What's your favorite thing in your closet?
That's really hard for me to choose, but I'm obsessed with my By Francine silk black minidress with giant puffed sleeves! It was the first item I've ever bought from a showroom sale -- it was definitely an adventure trying on clothes in front of everyone.
What do you look for in a piece of clothing when you go shopping?
Cut and fit. If it doesn't fit well on me (even with tailoring), I won't buy it. I'm really short and buying women's sizes is tough. I've had a lot of frustrating moments when a beautiful dress in size zero would fall right off.
What's your favorite musical instrument?
I've actually never played a musical instrument! However, my friend has a beautiful Steinman grand piano and I can't help but be awed by its grandeur. I've definitely had moments when I wished I had learned piano when I was younger!
Who is your favorite artist, and which art period is your favorite?
I'm crazy about Gian Lorenzo Bernini because he sculpted with such theatrical style, which is characteristic of the Baroque. My favorite art period is the Baroque, of course. It's so flamboyant!
I'm visiting your neck of the woods (San Francisco) in a month; tips on what to do- where to shop, eat, visit?
In San Francisco, you should walk and shop around Union Square, visit and shop around Haight Street, and find some authentic Chinese cuisine in Chinatown and load yourself with carbohydrates in Little Italy. But then you should go visit Berkeley and the South Bay. I can help you more with the South Bay than I can with San Francisco, sorry. I love shopping at Ooma in the city though.
Do you believe that a good sense of style be learned, or is it innate?
I think some people are just born with a natural sense of aesthetics, but I really do think style needs to be cultivated. It's kind of like education -- education teaches you the foundations of the box so that you can think outside of the box. You learn certain "rules" about style in order to break them.
How old were you when you wrote your first article and what was it for?
I was in seventh grade, and I desperately emailed KriSeLen.com, a teen entertainment website, in hopes that I could write a piece for two. I was assigned a review for the band, Strata:
I refuse to answer my parents’ request for me to turn the volume down as I rock out to “Piece by Piece” by the intense and full-of-purpose rock band, Strata. To tell you the truth, I can hear my dad humming along to the song across the room, and you have to give credit to a band with such high-strung emotion and meaning that even your parents are guilty of loving. A highly-independent and confident band, Strata self-produced and even self-recorded their debut album in their own studio. Their songs are direct messages and prove that Strata is not a one-hit wonder to be ignored. These four Californian natives (bass player Hrag Chanchanian, vocalist Eric Victorino, drummer Adrian Robison, guitar player Ryan Hernandez) write their songs from an emotional prospective, with dramatic passion full of symbolism and significance. It’s hard to compare Strata to the other rock bands that dominate the airwaves because their songs are real and not written by a 40 year old record producer. To be modest, their music combines the passion and deep emotion of Nirvana with the strong instrumentals of Switchfoot.I have not reviewed music since then. Nor have I written for KriSeLen.com.
The Campbell, California natives are known for their artistic styles of heavy rock, and playing from the heart. They try to not just be another industry band, but a rock band that will truly make a difference and impact. Victorino and Hernandez met each other at a local coffee shop, while Chanchanian joined the group after getting to know Victorino, and Robison was drafted into the group a couple months later as the drummer. They soon began playing in well known clubs in their area, such as the Cactus Club. They soon formed a devoted fan base in the San Francisco bay area, and things began to take off.
Having toured with Alien Ant Farm, Finger Eleven, dredg, Trapt, Sno-Core, and Smile Empty Soul, Strata has proved themselves worthy of the stage. Accomplishing what would be very risky in the highly competitive music business (producing one’s own debut album, it is obvious that Strata has great potential for greatness. Their songs are intimate and personal, from the provocative “Piece by Piece”, possible the hardest track on the album, to the deep meaning of “The Panic, which also debuted as a music video on MTV. Unlike other bands where only one member writes the song, Strata’s band members all collaborate together. “It’s a democracy where majority rules,” adds Chanchanian. “If someone else comes up with a better idea for a bassline or even a lyric, each member is fine with it. We all want to make the best song possible.
For years to come, Strata will be known to people as more then just a layer of sedimentary rock. As one of the last few bands around that still writes their lyrics with complete honesty and integrity, Strata will be in the music world for a long time, continuing to produce meaningful songs.
How did you go about getting your work experiences?
I was (am?) persistent and I'm not afraid of sending emails and getting rejected. And the more work experience I get, the less likely I'll be rejected. That makes sense, right?
How much charity work have you done?
In seventh and eighth grade, I used to be a volunteer reading and homework tutor for underprivileged kids at the local library. It was one of the best experiences of my life, especially because I never thought I could teach. I almost cried when I found out that my pupil's reading level increased from first grade to seventh grade (she was in third grade) and raised her math grade from a D to an A-. I don't think I did anything special but it was so wonderful to witness that moment in her education. I also do a lot of random volunteering with Key Club, and I'm really involved with the March of Dimes in terms of service and fundraising.
What is your favorite cupcake flavor?
Red velvet with cream cheese frosting all the way!
I know this is personal, but what do your parents work as?
I won't say, but they work harder than I ever could, no matter what I do. And no, they don't work in publishing or fashion.
Scan your handwriting!
My scanner is broken and I haven't been able to scan in my favorite magazine spreads or anything lately. Egh sorry.
What's your favorite TV show?
Recently, my favorite show has been House! Dr. House is brilliant but caustic, and I'm still really amused that the show is based on Sherlock Holmes. Gossip Girl's still pretty good, but I can easily go weeks without watching the show (I'm starting to think I only watch it for Chuck). My favorite show of all time is Buffy the Vampire Slayer -- I love girls that can kick arse.
What inspired you to write?
I don't really know -- I can't imagine a time when I wasn't writing or making up fairy tale stories in my head. I just read a lot of books when I was little. I mean, I was really shy and timid back then, so writing was a way for me to speak out without, er, speaking
What tips do you have for internships?
I hope this helps.
Where can I find a nice leather bag for under $100?
This is probably no help at all, but secondhand stores and consignment stores tend to have nice leather bags for under $100. I wish I could help you more, but I'm ashamed to say that I've yet to buy a nice leather bag in America for under $100 but will be on the lookout for one. Mumsies recommends Asia, ha.
Can you speak Chinese?
Yes! I speak Mandarin, but my friends make fun of me and tell me that I have terrible pronunciation.
What courses do you take at school?
This semester, I am taking Graphic Arts, Journalism: Yearbook, AP English Literature & Composition, AP Psychology, AP Spanish Language, and AP Statistics.
How do you organize your wardrobe?
Oh, I don't know if I could say it's organized. Half of my closet is stuffed with old magazines and the other half is crammed with clothes, arranged by piece.
What's your room like?
It's somewhat embarrassing but I have a canopy bed and pink curtains, remnants of my childhood. This one time, I tied a blanket around my neck and pretended that I was Superman. I jumped on my bed and made a giant hole in the mattress. Thus, my bed is not comfy.
What influences has your Asian heritage had on your style, and do you look to the Asian fashion scene for ideas to incorporate into your look?
Well I mean, I like Asian designers such as Vivienne Tam and Colleen Quen. I also really love Korean hanboks. Other than that, I haven't embraced the Asian fashion scene all that much. I have some copies of FRUiTs magazine and I seriously think Asian girls are fabulously dressed, but I've learned from some friends from Korea that the girls there admire Abercrombie and Seven Jeans and all things American, which saddens me because there is a lot of great shopping in Asia. So yeah, I love shopping in Asia but I pick inspiration from anywhere I can. I love some things I see in Asia and I can't stand other things -- same as I do here.
If you had to get rid of your entire wardrobe (a nightmare scenario I know), and could only keep one item, which item would you choose and why?
My Uniqlo black skinny jeans. I had to travel across the country to find a pair of skinny jeans that fit me well!
What is on your iTunes playlist right now?
Paper Moon by Ella Fitzgerald, Put Your Record On by Corinne Bailey Rae, Let it Rock by Kevin Rudolf, and Say Hey by Michael Franti. I know, my musical taste isn't very impressive.
If you could do anything with your life right now, what would it be? What is your wildest dream?
I'm having trouble answering this question because I am doing everything I want right now. Everything else requires time and patience. My wildest dream (okay maybe not, but one of my crazier dreams) would be to sit front row at Fashion Week someday, ha.
What are some good/bad things that you've encountered since you started blogging?
I love sharing my ideas with everyone and learning more about other bloggers and readers! I don't like negative comments, but that's what I get for starting a blog.
My hair is dry and pooofy and I use conditioner but it's still like that :( Any tips? Your hair looks soooooooo silky and smooth--me jealous!
Right after I shower, I spray aloe vera extract mixed with water into my hair. Then I brush and let my hair air dry.
What do you think is the greatest flaw in humanity?
We're greedy, and we're all guilty of it.
What is your favorite vacation destination?
Beijing! Amazing cultural destinations, great shopping, cheap delicious food -- yum.
What is your favorite material item?
My Toshiba laptop. MacBooks are pretty, but I still love my sleek black Toshiba.
What is your favorite color?
What would be a regular type of outfit that you would wear to school?
A short dress made dress code-appropriate with tights, a pair of ballet flats or patent leather heels, my schoolboy blazer, a strand of pearls from Mumsies, a silk scarf around the neck, and a spritz of Annick Goutal Mandragore eau de toilette. Maybe one of my many headbands from Mumsies thrown in there.
What is your idea of good style?
Confidence -- everyone has a different sense of style but you're only stunning when you're confident. Confidence is when you can wear something ridiculous or different and get looks of awe.
My questions for you:
- What is your wildest dream?
- What is your favorite magazine?
- What was the first thing you thought about when you woke up this morning?