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Interview with Voyage LA Mag #TrailBlazers

A few weeks ago I had the honor of being interviewed by Voyage LA Mag as part of their #ValleyTrailblazers series. I was so excited when they reached out to me for the opportunity to tell part of my story, my goals, and my inspiration. When they told me that their goal is to help hard-working, inspiring people tell their stories authentically and in their own words, I said count me in! Below is the article published on their website. Give it a read and let me know what you think!

Today we’d like to introduce you to Samantha Skelton.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.

I’m an LA native – born and raised! I’ve come to realize how rare that is with the industry that I’m in. Aside from running this blog, I’m also an actor and screenwriter.

I had wanted to start a blog for the longest time, but just never had time in college. I majored in Screenwriting at California State University, Northridge. College was an amazing experience for me and taught me so much. As soon as I graduated, I pursued everything I’m passionate about with full speed. That meant acting, screenwriting, and starting my blog.

I finally landed on The Constant Creative because I feel like that’s how much of my life is. I’m constantly doing something– writing a new script, collaborating with others to create short films, diving into new books, always pushing myself in some new direction, and for the longest time, I also had an Etsy shop.

Has it been a smooth road?

I’ve always had that entrepreneurial spirit about me — I made a powerpoint presentation when I was 8 years old for my parents about why I should be allowed to go around to my neighbors selling Christmas stationary! So, I think I was bound to embark on other ventures like this someday, ha!

But, of course, nothing is ever easy. I’m constantly learning new things, always evolving. I don’t think I will ever stop learning in any area.

When I started my blog, it was in conjunction with my Etsy shop. I had an Etsy shop since 2013 where I sold handmade typewriter quote cards and I really thought creating my own website/blog would help business for my Etsy shop. Eventually, I learned that I was being pulled in too many directions, and if I had to pick… my energy was better spent on the things I’m most passionate about. This year, I closed my Etsy shop to focus on my acting but I still love having my blog. It’s a great way to connect with other like-minded women, meet new people, and learn new things.

My advice for other young women that want to start their own blog or business, or maybe who are hesitating to go after something they want is just to START. Just begin. The only way you will know if something is right for you or not is to try it out. It’s not the end of the world if you go in another direction. Also, don’t be so hard on yourself. As long as you’re taking action somehow, you’re forward moving.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into The Constant Creative story. Tell us more about the business.

I started The Constant Creative to ignite a fire in people and leave them feeling more inspired than when I found them. I also started it to connect with other creative people in the online community. We all leave a legacy, whether it’s on the big screen or tucked away on the internet through a little blog. I truly love that one is not more significant than the other.

For good reason, society often focuses more on the problems rather than the opportunities that exist, because the problems need to be solved. However, we’d probably also benefit from looking for and recognizing the opportunities that women are better positioned to capitalize on. Have you discovered such opportunities?

Something I talked about on my Instagram recently was the idea of an abundance mindset vs. a scarcity mindset. I think so often women are viewed as being standoff-ish towards other women or the media pits women against each other. I see so much opportunity for women to share the wisdom they’ve learned so far and then collaborate to make something great. Everything is not a competition.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Laci Havens Photography

What It's Really Like Being an On-Camera Host
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Sam Chat: What It’s Really Like Being an On-Camera Host

This past year I’ve had the amazing opportunity to act as the On-Camera Host for Shea Properties. It was completely new territory for me that I was excited to navigate and I truly had no idea what to expect. It has opened many doors for me, pushed me out of my comfort zone, scared me a little, allowed me to work with a great team, and had me livin’ my best life at times eating ice cream as my job! If you’re interested, feel free to watch some of my interviews!

When I was younger I always thought it would be cool to be a news reporter or to interview people on the red carpet. I had no idea I would end up having a job doing something similar and find it to be SUCH a fun, rewarding experience!

What it's Really Like Being an On-Camera Host

The Job: What do I actually do?

When I tell people that I’m the on-camera host for the media team of a real estate company, I usually get a confused look. I get it! It’s not something you hear every day. I tell people it’s like E-news! Except I’m not reporting on celebrities. What I do is introduce retail shopping centers from Shea Properties and tell everyone all about what that specific center has to offer. So I’ll tell you all about what stores and restaurants their shopping center in Laguna Beach has or what their center in San Diego can offer. The cool part about the job is we then go to each restaurant, clothing store, etc. and interview the owner or chef and talk to them about their specific place as well as what they think is so great about that retail center.

Typically I’m given the “script” the day before or sometimes even the morning of to go over and memorize. This includes an introduction to the center, a line or two about following us on social media, and then introduction lines to each store. We usually come up with specific interview questions right before the interview so we can get an idea of what the store owners or restaurants also want to highlight.

The Perks

I have to say that we have a great team! It makes being an on-camera host that much easier and more fun when you can laugh with your crew! We’ve had lots of laughs when I was about to introduce a store and a motorcycle drives by, car alarm goes off, plane flies overhead, etc. and we bust up laughing and have to start over.

One of the best parts of the job is that after interviewing say a restaurant chef for example,  I get to try all the food! Our camera guy will film the food for promotion as well as me trying it. Let me tell you, it is not easy trying to eat huge sushi rolls gracefully on camera!

It’s fun getting to be really interactive with the people I’m interviewing, which can be anything from trying on/modeling clothes from a boutique store or taste testing beer at a brewery.

Why this job inspires me

I really enjoy talking to people and it’s amazing to see why so many of these people felt the need to open up a gelato shop, for example. So many of the people I interview are more than shop owners or restaurant owners. They saw a need for something in their community and wanted to be the one to provide it. They have a passion for starting their business and I think that’s something we can all appreciate!

The Nitty Gritty

Here are some things I never realized until I started this job.

  • Some people are HIGHLY uncomfortable being on camera and it’s my job to make them feel comfortable. That means smiling through any awkwardness and trying to think of questions off-hand. We did have someone who ended up backing out of an interview due to being so uncomfortable on-camera. I will say that we usually prepare most questions beforehand so we don’t have to cut too many videos together but it helps to be able to come up with questions.
  • You have to smile bigger and talk louder than it seems like you are. When I first started they had to tell me to smile bigger many times because on-camera it wasn’t coming across as much as I thought it was!
  • Being in heels for 8 hours is no fun
  • It was a habit to nod my head throughout the interview which I’ve learned to tone down a lot.
  • The clothes! I had to find bright professional attire with no patterns that might clash on camera and had to be sure not to repeat outfits too often!

Overall this has been a great experience and has prepared me for future on-camera hosting or interviewing! I don’t know where this path will take me, but I’m excited to continue along and have fun working as their host! I hope you found this post helpful if you’re considering doing something similar or if you have any questions feel free to contact me or DM me on Instagram!

If you liked this blog, check out my other SamChats here.

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6 Inspiring Podcasts Every Women Entrepreneur Needs to Listen To
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6 Inspiring Podcasts Every Woman Entrepreneur Needs to Listen to

My obsession with podcasts really only started this past year, even though they’ve been around for a long time. It was always something that seemed like a lot of mental work, to have to sit and listen to a podcast (and I had never clicked the purple podcast icon on my phone before). But then I went down the rabbit hole and stumbled upon a few inspiring podcasts I couldn’t get enough of and soon my drives to auditions and time on the treadmill at the gym were filled with podcasts! I’m big on finding inspiration and motivation through other people’s stories and it’s a definite possibility you’ll be glued to your headphones after listening to some of my favorites. Below are 6 podcasts filled with uplifting, motivational, and touching messages from women entrepreneurs who truly inspire you to go after your dreams and goals!

The Laptop Lifestyle Podcast

This podcast is for “virtual entrepreneurs, millennials on the go, and adventure seekers with big dreams,” and I love Alexis! What’s awesome about her is it feels like she’s right there in the trenches with us navigating entrepreneurship (even though she’s doing big things too), and yet we’re gleaning SO much great information from all the creatives she interviews. Episode to tune into: Episode 33: Pursuing Faith and Authenticity in a Filtered World, with Lifestyle Blogger, Lauren Kay Sims


The Influencer Podcast 

Julie Solomon is THE GIRL to go to for all things blogging, PR, marketing, and pitching related and I’ve been following her for a long time. I recently did a mastermind with her and was amazed by her eye for improvements and sweet help! I was so excited when she launched her podcast and I’m addicted to it! The women she interviews give such sound advice for following the paths you know you’re truly meant to follow and not being afraid to start the business of your dreams. So many of the conversations she has had stuck with me and I hope you’ll give it a listen! Episode to tune into: Episode 16: From Assistant to a 500K Influence– The Evolution of Creative Dawn McCoy

The Goal Digger Podcast

I remember the day I tuned into her very first podcast! Thanks to recommendations from The Rising Tide Society Facebook group, it was such a cool feeling to think I was going along on her podcast journey with her! The podcast is a “live-workshop style business podcast for creative girl bosses, so you can train from the experts how to dig in, do the work, and tackle your biggest goals along the way.” Now, I listen to every podcast she puts out and I love the way she communicates her messages so clearly and in the most personable way. You’ll find yourself remembering her advice months later. Major inspiration for how to #hustlewithheart! Episode to tune into: Episode 57: How to Know and Attract Your Ideal Client

Make it Happen Podcast

The podcast for big-hearted creatives that you’ll fall in love with! I stumbled across this one day when I was looking for a podcast specifically on how to work through all the creative ideas I had that were overwhelming me. Jen Carrington is a UK based creative coach with some BIG takeaways about living a wholehearted creative life. She takes big ideas and breaks them down into simple and beautiful concepts that you walk away with ready to apply to your own life and creative projects. Plus who doesn’t love her accent?! Episode to tune into: S04 E03: CLARITY VS CERTAINTY 

Femtrepreneur:

They describe their podcast as perfect for online course creators, but I’ve found some super helpful information on here about blogging, content creation, and so much more! They are absolutely hilarious and have the funniest personalities which is great because there’s nothing worse than an interesting podcast topic ruined by a boring host haha. Also lots of amazing freebies! Episode to tune into: TFS 015: How to Balance Freelancing with Lauren Hooker


Off Camera with Sam Jones

You’re probably wondering why this podcast filled with actor interviews is on the list if you know anything celebrity photographer about Sam Jones, but I wanted to include this one for SO many reasons. There’s nothing more inspirational than listening to people tell their stories of how they made their dreams come true and that’s what every episode touches on. These people share their trials and tribulations, their accomplishments, touching moments, you name it. It’s inspiring to listen to because it serves as a great reminder that there is no one single path to get to where you want to be or what you want to create in this life. Go listen to it! Episode to tune into: Episode 2: John Krasinski

 

What’s your favorite podcast right now? Tell me in the comments below by scrolling to the bottom and dropping me a note, I’d love to hear from you!!

 

 

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Spotlight on Constant Creatives: Interview with Queen Shirin. An interview series where I interview the "constant creatives" of the world: artists, entrepreneurs, and dreamers!
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Spotlight On Constant Creatives: Interview with Queen Shirin

I’m really excited to introduce a new interview series on the blog called Spotlight on Constant Creatives. There are so many creative people out there who are pushing past boundaries, stretching the idea of being a “creative” and showing the world that you don’t have to be confined to one passion. I wanted to start this series so we could hear from all the people that make up this community of artists, entrepreneurs, and dreamers.

I’m ecstatic to have a very smart, pun-loving, talented fellow blogger and friend come onto the blog to share her journey and advice with you all! Her makeup tutorials are outta this world, she creates really fun YouTube videos thanks to her editing skills, and her answer to one of the Quick Six questions (person she would meet dead or alive) is surprisingly fitting and says a lot about the unique person that she is. Read on for all the greatness that is beauty-guru Shirin Nahvi of Queen Shirin!

Can you introduce yourself and tell everyone about who you are and what you do?

Spotlight on Constant Creatives: Interview with Queen ShirinHi, everyone! My name is Shirin and I am a beauty, fashion, and lifestyle YouTuber and blogger. Thank you so much, Sam, for having me on Constant Creative!

Have you always considered yourself a creative?

Yes! My mom is an architect and my grandpa is an artist, so being creative is basically in my blood. Since childhood, my passions and hobbies included artistic endeavors from playing violin to telling stories to being behind the camera. I was obsessed with taking pictures and videos. Clearly, nothing has changed.

What led you to take that leap into starting your own blog and Youtube channel?

When I was in middle school, I taught myself HTML and CSS from reading the codes for custom site layout themes on Neopets. One of my biggest inspirations is Jessica Kobeissi, an amazingly talented photographer, who at the time had a blog featuring tons of graphic design tutorials that I followed to create custom blog headers and backgrounds. Through combining my coding and design skills, I started my first blog where I posted about my daily life and connected with fellow bloggers from Neopets.

Around the same time, I discovered the YouTube beauty world and started watching tons of makeup videos. I realized I wanted to be a creator instead of a viewer, so I started my first YouTube channel during middle school and posted a now-cringeworthy video about socks and shoes, neither of which exist anymore. After that video, I stopped posting because I thought I needed to have long hair in order to be a beauty YouTuber since all the creators I watched at the time had long hair. Looking back, that was honestly such a silly thought.

Fast forward to 2010, I created my Queen Shirin YouTube channel. Throughout high school and college, I uploaded videos sporadically, as focusing on school and getting good grades was my priority, and ran an extremely neglected blog that was meant to accompany my channel. Upon graduation, I briefly worked at a digital media company that worked with YouTubers and influencers before deciding I wanted to pursue YouTube full-time. Thus, I quit my job, started making videos more consistently, and launched my third and current blog, www.queenshirin.com.

When did you first get into makeup and beauty?

At some point in elementary school, I wanted to start shopping for my own clothes and accessories instead of my parents buying them for me. As I developed my own fashion style, beauty came hand-in-hand. I enjoyed playing around with different hairstyles and doing my nails.

While running my first blog, I was so fascinated with photos of lip art and creative makeup looks I found online that my site graphics started to include images of models with artistic makeup. I didn’t start wearing makeup until high school, and by makeup I mean experimenting with my mom’s eyeshadows. Halloween 2009, I dressed up as the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland and followed Kandee Johnson’s makeup tutorial for the look. I’ve been into makeup ever since.

You also have a passion for film and screenwriting (we met in college where we both received degrees in Screenwriting), where do you plan to go with that? Anything in the works right now?

YouTube! I find that a lot of screenwriting elements, from structure to storytelling, translate over to creating a YouTube video. Yes, even for creating a makeup tutorial or product review! Having a video planned out before filming allows me to present information in a way that is engaging, educational, and concise. I recently started a Beauty Editing 101 series, where I teach tips and tricks about editing beauty photos and videos, but I also plan on adding a comedy series to my channel.

Being a blogger/Youtuber has its ups and downs. Can you name a moment of failure or a hurdle you overcame that you ultimately learned from?

Learning to stop comparing myself to others is something I’ve had to overcome and still remind myself. It’s so easy to look at other people’s content and ask yourself why your work doesn’t look as good as theirs. In fact, I’m still learning how to properly blend my eyeshadow. I know that in time, with practice and patience, I’ll get better. I’m not perfect and that’s ok. Strive for improvement, not perfection. Trust me, it’s less stressful that way. This is coming from a perfectionist.

You’re passionate about so many things: film, writing, graphic design, beauty, fashion, the list goes on and on! How do you think not allowing yourself to be defined by one thing has shaped you?

I find myself constantly incorporating each of my passions into my content. For instance, my YouTube videos allow me to combine my film, writing, and graphic design skills with fashion and beauty. My blog graphics also display my design skills. By combining my passions, I’m able to further showcase my style and personality.

How has your blog/Youtube channel evolved since you first started?

Spotlight on Constant Creatives: Interview with Queen Shirin

Basically, my channel and blog reflect my interests. As I continue to grow and evolve, so does my content. When I first started, I posted mainly makeup and nail art tutorials, DIY’s, and outfit videos. Then, I went through a phase where I was really into baking and making healthy recipes, so I started uploading food videos. Now, I still upload beauty videos, but plan to include comedy, as well.

Additionally, I filmed using natural light and edited all my videos on my iPhone when I first started. Since then, I’ve invested in lighting, editing, and camera equipment which have significantly improved my production quality.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to start their own creative business or go after something they’re passionate about?

Do it! But, take calculated risks. Have a business plan or set goals so you know what you are working toward and have a way to get where you want to be. Have some money saved up so you can support yourself while launching your business.

My top three tips are to research the industry you want to pursue, be patient, and surround yourself with a strong support system. Becoming an expert in your field will give you a cutting edge. However, success does not (typically) happen overnight. It’s easy to get caught up in the analytics and get frustrated about not getting enough likes or views, but the more content you put out, the more chances people have of finding you. I know more often than not, friends and family won’t always understand what you want to do nor will they support you. That’s ok. Support can come from people other than just friends and family. There are several online communities, like Facebook or Reddit groups for bloggers and YouTubers, that are designed to support one another. I definitely recommend checking these out and being a member of these groups. There’s a good chance you’ll make some new friends while you’re at it!

You said you’re a big fan of self-teaching. Is that something you think our generation has a leg up on? What resources have you turned to, to learn a new skill?

Absolutely! Our generation has access to such a vast amount of resources that you can teach yourself almost anything or connect with someone who you’d like to learn from by reaching out to them via social media. YouTube is one of my go-to sites for learning new skills, especially video editing techniques. I also love checking out educational books from the library.

I love that inspiration can come in so many shapes and sizes. Where, who, or what do you draw inspiration from?

My inspiration comes from lots of different sources, from music to movies to photographers and everything in between. I frequently reference Pinterest and Instagram for makeup look ideas and flatlay compositions. As far as editing style goes, I pull a lot of inspiration from Teni Panosian. I love her cinematic style and aim to create a similar feel in my videos.

How do you believe you stand out amongst other beauty and lifestyle influencers? I think a lot of young people that are considering starting a blog or Youtube channel are worried about the market being too saturated, what’s your opinion on that?

While the market is definitely saturated, the world of influencers is still relatively new and growing. There is room for everyone to succeed. Also, more brands are starting to work with micro-influencers as opposed to the top content creators, so if you’ve ever wanted to start your own blog or YouTube channel, now is the time.

What’s a dream of yours that you hope to accomplish in the coming years?

I would love to start my own beauty line.

What message do you want your audience to get from your content? What inspiration do you want them to pull from you?

I seek to inspire my audience to be confident in their own skin as well as empower them to be the best version of themselves.

I love your style! You really go for it in so many of your Instagram posts and Youtube videos. Can you tell me about your aesthetic and how you feel it reflects who you are?

Aw, thank you! My aesthetic is colorful, yet simple. I like having a white or neutral themed background and using a pop of color for my subject, whether that’s my eye makeup or products. My personality is calm and fun, which mirrors my white/neutral and colorful aesthetic.

Lastly, how are you a “Constant Creative”?

Being an active learner and continually seeking out ways to improve myself makes me a “Constant Creative”.

Quick Six

  • Favorite book: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
  • Influencer you would love to do a collaboration with? Teni Panosian
  • Tv show you’re addicted to: Jane the Virgin
  • Destination on your bucket list: Egypt
  • A person, dead or alive, you want to meet: Richard Branson
  • Favorite thing about having a Youtube channel: Connecting with people around the world

What was your favorite thing about this interview? Tell me in a comment below!

Thanks so much Shirin for having such an inspiring conversation with me and telling everyone about yourself and what you do! You can follow Shirin on Instagram @queenshirin or on her YouTube channel.

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