My shameless selfies & Interview with the’Instacollage’ team

Photos are reality and reality is just photos… says our generation. #sodeep#notbasic

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(On the bus)

Hey guys! It’s me Konni again(obviously) and I’m sitting around as usual, taking shameless, superficial selfies. But today I’ve brought to you something that isn’t usual at all too-here’s a rare opportunity: getting to talk to the masterminds behind a popular smartphone app.

Being a wannabe techno-geek myself, I got talking with Alex from ‘Team Instacollage’.

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K: Hey Alex! First things first- why did you develop the app in the first place?

A: Thank you Konni for crediting me as being the developer of InstaCollage ;). But, I am not the real developer of InstaCollage. It was developed by my friend, Lavi, about an year and five months ago, who is a passionate android developer and a great one. He developed this app during his college time, but there was no real reason to develop it. I joined him six months ago to turn InstaCollage into a business, which does not suffice with just collage making. So, right now, we are porting this android app to iPhone, which we are planning to release within 2 months.

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(But first-Lemmetakeaselfie! Used to be obsessed with that song by The Chainsmokers. Oh and my phone camera sucks(as you can see in photo above) so bear with me. This photo is from my high school graduation day when I was caked with makeup : )

K: Cool. Tell us a bit about your app.

A: InstaCollage, as the name says, it’s a Simple Collage Making App on Android. I do really mean it “Simple”. The app has pure Black-and-White interface designed to let you focus on the most important thing while making a Collage, i.e. your photos.

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K: Ooh. So that’s what differentiates you guys from other photo collage apps out there.

A: Yeah, existing collage apps miss this most important part. InstaCollage is packed with photo editing tools too, like Photo Filters, Photo Frames and Backgrounds, the option to add text to turn it into a collage story. We are also working on stickers which will be released within a week. Apart from just providing these features, the app provides smooth and fast interface to create collages.

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K: What type of grids do you have on your app? I’m not a huge Instagram fan but I definitely do need a trusty collage app for my Kakao Talk(guys, this is a huge chatting app in Korea) profile pics.

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(I took this photo today, a moment ago, before I took my shower(I still have a towel on my head, I never got into the habit of actually using a hair dryer). I lost a bit of weight recently-probably because I’ve been busy working.)

A: Well, by using InstaCollage, you will find that you can create only square collage grids, and we are not looking to remove this restriction. But we will add “Free Style Collages” as a separate feature in InstaCollage by the end of February. I request you to install it on your android device and experience it yourself, as that matters a lot for us. You can simply install it from here: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.photos.instacollage

K: Thanks, Alex. Okay, now I need to know how it’s being run. So that I can, you know, take some superficial selfies.

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(Like this one)

A: I hope by saying “how it’s being run”, you want to know, how app actually works. Follow these Steps:

– Choose a layout and then select the required number of photos, and in the end, user is taken to collage editing screen.
– or Choose few photos, then you will be directly taken to collage editing screen, where a random layout is shown and you do have the options to change layout while editing your collage.

K: Thank you so much for introducing us to your app, Alex! This is all for now but be sure to type in ‘instacollage’ on your Google Play Store if you have Android because WHO DOESN’T NEED A GOOD PHOTO COLLAGE APP IN THIS DAY AND TIME, Y’ALL. Especially in fashion-I often find that fashion is in-the-moment, but it’s the photos that last.

Hope you guys had fun making fun of my selfies XD

 

Interview with YG KPlus model Eun-suh Cho!

She’s from the hottest model agency in Korea, YG KPlus, she’s on the latest issue of Marie Claire, and she’s only 17. I was able to reach her through fellow YG K-Plus model Jae-young Oh (thank you!).

Us both being students with school coming up the next week, our situation didn’t lead us to a face-to-face meet-up, but fortunately I still got the opportunity to have a chat with her online.

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K: Hi Eun-suh! I think I’ve seen you a couple times in brand lookbooks/catalogues! What type of work have you done so far since your debut?

E: Yeah, I’ve been in lookbooks and catalogues for fashion brands and I’ve also done a runway show!

K: Cool. From what age have you been modeling, and were you parents supportive at first? When and how were you admitted(?) into your current agency, YG KPlus?

E: I started modeling at YG KPlus this March, and my parents have always been extremely supportive of my budding career. I attended YG KPlus’s model academy and got into the agency as an actual working model on the last day of the academy program by passing an audition.

K; Is there a special experience or event that made you decide that modeling is the thing for you?

E: In 9th grade, I coincidentally came across a photo of the model Won-joong Kim(김원중). It made me realize how cool modeling can be and inspired me to become one myself. Ever since, I’ve been interested in the fashion world.

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…Well, he is called ‘God-Won-joong’ for a reason.

K: Right now you’re in the 10th grade, right? I imagine it must be hard to balance school and your modeling career. How do you do it? What’s the hardest thing about being a model and a high school student at the same time?

E: To be honest, I’ve basically given up on my studies, haha. I live in Chungju, which is quite far away from Seoul, so it’s hard to commute to and from modeling work. Also, since I’m a student it’s tiring to have to take all the steps to get official paperwork done to skip school to model on weekdays.

K: That’s understandable, I guess. When you have work in Seoul, do you go alone?

E: Yes.

K: Wow that does sound hard-although I’m definitely not a model, as a high school student living far away from school I think I get an idea of how annoying it must be… so what do your friends say about you being a model? They’re probably pretty envious, right?

E: They’re really interested in my career and they are envious, actually, because I already have a set path/dream, and that’s not common for most kids my age.

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K: Have you ever received negative comments or prejudices as a model?

E: No, never! Everyone around me was super supportive.

K: So how does this whole model agency stuff work? Seriously, there are teenagers that would kill to have a spot at a huge management company like YG KPlus. Tell us all what the modeling agency life is like! Is it worth it? In what way exactly does an agency like YG KPlus help you and your career?

E: Ever since becoming a YG KPlus model, I’ve definitely been able to access a wider variety of modeling opportunities and photoshoots etc than before.

K: How often do you visit the YG KPlus building? When you’re there do you get to see other YG models like Sung-kyung Lee(이성경) or Joo-hyuk Nam(남주혁)?

E: I live in Chungju, so I only go to my agency when I have time during my modeling work trips to Seoul. So far I’ve never seen Sung-kyung Lee or Joo-hyuk Nam there.

K: Are you allowed to freely say no to work that your agency makes you do?

E: I’ve never said no before.

K: What does ‘being a model’ mean to you?

E: Well, I just think it’s the thing I’m going to be doing in the future.

K: Then what type of modeling do you want to do in the future? Do you have a role model model (no pun intended)?

E: Yes, Won-joong Kim! Right now I’m hoping to walk at least one runway at Seoul Fashion Week.

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K: Lots of models are turning to other things like acting or singing, especially since modeling isn’t something you can do your whole life. Are you planning on doing that too, later on?

E: I am open to the option. I might try out other things later after lots of preparation.

K: It’s a well known fact that the modeling industry is packed with intense competition –have you experienced extreme competition against other models in your agency or against other agencies?

E: I just think, ‘what am I doing?’ when I see other 17-year-olds actively working as successful models and it makes me realize I should work harder.

K: In your opinion, what’s the most important factor to becoming a successful model?

E: I’m not yet in the place to dish out advice since I’m still learning myself, but I personally think a model’s ‘image’ is the most important thing.

K: So what’s your image?

E: Hmmmm….. Lively/cute? Lol I don’t know.

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K: What’s your strength, as a model in the industry?

E: My physical endurance.

K: Do you exercise and/or go on diets for your modeling?

E: I don’t diet normally but I do go on short-term diets before photoshoots. For exercise I just go to the gym.

K: Last question! What do you think the strengths/weaknesses of the current Korean fashion industry are, and what differences are there between the Korean fashion scene and the abroad?

E: Haha… I’ve never really thought about that before.

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Good luck to Eun-suh : )

I sneaked backstage at a fashion show!

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Ever felt the urge to break into the backstage of a fashion show and see what on earth goes on behind that runway? Well, worry no more-I’ve done it for you. And I didn’t get caught.

Behind the scenes; behind the spotlight

As some of you already know, for the past few months, I’ve been working for Korea Style Week, which is the more accessible, B2B(buyer-to-buyer) version of Seoul Fashion Week. This season’s Style Week took place in COEX(in Gangnam, Seoul) a few days ago, and I was invited(obviously, I worked for them). I’ve been to Korea Style Week a few times before, once two years ago having to sneak out during class to see the Korean designer Ko Tae yong (see post by young Konni about it here). I’ve evolved a lot since then, since I no longer have to sneak around to go to fashion events lest people should mock (everyone close to me now is very supportive of my fashion career). BUT on Sunday, I had the chance to feel that tingling feeling of secretly tiptoeing around to get a more intimate glimpse into fashion. I sneaked backstage during the Korea Style Week runway show!

I figured if I got caught I could pull out the ‘I worked for the Korea Style Week blog!’ card, although I think even so I wasn’t supposed to actually go backstage during the fashion shows.

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(this was the entrance.)

Okay, deep breath, I tell myself. This is going to be a fun adventure! I’ll just keep exploring until I get kicked out. After all, no one in the fashion world succeeds by following the rules, if there even are any, right? The moment I entered, I just saw a bunch of makeup artists lounging around with their phones, looking pretty bored. I walked past them, nodding and smiling as if to say ‘yeah, I’m just one of you guys, keep working, don’t mind me!’ (They stared for a while, probably because judging from my shortness and chubbiness they made out that I wasn’t one of the models, but I didn’t look chic enough to be one of the designers, so who was I? But they turned back to their phones.)

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(backstage. succeeded in entering without looking too weird.)

The first thing I noticed backstage was the models. Oh what beautiful, unrealistic creatures models are.

No matter how lovely, unique, or bursting with personality a model is, there’s one collective aura that they all share in common, and that’s the aura of intimidation. Even though it’s not the first time I’ve talked to a real live one(yes, the nuance IS that they’re a different species) I can’t help but give away my nervousness in the subtle tremor of my voice or my awkward smile as I ask for them to pose for a photo. Physical traits do certainly influence human interaction, I think, as I bend my knees, tilting my head to eye those long limbs through an old Canon Rebel.

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(models running around in heels, backstage. pretty artistic shot, no?)

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(It was scary to even ask them to pose; they were all at least 20cms taller than me in those heels)

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(a model making sure she’s ready to get on stage. I wonder how it would feel to look in the mirror when you’re a model. I wonder if they look at themselves and take their bodies apart, criticizing themselves for their physical flaws like most of us do.)

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Overall it was pretty hectic; after all, the main objective here is to GET THE MODELS ON STAGE, ON TIME, LOOKING FLAWLESS. No one really payed much attention to me because they were all busy doing their own thing, playing their part to keep the show running. It’s not as glamorous a process as I thought it would be.

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(the runway seems a lot more accessible and familiar from this perspective. Just a few stairs and you’re on the magical fashion pedestal.)

When the models are all lined up and the show starts to heat up, it gets quieter backstage because everyone’s so focused on monitoring the show. The director was constantly running to and fro, waving a bunch of papers with the show schedule and details around. She had a pretty intense look on her face, and she was busy talking to each person about precisely what they were supposed to do at exactly what time.

But of course, none of this frenzy is reflected on the actual runway. All we usually get to see is the models calmly doing the catwalk, looking like they’ve got their stuff together.

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(The outfits were colorful and totally weird, but I like weird.)

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(and then there are the people that have to sit and take care of all the digital stuff, lighting, sound, photography etc.)

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After getting a few shots of the models and the people that do all the digital, techno-work (bless those people! no one ever seems to notice them but they work so hard to put important parts of the fashion show together), I wandered around to observe everything else.

A box filled with ‘밥버거'(rice burgers; a pretty popular snack/meal here in Korea. They’re literally burgers with rice instead of bread.) at the entrance raised my eyebrows; I thought models didn’t eat fatty foods, especially during show season. But then a scene from The September Issue where a pin-thin model cheekily looks at the camera during a shoot and eats pie(pie! The ultimate carb-filled, gluten-loaded, evil food! I’m being sarcastic.) comes to mind, reminding me that we’re all human and should all be let off the hook to eat whatever we want sometimes. (And I enjoyed that thought as I munched on my Burger King burger after the show. I have an unhealthy relationship with their long chicken burger.)

I was trying to get a shot of the rice burgers to show you guys when I was interrupted by something much more intriguing-A BACKSTAGE MODEL FIGHT! Well, okay, it wasn’t a fight, it was just a conflict. But I was still excited. I witnessed a model surrounded by girls, shouting to another model across the corridor about something related to the sequence that they were supposed to do on the runway. The atmosphere turned from hectic and lively to serious-mode, and I heard some of the staff trying to figure out what to do with the runway sequence. “We can’t have the lights turn off without the model on stage!”, I remember the stage director saying. I’d imagined model fights to be much more physical or loud, but from my experience(of sitting around on the big black electric sound boxes(amplifiers?) for an hour or so-yeah, I know, such a foundation to judge) conflicts backstage were more…civilized.

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Amid the messy stacks of clothes and hangers and personal belongings of staff members, there was another large group of humans, other than models, that intimidated me. The designers. These were the people that I was actually dying to talk to, rather than the models. I love talking to people about their creative process and inspiration for their craft; believe me, talking to someone about their art really reveals a lot about a person’s life values and perspectives. However, as busy as they were, they looked so immersed in the show, making sure their creations were properly represented to the public eye, that I just couldn’t get myself to pop their ‘bubble’ of concentration. What I did get to to, though, was ask a designer for a photo and exchange blog addresses! Hopefully I’ll get to properly have a separate conversation with her soon.

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(designers dress fabulously, obviously.)

As thrilling and exciting being backstage a fashion show is, sneaking around gets exhausting after a while. I went out to enjoy the many exhibitions by brands.

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A brand called LUVX seemed to be the main show here. They had a giant, weird booth in the middle of the whole exhibition hall and are actually pretty well-known among younger Koreans, considering the fact that I’ve seen their designs before, and I’m usually the last person to know about new hot Korean brands that idols are seen wearing.

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Walking around on my favorite dirty old pair of Skechers, I saw some designs (and people) that I really liked.

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(She caught my eye because she was tan, unlike most Korean fashion-conscious people these days (everyone here dotes on the classic pale Asian face), and because she had mint-blue highlights on the hair beneath her ears.

“So you’re here all day?”

“Yeah, you can take shifts but I don’t have a partner here so I’ve taken care of this booth each day, all day.”

“Isn’t it hard?”

“It’s doable. But don’t take pictures too close up; I haven’t got any makeup on.”)

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(I have no idea what ‘IRONY PORN’ means and, honestly, I really don’t want to find out)

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(model off duty!)

Overall, last Sunday was a glorious day filled with fun, thrill, and awe…which left me with sore feet and utter exhaustion (I’m usually a total insomniac but I fell straight asleep after coming home from Korea Style week), but that’s okay because it was a meaningful experience, both in terms of my fashion career and my life as a whole.

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And speaking of my fashion career, I’ve started working on my eBay partnership this week!

Wouldn’t be possible without you readers. I love you!

Interview with the editor of Pictorial Project: How she created the biggest fashion project of Korea

My 6 centimeter heels pounding on the hot pavement of the thriving Apgujeong neighborhood in Gangnam with its upbeat music blasting out of clothing stores on every block, I frantically adjusted my tattered plaid blouse and military-style jacket, cursing as I tried to wipe a smudge of Nesquik chocolate milk off my tights. I remember muttering “Oh **** Konni stop being so unprofessional,” every two minutes as I ran into a small path packed with indie clothing stores and Korean makeup shops and finally got to Coffee Arco, where I was supposed to meet Dahee Jung, the editor of the Korean fashion magazine Pictorial Project. (For those of you that don’t know, Pictorial Project is Korea’s biggest independent fashion photography project magazine.)

Having taken two crazy taxi rides to get there straight after class, my once neatly-combed hair was looking like a mound of garden weed and I could feel my makeup clinging off my sweat(gross, I know. Note to self-please, please bring a mirror to next interview meeting). Anyhow, I had gotten there, and as I took a deep breath and scanned the vintage-style cafe for the slim, dressed-in-black, mysterious-looking, twenty-something Pictorial Project magazine editor I had met back at the 5th Korea Style Week, I saw her in the corner, reading the latest issue of Avenue magazine with a cold latte in hand.

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Absolutely stunning.

In her 4th year of university, she’s already the editor of a fashion magazine.

Unlike me, Dahee ‘unni’(a Korean term used when a girl refers to an older girl) was calm and poised, and I thought, “That’s how I wanna be when I go to university”-chic, independent, and open to new talent and new ideas(in this case, myself, as a young fashion blogger in the Korean fashion scene). Clumsily taking out my papers and voice recorder, I smiled nervously and started to ask Dahee unni about Pictorial Project and her fashion career journey.

“I knew I loved fashion, but I was skeptical of whether I had any real talent, so I made Pictorial Project to test my limits.”

PP was born in 2013 on Facebook! Dahee unni got together with about 40 people on Facebook who were interested in her personnel recruit post. Hearing this, I obviously had to ask-HOW? Unni, how did you get 40 people to work for your project when you were completely new to the industry? To this she replied, “Although we have an overflow of fashion projects right now, at the time there weren’t many project group businesses in the fashion field to begin with, so we had a fresher approach. I thought, ‘There must be other people out there with dreams similar to mine who are looking for that certain confirmation to carry on.’ ” What I found interesting about Pictorial Project as a magazine is that it didn’t actually start out as a magazine! Yup, that’s right-it wasn’t supposed to be a magazine, but rather a collection of photos that Dahee unni and her team of friends had worked on. Literally, a ‘Pictorial’ ‘Project’.

“And then we started to get offers from bookstores like Kyobo(the biggest bookstore line in Korea) that wanted to sell our stuff,”

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Volume 4 of Pictorial Project recently got completely sold out in bookstores in Korea, and now Pictorial Project is on a two-month renewal in order to provide their readers with even more artistic goodness. When I asked about it, Dahee unni calmly explained that ever since the start of Pictorial Project, so many other project-based fashion groups have been on the rise, and all of them have started converging toward the same theme and the same goal. After the 2-moth renewal period, Pictorial Project will be back with Volume 5, and there will be more copies for a wider range of readers(D:”My original targeted reader base was people already working in the field, but most of our actual sales are made by high school or university students who are pursuing a future in the fashion industry.”), and start being distributed as a web-zine too. However, the original overall style of the magazine will not be changing any time soon, says Dahee unni- “Pictorial Project doesn’t really have one main style. We’re just a mix of a bunch of things from different designers and photographers, and as a team we’re all about respecting everyone’s individuality. I think it’s what makes us unique!”

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“FASHION X ART: We care about artistic sensitivity, more than anything.

“We focus on blending fashion and art together, rather than just showing readers what the latest trend is and what they should wear this season. I guess you could say we literally are more of a pictorial than an actual fully-functioning magazine. Also, we don’t usually work with brands or designers that are already super-famous. We work mainly with independent designers that are new to the fashion scene, to give them a platform to showcase their work.”

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‘What if a vegetarian works at the butcher’s?’

“I try to create fresh, original images based on the most random, craziest ideas. For example, one day I might wake up and think, ‘What if a vegetarian works at the butcher’s?’ and voila, there’s my next photoshoot. But then again I must admit that you can never truly create images that people have never ever seen before; different images go round and round and we see similar things again and again like with trends. It’s just a new individual perspective on the image.”

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Dahee unni at work

“Passion pay”

a Korean term to describe receiving little or no pay for one’s work;

a term recently increasingly used to describe the Korean fashion industry

“I used to get a few people here and there being worried for my future, questioning how I was going to make money with just fashion. The fashion industry is infamous for being tough; lots of people start off at the bottom of the ladder and get paid measly amounts of money. ‘Passion pay’ in Korea was also recently a huge issue… but I don’t think anyone around me really was totally against me working in the fashion industry. Everyone that knows me knows I’m an energetic, active person who likes to roam around and work.”

Near the end of our interview, we shared a lot of ideas about the Korean fashion industry (since we’re both a part of it). I couldn’t help but nod enthusiastically, once again realizing the importance of having a clear outlook on the fashion industry to be successful in it. She said, I think the Korean fashion industry is the most interesting in the world. We’re so extremely sensitive to the latest trends and what other people are wearing, so people tend to consume fashion extremely fast, even though we’re not even one of the 5 major global fashion districts. The problem here is that when people consume fast, they’re also quick to throw clothes away. So many people buy cheap clothes from indie brands or street stores and get rid of them when they go out of style. No one seems to wear anything for a long time, like people used to do in the past.”

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“You mean magazines like Vogue, Cosmo, Elle, and W?”

Dahee unni sipped the last of her iced latte, smiling with her eyes, as I asked her about her views on mainstream magazines. I was genuinely curious of what someone who ran an artistic, individuality-based magazine would think of magazines that are targeted toward a more ‘popular’ and trend-based audience. Dahee unni was surprisingly very positive about all types of magazines, and I listened in awe, thinking ‘that’s how I want to be when I grow up’.

ME: “The fashion industry, especially the magazine sector, is under fire for promoting unrealistic body images and lookism standards, and I sometimes have friends that look down on fashion magazines because of their ‘lack of quality content’. What’s your stance on the whole issue?”

DAHEE UNNI: “You mean magazines like Vogue, Cosmopolitan, Elle, and W? I used to buy them and read through them when I was a kid and it would be really confusing. I would read a column in Vogue and be like, ‘the parade of a facade of luxury based on the latest trend which is… err what?’ And then I’d pick up a Cosmo and it would have so many different articles about different topics from celebrity gossip to a sophisticated piece on traditional Chanel eyeliner on the Paris runway and I’d never know what to read. But my thoughts changed completely after becoming an editor of a magazine myself. I began to understand fashion magazines properly. I think that while Vogue tends to stick to a certain concept or theme, Cosmopolitan also has it’s own style and it’s own story to tell. Every magazine shows what they can express best, and sometimes that just happens to be in line with modern beauty standards or the latest trends. And plus, there are lots of types of magazines… If you’re still young and need to read Vogue Girl but you’re reading Avenue, then you’re not really going to get much out of it. Similarly, if you want to see alternative artsy styles, you don’t look for it in Cosmopolitan.”

ME: “Hmm. That’s actually a really interesting point of view. So you don’t think there are any drawbacks with current..mainstream magazines?”

DAHEE UNNI: “Well, as a person who reads about five different magazines every month, I think there’s definitely a situation where each magazine is failing to be unique. Magazines that are more commercial tend to all have similar content, like what the latest trends are, how to get the guy/girl, what the latest beauty tips and tricks are, etc. I reckon it’s because magazines nowadays are desperate to fill up quantity, to make it sell.”

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The Pictorial Project team working on a photoshoot

“You’re doing it wrong, you’re going to fail,”

To wrap up the interview, I asked Dahee unni for a bit of personal advice on how to make in the fashion world.

ME: “Since I go to a foreign language high school, some around me are surprised when I tell them I’m going to be a fashion magazine editor because it’s an uncommon dream for someone in my situation. Some people even tell me not to pursue fashion! What should I do?”

DAHEE UNNI: “I think that times have changed A LOT since the last generation. People used to have to follow the ‘regular’ route to success, and if they worked hard enough, everything would work out fine. But that’s really not the case anymore. We’re in an era where success isn’t determined by the amount of effort you put into following the traditional path to success; it just simply cannot be determined. There are too many variables in today’s society. The line between professionals and non-professionals is unclear, and talent is everywhere. For example, to become a fashion magazine editor, you used to have to start from the bottom of the fashion industry, doing basic labor, and become an assistant, and then if any slots were open for writers you’d work hard again to become a writer, and ultimately an editor. But I didn’t do that-I just did my own thing, even though people would often tell me, ‘you’re doing it wrong, you’re going to fail.’ I think that in today’s world, you need to do what you love because it’s not going to work any other way. If you do something you don’t truly love, you’re going to be beaten by the people who are in that field of work because they really love it and are competent. Plus, I’d personally say ‘do what you love, and money will come naturally.’ ”

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Back to the start: I first met Pictorial Project at the 5th Korea Style Week.

They had a partnership with Korea Style Week and their own booth.

Thank you to Pictorial Project and Dahee unni : )

The story of how I fell asleep and missed my interview with Pixie Lott

Hey readers,

I feel like, because it’s hard to find an avid fashion blogger my age in Korea, lots of people tend to think I must be an incredibly amazing blogger. The thing is, whether I’m interviewing America’s Next Top Model models, hosting collaboration projects, or talking to magazine editors, I slip up a lot. And I mean A LOT.

For example, the other day I was supposed to be interviewing Pixie Lott, but I FELL ASLEEP AND MISSED IT.

Yep, you read that correctly. I just literally could not attend the online webinar BECAUSE I WAS FRIGGIN SLEEPING. IN MY BED. And this is THE PIXIE LOTT we’re talking ’bout here.

So here’s what happened. Recently I found a blogger community newsletter in my heap of emails. There was a link to attend the online Q&A session with Pixie Lott, hosted by the brand Magnitone. Of course, being a Pixie Lott fan, I applied. As I waited in anxiety and anticipation, I received an email informing me that I’d made it; that I’d been chosen to participate in the exclusive live webinar session with Pixie Lott. At that point I could practically imagine the looks of utter shock and admiration on people’s faces when they found out about it. Tingling with excitement, I posted this on facebook.

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And people were in awe, as I’d expected.

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I was too busy basking in the glory of being the first person among my friends to be able to exclusively interview someone as famous as Pixie Lott, that at first I did not realize that the Q&A session was in three hours. I was probably the last person put on the list.

I honestly freaked out when I read the words ‘Reminder: the exclusive Q&A session with Pixie Lott is in three hours(4AM)!’ in my business inbox. I’d been studying at school until 10PM that day, I was tired, I needed a shower and a nice few hours of sound sleep. A short internal conflict occurred in my head-should I stay up until 4AM and talk to Pixie Lott, or should I just forget it and get some sleep? After a split second, I decided that the former would definitely have to happen, because, who knows, this could be my big break, right? You never know in the blogging world.

So I drank my coffee, washed my face, and sat at my desk to prepare myself for the painful three hours of cruel, wearisome waiting in anticipation and irritation from severe sleep deprivation that were to come. I did everything to keep myself awake. After all, I couldn’t let my readers(you guys) down, and my friends were counting on me to nail this Q&A session and tell them all about it.

AND THEN guess what I did. I got a little drowsy, so I thought, ‘just 5 minutes…yes…I’ll just close my eyes for just, just…5 minutes’, and then I WENT TO MY BED. Now there’s one thing you need to know about my bed-it’s the coziest, softest, most sleep-inducing patch of space on planet Earth. It’s truly a fine bed. And as I lay down, I kept telling myself, ‘Everything will be fine… I’m sure I’ll get up before 4…’ BUT NO.

NO, NO, NO. JUST. NO. I DID NOT get up before 4. In fact I did not get up at all until the clock struck 7:10 AM. I opened my eyes, got straight up, stared at the clock, rubbed my eyes, then stared some more. The clock definitely said 7:10. I panicked for a while, even thinking, ‘well..well…maybe the webinar isn’t over! Maybe I’ll still get to talk to Pixie…’ But I regained my logical thinking skills, muttered some bad language about how I was such an idiot(WHICH I WAS), and went back to bed, because, you know, maybe it was just a big bad dream(which it wasn’t).

And that’s my story of how I almost, just almost, interviewed Pixie Lott. My friends were totally bummed when I told them, of course. My mother just laughed at me. I was mad at myself for a while but then, oh well.

This post was supposed to be about my almost-happened interview with Pixie Lott, but since it didn’t happen, here’s my reflection on the whole situation.

Thinking back now, firstly, I’m beginning to realize it’s not that big of a deal. #YOLO. Just kidding. That hashtag is overused. But seriously though, take that in for a moment-You Only Live Once. If I only live once, I wanna make mistakes, especially while I’m still young. I’m only human. There’s no point dwelling on the past and getting angry all over again. It’s a waste of precious time. Secondly, while I do need to forgive myself and move on, I also need to learn from my mistakes. Me missing the interview chance was totally my fault. I cannot blame anyone else for it since it was just the result of me being an idiot. Blogging and tackling school work all at once is turning out to be harder than I thought, and I do struggle. However, since I made the conscious choice to continue on with my blogging career, I need to start being more responsible for it. I need to improve my time management, primarily.

I also need to focus on the essence of my blogging. I always told myself that I didn’t want to be the type of fashion blogger that just posts photos of Chanel and Givenchy, accepting unhealthy fashion ideals and passing selling them on to the public as if those standards are the ultimate rules of fashion, conforming to trends without critical thinking. However, these days I often find myself thirsty for opportunities with famous, popular people that might give me my ‘big break’. It’s ridiculous, I know. I need to focus on my writing; my posts, which express my true colours and insights, and stop floating above my conscience, swimming on the edge of glamour and undeserved fame. This is my confession and promise to you guys that from now on I’ll remind myself each day of why I’m staying up this late(or NOT staying up, in the case of how my Pixie Lott interview went down, haha) and take myself to the beginning whenever I feel like I’m becoming too obsessed with the shallow glittery stuff. Because I believe I can make a positive change and contribute to the development of self-expression.

I love you guys. Thank you.

Interview with Lenox Tillman from America’s Next Top Model!

Hey readers,

I’ve picked up a new habit of doing, not saying. As the Tyra Banks(a major role model of mine) once said, “Don’t make excuses, make improvements.” Which is why, as I was watching America’s Next Top Model(ANTM) last week, I thought, “What’s stopping me from getting closer to pursuing my lifelong dream in fashion?” All the contestants on ANTM seemed to be making their way through rubble to achieve their dreams(heck, they walk down buildings and pose mid-air and walk practically naked down a runway full of strangers just to prove they’ve got what it takes). ANTM is a perfect embodiment of the bittersweet glory of reaching out toward a dream in fashion. The ANTM theme tune goes, ‘Wanna be on top?’ And this time I immediately think, “Hell yeah?!” And what did I do next? Reach out to ANTM, of course.

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(Tyra Banks and Lenox Tillman)

So here I am, a week later, with an interview with the smart, talented, and beautiful 19 year old Lenox Tillman from ANTM Cycle 21(the current cycle that’s currently airing). She’s one of the most talented contestants on the show right now, and it’s unbelievable that she started out as just a sweet, quiet small-town girl. Now she’s just rockin’ the whole competition with her amazing photos. We talked about what it’s like to be on ANTM(obviously!), working with Tyra Banks(gosh I can’t even), modelling in front of the judges, hardships, and some personal stuff.

You can watch Lenox and the other remaining ANTM contestants on the CW. Wonder who will win…(http://www.cwtv.com/shows/americas-next-top-model/)

Now without further ado, here’s my exclusive interview with Lenox! Enjoy! : )

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Keep up with Lenox! (FACEBOOK/INSTAGRAM/TWITTER)

1. Tell us a bit about your childhood. What were you like at school?

I was a pretty shy but active kid. I played softball all of my childhood and was almost always outside if I wasn’t sleeping. In school, I would tend to be the quiet and weird kid to everyone and I definitely wasn’t the most confident. I usually was just drawing and kept close to my small group of close friends.

Haha, I can definitely relate to this.

2. What/who inspired you to run for ANTM at first? 

I always said I would try out for the show once I was 18 because I was such a huge fan of it, but once I actually turned 18 I felt like it was unrealistic to think I could get on! It was actually my mom who saw an ad for a casting call and talked me into going and trying. So I guess my mom was the one who inspired me!

3. Have you watched the episodes released so far? The other contestants talked on screen about how they thought that your ultimate weakness was your lack of self-confidence. How do you feel about that?

Yes, I have seen all of the episodes. I love watching it just like I did with all of the other cycles but me being on it now makes it even cooler, I have to admit. Haha! As for the lack of self-confidence comments, I wasn’t surprised by that when I heard them. I think they’re right, and while I think I’ve come a long way with being okay in who I am, I still am super tough on myself. This competition definitely brought that out in me, too.

You’re only two years older than me but you’re so much wiser! 

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4. What was trying to model when you had to act “sexy” like?

It was awkward since I had a giant crowd of people watching, but I did my best and tried to laugh at myself throughout it since I wanted to be a good sport. I’m working on it!

5. What’s going through your mind when you’re modeling in front of the camera? Is it nerve-racking or does it make you more confident? Have you gotten used to it?

When I first started modeling I was absolutely terrified during shoots because everything was so foreign to me. I have gotten so much better since then, though. I now tend to just be constantly brainstorming from the moment I walk on set to the moment I walk off. I am much more comfortable with it and just try my best to see it as an art experiment that photographer, makeup artist, stylist, and I are doing together.

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6. What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever done?

Eat an onion.

7. Who’s your ultimate role model?

In my modeling career? Lindsey Wixson. In overall life? I have so many; I would say Jill Bolte Taylor, Stevie Nicks, and Florence Welch if I had to narrow it down.

8. Tell us something no one (referring to the general public) knows about you.

Hmmmm, I can lick my elbow! It is said to be impossible but I can do it!

Cool!

 

9. What are your plans for the future?

I plan on growing up and working hard at whatever I am doing, mostly. Hopefully, I can continue modeling and enjoy all of its adventures for as long as I can. One day I hope to own my own avian rehabilitation center or sanctuary, too. That would be amazing.

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(Lenox with Cory from Cycle 20!)

10. If, in the future, your child wanted to become a model and follow in your footsteps, would you tell her/him to go for it?

I want my kids to do whatever makes them happy. If modeling is what makes them happy then I will gladly encourage and support them.

That was such a flawless response, haha.

11. Are you a feminist?

Yeah, duh. Equality between men and women is awesome. Men are cool and women are cool, that is obvious.

12. What’s it like to stand in front of the ANTM judges at panel? What was is like to work with Tyra Banks?

It is terrifying! All of your hard work from that week is about to pay off or be thrown in your face and there’s absolutely nothing you can do about it. As for Tyra, she is a great business woman and I really enjoyed getting to see that behind the scenes. I hope I can learn to juggle that well- haha!

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Lenox is just amazing. Inside and out.

I’ll be back soon with more : )

Here’s a huge thank you to ANTM’s publicity manager Ellen who helped me reach out to Lenox, and of course thank you to Lenox herself for giving such thoughtful answers(and being awesome).

The friend that looks amazing in her soccer uniform and sneakers

Hey readers,

The time has finally come for me to show you guys the photos I’ve been taking with the new camera that my friend Jen lent me.

I took loads of photos of my friend Jiyeon. She has a unique look, an interesting sense of style, and an easygoing attitude, so she makes the perfect model to work with. The sunlight was just perfect when we were taking these photos.

So this is what we managed to create after about two hours of light bickering and fooling around with the camera(which was a Canon DSLR, by the way).

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The one above is my personal favorite. It was hard to get the right angle though.

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“Why are they always telling me to sit?”

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I love photos of natural, honest moments, like the one above.

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Thanks : ) Don’t forget to leave a comment!

Interview with loveable singer-songwriter Rachel Platten

Hey readers!

I am back at last from my torturous exam period (YEEEESHHH!!) and here I am again, writing about random things in front of my laptop. Since I haven’t blogged for a while because of exams, I thought it would be a good idea to start off a new blogging season with one of my favorite singers! I still can’t believe I got to actually interview her. She’s sweet, she’s incredibly talented, she’s smart, and she’s absolutely lovable-she’s singer-songwriter Rachel Platten!

Her single “1000 ships” was  a top 30 hit on the Billboard Adult Top 40 chart, and her music has been on major TV shows like Pretty Little Liars(See Question #2 in the interview below)-I was watching the show one night when this scene with Ali came on the screen and Ali  looked beautiful as always, except I couldn’t concentrate on Ali or the scene itself because the background music was just so perfect and suited the scene so well. It was the song ‘Begin Again’ . (Listen to it here!) And of course, I just HAD to send Rachel an email to ask if I could interview her to introduce you guys to her music, and she was kind enough to agree!

So without further ado, let’s go interview Rachel! (RACHEL’S  TWITTER / GOOGLE RACHEL! /RACHELPLATTEN.COM )

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#1. You probably get asked this a lot, but we’re still curious. Why did you start singing and when did you decide to become a singer? Were people supportive of your career choice at first?
I have loved singing since I was quite little…my sister and mom and I used to sing and harmonize to old Motown and soul songs my mom played for us all the time; in the kitchen, car, almost anywhere. My poor father 😉
Despite the constant singing in our house, when I officially announced to the world that I was going to try to do it professionally, it scared my family. I don’t come from a family of particularly artistic people so I think just the fact that it was so different from our norm them.
#2. What was it like to have your song Begin Again on Pretty Little Liars? (I was watching PLL in my room one day when I heard Begin Again. I loved it so much that I paused PLL to look you up! And I became a huge fan, haha.)
Oh man, thank you that rocks. The placement was so awesome. I’ve had music used on tv shows and movies before but nothing that impacted like this. What a powerful moment!!! I got so many tweets and fb messages about it and my manager wrote me to tell me it was going a little viral, but I was singing vocals for my new songs when it aired and didn’t get to actually watch the episode until a couple days later. Ha…

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(Pretty Little Liars!)

#3. Where do you get inspiration for your songs?

People ask this and I never know what to say because when inspiration actually comes I’m just excited about it that I forget to analyze where exactly it’s coming from. However, not to get too heady on you but I think that a la Elizabeth Gilberts TED talk and Tom Waits words on songwriting, often ideas (fully formed at times) already exist in the sky or ether or whatever, and my job is merely to be an open enough channel to receive them.
Other times though, no matter how open or clear I am I still need to work to get the right lyrics and at these times, I get inspiration from other artists, books I’ve read, life and all it’s ups and downs.

#4. What type of scenario did you have in mind when writing Fight Song? What kind of people were you trying to reach out to?

I was trying to reach me to be quite honest. I needed the song when I wrote it. I was in a hard place and my publisher was pushing me to tell my story, to be honest about what I was going through. So finally, I did. Fight song was a battle in and of itself to write, the chorus came so easily (like one of those scenarios i described above, it felt like it was already written and I was lucky enough to grab it), but then forming the rest of the song was almost impossible. I wrote 4 different verses for it, nothing felt quite right till finally, a year later, it clicked when my producer Jon Levine suggested making the bridge the first verse.

#5. I know you’re a musician, but your fashion is just too amazing to ignore. What do you usually have in mind when you pick an outfit?

Wow that is really nice and do you mind if I quote you? 😉 I use a website called weheartit.com to consolidate and collect my fashion inspiration… You can look on there at my collection called “style inspiration” if you want to keep up with me 😉
I love deconstructed items, torn black leather pants, bomber jackets, worn motorcycle boots, old rock t-shirts but always with a feminine element, sometimes just a bright pink lipstick or a sparkly bracelet can do the trick.
I’m most comfortable when I’m in clothes that I can run around or dance or MOVE in 🙂

(I’ll definitely check the collection out! And it would be an honor if you quoted me!)

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#6. Is fashion important in the music industry?

Absolutely. We look at icons in music and emulate not only their sound but also their image. It’s essential to craft your brand inside out, and fashion is an important way to tell your story to the world.

#7. What’s an insecurity that you have?

Oh man I have tons. Let’s see….my body image is one. I’m so hard on myself and when I was in my teens and early twenties I never felt quite thin or curvy or tall or short or enough. As I’ve grown up I’ve started to love myself a little more but I still have to watch it or that mean voice in my head can really get loud.

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#8. Are you planning on exploring other genres?

I think on this upcoming record my fans will surprised and hopefully psyched to hear the different influences. I have a gospel choir on two songs, electric guitar on a lot, live horns, drums, and yet tons of programming. Im super excited because I explored quite a lot of genres on these new songs while maintaining my sound, not easy to do, but oh man we did it.
#9. What are some stereotypes you’ve experienced(as a musician, woman, etc)?

Great question. I’ve been told that because of the inspirational nature of some of the music I write, that I’m “cheesy” as a person, or too “girly and emotional” which sucks and hurts.

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Aaand that’s all for today guys! I hope you enjoyed the interview. I know right, you can’t help fangirling over Rachel now can you! : D

Rachel is such an amazing, inspirational person and a wonderful singer-songwriter. Thank you Rachel for answering my questions wholeheartedly and honestly! I wish you the best for the future!

To comment or like this post, click the title of this post then scroll down. You’ll see the Like button and Comment box at the bottom of the page. Tell me what you think of the interview and who I should interview next! : )

Bon voyage, everyone!

Hey readers,

I don’t really get to travel a lot because being a high school student in Korea takes up so much time and energy(Gahh I’m not kidding-I have lots of friends that only get 3 hours of sleep every night even though it’s the summer holidays right now), but sometimes I do find the space to just get away for a while and relax. A week ago I went on a family trip to the seaside! There’s this island called Jebudo on the west coast of Korea. We stayed there for just two days but I had an alright time, writing stuff, reading Shakespeare(okay to be honest the reading part was pretty boring), taking long walks along the shore, and barbecuing!

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(No kidding. I was reading Shakespeare in Jebudo.)

Aside from the stay at the island, one thing I noticed during the length of the whole trip was that for some reason I enjoyed the journey of getting to Jebudo more than actually being there. It occurred to me that this wasn’t the first time. Thinking back on most of my past trips, I had always anticipated and loved the journey to the destination more than the destination itself. (But don’t get me wrong- I don’t mean that I don’t appreciate the experience of mingling with people and chilling out at vacation spots. I just tend to enjoy it less. If that makes any sense.)

To be honest I think it’s partly because the ride there gives me some time to breathe; some ‘vacant’ time. It’s a time when I’ve got nothing planned and can rightfully waste time without feeling guilty-since there’s nothing planned which means it’s basically blank time, right?(Okay writing this is making me feel guilty… I guess being good at self-rationalization has its drawbacks!) Seriously, it’s one of the best feelings ever to just sit in the car/plane/train/whatever and look out at all the buildings and people and fields and cows(I really did see some cows on a field. No kidding.), imagining what their lives must be like. Although, life as a building is probably pretty boring. I love the moments of simply listening to good music, eating snacks, and writing about whatever comes to mind, like there’s no tomorrow. Usually I always have to think about my schedule and plans and all the things I have to do, and that gets to my head sometimes.

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(Journey to the top of the mountain…in my favorite comfy oversized knitted sweater.)

However, ultimately I think it’s because, when I’m going on a voyage, I like the feeling of knowing that the immediate future is unpredictable and may hold unlimited fun and happiness, even more than the sensation of the actual ‘having fun’ part that happens at the destination of the journey. In my daily life I spend way too much time worrying or being paranoid about my future-“Will I get this done on time?” “Will my teacher scold me for this?” “What if I screw up on this test again?”-that, upon hearing the phrase ‘the future’, I seem to unconsciously light a fire of paranoia inside my mind, and the fire catches on and I start worrying about everything related to what I was originally worrying about. So when I have something to look forward to, it’s great to have that tingling feeling of positive anticipation about the future for a change.

Is this ultimately a good thing or a bad thing? I really don’t know. But I do know that, in a certain aspect, it can be a positive trait, if I interpret it in the right way! Unfortunately, I often observe that many people forget to enjoy the ride to a certain destination, whether it’s your dream job/school, fighting an illness, or even making a peanut butter sandwich(yeah, enjoy your sandwich-making, people). People are so focused on their destination that they don’t think to enjoy the journey of getting there. “Oh I’ve got that test next month? I guess I’ll just sit and memorize everything meaninglessly and lifelessly until I know enough to just get an A. And then I’ll empty all the information out so that I can start memorizing for the next test. Even though I hate studying. God I hate studying.” Honestly. I swear some people think like this(and it’s annoying…). I mean, I understand that goals are made for achieving. But Dorothy wouldn’t have met the wizard of Oz without spending all that time making weird friends and getting into trouble with those witches! One way or another, Dorothy had to follow the yellow brick road to get to Oz. It was up to her to either enjoy the road or to whine the whole way there.

Let’s enjoy the journey together! Let’s imagine a bright future and dream big, so big that it scares us just thinking about it. And let’s work hard but enjoy all the little things along the road. I’ll be there for you : )

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(I am the statue of liberty and I shall make you feel better-from my debate trip to NY)

Let me know about YOUR journey by leaving a comment(click the title of the post first, then scroll down to the bottom of the post- you’ll see the comment box and like button) or reaching out to me at konnikim@gmail.com. Actually, it doesn’t even have to be about your journey, it can be anything and I guarantee you I shall respond to everything, sooner or later. I haven’t been able to respond quickly to comments lately so sorry! But now I can! : D

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(“What? You wanna talk? Gurrl I am listenin’.)

My good friend Rylee. And our little photoshoot!

Hey readers,

I took the MBTI personality test(Myers-Briggs Type Indicator), which is a surprisingly accurate test that can determine which of the given 16 personality types you belong in.  I got ‘INTP’. This means I’m extremely analytical. I enjoy(and unfortunately or fortunately feel the irrational impulse) analyzing just about everything and anything that catches my eye. It’s a pretty useful personality trait in terms of studying subjects like fashion, but today I decided to utilize it in analyzing my good friend Rylee. It made me see her more clearly as a person and made me realize that she’s actually a pretty cool person if you think about it.

This is the first time I’m writing a post about someone else other than my sister(who I always use as my model), so if Rylee is reading this she should probably feel blessed. : D

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(YES THIS IS RYLEE)

I was a bit worried about writing this post at first because I thought that maybe it would seem to you guys that I’m talking about a topic too distant. You know, the awkwardness when your friend suddenly starts talking about her friend from Art class who you don’t know. The irritation you feel when you’re having a lovely conversation with someone about ice cream and they suddenly change the topic to the history of quantum physics, and you just stand there with a blank, lifeless expression, thinking, ‘So you were saying… chocolate or vanilla?’ Yeah… I really didn’t wanna be a turn-off in that manner so I honestly am anxious about you guys’ reactions, so be sure to leave a comment and tell me whether you liked it or not!

Anyways, here we go!

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Think of that one friend-the most easygoing, crazy, spontaneous, yet surprisingly smart(probably the result of DNA, since, well, the day you see this friend being studious is probably gonna be the day Miley Cyrus stops twerking. A day we shall never see in this lifetime.), slightly-obnoxious-at-times friend. The one friend that we can always count on to grace our Facebook newsfeeds with gloriously disturbing yet magnificently delighting photos, always making us smile awkwardly into our laptop screens(, not quite knowing how to respond to the piece of exquisite photography before our eyes).

Well, in my life, Rylee is that friend. And she’s so amazing that I want you guys to cherish in her awesomeness with me. (okay that was too cheesy.)

The best thing about Rylee is that she’s always up for fun. Whether you wanna go dress like Lady Gaga and sing and dance like a lunatic in the middle of the street or just sit and talk about your feelings, Rylee will be there for you. But the thing is, since she’s always there, it’s easy to make the mistake of taking her for granted. Which is what I did yesterday night when I was talking to her on Facebook. It was 3AM and I guess we were both just tired and cranky when we talked, but that’s when your true feelings start seeping out, right? When she brought up the topic of me putting other priorities or other people over her and our friendship, I realized how there was so much truth in what she was (probably) absent-mindedly saying to me out of the fatigue and crankiness and raw honesty of 3AM.

So Rylee, if you’re reading this, I apologize. I agree that I’ve been pretty thoughtless lately regarding us and I’m sorry.

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Another great thing about Rylee is that she’s so brutally honest. Sometimes I can just feel her honesty smashing against my ego, but strangely enough I actually love that. (No, I’m not a masochist.) I cannot emphasize enough how much I worship honestly, even if it can be painful at times. I remember this saying that I picked up back in my Tumblr days-“Speak the truth, even if your voice shakes.” It used to be written on my phone background. I love that Rylee has the courage-something that I notice many others don’t have-to speak her mind. It’s really not that easy to be able to do that if you think about it. People are usually dominated under circumstances or authority and we always seem to find a way to self-rationalize holding our tongues even when we feel the urge to speak, but I’m proud to have a friend like Rylee who isn’t afraid to expose her thoughts, whether they’re right or wrong. If my hair looks bad today, then I can count on Rylee to tell me it looks bad! If I’m slacking off and need to get a grip and start working harder, then I know that Rylee will be there for me with a cup of coffee, telling me I’ve got to try harder.

There are still so many things I want to tell you about my friend Rylee, but I really think it would take all night. So I’ll just show you some pictures I took of her while we were on our photoshoot spree during our school’s festival and we’ll call it a day.

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Once Rylee said to me, “I want to know everything about you!” And Konni was happy that day because she felt thankful to have a friend who was willing to hear all about her dull, tragic life story.

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If there’s one thing about Rylee that I’d point out in personal disagreement, it would be her fashion. I personally would never dress like Rylee. It’s too sporty for me. (This is just my personal opinion. I’m not saying Rylee’s fashion is objectively bad. I actually respect the fact that Rylee is not wrapped up in current trends or the latest fashion. Really.) But I like the ensemble of simple clothes in the photos above, especially since they suit the atmosphere of the graffiti in the background.

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(Sometimes Rylee and I like to chase random ducks together.)

They say your friends are a reflection of yourself. (If I looked at a mirror and I saw Rylee looking back at me, I would feel… wait, wrong train of thought…) If Rylee is a reflection of me, then Hooray for me! I’d love to be more like Rylee. She’s athletic(hello, miss head-of-the-school-lacrosse-team), cool, and much braver than me in many ways. I’m grateful to be lucky enough to have a special person like Rylee be my friend. I don’t know what I would do without her.

I hope you guys enjoyed this post as much as I enjoyed writing it!

Don’t forget to Like this post or leave a comment below- just click on the title of this post, then scroll down. You’ll see the Comment box and Like button at the bottom of the post.