Tuesday, 2 December 2014

"What Doesn't Kill You"

 If there’s one thing I’ve come to appreciate while traveling, it's crossing paths with other travelers. I’ve been able to connect with amazing people during phases of personal growth both shared and individually. And, for many of those people, that connection exists outside of time and distance. Carolyn Proteau is one such person.

I met Carolyn during my first and most memorable model trip to New York City. It was the first NYC fashion week for both of us. I’m very happy to have her input on ‘Project Wake-Up’ because her exciting energy has left a lasting impression on my own life.
In the intro (link here) I put forward some ideas about what contributes to confidence. Experience. Calm. Motivation. I’ve asked Carolyn if any of these in particular resonated with her own view on confidence:
“Without my experiences modeling, and those times in NYC, I wouldn’t be who I am now. I thought I was myself. I’m still the same person, I was just too afraid to speak up and assert my input. In those moments it feels like you’re not that far from where you were. Looking back - wow. I’m so much happier now and I’m in a better place.
"When other people tell you who you should be or who you should be like… it’s difficult to avoid being influenced by that. It was honestly a real struggle for me because, by nature, I’m a people pleaser. So when they say 'you have a big nose' or 'your forehead is too big' or 'we wish you were blonde', just know that you can’t please everyone. The way you perceive yourself is not always the way others perceive you. Once I learned that I was much more at one with myself."
Models might be asked by agents or clients to undergo 'makeovers' to create excitement over a new, marketable image. The blonde mention? Not a joke. I wanted to know more about how such an extreme change influenced Carolyn in the days after we parted ways.
"When I came home I had a total melt down. An identity crisis. I came home with a completely different look and my friends were like 'oh my god'. And with the blonde hair - I would look in the mirror and I was looking at a whole other person.
"I also found out around this time that the guy I was seeing had been cheating on me - with my best friend - while I was gone. I started thinking 'am I not good enough?'. I wasn't so upset that he had cheated on me. I was more upset that someone had cheated on me. So yeah, it was a whole thing.
"I didn’t know who I was anymore. I was going to get a nose piercing and I was going to get a tattoo. And thank goodness my friends talked me out of it. I think everyone goes through phases where they’re not sure what they’re doing with their life. When everything piles up at once."
I asked Carolyn for her advice to people when they are in those moments.
"Respect yourself. You're allowed to have off days - but don't allow them to take over your life. I’d also say be comfortable with yourself and don’t be afraid to take risks. Be open to new ideas and 'try everything once'."
Carolyn was able to skype me from Canada between classes and I'm extremely happy to have her input on confidence. She's focusing on psychology and neurological science in university - so I hope to hear more from her later in the project!
And the boy?
"I left him. We go to the same university now. I see him around and he acts like he doesn’t know me. And I’m okay with that. It worked out great because now I have a really nice guy. I'm a believer in everything happening for a reason."
My interview with Carolyn has sparked a lot of thought. What has especially caught my interest has been the talk about overcoming expectations and self-limitations. This is a point where I see my three keys of confidence - experience/calm/motivation - merging.
It takes stressful situations to awaken a clearer confidence. Stress is a sign demanding you to recognize a change in your life. Recognizing the need for change brings the peace of self awareness (calm). Motivation is needed to overcome stress and adapt to the life change.
Carolyn's motto "Try Everything Once" I also think comes two fold. Because a life change can only challenge you until you act on it. Don't let anything challenge you twice xo


Thursday, 27 November 2014

Giving Thanks To Point Of View

The little things.
And the major life events.
Influences make you who you are. Where you were born, your family, school, work, pop culture - we are interpreters of our surroundings. And yet, all of us are born with the same genetic materials. So how come our 100 billion neurons interpret situations differently?
Fittingly, today is Thanksgiving Day back in the states - making this an appropriate time to appreciate the people and cultures that make us who we are. Your parents give you genetics (life). Your society gives you opportunity. The world gives you resource. From the moment you are born, your neurons are connecting and reconnecting to form a constantly progressing point of view. And thus emerges the individual. You are an expression of accumulated reaction.

The point that I’m trying to boil down to is this: we are who we are because of the people and circumstances around us. We might not be born with our mother’s patience or our father’s ambition, but our character traits come from those closest to us. Now would be a good time to thank those people who have inspired your good side.

Appreciating family, for me, has become much more important over the past couple of years, most likely because I’m traveling and spending the majority of my time away. Still, that sheltered “bubble” I grew up in is at the core of who I am. Religion. Education. Politics. These things and more create your rules for interacting with the world around you. But family is the strongest influence we have. The one life-long constant. It’s during childhood that your “world map” is created. That world map is adapted into adulthood where friends, acquaintances and strangers begin playing primary roles in influencing who you are.

We owe a lot to our family and culture. They’ve provided us with the building blocks we now get to play with to create our place in the world. On this Thanksgiving Day try to analyze what you’re most thankful for and how those things have influenced you.

Still, influences do not define us. That's done through the way we use those influences to react. Either consciously or not. At the end of the day, you have control over which character traits you choose to reflect and which ones you choose not to. Are the people around you thankful for the influence you are?
Happy Thanksgiving Day :)

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

I Can Explain... Intro To "Project Wake-Up"

Our experiences - the moments that forge who we are - can never be merged. In addition, perception is constantly changed with the more we experience... meaning that my perception  might not apply to everyone or even myself as the years change my viewpoint. That being said, however, life phases are definable. And that is the platform for this blog project. I want to explore the phenomenon that is personality. And I invite you to join me.

Personality, for modeling and many careers, is considered an essential. But no one knows how to define it or really even describe it. My first time traveling for modeling to New York City began with a roller coaster of emotions. I remember those mornings, afternoons and evenings in the café downstairs stressing collectively with my roommates. A regular topic: How the hell are we supposed to unlock our ‘wow factor’? If you force yourself to be more talkative - you’re obnoxious. If you’re too quiet - you’re invisible. What’s the formula to a perfect personal aura?!

Well, time has passed since then. And even though I haven’t found the exact formula, I do know what has helped me since that first fashion week. I can’t fit too much detail in this intro post, but here are a couple of hints towards what I’ve found to be most beneficial. In the next posts I’ll be going into further depth and having guest input.

Experience. The ups, the downs, the run arounds. These are necessary to form your world view. Distance yourself from what you know in order to find what you understand. Spread your energy into developing passions. Find joy in the simple things. Experience takes time and can’t be faked. You have to constantly invest in yourself. And remember - your life is a collection of experiences already. Evaluate your childhood, adolescence and adulthood to your current point. The fond along with the not so fond. Appreciate the who, what and how you currently are.

Calm. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I have had a good deal of bitterness hold me back in the past. From stress, from lack of communication (mostly on my part), from unreal expectations or flawed interpretations. Exhale those away. Trust yourself and the people around you - that way your genuine self can come through. I want to point out that calm IS NOT numb. If you’ve numbed yourself into the flow of circumstances, you are not experiencing. Calm is taking in the moment, understanding how you’ve come to that moment, and accepting where it might lead you. I’m not perfect in this and I doubt that anyone is.

Motivation. You have the power to influences your circumstances. The world is better connected now than ever before, and if you’re passionate about something you can make it happen. I’ve struggled with this one, reserving myself to ‘numbness’ and allowing events to play themselves out. That’s time lost to an irretrievable past. The future, however, can always be acted on. I suggest we all strive towards making ourselves better than the day before.

Confidence. It’s a combination of all these things. Experience. Calm. Motivation. When you understand yourself, you understand others and the world around you. When you have experienced a life phase, you can understand and relate to others currently in that life phase. Confidence is that ‘personal aura’ I mentioned before. Saying things that matter instead of trying to fill the silence with nonsense. It’s style and interest.

I intend to explore how people perceive confidence. My hope is that this exploration can be as useful to others as it has been to me. More to come. xo

Monday, 21 July 2014

Let's Try Again

Hmmm... that went well.

Nevermind that I didn't post... anything... while I was in NYC. The experience helped me grow as a person and I guess you'll never know the full details! Work-wise the season was unbearably slow, but time was made bearable by having my friends in town. Anne Lise (who I met before in Tokyo) added all sorts of inspiration when I accompanied her during her art projects. Former roommates Blair (NYC + Tokyo) and Dani (NYC) were able to be in the city during the same time period. I moved over to Williamsburg to room with those two and we had all sorts of adventures together! Not to mention Pudge Knuckles, my favorite café, made the stay stellar once more. My "granoatmeal" might be featured soon on the menu. As a side note, I think there's no better way to experience a city than to find your center and regular 'quiet spot'. In Tokyo the regular café was MUD - which, as it turns out, has one other location. But... the one in NYC isn't nearly as good, unfortunately.

Mostly fond memories in Williamsburg. Coffee, checkers and coffee, ping pong in the amenities room and rooftop BBQs characterized our time there. One alcoholic roommate and the rest were 'kindred spirits'. I miss them as I type this!

I am currently in Utah. There will be a big family reunion soon, which I am very happy to be joining, then it's off to Europe! Details to come soon.

And that's that.

While in NYC I started handing out questionnaires to models - a psychology experiment - and I'll be trying to interpret and post my findings here.

On the language front I've been trying to learn some more Italian songs, since it's likely I'll end up in Italy. Even though it's not a serious commitment to language learning, I am picking up a few words here and there. Featured artist right now: Lara Fabian

Most recently I copied down and memorized "Je Suis Malade" by Lara Fabian which translates to "I'm Sick" (love sick, for clarification)

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Perdere l'amore - Massimo Reniere


My Italian obsession right now, "losing the love" is a sad and passionate song about the harsh passage of time. Listen with English translation here: 

Perdere l'amore

E adesso andate via
voglio restare solo
con la malinconia
volare nel suo cielo
non chiesi mai chi eri
perchè scegliesti me
me che fino ad ieri
credevo fossi un re

Perdere l'amore
quando si fa sera
quando tra i capelli
un pò d'argento li colora
rischi di impazzire
può scoppiarti il cuore
perdere una donna
e avere voglia di morire

Lasciami gridare
rinnegare il cielo
prendere a sassate
tutti i sogni ancora in volo
li farò cadere ad uno ad uno
spezzerò le ali del destino
e ti avrò vicino

Comunque ti capisco
e ammetto che sbagliavo
facevo le tue scelte
chissà che pretendevo
e adesso che rimane
di tutto il tempo insieme
un uomo troppo solo
che ancora ti vuol bene

Perdere l'amore
quando si fa sera
quando sopra al viso
c'è una ruga che non c'era
provi a ragionare
fai l'indifferente
fino a che ti accorgi
che non sei servito a niente

E vorresti urlare
soffocare il cielo
sbattere la testa
mille volte contro il muro
respirare forte il suo cuscino
dire è tutta colpa del destino
se non ti ho vicino

Perdere l'amore
maledetta sera
e raccogli i cocci
di una vita immaginaria
pensi che domani
è un giorno nuovo
ma ripeti non me l'aspettavo
non me l'aspettavo

Prendere a sassate
tutti i sogni ancora in volo
li farò cadere ad uno ad uno
spezzerò le ali del destino
e ti avrò vicino

Friday, 7 February 2014

The Theraputical Vanishing Act

I've been back in Utah for over a week now and I've been filling my days with writing, language, and the occasional documentary (alright - I also got hooked on the Sherlock Holmes BBC series) all in all it's been great because I've dropped off the radar.
There's something to be said about letting yourself get cut loose. This is an idea that first formulated when I got my phone stolen in Singapore. All the sudden I couldn't retreat into that hand-held world. Granted I had already taken the first step by having a separate phone for the agency (i.e. no data on my smart phone) and functioned on wifi-only. Then it was nothing. At first this translated to anxiety - not having an excuse for distraction - but slowly it became... well... liberating. I didn't need a map because I had looked around and knew my way. I was more observant, more entertained, and all around better adapted to my surroundings - all because I didn't have my phone on me.
Now I have my phone, but hardly have it in my hand. My ipad is used for translating and my laptop is used for research and writing. I have no obligations, no schedule, yet I find myself as busy as ever.
Vanishing - I highly recommend it.

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Home Sweet Home

Despite the caffeine laced 16hr flight, my first day back in Utah has been phenomenal! Still up till midnight MT time chatting it up with the fam. My niece dressed up in her best princess ball gown, my not-yet-1yr nephew crawled/stood/rolled every which way, my parents and siblings joined in rockband between chats. 

It's incredible how quickly elapsed time is forgotten when with the people you love. I feel as though I've been home for a week (that could be attributed to sleep deprivation) with our Chamberlain crew. Tonight I sleep in pjs I lifted from my sis while my suitcase is in limbo. Till then it'll be a good excuse to pullout the old winter gear! Oh closet, I've missed you!

Given the overextended length of my travel, there is a huge relief in returning home. It's a much needed grounding among turmoil. The smiles, jokes, and ease of my family have put my anxieties to rest, which were spiked during the past few days. It makes me regret that I haven't touched base more often - and at the same time grown my appreciation for these wonderful figures in my life :)

Signs of entering U.S.A.

You know you're leaving Asia when:

- people in the baggage queue won't wait to be called
- more than a handful of your travel mates are obese
- someone in a pair of pajama pants walks down the aisle
- pasta is on the airline menu

You know you're in the states when:

- TSA gets as close to a strip search as possible
- it takes walking the entire terminal to find a non-food shop
- the airline employees have attitude
- announcements are english-only
- ... or nonexistent

You know you're on your way to Utah when:

- the flight attendant could be part of the Brady Bunch
- strangers expect to talk to each other
- only two people on the plane ask for coffee
- ... which is delivered separately
- ... and is so watered-down it's confused for tea
- adventurists somberly toast a final beer before arrival

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

X marks 'you are here'

Confidence is not courage.

Courage assumes the worst
When confidence assumes the best;
One functions through strength
The other through pride;
One is stiff
The other adaptive

I've lived in courage.

It is accepting the situation
When unsure of the self;
... How wrong I've been!
... Because all this time
I thought facing the world
Was more important than facing me

Courage has taught me to be numb.

Real power rests in accepting the self
When unsure of the situation;
Only then can one navigate with certainty
Regardless of terrain;
It is knowing who you are
Undefined by where or what

And this we call confidence.

Monday, 27 January 2014

A door now shut

There's only one other time I've felt a 'no' shake me as tremendously as today. It was in 2012 when I went to New York mid winter with my sister. This was a two week visit and I proudly brought with me a submission for publication for a 360pg book I'd written. With an overly-eager smile I asked the man at Penguin Publishing Co. if I could deliver my submission to the publishing team. It was my reason for traveling to NYC. He turned me away with directions to the mail room. Outside. Through the garage. Down a rickety elevator. And there I tossed my Manila wrapped pages into the bin while choking back tears.

My breath was equally choked this morning as I opted away from the elevator and took a slow walk down the stairs to regain my compossure. This is after I walked into the agency and was abruptly greeted with some change-of-flight options. A kick out the door for myself and another 25% of the agency's models in town. I felt transported back to that mail room and faced with a bin that might as well be labeled 'discard dreams here'.

I didn't give up on the book. Eight re-writes followed along with a wealth of writing experience I still benefit from in every email, blog, or letter I form. I don't intend to give up modeling either. I'm signed with top agencies in New York and London, armed with magazine tears from Singapore including a recent cover. I take this as a slap in the face. I let myself become stuck in the numbness of routine and it's time to wake up... *ouch*

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

"I've been very lucky, from the beginning. I've found that as long as you're fundamentally good - as long as you're not being bad to people - people give you a lot of room to be yourself, because being yourself is being honest. And that's what people want to see."

Andrew Mason

Saturday, 18 January 2014

And then there were two.

It's a small world. Imagine meeting someone in a new city - strangers thrown together by coincidence - AND THEN, what are the chances of that same coincidence happening a second time? My Tokyo roommate is my former New York roommate! A small world indeed, and getting smaller :) I'm incredibly happy to rendezvous with my Canadian friend, Blair, in a second corner of the world - we've found a cozy local cafe and talked for hours on end (an American habit I thought I'd finally kicked) joking about old times, new times, and odd times. It's inspiring to think that completely different walks of life can journey paths that intersect again and again. The world is unpredictable... odd how empowering that realization can be!

Taking time to reflect

Destiny is having to face the mirror day after day.
Fate is understanding whose eyes you are looking into.

Monday, 13 January 2014

My advice

'Why am I here?' is one of the only questions that can answered by its own echo.

Saturday, 11 January 2014

Airport tips that now seem so obvious


When preparing for a flight be sure to reserve a taxi ahead of time. This will save you from standing in the rain at 6am for forty minutes before hastily calling in an SOS from friends.


Weigh you luggage before hand. Sure you might think it fits, and you also might think you’ll have time to readjust in case it doesn’t. But you might be making it to the check-in just seconds before the cutoff. In this case- flirt like there’s no tomorrow in order to buy time!


TSA. Plan in advance to make sure all containers are within standard measurements. And avoid packing pointy objects like nail trimmers that might set off alarms. Keep your belongings neatly stowed to avoid the embarrassment of looking like a caveman as security sorts through a jumbled mess of odds and ends. 


If seated in the middle seat during a flight be considerate of those around you. This may be difficult when trying to leave your seat. And reaching over, though necessary during meal and refreshment times, is frowned upon.


Despite a wide selection of movies, opt for some sleep. This will save you from having a haggard droopy eye appearance at arrival. This is important, because you might be sent to castings straight off the plane.

Should’ve known…