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mad sounds

SPRING 2018

a publication for the young and daring

the dreamer’s issue ISSUE NO. 27


mad sounds a publication for the young and daring Giselle Melendres Editor-in-Chief, Creative Director, & Designer info@madsoundsmagazine.com Contributing Writers Emily Pitcher, Janet Garcia, Ann LeMonnier, Chalisa Singh Contributing Photographers Darrell Jackson, Ashley Seryn, Alberto Villa, Nicole Solero, Andre Nguyen, Kayla Mendez, Chalisa Singh A Special Thanks To.... Andre Nguyen, Kayla Mendez, Emily Pitcher, Ashley Seryn Colette Patnaude, Expand Entertainment, & Meredith Foster

ON THE COVER -

Photography by Andre Nguyen @yourfriendandre Featuring Meredith Foster @meredithfoster


the young & daring

@madsoundsmag www.madsoundsmagazine.com @madsoundsmag


contents

photography by ANDRE NGUYEN @yourfriendandre featuring MEREDITH FOSTER @meredithfoster


introduction 006 the dreamer’s issue a letter from the editor editorials 008 dream gaze by DARRELL JACKSON 018 only want you by ASHLEY SERYN 028 weary blues by ALBERTO VILLA 036 bonjour baby by NICOLE SOLERO think pieces 044 an ode to dreamers by EMILY PITCHER features 046 Meredith Foster YouTube Content Creator 062 Andre Nguyen Photographer & Visual Artist 076 Kayla Mendez Photographer & Visual Artist music 092 COIN a photo journal


photography by ANDRE NGUYEN @yourfriendandre featuring MEREDITH FOSTER @meredithfoster


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the dreamer’s issue MEREDITH FOSTER

ANDRE NGUYEN

Hello again dear readers! It’s that time again, and another issue of Mad Sounds is finally ready for your eyes. This issue of Mad Sounds was particularly special to me, not only for its theme, but for the special creative that we had the opportunity to feature on the cover of this issue. Our twenty-seventh issue is dedicated to dreams, where our biggest dreams are cultivated by growth, self-love, and working towards new beginnings. I couldn’t think of a better person to feature on this issue’s cover than Meredith Foster, a shining star in the world of YouTube and content creation whose radiance and positivity has served as one of our primary inspirations for this issue. Meredith’s journey through wellness, spirituality, and developing her craft for over eight years on YouTube is not only admirable but deeply inspiring, and shows us the

importance of loving deeply, living passionately, and dreaming big — no matter what. In this issue we’ve also had the opportunity to feature some amazing work from visual artists such as Andre Nguyen (the creative mind behind our cover shoot with Meredith!), Kayla Mendez, Ashley Seryn, Darrell Jackson, Alberto Villa, Nicole Solero, Chalisa Singh, and many more, and we’re so excited to be sharing their works with you in this special issue of Mad Sounds. I hope this issue makes you feel, makes you dream, and makes you inspired to follow your passions. I hope you dance to your favorite song, write poetry in a city where no one knows your name, live fully, laugh loudly, and live without regrets. And most of all, dear reader — I hope you never stop dreaming.

Giselle Melendres Founder + Editor-in-Chief Mad Sounds 007


dream gaze photography by DARRELL JACKSON @djacks.jpg featuring ALAYSIA @aye.alaysia


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photography by DARRELL JACKSON @djacks.jpg featuring ALAYSIA @aye.alaysia


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photography by DARRELL JACKSON @djacks.jpg featuring ALAYSIA @aye.alaysia


photography by DARRELL JACKSON @djacks.jpg featuring ALAYSIA @aye.alaysia


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photography by DARRELL JACKSON @djacks.jpg featuring ALAYSIA @aye.alaysia


photography by ASHLEY SERYN @ashleyseryn featuring KEEON SCOTT @creamaawheat for MARGAUX MODELS

only want you photography by ASHLEY SERYN @ashleyseryn featuring KEEON SCOTT @creamaawheat MARGAUX MODELS @margauxmodels


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photography by ASHLEY SERYN @ashleyseryn featuring KEEON SCOTT @creamaawheat for MARGAUX MODELS


photography by ASHLEY SERYN @ashleyseryn featuring KEEON SCOTT @creamaawheat for MARGAUX MODELS


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photography by ASHLEY SERYN @ashleyseryn featuring KEEON SCOTT @creamaawheat for MARGAUX MODELS


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photography by ASHLEY SERYN @ashleyseryn featuring KEEON SCOTT @creamaawheat for MARGAUX MODELS

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photography by ALBERTO VILLA @righteousombre featuring (left) HEIDI JANE @heidiijane (right) DAGNEY HOLLMANN @wearyblues

weary blues


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photography by ALBERTO VILLA @righteousombre featuring (left) DAGNEY HOLLMANN @wearyblues (right) HEIDI JANE @heidiijane & ALLY RUBBO @allyrubbo


photography by ALBERTO VILLA @righteousombre featuring SOPHIA ARAUJO-JOHNSON @poshwaffle


photography by ALBERTO VILLA @righteousombre featuring DAGNEY HOLLMANN @wearyblues HEIDI JANE @heidiijane & ALLY RUBBO @allyrubbo


bonjour baby photography by NICOLE SOLERO @nicolesolero featuring DANNY CLARK @dannyoclark


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photography by NICOLE SOLERO @nicolesolero featuring DANNY CLARK @dannyoclark


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photography by NICOLE SOLERO @nicolesolero featuring DANNY CLARK @dannyoclark


photography by NICOLE SOLERO @nicolesolero featuring DANNY CLARK @dannyoclark


photography by DARRELL JACKSON@djacks.jpg featuring ALAYSIA @aye.alaysia written by EMILY PITCHER @xmilyp

an ode to dreamers


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When I was in elementary school, my friend Rebecca and I were convinced we had superpowers. We would run around on our school’s playground, creating stories of how we would use our magic abilities, mostly to get out of the mile run in our PE class. Every recess, we would immerse ourselves in a world created by us, exchanging inside jokes about our soon-to-be queenship. Two eight year old, suburban kids were going to take over the world. Sometimes, I still think about those days, junk food infested and hopelessly optimistic. I think about the mismatched outfits that my grandmother picked out for me and my obsession with spicy ramen. I think about my unwavering belief in a hope for better days. Looking back, it’s laughing about crazy schemes with one of my closest friends that taught me what it means to dream. While I no longer aspire to world domination, I have found solace and wonder in real-life magic: storytelling. I used to fantasize about what type of ruler I would be and now, I write poems about the end of the honeymoon phase. Now, I am actualizing my passion into more than just a childhood dream. The first time I was published, I was fifteen. It was a magazine’s first and only issue, probably read by a dozen people. The day it was released, I texted the link to all of my friends, made myself a smoothie bowl, and read the issue over and over again with an uncontrollable, giddy smile plastered on my face. I danced in my room and wrote more poetry and realized that writing was not something I could ever give up. The excitement of releasing my words to an audience has not faded. I am in a blossoming relationship with words, and we have no intention of ending our bond anytime soon.

I’ve been told that my ambition of being a writer is as absurd as having superpowers. I know just how scary “I want to be a writer” sounds to immigrant Chinese parents. Maybe I am as ridiculous as my younger self, but there is a part of me that tells me with every piece I write, with every story I encounter, that I must chase the impossible. My grandma who used to scoff at creative careers now understands that there is a drive in me that cannot be quieted. I have been telling stories for over a decade, once in the form of conversations with Rebecca, now through words. My life has become a yin and yang of desire; when I’m writing, I wish I was experiencing more of life, going on late night adventures with my friends, laying on rooftops to stargaze. Yet when I’m putting myself out there - performing spoken word, falling in love - I wish I was in my bedroom, writing the moments down as they come. Writing is what has made my life so vibrant, so full, so electric. To calm one of my greatest joys because it’s against what is expected of me is not how I will live my life. It wasn’t how I lived my life back then, and it isn’t how I will live my life now. When I was eight years old, I never once doubted that my superpowers were fictional. I am now at the beginning of adulthood, I have doubted the viability of storytelling as a career endless times, but I am still here, sharing my narrative. I am hoping for better days and chasing the impossible. This is only the beginning.

“Maybe I am as ridiculous as my younger self, but there is a part of me that tells me with every piece I write, with every story I encounter, that I must chase the impossible.”

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photography by ANDRE NGUYEN @yourfriendandre featuring MEREDITH FOSTER @meredithfoster interview by EMILY PITCHER @xmilyp

meredith foster


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photography by ANDRE NGUYEN @yourfriendandre featuring MEREDITH FOSTER @meredithfoster


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meredith foster interview by EMILY PITCHER @xmilyp words by MEREDITH FOSTER @meredithfoster photography by ANDRE NGUYEN @yourfriendandre

Meet Meredith Foster, a Los Angeles based lifestyle YouTuber who is teaching her 4.8 million following about health, style, and inner beauty. She’s our cover star for our 27th issue of Mad Sounds, “Dreamers,” and we had the opportunity to chat with Meredith about her growth as an

online content creator, how to discover your passions, and where she finds inspiration. Meredith rose to fame when she was a teenager for her beauty and fashion videos, and she has been paving

the way for female YouTubers on this everchanging platform since. Read on to learn about Mere-

dith’s health and mindfulness journey and how she chooses compassion in the face of negativity.

Hi Meredith, thank you so much for chatting with us at Mad Sounds today! To start off, can you tell us about a typical day in the life of Meredith Foster? As much as I love being in a routine, I have been trying to live more spontaneously, so my days are looking more different each day. Things that remain constant would be finding time to meditate and journal, getting my body moving through yoga or walks in my neighborhood, and cooking delicious meals! You started making videos when you were just a teenager. As a now 22 year old, how do you feel about the evolution of your channel? How do you see your content changing in the future? It’s crazy because I have gone through so many

phases and stages of my life over these past 8 years! My whole teenage years were spent on YouTube, which wasn’t always easy at times but such a blessing and cool thing! I was able to find my voice and share it with others. I see my content changing right now as my passions have evolved and I have transformed. I want to share what I have learned on my journey and the different experiences I have gone through to inspire others on their journey. Recently, you have been opening up about body-image and health. How has your lifestyle and mindset changed from the past? I made some major lifestyle changes over a year ago that have drastically changed my life and view of myself. I was not taking care of my mind, body, and soul. I used to stay out past 2 am and con-

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photography by ANDRE NGUYEN @yourfriendandre featuring MEREDITH FOSTER @meredithfoster


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photography by ANDRE NGUYEN @yourfriendandre featuring MEREDITH FOSTER @meredithfoster


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Being a YouTuber comes with many expectations and critiques from audiences around the internet. How do you deal with these expectations? How do you deal with hate or negativity?

sume things that were not good for my overall well-being. I started reflecting, going inward, and looking at what changes I wanted to make. I made the decision to let go of things and people that no longer served my highest good. I started taking care of my body by eating nourishing foods, getting daily exercise, and getting more sleep.

I try to not take anything personally. If I see a negative comment I remember that the person might be struggling with themselves and it really has nothing to do with me at all. Send them a comment of positivity back! When you focus on the love and compassion in others, negativity and hate will fall away. We attract what we think about so choose your thoughts wisely!

What does self-love mean to you? What is your biggest advice for learning to love yourself? Self love to me is accepting and embracing all versions of yourself. As we transform and change from our past selves it is important to remember the person you were that made you the person you are now. My biggest advice for learning to love yourself is that it’s a constant journey. It’s not something you can just learn overnight — it’s something you work on your whole life.

Working as an internet creator means that you are your own boss. How do you balance your work life and personal life? Finding a balance isn’t always easy. It takes dedication, time management, and organization. I block off the weekend for hanging out with friends and family and then spend most of the week being creative and doing work!

On the “About” section of your channel, you emphasize that “beauty comes from within.” How have you learned to appreciate your inner-beauty?

Where do you find inspiration for your YouTube videos? What video are you most proud of?

People tend to focus on outer appearance when they hear the word beauty. We are our own harshest critics and will want to pick out every flaw we see, but beauty comes from within. Beauty is not in our face or body but a light in our heart. Beauty is kindness, giving, and selflessness. I appreciate my inner beauty everyday by focusing on how I treat others and myself.

I find inspiration from everywhere but mostly when I am meditating or going within. This is how I get in alignment with what is true for me. I am most proud of the videos that show my authentic self and vulnerability. When you live authentically, it inspires others to do the same and I love seeing others find their true voice.

It can be hard to find the motivation to pursue wellness and healthy living, what are your biggest tips for pursuing a healthy lifestyle and staying motivated? Wanting to live a healthy life has to start with your own motivation to do it, not from someone else telling you to. Once you set your mind to it, it can be so rewarding! Our bodies are temples and when you remember how it feels to treat it well, you will never want to stop.

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photography by ANDRE NGUYEN @yourfriendandre featuring MEREDITH FOSTER @meredithfoster


photography by ANDRE NGUYEN @yourfriendandre featuring MEREDITH FOSTER @meredithfoster


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“Our passions fuel us, give us hope, and ignite a light that cannot be snuffed out so go after what it is you desire most and share it with the world.” -M E R E D I T H F O S T E R

photography by ANDRE NGUYEN @yourfriendandre featuring MEREDITH FOSTER @meredithfoster


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What would you like your audience to take away from your videos?

can design your life the way you dream it. If you put in the work, you will see the magic. Paint your world with the colors, words, and visions you see it in. I dream of a blissful state of mind, body, and soul where the world exists as one and we love each other fully and unconditionally.

I want to help my audience on their own individual journey. When you learn something new or discover something amazing, you want to share it with your friends and that’s exactly what I’m doing with my viewers! We all have a light within us whether we know it or not and I want to help others ignite theirs!

What is the biggest life lesson you’ve learned in your time on YouTube?

You are only 22 years old and have already found a career doing what you love. What advice would you give to others for discovering and pursuing their passions?

The biggest life lesson I learned is actually finding my own personal strength. My inner strength has been tested throughout my time on YouTube by people and situations. I really came to understand and find myself by being brought down which then led me to build myself back up. I am grateful for these experiences because at the end of the day, they made me who I am today.

Don’t let anyone’s opinion or actions stop you from going after what you want and becoming the best version of you! When you create things that reflect who you are and what you love, people are inspired to do the same. It’s like a ripple or domino effect! Our passions fuel us, give us hope, and ignite a light that cannot be snuffed out so go after what it is you desire most and share it with the world.

What is an item on your bucket list that you have not completed yet? Is there a reason you have not done it yet? I want to go camping in the woods! I haven’t done it because I need to get my camping gear and find someone to come with me!

How has your style changed throughout the years? My style has been all over the place but I really found my style in the last year when I started buying retro and vintage clothes from antique malls. I love the 70’s and feel like I would have thrived in all aspects during that decade so I like to channel Stevie Nicks from Fleetwood Mac.

If you could define yourself in three words, what would they be? Empathetic, thoughtful, and supportive. What is one quote you live by?

Issue 27 is called “The Dreamer’s Issues” dedicated to dreamers around the globe. What does being a dreamer mean to you? What do you dream about?

“Set your life on fire. Seek those who fan your flames.” -Rumi

To me, being a dreamer is about realising that you are in control of your destiny. You

KEEP UP WITH MEREDITH: Instagram/Twitter: @meredithfoster YouTube: Meredith Foster & VlogsbyMeredith

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photography by ANDRE NGUYEN @yourfriendandre featuring MEREDITH FOSTER @meredithfoster


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photography by ANDRE NGUYEN @yourfriendandre featuring (left) SIERRA FURTADO @sierrafurtado (right) PAIGE LORENTZEN @paigelorentzen interview by JANET GARCIA

andre nguyen


photography by ANDRE NGUYEN @yourfriendandre featuring SIERRA FURTADO @sierrafurtado


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andre nguyen interview by JANET GARCIA @slimjaney photography by ANDRE NGUYEN @yourfriendandre

Photographer and Southern California native, Andre Nguyen, has amounted over 147 thousands followers on his Instagram, @yourfriendandre, through his captivating and

colorful photography. Photography wasn’t always his dream, but the older he grew, the more he realized his passion for art and photography. Mad Sounds had the opportuni-

ty to talk to Andre about the pursuit of his creative dreams as a photographer and his

journey in achieving them. Read our interview to learn more about our friend, Andre!

Hi Andre, thanks so much for chatting with us today! To start off, can you tell us about a typical day for Andre Nguyen? A typical day in my life is very spontaneous. Normally, I wake up and start my day off at school but I have recently dropped my classes and am now pursuing photography full-time. Now, my days usually start off answering emails and messages. I usually try to have one or more shoots planned everyday in order to keep my social media content fresh and new and also fit in client shoots and brand deals. How did first you get into photography? When did you first discover your passion for photography? Photography initially started out as something fun that I would do with friends in order to capture memories when we’d go to fun places and eventually became something that I am now passionate about.

What are some challenges you’ve faced when it comes to photography? Some challenges when it comes to photography is being taken serious as an artist and a creative. A lot of people underestimate the amount of time, effort and creativity that goes into a photographer’s work and it’s easy to feel undervalued, especially in a very competitive industry. It’s definitely also a challenge maintaining all my social medias, especially Instagram, as the platform continues to evolve and change. How do you describe your style as an artist? I would describe my photography style as vibrant and fun. I love bringing out people’s personalities in my photos and try to invoke certain emotions depending on the vibe of my photos.

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photography by ANDRE NGUYEN @yourfriendandre featuring (left) SIERRA FURTADO @sierrafurtado (right) AUBREY DESTREMPS @aubreydestremps


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photography by ANDRE NGUYEN @yourfriendandre featuring MEREDITH FOSTER @meredithfoster


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Who are some of your inspirations in the photography world?

What are some of the biggest differences between Los Angeles and Santa Barbara?

It’s hard to pinpoint just a few inspirations because I’m inspired by so many different people from fellow photographers to models and other influencers/bloggers. If I follow someone on Instagram, it usually is a good indicator that they inspire me in some way.

Los Angeles and Santa Barbara are so different in many ways. LA definitely has the city vibe whereas SB has a more beach town feel to it. I love SB for the scenic beaches and mountains but I love the hustle and grind that is present within the city of LA.

When did you realize that photography was something you wanted to pursue long term?

I noticed you love pizza, Where is your go to pizza place in Southern California?

When, I first started getting into photography a few years ago, it was always in the back of my mind but didn’t become a reality until recently when my social media began to grow and I started receiving more clients and recognition. As previously stated, I have recently dropped all my classes at school to pursue photography full-time.

Dominos. Hands down.

What do you love the most about living in Southern California? Southern California is such a beautiful place and I love the weather, the beaches, and most importantly, the people. I would not be able to thrive as an artist without the amazing people I have met and worked with in the past few years. Does living in Southern California help your creativity and dreams? Definitely! Can you tell us some of your favorite go to places in Southern California? I love Laguna Beach for the scenery and the beaches.

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What is the biggest misconception when it comes to being a photographer? The biggest misconception when it comes to being a photographer, as briefly stated before, is that we are undervalued in today’s industry. People think that photographers just take pretty photos of pretty people but there is so much more that goes into the process, from answering emails, negotiation deals, location scouting, planning, and editing… the list goes on.


photography by ANDRE NGUYEN @yourfriendandre featuring ADELAINE MORIN @adelainemorin


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photography by ANDRE NGUYEN @yourfriendandre featuring CHARLY JORDAN @charlyjordan10


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In your mind, how do you continue to accomplish your dreams? I believe that if you set your intentions on a positive path and tell yourself everyday that you’re going to kill it, you can manifest your dreams into a reality. What is your dream job? I’m pursuing photography full time now so I feel like I already have my dream job. When you’re in a creative slump, what is something you do to get out of it? When I’m in a creative slump I like to go through Instagram, Pinterest, or other platforms to draw artistic inspiration. I also like to also just grab a friend or model and do a spontaneous shoot and see what we can come up with on the spot. Creative slumps are inevitable but if you push yourself to create, and do shoots that you love, you are bound to create something you’ll be proud of. Over the years, how have your dreams changed or are the same? When I initially went to college, I wanted to be a physical therapist but that quickly changed after I discovered my love for being behind a camera. What is your biggest advice for chasing your dreams? Do what you love and do it often. Don’t let anyone, including your family and friends, stop you from pursuing what you love doing. Take risks and trust your instincts. If there’s a will then there’s a way.

KEEP UP WITH ANDRE: Instagram/Twitter: @yourfriendandre YouTube: YOURFRIENDANDRE

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photography by ANDRE NGUYEN @yourfriendandre featuring (left) AUBREY DESTREMPS @aubreydestremps (right) DEVIN JOOS @devinjoos


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kayla mendez photography by KAYLA MENDEZ @kaylammendez featuring (left) FOLASADE ADEOSO @lovefola interview by ANN LEMONNIER

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photography by KAYLA MENDEZ @kaylammendez featuring DANIELLE BUDD @thegreatdanielita


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kayla mendez interview by ANNIE LEMONNIER photography by KAYLA MENDEZ @kaylammendez

Though Kayla will be graduating with a degree in biochemistry this Spring, the self pro-

claimed daydreamer will be pursuing a career in portrait photography. Kayla Mendez has

amassed over 2,000 followers on her instagram page dedicated to editorials of empowered women in order to celebrate diversity in beauty. As we spoke with her about her definition of beauty, pursuing a creative field, and gaining inspiration for shoots, Kayla proved

herself to be a beacon of perseverance and passion. Overall being 100% a dreamer.

What moods/messages do you strive to reflect in your work?

What kind of vibe do you like to have while working at shoots?

With every image that I take, I always strive to have a deeper message behind it. All of my favorite work features women and reflects images of self love, diversity in beauty, and breaking down barriers. Allowing more spaces for love is the overarching message that I try to display throughout my work.

I’m very chill when I shoot. I try to be the most carefree and go with the flow person because I know when people feel comfortable and safe, that’s where their true personalities can shine through. I love shooting in my apartment where I can just move everything around and create a clean space for whatever message or image I’m trying to make. Shoots can just be a fun time to hang out with all the people I’m working with so I try to make it as carefree as possible.

How do you conceptualize ideas for your shoots? Most of it comes from just channeling my emotions and coming up with a theme of what I’m feeling that day. Overall my ideas come from out of me. I will even sometimes just get a random image in my head and be like “holy cow that’s what I’ve been envisioning”. When I get one of these, I will immediately take a pencil to paper and start writing it out.

Do you feel you experience any difficulties/expectations being a woman in the field of photography? I honestly can say I have not yet had any major difficulties being a woman in photography. Mostly, what I’ve felt is that I have to hustle a little bit hard-

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photography by KAYLA MENDEZ @kaylammendez featuring DANIELLE BUDD @thegreatdanielita


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What do you find to be the most beautiful?

er to make my name known—I feel like there are a lot of talented male photographers I’ve had to compete against and it sometimes makes me feel like I have to have more of an edge to succeed.

I entered portrait photography to capture beautiful people and I think a “beautiful person” is someone who is confident and at home in their own body. You can just tell when a person is just comfortable walking around in their flesh and they’re just able to be who they are: the weird, the crazy, the everything and I think that is just the most beautiful.

What advice would you give to someone starting out and beginning to experiment with photography? Just do it. If you want to start taking pictures, the first thing you need to do is pick up a camera and start taking them. It doesn’t have to be a “business thing” where you make all your money, it can just be somewhere to creatively express yourself. With so many platforms where you can share your work so freely, I feel like photography is such a cool opportunity to share who you are. The ability to creatively process your emotions to share them with the world is such a great opportunity I could’ve harnessed when I was younger. Start taking pictures, they may be blurry or imperfect or overexposed or underexposed or whatever but just do it. I promise it is going to be the most rewarding experience ever.

Issue 27 is dedicated to the dreamers. How would you define a “dreamer”? Would you apply this to yourself?

Did you/do you experience any criticism for pursuing a creative field? I experienced criticism from about everyone when I decided to pursue photography. At the moment, I’m in college studying biochemistry. S for the past four years, I have been what my parents expected me to be. When I had this realization that photography is really what I wanted to pursue, I experienced a lot of well meaning skepticism. With so many people picking up cameras and calling themselves “photographers”, I experienced push back from my peers who were thinking “oh great another girl with a camera”. Stepping into a creative field is like stepping into the unknown; it’s all parts entrepreneurial, it’s all business, and it’s driven by your creative talent. No one’s creative career path is the same so it’s all just one big minefield. For me, I know this is what I was called to do. I’m doing this for me and I love it so I’m not going to stop just because of other people.

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A dreamer, to me, is a person who is able to create a vision for who they want themselves to be and trusting that it can happen. They have the aspiration and ambition to dream. They will step out of what they normally perceive and take a guess. Someone who is ok with the unknown, someone who is ok with being unrealistic for a second and able to separate themselves from reality and imagine a better or different reality. I would 100% consider myself a dreamer. My family has always been so supportive of dreaming and achieving “The American Dream”. I come from a first generation hispanic family and the American Dream is what we lived off of- I am a product of the American Dream. I know that has become devalued almost in this day and age but twenty years ago, it was alive and well and I am most definitely a product of it. Something is always going on in my brain. I’m always thinking of a new concept or a new job or a new idea. I swear, I’ve been dreaming since the day I was born.


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photography by KAYLA MENDEZ @kaylammendez featuring (left) FOLASADE ADEOSO @lovefola (right) DANIELLE BUDD @thegreatdanielita


photography by KAYLA MENDEZ @kaylammendez featuring DANIELLE BUDD @thegreatdanielita


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Have you ever held yourself back from an idea or passion of yours?

How do you believe your environment affects your creativity and ideas?

I definitely have. I picked up photography about two years ago but at the start, I wrestled with whether or not I should even pick it up in the first place. I felt like so many other people were doing it at the time and was worried people would judge me for just being “another photographer”. I was so in love with art in high school but when I got to college, I knew I had to pick a “big girl job” and so I majored in biochemistry and closed myself off from those creative fields and I’d say that would be the biggest way I have held myself back from something . I just didn’t believe a career in a creative field would even be possible until now. I think it’s just been in these past couple months that I’ve fully been able to say I’m a photographer and that I’m going to be a photographer for a living.

Your environment is one of the most important things in stimulating or hindering your creativity. The people who surround yourself with, the environment in which you live, and the space you have in which to create is so important to facilitate your ideas. Being surrounded in a beautiful environment- for me it’s clean desk, white walls, natural light, and a cup of coffee is where I thrive. If you surround yourself in a creative and supportive community, your ideas will flourish.

How do you respond to criticism of your work? What advice would you give to someone to deal with negative feedback on their own art? I feel like a lot of artists channel who they are into their own work and I’m personally still working on how to accept criticism. Honestly, one of my goals of 2018 is to ask for more criticism because I want to be better and grow as an artist and criticism comes with the craft. When I receive negative comments I always write it down and I always think “Ok are they right in this? Is this a unique opinion?” and try to apply those constructive comments and make my work better. I think there’s also a boundary line where you should listen to outside opinions because some people just won’t like your work and you just need to stay true to who you are as an artist and create what you love.

What growth have you seen in your work and self since having started photography? I’ve grown so much since starting photography until now. Everything changed once I picked up photography for real. I first started photography after a trip to South Asia and after a really interesting breakup and I had to let go of a lot of different things in my life and I really feel like God called me to photography. I’ve learned so much about who I am and the messages that I hold dear to me and felt like I could really express those in a platform where I felt safe. I just got to process so many different emotions and have seen so much growth in my own personal self confidence, I love myself so much more now that I’ve picked up photography. It’s given me so much life and joy that I would have never expected. At what point did you realize you wanted to pursue photography professionally? As I said, I wrestled with it for a really long time but this past May, I took off from college and freelanced all summer- kind of like my “trial run” to see if I could do photography professionally and have a sustainable career and overall just do what I love. The overwhelming answer was yes and I’m so blessed to be able to answer emails and take on shoots every single day. Just being my own boss is the coolest thing. And that’s when I realized after I graduate college with a degree in biochemistry, that’s when I’m gonna be a photographer.

Where do you draw your inspiration from? A lot of my inspiration comes from the photographers that are absolutely killing it and those that came before me like Ben Sasso, Ale Vidal Kara Mercer. Even strong woman artists like Frida Kahlo or going to museums. I think the best tool to gather inspiration is Pinterest.

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photography by KAYLA MENDEZ @kaylammendez featuring FARRAH @farrahetc


photography by KAYLA MENDEZ @kaylammendez featuring JOÉD @joedofficial


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What is the first experience you can remember of working with photography?

I don’t even want to waste my time. Most of the time, I try my best to get the most out of what I have in front of me even if it doesn’t line up with what I want. If I really don’t like it, if I don’t think it lines up with who I am as a photographer, I won’t share it. I’ll still show up and I think that’s the most important thing. Still showing up to things you might not want to do is really powerful and strong, you don’t have to showcase it to the world but doing things you don’t want to do is actually really healthy.

Back in middle school, when Tumblr was super cool, I begged my parents to get me a DSLR camera- it was a Canon Rebel T3i — and I just thought “I’m gonna take really cool pictures, I’m gonna post them on Tumblr, and I’m gonna get a million notes”. I finally got the camera after months of begging and I decided to make a smoothie and then I took the smoothie into my room, put it on the floor, and started taking pictures with it and I thought they were the coolest pictures. I was so enamored by taking a photo.

Do you prefer to go into a shoot knowing exactly what you want or be spontaneous and experiment?

What do you do when a shoot doesn’t line up with your vision? I would always try to draw as a child and could never get the image on paper to look like the one in my head but with photography, I could do that so when a shoot doesn’t line up with my vision, I get in a really bad mood. It’s honestly hard for me to continue shooting since if I’m not inspired, then I don’t even want to waste my time. Most of the time, I try my best to get the most out of what I have in front of me even if it doesn’t line up with what I want. If I really don’t like it, if I don’t think it lines up with who I am as a photographer, I won’t share it. I’ll still show up and I think that’s the most important thing. Still showing up to things you might not want to do is really powerful and strong, you don’t have to showcase it to the world but doing things you don’t want to do is actually really healthy. What do you do when a shoot doesn’t line up with your vision? I would always try to draw as a child and could never get the image on paper to look like the one in my head but with photography, I could do that so when a shoot doesn’t line up with my vision, I get in a really bad mood. It’s honestly hard for me to continue shooting since if I’m not inspired, then

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I need a healthy dose of both. Some of my favorite work has come from shoots where I’ve planned out everything. I’ve planned out the intricate details, I’ve placed a meaning in every single color and object, every image is curated by me and those are the images. I feel have the most meaning to me personally. Also, I love being spontaneous and just kind of showing up and letting the creativity flow. Just having fun with it is important. Never lose the fun in what you’re doing.

KEEP UP WITH KAYLA: Instagram: @kaylammendez kaylamendez.co


photography by KAYLA MENDEZ @kaylammendez featuring DANIELLE BUDD @thegreatdanielita & DEVYNI @devynistyles


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COIN photography & story by CHALISA SINGH @schalisaaa featuring COIN @coin


NO. 27 - THE DREAMER’S ISSUE

Headlining their North American Tour, COIN brought their electric energy to the 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C, making it a memorable experience for their fans. The show radiated with colorful emotions as the stage’s ambiance was set with neon lights and groovy visuals. COIN swept the crowd off of their feet with their more upbeat songs including, “I Don’t Wanna Dance”, “Are We Alone”, “Miranda Beach”, amongst others. Delivering a full performance with such charisma and enthusiasm, there was not a moment where the band nor the crowd wasn’t smiling with pure happiness from ear to ear. The pairing of upbeat vocals and energetic synths played by front man, Chase Lawrence, had everyone swooning with awe. Members Joe Memmel

(guitarist), Ryan Winnen (drummer), and Zachary Dyke (bassist) also did not fail to kill it on stage, bringing such electric sounds to the show. The band also slowed the pace with their more nostalgic singles such as “Malibu 1992” and “Don’t Cry 2020”. Their set brought an emotional rollercoaster to their fans, touching every person in the room with their music. The anticipation grew more and more as the crowd eagerly waited for the band to play their successful single “Talk Too Much”. Everyone’s hands went up as they belted the chorus to that song. I have never seen more happy faces in

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my entire life. Chase also made sure to take it all in after every song, where he stood on stage gazing into the crowd in awe that this was his life. The feeling of intimacy between the band and the crowd was unforgettable, and I cannot wait to see what else this band has in store.


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photography & story by CHALISA SINGH @schalisaaa featuring COIN @coin


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NO. 27 - THE DREAMER’S ISSUE

stay tuned there’s more mad sounds on the way! for information on how to submit to upcoming issues, please visit:

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Mad Sounds Issue 27 - Meredith Foster