Brooklyn, NY. Flatbush to be specific.
Editor in Chief of By Way of Brooklyn | Account Manager at Team Epiphany.
How would you describe your style?
Comfortable. Usually paired with sneakers. Tomboy-ish with feminine sensibility. Athleisure. “Current” is the last thing I want to be.
If you had to wear one outfit everyday, what would it be?
This oversized, striped, white and blue button down that I bought off of a dollar rack at a second hand store. SOO soft. Boyfriend denim. Not sexy boyfriend, not skinny- loose. And either Nike All Courts, Prestos or Air Force 1s. No socks. HAHA. My sister and family hate me for it but I hate socks.
Who or what influences/inspires your style.
I’ve always had my own sense of style. Ever since I was young. When I think of who or what, I’m not sure if there’s anyone I was obsessed with, (outside of Gwen Stefani in her Tragic Kingdom era). I remember going second hand shopping in grade school with a close friend and always feeling determined to find the coolest, most unique pieces.
What does being a BagLady mean to you?
Haha, honestly, it’s had a sort of negative connotation to me until your brand came along and changed that. In the worst sense of the word, it’s a woman who is kind of a mess, swears she can turn five trips to different stores, into one trip instead. Who carries her life with her. Notebook, book, headphone, extra sweater, umbrella, etc etc etc. On the go. All things I VERY much identify with!
What do you like most about our garments?
I LOVE the way your brand name has changed this from a negative to a positive. I’m not confined or constrained in this dress. I can eat, I can run to the train, I can sit or stand without worrying it’ll change the garment (I have pants/skirts that are just standing pants/skirts, not made for sitting cause they are way too tight). And all while feeling completely feminine. I don’t have to pick whether I want to be comfortable or feminine. I can be both. It’s hard to find pieces that do both well.
Have you ever been afraid of expressing your personal style?
I think more than afraid, it’s been more using my judgment in my personal style. If I think something is too self aware or just draws too much attention to myself, or if I even hesitate, then I should probably just wear something else.
Which countries have you visited?
Canada, Mexico, UK, Brazil, Japan, Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, Thailand and Korea because it is the motherland.
Have your travels shaped your style in any way?
Traveling has shaped my style, my perspective and much more. There is nothing like getting on a plane. I think realizing how big the world is makes home that much sweeter and my own problems that much smaller and unimportant. Traveling and feeling vulnerable, having to navigate, ask questions, do research, figure it out, is very humbling.
I used to get on a plane looking a bit sloppy, but feeling comfortable. But when I started traveling for work, I made it a point to dress up a bit more to get into a more professional headspace.
Describe your current life in three words.
Content but excited.
What do you enjoy most about your career?
I love that I get to work with people, with women who I think are so beautiful inside and out. Women I admire for different reasons. And I love that every single story is completely different. I love that we’re not selling a product in the traditional sense of the word. We are storytellers and while forms of media may change and trends will forever shift, people will never tire of stories.
What made you decide on this career path?
As a writer: I’ve always only done things I’m good at. If I have to work at it, I just won’t pursue it. I’m lazy that way. Then I found writing. And it was the first thing I’ve ever wanted to work at. Go through edits and not take them personally. Crafting and having to work at something was so rewarding for the first time.
As the founder of a magazine: A lot of rolling with the punches and circumstance. The magazine I was at before folded and while I didn’t want to start my own thing, (I really wanted to contribute to some bigger vision that I could add to and help grow), the magazine I wanted to read, didn’t exist, so our creative director asked me, “Do you think you can do it better?” referring to the magazines that were out there, I said “Yes, I do.” He said, “Then you have to do it better.”
What are some obstacles that you face/ have faced as an entrepreneur?
There are so many challenges. Comparison, especially now with print becoming trendy again, is always tough to combat. The biggest struggle though, has definitely been the business, money making part of the mag. I don’t ever want to think about money, and it’s gotten very clear very quickly that I to be a responsible founder of this mag, that I have to. That it would be irresponsible not to.
What inspired you to start By Way of Brooklyn (bywayofbrooklyn.com)?
The mag that I referred to before was a men's magazine. There are so many wonderful women I’ve meet in my seven and a half years in New York. I felt so excited to start something that was focused on women.
How it really happened was that I pitched a few sites I respected the concept of ten of my favorite NY women, and their ten favorite places to get iced coffee. The sites said they didn’t have any money but they loved the concept and the women I wanted to feature. And that is when our creative director suggested I just do it on my own platform, on my own.
Any New York survival tips?
Don’t spend money on coffee everyday. Find a community of people who can both cheer you on but keep you in check. Don’t make snap judgments or assumptions about people, especially in a city this big, with so many stories, backgrounds, cultures, hurts, joys. Visit the parks, the Botanic Gardens, Upstate New York, Ditmas Park, the beach. Being from Seattle, the green and nature-filled parts of New York are what keep me sane.
Do you have any advice on how to thrive as an entrepreneur in Brooklyn?
This is my take, and I know it works for some people and not for others. I only started my own thing, after I had worked at a bigger company. My full time job is where I met freelance photographers, other writers, my mentor, art directors etc. When I transitioned into doing my own thing, it was easy to tap my existing network and grow it from there. I didn’t feel like I was starting from scratch.
Also, make friends around the kinds of activities you enjoy doing. Don’t feel like you have to go out every night if “going out” is not your thing.
I think having a healthy confidence in what you’re doing and what you’re offering the world is important but also leave room for an open mind and heart for critique and advice.
Describe your life 10 years ago in three words.
I was 20 ten years ago. So crazy.
Green. Anxious. Selfish.
What’s one thing that you’re proud of doing/accomplishing?
Telling stories that haven’t yet been told, about women who are phenomenally accomplished, who haven’t ever told their story in a way that so features and focuses on them.
What would you say to your 18 year old self?
Pray more. Be less judgmental. Take college classes that are practical and life applicable like accounting more seriously. They are expensive and you’re wasting money and time if you don’t. Women are wonderful, being a “guy’s girl” is not cute and will not serve you.
Is there anything that you wish more people knew about you?
Will always pay extra for guac at Chipotle.
Also, I’ve been told I’m such a happy person. But I’d like to correct that in saying, I’m not a happy person. I am a joyful person. You can be sad and joyful. You can’t be sad and happy. As I’ve gotten older I’ve definitely become much more cynical and less “warm” but regardless of happy or sad, I’m still joyful.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever gotten?
Look at the birds. From my dad.
I remember the afternoon after someone moved into an apartment that was supposed to be mine (shady landlord), and being in a friend’s guest room, my dad told me once, “Have you looked at the birds today?” He was referring to my few favorite verses in the Bible where it says, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?
Do you have any advice for our readers?
My mom is ALWAYS always harping on me about balance. Make sure that you don’t love something sooo much that it dominates all of your time. Or that you hate something sooo much that it takes all of your energy. Make sure you’re well balanced in every area, family, friends, work, passions, obligations. Balance is the most important.
*By Way of Brooklyn focuses on the entrepreneurial spirit of women in Brooklyn and the creative circles around them.
Photographer: Minnow Park
10/30/2019 09:28:42 am
I live in Los Angeles California all of my life. I am very interested in getting a copy of your magazine by the way of Brooklyn the one with Amel Monsur on the front cover. I would like to subscribe to the magazine I am very interested would you please send me a subscription so that I can start paying for the magazine to come to my home. My address is 936 West 48th Street Los Angeles California 90037. I can also be reached at area 323 978 9878 cell phone. Or maybe I can fill out something online. Thank you all.
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