For this in-class assignment I retouched Bradley Soileau’s face using Photoshop CS6. What a big difference!
It was my last day in grunge but I wasn’t going to end this project quietly, I was going to go out with a bang!
Encounter 1: I had a busy day ahead of me full of traveling, helping with photo shoots, and studying for finals somewhere in between. I was on the road by 9am to help Mike set up for a shoot in Lakewood. He failed to mention that this shoot was 1. A family portrait 2. Was at someones house 3. And old people would be there. I was in costume at a random persons house and I probably scared Great-Grandma. Yes I was mortified… I eventually got over my embarrassment and helped set up the backdrop and lighting for the family portrait. Great-Grandma kept eyeing me, I caught her numerous times! The lighting had to be tested so I was the guinea pig, these were taken as sample pictures I did not pose nor did I expect these to make it to the final cut.
The shoot went by really fast, it was the setting up and breaking down that took the longest. The family (minus Great-Grandma) did not give me funny looks or treat me any differently, they were all really nice. Before I left I told them I was in character and don’t normally dress like this. I think they were relived to know that I was not a crazy person. After this shoot we had to go to Downtown Disney (next to Disneyland) to do another photo shoot, yes another
freaking family portrait.
Encounter 2: So we’re in Downtown Disney, OK I AM DEFINITELY GOING TO GET WEIRD LOOKS HERE right? I went up to the hostess at Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen to test out my theory. I got minor elevator eyes but was seated promptly in the bar next to the live band in front of a pillar (wtf). I left to use the ladies restroom. When I came back out to wash my hands, the lady next to me said I was missing Mickey ears on my beanie. Eh, I’m at Downtown Disney valid point. As I walked back to the table I scoured the room for sour looks. I got none in return. The waitress had served Mike promptly but took a while to come back and get my order. It was busy, not jumping the gun here. Needless to say the only thing interesting here was the live band.
After brunch we waited for the next family at the Disneyland Hotel….and waited….and waited… And then something amazing happened! I ran into one of my buddies from Sacramento! It was a relief to see a familiar face but at Downtown Disney of all places what are the chances? I didn’t take a picture with him but a candid one was taken of me while we (you guessed it) waited.
Turns out they didn’t know there were two different Disney hotels but we eventually met up with the family at the California Lodge to take their portrait. They were younger and had smaller children than the last family. I was relived because this time there was no setting up and breaking down just shooting. My sole job was to hold the flash. Winning!
Encounter 3: The Mom noticed my shirt and even complimented me on it. I was caught off guard and I even think I said something like. Really? She went on to say that it was one of her favorite bands. I admitted to her that I was in costume and was a Pearl Jam poser. A few minutes later after the Dad was done getting the baby out of the stroller he mentioned that I would get along with his wife because we both liked Pearl Jam. D’oh.
After the portraits, Mike and I headed back out to Downtown Disney to take some final shots before the grunge outfit goes into retirement.
Places visited: Clients home (Lakewood), Downtown Disney (Anaheim), Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen (Anaheim), Disneyland Hotel (Anaheim), California Lodge (Anaheim).
Total: 5 hours 30 minutes
I spent a total of 20 hours in character but most importantly my poor stomach survived the whole weekend being stuck in those jeans! Even though the weather had been overcast and rainy, Los Angeles has yet to get cold enough for layers hence this being a popular look for colder areas like Seattle.
I learned that grunge really isn’t as dramatic as it was depicted out to be and I was not treated differently. People did not look twice at me and I blended in for the most part. I did find it funny that a lot of people on Facebook liked my “grunge” look better than what I normally wear and I was amused when I got checked out twice by two different men. I also got a lot of complements from my friends when I wore black eyeshadow on day 2, I guess less isn’t more. Interesting fact: I heard a few different renditions of Nirvana’s 1991 hit “Smells Like Teen Spirit” everyday I was in costume, talk about freaky!
So, would I do it again? Yes but I’d rather do a different subculture of rock like goth or punk so I could get the full experience of what it’s like to be stared at and feared by children 🙂
Shout out to Bel Kazan, Mike McKay of Mike M Images, Sara Villegas, my Facebook friends and my followers on Instagram. I couldn’t have done it without you, THANK YOU!
Something was missing from my costume but what? I looked through my inspiration board again… It was the jeans, they needed to be shredded. I took to YouTube and watched videos on how to distress/rip/tear jeans. I went through a few videos until I found this tutorial that was best suited for my project. Little did I know that distressing my jeans would take almost 4
freaking hours because the jeans were so thick and the weft was so tight! The finish required the jeans being washed/dried so I had to venture out to the closest laundry-mat. It was worth it because I was satisfied with the end result, take a look.
Now that the jeans were done I felt like my costume looked more authentic but I was still missing something… Accessories! Luckily my friend Sara was home because she lent me fingerless gloves, a beanie and a rasta purse. The day before I had makeup on but you could barely tell. Today, I wanted the makeup to be noticeable but I did not want to look pretty. I guess you could call it heroine chic minus the Courtney Love outfit.
I was inspired by another students presentation so I posted this same picture on Facebook and Instagram to gauge their reaction. I held off on checking both accounts until I was done for the night.
Encounter 1: To gauge the publics reaction I went out to the Cerritos Mall with my buddy Mike who also doubled as my photographer. Because we were in a more suburban area I thought for sure that I would get a few odd looks. We walked around the whole mall and even ventured into a few nicer stores like Nordstroms, Sephora and Godiva. I did notice that the sales clerk at Godiva was super nice and joked with me. Maybe he’s normally like that or not, I’ll never know. In Nordstroms, Mike got all the attention because he was carrying a camera the size of a newborn. Two different salespeople approached him and asked him about his profession and the model/size of the camera. They paid no attention to me, I was invisible even though I had a thick coat on. We went back into the main part of the mall and I noticed a trio (woman, man, woman) walking past us. They had gauges, tattoos, and piercings and looked to be about my age. In passing, the guy turned to one of the women (maybe his girlfriend?) and told her that he liked how I dressed then checked me out. Time out: Wait, what? That was pointless because I had a shirt wrapped around my waist but whatevs lol! Time in: This same thing happened again! Another guy checked me out, he too was decked out in tattoos and gauges. Well at least I’m attracting people who probably listened to grunge at one point in their lives…
We took a cigarette/photo break, normally I wouldn’t do this but I was in character so when in Rome.
Mom and Dad don’t kill me.
Encounter 2: After the mall Mike and I headed to one of his favorite restaurants called Fronks in Bellflower. Everyone looked at us when we walked in but then again there were only a handful of tables occupied and it was a hole in the wall restaurant. It was pretty uneventful. I’m convinced that people in Los Angeles can’t be phased. :sigh:
At the end of the night I checked my Facebook and Instagram accounts here’s what was said… (For my friends and families privacy, I did not include their names.)
Facebook: I got 5 comments and 4 likes
- “Liking the eye makeup, hot”
- “Whoa, hot”
- “I agree. The eye makeup is pretty awesome”
- “Mucho better but the cleaner grunge would fit you well fi you decided to keep it for f*** it days. Oh yeah minus those high waist george marciano pants lol!!! Overall A+ ;)”
Instagram: (follow me @sempizzle) I got 4 comments and 14 likes
- “Why you mad bro”
- “I don’t approve”
Places visited: Los Cerritos Center (Cerritos), Fronks (Bellflower)
Total: 5 hours 30 minutes
I’m on the far left and to the right are my two best friends. This is what I normally look like. My look consists of thick bangs, ombre hair, minimal makeup, jeans, t-shirt, and statement making sneakers. Keep this in mind while reviewing my alter ego project.
It was overcast, raining, gloomy and I was in no mood to get out of bed. I had my internship today so I had to get up and make my way to Echo Park. Good thing I was short on time because I was forced to put 80% less effort into getting ready. Showered (against non-written grunge rules), blow dried my hair and messed it up with hairspray (another no-no), put on eyeshadow with a q-tip (finally got something right), and put on my costume for the day (yes they were clean, don’t haze me). Ok, game face on. LET’S DOOOOOO THIS!
The outfit: Punk legend black t-shirt, white long sleeve shirt worn underneath, oversized plaid button up long sleeve shirt, GUESS high waisted jeans, and black high top Converse. The whole outfit came from three different thrift stores (Goodwill Pasadena, Salvation Army Pasadena, Goodwill San Diego) and cost about $20 altogether.
Encounter 1: Walked to my car. Someone I have never seen before was watching me, hard! It was very uncomfortable but I looked right back at him -____-
Encounter 2: I did not tell anyone at my internship that I was going to dress up. I used them as my guinea pigs, sorry guys! I kept quiet and hoped they would say something… Nothing. The excitement was too much so I asked the executive assistant if she noticed anything different about the way I was dressed. Her reaction, “you got a haircut?” I do give her the benefit of the doubt because my hair was full of volume instead of being straightened like I normally do. But no, I did not get the reaction I hoped for. She did admit that I looked like a chola. I laughed, then realized my costume was a flop. Still determined, I stayed in character and waited for the owner to show up. Like before, I stayed quiet and did my work. Waited, waited, waited… Nothing. Gahhhhh! So I finally asked my boss if I looked different. She also said that I looked like a chola. Ok I suck at life, 2 chola responses and no grunge guesses. I must be doing something wrong! I thought about it and I have come to this conclusion… I was dressed in a oversized brown, black, white plaid shirt and Converse. Total chola! Wrong plaid Semper… Even though today was pretty much a fluke I was able to test out the costume and work out the kinks.
I’m famous! This is the same picture that was used in my internships blog post, check it out here!
Places visited: Burger King (Echo Park), Bel Kazan (Echo Park), and the Post Office (Alhambra).
Total: 9 hours
For my final project I will be embodying grunge! I chose to embody this music subculture because of many reasons…
- I was in elementary school when grunge was at the peak of its popularity so the closest I got to experiencing it was through movies and music. For me it was “Wayne’s World”, “Clueless”, No Doubt, and Alanis Morissette. I never really got into Nirvana or Sound Garden, yes, seriously. I was born in 1987, so I didn’t get to experience the 90’s as adult, now I have the opportunity to do finally do it!
- It was my culture shock when I moved to Los Angeles. The first bar I went to in LA was called Cha Cha’s in Silverlake. I felt like I had walked into the 90’s, it was very surreal… It made sense later when someone told me it was a hipster bar but I still don’t get what a hipster is. That was another thing I wanted to look into. If I dress in grunge, will I look like a hipster or a bum? For those of you who don’t wtf a hipster is click here.
- It wasn’t until recently that I found out Marc Jacobs was influenced by grunge and brought this to the runway. Grunge made a fashion statement that went from the street to the runway. So I’m curious to see what inspired Jacobs and where grunge stemmed from.
Cliff notes: I will immerse myself in grunge, learn about the history, music, and influence it had on pop culture.
I am currently working on compiling my costume. Believe it or not, Levi’s from the Goodwill cost $16. Yes, even if they’re ripped and have the same cut like they did in the 90’s. Also, Doc Martin lace up boots are back in style so they’re fetching for a pretty penny.
Inspiration for my alter ego…
Please note, I am not going for Courtney Love heroin chic it’s more along the lines of Kurt Cobain Seattle grunge.