S3EP15: Autum Joy ft. Brandi Cook & Christian Walkes


Hi ºF-TV family!

I hope you all are in good spirits! Its finally one of our favorite seasons; Autumn! What I love most about the Fall is that for me its a season of evolution. As the leaves begin to shift in color, so do our lives. We spend the last four months of the year changing into warmer clothes, changing our clocks back and changing our mindsets to get ready for the upcoming holiday season. Moreover, Autumn is also a season of deep reflection for me.

As a Fall baby (birthday in late October whoop whoop!) it gives me a chance to think about what I've done in the year and what I still hope to accomplish as the new year approaches. Autumn also is known as the season of hot chocolate and warm desserts so deep conversations are what I love to do the most! So for this episode, I wanted to have a discussion with creatives that I admire on fashion, life as creative adults and some of our favorite Fall activities.

I first had the pleasure of meeting both Brandi Cook and Christian Walkes at the Boston Caribbean Fashion Show in 2018. I don't remember how exactly we met but what I can definitely remember is that our conversations flowed like we've known each other for years. I remember us helping each other with our clothes before the show. Dancing in the hallways before makeup and hair and always giving each other words of encouragement. Its rare to find that kind of vibe and authenticity within the modeling scene sometimes. Now whenever I go to shows and these beauties are there, its like a reunion because I know the energy will be positive and cool.

When I first told Brandi and Christian about being a guest for ºF-TV, I was taken a back by their instant interest in attending! Other than being booked and busy with fashion shows, they both wear so many other hats. I felt incredibly lucky that they had the time to come and share their life experiences, wisdom and fierceness on our stage. This roundtable discussion was therapeutic for me. As a creative, living and working in the city, it can feel stressful and lonely. Managing bills, networking with people, eliminating self doubt, dealing with negative energy...it can be too much. Moreover, most of us don't always have someone we can trust to talk about and understand our struggles as creative adults so it felt so refreshing to connect with Brandi and Christian.

ON FASHION

We started our first discussion on Fashion! Its not only how we came into each others lives but something we all love! Both Christian & Brandi began modeling while in college. Being encouraged by their friends, they both got into the business out of pure curiosity. Christian, who attended primary school in Barbados before college in the states, conveyed how he discovered his natural talent and joy for fashion during his first photoshoot. Brandi, who got her start at UMass Dartmouth, also conveyed how more confident she felt after her first runway show. Both of these beauties have a stellar growing modeling portfolio and they both will be featured at Boston Fashion Week (Sept. 28th - Oct. 5th), which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year!

Speaking of fashion, we couldn't resist talking about it without mentioning one of our favorite fashionista's and entrepreneurs, Rihanna who recently had her Savage Fenty Fashion Show this month! The show, which premiered on Amazon Prime, was EPICLY fierce! When I asked Brandi and Christian what their initial reaction was to watching the show, they replied, "I need to be in it" lol

We shared our admiration and respect for Rihanna as a creative and business woman. Her genuine mission for inclusion and diversity in the fashion world is something that is so needed. As Brandi said, "I love how she does what she wants to. She's aways been unapologetically her. She does what she feels is right. She brings a lot of diversity and the fashion industry should take note of that."

Christian also pointed out that the Savage Fenty Fashion Show "shows inspiration to try other things" and not stay in a box "because everyone deserves to be acknowledged." Christian further explained "that's the problem with society, they don't want to acknowledge everyone. If you're going to do something, let everyone know, let everyone feel like they're included." Rihanna if you're looking for more Savage or Fenty ambassadors, we would love to be on your team!

We also discussed some of the challenges as models in the fashion industry. Christian being a male model, feels like the industry doesn't take male models seriously. They also put male models in strict boxes, normally only casting male models who are super muscular or flamboyant. "What's with all the labels, why can't I be just who I am."

Brandi explained for women in the fashion industry today, there's two directions, either you're the video vixen and you're really sexy or you need to be very slim to be considered Vogue material. "I want to be able to wear couture. Just because I have curves, I don't feel like I should be taken out of that category just because I'm not a size 4, make something that fits me." Brandi who is also a fashion designer, makes it a mission to create clothing that fits any body. She talked more about her excitement for her new 2020 Cook'd Vibes collection. See her designs @cookdvibes on Instagram.

ON LIFE AS A CREATIVE ADULT

In this episode, we also dove deep into the conversation of living and working as creative adults in the city. Its rewarding when you're able to do what you're passionate about and get paid BUT what if there's not too many opportunities for you as a creative person? What if networking and making connections is a struggle? What if student loans and adulting have you second guessing your dream job? All of these questions were explored in this episode. We shared some of our toughest moments dealing with financing college and today's job market. Christian who is a recent college graduate shared some of his challenges looking for jobs that pay creatives fairly and we all talked about the struggle of balancing bills and dreams. As Brandi brilliantly conveyed, "I can't help somebody build their dream without building mine."

Dealing with negative energy and building meaningful connections can also be hard in a blooming city like Boston. Too many people are concerned about competition and their egos, that we fail to recognize how working together as a community will allow us all to win.

Tune in to join us in this deep dialogue and find out more about our tips on having a great Fall season, Christian & Brandi's future aspirations and more about their creative projects ! You can watch the FULL episode here.

Please follow and support our wonderful guests on social media,

*Brandi Cook @Beaugotti_ (learn about her designer line & podcast)

*Christian Walkes @TheRealBajanPrince (see his growing portfolio)

As always, we are so grateful to have your support! Tune into our next episode Thursday, October 17th @ 8:30pm on the Boston Neighborhood Network - Boston Channels (Comcast 23, RCN 83 & Verizon 1960).

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