EP013: Finding Yourself Through Adventure

EP013: Finding Yourself Through Adventure

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Episode Highlights:

0:47 - Meet Anastasia
2:23 - Anastasia talks about the emotions behind leaving Ukraine
10:12 - Anastasia talks about the cultural differences in all the places she's lived
21:48 - Jessica and Anastasia discuss expression
28:25 - Anastasia talks about piercing as a process
30:55 - "I love it. I feel so special. It makes me feel special." Anastasia
37:51 - "You're building yourself." -Jessica
39:38 - Anastasia and Jess discuss how working at Avanti is different from other jobs they have had before
45:05 - "I feel like we're making a lot of friends like our family friends. Every person that we help in-store just becomes our friend. " - Anastasia
45:34 - Jessica and Anastasia conclude the interview by discussing what they look forward to when COVID is manageable and they can re-open


"It's me, it's what I wanted. I'm really excited that was the first one that I got at Avanti because I can relate now to everyone." - Anastasia



Jessica: Hello friends, I'm here with Avanti's very own Anastasia today. If you've ever been in the studio since last October, you've most likely been greeted by her smiling face. I am so excited to talk to you today about piercing, about life and about adventure, really. So first, before we really dive into any of my many questions, why don't you tell me a little bit about yourself?

Meet Anastasia
Anastasia: Alright. Hey, Jess. I'm Anastasia. I moved to the US from Ukraine about five years ago and I've been living in Portland almost a year now and I've been a part of Avanti family for a little over half a year now, I think.

Photo by Just Jessica June LLC
Jessica: Yeah.

Anastasia: Yup. All right. Sorry. I'm, you know, a little awkward.

Jessica: No, you're fine. No, you're totally fine. Yeah, it has been almost half a year. It's crazy how fast time flies.

Anastasia: I know. I'm like, I always felt like that new person over there but then all of a sudden, I just got that sweet notification from Homebase said, "Yey, you've been working here for that many months." And I'm like, "Already? like, what? Wow!"

Jessica: It really does --- my year comes up in July and I'm like, that's been what like three months and I'm like, that's insane.

Anastasia: Yeah, no, definitely.

Jessica: So obviously you're no stranger to adventure. You moved here from Ukraine. You actually moved to California right from Ukraine?

Anastasia: Yeah.

Jessica: What was that like for you? Because that's a huge change to go from one country to another country and then from one state to the other, so could you tell me a little bit about like, what that was like? Was it scary? it? Was it exciting, was it a little bit of both?

Anastasia talks about the emotions behind leaving Ukraine
Anastasia: It was definitely both. Scary probably was the winner at first because I wasn't---it wasn't a well-planned move, so it was kind of like a little random thing so it was happening really fast and there was no time to actually like sit down and analyze everything that's been happening so it was definitely scary. I moved to the US, I didn't turn 18 yet, so I just moved here and then I turned 18 so it was like a lot and I didn't speak English so that was definitely a challenge because I thought I did but then, like, I was learning the different English and I knew the words but I couldn't really talk and also it's just the emotional barrier when you move here and then you talk to the native speakers, you're just like, oh, I'm gonna, I don't want to sound stupid so you're just like afraid to say anything basically so for like, good. I want to say half a year out, all I could do is like nod yes and no and that was pretty much my conversation with people so that was definitely the hardest part about moving and then I went to college and I was I started taking the English as a second language classes and slowly it started getting easier once I started like living by myself and then going to college, I got a job and everything so I was like, slowly getting it and it was definitely exciting because I started, like, I learned how to be independent, definitely, after I moved and that was like, also a challenge and I don't think that would have happened the same way by state back in Ukraine because, like, it was really quick, like, all of a sudden, here I am in college, all of a sudden, here I am renting a room with another person, and then all of a sudden, I have a job and I have to speak English at my job and I'm like, Oh, my God, this is happening and then, you know, it's just all of those things, learning how to like manage your finance, all of that and just like, all of those adult things started happening to me so that was definitely it was both - it was scary because I don't think I was ready to grow up yet but at the same time, it was definitely exciting because I was like, Oh my god, I'm an adult now.
Photo by Just Jessica June LLC

Anastasia: And then yeah, we moved to Oregon, Portland like I said---a little, almost a year ago, that was definitely also a challenge because like, when I lived in LA, it sort of started turning into a routine, like, my everyday life was kind of like same. I was going to work, and then I was going to school, and then that was pretty much it and it was kind of hard to---like when you're getting used to the circumstances you're in, you're just like, okay, like, whether I like it or not, like, I'm just gonna stay here because it's comfortable. It's my comfort zone right here but then it was a time for a change and it was a very, very random and a quick decision to move to a different state and we didn't really have much time to get ready so it was all like very chaotic, very chaotic and we've been in Portland only for like, three days and that was all we knew about Portland like literally, we just took a trip here for three days, just to see the city and just to kind of get the feeling of it and like whether or not we want to move and I was just---and we always wanted to see it just because we've heard it was beautiful. And the first day I remember we came here, we came on from the airport, and I was like, I love it. I want to be here. It's definitely like, that's what I wanted because the city definitely is more like my hometown and it reminds me a lot of Ukraine and where I grew up, it's also like, same kind of thing. It's also very green and like a lot of hills and just when I went to like, especially when I went to Downtown Portland, I was like, almost crying because as I said, that just looks so similar like I can and yeah, after those three days, we were like, okay, we want to move here like, it was just like kind of like a thing where you come over and then you feel like you belong here. I don't know whether or not it was true, but it was definitely that feeling that we were like, okay, yes, like, that's the place we want to be in and in three months, since then, we just packed everything and we're like, we're going. That was a challenge because it was we had no one in here so that was like the first time. In L.A like, at least like I had my aunt living very close by. I had like some friends throughout the years and everything so it was kind of like a little easier versus we're coming here. We know nobody, we know nothing so we're like, okay but yeah, it's been, it's been a year and I think we made a right choice because like every day, we're just like, we're so excited to be here and you don't get tired of what you see in the window every day because it's always beautiful and the weather is awesome and like we love rain and everything so it's just things worked out great. It was definitely a challenge but it was worth it hundred percent and you know, you overcome some challenges and here you are and we're like, we love our place, we love our apartment, we love where we live, we love the weather---everything so it was definitely worth it even though it was kind of a challenge.

Jessica: That's awesome. Well, I'm glad you moved here. That is so like a crazy adventure and I know it took five years but it still sounds like a whirlwind even though it was like broken up into five years.

Anastasia: Oh yeah.

Jessica: What was the change like culture shock because I got to study in Italy for a little bit and even though it wasn't nearly as long, I definitely experienced something. Being in a country where I didn't speak any Italian and I never knew what anyone was saying to me. I could definitely relate to that. I hated talking. I was just like -

Anastasia: Yep.

Jessica: Like, I don't know, like, Oh, yeah. I would always say like, prego, like, thank you.

Jessica: That's the only thing I'm gonna say, and then, you know, when I found a place that looked like Oregon, it was like, feel like a bomb because you get homesick and a lot of it is that the culture can be very isolating going from a way of interacting with people that's familiar to a way that's very unfamiliar and you start to really value body language when you understand what it is.

Anastasia: Oh, yeah.

Jessica: What was that like going from Ukraine, which is very, very different. I'm assuming you know, from The United States to California, which has a culture of its own, you know, what was that like?

Anastasia talks about the cultural differences in all the places she's lived
Anastasia: It was definitely different like, luckily, before I moved, I did have a trip to LA so like during summer for like once so I kind of saw it, but it was mostly just like to visit my family, you know, and it was my first time figuring out what US is because I never left my country so and it was like, not like, usually you would, it's more common that people would go to Europe for the first time or something like that because it was so much closer, but versus me, I'm like, all the way around the ocean and I remember the first time we're driving from airport and I saw the palm tree for the first time in my life and I was like, they are huge. For some reason that's like the first memory I have from the US that it was the palm trees and then definitely like, the first day I came over here, it was a cultural shock because my aunt took me to right from the airport, she took me to the grocery store, 'cause we needed to like stop by and get something from there and I remember walking in and just like thinking that everyone is looking at me, which wasn't true, but that's how I felt because everyone was smiling at me and I was like, what's wrong with me? So then I started feeling a little awkward and I'm like walking around following my aunt and also after the flight so I'm like, Oh my god, what's happening? And it's just every person would like, say hi to my end, and then looked at me like, say hi or nod to me and I'm like, how does she know all these people? Like who are they like, she knows every person in the store and so then, we left the store and I asked her and I was like, is something wrong with me? Do they want--- Why is everyone staring at me? Like, do I have something or what? And she's like no, I'm like, Why is everyone laughing? Like when they're looking at me or something? She's like, no one's doing that, they're just smiling because that's how it is and I'm like, Oh, okay, so then they started noticing that and that was definitely like, one of the first things I couldn't, well, I mean, I could. It took me a while to get used to it, but still, definitely just like the fact that you can be walking on the street and just stranger could come up and be like, Hey, I really like your T-shirt or you have a nice makeup or something like that. That was kind of like scary at first because I'm definitely not used to that because it was the biggest difference between like US and Ukraine because in Ukraine, like, that won't happen as often like, unless you know the person you won't really come up to them, that's a pretty rare thing versus here that's like, it was definitely very common and just like, people are being super, super-nice, and everyone's like smiling. That was like, the first thing that I told my mom when I was on the call with her after I moved, I was like, everyone's smiling here like, I don't know if I can keep up with that because I felt like I always looked grumpy because I didn't smile enough.

Jessica: Oh that's so cool.

Anastasia: That was definitely a cultural difference and then just in general, I mean, it's very different, like, people are very different. It's different perspectives on life and everything. It was something to get used to because, like, the way people think is different, the way people see things, all of that is just so different and it was definitely fun learning in and you know, but it was a struggle like especially with like language that was a thing because like you said, the body language was my everything. I was like I think I could explain everything with my hands. I remember being like super, super scared when I had to like going to 711 for the first time by myself and like buying something and like saying something. I was like, please don't talk to me, please don't talk to me cause I am so scared and then, it was also like, I'll say something wrong, and then I'll feel kind of like embarrassed a little bit. Everyone was telling me like, don't be scared to talk because people will still understand you and if they don't, they'll just ask you to repeat and that's fine and for some reason, I just assumed that, you know, it'll be kind of, like, annoying for people to like, you know, try to understand me like, I didn't want to, you know, just like that was a barrier that I had and so I remember like, I went to that 711 and I want a coke and I'm like, how do they say coke in English? Because in Ukrainian- in Russian, it's like, Coca-Cola and so I'm like, how do I asked for that? Because I didn't know like, that was short version of coke and I was like, could I get cola? And then---I remember the lady was just like, looking at me and she was just like, what? And I got so scared, like, I wanted to run away like, I was like, I'm so embarrassed. I said something stupid, I say and then she was like, do you mean coke? And I was like, I guess.

Jessica: Yeah, give it to me.

Anastasia: No, that was definitely like, I've been into few situations like that and right now, it's very funny to remember that at the moment it was like definitely scary but yeah, definitely I could tell the difference also from like moving from California to Oregon and everything. That was a complete different thing because after like, I don't know like my four years of living in LA I thought, okay, I kind of understand what it is that you asked and everything and like, what kind of people there live and I was like traveling a little bit not like crazy. I haven't seen like a whole lot of yes, but I've seen some so it's like, okay, like, I started getting it and then we came to Oregon and I was like, Oh, that's completely different. I guess I don't know everything about US yet because it's just, I mean, I don't see like a dramatic difference, but from what I've seen, it's just here. What I like, more is the feeling of the community like, you're living and like, especially right now with everything and the whole apocalypse happening. It's definitely something we've noticed that like, even like we have the nicest neighbors. Everyone's always like asking if you need anything if you have everything you need. Everyone's like trying to help each other and that's really awesome to see because I feel like in LA, it's more like everyone moves there with like, set goals. Usually, it's like, you want to be an actress, you want to be a model, you want to be a singer, you want to be all of that and you're just like, moving towards them versus here and that's pretty much everyone I met in LA versus here. I feel like it's---you're just living and you're just enjoying your life and you do what you want to do kind of a thing, you don't have like, in LA we just had the feeling that we always were like we needed to do something, we needed to like run somewhere like work, work work, like all of that and we moved here and we're like, wait a second, how about we start to join our lives and just do what we want to do, you know, and be where we want to be and like, not being in rush in where or anything like that and just relax. That's the kind of vibe we got from Portland and also, I just feel like whatever you want to do here is normal because you know, keep [inaudible 18:49] weird and all of that. That's what I love the most about it because like, yeah, you can be you and I think that's like because definitely, in LA that was not always the case but yeah, in here, it was definitely like, be yourself, enjoy yourself and that's what we wanted to do so that was also a big difference that we've noticed.

Jessica: That's very interesting. I know that there's a lot of hubbub in Oregon because people are moving here and I'm like, well, I'm curious why. Oh, maybe I should ask somebody.

Anastasia: Yup.

Jessica: So you said you've seen other parts of the US? Was it other parts in California, or have you explored other states?

Anastasia: Oh, let's see. I've definitely been in few places in California but then, I also got really lucky to visit Alaska, it was definitely---but it was like before I moved here, we were just like planning a trip when I was coming to visit LA and they just happened it will work out and it was perfect so when we came to Alaska, which just yeah, I fell in love with it. It was definitely very different from what I expected it to look. It was completely different America and very beautiful. I'm definitely looking forward to going back there because one time was definitely not enough, and I don't think I was old enough to like, see everything I wanted to see there, and everything. So I would definitely go back there and then also, I mean, Las Vegas, definitely been there a few times, Oh that was fun. Arizona, very hot out there. I went there are a few times during summer because my grandma, she lives in Arizona and her birthdays in the end of June and it's always really hot out there but we would always come there for her birthday and yeah, I think, I wouldn't. I don't think I would be able to live there because it's---I love everything there, except for the weather. It was a little too hot. Other than that, I think that's pretty much it, and then Oregon happens so yeah, I haven't seen a whole lot of US. I'm definitely---it's a plan. I definitely want to travel and see as much as I can because something I learned about the US wherever you go, is like, all different and you can, you know, travel a little bit and then you're in a whole new world and I am definitely excited and looking forward to learn more about where we're at because it's so so different.

Jessica and Anastasia discuss expression
Jessica: It's really cool. Look, you made me think was you know, I think that obviously, we're in the body modification world and a lot of people modify themselves as a form of expression and also as a form of self-discovery, but it's almost like you've used travel before because you know, you don't, you don't have very many modifications, but-

Anastasia: Oh yeah.

Jessica: -you have art for it and I think that traveling is a way of collecting different parts of yourself, you know, and kind of momentum, momentum seizing, momentumizing, you know, different times in your life, which was just very interesting. I hadn't really thought of that, because, but it's true you know like you went through and you visited different parts, and you were a different person in each place that you went, and you left leaving a part of yourself behind and taking a new part almost. Would you say that they're similar?

Anastasia: Definitely, I mean, just traveling in general, I think like, that's my biggest dream for the nearest future. When this is all over, I really do want to go and travel places as many as I can because that's something that I found about myself that I really love doing and it definitely can change you as a person that's what I believe in because, you know, I would compare myself right now and a year ago like living in LA, it's two different personalities and then while living in LA, you know, like before, it's just always definitely like, the more you see, the more you visit, it kind of also shapes you as a person and it definitely is very similar with body modification because like you said, I don't have many piercings, but I did have like a few before I started working there and then as I started working, I got my favorite one. It's like, you know, you go to some places, like when you travel and it leaves nothing for you like you're just like, okay, you know, it's a cool place, nothing else, looking forward too somehow but then you go to some places and you're like, Oh my god, like, I want to stay here as much as I can. I did feel the same way with my piercings because I got a piercing that I was just like, I just [inaudible 24:29]stabbed. Okay, and that was my navel piercing because it was a very impulsive thing that I decided to do just because it was cool, you know, not because I really really like [inaudible 24:42] about it or anything like that. I was just like, do you want to do it? Yes. Okay, cool. Let's do it. Versus the one that I got on my ear, that one is definitely like, Oh, I thought the whole thing like I love that piercing that's been---I don't really consider anything before that a real thing. That was my first kind of introduction to the body modification world and I never thought of it as being in my thing you know, I always looked at everyone who like had facial piercings or like, really cool ear piercings and I was like, Oh my god that looks so cool like, I'm, I really want to look like that but it was mostly just like the look of it so I thought, you know, you have to have certain style, you have to have certain look for the piercings you have but something I learned is that no, it's, it's not about that, it's about what you feel like you want to look and what makes you feel comfortable because definitely, I've been through a lot of stages where I'm like, I couldn't find my [inaudible 25:55] self and I would like to change my hair color all the times, or I would do like crazy makeups or like I would change my outfits and be like, different styles so I was always like, kind of like looking for what it is that works for me, you know, and I always kind of felt like I was pretending to be someone else that I wasn't myself at the same time and it was just, I was trying to find it but then once I got that piercing, I was like, it was a lot of thinking and then I was just like, you know what, it's like, it doesn't matter if, you know, like, you look at me and you can tell right away that I'm like, into body modification or not. I know it's like, it's not a lot of what I have right now, but it's so me - that it's that one piercing that's worth all those hair changing colors and all of that that I've been trying to do because that was never me because I was just like trying it out but with this one like it's this snag the orbital one and it's originally going to be hoop in there right now, it's still healing but I just love it. It's me, it's what I wanted and definitely, that piercing has been tricky one to heal and to take care of but I'm so like I'm really excited that that was the first one that I got at Avanti because I can relate now to everyone who comes in and experiences issues with like healing their piercings or anything like that. I definitely like, because just getting your piercing and like having healed perfectly fine and like few months, that's easy, versus me having to take care of it like every once a month like really hardcore stuff because it's definitely like a placement and everything but I'm thankful for that as well because that helps me actually relate to what people might feel with their piercings and with their stuff and also, there were a few times when I was just like, almost like, I'm done. I was like, I don't think I can take it anymore but then it was also like I would like stop myself and I'll think and I like, it means like, a lot to me right now.

Anastasia talks about piercing as a process
Anastasia: The more like I want to kind of like even prove myself that I can keep up with taking care of it as long as it takes and like for however long it takes because I really want to end up having a nice cute healed up piercing there and that's my goal. And I'm like, every time like I would have to kind of like stop myself and I'm like, hey, we've been through so much with this piercing already. It's like halfway done like, all I need is another few more months and that should be good so it's definitely like worth it. It was worth all the pain and all of that, like all the troubles it was causing me like that's not the one that I'm giving up like, I'm [inaudible 29:08-29:09] or something like, I'm not taking my piercing off. I love it. It was very emotional for me to get that one and I'm looking forward to get more but it wasn't like, at first, I thought I was just gonna get something just to kind of start the journey but then I saw that piercing online and I was like, Oh, no, that is like, I'm doing that one. I don't care, like what it takes and I remember like, our piercer at the time, Rachel like, she was always telling me like, are you sure about that? Like, do you understand because like looking at me, you would assume that I don't really have much experience with piercings.


"I love it. I feel so special. It makes me feel special."- Anastasia


Anastasia: So like, we would like talk and discuss that and everything which also I think was really really awesome because I felt like someone was taking care of me and that's one thing I just love about the whole industry because everyone cares about each other and everyone is really worried especially like, all the piercers I've talked to like the way they treat every single customer is amazing because they really like, you can tell right away they do want to see that piercing heal up, they do want to see it looking pretty and you're not having any troubles with it and that's just, not just coming into work and doing your job and leaving. It's once you meet that person, you are with them throughout their journey and I think that's like, that's one thing that I learned when I got my piercing and I am out like, Oh my god, this is a beautiful industry. I love it like, I feel so special. It makes me feel special like, just getting that one piercing already made me feel like, Oh my god, like everyone's taking care of me, this is so awesome, you know?

Jessica: Yeah.

Anastasia: It was definitely like I was really nervous before getting it but I could also tell that Rachel was also nervous and because, you know, she didn't want to hurt me and she like, she didn't expect me to handle it that way and all of that, it was just very emotional and it just kind of made me want to cry, but not because it was hurting, but because of the excitement. And that was definitely thing and then the first time like I started experiencing some troubles with it. I was like, Oh my god, do I need to take it out and like, I was heartbroken and I could never tell that, something like that like, something I thought was before, was just it's a piece of metal in your body can actually make you cry over taking it out and that was, like when I first thought I had to take it out, I was like, Oh my god, like I don't want to do this. And like, you would think you can always re-pierced it and get it down again but it was the point of this one. It's, you know what I mean?

Jessica: Yeah, no, I totally know what you mean. It was like the whole experience. It was all that you did to heal it. It was you know, the fact that Rachel pierced you, who is your friend, you know, and-

Anastasia: Yeah.

Jessica: It was---I get it because I have piercings at Avanti, you know, that unlike, it's because it's part of the journey when I started working there and when I started coming there, you know, it was very much a time when I'm like, Okay, I'm now comfortable with who me is and this is what me looks like and I've had to remove a couple since we started working together and -

Anastasia: Oh, yeah.

Jessica: [inaudible 33:01]I have to rebuild it. I tried everything. It's a very emotional way. I think a lot of people think that there are tattoos where you like plan out a whole design and -

Anastasia: Yeah.

Jessica: - it takes months and even years to finish, and then there's a piercing where you poke it and it's done but what working at Avanti has taught me is that technically, yes, you're pokes, but it's so much more than that, like, yes the whole piercing procedure itself takes like, maybe a minute but the experience of planning and the experience of healing and the experience of coming up with the next one and curating a whole design, like a whole aesthetic, you know, based-off of just a couple pieces of jewelry, that is a process that takes years, you know, to fully feel the entire process.

Anastasia: Oh, for sure. No, definitely, that's something I learned from myself as well because I'm like, that's not just, you know, you're just getting one piercing and then all of a sudden you get another one and then it just comes up to, like a full picture. I know that there's a lot of thinking involved and there's a lot of like, me, you know, every time like, I'll be looking at myself in the mirror, and I was like, so now like, what's next? What should I do? Not because I just want to do something but I know, for myself, I feel like I need more and I'm definitely into that trend with like, a whole year like curated ear and stuff and that's---I do appreciate it for the style of the look of it, but at the same time, I think I would, I think of myself and I'm like, yeah, I think that's something that I still need, that's something that I'm missing in my look like, I need my full ear and everything, you know. I don't think I'll ever do anything more like a facial or anything else, but for me personally, I found that this is the part of myself as like, having the fears and it was---like, I just---it took me a good few months to come up with the next piercing that I want because I was like, what's gonna look cute with like the one that I already have? How is it going to match? What's the P level I'm ready to go through again? And all of that, it was just all the common into thinking and yes, and also I would like to see what other people are getting every day and some of the stuff they're getting was like, Oh, my God, I need that, I want that, you know, but then I was like, stop for a second and I was like, it does look amazing on them. I don't think that's going to look perfect the way I envisioned it all myself, so I was like, let's move back a little but I do like the piercing so now I have to match the jewelry and all of that. It's just, it's a very, very artistic process and something that's very important for me because I do love art. I do love, I enjoy it, but I---I'm not the creator. I don't like, I have hobbies like I would draw, I would like take photos or anything but it's not like a whole thing for me, but I found that being a piece of art a body modification for me like, that's my art that's how I express my art and I never thought of it that way and that like you said, I would always assume you know, tattoos is a thing that you could've meanings to, you could've put a thought into a lot and like you're like planning it all the way and everything. Same for piercings, that's not just like getting a ring, no. It's definitely way more than that and I think that's why I love this industry because it's not just, you know, like, first when I came into the store, it was more looking like a medical-ish environment for me and I was like, Oh, wow, okay. Later on, I was like, that's a mix like, it's a very---yes, it's a very clean and sterile environment and there is a procedure happening at that same time that is so hard. It's just the way it's being performed and I think that's the beautiful part about it and yes, you do overcome some pain, but at the end, you end up having those key pieces and you know, you're building yourself and I think that's awesome.

"You're building yourself." -Jessica


Jessica: Yeah, that's really cool. I liked how you put it, you're building yourself and it's very much a co-creative process too, which I think is part of the fun because you know, you---it's like a collaboration art project and you know with the tattoo, you get a tattoo and you may see the tattoo artist again, you may not.

Anastasia: Yeah.

Jessica: But with a piercing, you're coming in usually to the same piercer, about the same piercing with different jewelry ideas, and they're just as excited about what you're gonna put in it as you are and that process is super fun. I love when customers come in and I'm like, you're a friend now like, I know your name. I know your child's name.

Anastasia: Yeah.

Jessica: I know what you do for work. I know about your heartbreak last week. I know about your doctor's visit next week, you know, and it's just such a personable place to be. It really is-

Anastasia: Oh yeah.

Jessica: -so much more because I felt the same way. I'm like, Oh, working in a piercing studio would be fun and then I started working in a piercing studio and I'm like, this is not just fun like this is a job. It's a vocation, you know? It's like a calling. It's like everything that you could want to be you get to make a difference in someone's life. They make a difference in your life. You get to look at sparkly, pretty things and you get to be creative even if you may not feel creative in a traditional sense, it still allows you that outlet that I think most people are looking for in some way.

Anastasia and Jess discuss how working at Avanti is different from other jobs they have had before
Anastasia: Yeah, no, I would agree on that, and definitely, that's one part of working in that industry that I did not expect to happen at all and that's just something like I just kind of learned as I was working there you start, like, it's not a typical job in this store where you're like, just selling people stuff that they need. It's all about building the connection, and it's all about talking in theory now what they need, what they want, helping them find that piece is also a huge thing and it was definitely like, I was, I'm not gonna lie, I was really worried about it because like when I just started, like, I didn't have any experience in the industry or anything like that, and I was---I did understand that it was a very important thing like, when people are coming in for a piercing they're still getting stabbed there so you know that there's a so-called process and now it's like, there's no chance for a mistake or anything but at the same time, I was like, you know, I felt like it was a lot of responsibility of like, helping out a person and I was like, what if I make the wrong choice or something or what if I like suggest something wrong? or something else and I do tend to overthink a lot but in fact, it was just, I feel like as soon as a person walks in, and you start talking to them like you said, you like all of a sudden you learn about what happened to them last week or like how their life has been or something else, why they're getting that piece why they want that [inaudible: 41:08-41:09] or, Oh man, how many great stories did I hear as I was working there? That was just awesome and that's something like I absolutely did not expect from this industry at all but apparently, I was like, that was a shock but it was, Oh my god, and then especially like, the first month, I would come back home and I'll be like, Oh my god, like, I'll call my mom and I was like, you would not believe like, Oh, so today we have this customer come in and she told me this and that and we had a nice conversation and I felt like I knew that person forever but that was a new person and I never thought it would be me who could like right away start talking to someone like I always felt like I'm a little---what's the word? Like, I'm not very social. I was like, I don't know like, I'm not making friends every day or anything like that.


"I feel like we're making a lot of friends like our family friends. Every person that we help in-store just becomes our friend. " - Anastasia


Anastasia: I'm always keeping the distance so that was also I was worried about that part of myself and I was like, how is that gonna help me or not help me at my job, but then it just happens so naturally because like, I just feel like, I'm there, someone comes in, they need my help and all of a sudden, I just feel that responsibility and I get excited over that and I'm like, oh my god, I want to do my best to help you now and like, I want to make it work and especially when someone like my favorite part is when someone comes in is like, alright, I want it. I want some sort of purity. I don't know what I want, show me what I want or like, show me what you have. Oh my God, then it's just the fun part. I love it because then we take out all of the jewelry and then we're just like looking in the mirror, placing the same jewelry all over, their like ears or their face, like trying to find that perfect spot for it. Oh, that's just so much fun and like, every time like I would tell someone that I work at the piercing studio, there'll be like, Oh, so you stab people. I'm like, No, I have fun. I get the art part, the most of it because we're like talking and we're figuring out and we get creative and then the piercer comes out, and then he gives his opinion and then it's like a mutual project and then all of a sudden, they're like four of us, helping that one person and we're all just like there getting super excited about that one pierce that person's going to get and I think this is awesome and just like, I don't know like we're just having so much fun there and I think that's like the best part about our job because it's I don't know, just like conversations that we have every day like, talk to people and like, we have so many like customers that were like so funny and they would come in and they don't just stop paying for like five minutes and to make your day brighter, and that's awesome. We---like, when I had that one girl come in, probably like, maybe a week after she got her piercing and I was helping her out and we picked about one piece for her and then she just stopped by to say hi and see how we were doing and just look at our jewelry and then all of a sudden, she just started accommodating and she became an Avanti friend and that just not a one-person thing that's most of people that we see that returning back and it's always so exciting to see them again and then especially like seeing them getting excited about coming back and seeing you again, it's just like a mutual thing and I feel like I don't know. I just feel like, no, but it was definitely like, I feel like we're making a lot of friends like our family friends, that's how I want to call it and like, it's pretty much every person that we help in-store just becomes our friend and I think that's just such a big community that we're creating and that's, yeah, that's the best thing that I love about working there for sure is this the people [inaudible 45:33].

Jessica and Anastasia conclude the interview by discussing what they look forward to when COVID is manageable and they can re-open
Jessica: Me too. Well, I have to wrap this up but thank you so much, Anastasia, for sharing your heart, your heart for Avanti, sharing about your travel experiences living in different places and I'm excited for us to reopen so you can come back in the studio and we can go create some of those beautiful piercings. I'm getting calls all the time like are you guys open yet and I'm like I really wish we were---

Anastasia: I know.

Jessica: I'm so excited for this to be over so everyone can come in and it'll be nice and a safe time for when everyone can come in.

Anastasia: I'm super excited to see everyone back in the shop. I miss everyone I go crazy without Lakes team, everyone. I missed you. I missed all the guys who work there. I miss Jasper a lot and I miss all of our customers and I'm like, every---sorry I know we're wrapping up just a really quick thing. Every time I see someone buy a cube piece online or something I will be like I really want to know where this piece is going or like what piercing they have or you know I'm like always so curious. Who are you like, I want to see you in person. I want to learn about your piercing and everything like, we need to open.

Jessica: Yes, I know. I've seen all those pieces that we've been excited, like, we've been looking for homes for them, you know, we might have had them in the studio for like, a couple months, and we're like, who's gonna buy this? And then it gets bought online and I'm like, I want to know who you are because I've been looking at this piece and wondering whose home is this? You know, and then the home buys it and like, no, I want to know your home.

Anastasia: Yeah, no, exactly. Definitely, that's, one of the things that I miss the most about like us, being open is definitely learning and like knowing exactly where each piece is going and like learning their journey and yeah, I hope we open soon, too.

Jessica: Well, it was good to see you and I hope to see you soon either over video chat again or in person.

Anastasia: Hopefully, in person will happen soon.

Jessica: Well enjoy the rest of your day.

Anastasia: Thank you, you too. Bye.

Jessica: Bye.

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