Professional SpotlightSpotlight

When we first discovered the Scottish Fold cat Shrampton on Instagram, we couldn’t get enough of him and his twin sister, Bunni. It’s hard not to fall in love after seeing just one photo. After a few months of seeing Shrampton pop up in our Instagram feeds, we decided to reach out to the woman behind the photos, Leilani Shimoda. Leilani is not only mama to the cutest cats on Instagram, but she is also the head of the swim and intimates department at Wildfox, a vintage inspired clothing line.

As a swimwear designer, Leilani is in charge of many responsibilities. Not only is she researching, designing, and managing production, to name a few, but she also styles photo shoots and casts models. Despite hearing ‘no’ and being told to quit, Leliani worked hard and was persistent, and it paid off. As Leilani wisely noted regarding being in a tough industry such as fashion, “It won’t be easy, but it will be rewarding.” Read on to learn more about how Leilani views leadership, how she stays organized, and how Shrampton has changed people’s lives.

Name:​ Leilani Shimoda
Education: ​BFA in Fashion Design from Otis College of Art and Design
Follow:Portfolio / Tumblr / InstagramTwitter / Shrampton
Location: Los Angeles, California

Carpe Juvenis: How do you define “Seizing Your Youth?”

Leilani Shimoda: Sometimes when you’re young you get caught up in socializing and fail to realize all the resources at your disposal. In high school and college there are so many opportunities to get advice and skills from teachers and professionals. Use them. The party will always be there. Free computer programming tutorials and yoga classes won’t.

CJ: You majored in Fashion Design at Otis College of Art and Design. How did you determine what to study?

LS: I grew up with a lot of art influences ­ drawing, jewelry making, and piano. I knew I wanted to do something artistic. Fashion was a place where I could do something creative but it also served a function. I liked that combination.

CJ: You are the head of the swim and intimates department at Wildfox where you manage a team that designs swimwear, cover­ups, pajamas, intimates, bags, and accessories. We are huge Wildfox fans! What does your role as Swim and Intimates Designer entail?

LS: Thank you! I work within the overall story or theme for each season to develop pieces that will fit and help tell that story. Whether it’s cozy pajamas or sea shell bikinis, I research, sketch, design, create tech packs, source fabrics/trims, manage production, conduct fittings, cast models, style photo shoots, organize fashion shows… it’s pretty extensive.

Leilani 3

CJ: What does your creative process look like when working on a new line?

LS: As Wildfox is very vintage-­inspired I do a lot of shopping at flea markets, vintage stores, and on Ebay and Etsy. Paying attention to past trends and paying homage to styles that were influential is as important as creating looks from scratch. Once I know the story (Wildfox is very story-­driven) I work with the team to fit my lines into the overall vision.

CJ: Every day in your life must be different depending on your projects and the time of year, but what does a Monday look like for you?

LS: Typically I meet with my team and review all pending tasks. Then I meet with the Creative Director and other Senior Designers to have a creative meeting. We’ll break for lunch and then meet with our entire team in one room and discuss everything we’re working on. A lot of important decisions are made at the meetings and then I have a bunch of emails to get back to and give approvals and relay comments to the factories.

CJ: What advice would you give to a young person who is interested in being a fashion designer?

LS: Work hard and be persistent. I was told time and time again that this isn’t a good field. It’s extremely competitive, the hours are relentless, trends come and go quickly, there’s no entrance exam (so you get a lot of unprofessional people in power positions). Despite all that, if you can take the punches and keep designing great fitting garments that girls covet, you will succeed. It won’t be easy, but it will be rewarding.

Leilani 2

CJ: Leadership plays an important role in your job. How have you learned to lead, and what does being a good leader mean to you?

LS: The best way to lead is to be a student. For years I had a range of different bosses, creative directors and leaders guiding me. I’ve had things thrown at me and I’ve been told to quit. I read Diane von Furstenberg and Kelly Cutrone’s books. I’ve taken all the good and the bad and built my own method for leadership. Being a good leader means not letting the constant stresses impact the way you treat your team. It is never effective to belittle someone else. It’s contrary to the greater goal of building the brand and doesn’t maintain forward momentum. Working as hard as your team, the same grueling late nights, getting your hands dirty. Those all inspire confidence and help keep the work environment productive. I also love teaching my team in a fun way by taking them shopping and having us all try things on and take photos of details we like.

CJ: You are also mama to the adorable cats, Shrampton and Bunni. Shrampton’s Instagram currently has 46,000 followers. How has Shrampton and Bunni’s growing online presence changed your life?

LS: It makes me so happy when Shrampton’s followers say things like “I was having a hard day, but Shrampton’s photo made it better.” That’s what I strive to do with my designs. Making people happy is the most rewarding part.

Shramp and Bun

 

Shrampton 2

CJ: What has been one of the most unexpectedly interesting parts of your career to date?

LS: Being part of Fashion Week in Miami is always a highlight. I like the combination of working toward a very visible goal and also meeting the other designers in a place where everyone can finally show the work they spent so much time designing/producing. The energy and temperatures are high. It’s very stressful and thrilling at the same time.

CJ: What are your time management tips? How do you stay organized and efficient?

LS: I’m a list maker. Putting all the small and large tasks in one place, then checking each thing off is not only helpful but satisfying. I believe in color­coding and post­its.

CJ: What is an area, either personal or professional, that you are working to improve in and how?

LS: I’m constantly pulled in so many directions between work, exercise, friends, family, Shrampton. Getting to a calm, grounded place is what I’ve been focused on lately – meditation, yoga, reading, me time.

Leilani

CJ: Having a loaded schedule can sometimes be overwhelming. What do you do when you’re having a bad day and need to unwind or reset?

LS: I usually satisfy whatever food craving I’m having but I try to balance that with exercise, which also helps.

CJ: What is your favorite book?

LS: Many Lives, Many Masters by ­Brian Weiss.

CJ: What advice would you give your 20­-year­-old self?

LS: I would give myself a pep­talk and let myself know that I’m a good designer and belonged at fashion school. That I should be confident and believe in myself because I’m great. To be patient and surround myself with what I loved and learn everything I can.

I didn’t get this kind of encouragement during my college years. That’s why I enjoy mentoring and spreading a positive message to young designers and women that wear my designs.

Leilani Shimoda Qs

Images by Leilani Shimoda

Professional SpotlightSpotlight

We have followed Linda Kim’s Instagram for quite some time now, and it’s always fun to see her gorgeous photos pop up in our feed. Linda is a food blogger at Delish Thoughts (so many great recipes!) and an E! News Segment Producer living in Los Angeles. She takes stunning photographs (read on for her tips for great photos) and has a keen eye for food styling. It’s clear how creative and talented Linda is through her photography, recipes, and career in entertainment.

Whether you’re into food, blogging, photography, media, entertainment, or pop culture, Linda Kim has all bases covered. Linda gave Carpe Juvenis an exclusive look into what ‘Seizing Your Youth’ means to her, how young people can get involved with a career in media, and how she manages her hectic days.

Name: Linda Kim
Education: B.A. in Drama and Sociology from University of California, Irvine
Follow: Delish Thoughts / Instagram / @lindak68

Carpe Juvenis: How do you define “Seizing Your Youth”?  

Linda Kim: Seizing your youth means exploring opportunities and welcoming new adventures. It is important to live each day to the fullest and work hard to pursue your dreams.

CJ: You majored in Drama and Sociology at the University of California, Irvine. How did you determine what to study?

LK: To be honest, I wanted to study communications but it was not offered as a major. I thought drama and sociology would be a good combination to learn about society and be creative.

Linda K 1

CJ: You run the food blog Delish Thoughts. What sparked your passion for food and cooking? 

LK: I loved watching my mom in the kitchen as a young girl. I was so fascinated how easily she prepared the most delicious dishes and I wanted to learn how to cook like her. I love hosting and cooking for other people. I think food brings people together and we can share great meals and fun conversations.

CJ: What is the best piece of advice you would give a baking/cooking enthusiast? 

LK: I have learned a lot by watching cooking shows. It helps to see how things are done rather than just reading instructions.

Linda K 5

CJ: Great idea. You take gorgeous photos on Delish Thoughts and your Instagram. What are your top photography tips? 

LK: It is all about natural lighting for me. Make sure you have great lighting and try taking photos at different angles to see what looks best.

CJ: What is your favorite meal or dessert you’ve ever made?

LK: My eggplant parmesan and blueberry crumble are favorites among my friends so I will make anything my friends enjoy.

Linda K 6

Linda K 10

CJ: You are also an E! News Segment Producer. What drew you to media and what does your job entail? 

LK: I always had a love for entertainment and knew that is what I wanted to pursue. I love that there is a variety in media and you can work in different fields. As a segment producer, I cover TV and music stories, set up shoots and interviews with celebrities, and work on red carpets and events.

Linda K 2

CJ: What advice would you give to a young person hoping to set themselves up for success in the world of media? 

LK: It is important to be a go-getter and be one step ahead. I always asked for more work and anticipated needs instead of sitting around and waiting for someone to give me work.  

CJ: What has been one of the most unexpectedly interesting parts of your career to date? 

LK: The most interesting part is the people I get to meet. I love meeting new people and have had the opportunity to meet friendly celebrities and become friends with my co-workers and colleagues.

Linda K 3

CJ: Every day in your life must be different depending on your projects and the time of year, but what does a Monday look like for you? 

LK: It really depends on what is going on that day– if there is any breaking news, if I have to get in a lot of content that day, if I have a guest coming in studio, if I have to go off site for shoots. It could be a quiet Monday or a hectic Monday but I love that everyday can be different.

CJ: That’s awesome. When you do have those hectic days, what are your time management tips? How do you stay organized and efficient? 

LK: I have learned to multitask pretty well so I can do a few different things at once to utilize my time. I make sure to write a list of things to do on my planner and keep track of projects in a calendar.

Linda K 8

CJ: What is an area, either personal or professional, that you are working to improve in and how? 

LK: You may encounter unfriendly people in the industry but I tell myself not to take it personally and still keep a smile on my face.

CJ: Having a loaded schedule can sometimes be overwhelming. What do you do when you’re having a bad day and need to unwind or reset? 

LK: Having a meal with friends always cheers me up or I like to have a quiet night, lay on the couch and watch my favorite shows.

CJ: If you could have lunch with anyone – dead or alive – who would it be and what would you eat? 

LK: My grandfather. We would have the best chats when I was a little girl and I wish I could have that moment now with him. I would eat steak because that was his favorite.

Linda K 9

CJ: That sounds really nice. What advice would you give your 20-year-old self? 

LK: To be bold and adventurous and not have any regrets. One of my biggest regrets was not taking the opportunity to study abroad in Italy.

Linda Kim Qs

Image: Linda Kim

CultureSkills

This past summer, I had the great pleasure of working on my fourth music video for Dizzy Bats. The project was the second collaboration with LA-based director, Michael Chiu, who also directed and co-produced our music video for “Girls.”

For this particular project, the planning and production was done by Michael and the Director of Photography, Jeanna Kim. The two would have meetings on site at the restaurant we shot at to discuss direction, shot selection, and lighting. From there they picked out a crew to help bring this song and video to life.

On a hot Sunday afternoon in mid-July outside of LA, we all met up at Michael’s Burger around 3 PM, shortly after they had closed for the day. We utilized the entire restaurant and nearly everything at our disposal, which included burger patties and french fries to name a couple. The shoot lasted almost 14 hours and took an unfortunate turn when one of the crew members accidentally left with Michael’s car keys.  It was an absolutely exhausting but exciting day.

Over the last three years and four video shoots, I’ve learned that you really don’t need a lot of money to make a great video, and often times one simple concept can carry a project and make it great. The most important part of any collaboration is finding the right people to team up with; those who are equally driven and devoted to bringing your song to life. So to any bands out there looking to make a video for the first time, shop around for the right director and start brainstorming.

Bringing one of your songs to life through the art of film can be challenging, stressful, and intimidating. From production to shooting to editing to color correction, there is so much that needs to go right in order for a concept to be successfully carried out, and for a video to ultimately look great. In collaborating with so many film people, I continue to be blown away by the artistic drive of these talented individuals, as well as their amazing professionalism. It’s been fascinating to see the commonalities between the two art forms of film and music, while comparing our various stories. Art should never be limited to just one form, and through my work on these music videos, I’ve been fortunate enough to experience the awesome marriage of music and film.

Check out Connor Frost’s Professional Spotlight here.

Image: Connor Frost

Professional SpotlightSpotlight

Whether it is a role in the theater, on a television show, or in movies, Caroline Lindy will seriously impress you with her talent. A graduate of Kenyon college with a focus on Drama, Caroline not only has incredible acting skills, but she adds depth to her work with her study of dramatic literature. With diverse experiences on the sets of an operetta, Law & Order: SVU, Liberal Arts, and most recently a music video, Caroline is learning a lot and excelling in her career. Despite her success, Caroline also experiences self-doubt every now and then, but her positive outlook keeps her motivated. Continue reading to learn what advice Caroline has for youth interested in acting, what she has learned from being a working actress, and how she determined what to study in college.

Name: Caroline Lindy
Age: 24
Education: B.A. from Kenyon College
Follow: IMDb

How do you define ‘seizing your youth’?

I define “seizing your youth” as taking full advantage of these years where anything is possible and nothing is off limits. It’s about being open to everything and everybody. When you’re young, it’s your job to never stop learning, growing and figuring out what you want and need from life. It’s a time to take risks, fail, and as corny as it sounds, reach for the stars!

What did you major in at Kenyon College and how did you determine what to study?

Kenyon College has great Drama and English programs, and I was originally interested in studying English. Ultimately, I realized I was more interested in the process of analyzing and physicalizing works of dramatic literature rather than exploring works of fiction and non-fiction. I continued to take English courses but chose to focus on Drama more intensively, and it became my major.

What or who inspired you to become an actress?

I grew up in New York City, and I was lucky enough to have parents who took me to plays and musicals and made me watch Hollywood classic films. I danced next to the television set while watching Singing in the Rain and recited Shakespeare along with Franco Zeffirelli’s Romeo and Juliet. I loved everything about the theater and the screen from a very young age. That exposure is what probably inspired me to pursue a career in the field.

Did you always know that you wanted to act professionally?

Yes, but I didn’t want to admit it to myself for a long time. I was too embarrassed to really audition for any plays until my senior year in high school. Entertaining people is scary territory, and it took me awhile to develop the confidence to be able to sometimes fail and embarrass myself in front of an audience.

What was your first professional acting role, and how did you go about securing it?

My first professional acting role was when I was in the sixth grade. I took an after-school musical class where we sang show tunes, and I performed with great gusto. The teacher knew the director of the Bronx Opera Company, and I landed my first role in their production of “Boccaccio”, an operetta. I played one of the village children and sang in the chorus, and I was totally delighted. It was the most exciting thing that could have happened to sixth grade Caroline Lindy.

You were in an episode of Law & Order: SVU. What was that experience like and what was your biggest take away?

The experience was very exciting! SVU films in NYC, but I got the email about an audition just as my plane landed back in Los Angeles after a visit to NYC. I quickly filmed my audition and sent it to the NY casting office. I got the part, and had to turn right around and fly back east. Filming only took a day, but was a total blast. Everyone was warm, welcoming and professional! I felt very lucky to have been given a role.

You are in the new Dizzy Bats music video, GIRLS. What was it like shooting a music video, and how is the process different than filming for a movie or television show?

Most music videos require actors to focus primarily on expressions and gestures as opposed to text and dialogue. I actually find shooting a music video to sometimes be harder than shooting a scene for screen, because you are provided with less information about your character and have to be comfortable just being yourself with a camera right on your face.

What was your favorite scene to shoot in the GIRLS music video? What was the hardest scene?

I really enjoyed the scene that we shot on the Ferris wheel.  The views of Los Angeles and the Malibu mountains off in the distance were truly breathtaking! The hardest scenes were the driving scenes. Connor [Frost] was driving and I kept on distracting him, almost causing us to get into minor accidents. Luckily we made it out alive. Don’t film and drive!

Caroline Lindy

What is one of the greatest lessons you have learned from being a working actress?

Stay a student. Never stop learning from people who have been in the industry for longer than you.  Don’t be afraid of rejection – it’s inherently part of the profession, so learn to accept it and move on. Once you stop being afraid of hearing the word “NO,” then you can start having more fun at auditions, and start showing casting directors and other industry folks your true artistry.

What advice do you have for youth who want to be professional actors/actresses?

Being a professional actress demands that you throw yourself into an incredibly competitive group of people with giant egos and enormous amounts of talent. However, it is also an industry that embraces the individual. The most important piece of advice I think I could give a young actress would be to just be you. When you’re just starting out, bring yourself into every audition, because there might be a million girls who look and sound similar to you, but there’s no one who is exactly you. So show that to the world! If this casting director doesn’t love you, the next one will! As long as you’re enjoying the process of building a career, don’t give up.

What does a day in your life look like?

When you’re an actress you have to be ready to embrace an unpredictable schedule. I get auditions notices throughout the week and therefore have to keep my schedule fairly open and flexible. I usually try to start off my day with physical and vocal warm ups, followed by auditions, classes or rehearsals (if I’m in a show). I’m also constantly taking on freelance work to supplement my income.

How do you overcome self-doubt or stage fright?

There are times when I feel terrified or feel like a failure, and I say things to myself like, “maybe I should go to Medical School.” However, I remind myself that my favorite feeling in the world is being on stage and feeling the energy of an audience. I love acting because I love entertaining people, I love telling stories and I love being around other people who like to create those stories with me. It’s my favorite thing to do, and it keeps me motivated and inspired.

What motivates you?

My parents, other family members and friends. Without their support, I wouldn’t be able to pursue this career.

What advice would you give your 15-year-old self?

Dare to be different! As long as you are a considerate, thoughtful and good person, who cares what people think of you? Be yourself and have fun. Life is too short to live any other way.

EducationSkillsTravel

Friends, I’ll start out by saying that this tour, my fifth trip in two years, was no doubt the best and most rewarding.  The hard work that we’ve put in over the last thirty six months is truly starting to pay off, and it’s all very exciting.  I feel very proud and fortunate to be a part of this project.

3/12-3/15:  LA
The purpose of this LA trip was two-fold:  to play a show and shoot a music video.  The latter was a total blast and was the first time I personally have had a hand in the production process of a video.  We shot at various locations in Manhattan Beach and Santa Monica, and was culminated by the “Santa Monica Pier Police” shutting us down. Rock.

 tour post 1
3/16-3/18:  Bay Area
The show at Hotel Utah in SF was no doubt one of the most incredible performance experiences I’ve ever had the pleasure of being a part of, as friends, family, and fans all came out to support.  It was such a special night.  Shout out to local artist Matt Jaffe and his band, Matt Jaffe and the Distractions, for headlining and being great dudes.  The days were spent in my buddy’s backyard lounging and writing music.  Two-thirds of an EP written.

 

tour post 2
3/19-3/22:  Pacific Northwest
The show in Portland, OR at Shaker and Vine was a very weird but cool bill.  Local act, Rainstick Cowbell, who has toured the world extensively, headlined the night and could not have been more generous and welcoming.  Our show in Salem, OR was filled with people who were legitimately happy to have us, and their kindness, while refreshing, also freaked me out a bit.  I spent the day food truck-hopping in Portland. Washington is a beautiful state.  I spent some time in Seattle eating amazing Chinese food and strangely getting into Gonzaga basketball.  Our show at Cafe Racer w/ Jacob Cummings and The Experience was a perfect way to end this trip.
tour post 3
Huge thank yous all around to those who fed me, clothed me, and provided me with a towel.  I am so lucky. Thanks again.

-Connor

SkillsSpotlightTravel

Welcome to the second installment of Dizzy Bats: Road to LP. By now, you all know Connor Frost, manager and lead singer and guitarist of Dizzy Bats. Dizzy Bats plays their first show tonight in Los Angeles to kick off their West Coast tour! In honor of their West Coast tour, Connor gives an in-depth look at what it takes to put a tour together, how to book venues, and shares photos from their Fall 2013 tour. 

tour poster

 

What goes into planning a tour?

There is a ton of planning and coordinating that goes into booking a tour. When booking the first couple of tours, you email a ton of venues in hopes that just a few get back to you. Depending on the venue you may have to get in touch with local artists in that particular town to fill out a night of music, or if you’re lucky, the venue/talent buyer will be able to fit you in on an appropriate night. Once you have a couple of shows locked in, then you can start to work from those dates and route your tour. You obviously want to limit the amount of miles you put on your vehicle, so you do your best to come up with a route that makes sense. Promotion is also crucial, namely getting on local radio to promote your music and show. Finally, lodging is the last piece. Most of the time you try to pick cities that have a friend or two, and thus, you have a place to crash.  That said, couch surfing and sleeping in the car are always options.

How do you determine where to tour?

It depends on what you are looking to do. If you’re a band starting out like we are, generally it makes the most sense to stay as close to home as possible and expand out your fan base in a concentric circular fashion. However, I myself have used touring as an excuse to travel to cities that I simply want to see, or to places that have warmer climates. It’s easier to do that when it’s just a solo tour because expenses are not as high. We also tend to pick cities where we know people so that we can A) have friends come out to a show and B) have a place to stay afterwards.

How do you book venues for each city?

I almost exclusively use this one website, indieonthemove.org, which is an absolute savior. They have a large and detailed database filtered by cities, ratings, etc. Once you’ve been on the road a few times, you start to make connections with venues you’ve played at and bands that you’ve billed with, so you can start booking shows through those contacts. It becomes much easier to book tours after you’ve been on three or four of them.

How much do you practice before touring?

It’s hard to quantify. It’s become a part of my everyday life, something I’m constantly doing and am completely immersed in, so I don’t think about it all that much. Before I hit the road I might run my set a few times I guess. For full band tours, we stick to practice once or twice a week which has seemed to work.

When on tour, do you still practice?

I consider writing to be practice, so yes!  I also see each show as an opportunity to better myself as a player and performer, so I also see that as a very important form of practice. If you’re talking about a set routine where I run my set, then no. I like to keep it fresh for the performance.  I do warm up vocally, however. For full band tours, we will literally sing our parts on our way to the show; usually not the whole set, but songs that we think need more attention. We’ll also go over game tape and talk specifics.

Why is touring important?

It’s not necessarily important for everyone, it really depends on what your goals are musically. For us, I believe touring is crucial for the expansion and growth of our fan base.  The internet is a wonderful tool for band development, but there is something magical about the live experience and personal connection that it provides for performer and listener that can’t be replicated on a computer. It’s the one true way to connect to a potential fan, and I don’t think that’ll ever change, which is a beautiful thing. Additionally, crafting and developing your skills as a performer is extremely important and can only be improved through playing and touring. I used to get really nervous before shows, but now that we’ve played almost one hundred shows in our tenure, it’s become second nature.

What is your favorite part about touring?

Meeting new people. When a stranger comes up to you after you’ve played to introduce themselves and compliment you on your set—there’s nothing more amazing that. That, for me, is why I do this.

How do you determine your set list?

It depends on whether or not it’s a full band or solo tour. For a full band tour, we like to mix it up with a different order for each show, and for solo gigs, I generally just play our newest songs. It keeps it fresh for me and I can see how the audience responds to these young tunes.

How do you budget for a tour?

Eat cheap, come up with a feasible route, and crash with friends.