Give us your elevator pitch — tell us a bit about yourself. We want to know what you’re all about.
I’m probably best known for my presence in the world of sneakers, as an advocate for women in this space. I started out as a sneaker writer, and grew my personal brand through various projects centered around sneakers and style, while also being a voice for women.
#LocalLove is all about showing love to bad-ass bosses like yourself. Can you share with us what you do for work and how you make an impact?
I wear a lot of hats so I call myself a creative consultant. My background is in communications and professional writing so I love storytelling in different forms. My specialties are art direction, brand strategy, and writing… and I recently added styling as well. I predominantly live in the world of sneakers, sports and streetwear, but I also lend my skills to working with local brands on their creative needs.
While I want to be a voice for all women, I try to make an impact by being somebody that women who look like me can look up to because I didn’t have a lot of role models like that growing up. I didn’t see a lot of Filipino (let alone Asian) women in this field, playing and working in sports, wearing sneakers, and dressing like me. There is also not a lot of diversity in body types within my culture and I think the look was always more feminine. I know every culture has its own standards of beauty but I never felt like I fit mine.
How did you get into this line of work?
I literally built a network over the internet and I just started being more present in the spaces I wanted to be in. I love sneakers and sports, so when I started out on Twitter and Instagram, most of my content was that — tweets about Kobe Bryant, the Raptors, and photos of my sneakers. When I saw a call for freelance writers for Complex Sneakers, I reached out to one of my Twitter friends, who was an editor at that outlet, and who later hired me for multiple projects after that. A lot of my early Twitter friends are now influential people in the sneaker space, and I’m forever grateful to them for the opportunities they gave me that opened many doors going forward. It’s funny because I cemented myself more in the US before I started meeting people in Canada, probably because I never left my house, haha.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given (career or otherwise)?
“Act like you’ve been here before.” — I will never ever forget this because it was a friend who called me out over some things I was posting at the time. I can’t really remember what I was doing but I’m sure it was annoying. Basically just conducting yourself as a humble person, which later led to a conversation about taking my personal brand more seriously. That’ll mean something different for everyone, and for the most part, I’m fairly laid back about my Instagram, but I keep the content pretty consistent with my subject matter and I try to keep private details offline.
How about the worst?
“Create a separate account for personal and business because future employers will be looking.” This was the time when photos of you drinking could make or break a job opportunity but it turns out it’s not that serious anymore, at least for me, and I was able to just be myself online. My content was overlapping and I realized the second account was literally pointless because if anybody Googled me, they’d find my “fun” pages anyway. Mind you, there are many exceptions to this, especially if you have an actual brand with product but for me, there was just no point in being super formal on one, and then myself on another. The content was overlapping and people were resonating with my authentic self. A compliment I’ve truly been honoured to accept is that I’m the same offline as I am online.
If you could paint your ideal life, what would that look like in 5-10 years from now?
I think my ideal life would be like the show, Entourage. Being creative and successful with my best friends and just making cool shit. I have so many creative projects I want to explore but I need to get out of my own head and actually do it. There are two things at the top of my list right now: starting a clothing brand and writing a TV show. I’m actually attempting my first screenplay but the goal is just to do it and not obsess about whether it’s good enough. In my ideal life, all my work is great.
What are your favourite resources that you’ve come across over the years (e.g., email extensions, design apps etc.)
Google, Instagram and Twitter. These all seem super elementary but the amount of information these platforms provide us at our fingertips is priceless. Google is a never-ending library of information. Anything you need to know, are curious about, and/or too embarrassed to ask is on there. Instagram exposes you to so much inspiration that allows you to develop your own style, your own voice and your own aesthetic. Twitter is the same but has been an amazing tool in the networks I’ve built and the communities I’ve fostered. Oh, and last one is AsianAvenue — I got an account when I was probably 8 years old but my obsession with having a nice ~aesthetic~ actually inspired me to learn Photoshop and HTML, which has been useful through the rest of my adult life. I breezed through all my university design courses off that alone.
Who are 3 of your favourite Canadian entrepreneurs that our readers should absolutely be in the know about?
This one is so tough! There are too many to name and I feel like a lot of my favourite people have already been featured/mentioned on here so I’ll try to name some new ones.
- Alexa Toneatto, owner of Oreya Studio. I don’t think I’ve ever witnessed someone open a hair salon and have the kind of traffic she’s had. We’ve been friends for over ten years and her work ethic and fearlessness truly inspires me.
- Gabrielle and Julia Bautista, owners of Naked Beauty Bar. I think I can safely say these two took nail care to another level in the city. Never in my life did I think I’d have such strong, beautiful *natural* nails. It took me a while to buy into it because I couldn’t wrap my head around how nails could be so different but now I’m sold and I’ll never go anywhere else. All the cool girls and boys go here too. Their methods are unmatched and they curate the best nail art every month. Innovation!
- Kayla Grey, Sports Anchor and Reporter at TSN. I don’t know if she necessarily falls under “entrepreneur” but Kayla has been killing it in her coverage of the NBA. She asks really great, thoughtful questions to the players and coaches, and her Twitter coverage is A1. She is commanding, funny and intelligent and she is an amazing role model for women everywhere.
Explore more of our local loves here.