Category: fashion

An Interview Model and Fashion Stylist Jordan Anthony Swain

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Jordan Anthony Swain is a model and fashion stylist. Here is a link to his website:

www.stylesbyswain.com

 

Q: What made you interested in fashion?

A: Thanks for having me today!
I was first interested in fashion when in high school I got bit by the modeling bug.
Shortly after graduating in 2009, I made the move to Los Angeles to begin my career in modeling.
From there I studied keenly what fashion meant to our society as a whole. I was intrigued by its innate ability to transcend cultural boundaries and continents, how certain designers would leave contributions and shape the lives of millions.

Q:  What qualities make someone a good designer?

A: I look at fashion design as an art form. When in the process of creating, a designer adds their own unique inspirations, cultural influences, and style into their work. That being said what makes a good designer great to you, may be boring to me and vice versa. At the most fundamental level, a good designer must have a clear and concise vision. They must know how to blend eclectic shapes, colors, patterns, fabrics, and techniques into their work to see this vision through. They must also be courageous enough to push boundaries in their work, and set themselves out from the crowd. Alexander McQueen is a great example of this.

Q:  Why are people so interested in fashion?

A: I feel people are so interested in fashion for a variety of reasons. For one, what you wear typically says a lot about your being. From out undergarments to the shoes we wear- they all add a distinct energy to our being. Some people love fashion for more pretentious reasons, whether it’s to show economic status, a position of power or so on. Personal style. Says a lot about who we are, and many want to make sure they are conveying the right message.

Q:  You do not use fur or leather in your designs, what are the best alternative fabrics to fur and leather?

A: Nowadays I feel like many our society is coming more conscious about our planet, nature and the decisions we make.
I do not design, but style. When pulling wardrobe for a shoot, I’ve been surprised at how well alternative fabrics have translated in photos.

Q:  Who are you favorite designers?
A: Wow that’s a tough one- especially because I am discovering more and more by the day! I really love the works of Alexander McQueen. From his choices of fabrics, to the way he utilizes unique shapes and cuts. Another is Salvatorre Ferragamo. I appreciate how classic his designs are. Calvin Klein. I also have had the pleasure to do some great work with Ximena Valero who is one of the most genuine and hardworking people I’ve met. Her versatility and range makes her unique, including her transformable dresses. French couturier Lloyd Clein is also amongst my list of favorites.

Q: Who are your least favorite designers?
A: No one in particular comes to mind as far this question goes, but I will say that I have a strong dislike for for anyone who doesn’t challenge themselves and their collections. When pulling wardrobe from showrooms, I can easily bypass pieces that fall along the lines of the ordinary.

Q: What is your strangest work story?

A: I once did a job for an unnamed international client, that hired me as both a stylist and creative director. They unknowingly sent me a storyboard that had a lot of my work from previous shoots, including an editorial. They basically wanted to hire me to recreate my own work for their upcoming campaign, which I of course declined. Though they were paying a great rate, I didn’t want to stifle or stagnate myself as an artist, nor did I want to set such a precedent for my growing company.

Q:  What’s the best fashion trend you have ever seen?
A: To be honest, for my personal style I truly am not a trendy person. I do love how people are recycling vintage cuts and patterns and actual pieces into their wardrobe.

Q:  What is the most unfortunate fashion trend you have

A: I remember being back in high school and seeing on the news that one of the latest trends for woman was to wear thongs and have the strings showing above their waistlines, with jeans sagged kind of low. Remember that?!

Q: What celebrity has the best style?

A: There are so many stylish celebrities it’s hard to name. Amongst my list of favorites are the styles of Victoria Beckham, Robert Pattinson, Ed Westwick, Janet Jackson, Johnny Depp, Kanye West, and Gwen Stefani.

 

Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects:)

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An Interview With Model Mahya James

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Mahya James is a model, dancer and an actress who can hula a mean hoop. Here is a link to her Facebook page:

www.facebook.com/mahyaornitjames

 

 

Q:  Where did you learn to hula hoop?

 

A: I think I had my first hula hoop when I was like 5 or 6! I would only hoop around my waist and knees though. When I started going to music festivals to see my favorite bands I got reintroduced to it through seeing girls dancing in them! They are so much fun!

Q:  How did you get into modeling?

A: Well… it’s hard to say.. I did some stuff I hardly remember when I was pretty young. A pageant or two, and loved runway modeling! I’ve always been entranced by runway shows and fashion. I was pretty much just rocking out at a music festival with my hoop and I met one of my good friends, A.J… he suggested I move out to California and we were friends for a while after the festival and he was completely serious and encouraged me that I had talent to share. Around the same time I met one of the writers of Scrubs through posting youtube videos online and he really wanted to meet me and take some head shots, so that helped me book some jobs for sure! I’ve met lots of really talented and creative people.

 

Q:  Is anorexia as rampant in the modeling industry as the media would suggest, or are the exaggerating?

A: Hmm… I’ve been seeing a LOT on youtube about anorexia.. and I’m sorry, but I’m like WTF? I’ve worked with so many beautiful and healthy girls. I remember noticing one girl that seemed really thin, but she said something about relationship troubles and being upset and not able to eat. I honestly thought she looked pretty muscular and strong though. Personally, I have been classified as underweight for quite some time and I do eat when I’m hungry, but sometimes have a hard time finding my appetite. Anorexia is really serious though, it sends girls to the hospital and can send them to their graves. I don’t think you’d be fit to work really. We shouldn’t be so quick to slap such a serious label on someone thin. Ultimately, I try my best to focus on health and not weight or size.

Q:  What is your wildest work story?

A: Probably whenever people start taking out their cameras and the crowd effect of that happens.. Like getting out of the limo at the playboy party and just being kinda tipsy or in a daze and having people take photos of you walking from the limo to the club is wild for me. I was like.. omg.. is my boob out or something? Why are they taking pictures and why me out of all these playboy bunnies?

Q:  What kinds of day jobs have you had?

A: A few.. I scooped ice-cream, babysat, and worked as a hostess for a restaurant. I also did retail for a summer when I moved to Saint Simons Island.

Q: . Do you feel being multi ethnic has helped you or hurt you?

A: I think it could help me stand out in a lot of ways, so that’s a plus. Sometimes it hurts in acting. Like, roles can be so specific and whoever’s in charge has one thing in mind to find for it. That’s just with anything though. Overall I think it helps because I can connect with more people through having been raised multi-culturally.

Q:  What do you like about Hollywood?

A: The shopping, pretty people, lots of creative people too and just characters sometimes. There’s always something going on somewhere. It also feels smaller once you live there, which I like.

Q:  What don’t you like about it?

A: There are quite a few scammers. It’s a bit harder to trust people out here at times. I feel like I have to be more on guard. It’s so light polluted that you can hardly see the stars out at night and it’s kinda not cool to walk around barefoot there. Island life spoils you though.

Q:  What is the most common misconceptions about models?

A: The biggest misconception is probably that we’re catty with each other. Sometimes we’re almost pitted against each other, but I cherish the time I get to spend and connect with other models and share our experiences. We often share really similar experiences.. good and bad!

 

Q:  Is there any product you would refuse to advertise on principal?

A: I do believe in freedom of speech & expression.. I kind of take it on a play by play basis. If I’m not comfortable with something, I pass on it. Sometimes there are good messages to be taken from controversial subjects though.

 

Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects:)

 

An Interview With Mrs. Los Angeles Loriann Overlin

 

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Loriann Overlin is Mrs. Los Angeles and the Arts Ambassador for the County of Los Angeles. She and her husband also run a photography studio. Here is a link to her website:

www.mrslosangeles.com

 

 

 

 Q: What exactly does an “arts ambassador” do?

 A:   My role is to connect resources and artists together to foster mutually beneficial relationships.

 Q: What made you interested in art?

 A: Envy– Selfishly I am interested in art because of envy.  I wish I could take those images in my mind and create something out of nothing like I see artists do.  I wish I could see beauty and life where only artists can see it.  Additionally, I have been involved with theatre, film and music practically since birth.  I love the process of performance art and that moment when all is ready and everyone is rehearsed, and the stage is set and the music is ready, and you stand in the middle of the stage and it is quite and the world is waiting for a moment that will never come again is like a drug.  I admire all those people who can take nothing in the process and shift, mold and create an expression of self and share that with our community.

Q: What makes for an interesting photograph?

A:  An interesting photography is something that shows ones honest self.  We wear so many masks and I love to see into people and have it reciprocated through them showing me what they see through their eyes.  Mike, my husband, talks about the photographer’s ability to have you to look at something other than what you would normally see.  I love a photo that shows me something I would never observe because of my near sightedness, and it ties into my envy issue.

Q: What trends in photography do you dislike?  I like and dislike photojournalism style wedding photography.

A:  I love seeing cool photos of wedding parties swimming in a pool of eels or something cool.  (As an extreme example.)  However, let’s face it, your wedding day is something you and your family look at in years to come and I think it is more important to remember how lovely it was to get married rather than what a hipster you were”.  I hate to hear about people looking at such important photos saying “what was I thinking or what is up with my husband’s pants!”  I think it’s more important to remember how much in love you are rather than how cool you are—cool fades, love doesn’t.

Q: Who are some of your influences in photography?

A:  That would be Mike Overlin – I took photo classes in high school and college, but it was all very formula based.  Mike shows me his precious soul in his work.  I watch Mike go into his head and leave earth to go to his creative world where he can create a vision out of light and space.  He amazes me and every time I see him in his work, I fall in love with him again.  He makes my heart hurt with love.

Q: Diane Arbus or Ansel Adams?  Yes, and yes!

A: Diana Arbus, is cool, Ansel Adams is cool.   I love the fact that they both found themselves in their art; so the answer is yes.  Mike wrote a book on photography, and in it discusses the concept of style. He makes a comparison between our personality and our style, mainly in the way that we don’t have to do anything for either of them to develop.  Both will develop on their own naturally.  “We are all unique, and we all naturally make different statements in life. The same will be true of your art. Your style will be evident as long as you are not copying someone else’s style. Don’t try to be someone else.”

Q: What made you interested in running for Mrs. Los Angeles?  I participated in a play at the Long Beach Playhouse years ago called Mrs. California, it planted the seed.  I became a Mrs. not too long ago and figured if I’m going to do  – go!  Why not, I’m a Mrs. and I live in Los Angeles.  I’m qualified.

Q: Did you find it challenging to be a Christian in the entertainment industry.

A:  Nope; no challenge.  I have worked in entertainment for a zillion years and it is just like any other industry creating a product and distributing it.  Just because a person is a Christian doesn’t make them automatically a flag waving, capital punishment, anti-abortion Republican.  God is huge – he made water- so I consider him pretty powerful.  I also consider him pretty compassionate in the fact that he sent his kid to take on your and my sins.  If you don’t believe in God that’s ok because I know he believes in you and me.  So if you don’t want the cool stuff he has for you, bummer.   I’ll take the left overs, I’m pretty grateful for the grace and gifts he gives us.  God is pretty cool from what I’ve seen.

Q: What is your wildest pageant story?

A:  Duct tape on the boobs….I don’t understand why people would put tape on their boobs to keep them “perky”.  I realize that duct tape is the answer to the world’s problems, but to put them on your private parts is way beyond anything I understand….oh there’s a piece there.

Q: What is the most common misconception about beauty pageants?

A: They are pretty much what people think–it’s vanity, its superficial.  However, for me it made me look at myself and ask if I like what I see?  There are some things that just aren’t ok, and now I get to attend to those things.

 

Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects:)

An Interview With Comedian Roxy Rich

Roxy Rich is a stand-up comedian and retail employee who has written a book entitled Roxy Does Retail. Here is a link to her website:

www.roxyrich.com

Q: What made you want to be a comic?

A: Actually, I never intended to be a comedian. I was an actress. While growing up, I got the lead in every Christmas

Play every year. I do remember that I was constantly performing; on the playground, on my friend’s trampoline, whatever. I had the ability to remember jokes. I never forget something funny. In the tenth grade, I was voted “Funniest Person in Class” at Douglas Anderson School of Arts. I was shocked. I got the Hoffman’s Scholarship to La Grange Speech Communication and Theater College in Georgia by doing a comedic monologue which won me a contribution for the first year. While there, I was in the play, Steel Magnolias, as Ouiser, where I got amazing reviews at having “stolen the show.” My professor told me, “Your timing is impeccable.” It was the greatest compliment I’d ever received. Then, I was asked to perform a stand- up routine for an on campus Sketch show called “Lost Comedy.” I remember telling the producer, “I’m an actor! I don’t write this stuff. What am I going to say?” She told me: “Tell those jokes you were saying at the party Saturday.” I reluctantly agreed, but was terrified. I fretted for two weeks trying to come up with something funny to say. In the end, I did write some jokes, did well in the show and the next day at lunch overheard my classmates telling my jokes and they were looking at me with admiration. I remember feeling very good about that. I made people laugh. They were delighted. It’s a marvelous feeling. I suppose it was then that it dawned on me. I thought, “Hmm. I’m funny!” I was hooked. I still wanted to act, but I knew I would continue comedy as well.

When I left college, I began doing open mics in Florida starting at Bonkers Comedy Club in Orlando and throughout the state. I won “Funniest New Female Comic” at Hilarities in 1991. I moved to LA in December of 1992. Although I was interested in comedy, my primary focus was acting. I was young and ill prepared. I couldn’t get an agent. No acting was happening. I realized that in order to stay on stage and get seen by agents, I could do comedy which I enjoyed. So I made the decision then to buckle down and focus on it. It was basically the door that opened, so I walked through it. As time went by, I became more and more fascinated by it and was glad I made the choice to do comedy.

Q: What makes someone funny?

A: Well, jokes to start. And the ability to deliver them with perfect timing. Real funny is taking something with a grain of truth in it then stretching it to the Nth degree of ridiculous. For instance, I had a good mind to do a bit about Starbucks. I was annoyed at all the flavors because I just wanted regular coffee. I was knocking jokes around in my head, but hadn’t gotten it in order yet. I pop over to the Comedy Store and Mike Ricca is on stage talking about Starbucks. He said exactly what I was thinking, only HE had it set -up punch-line already. He said, “They have everything except what I want. Cappuccino, Frappuccino, Al Pacino. How about coffee flavored coffee? Do you have that?” Hilarious. I abandon my bit to work on something else, he’d already done it and so perfectly. I admire this skill and it’s how I like to work my own act.

I don’t really think it’s a formula. It’s saying things that indicate to the audience with reality and delivering them in an unexpected way. Part of this is just living long enough to have a viewpoint on different subjects. When you are young, you haven’t seen enough to be funny to an eclectic audience.

Funny is in the eye of the beholder. Personally, I prefer dry humor over slap-stick. But there is an audience for that as well.

Things that are the funniest to me are when a comic addresses my intellect and sets up a joke in such a way that I fill in the blanks.

When you tell a joke that invites the audience to participate or assume, I think that’s funny. There’s no need to be vulgar. You can talk about sex or similar subjects without ever saying “sex” or swearing and everyone understands what you are referring to. Also, just pointing out the parts of life that don’t make sense at a job or in politics or whatever your experience is. If you can do that very cleverly, well, you’re funny. It takes some effort to create a joke like that and comics, myself included, are constantly rewording their acts. Just add, delete, add, delete. Sometimes you have a premise for a bit, but no real jokes. Then as time goes by, the jokes come and suddenly you have ten minutes of material. The key is keeping it playful and ultimately, timing.

Q: What inspired you to write your book?

A: I’ve been writing all of my life. A poem I wrote in the third grade was published in the school newspaper. Many articles and other poems followed, such as a hilarious poem I wrote while Lifeguarding at Walt Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon. It was published in the WDW newsletter. I have nine chapters of a Romance novel in my computer, and three short stories about cats, which I will publish when I get another ten. The problem with writing is that it doesn’t pay anything. A writer writes to write. If you are constantly working at some other job, you lack time and motivation. But a real writer still finds a way to write.

This particular works came about when I suffered life-threatening injuries a couple of years ago. I had no insurance and as soon as I was able, had to go back to work. At the time, I had two concussions, whiplash and my jaw did not work properly. I could not perform comedy, but I still had to have an income so I worked as a stylist in a boutique. I was in a lot of pain and had vertigo most of the time. Imagine working any job in that condition! Retail was particularly difficult because you are dealing with the public and people are simply unobservant. They are rushed and want what they want right now and you are standing there, so you have to be friendly and help them.

What used to be annoying or just commonplace behavior that I would tolerate and not really have too much attention on became infuriating and unbearable. People asking stupid questions over and over again. People demanding I run around getting them things. Constant complaining about prices or asking for discounts. At the time, it hurt just to talk, I was deprived of sleep and had an eye-popping migraine almost every day. These behaviors from customers that I normally could just chalk up to a day’s work were overwhelming.

I started taking notes and writing in a journal each evening my experiences of the day. Sort of as an outlet. I was also trying to figure out a way to find the humor in it and make a comedy routine out of the material. I knew many people work in customer service and it probably would have a wide appeal to address bad customer behavior. Somewhere along the line, I realized I had eleven chapters and that if I continued, I’d have a book. Then, of course, it was no longer me venting. It became work. I had nothing else to do at night because I was nursing these injuries, so I wrote. And I wrote and edited and wrote and before I knew it, I had twenty-five chapters. I also had a comedy routine. I went on a two week tour at my first opportunity and was bombarded with audience after the show saying how they loved the retail material. A book and a stage are very different venues, so it’s taken some effort to figure out a way to do them both. The book, although initially meant to be funny, can sound serious to the reader because the joke said on stage is accompanied by facial expressions and verbal inflection. When I read the book it’s hilarious to me because I hear myself talking on stage. There are places in the book that are straight up slams on bad behavior which when said out loud, are dry and incredibly funny. For instance, I say, “I hate browsers. Buy something and get the hell out!” Well, in a comedy club that’s hysterical. A reader may see it differently, as hostile. I’m not changing it though. It is an etiquette book written by a comedienne, so the reader should know that and keep that in mind while reading. It’s educational and a bit snarky. This is my first completed book. I am working on the next presently, which will have my secrets to styling and truly being a great salesperson. I have handed the customer their arse on a platter, now it’s time for the staff! Customers get rightly annoyed when the salesperson or stylist does not know her business. So I’m addressing the other side.

Q:  Every retail worker I’ve ever met hates their job; why is this?

A: To answer that, I suggest you read: Roxy does Retail!

Any type of customer service can be gruelling. Not only are you dealing with the boss, corporate policies and other employees, you are handling the public, which can be fun, but also very taxing. People tend to treat retail workers as servants. Get me this, get me that. Very rude. And one is expected to stand there smiling! When you work with the public and like people, it is usually pleasant. It’s the odd customer who is taking their frustrations out on you that makes it hard work. You aren’t allowed to bite back or even just leave if you are uncomfortable. It’s a lot of hours standing and looking busy even when the store is empty. Your feet ache, your back hurts. Retail is very much like a restaurant; it’s feast or famine. Hours can go by when there are no customers and you are bored stiff and often required to do “Busy-Work.” Then, all at once near closing, you are bombarded with customers who all want your attention. It can be very frustrating and unless you are in a high-end boutique, you are making very little money. It doesn’t pay well. You can survive on it, but you’ll never be wealthy unless you own the shop, and most shop owners I know are struggling. That worry passes on to the salesperson in the form of pressure to sell. Commission is frustrating as well. When people return things, many companies dock the salesperson’s next paycheck. So you are penalized in retrospect because some one bought something she couldn’t afford.

Q:  Who was the worst customer you ever had when working retail and why?

A: I don’t have a specific one that comes to mind. There have been so many who wasted my time. The worst was most likely

a woman I mention in my book who spoke to me in a very threatening tone. She was super antagonistic. I tell the story very bluntly in my book in the chapter: Client or Menace? She just had this hostile tone about her. She kept picking things up and then suddenly she didn’t have them in view and I was suspicious she was stealing. I had to ask her where she put a clutch. She went off on me. I was alone in the store and she was obviously crazy and looking for a fight. I can hold my own, but at the time, I was in recovery from serious injuries and knew I couldn’t defend myself if she hit me. I was very concerned that if she attacked me, either I’d be hurt or out of sheer adrenaline, I’d pick up something very hard and sharp and she would be hurt. She really frightened me.

Q:  Have you ever been a bad customer?

A: Yes! Recently, I had to deposit money into my account at Bank of America. I was in a hurry and the teller insisted I show my ID.

I was a bit nasty to her in my questioning of why. Seriously, why do I need to show my ID to deposit a check.? That’s ridiculous. If I were withdrawing, I would understand. I did as I was told, but I complained the entire time. At the end I told her I knew she didn’t make the rules and sort of apologized, but not really. When I walked off, I thought, “What the hell is the matter with you? She does not make the rules and here you have a book out teaching people not to do exactly what you just did!” I felt bad after that knowing that I’d upbraided her for something she had no control over. She was just enforcing company policy. Oh Gosh. I am sorry!!!

Q:  What makes fashion so important to people?

A: People want to fit in to society. They want to appear rich up to date and in style and show that they know the latest trends. Fashion is exciting. It’s art. It’s new and old and interesting. It’s fast paced and is a social status to wear the “hot” new look. There are always new ideas coming out from designers and these can be fun for daily wear or for costumes. Sometimes, however, I am in such a disagreement with the new styles that come out and loathe it when I see women insisting on wearing them when they are completely wrong for that woman’s body type. (Such as Skinny Jeans! And leggings! Oh, I hate to see a fifty year old in Leggings and a dress. NO! NO! NO!) I want to look my best and I’m a difficult fit. I’m only five feet tall and I’m hourglass, which is lucky. I’m built proportionately, but gain one ounce and it looks like five pounds. At this size, it’s hard to get jeans or dresses or even tops. They all run long. A short girl has to spend a fortune in alterations. That is why fashion is important to me. I wanted to learn to get “The Look” which was a daunting task with my tiny frame. I made it my priority to figure this out. My entire life has been an effort to appear taller and thinner. I do try to stick to fashionable items, but I if it is something that does not suit me, I use accessories that are in style to get the look instead of wearing an outfit made for a runway model half my age. When I dress someone, I am teaching them about their body, how to dress it fashionably but also in the correct cuts for their figure. I also enjoy relaying what I have learned to other women. I really focus on what is beautiful about them and exacerbate that through clothing and accessories. When people know they look good, they feel good and do well and that is why fashion is truly important.

Q: . What do you like about Los Angeles?

A: The food. Honestly. When I leave LA, I miss the food. When I go on tour to do comedy, it’s usually in the mid-west and it’s canned vegetables, potatoes, steak, fast -food. In Los Angeles, I can have something different and tasty every single day. No, check that. Every single meal! On a single block there is authentic Chinese, French, Armenian, Italian, Mediterranean and a slew of other types of foods. I can get health food easily in LA and not spend a fortune. I love Quinoa! LA is big on salads and I’m a salad girl. All types of exotic vegetables, too. Trader Joe’s is my favorite store. Can’t find that in Paris! Been there. No half and half in the whole of France. I like cream in my espresso already! And organic food isn’t difficult to find. Definitely the food.

There are many other things to like about Los Angeles. I like the industry, the glitz, the glamour, that something is always going on. And I like the people. I came here from Florida. All white people. I like white people. I’m white. But when I am away, I miss the diversity. People are interesting. It’s cool to meet people from other countries and of other races. I found that all people are really about the same. We have cultural differences, but you meet a Mexican, he’s got a sense of humor. And so does that Japanese guy. And so does that Swedish girl. People are fun! They are exotic. And they are talented. I work at The Comedy Store and many other comedy clubs. The comics are funny. They all come from somewhere else and it’s interesting to hear so many different viewpoints. And people are beautiful. LA is full of beautiful people and I like beautiful people. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a shite-load of ugly out there, too, but you can see truly beautiful people in LA and it’s often. I like it. Full of artists, LA is. Painters and singers and writers and actors and dancers. Just buzzing with talent. It’s great. It’s competitive, but if you want to be the best, you have to go up against the best and be able to hang with the best.

Q:  What don’t you like about it?

A: The traffic! It’s rush hour all day long. Every day, 24/7. Often, I wish I had a “Car-Bo-Copter”. I’m nudging along bumper to bumper looking at the dashboard thinking, “Where is the ‘wings’ button?”

LA is also transient. People come and go. They come out to make it, then one day , they disappear. Relationships tend to be difficult. I mean romantic and also friendships. People are working. If they are serious about making it, that is what they are doing. I have many friendships I have developed with comics I’ve come to know over the years, but we don’t hang out. How can we? The night I’m off, they are on stage somewhere. If they are in town, I’m on tour. It’s hard to have a party and all your friends are there. We hang out at the comedy club. It is good that you can develop these types of relationships. People like you and remember you and we all flow each other contacts and work. But getting together outside of work can be difficult.

Men can be fickle here, too. Not all of them. But there are many people here just to “taste” everyone and everything. They aren’t serious. You almost have to leave here or meet someone not from here to have a real relationship. I know many single women here in their thirties and forties, and men too. They want a relationship and complain that people are flakes. It’s almost like the regular rules don’t apply here in dating. It’s too fast. If you aren’t available on text or immediately, you are history. A guy is off to the next hot blonde who is and there are plenty just as pretty. It’s not across the boards, but I’ve seen it. And women do the same to men. Just, “Bye!” I find the dating scene to be rude.

Work is competitive. I know so many extremely talented people who do not work. Or they work, but for free or for very little. I see people who go to acting class and write and perform and just bang, bang, bang it out for years and then some director’s niece gets the part. It can be “who you know.” So if you came here not knowing anyone, even if you are the best, the game is getting to know someone. Get to know everyone. Get yourself out there so people know you. And that can take time for even the most talented performers because they are struggling just to stay alive out here. The one’s who make it persist. They find a way to stay here while they get good. Eventually they are seen and things start rolling.

Q: Considering your experience as a retail employee, would you say are people basically good or bad ?

A: Good. People are basically good. I’ve supported myself doing some form of retail for twenty years. Most of the people I interact with are friendly and interesting. They want help. They want to look good. They are easy going. They are there to shop and are happy to find something. My book addresses the exceptions to the rule. There are quite a few exceptions and the ones I mention are the people who exacerbate the “bad.” They are all true stories and there are definitely bad people out there. But the majority are not bad. They are good. It’s that goodness in people that makes the job worthwhile and the goodness in the salesperson that makes him or her continue to show up and be interested in retail. Most retail shop owners are good as well. There are bad days, but they set the shop up because they love fashion or whatever they are selling and they want to earn a living at it by doing a good job for the customer and doing right by their employees.

Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects:)

An Interview With Jewelry Designer Eileen Goddard

Eileen Goddard is a jewelry designer who owns Imprint By Eileen. Here is a link to her webpage:

http://imprintbyeileen.com/blog.html

Q: How did you get into jewelry design?

A: I have always been a creative, artistic person who likes to make things by hand. I worked in the world of theater for almost a decade up until last year—when my theater closed for renovation, I used my unexpected unemployment as a chance to build my own creative business. I turned a depressing time in my life into a fun adventure—I have learned so much about the jewelry and business worlds in the past year that I can’t even imagine where I’ll be a year from now! And that is very exciting.

Q: Who are some of your designer influences?

A: I am inspired by places and people most of all. I love to travel, and I take any opportunity to people watch and soak in the landscape and materials available in that particular place. I’m also lucky to be in NYC—it’s easy to find inspiration here, whether it’s in the architecture, the museums, street fashion, or graffiti. Or something else completely—there’s a lot here. A specific company that inspires me is Raven + Lily—they work with impoverished women artisans around the world to create their lines, and a portion of each sale always goes back into those communities. The jewelry they create is beautiful, and I love that each piece tells a story—the story of the place where the piece was made, the story of the woman who made it, and so on.

Q: What makes your designs unique?

A: I am really big on custom orders—whether I’m designing a brand new piece for someone or just adjusting the length of a chain or using a different gemstone, I like to make things special for my customers. It’s as satisfying as it is fun to do—I do it all the time at my boutique. If it’s a quick thing like shortening a chain, I’ll do it on the spot. If it’s creating a custom statement necklace for a special event, that might take a week! I also always make sure to offer my customers affordable prices, even on my custom work—I think beautiful jewelry should be available and accessible to everyone!

Q: What is the most challenging thing about running your own business?

I think the most difficult part is being both my own boss and my own (and only!) employee. I’m responsible for making every decision for my business, from how much money to spend on advertising, to designing and printing business cards, to updating my website and planning special events. And that’s not even the part where I design or make the jewelry! So it’s a lot. Sometimes I wish I had a partner who could help out with the workload, or just someone to bounce ideas around with. That being said, it is also a unique process that can be a lot of fun and very rewarding.

Q: How does blogging help your business?

A: I think it helps people get to know me and my company. At first, I felt like I didn’t know what to write about, and so I ended up not writing very much at all. Now I don’t worry about that so much–I just write. I write about everything, from day to day business activities to new designs that I’m working on. I also like to write about decisions that I’m trying to make. Sometimes it helps just to write it out—I’ve found that often, you’ll end up answering your own question. So that’s one way blogging directly helps me make sense of my own business sometimes!

Q: What is the worst fashion mistake a person can make when it comes to jewelry?

A: I think the biggest mistake is not being true to your own personal style. Don’t feel like you have to follow every trend—but at the same time, don’t be afraid to wear something that’s outside of your comfort zone if it makes you feel good! I think sometimes people forget that jewelry, and fashion, is really supposed to be fun. It’s supposed to make you feel good about yourself—confidence really is the best accessory!

Q: What are some of the fashion blogs you read?

A: I love reading local designers’ blogs—jewelry as well as fashion. Wendy Brandes’ is one of my favorites, maybe because she combines both worlds! She’s a fine jewelry designer who also blogs about fashion, and you can find her here: http://wendybrandes.com/blog/

Q: What is your favorite material to work with?

A: I love working with gemstones of all kinds. I’m really inspired by the colors and textures that occur naturally, and I love finding different ways to use the different stones. I love the look on people’s faces at my store when they ask what materials I used, and I get to tell them the stories of the specific stones that were used.

Q: What is your weirdest work story?

A: People do all kinds of weird things in my store! One of the strangest was a woman from Spain who accidentally handed me a $100 bill instead of a $10. When I showed her the mistake, and helped her find the right bill, she was so grateful that she gave me a small box of religious relics that she had brought with her from Israel. I’m not a religious person, but I didn’t feel right throwing them away. That box is still somewhere in my house…

Q: What was the single best piece of jewelry you have ever seen?

A: That’s a tough question. There are so many artists who have made (and continue to make!) really amazing things. I love to go into the museums here in New York sometimes—especially the Met—and look at all the ancient jewelry that was made centuries before modern metalsmithing techniques were developed. Now THAT is some impressive jewelry!

Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects:)