Grinding: Nikki NTU

(Photo by King Texas)

1. Name/Alias: Nikki NTU

2.Where are you from/ Where do you currently live?: Brooklyn, NYC

3. Where did/do you go to school and your major?: I attend Fordham University. I major in African and African American Studies.

4. What is your Grind? I’m best known as an emcee, writer, musician, teaching artist, facilitator, and speaker.

5. How did you get into what you’re doing now?: I had a love for writing and speaking at a young age. I started rhyming when I was a teen and got into artist development and workshop facilitation around the same time through a mentor of mine. It just grew from there.

6. When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?: My mom brainwashed me into thinking I wanted to be an Entertainment Lawyer for most of my childhood, ha! But I always loved writing and drawing. I grew up around that creative environment and got to see a lot of that lifestyle so I knew whatever I would be it would have something to do with expression and cultivation.

7. What are some contributing factors that shaped the life you live now?: Being around folks who push beyond their limitations has been a great influence. Having the opportunity to be exposed to what the world has to offer and understanding how I can contribute.

8. Any specific people that mentored or helped guide you to your current path?:Absolutely. Toni Blackman for one. She was key in me being and doing what I do today.

9. What motivates you?: Other artists. Being around them, speaking with them, enjoying their vibe. Learning about artists and figures who’ve come before me and the things they faced. I think learning or experiencing inspires me in general. Seeing what is missing and working to fill that gap.

10. Your favorite author and why?: That’s a hard one… Right now I’m on D.J. Conway and Ra Un Nefer Amen. Subject wise, they are some of the best. But when it comes to tone, Pierre Stephen Robert Payne brings so much heat to a his writing.

11. What are 3 goals you want to achieve within the next year?: Hmmmm…..
1. Tour 2. Have my organization up and running 3. Map out a space and place of my own where I can put roots

12. One person that continuously inspires you and why?: It’s hard to pick one…I’d really have to say MeLo-X. I’ve always admired his ability to keep moving. His vision and work ethic is crazy. I just sit back sometimes and smile. Gives me a great sense of pride.

13. 3 Indie brands you LOVE to rock?: ALIEN, Vane NYC, Open Ceremony (if my pockets are right), and though I don’t have any pieces yet, I stumbled on Loza Maleombho, which I think is a really fly brand.

14. What annoys you the most?: Ha! Constant sneezing and coughing! I can’t STAND it! Sounds like they can’t breathe and then I feel like I can’t breathe and then we’re both weezin’. And it’s nasty. Get ya immune system up mang!

15. Your best quality?: My sincerity. From anger to complete joy it’s always raw passion. Sometimes a jerk…but always honest.

Check out Nikki’s blog & download her latest EP Medulla Dinner, its wicked ya’ll!

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Grinding: Sigourney Salley

1. Name/Alias: Sigourney Salley / Signature Style

2.Where are you from/ Where do you currently live?: I grew up in between Harlem and Brooklyn, New York. I currently live in the East New York section of Brooklyn, New York.

3. Where did/do you go to school and your major?: I graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology (located on 7th and 27th street) last May with a dual degree in Advertising and Marketing/Fashion Merchandising Management. I do plan on going back for my certification in Wardrobe Styling next year :).

4. What is your Grind? I consider myself a Renaissance woman with many hustles under my belt that all lead to my personal ideology of what success is.

  • TRACE MAGAZINE: Since my Sophomore year of F.I.T. I have been with this transcultural magazine. I started as the Special Events personal assistant – throughout my first two years with TRACE, I was taught how to properly plan and execute a successful industry special event. Some highlights are planning the annually popular Black Girls Rules; Product Launches (Rimmel Underground); and planning events for Issue Covers which included Iman, Kelis, Keri Hilson, Mya, and Spike Lee to name a few. Presently I continue to be their Marketing Coordinator and the Online Trace Magazine supplement in the version of a blog Editor in which I manage bloggers, interview extraordinary individuals, set up photo shoots and try my best to update daily with such a hectic schedule.
  • WARDROBE STYLIST: Under my upcoming Styling House – Signature Style – I set up interesting fashion-forward photo shoots with some minimal personal styling for specific clients. I have worked personally with Nikki Ntu (DJ Melo X’s artist) for her now released mix tape and was recently published in the UK’s Anatitude Magazine (Photography: King Texas).
  • JEWELRY DESIGNER: When you deal in artistry you are always drawn to specific items that make a person stand out. I have recently started a small jewelry line Sequins, Pearls & Cigarettes – that I am completely excited about. It is still in the beginning stages so I don’t want to say too much yet!

5. How did you get into what you’re doing now?: All three of my hustles are important to me and make me who I am as a person. I feel that as I grew into who I am at this point in my life; each one presented a new challenge to me. I don’t believe that anything is impossible unless you stop yourself from accomplishing something.  My main focus is Wardrobe Styling – it has been a love of mine for a long time. It is the essence of curating a look with every intimate detail that keeps me striving to be one of the best. I was introduced to it from helping on a set at the magazine – ever since then its’ been a part of my life!

6. When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?: A Lawyer because I always had to give my opinion to every situation.

7. What are some contributing factors that shaped the life you live now?: Living in Public Housing (which made me want to be the opposite of my environment); Mentoring Programs – Team  Revolution + Hip Hop Project (where I learned to not be scared of my potential and to enjoy being a creative being); My Mother and Grandmother (for always supporting me); Amazing Friends (for encouragement-creativity sessions) + Fearlessness (mostly not being scared of failure – without failure there is no growth)!

8. Any specific people that mentored or helped guide you to your current path?: Divine Bradley (Team Revolution) taught me a major lesson “The best way to predict the future is to create it“. I live by this mantra and know that without me striving — I will never accomplish.

9. What motivates you?: Fashion motivates me. It is ever changing and with that I have to be quick on my toes to know the Yes and No within this industry when it comes to clothing, brands, it, length, colors, etc. It is hard core but I can handle it.

10. Your favorite author and why?: Anna Wintour – she’s the face of Vogue and an inspiration to strict discipline with your craft.

11. What are 3 goals you want to achieve within the next year?:

  • Being published in another major /  indie fashion magazine with my Styling Credentials.
  • Travel to a country – either Africa or the UK.
  • Finding a booking agent to assist in my career as a Stylist.

12. One person that continuously inspires you and why?: My core group of friends inspire me – without them I wouldn’t have the motivation to keep it pushing.

13. 3 Indie brands you LOVE to rock?:

  • Princess Of The Posse (P.O.P.)
  • GoodWood NYC
  • Melody Ehsani

14. What annoys you the most?: Individuals who are scared to be themselves and hold their endless potential back.

15. Your best quality?: A tie between Time-Management / Over The Top Creativity

Visit Signature Style to see more of Sigourney’s work!

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Grinding: Vash Luv

1. Name/Alias: Naivasha Colette Thomas by birth. Vashluv by vocation.

2.Where are you from/ Where do you currently live?: Spent most of adolescence in Stockton, California. Lately I’ve been a bit of a vagabond, residing in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and now New York City.

3. Where did/do you go to school and your major?: Obtained my Bachelors at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas in Theatre Studies and Design. I entered college with a deep desire to study film but quickly drifted back to my thespian roots.

4. What is your Grind? My grind is limitless. I think being well-rounded with the ability to flex all muscles is key for dubious success and longevity. I am constantly working as a make up artist, concept / art director, and set builder. Overall, I’m a crafty gal and good with my hands. J My heart moves me, capturing emotion and evoking its complexities.  This is expressed through several medias; such as photography, retail, film and lives stage. Currently I am doing visuals for a major global retailer and preparing some uuber fun shoots with great minds in the NY area.

5. How did you get into what you’re doing now?: I jumped into this head first, immediately choosing to swim and not sink. I grew up entertaining and worked vigorously in dance and theater. As I engulfed more in the arts my aesthetic opinion and conceptual curator inside began to evolve. I grabbed influence from my education, work experience and strong upbringing to channel my own path.

6. When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?: I always wanted to be a flyy girl, the outfits and knee pads. So sassy-street. And the biker shorts… but that dream quickly vanished. So I made a commitment to become an incredible well-rounded person.

7. What are some contributing factors that shaped the life you live now?: Patience of the heart, power of the mind, faith in the Almighty, security in the unknown.

8. Any specific people that mentored or helped guide you to your current path?: My parent seeded and watered me with great morals and values I have just begun to bloom. As I get older I see more of them in my actions and decisions. Abundantly thankful for their guidance and progressive lenience as I travel down the road of the unknown. Learning from others advances and mistakes is how I segway through life. Number one rule is to give it all you got.

9. What motivates you?: Nature and my surroundings inspire me. Being one with the time, moment and space that you are in.

10. Your favorite author and why?: King Solomon. The wisest known to man. His philosophical and spiritual connection in scripture empowers me daily. The book of Ecclesiastes opened a new outlook on life and work as a whole.

11. What are 3 goals you want to achieve within the next year?: Be stronger. Work smarter. Luv louder.

12. One person that continuously inspires you and why?: There is never just one person. I am blessed because of that.

13. 3 Indie brands you LOVE to rock?: I adore Gas’d, Costume Dept, and Mayzani. They provide the essentials.

14. What annoys you the most?: Loud unnecessary noise. Loud unnecessary opinions.

15. Your best quality?: My best quality is my core commitment, living freely.

To learn more about Vash Luv & to view her portfolio visit HERE!

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Grinding: Sarah White

1. Name/Alias: Sarah White aka Sarah White Black, The Black Sarah White or Artisticbling (for photos)

2.Where are you from/ Where do you currently live?: I was born and raised in the lovely city of Minneapolis, but reborn in Brooklyn, where I currently lay my head.

3. Where did/do you go to school and your major?: I stu
died Ceramics, Printmaking, Humanities and World Religions at a Community College in Minneapolis.. I’ve always been all over the place : ) I feel like I have learned most of my trades through the school of life. I learn thru living. I always practice/study to get additional skills thru internships, yoga schools, collaborations etc but I’ve been thinking about going back to get a degree in something soon. I just think it would be nice to have..

4. What is your Grind? Wow.. Well, I am a mother to a lovely 5 year old (Iza), a singer/emcee who dabbles in production, photographer (events, portraits, street, collage), writer ( I have a blog with artist and tastemaker Lichiban, called Wronglips, I have written also for Trace Magazine, Urb, and many other print/publications), and occasionally I work in fashion doing stylist work/personal shopping/casting. I currently work at a tiny organic italian spot in Noho, work-study @ Jivamukti Yoga and Im grinding hard on trying to make this music and spread my light/love into the world.

5. How did you get into what you’re doing now?: I landed here. Fate/Faith has pushed me onto my path.

6. When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?: Lol! I wanted to be an Obstretrician! I wanted to be like Bill Cosby on the Cosby Show. The babies just seemed to POP out with ease… Next I wanted to be in fashion, doing production, etc.. Now, I just want to be a kid again.

7. What are some contributing factors that shaped the life you live now?: Always having people around the believe in me (even when Im having a moment of doubt). I feel like whatever choices I have made, even the shitty ones, I have always had great support from my real friends and family.

8. Any specific people that mentored or helped guide you to your current path?: My Mom and Papi. Always made me feel that I was gifted and could do anything. Zach in Minneap taught me to transform my poems into raps, which began to push my musically journey. My man, Rico. Makes me feel like a Queen and always believes in me.

9. What motivates you?: My daughter and the love that was created to create her. Each day since has kept me on my grind and full of love.

10. Your favorite author and why?: It changes by the week, but I fall somewhere in between Paulo Coelho, who opens me up to mind-travel and worlds beyond.. and Mama Gena (Regena Thomashauer) who teaches me about using my “P” power!

11. What are 3 goals you want to achieve within the next year?:
1. Get all my music out
2. Get yoga teacher certified
3. Travel, travel, travel!!

12. One person that continuously inspires you and why?: My brother. He always gives, even when he has nothing left to give.

13. 3 Indie brands you LOVE to rock?: IF I had money, I would rock things by Camille Peace (Peace Images), Rabbit on the Run, Princess of the Posse (Lichiban just got me into them), 21MC, GoodWood, Melissa Shoes (Recyled plastic, but so hot), GAS’D (Sorry cant name 3..)

14. What annoys you the most?: Money. I repel it.

15. Your best quality?: My fiance says: I lift spirits. I like that.

To learn more about Sarah’s Music & Photography visit HERE & HERE

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Grinding: MaiKhanh Bertrand

1. Name/Alias: MaiKhanh

2.Where are you from/ Where do you currently live?: I was born to Vietnamese and French parents in New Orleans, LA. I live in Bali Indonesia but Marseilles, New York and Paris are also my homes.

3. Where did/do you go to school and your major?:I first studied art and architecture in Lyon and followed up with fashion design in Marseilles.

4. What is your Grind?: Right now, my Grind consists of designing REBELDNCE, an urban prêt-a-porter label; a little bit of styling, launching a magazine and hosting a trunk show in NYC dec 9th (gallery bar) with Princess of the Posse, Ill P, Amore and Mike Schreiber. For invites, email me at contact@rebeldnce.com

5. How did you get into what you’re doing now?: Like I said, I first tried interior architecture before discovering that fashion was more suited for me. I created REBELDNCE determined to be independent creatively and to live passionately.

6. When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?: As a kid I wanted to be a ballerina, an archeologist, an illustrator, a journalist and an empress.

7. What are some contributing factors that shaped the life you live now?: Key factors; travelling with my mom, falling for a man, having a family.

8. Any specific people that mentored or helped guide you to your current path?:My mom, my family and friends.

9. What motivates you?: Creativity, independence and love drive me.

10. Your favorite author and why?: Sorry to disappoint but I don’t have a favorite author. Last book I read though was The Wind Up Bird Chronicles by Murakami. It s wonderfully written and the plot is extraordinary.

11. What are 3 goals you want to achieve within the next year?: Have REBELDNCE sold in 8 stores, live between Bali, New York and Paris and keep teaching my daughter how beautiful our lives are.

12. One person that continuously inspires you and why?: My man, he inspires my happiness, strength and creativity.

13. 3 Indie fashion brands you love to rock?: Princess of the Posse, Patrik Rzepski and Illionaire

14. What annoys you the most?: People that talk and don’t follow through. It’s annoying and disappointing.

15. Your best quality?: I can admit when I’m wrong.

Visit Rebeldnce to view the current S/S 10 collection!

Grinding: Ouxu Cheng

1. Name/Alias: Ouxu Cheng

2.Where are you from/ Where do you currently live?: I am from Holland and I currently live in Den Haag.

3. Where did/do you go to school and your major?: I finished high school. After that I tried several studies; European Business Studies, Fashion school and a Cultural Social Education. The subject matter was interesting to me, but studying itself was hard. Mostly because it was difficult for me to concentrate. I get distracted quickly.
During one of my studies I finished a make-up course. That was fun, cause it was like a painting class.

4. What is your Grind? My grind is currently freelance make-up and photography. I am also working on a concert photography book which consists of photos of some of my favorite musicians I’ve shot in the past few years. As long as I can create I am happy.

5.  How did you get into what your doing now?: I rolled into it. It wasn’t my intention to become a make-up artist. It just seemed fun. After the course I kept assisting other make-up artists and eventually got my own gigs. Six months later I got a chance to work for a national tv production company. I got the job and stayed there for 2,5 years. I learned a lot during that period. Right now I am freelancing. Photography I started doing for fun as well. The more I did it, the more I loved it.

6. When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?: When I was a kid I saw myself walking around as a successful business woman  in a suit with an attaché suitcase. I dreamed of having chains of restaurants as big as McDonalds. Maybe one day..

7. What are some contributing factors that shaped the life you live now?: My upbringing. My family came to Holland to make money and survive. To create a better life for themselves and for their children. They had no choice but to work hard without the freedom to do what they would’ve liked to do. My generation is freeing itself from that. I am very happy that I have the choice to do what I like. It’s still hard work, but on a different level.

8. Any specific people that mentored or helped guide you to your current path?: My aunt is a key factor in my life. She is an inspiration to me. Aside from what she’s accomplished (after raising 5 children she became a certified doctor specialized in natural medicine) she has always supported the family. My sister has always been there for me.

9. What motivates you?: The challenge to achieve motivates me. Lots of talented people around me motivate me. In daily life it’s ‘progress in whatever i do’ that keeps me going when I feel less motivated.

10. Your favorite author and why?: I have two favorite books. One is The Prophet by Khalil Gibran and the other is Meditations by Marcus Aurelius. Meditations is my bible.

11. What are 3 goals you want to achieve within the next year?:

– Become healthier. It’s the base for everything else.
– Become an expert in photo editing and video editing!
– Decluttering my house till all I’ve left is my computer, my hard drives, my camera and my phone.

12. One person that continuously inspires you and why?: There are so many people I meet who inspire me. It’s hard to name one. I like passionate people and people who show their strength during tough times. And Rev Run.

13. 3 Indie brands you LOVE to rock?: There is no special indie brand that I like.I wear whatever I like and what feels comfortable on me. I like sneakers and dresses. If there’s a brand that combines those two, that will be my fav brand.

14. What annoys you the most?: People who complain.

15. Your best quality?: Loyalty.

Visit Ouxu’s photo blog here!

Grinding:Stella Burchard

stella

1. Name/Alias: Stella Burchard/Queen of Bows

2.Where are you from/ Where do you currently live?: San Diego, CA via Yokosuka, Japan/ Brooklyn, NY

3. Where did/do you go to school and your major?: University of Southern California (USC). (Fight on, Trojans!) Majored in Business Administration with an emphasis is Management & Organization- Leadership Development. Minored in Dance.

4. What is your Grind? 1) I’m currently the “Brand Manager” for 80%20. Since I hold many jobs & titles with the company, we had to pick an all encompassing title that covers most of my roles. I:

* Oversee domestic sales. I do this through our sales reps across the country as well as directly with key accounts and when needed. I keep an eye on the numbers, work with the reps to communicate changes to the line and availability and the latest press and account updates, and approve negotiations over deliveries, discounts, and other issues that may come up with each sale.

* Take care of our business internationally. We currently have distributors for Canada, Europe, and Israel, so like I make sure they are taken care of for samples, get their orders for each season, oversee the money trail to us, make sure they have the correct copy and relevant press, understand the current line, support with key customers, and make sure their shoes are delivered to them so they can get them to their customers.

* Manage press. Sometimes this is directly by sending out releases and news, other times it’s fielding incoming requests and connecting them with our PR showroom or making sure requests for interviews with our owner/designer or images are taken care of on deadline. Also, I make sure the press coverage we get goes to our sales reps, distributors, customers, important contacts, and is updated online through our website, blog, etc.

* Guide distribution. We have a great Studio Manager who takes care of our day-to-day and gets all of our customer shipments out as well as other movement of products and other materials. I support her in checking details, providing background on accounts and needs, approving returns or exchanges, making sure our deadlines are kept to, facilitating communication between our factory/freight forwarder/our office, and stepping in where needed.

* Pitch in. At the end of the day 80%20 is a small, self-funded company (3 of us on payroll plus our independent contractors) and each day it’s something new. There have been days where all I do is make sure our numbers are in line with our accountant so we can pitch to an investor. Some days I write copy for the website or press releases. Other days have been spent in the warehouse checking quality or the latest situation there. During market and sales season, I make sure our tradeshow arrangements are taken care of for each show and traveling there, and I act as a hub and support for our reps and customers to make sure we see as many people as we can and close orders. Right after sales peak, I write our production order based on our sales, forecast, requests, and my best estimates. There are times when it’s all about talking to the factory, others it’s making sure pictures are sent out, and there are always special circumstances, which makes each day interesting to say the least. 🙂

2) I’m an independent sales representative. I’m transitioning out of 80%20 and into working for myself. Part of this is as a sales rep in fashion and I currently have 4 clients I’m working with to grow their distribution, sales, and brand presence. I show the lines to buyers and get orders, making sure I’m placing the lines where they want to be and supporting their vision and growth. I also try to get press for my lines since I have the avenues to do so and not only is the brand excited, but it helps me place the products in more doors and supports our customers, too. It’s a lot of follow up, hearing “no,” putting myself and the lines out there, and knocking on doors, and I can’t wait to see this bring all of my clients to their next levels.

3) I’m a writer! Writing is something I’ve always thought of myself as and now, it’s part of my career. I’m working on 1 book now that is a gathering and presentation of interviews (loveourcity.com) as well as continuing writing “short essays” that are my musings on life and what’s at hand (you can see some at tellapoem.xanga.com) for another book. I’ve been commissioned for articles, profiles, releases, general copy, ghost writing, editing, etc. and am looking to grow more as a freelancer with creative articles and business writing. I love writing poetry and spoken word, keeping my blogs, and creating new material in my voice, but to make it work as a writer, I’m not closed off to anything that comes my way. If there are words involved and I have some sort of understanding on the topic, I’m game to finish the job for those looking for a writer.

5.  How did you get into what your doing now?: After I graduated from USC, I was clear I wanted to do something that used my skills but was separate from the cutthroat backstabbing I was seeing in “the business world.” I looked for jobs in surf and skate and ended up working for a small, independent surf company on their fashion and product side. There I saw that business is business no matter what industry or country or idea and that I loved being in those conversations and thinking of how to grow and improve business. When I moved to NYC, I said, “I want to work for a small company with products I would use myself, in fashion, and with flexibility to support myself and what I want in my life.” That brought me to 80%20 (via emailing my résumé and following up) and I’ve grown more confident in myself as a salesperson and business mind through working for the company. When choosing to make a move to work independently, I saw I work sales well, I have relationships to start with, and I really like it. I also saw I want to be creatively expressed in life, and writing is that to me, so I’m doing what I need to so I can write and see my books on shelves in a few years. So, being a sales rep and writer together and independently really called to me to make it happen.

6. When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?: Around the age of 6, I wanted to be a kindergarten teacher, then circa age 11, I decided I wasn’t up for the responsibility to shape kids that age. I also wanted to be a writer, but convinced myself I wouldn’t make money and had to pick something. (Ha, look at me now.) Then I wanted to be a dancer, despite a teacher in middle school balking at this dream, but a really bad injury in high school scared me and I realized if I had another one, that could be my career. Luckily, USC’s business school pre-accepted me into it, so I thought, ok, I have a solid backup. But after I was in, I loved it, and at 17, I wanted to be a CEO.

7. What are some contributing factors that shaped the life you live now?: Definitely my parents instilling the importance of education, letting me write and dance and dream, and supporting me in school and extra-curricular activities has shaped me. Looking back, I’m surprised I didn’t realize earlier what I was good at and wanted to do at heart, but I’m very grateful my parents let me find myself through learning and participating in various things. I also think their DNA is a major factor; my Mom and I are insistent on being passionate and creative, have very similar scrapbooking styles, are slightly eccentric fashion-wise, and are scrappy and resourceful to the core. My Dad is at planner, organizes, keeps it moving, sticks to things, and gets where he wants to, which luckily he’s passed along to me.

I think also experiencing a solid variety of different things has shaped my life now. I’ve been on the outside, I’ve learned and retained everything I could from different jobs, I’ve struggled through dark times, and I’ve blossomed as I’ve found footing. Just being through a whole range of situations and seeing things from many different angles has given me my unique perspective and allowed me to consciously choose what I do and don’t want for myself.

Also, I can’t emphasize enough the people in my life who’ve showed me different things and kept me going. My sister has always shown and shared with me new things and has been my cheerleader since she was old enough to cheer. My “family” in NY helped me get on my feet here and looks out for me even when they don’t understand why I’m doing whatever I’m up to at the moment. And I have friends who inspire me, push me to the next level, encourage me to take care of myself, and give those needed hugs so I can pursue this dream and the one after.

8. Any specific people that mentored or helped guide you to your current path?: Yes! Michelle & Juan: my “sister & brother-in-law” who I’ve always admired, point out when I’m not happy, champion me, and have been instrumental in me moving to NYC.

Patricia, Emma, and Cara: are cheerleaders and encourage me to go after what I really want and is good for me.

Chad: who I call with most every question, smacks reality at me, and recently talked to me about now being a starving artist, but then said, “But you know what, take all that and tell me you still want to be a writer and then do it.”

9. What motivates you?: Celebrating- whether it’s closing sale, being proud of a piece I wrote, or enjoying coffee in my apartment knowing that I’m paying for the roof over my head. Celebrating what I have at hand motivates me to pursue what’s next since I know at one point it was hard, and whatever is hard to me now will bring the next thing to celebrate. And, freedom. I’m motivated in knowing I don’t have to, but want to.

10. Your favorite author and why?: Shel Silverstein because when I was a kid I LOVED his books and poems and would read them over and over. I found them so inspiring and fun and a little off-beat, which I admired. Every time I went back to his books, I found something new. Even now, when I need inspiration, I pick up his books. I love that they’re so accessible to such a range of people and can mean so many things. As an adult I’ve come to admire Shel as a person since nobody wanted to publish The Giving Tree but he kept at it, he’s been successful at several artistic trades, sang with Johnny Cash, and worked for Playboy.

11. What are 3 goals you want to achieve within the next year?:                                                                                           1) Be published in a print magazine.

2) Place all of my lines in key accounts on the west coast and in NYC.

3) Do yoga consistently.

12. One person that continuously inspires you and why?: Chad Foreman. He is business-minded + creative and successful at both running a company and being an artist. Plus he is the nicest guy ever. And not just to me- sometimes I admire how he treats those around him. He has amazing work ethic, gets things done, and takes these beautiful photographs that inspire me, too. He’s my friend, but also a head honcho I look up to. I have asked him everything from what percentage my distributors should receive to how I should deal with a crush to what should I do with my life and he has been there. He always listens and helps how he can, plus shares what he learns from his life.

13. 3 Indie brands you LOVE to rock?:

1) Edge of Urge/hot hot pink pink

2) Princess of the Posse

3) Iron Fist

14. What annoys you the most?: Ignorance, being short-sighted, and hypocrites.

15. Your best quality?: I have heart.

Visit Love Our City to follow Stella’s journey!