Jungle Pussy female rapper

FreshmenFriday (freshmenfriday.club) is a web platform made by and for the creative freelancer. Started by photographer Olivia Seally while she was living in New York, Freshmen Friday showcases original content that explores both the inspirational and practical means by which successful young creatives progress in their careers. Her stories are not opinion pieces but the direct transcriptions of in-person interviews, lightly edited, so to place the interviewees’ thoughts at the forefront. Here, founder Olivia Seally highlights for SUITCASE Magazine five New Yorkers to watch in 2015.

JEFF LAUB, FOUNDER OF BLIND BARBER

It’s a bunch of people’s passions all combined into this one thing and we facilitate our growth through, you know, shaving cream.

Jeff Laub Blind Barber

JEFF LAUB. FOUNDER OF BLIND BARBER – BARBER SHOP BY DAY AND SPEAKEASY BY NIGHT. NYC AND L.A.

My name is Jeff Laub, I’m 30-years-old and I’m originally from South Jersey. I’m the co-founder of Blind Barber. We are a barber shop with a bar, a café, a restaurant and a product line, but in all actuality it’s just a barber shop that wants people to feel good about themselves. I just wanted to make cool stuff and feel good about what I was doing and once I realised I was able to do that for myself, I wanted to pass that on to someone else. It just happened to occur through hair cuts, beers and pomades.

I had planned from probably before 8th grade to be a lawyer. That was my plan up until about five years ago. In 2009 I was working at the number one law firm in the world, in a law firm that I hated. It wasn’t for me, wasn’t what I was interested in, it didn’t feel good. I was depressed… I spent $200k+ on NYU, I had a plan, but my plan sucked and what now?!

I used to work odd jobs at cool salons with my mom, who would manage the salons. When I went to NYU that’s what I knew, so I would get part time jobs doing that. I realised people are making $100k+ a year at this, if they really dived in and did it well. I knew that with my attitude and rapport with the customers, if I really dedicated and educated myself, I could do it!

“My favourite place to hang out is the barber shop,” and it was that simple sentence… I was like, “That’s what I want.” That’s what I liked about the salons. It wasn’t cutting hair, it was walking in, hearing some gossip, a bunch of babes walking in, flirting with them a bit, going to lunch, seeing people and most importantly, every single person walking out feeling great. I wanted to harness that feeling and produce it for my friends, the way we would want it.

When we first opened, both my partners, Josh and Adam, thought the barber shop should close at 9PM. I said no fucking way! I wanted to keep it open later. Trust me when I tell you… it’ll be slow for the first few months, but once they discover it, you’ll never lose that customer because at that moment, they found their bar. That became their hidden space, and once that proved true, people started to switch their own mentalities and be like “OK what would I love within a bar?” Rather than, “What would make me money?”

So far, all the locations have come to us. The third location, in Brooklyn, came about because I actually wrote the Blind Barber business plan in Second Stop, so I kept an eye on the place when I was living there and made it happen. We’ve made our own website, we produce videos, we do photo shoots, we produce on-site marketing pop-ups, we throw parties, we put playlists together, we have a bar, we have a restaurant, we have a café, we have three barber shops, with products that each take a year and a half to put together…

But what is Blind Barber? It’s a bunch of peoples’ passions all combined into this one thing and we facilitate our growth through, you know, shaving cream.

FRESHMEN FRIDAY: Would you consider yourself a freshman, sophomore or senior in your field?

JEFF LAUB: I’m a sophomore because I have the lay of the land and I can sit with the upperclassmen. We can vibe a little, but in the nitty gritty of it, we aren’t there yet. I have to learn more, we have to keep working as hard as we are and probably a little harder and smarter to put ourselves in another position to take advantage of luck and timing. On a brand level, we’ve already graduated. You can’t fuck with us. There’s no brand in our arena that can come close to Blind Barber. They aren’t getting calls from Milk Studios, from real estate developers asking to open 50 new locations. The problem is that we’re sophomores and we don’t know how to answer those calls yet.

FF: What is it about NYC that nurtures your craft?

JL: Our business is all about conversations. That is what a barbershop is built on, right? So NYC has been the best at throwing all sorts of personalities, passions, jobs and interests into our barber chairs, which provides us with the inspiration to create.

FF: What is in your SUITCASE?

JL: A toothbrush, heather grey crew-neck sweatshirts, a pair of black denim jeans, suede lace-up Oxfords, my tablet for reading/work and underwear. Keepin’ it simple. I pack light in case I find cool stuff in the place I’m visiting.

FF: Where do you go in NYC to feel inspired?

JL: Honestly, the barber shops. You never know who is going to be in there and what they are going to talk about so it’s always a great place to sit around and just listen. All sorts of ideas bounce between those chairs while haircuts are happening.

You can check out Blind Barber’s website here and follow them on instagram. as told to: Olivia Seally // photos: courtesy of Blind Barber

Junglepussy, rapper

I’m signed to God and He got it on lock.

Jungle Pussy female rapper JUNGLEPUSSY. RAPPER. BORN AND RAISED IN BROOKLYN, NYC.

My name is Shayna a.k.a. Junglepussy. I’m 22-years-old. I don’t have any formal training… no piano lessons, no vocal coaches, none of that. I don’t know if I taught myself. It just came very naturally. So I’m lucky.

One person I’d attribute a large amount of my success to is myself! Usually every six months I gotta really switch up my whole shit so I’m proud of myself for really sticking out with producing music and visuals and really just handling everything, for the most part, independently. It’s a lot staying positive and doing this. It’s a full time job, and it’s not a job, because I enjoy it, but the option to do bad things is there and it’s just as easy. But I work for myself because I don’t want to be signed… that’s not even the goal for me. I’m signed to God and He got it on lock.

My mother always gave speeches in church when I was younger so I always saw that and she taught me and my sister to be very outspoken women. And for some reason when the music came along it just worked out. That’s why I have to keep on being good because if I fuck up I’m gonna give the wrong message and I’m gonna produce shit. So as long as I keep my mind where it needs to be, it’s gonna be great.

FRESHMEN FRIDAY: What is your dream creative project?

JUNGLE PUSSY: All live instrumentals in the studio! And just a big orchestra. Then it’s gonna be Erykah, Jill Scott, me, Oprah… doing ad libs! I’m working on the rest of the vision.

FF: Would you consider yourself a freshman, sophomore or senior in your field?

JP: I’m a junior because I’m almost there and I would’ve been a junior in college if I was in it right now. So I’m about to graduate! And it’s gonna be so great but I’m not in a rush to get there – I’m really learning how to enjoy the journey.

FF: If your life was a movie what songs would be on its soundtrack?

JP: Woah. It hasn’t even been written yet. But I would have to say Brandy songs, like probably her whole discography. And a lot of Drew Hill.

FF: Where do you go in NYC to get inspired?

JP: I am too tropical to think in America.

FF: What is it about NYC that nurtures your craft?

JP: Being surrounded by so much but still wanting more.

FF: What is in your SUITCASE?

JP: My own pillowcases, wet wipes, towels, toothbrush and tea bags.

You can hear Junglepussy’s music on her soundcloud, watch her on her youtube and follow her on twitter. as told to: Olivia Seally // photos: Olivia Seally

HANNAH SIDER, FASHION PHOTOGRAPHER

Honestly, networking has been of so much benefit to me; I don’t think it needs to be something really formal, it should be inspiring and creative.

Hannah Sider fashion photographer HANNAH SIDER. FREELANCER FASHION PHOTOGRAPHER. TORONTO NATIVE, NYC-BASED. 

My name’s Hannah Sider, I was born in Malawi, Africa. I’m 25-years-old and I’m a photographer. Five years ago I was living in Toronto. I was pretty comfortable. I was finishing my last year of school for fashion communications. I didn’t have to think too much about the future and I was interested in photography but I wasn’t sure if I could turn that into a career. Prior to university I didn’t really know what I wanted to do but I was interested in fashion, so the communications programme appealed to me because I could study so many different aspects of art: illustration and design and photography and journalism. And now everyone is just a jack-of-all-trades, especially in New York.

A lot of photographers have this thing against event photography. They have this disdain for it and I feel like I kind of did as well and then I was like you know what, I go to all these really cool fashion parties, I see all these really fucking awesome people that have crazy style and I’m just gonna start carrying my camera around everywhere and start shooting them. And honestly, networking has been of so much benefit to me; I don’t think it needs to be something really formal, it should be inspiring and creative.

FRESHMEN FRIDAY: Would you consider yourself a freshman, sophomore or senior in your field?

HANNAH SIDER: I definitely feel like a freshman in my field, in the sense that I still have so much to learn and so much more growth. But it’s cool because I left Toronto and now I’m kind of seen as an established photographer because I’m working in New York. By Toronto’s industry standards, they wouldn’t say I’m a freshman. But my aesthetic has changed so much in the last two years since I moved to New York, I wouldn’t have experienced those same challenges.

FF: Where do you go in NYC to get inspired?

HS: I feel particularly inspired when I’m running along the water or across the Williamsburg Bridge.

FF: What is it about New York that nurtures your craft?

HS: New York nurtures my craft because it presents me with all these amazing tools but it also challenges me to think outside the box. You have to work really hard to go beyond people’s expectations of the normal and make a name for yourself in a city like New York.

FF: What’s in your my suitcase?

HS: I always travel with my digital SLR and at least one film camera – if not 3 or 4. I have to be really smart about packing a minimal amount of clothing because I have so much photography gear.

You can check out Hannah’s photographs on her website, her tumblr and her instagram. Read full transcript here. as told to: Olivia Seally // photos: Olivia Seally

PHIL ANNAND, FOUNDER OF CREATIVE HOUSE MADBURY CLUB

The Madbury Club is a creative house. A Cosmic Studio. The Club shoots, directs, consults, makes product sing like Stevie Wonder but above all and mostly, we simply create.

Phil Annand Madbury Creative House

 

PHIL ANNAND, FOUNDER OF CREATIVE HOUSE MADBURY CLUB. NYC AND L.A.

My name is Phillip Toussaint Annand, I’m 24 and I was born in Lawrenceville, New Jersey. I’m the founder of Madbury Club; a creative house that shoots, directs, consults and creates. Within Madbury I am the “Director of Near Death Experiences.” We just try to not have titles, but Director would be the short version.

My first real breakthrough was a street-wear line called Award Tour. It started so innocently. I look back on it and I don’t know why the kids liked it so much. I just made a hundred shirts, that were terrible, and sold them in my high school for ten bucks apiece at lunch and made a killing. Award Tour was sold in fifteen international stores at one point, so it was pretty crazy.

Five years ago, in 2009, I was a freshman in college going to school for graphic design. I stayed for one semester and then I got the fuck out of there. The classes were just painfully slow. Then I just started taking random classes at Rutgers. The first class I took was about hippies and the counter culture movements of the ‘60s. That was around the time that I was getting bored with Award Tour and Madbury Club was just beginning.

It’s a funny process I see happen all the time though; you do something, you work really hard at it and you get known for what you do. Once you get recognised for those things people start coming to you and the more and more work you do for others, the further you get from those things that drew people to your work in the first place. Well…this is what we put in work for, right? To get paid to make art, you can’t really say no or shy away from it. But then sometimes it takes a couple of years to realise that your work is no longer your work, it belongs to your clients.

With Madbury, we’ve never had a physical manifestation. We had a funny office in Hoboken at one point, but what do you make in an office? Fucking office work. We never used it because we were restricting ourselves by having that space. The biggest priority for me now is to have a physical manifestation of what Madbury is, and allow it to grow. I see it like Willy Wonka’s factory, I want that… you come through and do whatever you want; every resource, everything you need is at your fingertips.

FRESHMEN FRIDAY: Would you consider yourself a freshman, sophomore or senior in your field?

PHIL ANNAND: It’s crazy to see how far Madbury has come, from that first very first shoot. I can barely even credit the first couple of years of Madbury as to having anything to do with what we’re doing now. And I don’t know what we’ll be doing in another two years, which is kind of the beauty of it. So I definitely feel like we’re sophomores in our field. At this point, we’re established but it hasn’t even come close to being fully realised. We do a lot of work, but it hasn’t even turned that corner to what it can be.

FF: Where do you go in NYC to feel inspired?

PA: My favourite neighbourhood in NYC is Chinatown. Everyone who lives there is in constant motion, crabs and fish are dancing inside cardboard boxes, illegible but perfect neon signs draped everywhere and an endless list of tiny shops jam-packed with genius little gadgets. Good food doesn’t hurt either.

FF: What is it about NYC that nurtures your craft?

PA: New York is like a giant weight room. You’re going to walk past other companies, individuals, artists and folks who are ten times bigger than you every other step on any given day. Get bigger or leave the gym, that’s about as nurturing as I think it gets.

FF: What is in your SUITCASE?

PA: I have a backpack that’s been on four continents and in the same dark corners of the world. It has a toothbrush, deodorant, iPhone chargers and enough space for two weeks worth of clothes if you’re willing to wear the same thing every day.

You can check out Madbury Club here, and follow Phil’s instagram. as told to: Olivia Seally // photos: Olivia Seally

ASHLEY OUTRAGEOUS, HIP-HOP BLOGGER

People were like who is this girl?! And why is he telling her that exclusive?!

Ashley Outrageous Hip hop blogger

ASHLEY OUTRAGEOUS. HIP-HOP BLOGGER. FROM MIAMI, NEW TO NEW YORK.

My name is Ashley Outrageous, I’m 24-years-old and I was born in South Florida. Five years ago I was fresh out of high school and that’s when I decided to go to the Art Institute of Graphic Design and I was just starting my blog.

At the time, I definitely didn’t know much about it, I was just learning about it from a friend who had one. So I was just doing personal stuff, covering what me and my friends were doing, or covering what music I liked and then going to school. Before I started mine I would look at blogs like NahRight and the blog DCtoBC. It wasn’t fast facts, it was still personalised. One day I just woke up and wanted to take it more seriously. So I took it down for a month and I did a full redesign.

I started blogging in Miami and there weren’t that many bloggers at the time so it was a bit easier for me to get content, rather than say if I started out here (in New York) where there are so many people. Everyone’s trying to dish for that interview and get in front of each other. So back in Miami it was easier for me because there was maybe only me and two other bloggers. I felt that that gave me a little more credibility and I was able to get more original content.

Keeping that personality is so important… people want to know what I like to listen to so I create a Spotify playlist and show people exactly what I listen to, which is anything from Gucci Mane to Michael Jackson.

I’m going through this whole reformatting and rebranding phase because I want to go back to my original roots, where I started; that passion that I had back in 2010. I felt that I lost it last year and I’ve told some people this before… I felt blogging became a fast food chain where every site has the same thing and everything is just very quickly posted because people only care about hits. And I admit I fell into that hole at one time.

When people ask what separates my blog from everything, I say my content. I’m giving my original point of view. And that’s what I want to do, I want to make everything more original. And all these artists that I personally know, that are friends of mine, when we have conversations about their music and other random things that journalists wouldn’t really be able to get. I don’t really call myself a journalist, I didn’t go to school for it. I like to say I’m a creative.

FRESHMEN FRIDAY: Is there a specific post that significantly impacted your following?

AO: There was an interview I did with AbSoul, where I got real answers out of him because I know him, so I was able to ask him personal things. For example, the loss of his girlfriend. And definitely one of my Big Sean interviews. He was talking about a possible Good Music tour so that was the big thing. People were like who is this girl?! And why is he telling her that exclusive?! And he’s actually one of my really good friends now. He shared the story, lots of people shared it off that, I sent it out and a lot of websites picked it up, so Big Sean definitely got traffic.

FF: If your life was a movie what would be its soundtrack?

AO: Oooh! Coldplay’s ‘Green Eyes’ would be my mellow one, for when I’m reflecting. Then I’m gonna go with Young Jeezy’s, ‘Trap Star’ because I like to call myself a digital Trap Star and that’s my entrance song. And then Michael Jackson ‘Beat It.’ I feel that is totally my personality right there.

FF: What is it about NYC that nurtures your craft?

AO: I moved to New York to revive my passion for working within the music industry and just being a creative, outgoing person. The hustle and bustle, fast-paced lifestyle of New York offers what I needed. The amount of talented people I meet every week and who I’m able to be around makes it apparent that we’re all here in the concrete jungle for a reason.

FF: Where do you go in NYC to feel inspired?

AO: I feel that in New York inspiration can come to you anywhere, at anytime. As for me personally, being that I haven’t even completed my first year here yet my ideas come when riding the train or when simply sitting in a coffee shop, people watching.

FF: What is in your SUITCASE?

AO: My laptop, muji notebooks and pens, headphones, sweatpants, lip gloss and Nike trainers.

You can check out Ashley’s blog here and follow her on twitter and instagram. Read full transcript: https://freshmenfriday.squarespace.com/ffri/2014/11/10/ashley-outrageous as told to: Olivia Seally // photos: Olivia Seally & courtesy of ashleyoutrageous.com

By Olivia Seally

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