surprised people know who he is. “It is just mind-boggling. I’ve ached for this and I am just completely grateful to be able to release music.” However, it’s no surprise the music is such a hit with audiences. James brings a new personality to the genre by being exactly who he is. “I would say that I am an honest artist,” he said. “An artist with many fears and insecurities but an artist with hope and compassion.” James also released a powerful new mini-documentary titled “A Sinner Like You.” The beautiful videography and and deeply honest documentary premiered on i-D Magazine. It tells the story of Parson’s life growing up in the deep-south as an openly gay teen and born into a bi-racial family. Amongst the bible-belt, James was subjected to abuse and racism and he says he drew strength from his songwriting. “I just thought it was extremely important to shed light on how race and homophobia is addressed in areas like I grew up,” he said on his reason for filming the mini-documentary. “I know so many people who had similar upbringings but no one who is making music really speaks out in that way and actually goes back and actually put people who aren’t used to that way of life into those situations.” When pressured to be a more general artist and not address issues, James refused. “I’ve had to fight for that a bit in the past. I think the biggest obstacle in music is being able to truly be yourself without limitations.” While it illustrates where James came from, it also shows what makes him stand out from others in his genre. “We all have different things to bring to the table. Everyone’s story is different,” he said, “which is the beautiful thing about art because every artist is going to have a different story to tell. I think that my background and growing up the way I did affected me in a huge way and that comes through in my lyrics and the music itself.” James is currently working on his debut album and said he is excited to perform at Firefly Music festival. If you want to find him in the next year, look at your nearby city’s live music listings. “I plan to be in every city possible singing my a*s off.”
soulpancake STORY: KARINA DIEZ PHOTOGRAPHY: KAREN HERNANDEZ
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In 2008, Rainn Wilson, whose alter ego is Dwight the “hard working, alpha-male, jackhammer on The Office, and Devon Gundry, founded SOULPANCAKE, a production company with an ideology revolving around inspiring people to get in touch with their humanity. According to their philosophy, they “Create stuff that matters. That opens your heart. That makes you think. [Their] mission is to help you and your audience figure out what it means to be human and feel damn good doing it. [Their] Brain batter of art, culture, science, philosophy, spirituality, and humor is designed to get people talking, sharing, and engaging with this crazy, exciting, creative journey that is life.” They make it a point to pose questions that may not usually be addressed; life’s big wonderments. While we’re on the topic of important questions, GOLRIZ LUCINA, SoulPancake’s Chief Creative Officer, said that one of the most asked questions about their company is the origin of their offbeat name. “[Rainn and Devon] wanted something that had a spiritual basis or connected to this idea of spirituality, philosophy, and creativity,” said Lucina. “But, they didn’t want to take it too seriously. [Rain] always jokes that he wanted to call it SoulCasserole but that no one knew how to spell casserole. So, we ended up with with SoulPancake and it stuck.” The SoulPancake team truly believes in the power of media and using it as a tool to make change in the world. “We see ourselves as having this responsibility to make content that really encourages people to explore what it means to be human and really take the reins of their lives, jump in, feel it, talk about it, question it, and go on this journey to really understand from each other,” said Lucina. “Rainn felt [that], especially for young people, there’s not always a place to go to ask the big questions. He wanted to create a company that encouraged questions and encouraged us asking them of each other.”
SoulPancake devotes itself to the investigation of truth, and carries out this goal through their extremely collaborative environment. Regardless of their position in the company, everyone’s ideas are taken into consideration when it comes to brainstorming for content. “We believe that everyone at SoulPancake is creative. It just shows up in different outlets. We’re trying to create a space that feels vibrant, fresh, young, and in touch with what is going on right now in the world while also digging into these themes that have been around since the beginning of time,” said Lucina. “Some of the philosophies we’re diving into aren’t new but the way we’re presenting [them are] a little different.” Staying true to the essence of SoulPancake is something the team has to consider when working with the big names that come to their company requesting content that feels “SoulPancakey,” as Lucina put it. “We have to ensure that however we integrate [their] product into our work, the end result is still something we can stand behind that is an extension of our mission,” said Lucina. “It has to be a win/ win for both. The times where our content has done the best truly has been a winning point for both SoulPancake and the brands that we partner with.” When asked what her favorite thing about working for SoulPancake is, Lucina responded,
“WE’RE HERE [TO] GIVE PEOPLE AN ALTERNATIVE OF WHAT THEY CAN CONSUME AND HOW THEY CAN FEEL WHEN THEY’RE CONSUMING IT. IT’S AMAZING WHEN YOU FIND A JOB THAT DOESN’T FEEL LIKE WORK. I FINALLY FOUND WHAT I WANT TO BE WHEN I GROW UP AND IT’S THIS.”
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“WE BELIEVE THAT EVERYONE AT SOULPANCAKE IS CREATIVE. IT JUST SHOWS UP IN DIFFERENT OUTLETS. WE’RE TRYING TO CREATE A SPACE THAT FEELS VIBRANT, FRESH, YOUNG, AND IN TOUCH WITH WHAT IS GOING ON RIGHT NOW IN THE WORLD WHILE ALSO DIGGING INTO THESE THEMES THAT HAVE BEEN AROUND SINCE THE BEGINNING OF TIME.”
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michael willett STORY: HARRIET STANLEY PHOTOGRAPHY: KAREN HERNANDEZ
There’s no denying the sheer talent that spills from MICHAEL WILLETT. Both an actor and a musician, the twenty-six year old has graced our screens since a young age but now music is to have a more prominent role as WILLETT bursts onto the scene. Arguably best known for his role of Shane in MTV’s critically acclaimed comedy series, Faking It, Willett’s character is described as “a modern day Ferris Bueller.” An openly gay high school teenager who oozes popularity, Shane manages to flaunt his way through school all whilst wearing an array of stylish outfits. Yet it’s not the first time Willett has played a character who is openly gay—something that resonates with himself being openly homosexual—as he’s shone on the screen as Tanner in the hit movie G.B.F, along with the tender role of Lionel in the Emmy Nominated United States of Tara series for Showtime. But Willett disputes any notions of these characters bearing resemblances, “While others may see these characters as the same because they are all gay, I see each as being very different.” There are rarely any instances where heterosexual characters are questioned over similarity due to their sexuality, so why should gay characters be given the same treatment? “A character is not interesting for me to play because of their sexuality.” Willett defends, before also mentioning, “While I haven’t played a straight character, I look forward to playing one in the future.”
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No two characters are ever the same, nor do they all relate directly with Willett simply over sexuality. “Any good casting is based on a character that is most like you in some capacity… it’s instantly believable.” He says, but goes on to add, “While I relate to certain aspects of these characters, I can’t say that any are exactly like me.” The importance of LGBTQ characters in today’s society is huge, however. Willett hopes that Faking It “is something to look up to,” and to have a show as such broadcast on such a prominent channel “is very important because we are not in a society that is fully accepting yet.” Faking It shines for its openness to these topics, taking place in a school “that is progressive, accepting, and open to different types of people.” Only in recent years have LGBTQ characters become roles in today’s television and film industry and Willett believes, “The more exposure, the better.” Both Faking It and G.B.F target the more youthful, adolescent audience dealing with topics such as ‘coming out’ and teens discovering their identity. Willett aspires to offer a source of comfort,
“I AM TRYING TO CREATE CHARACTERS WHO ARE MULTI-DIMENSIONAL, AND HOPEFULLY PEOPLE RELATE TO THAT.”
He also shuts down the fear of being ‘outed’ assuring any person struggling with their sexuality, “Try not to be afraid of that. While there may be pressure on you, there isn’t any—it is totally on your terms.” With such impressive projects under his belt, it’s hard to imagine that Willett has the time for anything else yet since at a young age, music has always played a significant role in his life. “I’ve always sung,” He begins, “And then I started to do theatre, and started to take voice lessons. It has always been a natural progression, but I always had music in my life.” This year it seems, his project WILLETT (cleverly named after himself) will finally blast through speakers as 2015 saw him “finally finishing my album that I’ve been working on for six years.” It’s a long time coming, so no wonder there’s plenty of excitement surrounding its release. Only recently was the name dropped and frankly, it’s beautiful. Regeneration: Phase 1, it packs a punch, doesn’t it? Described as a story with its first chapter, plenty is left for the imagination and Willett describes his sound as “a modern take on classic rock from the 60s and 70s… with a touch of glam!” Yet, when it comes down to it he strongly believes it’s indefinable, not wanting to pin a genre on something to be taken as “universal.”
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Willett cites a variety of influences from the likes of Freddie Mercury, No Doubt and Muse to name a few but there’s always been one man that really struck a chord. David Bowie. Having passed away in January this year, the loss of such an iconic, revolutionary man smothered the world with a blanket of sadness and Willett was no different, as just like many others, he says, “I am going to miss his presence in the world.” An incredible influence on him, Willett adored how “he was constantly creating and writing,” and his role as both a musician and an actor was of course, very relatable. Perhaps the touch of glam in Regeneration: Phase 1 will be a little tribute to Ziggy Stardust, whose glamour shone through his music like booming fireworks lighting up a darkened sky. There’s plenty to envision, and for fans who wish to subscribe to WILLETT’s mailing list, it may be worth checking out the website for an exclusive free download. All in all, however, Willett will never be able to choose between acting or music. “Acting pays my bills,” He says, which of course is a very smart answer, “And music feeds my soul— I need them both. They are both essential.” It’s incredibly refreshing to see a young talent understand the need for passion, not ever wishing to give one or the other up, and it just proves that even if you’re out there with a full-time job, you can still pursue whatever it is that you want to do. Who says you can’t do both? Willett is solid proof of that.
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olivia avenue STORY: KENDALL BOLAM PHOTOGRAPHY: TRACY NGUYEN
In the historic city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania lives artist and content creator, OLIVIA AVENUE. Specializing in photography, short films, and digital media, Olivia produces art that is both personal yet engaging towards an extensive audience. Her content ranges from encouraging videos about love to photographs of smiling faces beaming towards the camera. When asked where her initial inspiration came from Olivia responded, “I began taking photographs when I was really young; I guess I have always been drawn to it. I used to take my mom’s camera and take photos of anything that was around me. My inspiration came from my environment.” With that statement in mind, it is very easy to see where Olivia finds her inspiration. Her Instagram and personal website contain images that convey a sense of nostalgia and dreaminess, transporting the viewer into what can only be described as Olivia Avenue. “I love photographs that you can just look at that make you feel like you were there in the moment,” says Olivia. “A lot of times we take pictures to remember people or places, and that is what I aim to do with my photos. Being able to take a photo or make a video out of a time and place is a wonderful feeling.”
One of Olivia’s frequent projects is her short films. They are a montage of images and clips of anything and everything. What makes an artist truly set apart is their ability to create meaning from the unexpected. Olivia succeeds with grace. In regards to her channel, she says, “YouTube is a platform where you can upload literally anything, which gives you the complete ability to express yourself in any way that you feel suits you. I love to be able to spread the positivity of creativity with people all around the world. YouTube allows me to share my thoughts and ideas with people on the other side of the world, which in itself is amazing.” What motivates Olivia to continue making daily content is the knowledge that her message can carry encouragement and spread positivity to those who need it most. When asked to give advice to aspiring young artists, she says, “Simply go after what you want in life, and don’t let anybody’s opinion stop you.” Olivia is going places; whether that is back into the city to take aesthetically pleasing photos or into the mountains with the intention of filming, Olivia Avenue is expanding and it is a thrill to see where it will lead.
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GLIMPSE: NYFW 2016
claudia li PHOTOGRAPHY
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community + MARCH 2016 +
Got my copy of @localwolves February issue! — @lhoycelmarie via instagram
Sunday reading! Check out some of my design work in the latest issues of Local Wolves — @lrnwrght via instagram
@localwolves is at the top of our #TBR stack today. Check out their interview with @raymondbraun and @orionvanessa’s #PSPositivity column. — @issuu via instagram
# L O C A LW O LV E S T O B E F E AT U R E D +
I got my @localwolves mag in the mail on Saturday and I finally have a little bit of time to read it today. It’s gorgeous, as always. — @lauralucy_f via Instagram
Finally had a free afternoon to catch up on sleep, read the newest issue of @localwolves! — @kristy.cheung via instagram
Delicious fruits and @localwolves. Happy day. — @jessicalove1997 via instagram
First time I’ve ever been featured in a magazine and couldn’t be more thankful for the opportunity! — @paigelorentzen via instagram
Hey there, friends! The February issue of @localwolves just launched and I couldn’t be more stoked! — @karina.diez via instagram
Celebrate the freaken’ weekend with the new @localwolves featuring @raymondbraun. — @issuu via instagram
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On the cover, Gallant // Featuring: Jess Glynne, Mainland, Parson James, SoulPancake and loads more.