Sunday, July 20, 2014

Behind The Scenes: Vogue and Joe Fresh

I'd have to chalk this one up as top 10 coolest experiences I've had in my life. 
Last week in New York with Vogue and Joe Fresh was seriously a dream. I can't wait to share with you the final product next month, but for now I hope you enjoy this little behind the scenes action. So much work, time, people, and talent goes in behind these shoots. I was surrounded by the best of the best of talent and it was so inspiring for me to learn and listen to them. I've also never had so many people stare at me while taking pictures before. I may or may not have broken a sweat from it. Here's some random things you wouldn't know unless you were there that I think are fun!
The day before the shoot you meet up with the team and stylist and they start putting your outfits together. You get a polaroid taken in each potential outfit, and then the team creates a story board and chooses what clothes you will actually wear for the shoot, what you will be doing in them, etc.
Everything is perfect on set. There's an alterations diva making clothing fit just right, a nail artist who gave me the most amazing paint job that I hope never comes off, and there's a frenzy of people running around making magic happen. They're used to models changing everywhere like no big deal… but I'm not… so I had to keep asking if I could go switch my clothes in the bathroom. Hahaha… Not quite on their level yet ;)
The studio that we shot as was in Brooklyn, in Williamsburg. It was a fun industrial vibe, and before I opened the doors I felt the base of the music bumping. It was such a fun environment, and I seriously would hang out with everyone I met if I lived in New York. I could just feel their creativity bouncing off the walls. It was refreshing and exciting for me. 
This photographer took our stills. We also shot video, which I feel more comfortable doing. It's weird, but I love speaking and engaging so it's more natural for me. But doing still photos in my clothing called for some direction from the photographer. He'd yell in his cute accent that I could hardly understand what pose he'd want me to do next. And then use confusing hand gestures and I basically just smiled and thought how crazy it was that I was shooting with the people I was with. That was the only thought process I had pretty much through out the whole day.
This is Q. Part of the glam squad and hair wizard. The guy would fix every fly away before every new shot and did what would be referred to by the rest of the guys on set as a "ninja braid". 
This is a turn table.
It spins you around
And spins.
And spins.
And spins.
Until you say stop because you might fall or puke.
And then people come over to make sure you're okay, and they probably think you're just a baby.
But they don't know that standing in heels, while a million people stare at you, on a small platform that spins around in a circle is actually quite a talented thing to accomplish. ;) 
I had several other scenes that you will see in the final product next month, and I can't wait to see them myself. To everyone at Joe Fresh, Vogue, and Socialyte… thank you! What an experience with some really great people, I am so grateful.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

New York Photo Diary: Day 1

follow along on Instagram @theshineproject

Last night I took a red eye to visit New York City for the first time. 
I don't do well sleeping next to strangers on airplanes, so I landed here feeling like I was in the twilight zone, and had to take a few hour nap before my meetings for the day started. I can't wait to share with you next month the reason I am here.

I had big plans to take amazing pictures to share with you, but of course it rained and rained and rained.  Tonight I met up with a friend who lives here, and ate dinner at Rubys. A tiny little place that fits about 10 people. If you blink you'll miss it, but it's known for having some of the best burgers in the city. Afterwards, I took a little walk in the rain to Melissa's Cupcakes. Its a little shop you order through a window from, and they give you the cutest, tiniest cupcakes you've ever seen. The Peanut Butter and Jelly one basically made my heart stop… and to be honest I'm really excited to go explore more food places tomorrow during my breaks. I am such a foodie.
 I've never felt so close in proximity to people, but so far away from them. Everyone is very focused on getting done what they need to do. You guys, I can not believe this place. You see New York on TV and in pictures, you hear about it… but wow. It is nothing like I pictured. There's quadruple the amount of people here than I envisioned, the skyline is insane, and the lifestyle is even faster than I'm used to living.

I feel so grateful that I get to have experiences like this. By biggest goal is to grow The Shine Project so that the youth we employ can experience them too. There's so many people to meet, and cultures to experience… it makes America so much fun… and I am just grateful.

Thank you for supporting everything we do. Love love love you. xo.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Let God Be The Pilot

We have been so excited to introduce you to the students behind your Threads. Their stories are real, vulnerable, and inspiring. They are committed to breaking the cycle that most inner city youth get caught in. This week, we are introducing you to Deon. Deon has overcome  a lot. Your purchase of his shirt this week will help him continue to pay his way through college.

Life hits us all hard at one point in our lives, but it's up to us to overcome that.  I've been knocked down several of times but I'm counting my blessings to the man up stairs.  I tend to get through that.  Like they say, "you have to go through it, to get to it".  I wouldn't be the man I am with stressing because it made the the person I am today and if I can over power that there's not anything that can get in my way.  Being brought up in a rough environment without both of my parents is hard.  One thing that kept me going is "letting God be the pilot and I be the passenger".  I'm proud to be able to carry a high school diploma, still be able to attend college, and play college football.  God is good, I couldn't ask for a better Father.

To support Deon, check out his shirt here

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Big Butts Don't Matter, Kindness Does.

Suits- ℅ Wet-swimwear 

I have been so excited that one pieces and high waisted bikinis have made their way back into  swimwear selections. Growing up, everything was all about little bikinis that my big romper did not like fitting into. I was always self conscious. The last to be in the pool to make sure a minimal amount of people saw my unperfected places. To you women out there who hate summer because you feel like you can't go swimming, I feel ya. The past couple of years I finally got to the point where I realized
who cares.
I'm my biggest critique, and I'm allowing insecurities to affect a lot of things that just don't matter.
Last summer, the first summer that we had Zoe and Shiloh, I tried on a new swim suit and gasped at myself in the mirror:
Ewwwww. My butt is so dang big. I can't wear this.

Zoe heard me. She looked up and said,
You're not fat, you're beautiful. 

Later that night Zoe looked in the mirror and said about herself,
Gosh! My butt!

And then I realized:
My perception of myself affects the way the kids see themselves.
The way I treat myself will be mocked and imitated by little people who don't need to learn how to have low self esteem, but who need to value themselves and find confidence.

That was the last time I ever said anything negative about my physical appearance in front of my kids.
I want them to feel beautiful, and also look at other people who are different sizes, shapes and colors and think that they are beautiful, too. Kids learn from their parents how to feel about other people and how to look at themselves. Even more important than outer body image, I want them to focus on their insides. I want them to be upset not about big butts and stretch marks, but live their lives paying attention to how they treat others and judge themselves based on their kindness, love, and other important characteristics. 

We spend too much time fixing our outsides while our insides are screaming for help.
Confidence doesn't come from looking pretty all the time, but from feeling good in our souls.
The earlier we can teach that to a child, the better they will hold close to the aspects of life that are important.

PS: Everyone has different body types, so find something that works for you. Below are some of my favorite swim suit styles, several of which I own and wear often.
You're beautiful. Hop in a suit. And go swim.