Lunch Break is a monthly segment in which we interview icons, creatives, and influencers from marginalized groups. We ask them to take us to their favorite lunch spot to talk about their background, their creative process, and what it’s like being on the job.
Lindsey Rempalski is a graphic design student at Chapman University and a YouTuber. Lindsey is from Orange County, California, and plans to pursue her career as a graphic designer. Her influence on YouTube as a designer has inspired many other artists, which is prevalent in her loyal fan base. She currently has 348k subscribers on YouTube, where she talks about her life as a student, fashion, beauty, her vegan lifestyle, and openly discusses her anxiety. Lindsey will be graduating Chapman University in the spring of 2019, and will be continuing her passion for design once she graduates.
BTC: You allow yourself to be soft while still being empowered and hard working. At what point did you realize that you can be both?
LR: It’s kind of just the way I’ve always been. I’ve always been a sensitive and emotional person, I think it comes with being an artist. But I don’t think you have to hide that in order to be accepted or successful. I love seeing more and more people online be open about their struggles.
BTC: Being a graphic designer, what is your main goal for audiences?
LR: With my last merch collection, it was really from the heart, in terms of the cards that are on the merch, such as “letting go will set you free”, “thank your lucky stars”, and “good luck”. Although this collection was very much me making art for myself, I wanted it to be something that my audiences could relate to. It was just things that I would tell myself, memories, and things that made me feel empowered. I wanted other people to feel empowered by their emotions, softness, and just being themselves.
BTC: Working for Too Faced and having an internship in London, what was your favorite part of being a designer during those times?
LR: From my internship at Too Faced, I loved learning from the talented, boss women there. I also loved the office culture, they would talk about things going on in their life and it was the first time I realized an office doesn’t have to be boring. I also learned more cool tricks on the computer - like keyboard shortcuts and things like that. In London, it was a very different experience, it was a lot more corporate. I was the project manager of 17 people, which was the largest group of people I have ever managed, and was a big learning experience in terms of, “I can do that”. I learned a lot of different things; they were two completely different experiences.
BTC: Many creatives claim that once you’re paid to do something you love, the love you have doing it stops. What’s your opinion on this, having experience in a work environment of something you love?
LR: I get that all the time in terms of school projects that I get assigned in class that I’m not into. From the beginning, I won’t enjoy it and even by the end just don’t like the outcome of what I did. It just depends, if I’m super into the project, I’ll work super fast and ahead of time, but I think when you’re being paid there’s even more motivation to do it because you don’t really have a choice. When I worked at Too Faced, I often made edits to people’s work and enjoyed it because I felt like part of a team. But for school, when you have to do a project you don’t like, it can be exhausting.
BTC: I know that your love for graphic design was sparked when you did yearbook in high school. What was a turning point for you to decide to study graphic design?
LR: I started yearbook in seventh grade and did it all the way through my senior year of high school. In seventh and eighth grade, I helped take photos and put the cover together on InDesign which was my first experience ever doing something like that. Back then, I realized “I like this, what is this?” I didn’t know there was a career path for graphic design, but I knew I liked fonts and looking at different letters, and I found things fascinating that a lot of people didn’t, and I realized that this was something cool. At Chapman’s Discover Day for new students, where you can learn about different majors, I attended the graphic design meeting and it convinced me to rescind my application, put together a portfolio, and reapply within that month, so I did.
BTC: Attending Chapman, it’s known for producing creatives in design, film, and more. What’s the best part of being surrounded by people who are so inspiring?
LR: I love it, I can’t imagine going to a school that isn’t like that. It is really inspiring and amazing to see what everyone creates. I have a lot of friends in the film program, people are always collaborating, and they are so invested in what they do. Being around people who love what they’re learning and doing everyday is a really different environment than being surrounded by students just trying to get through it. Especially being around my best friends, makes me want me to keep doing what I’m doing.
BTC: Your friend group is full of designers who all support each other. How important is it for you to have a support system as such?
LR: I know I’m extremely lucky; it’s so rare we all found each other. It’s really lovely because we all understand the love and the pain that graphic design is, and we’ve all had classes together since we were freshmen, so we know each other’s styles.
BTC: Is there any new projects coming up that you’re excited about?
LR: Bits and pieces, I’ve been working on making enamel pins. New merch pieces are always on the forefront, I really wanna make stickers but it’s really hard to get them produced. Hopefully having more free time to make videos as well. Also, graduating!
BTC: Thank you, Lindsey!
Photography by: Ethan Vovan
Jovan Hill is a 25 year old Internet personality who has made it his life being on social media, and even dropped out of college for his current lifestyle of livestreaming and tweeting full time. He identifies as a queer black man, and was diagnosed with bipolar manic depression, which he openly talks about on all forms of social media. He originally gained a following through Tumblr as a teenager, and eventually grew to become popular on other platforms. Hill has been making a living off of social media through Patreon, Periscope, and donations from his followers through Venmo and PayPal. Jovan currently lives in Brooklyn, and plans on continuing his lifestyle as a mdicroinfluencer in Los Angeles.
BTC: So how did you start using Twitter and Tumblr?
JH: Tumblr started when I was 15, I would tell my teacher’s stories at school everyday. Everyone started saying that my life was so interesting and I should start a blog, and I never stopped talking since then.
BTC: And when did you start getting so many followers?
JH: When Glee got really popular, I was a Glee stan, so I would get some followers from that. And then season two ended, and it was so terrible, I never watched it again.
BTC: What did you talk about for Glee, like reviews?
JH: I would just talk about Glee! Because being gay, I would say funny and dramatic things like “I would want Finn to fuck me”.
BTC: Did you know your humor was gonna go far?
JH: No, I really didn’t. I didn’t think anybody was really paying an attention to me, I was just posting - all day. I didn’t really think anything of it until I hit maybe 50,000, I thought “Why are you following me” because this was just my life, it wasn’t a goal, it was just trolling mostly.
BTC: So your Twitter is always really ironic and self-deprecating, how does it feel to have a large amount of people feeling the same way that you do?
JH: I makes me feel better on some days, because it makes me feel like I’m not the only one that’s miserable, like “Damn, I feel so depressed and my life isn’t even that bad” and thousands of people agree with me. My feelings are valid at least. Everyone is suffering, no one is happy, so, I’m a little less alone in that now.
BTC: Being gay, that’s such a small part of some people, or a huge part, so what does it mean for you?
JH: For me it’s everything! It’s my favorite part, without it, I would be so boring. I love being gay, I love it so much.
BTC: So living in New York, you said you get to really be yourself, and you get to really be “gay” as compared to living in Texas. Has it made you more openly gay once you moved?
JH: Oh yeah, absolutely. Now I have the blonde hair, I can do pink hair, blue hair, I can do whatever I want. Online, on my Instagram stories, on my Instagram posts, “I want a dick”. Whenever it is, dick, dick, dick, dick, dick. I don’t care, I can do what I want now. Why hide it?
BTC: Does this make you want to stay in a city?
JH: Oh yeah, for sure. But I wouldn’t mind having a cute farm in the future, but for now I’m in the city, absolutely.
BTC: What about the suburbs?
JH: Oh, no. I couldn’t do a suburb it’s too fake. I would become a wine mom.
BTC: That’s exactly how I feel! I’m like, “how am I supposed to stay like this”, I would be so bored.
JH: Me too! I would start drama in my neighborhood or something, I can’t risk it, I’m too messy.
BTC: So in your YouTube videos, you’ve talked about making a community center for LGBTQIA+ individuals in a city. What’s your vision and goal for that?
JH: So my goal is: I want to buy a building in a major city, because when I was a kid, growing up being gay, it was so annoying keeping it a secret and not express myself and this whole part of me that I had to pretend didn’t exist. I would like somewhere where kids wouldn’t have to live in a home where they’re miserable or they can’t be themselves, or get fucked up for trauma. I would have a youth center where kids can live there instead, so at least there’s somewhere to go. It’ll be both live-in and a community center where people can just go. I would hire workers there and everything to help them out.
BTC: So you’ve mentioned mental illness really briefly in your last vlog, has mental health awareness been something that you would like to pursue too?
JH: Not intentionally, like ADHD, I’ve always talked about it, but now I’m an advocate basically for bipolar disorder, so now it’s a big part of my platform where I don’t mind talking about it. It wasn’t intentional at all for mental health to be a part of my platform, and in my opinion, it’s not that big of a deal.
BTC: And using your platform that represents so many different identities - gay, black - that so many people can identify with, what’s your favorite part of being someone’s that’s funny but also relatable for all of these groups?
JH: That I can make the best out of any situation; I’m never really offended, and even on my worst days, I can still make myself laugh, and I’m never really doing that bad. I’ve been doing this for so long, making fun of myself, and my struggles that suck, and still made it funny. For that, I don’t have much pressure or stress from that aspect of it. Sometimes I even have to go out and make my life harder to make content, and that’s what’s weird.
BTC: You have to make your life more complicated on purpose?
JH: My life is chaos, and I think sometimes that if it slows down, then people on Twitter will say that I’m boring, but it’s only because I’m not going crazy! So, I’ll go talk to a boy I shouldn’t talk to or something, or go to bar I shouldn’t go to, and make sure my life goes to hell for a week. With that part, it’s really mentally exhausting because I really have to ruin my life to keep my life going, which is so weird.
BTC: What would you tell your high school self?
JH: Delete. Delete everything. It’s not a lie, they’re gonna Google you. Delete everything. I would never enter the Internet ever again. I would go to college, I would go to law school, I would read, I wouldn’t have done this. I would tell myself to delete it, it’s not worth it.
BTC: And finally, what are future things that are coming up that you’re excited about?
JH: I think my goal now is to make my platform where I don’t have to tweet all day long, like right now. Right when I’m awake I’m tweeting. So now, I have my YouTube channel where I make content but it’s not consistent, so I want to make places where I don’t have to use Twitter all the time. Which is hard to do, because I didn’t expect this. Maybe a talk show because that’s what I like do? Just other forms of content mainly.
BTC: Thank you, Jovan!
Photography by: Sarah Harwell
Isabella is an artist, poet, and author currently based in Los Angeles, California. On her 20th birthday she self-published her first book 7,300 days before beginning her Creative Writing degree at the University of Southern California. Her love for storytelling began at a young age. She grew up listening to her father, a Danish immigrant, read her Scandinavian folk stories every night. Her grandmother, an Italian immigrant, put paint brushes in her hands as a little girl. Poetry is her most natural form of self- expression, and she also explores photography, painting, film and illustration. Her thematic focus highlights femininity, sexuality, identity and consent.
BTC: I know that you’re vegan, has being vegan affected you in any way of being more aware of your ethical decisions?
IM: Being vegan has opened a door for me, like a light turned on. It was just a door of empathy, compassion, and also thinking about how everything you do in your life has causation, such as: your words matter, your choices matter; which is very evident in our political aspect of where we are right now, which is very connected to that. Being a vegan and being a writer is so intertwined for me, like it’s an identity.
BTC: You recently went to Europe. Writing in a different country with a completely different level of security than being home must have been a new experience for you. How has it affected you as a writer, and how has it affected your writing process?
IM: It’s interesting, writing for me is such a mirror of where I’m at - writing is an evolution of growth. In each place that you are, it’s almost like a mirror of that place. At the beginning of this year and last year, I was living at USC (University of Southern California, located in downtown Los Angeles) and I spent my time writing in the corner of my room. From there, I was all over Europe. To go from that very solitary practice to then open it up to the world was so exhilarating but also my balance was off because I didn’t have a routine with my writing - I would be in a train station, accessing thoughts and triggering myself, and then being thrown into the vortex of not knowing where I am. It was wild, but so fun.
BTC: For sure! Like when you’re writing, it’s so easy to get into it and not even paying attention to what time it is or what’s going around you.
IM: Now I know why the famous poets and writers lived in Paris. The month that I was there I kept thinking, “how am I gonna leave,” but at the same time, I had to leave because I know I kept accessing thoughts and I had to change it up or I’m gonna get stuck here. Have you heard of Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own?
BTC: No, I haven’t!
IM: It’s basically the discussion about how women and female writers need their own room in order to create, because we’re always under social pressures to have all of the different identities that we hold, and to have your own room that basically holds the whole essence of who you are. That’s how I felt this summer, because I didn’t have my own room for three months, and I was going crazy. I didn’t have my own sense of space, my own sense of time. So that is the main thing about the sense of superiority - I didn’t have one, and I had to create it. My room is so essential, that when I put you in my brain, I put
you in my room. To be a writer and not have that, it means to not have that superiority and safety of your own mind.
BTC: What’s your standard writing process, no matter where and when?
IM: I did have a standard writing process before I left: it would be to come home, take a shower, and since I’m an air sign, water really helps my process because it grounds me and is also very freeing. Anyway, after a shower, I would light a candle, make dank food, get into bed, put on headphones, and just go for it. Now, I kinda just go for it. I’m not so much into a regimented routine with it. Which is definitely not how I would prefer it, and this year is so intense living at home, I’m writing
another book, painting, have seven jobs; nothing is solidified.
BTC: Your writing consistently has themes of womanhood and self-identity. Did you grow up secure and confident with yourself, or was it something you learned and would like to teach others?
IM: I would definitely say that I’m a thematic writer. Womanhood and self-identity is where I began, and where I’m still touching on, but I think over time, in trying to preach empowerment, I lost it for myself. Which is weird, but it became something that was expected of me, and I began to lose that feeling. So this year, it’s been me trying to reconnect with those themes. I think as we grow up, we didn’t learn to become secure and confident with ourselves. All I’m trying to do with my art is to communicate with one other human being. Not to forcefully feel in any certain way, but whatever way is safe for them, because I don’t think we have any time during the day to ever feel. Nobody ever just sits us down and asks, “tell me how you’re feeling right now”, like “look me in the eye, express yourself”. So, in the act of exploring my womanhood and my identity, I’m hoping to call upon the viewer to do the same with me in a safe environment.
BTC: Even on your Instagram, you let people write a poem in the comments, and the caption usually has something that sparks a follower to write something.
IM: That’s it! That spark! I don’t think that there’s enough things in the media right now that spark us in positive ways. In magazines, in movies, what messages are sparking you that are authentic to your own self? And that’s what’s scary, to be that difference means making people feel in a way that they’re not used to feeling. They’re used to not feeling, seeing, or hearing in this way that allows them to be themselves, they’re used to being taught that they’re not enough, and I want people to know that they are enough. In life, we have to make choices: fear-based choices and fulfillment-based choices. Fulfillment based choices are more work, but you want to do it. When you follow your fear-based choices, you’re just doing it because you’re trying to see the future so far in advance, it’s filled with anxiety, and you can’t even access yourself. My biggest advice would be to give yourself the permission to feel and to create.
BTC: And finally, we know you have a new book coming up. Could you tell us about some of the upcoming themes that we could look forward to?
IM: 7,300 Days was “the roots”, the existence. This new book’s biggest goal is that I’m trying to analyze the people around me, and how they have formed me into the person that I am, and our existence is based on the people that have guided you, and who has gotten you here. It begins in very dark times, and I’m trying to arise from that. The biggest theme is empowering women, specifically young women, and that they have the voice to say “no”. Consent is a huge theme, and how that interconnects to your relationship with your family; consent is something that needs to be taught at a very young age, specifically with little kids, and that’s gonna arrive out of that. So, the biggest theme would be consent and validity.
BTC: Thank you so much, Isabella!
Amy Serrano is a former celebrity stylist and YouTuber. She studied at California State University, Long Beach where she began her career in fashion. Amy has styled Katy Perry, Meghan Trainor, Shakira, and many more. She currently has 274 thousand subscribers on YouTube, and is notoriously known for being one of the most influential Glossier representatives. Amy currently lives in Downey, California where she continues to create videos, teaching women everywhere about beauty and style, for her YouTube channel.
BTC: Why is this your favorite lunch place?
AS: This is my favorite lunch place because you can literally try something new each time, and I like that there’s always a new spin on tacos, like I love tacos regardless.
BTC: I know that you have an infamous collaborative playlist called “Not Bland” on Spotify. Did you play any music whilst being a stylist, or is it something you like to listen to alone?
AS: I listen to the playlist literally every single day no matter what I’m doing; in the shower I’ll put it on, while I’m editing my YouTube videos, in traffic when I’m feeling down, cleaning - it’s just my go-to playlist!
BTC: What do you love the most about being a YouTuber/stylist?
AS: I would definitely say the connections, I love meeting people, I love that my days are never the same and it’s never redundant. Everyday is something new and I need that. As a career, it goes with my lifestyle.
BTC: Yeah, it’s not a wakeup, work, go to sleep, repeat type of schedule.
AS: Yes! I tried doing that nine-to-five kind of job and I was so sick - like physically ill - because I didn’t want to go to work, which is why I love styling and doing YouTube because I can create my own schedule. Especially with styling, I get to meet someone new on a music video or meeting new directors, new makeup artists, and it’s always something fresh. With YouTube, it’s connecting and constantly making new content.
BTC: Like your new fall trend styling series! I loved the 80’s inspired one. How long does that usually take you?
AS: Thank you! Going through the rack of clothes maybe an hour or so, styling definitely takes awhile, and editing can take up to eight hours.
BTC: What was the best advice or words of wisdom that some of your entrepreneurial friends, like Emily Weiss, have given you?
AS: I remember at a Glossier trip in New York, we were talking about Instagram, and that our pages can be really well-curated. Emily said that it’s always better to be real, and raw, instead of very edited and trying to create the perfect feed. It’s also way harder to create a perfect, color coordinated theme, which is really beautiful and I’m so envious of people that have that gift but it’s so refreshing to hear from her,
because Glossier is so successful, and they’re known for having a very real, raw aesthetic.
BTC: What would you tell your 16 year old self now, in terms of style, confidence, etc.?
AS: Definitely would advise to not care about what other people think; in my teen years, I would always want to meet a certain persona or fit into what I thought I wanted to be. We shouldn’t put ourselves in a box, and there’s no right or wrong way to be you. I feel like now, it’s more celebrated to be ourselves, and I love seeing that.
BTC: I completely agree! With representation in mind, more people of color are becoming leaders for notorious brands, like Virgil Abloh for Louis Vuitton. Is seeing this make you think, “ugh, finally” or celebratory?
AS: I think it’s more celebratory because for me, this is just the beginning. We’re not at where we need to be at all, but it’s also hope. I feel like even my generation isn’t fully there yet, in terms of integration, but I look at younger generations like my little cousins and I see that they’re more open minded and they are for sure the future.
BTC: And finally, what are you most excited about, any future projects coming up?
AS: I really want to revamp my website, especially like “AskAmy” (a section on her website where anybody can ask styling questions to Amy anonymously for special events, what to wear with certain pieces, and more).
BTC: I’ve actually asked a couple questions on it!
AS: Really! I definitely want to get that going again, 2.0 it, make it more user friendly, responsive, and essentially just style the Internet.
BTC: That’s so exciting! Thank you so much, Amy!