Tuesday morning I get a call from Betty , she’s needs my vintage skull ring and vintage leather jacket again. She’s in town doing pickup shots and shooting additional scenes for the music video for her debut single , Pluto . I’ve come to expect the unexpected in all aspects when it comes to Betty . We’re both Gemini’s ( 10 days apart actually) her creative methods contrast to mine when it comes to the technical & planning side of things BUT nevertheless of how we each operate differently ( She’s the ying to my yang ) working with her is always an adventure . I’m still half asleep when she tells me this , I asked when she needed the pieces by , she tells me ” kind of like…Now” . I’m not a morning person AT ALL but in 15 minutes I was out the door and headed to hotel with my ring & jacket riding shotgun , luckily the hotel was about two miles from my place . I get to the room and another surprise answers the suite door , Ashley Domio . Ashley & I had previously worked on Betty’s first set of imaging photos , she’s one of my favorite makeup artists and hair stylists . I’ve ( & Betty) always tried to get Ashley on other projects but our schedules never seemed to match up and I’ve been eagerly awaiting for them to eventually align again. So it was really great to see her and catch up on everything ( I didn’t even realize initially that Betty’s costar , Jason Santore was quietly passed out under a heap of blankets as he had flown in hours earlier ) . We headed back to the bridge from the original shoot for closeups and pickup shots , it seemed even hotter this time ( last time it was pushing 105 degrees) but thankfully the crew wrapped quickly and we were off to the second location , a truck stop off of 288 . I won’t spoil anything regarding this scene but it was insane ( in a good cinematic way) and it really is a testament to the talents of Betty , Jason , Director Q.Guyton and his team , as well as the surprise co-star who I think is definitely going to steal the show in their limited screen time lol , you’ll see . After wrapping at the truck stop we headed to the final location , Studio 713 , a really cool modern multi media property where Betty shot some beauty close ups and dialogue with Jason , the two have really amazing chemistry and take direction exceptionally well , you will be seeing both on the big screen in no time , I guarantee it , they both have it . We wrapped by 11pm and headed back , since I’m not a morning person and didn’t eat all day I was too tired to hit the town with them that night or even answer the phone the next morning to go to breakfast , by time I woke up and returned Betty’s call she was already at her flights gate , heading to film another project which only solidifies more adventures .
After she test shot for a huge international magazine , I scooped up the OG Lyons Girl , Brittany and headed over to Eleanor Tinsley park in downtown Houston for a cool project . A friend ( Myosha Poterie ) of both Brittany and I is opening up her own boutique ( both physical store and e-commerce)
and wanted to shoot some promotional material for the upcoming launches , her creative team decided to do a moving editorial as opposed to a traditional shoot which I thought was really enterprising and something that certainly will get a good buzz for , Poterie‘s launch . I had previously consulted with Myosha on her line sheet’s and helped narrow down which pieces should be featured in promo material , ultimately the black sateen leather dress ( retailing for 45.00usd) was selected and I couldn’t have been happier , a little black dress is a staple and there is a trend of the latex version that’s pretty hot right now , I knew Brittany would do this look justice especially against the unique backdrop of Houston’s skyscrapers and historic buffalo bayou . The weather was extremely cooperative that evening as well making things a lot more pleasant .
I cannot wait to see the finished product as well as collaborate on more unique ideas with Poterie as they begin introducing their store to the public .
For me personal-idol-wise , 2016 has been an extremely heavy year so far. The two people I idolized most , who inspired me in every creative capacity possible ( every shoot I’ve styled or creative directed has some sort of homage to them not to mention all my finals/projects in art school) passed away a little more than two months apart , Vanity & Prince. Their absence left some sort of emptiness inside me , knowing one of the worlds most beautiful women and the most creative musician ( and arguably the most beautiful man) are gone forever is something that stings considering who my generation and the generations after mine have for idols now. There is some comfort in their absence at least in the sense they’re somewhere together now forever , at least I believe so . It still hurts and always will though .
Recently I had taken a break from social media , the ego’s , political opinions , the lack of originality , the booking emails , ect it all was getting to me . I needed to clear my mind after wrapping my last styling assignments for a magazine , I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do next , my go to photographer is retiring , my main muse is semi over the industry , and the I city currently reside in isn’t exactly a city where you can get consistent paid work or meet a lot of genuine creative people who can still uphold professionalism and deadlines . It was just one of those weeks . I finally logged back into my instagram and started looking at some of my favorite people just to see what I missed for the week , I came across an accessory designer with a familiar picture of her and my favorite stylist as I read the caption my heart literally jumped , it was her tribute to him , he had died . I could not believe what I was reading , I went to his page and the last pic was one I had like before I had deactivated my account but the comments just reinforced the sad reality , he was gone . When Vanity and Prince both died , the losses of course felt personal , I grew up in households that were influenced by them and eventually had my own journey’s of inspiration with them but with this particular news it felt extremely personal , I’ve lost two close friends before and that feeling of being emotionally gutted , speechless , mad , just everything hit again.
Back in 09 I had just started at M.I.U. under their FRM program , there weren’t a lot of us back then , this was right on the cusp before social media ,so I was lucky enough to get a crash course in the fashion industry before all the influx of self proclaimed designers , stylists , models , creative directors , ect . It was just a small group of us who genuinely wanted careers in fashion and went about them through networking and honest ambition. It was something that chose us somewhere along in life and we all ended up there in our journeys. Despite the constant tropical heat Miami offers, I was always in a vintage biker jacket ( I had a blk and a white but endlessly hunted ebay and thrifts for a red at the time ) and patent leather sneakers , and mostly black attire (some things never changed) , at night I kept my oversized vintage shades on , that was just me or so I thought. One day between classes I came across a blog and it changed me forever. There was another kid out there from Queens in oversized shades , patent leather high tops , and vintage biker jackets ( and he had them not just in blk and white but the coveted red & blue too) and he was always rocking them whether shooting , at an industry event, or traveling like I wanted too. I followed his blog and myspace religiously from that point on , then of course on twitter , ect . I saw him create looks for Miguel ( one of my only modern idols) , Usher’s tour , a collaboration with Android Homme , and even his own line. We eventually crossed paths at an event and as intimidated as I was , he quickly made me feel comfortable and equal in his presence although it was brief it felt like we had knew each other already. Whenever I felt discouraged I would always think back to our special moment and think about his words of encouragement and what it meant to me and what it meant to see him grow and always be his own person , NEVER conforming to seasons or trends like so many do. Like Prince & Vanity another legend leaves us truly ahead of his time. Devastation is kicking in now but so is motivation and endurance to continue doing what I always wanted to do . Leo Velasquez was / is my hero and his legacy will live on through the many many people he inspired including myself. Always let your creative ambition overpower your insecurities. Inspire The Future.
I’ve been secretly moonlighting or perhaps indulging is a more appropriate word , but nevertheless enjoying the hell out of my fujifilm instax mini 8 instant film camera . I picked one up for the
hell of it while doing some pulls for a magazine shoot after I seen how clear and awesome the sample pictures were at Urban Outfitters. I decided to test it out on the set of a Mynt Magazine editorial and was hooked, shooting impromptu portraits and good times on and off sets since then. I was lucky to shoot an entire sun glass & accessories editorial for Coeus Magazine’s upcoming September reboot issue and will hopefully get to continue indulging in more shoots for further issues . Here are a few of my favorite shots from different shoots , In my own little crazy and creative world shooting my muses on instant film makes me feel Warhol esque lol .
This past week recording artist & honorary Lyons Girl , Betty Idol was in town for hosting duties and to shoot the visuals for her single , Pluto . Coming off of the heals of her controversial first season of Love & Hip Hop : Atlanta , I was really happy to see Betty in her true element , making good music and for herself finally . The song is an ethereal & pop synth summer anthem that fuses a number of genres from hiphop , trance , and even a bit of blue grass . For the video , Betty enlisted director Q.Guyton (fresh from his own starring vehicle , Cold Summer) and model, Jason Santore , as her leading man( the Mickey to her Mallory as the video is a unique ode to the Tarantino classic , Natural Born Killers) . I was lucky to be on set through out the day and although the scorching Texas heat and constant Houston traffic got the best of me near the end of the night , I was really impressed at the level of commitment , creativeness , and drive everyone showed to getting this video made ( my vintage skull ring & biker jacket have cameos too lol) . Betty and Jason had amazing chemistry and took Q’s direction in easily one or two takes. Just from the raw footage I seen during playback , I cannot wait to see the finished product . There is something really special about witnessing someone with true talent and ambition see their visions come to fruition , I feel privileged to have been part of #MissionPluto.
This past Friday , the usual troupe of talent and I were back on set for COEUS magazine’s upcoming September issue reboot. I was privileged to not only style & creative direct but also showcase
some of my awesome and talented friends . Each issue will feature profiles / interviews on social media titans and creatives in the entertainment & arts industry, D&A models latest contract girl , Dani Nicole and music producer Ca$h are kicking it off . I also put the finishing touches on a really
cool concept editorial, featuring pieces from Celine, Fear of god , Perfectly Pure, Han Cholo, and Versace.
This past Friday I was lucky enough to not only style but creative direct an editorial for the summer reboot issue of COEUS Magazine . This was a sunglasses and accessory showcase editorial , we shot both digital and on polaroid . The shoot features my muse Brittany Fague and the latest model to join Neil Hamil‘s roster , Diana V . The models were decked out in frames from Thom Browne , Rayban , and Dolce & Gabana as well as jewelry from Suze Swan , River Island , Versace , and a local designer , Jcil White , whose decadent and rich pieces stole the show . I also pulled from Asos , Nasty Gal , Paul Smith , Hugo Boss , Tom Ford , and Manolo Blahnick for some of the more fashion driven shots. Due to the weather and other crazy circumstances , the male model booked out of LA , Austin Wilson was unable to make the shoot , I really had been looking forward to working with him but the girls killed it and there is always the December issue . This shoot was awesome and everyone really had great chemistry , We are set to shoot the 2nd half of the editorial on the 20th and I can’t wait !