Jordan Joseph: Why I Quit My Dream Job in News

Jordan Joseph spent three years working in a news station. She started out as a summer intern and worked her way up to being a producer on a morning news show.  But once she landed the position she always thought she wanted, reality set in. And the reality of her job just wasn't matching the dream she had worked so hard to achieve.  

AN INTERVIEW WITH JORDAN JOSEPH

How did you end up working in news?

My entire life I've always known that I was meant to be a storyteller. I didn't know how I'd do it, but I knew that I wanted to tell real stories about real people. It wasn't until I was 16 years old when I realized that working News was what I was supposed to do. I looked at journalists as being superheros because I saw how they could help influence change. Soledad O'Brien was my favorite and I wanted to be like her.

When did you know it wasn't for you?

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I worked at a news station for about three years. I started out as a summer intern and by the time I left I was a producer on the morning show. I've done everything from answering phones and running scripts to putting together an entire newscast; having influence over what stories were being told and I loved it. It was my dream; but the amount of stress I was under made it too hard for me to stay. When you're a producer you're basically a juggler; your mind has to be on a million things all at once. The stress of wanting to make sure that I got everything "right" was too much for me to handle.  I wasn't eating or sleeping and I would bring all of my anxieties from work home with me. That's when I knew it was time for me to leave; when I started feeling like my job was taking over my life.

Was it hard to leave?

Leaving my job at a news station was by far the hardest thing I've ever done; I'm still amazed that I did. I'm a planner. I'm a goal-oriented person who maps out their every move before they make one and here I was quitting my dream job to go do something new without even knowing what it would be. I got the courage to leave when I saw that I wasn't really living I was existing; going day-to-day just waiting for Friday to come and hating when Monday rolled around. I'm too young for that! Yes, I got my dream job working and I'm so grateful for all of the amazing experiences I had there and life long friendships I've made, but now I realize it's time for me to find a new dream.

What would you tell aspiring journalists who get into the business and figure out it's not for them?

For anyone aspiring to be a journalist I say YES!!! That's great! There are millions of stories to be told and the world needs your voice; but just make sure you love it. Make sure it's your passion because it is definitely not glamorous. You're going to have long days, hard hours and a load of obstacles you'll have to overcome every single day. I won't lie, it's hard but if you love it then you won't mind the hardships. But if one day you realize that you don't love it anymore there's no shame in walking away. It may be scary but standing up for yourself and saying that you want to do something and live a life that truly makes you happy; I think that's just about one of the bravest things a person can do.  

*This interview was edited for grammar and content.

Larry Everage: A New Orleans Photographer Calling the Shots & Taking Them

Larry Everage

Newscast Director, WWL-TV & Photographer, Larry Everage Photography

When the evening news is on, Larry Everage is the director in the control room at WWL-TV pushing the buttons that ultimately control what happens on-air.  Off-air, he’s not just calling the shots, he’s taking the shots.  He’s working to build up his own business, Larry Everage Photography.  Larry is one of my co-workers and friends, but I didn’t know the title he used for himself when it came to his company.  I asked if he went by President, CEO, or maybe founder.  But for anyone who knows Larry, it’s no surprise that the only title he wants is photographer.

“I hate people who put CEO and they are the only one working for the company. That’s the most pretentious thing ever. Everybody wants to be a CEO these days.”

And that’s just Larry, making everyone laugh with statements that blur the line between facts and jokes.  He kicked off his business around 2010 when he took some photos for a high school classmate who needed pictures to promote his album.  

“I didn’t know what I was doing at the time.  Sometimes I look back on some of my old pictures and shake my head. I’ve come along way,” he says chuckling.

GROWING UP AROUND PHOTOGRAPHERS

Larry may be laughing but as usual he’s also telling the truth.  Larry has come a very long way in his photography journey. His first days shooting were behind a Mickey Mouse camera that he took on childhood vacations.  Photography was all around him.  His aunt is a photographer, his uncle worked for Kodak in the 80s, and his mom and grandma shot too.

But when he first bought his camera, the plan was to shoot video.  The camera he was using took pictures too, so that’s what people assumed he was doing.  People started asking him to take photos and of course he said yes.  Eventually, he was taking more pictures than video, and even in his early days he felt there were no bad pictures.

“That’s the great thing about photography. You can line five photographers up and tell them to shoot an Oak tree and you’ll get five different takes on an oak tree. Everybody’s eye is distinctive.  It’s an art form just like music or paintings.”

PERFECTING THE CRAFT

Larry’s advice for improving is really quite simple.

“Keep practicing asking questions and looking at other people’s work.  Really, I just took my camera and carry it everywhere…I still carry it everywhere and keep shooting.”

But he warns that photography can be an expensive hobby.

“…the more you get into it…the more you realize that you need more lenses, more batteries, which are costly, and a second camera in case something happens to the other camera.  So it can get expensive.”

For beginners, he suggests just shooting with a phone. He’s actually sold pictures he took on his phone.   Highly advanced camera phones and social media are turning everyone into photographers and while some professional photographers may feel it’s cramping their style, Larry is using those tools to help bring more attention to his own work.

“I recently had a couple …I’ve never met them before… somehow they found me through Instagram.  They are from New York and they flew to New Orleans and did a photoshoot with me just from discovering me on Instagram. And you couldn’t do that before social media.”

He loves just shooting everyday people on the street.

“Catching people in their natural element is fun to me.”

But it also seems that he was onto something when he was a little boy taking pictures on vacation with his Mickey Mouse camera.  Larry loves to travel and take photos.  His dream was to shoot in Paris and now he’s crossed that off his list.

“I took like 2,000 pictures.”

NEW ORLEANS: A PHOTOGRAPHER'S PARADISE

Now, he dreams of shooting in Vietnam and Africa.  The thing is he doesn’t have to travel anywhere to take the pictures that mean the most to him.

“I think new Orleans is one of the best subjects in the world and I feel like a lot of that is conveyed through my photogprahy.”

He loves capturing New Orleans’ culture, which means he’s got lots of great shots of Mardi Gras Indians.  And that’s when his on and off air lives seem to connect.

“I have a tight window to get my shot…that’s when the director skills come into play because I am dealing with live TV everyday and I get a small window to pull that off everyday. They kind of merge together.  You have to think on your feet in both jobs.”

As for the best picture he’s ever taken, Larry says it’s a shot he nabbed three years ago at St. Joseph’s night, when the Mardi Gras Indians come out at night instead of their usual daytime appearances.

He’d love to be featured in a major magazine like National Geographic, but when it comes to the future, he says he’s still figuring it all out.

“There’s always something bigger out there to grasp. Even if I got the National Geographic published photo, I would want to reach for something else.  Now I got that scratched off, let me go for Vogue, GQ…. I think it’s always good to set goals.”

Whether he’s gearing up for the next newscast, working on his next joke, or shooting some photos, Larry Everage is always shooting for better.

Want to check out more of Larry’s work or schedule a shoot?

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Lauren Perry: How to Walk Through Life with Purpose

Lauren Perry

Executive Director, The Beautiful Foundation & Makeup Artist/ Cosmetologist

photo: Ashlin Washington

photo: Ashlin Washington

Lauren Perry is one of those people who makes you feel like she always has time to listen.  She’s resurrecting a non-profit, meeting with her cosmetology clients, and dealing with everyday life.  There’s so much going on around her and yet there is a stillness that runs through her that makes me feel like it’s ok to slow down for a second too.  She’s my go-to makeup artist, I am on the advisory board for her foundation, and we have grown to be friends.  Through those relationships, I have gotten to know her personally and professionally, and she is one of those people who sends thank you cards and remembers little things like birthdays or the random project I’m working on.  No matter what is going on in her life, she’s dedicated to being present and positive for everyone around her. Her desire to help others led her to take over as the executive director of a non-profit called The Beautiful Foundation.  But Lauren isn’t very excited about being called the executive director.

“ I hate going by that. I hate going by anything. I hate going by any titles, but if you have to use a title that’s fine,” she tells me.

 BRANCHING OUT FROM THE FAMILY BUSINESS

She says the title give a false sense of glamour.  Lauren says she’s still trying to figure out exactly what she wants to do with her life, and the title makes it seem like she’s got it all together.  Even as a child, everyone assumed she’d work in the beauty industry since her family owns a hair salon called In the Master’s Hands.

“I pulled away from that because I was like how are you going to put on me what you want me to do for my life.”

To be clear, she’s great with hair and makeup, but she wanted to decide her own path.  It didn’t take long before she got swept up into the hair salon business.  In high school, she wanted to make some extra money, so her family let her work in the salon.

When she went to college at Loyola University, she studied theatre.  The acting dream fizzled out, so she shifted her focus to stage and production makeup and stage management, bringing her focus right back on the beauty industry.

THE BEAUTIFUL FOUNDATION

photo: Morgan Sasser

photo: Morgan Sasser

Even though working at the salon was going against everything she vowed not to do, she loved the relationships she developed while talking with her clients at the salon.  It was that idea of connecting with people that would lead her to take over The Beautiful Foundation.

Lauren ended up attending a summer program for The Beautiful Foundation when she was in high school back in 2005.  Someone brought a flier to the salon saying they needed girls for the program, and her mom encouraged her to go even though it was meant for underprivileged girls.

“I was in the program with girls from juvenile diversion, girls who lived in group homes and things like that and it was really an eye opener.  Even though we were the same color, we had different backgrounds.”

Lauren found that even though the girls had different backgrounds, as women they were dealing with some very similar issues and had many of the same questions.

A few years later as a freshman in college, Lauren missed the program and went back to mentor.

When she graduated from college in 2012, she started working as a makeup artist out of her family’s salon.  She also developed a curriculum teaching middle and high school girls how to do stage makeup.  

REALITY CHECK

Lauren left the foundation to focus on her career, but her makeup career didn’t take off as quickly as she thought it would.

“I thought when I graduated it was going to be made in the shade….”

That summer after graduation, Lauren went to the emergency room for what she thought was a heart attack.  It was a panic attack.

“I needed to calm down.  I slowed down and reevaluated a lot of things.  It’s so unfair that they don’t tell you this in college.”

She thought she needed to stay away from mentoring with the foundation to build her career, but she really missed spending time with the girls. So in 2014, She reached out to E. J. Encalarde, the founder, and asked to come back as a mentor, only to find she was planning to dissolve the foundation.  Encalarde had a full plate with her own career.  That’s when Lauren stepped in to take over.

THE BEAUTIFUL FOUNDATION'S REBIRTH

The non-profit mentors young girls by focusing on self-esteem, entrepreneurial thinking, their mental, physical and emotional well being through in school partnerships and community partnerships.  The foundation does very important work for young women in New Orleans and that’s why Lauren has sacrificed so much to keep it going.  

The first year she wasn’t paid at all because the foundation didn’t have any money, which means she had to keep working at the salon.  Recently she’s been able to lighten her load at the salon, but she still has a lot on her plate with the foundation.  She meets with potential donors, writes letters for grants, and runs programming at two schools.  She is grateful for the help she gets from her board members and part-time mentors.

“I took on this role out of a calling not so much me thinking about the day to day operations.”

Her current position isn’t the final destination on her journey.

“I think this was something I needed to take on to prepare me for something greater.  I feel like my calling in life – I know it sounds cheesy- is to help spread positivity… to help spread love. “

LIVING ACCORDING TO HER PURPOSE

Lauren says she knew her purpose as early as high school.  She was always the friend everyone wanted to talk to about their problems.  As she grew older, people continued to open up to her.

“I just want to spread positivity among young girls so that they can continue to lead in our society but saying that might sound crazy. How can I do that? Can I make money?"

Another part of working in her purpose is making herself uncomfortable and opening herself to new things. She has forced herself to start networking.

Knowing her purpose gets her through some rough days with the foundation and in her personal life.

“The girls are talking to you in confidence and some of their stories are so heavy. I have to be a in a good place- physically, emotionally, and spiritually to even be able to listen to their stories and be an outlet for them.”

Towards the end of last year, she had to deal with a challenging breakup and only a month later she lost her grandfather.  She’s still working to move pass those losses. She says knowing her purpose helps her get out of bed every morning and keep going.

Whether she’s listening to a friend, talking to a client in the salon, or working with young ladies of the beautiful foundation, Lauren is the encourager.

“The what changes but my why is always going to be my why.”

Lauren doesn’t know what her next move will be, but the truly beautiful thing is that she will be helping others while she figures it out.

 

To learn more about The Beautiful Foundation:

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Kay Charbonnet: Lacing Up Her Girl Boss Shoes

Kay Charbonnet

Owner, Kay’s, 5419 Magazine Street, New Orleans, LA 70115
 

Kay Charbonnet’s edgy, yet spunky personality sets the tone for her Magazine street store, Kay’s.  Every time I enter Kay’s, I feel like the really cool big sister I never had has invited me over to play in her closet.  The chokers, rock star worthy earrings, and cool rings are laid out in the most inviting way, and before I know it, I’m picking up a new lipstick and lifting some earrings to my ear.  A girl power anthem or the hottest dance song is playing through the store and without even noticing I’m dancing as I exit the dressing room in an oversized shirt and fishnet stockings.  It’s outfit I never would have put on, but am now convinced I can’t live without.  I ask Kay for the pants she’s picked out for me to rock with this outfit.

“You don’t need pants!” she says giving me an odd look for even asking. “I’m going to grab you some thigh-high boots.”

KAY ALWAYS KNEW SHE WANTED TO BE IN FASHION

“My abuela – my mom’s mom- my grandmother, they are Cuban, so that’s why I say that…  she was a seamstress. I was always into fashion. She made everything for me.  Growing up, I was on the heavier side, so a lot of the times, I couldn’t fit all of the clothes my friends could fit so I would just create – like draw something and my grandmother would make it for me.”

FINDING HER WAY IN THE FASHION INDUSTRY

Kay went to school for fashion design at Marymount University in Arlington, Virginia. Her resume includes a stint in London working for a wedding dress designer, a program in Paris at the American Paris Academy, and couture fashion week.  Then, she came back to the U.S. for a year of grad school at Drexel in Philadelphia.

When Kay got out of school, she toyed with several jobs in the fashion industry.  She moved to Austin, Texas and began managing a BEBE store.  She also started her own design company doing custom work like making debutante dresses, bridal gowns, and cocktail attire.  But it just wasn’t enough.

“Austin felt a little stale so I decided to move, ” Kay explains.  

She came back to New Orleans and started her own resort clothing line, which consisted of caftans and other items you'd typically wear during beach vacations.  Then one day, she wanted to shop and couldn’t find the right place to go.

“I feel like a weirdo when I go into a lot of the stores here. It’s New Orleans but you would be surprised at how conservative a lot of the stores are. For me, I just felt like I was getting kind of depressed. I didn’t feel welcomed back home. I didn’t feel like there was a store that encapsulated my fashion sense and style."

CREATING HER OWN FASHION PARADISE

Since the store Kay wanted to shop at didn’t exist, she thought maybe she could create it.  At one point, she was managing a Blink store on Magazine street.  She looked up the square footage of the store and found more than the measurements she needed. The building was for lease.

“Let me discuss this with my family to see if I’m crazy right now, and then I just kind of did it.”

She had some money saved, took out a loan, got some help from her dad, and got her sister to help too. By December of 2014, Kay had leased the building and the store was up and running.

“When I first opened, I opened during Christmas time and the theme was ‘Come Steal My Style,’ so we had a window with a Christmas tree flooded with a bunch of gifts underneath and two mannequins in the second window with ski masks that I bedazzled. It was during the time the “On the Run” tour was going on. So I bedazzled all these ski masks, and the mannequins had all these bags with hangers coming out and the whole point was they robbed the tree and were stealing my style.  Some people loved it, and a few were up in arms, telling me it was disrespectful and I was pushing theft. It was crazy.”
“It’s been an interesting ride,” she says. ”Then, I have people walk in who are like, ‘Wow this is my favorite store.”

A GIRL BOSS NEEDS HELP TOO

Kay is claiming the title, girl boss (a reference to Nasty Gal founder, Sophia Amoruso’s New York Time’s best selling book).  She’s running her own business, standing up for her vision, and getting through the daily grind it takes to keep everything on point.  But Kay proves that being a girl boss is not about being perfect.

“Sometimes I don’t even check my email,” she admits. “You learn there are some things you are just not good at. I have to delegate or some things won't get done.”

And delegating means that her staff needs to understand her vision.  At first, she was hesitant to say anything when her employees would post things on social media that didn’t really reflect her style.

“I’m actually like a really nice person and I want everyone to be happy, so initially it was hard for me to say I don’t like this.  That’s not me.  Take it down. I was afraid I would offend people, and now I realize I just gotta do it.”
“When I first opened up, I remember if I was going to be late or had a meeting I would call the store and be like, ‘Hey guys, I just want you to know I’m not going to be there until three o’clock because I have this, this, and this to do.  I would explain everything because I didn’t want people to think I was not carrying my weight and then I had to realize,’ Hold up, Kay. You pay them and you pay yourself nothing…”

Eventually, Kay started getting more comfortable being the boss, but she says it’s still not as glamorous as it sounds.

“Everybody wants to be a girl boss until they have to do girl boss stuff, and its' at that point when many are like 'you know what, I’d rather just be an accountant,” she jokes.

WHY KAY'S PLUS SIZE RACKS ARE POPPIN'

Sometimes Kay thinks it would be nice to just have a regular 9-5, but at the end of the day she loves her store and her plus size section is part of her daily motivation.  One day, she walked into the store, looked at the plus size section, and started crying.

“I was fat growing up and it sucked.  All my friends were skinny white girls and I was the different one who was already ethnically different and to top it all off, I was pleasantly plump."

She wants to give women that space to feel good about themselves that she didn’t have.

“I was always wanting to be something else and it wasn’t until much later in my life I realized this is me and if you don’t like it …I don’t know what to tell you …don’t hate…”

That’s why you’ll see that slogan on a lot of Kay’s items.  She realizes people are always judging her without really knowing her.

“They think they know who you are.  They want to be you and they don’t realize all the struggles you’ve had to tackle to get to this spot.” Kay’s own weight loss journey started when she was 18.  Her older sister started losing weight first. “I can’t be the fat sister,” she thought.  I gotta get my sh** together.”

She says that journey continues today.

SWINDLED BY SOCIAL MEDIA

Kay’s instagram is full of great pictures that show off her amazing life, but she says it’s difficult to keep up her image on social media and deal with real life.  Last year, she went through an insane break up.

“I had to deal with his crazy and run a store at the same time, taking selfies on instagram…then minutes later….I’m dying.”

The store was her saving grace. She had responsibilities.  Looking back, the terrible breakup made her better. 

“It was probably the best thing that ever happened because I’m not afraid of anything.  I’m not embarrassed of anything because nothing could be worst than that. That situation, just as a businesswoman, made me a better girl boss. I’m not as concerned about what everyone thinks about me anymore which is kind of freeing.”

Kay is not immune to the misleading images on social media.

“I get fooled too. I bought the flat tummy tea.”

Of course, it didn’t work.

KAY'S GIRL BOSS WISDOM

Kay has lots of great advice for young ladies dreaming of carrying out their visions.

“Keep your ideas to yourself…People like to say everything is their own, so if it’s something unique and special, tell the people that you really trust.  And then think about the people you really trust and tell less than those people because probably some of the people you really trust, you can't and shouldn’t trust.  I’ve learned that the hard way….I used to have a ton of friends and I can honestly tell you I now have like three.”

And Kay knows that some young ladies think social media fame is the key to success.

“It’s not a popularity contest.  It’s about hard work.  You need the popularity on social media.  That’s important for your brand and business, but if that’s not producing money in the register, your 15,000 followers mean nothing.”

Kay is eager to talk about what she’s learned as she moves forward in her own journey.  And she’s moving forward one day of hard work at a time.

“I don’t really have an ultimate goal.  It’s just to continuing doing what I love to do, and not to sound cliché, but to keep building my empire and it doesn’t have to be a Kardashian empire. That’s really big. It’s like buying a really big house.  It’s great, but if you don’t have a maid, then you have to clean all those rooms... and I don’t want to do all that cleaning.”

Need a show-stopping outfit, shop Kay’s:

Kay’s

5419 Magazine Street

New Orleans, La  70115

504.301.3366

www.shopkays.com

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Snapchat: @shopkays