9:30 - Gigi explains what it was like to grow up in L.A. vs what it is like to live in Oregon
17:42 - Gigi explains when they first started to realize the creative world was for them
18:12 - "I was like, okay, maybe the idea of like working in an office isn't the worst thing in the world. However, I've kind of curated my look in such a way up until this point where I have to be in a really cool office." - Gigi
18:47 - Gigi gives advice for anyone curious in attending beauty school
23:13 - Gigi and Jessica discuss what it's like to work in a piercing studio
27:07 - Gigi explains why you DON'T have a nose that's too big for a piercing
29:46 - Gigi leaves us with some last pieces of advice on overcoming fear when expressing yourself
““Makeup is something I do every day when I'm getting ready for work - something that I'm able to kind of like partaking creatively, more often than other stuff!” - Gigi
"Makeup is something I do every day when I'm getting ready for work - something that I'm able to kind of like partaking creatively, more often than other stuff!” - Gigi
Jessica: Hello friends! I am here today with Gigi. Gigi is one of our jewelry specialists here at Avanti and they have some really fun perspectives on self-expression and makeup as well as piercings and tattoos and I'm so excited to hear their perspective on it all but before we dive in too much, Gigi, why don't you share a little bit about yourself?
Gigi: Hi! Well, I'm Gigi. I grew up in Los Angeles. I grew up kind of on the border of Santa Monica and Venice by the beach, more so closer to Venice, I would say so, yeah, I grew up in Venice, which is kind of wild we got Venice boardwalk there, there's like tons---so it's like pretty much, growing up, it's just being surrounded by a ton of art and by a ton of really creative people. Every single person around is really creative, on the boardwalk, everyone's doing art and tons of different stuff so it's like, there is not really much of a shot of me not being a creative person growing up especially with my parents too like, my mom she does not killing work now but before that, she was a buyer for designers and she was super into fashion when she was younger and she always show me the pictures of her and her friends in the '80s in New York and all of the cool fashion.
Gigi: I was like this is sick. I love this. Yeah, so growing up just there is a lot of creative influence I want just---like the elementary and middle school I went to is definitely more of a kind, it was a weird school. It was definitely small but everyone was very creatively focused and everything was about creative learning things and all of that so tons of art growing up, and then High School was like, I was kind of a rebellious kid but was like said into art and was like, none of this school stuff applies what I want to do in life. I don't really need it, and I tossed it out and I tried going to cosmetology school for a little bit and then, I don't know, something kind of clicked at the time where I was like, I don't like hair, hair's gross like hair is really, really gross. I don't want to touch it but yeah, I got there but when I was at hair school, I was already really into doing makeup and I got into really starting to do makeup when I was kind of 16 and that's when I started exploring, doing more bold stuff. I was super into David Bowie and all of his makeup and stuff like that, so I kind of started getting really into hey! If I'm doing makeup, would I get fun? But when I was in cosmetology school, it was really cool because a lot of people there, they were wanting to do hair and makeup. There's a lot of talk about makeup and everyone there really appreciated it. When I was in high school and stuff like that, I never really got recognition from people I knew in person about what I was doing makeup wise, what I was doing with anything - with my look. Now, how I dresses, I guess considered kind of trendy but it wasn't necessarily that at the time. At the time, it was a lot of kids being really, really mean, so it was really cool once I got into the cosmetology school, kind of like getting the recognition that like, Hey! I'm actually like, maybe I'm onto something, so when I was there, I was like, Hey, you know what? I am way more passionate about makeup than I am passionate about doing hair, so let's get out of here and let's go to makeup school. So I did because in LA, there's a few different types of schools you can go to or ways to get a makeup artist license. So there's two-three day courses that you can take where it's you do the two-three days and you have makeup artist license and you're good to go. There's programs that are maybe a month, maybe a couple months, they're a little bit more in depth and you're still getting your makeup artist license and then there's these $20,000 like Special Effects Academy is that you're going to for a year, which at the time since I just dropped out of high school and kind of lost a lot of money on that, I was like alright, so we're not gonna do the year of Special Effects Makeup and I went to makeups, I did one of the programs that was about a month long because when I was wanting to get the licenses [inaudible 5:00] when I get the license I know there's definitely stuff I need to learn in makeup and soon after getting the license, I mean because when I got this license too, I think I'm like maybe just turned 18 right before I got it, so then right afterwards, I was messing around whatever and I hadn't really done makeup on other people in a long time and I kind of lost the touch of doing it on other people. I'm still figuring out what I want to do in life. That's one of the issues with growing up really creative and being thrown in, so like a billion different creative things is that sighting and picking which one thing I want to focus all of my energy on choose kind of nod it.
Photos by Just Jessica June LLC
Jessica: Yeah, it's daunting.
Gigi: At least right now. It's like I am 21 at that time, you know?
Gigi: So I've been depending into makeup fashion, just kind of anything. Any area of which I can be creative, I go for and usually nowadays, I don't paint as much. I don't draw as much. It's like I have to work, I have to do all these things but makeup is something I do every day - when I'm getting ready for work. It's something that I'm both kind of partaking creatively, more often than other stuff. It's easier to kind of like throw [inaudible 6:25] of them.
Jessica: Yeah, well, it's so fun. Your makeup looks are always so unique and very glowful.
Gigi: Thank you so much!
Jessica: Yeah. I am like, I don't know. You just wear them also bravely, which probably just comes from having to do it in high school and be like, this is who I am and I've already faced the worst of it so like -
Gigi: Yeah, no, that was I'd gotten to a point because high school kids weren't necessarily as mean to me as it was an elementary and middle school. I've gotten to the point of it's like, people will being so mean to me all the time, no matter...it was really one of those things was that no matter what I did, I tried dressing normal, I tried whatever. People were so mean and so mean and so mean and there is a point where I realized, Okay, you know what? I can either not look the way I want to look and still have people be mean to me or I can at least look the way I want to look and people are still going to be mean to me, but at least, I feel good. I feel a little bit better in myself like, I'm kind of expressing my own identity and if people are being mean about that, then-
Jessica: It says more about them.
Gigi: It does. I mean, it says more about other people, but it's also one of those things where it's just like, people are very...there's people out there that are very judgmental, and that comes from whatever within their own stuff but, if I can try and make myself feel better about myself when other people are being mean about it, it's kind of like, well, why do you care? Why does it influence you? Why does it bother you? I'm not like, it's not like I'm like in your life, or you have to see me every day or whatever, just don't like it, don't look, don't interact, if you'd like to.
Photo by Just Jessica June LLC
Jessica: Well, also coming from an artistic perspective, the art that makes a statement is the art that people have some sort of something for. It's either it bothers them or they like it.
Jessica: It's half either way.
Gigi: Yeah, I know, there's definitely, there's been a lot of...I don't know. If one people ask me about my confidence in terms of makeup or in terms of just expressing my look on a daily basis and like, I've gone through a lot of different phases to this times where I haven't really wanted to be seen by people and there's been times where I'm like, let's make people as uncomfortable as possible. If I am making people feel uncomfortable, I am doing something right.
Jessica: Oh, that's really interesting. That's cool. Yeah, that's super super interesting so you kind of tell me a little bit about what it was like growing up in LA. Is LA and Oregon super different or -
Gigi explains what it was like to grow up in L.A. vs what it is like to live in Oregon
Gigi: Ah, definitely very different. Oh my god, it's extremely different. Growing up in LA, there's definitely a bunch of kids that my school or at other schools that are very very well off, they bought a lot of money. It's very blatantly obvious and there's a lot of people in LA that are very wealthy. There's also a lot of people in LA that aren't, there's definitely that mix, but it was definitely was weird for me in school where there isn't because a lot of my creative expression was kind of based on like, I don't know, finding whatever I could and making it into something I thought was cool and like, I wear a lot of chains so it's like, Oh! I find some random chain, put a random thing on it and make it into something and then there's got to be a point where when I started noticing, Oh! People kind of are into my style, or it was a little bit disheartening that I was like, there was something that I really built for myself and really established that being mine and then seeing people just spend a bunch of money on it and have my look within two weeks of knowing the output, cool.
Photo by Just Jessica June LLC
Jessica: I made this
Gigi: Yeah, I'm not saying that in a way we're it's like, not trying to stop people from getting into [inaudible 11:00] too.
Jessica: Well, I understand.
Gigi: Or anything. I don't discourage that. If people are into look like [inaudible 11:08] for can't get into it, but it was just like, at the time just because of the meaning it had for me at the time, it was just it felt disheartening then.
Jessica: I took a class in college where we made wearable art and I think I could understand where you're coming from with that perspective. You put pieces of yourself into it and so when you were wearing it, or when you're walking a specific style for you in that time, it was a reflection of what was maybe going on inside.
Jessica: And it's like you fought for that like that's -
Jessica: And when you see someone else wearing it, I could understand how that might feel cheapens because-
Jessica: You fought for that.
Gigi: Yeah, and then aside from that, there's also LA is LA [inaudible 12:03] so there's maybe a couple people that were doing the thing I just talked about, but it was mainly like a lot of people that are super into like getting classes like a model for some huge modeling agency or being on some random TV, just like tons of random shit like that where it was like "What?!"
Gigi: I don't know, and then just a difference---there's a lot of differences between LA and Oregon and I didn't really noticed any of the things about LA until I moved here like, everyone there is kind of mean and it's not like people are just like mean people. It's just like that's sudden reaction people tend to have for whatever reason.
Jessica: Is it maybe more competitive because everyone -
Gigi: Oh yeah.
Jessica: - wear roles and things like that.
Gigi: No, it's definitely a really competitive feeling city and it's definitely like, you're not on the same path as me, just throw you away to the curb, whatever or like I'm progressing and growing and you're not growing at the same rate as me so I think we just need to not be friends anymore even though some of you have been friends with for like 10 years.
Jessica: Oh, wow!
Jessica: I hope that's not everyone's experience.
Gigi: I hope not either but I don't know. LA is just---like a lot of people are trying to get somewhere, and not everyone's doing it in a way that's necessarily conscious.
Jessica: Yeah, it's just the downside of the place maybe.
Gigi: Yeah, I mean, there's a point of which I understand. There's a point of which I'm---there's times where I missed it too. Sometimes, I missed the push to do more but yeah, the other thing that's funny is no one really talks to each other. If you go out to a bar or a club or something in LA, you're most likely not going to talk to anyone the entire night, except for maybe if you happen to know a couple people there or if you showed up with people, maybe that's who you'll talk to. Usually, if you show up with people, that's who you'll be spending the rest of the night with, and anyone else that you know, you'll see for like five minutes and other than that, people just don't really talk.
Jessica: Where is it in Oregon, you've made best friends with four people, two drinks in.
Gigi: Yeah, no, exactly. When I moved here, and I was pulling all this stuff out of my moving truck, you know, small person, lots of stuff and usually, in LA it's just like, I don't know. No one really say anything about it, or if anything, it would be like, you might couple of people, "Get out of my way!" or "You're taking up this parking spot." Where here, I'm trying to move all this stuff when I look five, not five yeah maybe huge exaggeration, but I literally had three people offering to help me carry stuff all the way up into the building. I was like "What the hell?!"
Jessica: [inaudible 15:21] my apartment.
Gigi: Yeah, people are nice here. People talk to each other. Usually, I wear---like I always try to make sure I wear headphones with cords so that way, people don't talk to me.
Jessica: I do that if I need time away from other people, I'll pretend I am busy.
Gigi: Yeah and usually that's because in LA, no one's really going to talk to you on the street, unless some random person that quite frankly don't really want talking to you. Here, I'll be wearing headphones and someone starts saying something to me and I got really freaked out and then it's someone being like, "Oh my god! I love your shoes, your outfit is so cute." I'm just like, thank you. I feel like [inaudible 16:05]
Jessica: That's what Anastasia has said because she lived in LA for a little bit and she said, I came to Oregon and people are like, "Hello! I like your eyeshadow today" and she's like, "Why are you complimenting me right now?"
Gigi: Yeah, no. It's definitely a lot friendlier here and I think that's partially because there's lost of that kind of competitive energy. In LA, it feels...it's like I've had friends where it's just like, I haven't tried to be competitive with them, but they have thought I've been trying to be or they think I need to be better than like that, that I feel as if I need to be better than them or that it's something it's like I don't want that at all, I just want friends. I just want friends, and I know we have a similar look and we're both into the same things but that doesn't mean I'm trying to compete with you, that's just means that I'm happy that you're my friend because we have similar interests.
Jessica: You're like, I was bonding, but okay.
Gigi: Yeah. I talk about myself a little bit too much sometimes, but-
Jessica: Who doesn't?
Gigi: It happens. Yeah, it happens.
Jessica: That's just a person thing. Sometimes I'm like, did I talk about myself too much today? I guess you kind of answered this then, when you were younger, did you know you wanted to be creative or were you kind of just like, I'll probably just work in an office?
Gigi explains when they first started to realize the creative world was for them
Gigi: Oh, I totally knew I have to be creative. The idea like....so growing up, I started refusing to let my mom dressed me when I was two years old. It all really started for me with fashion kind of and my mom used to be a painter and so there's always paintings around and she has all these art books and it's like -
"I was like, maybe the idea of like working in an office isn't the worst thing in the world. However, I've kind of curated my look in such a way up until this point where I have to be in a really cool office."
Gigi: What picture looks do I have? Purple. So I always want to be creative. Once I started getting to being like maybe 18 or 19, I was like, okay, maybe the idea of working in an office isn't the worst thing in the world. However, I've kind of curated my look in such a way up until this point where I have to be a really cool office.
Jessica: That's where I want too, I'm like be quite the office.
Jessica: What advice would you give to someone who was interested in going to beauty school but wasn't quite sure?
Gigi gives advice for anyone curious in attending beauty school
Gigi: I would say like, okay, I would say this. If you're wanting to do I mean, for the most part, if someone's thinking about doing a year long program that are really into makeup and really wanting to do it, I would say go for it especially if you're really wanting to get into it, getting into doing special effects and everything too is kind of just like...so many people just like do special effects makeup to do random cool fun makeup for daily wear and especially, I've seen more special effects makeup going into runway just in general. So I mean, I would say definitely do it but if you're not sure if you want to---kind of what's cool about makeup schools, there are programs that are all of these different lengths of time, so I would say, Hey! If you're wanting to do it and you're not sure, you can maybe at least start off with a two day program. See how you're into it. If you want to learn more than that, do a month long program but I'd say, if you're interested in makeup and you're really wanting to get into it professionally, make sure you're at least doing a month long program but otherwise, even if you're just someone that's wanting to kind of improve your makeup skills or learning more, a little bit more about it, doing a two-day program might just help, boost how you do your makeup on a daily basis or stuff like that so I think there's a lot of ways in which you kind of be tailored to what you need. In cosmetology school, just make sure you are okay dealing with hair.
Gigi: Make sure you don't hate it. Make sure you're okay with your clothes, having hair stuck in it forever or making sure you don't wear clothes that you don't want hair stuck in it to school and that would be my advice. It's just make sure you don't think hair is absolutely disgusting and you'll probably like it. Cosmetology hours are different than Beauty School too, like you're going to do that program and then you get the licensing where with Cosmetology School, you usually can get hours, so then if you take time-off or you're like, okay, I need a break from doing this, you can take a break from doing it and then you'll still have your hours. Go back later, but I would say with doing that, because I mean, there's been times where I've been like, okay, maybe I should go to Cosmetology School again, maybe I should do that there's good money in doing hair because that is true, there is good money in doing hair. When I was finished with, like when I decided to be a Beauty School dropout essentially, I was 17 so for me, it's now been four years since I've gone, so there's a lot of stuff that I forgot. So if you're going back after a long time, just like know that there will be stuff you forgot.
Gigi: And if you're wanting to get the hours later, you're gonna have to be doing a little bit of recap like there's a lot of stuff that's still stuck with me because it is a must. With doing hair is like a muscle memory thing, kind of the same with doing makeup too, you're learning how to hold some brushes and do certain movements. So, it's not going to be fully lost and it's not fully lost, but there's stuff where I'm like, okay, I forgot what this part of the [inaudible 22:13] is called. I forgot how to do as clean of section.
Gigi: Stuff like that where it's like okay.
Jessica: Like I'm [inaudible 22:23].
Gigi: I would say though, in terms of things to learn about or schools to go to or whatever, especially in terms of certifications you can get for doing something creative, it's pretty low risk doing a makeup class as opposed to trying to get a four year degree from Art School.
Jessica: Yeah, I have that four-year degree from an Art School. I totally understand what you're saying.
Gigi: Yeah, if you're looking for a creative outlet, you like doing makeup like Hey! You can make good money in doing makeup too.
Jessica: Yeah, there's a job there.
Jessica: It's like okay, now the creative part is coming up with the job to go with the Art Degree.
Gigi and Jessica discuss what it's like to work in a piercing studio
Jessica: What has it been like to work in a piercing studio then? Is it been like this similar creative outlet or is it different?
Gigi: It's definitely a creative outlet. I mean, it's not the same for me, nothing is the same for me as dipping into eyeshadow, using brushes or even just like painting. I've always been into painting and makeup and stuff like that. The idea of not being hands-on and kind of just self-focused in that one thing in the same way like, nothing's ever going to be like makeup for me, essentially. Nothing's ever going to do that but it's still creative in a different sense. It's like, I think more about, it's like when I am painting or doing things like that, I'm thinking about color, I'm thinking about my own face that interesting to take a step back and really think about what someone else is looking like, what their wishes are. It's like more of a collaboration and it's like, I'm not the person doing the piercing so it's like, I don't get the hands-on like, yes, I did this for you, I did this but helping people get to make those creative decisions for themselves has been really inspiring and the work I did before working at a piercing shop was I was working at an adult store.
Gigi: So when I was working there, what I really liked was being able to really be hands on in terms of helping people and giving them insight and information and feeling like I'm educating people. When people are coming into an adult store, yeah, there's people that are just coming in for fun, they just want to get some fun or there's---but there's also a lot of people that they have deep personal needs and they need to get them to fulfill and if they need someone to talk to, and I've always liked being that person, and being able to help people in that way. I like that I'm able to do that with the piercing; it feels very fulfilling to me to be on with things and the difference I would say between an adult store piercing shop besides a million things -
Jessica: The obvious.
Gigi: Yeah, a million obvious things is when I'm talking to somebody about piercings and all of that, it's like, we're still getting personal, we're still talking about deep stuff. We can still get into conversations about other things that are going on with them and everything but I'm helping them with the decision on something that's it's their creative outlet too, I know it's not just mine, I know it's their's as well but people don't want to get their body stabbed, and put a piece of metal in it because they're not creative, you know what I mean? Whoever first invented piercings or thought about doing it anyways, that was a creative move for them, that was something different at the time, and I mean, even now, it's not like piercings are definitely getting more common, but they're not fully common place. Some people get them, some people don't. If someone's looking at a part of their body and thinking, you know what? Something sparkly looks really good there or maybe I should put these piece here. Maybe I should put this little flower, or whatever. They're creatively thinking about things that they can do with their bodies, so it's like being able to kind of help navigate that with people. I think it's really amazing.
Jessica: Yeah, I agree. It's also cool to make people love parts of their body. It's like showing them a way to love parts of their body that they didn't maybe love before.
Gigi explains why you DON'T have a nose that's too big for a piercing
Gigi: Yeah, or Hey, maybe it's still a part of their body that's going to take them time to really love but you're gonna start getting closer to it. One of the main concerns I've seen with people getting piercings is like, I really want to get a nose piercing but my nose is really big. It's like, first of all your nose isn't big.
Gigi: Okay, so what? Maybe your nose is kind of big, but you can still put jewelry on it and it's gonna look beautiful. Sometimes, I've seen people that are like, Oh my god! It kind of makes my nose feel a little bit smaller or they're like, Oh! It kind of just like accentuates the beauty of my larger nose. I'm like, yes, see? This is why we do this.
Jessica: Yeah, when people say my nose is too big. I'm like, your nose is not too big but now you have canvas with this bigger piece of jewelry, which I think would look great.
Gigi: Yeah, exactly! It's like if anything you can....and it's especially true, what I've noticed is people are like, I've noticed that people have wondered with larger noses. My nose is large, I don't want to get a piercing that's too big because it's gonna really show off how big my nose is, but it's like no, no, no, no you have this big, you have this larger piece of jewelry but it's not gonna look giant on your nose. It actually is gonna like look...it's almost like the same as like me having a tiny little stud in the sense of like, it's still decorative and it still looks dainty in the area. It never makes anyone's nose look chunky or clunky or whatever. It actually kind of...like, all right, small [inaudible 28:52].
Jessica: I always like it when people get the big jewelry on their nostrils, it's like a statement look.
14k Gold Nostril Nail
Quetzalli | 18K Beaded Septum Clicker
Tether Jewelry | 'Carbonado' Septum Cuff
Jessica: And it's so elegant.
Gigi: Oh yeah.
Jessica: I've never seen anyone be like, Oh! I think you're gonna regret that. I've always been like that is---I want a bigger nose now like-
Gigi: Yeah, it's like Oh my god, your nose looks definite. It's like it's [inaudible 29:11]
Jessica: Yeah. I think that's perfect.
Jessica: Your nose used to it, that's nowhere to go.
Jessica: Well, before I leave you to enjoy your pink drink with your pink hair.
Gigi: Thank you!
Jessica: Is there any last bits of advice or wisdom you'd give to anyone who's listening that is maybe afraid to be themselves?
Gigi leaves us with some last pieces of advice on overcoming fear when expressing yourself
Gigi: I would say, just do it. It's like that. It's like that Shia LaBeouf video, he's like, "Just do it!" Which I had a friend send me the other day because I was like, I'm not sure if I should [inaudible 30:00] she sent me that video and I was like, you're right but I mean, I know it's easier said than done for people. If you're worried about someone else's judgement about it like, anyone that really values you for who you are and appreciates your style and the things you like and values that...you get to do what you want with your body. Unless someone doesn't care about those things with you, their judgment doesn't really---like their judgment is just something they're gonna say maybe one time or whatever, but they're not...I'm not saying this well at all but essentially, anyone that would tell you not to get a piercing or to color your hair or not to get a tattoo that you want, or whatever. Anyone's gonna tell you not to do that because it won't look right or it shouldn't be on you or whatever.
Gigi: There's a million excuses that are things people say. If they're gonna say that to you then, they're not valuing you for you so do you want to keep valuing the fact that they have those opinions or do you want to value the fact that like, hey, maybe your opinion on what you want to do with your body is pretty cool.
Jessica: Yeah, it's yours, own it.
Jessica: Yeah. That's awesome, well-
Jessica: Thank you so much for your time today, Gigi. It was great to see you!
Gigi: Great to see you as well.
Jessica: I hope you have a great day.
Gigi: Thank you, you too.
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