“Perhaps, we should love ourselves so fiercely, that when others see us they know exactly how it should be done.” – Rudy Francisco
This was the very first photo shoot I did for The Chief of Style. As you may have gathered by now, the word “Chief” in my name means more than just the boss (i.e.: CEO), but I’m also Native American. Essentially, it’s a play on words.
For this inaugural shoot, I went to Indian Alley in Downtown Los Angeles. Very few people know about this particular street. It’s actually gated on both ends, but if you’re lucky, you can get in. Along the walls are incredible street art murals – most feature Indian empowerment-type images and many are political. I felt so badass posing with them. (It’s not everyday you see Indigenous culture represented in an urban area and in a modern way.) The murals, to me, say “We’re still here and we’re not going anywhere.” I love the juxtaposition of the Indians on horses, spray painted with a stencil. Where past and present, urban center and the rural plains meet.
I chose to do a fitness-style shoot because working out makes me feel strong, like a warrior. And, I’m renewing my commitment to a eating clean and moving more. For the shoot, I wore my new favorite workout tank that says, “F*CK SKINNY, GET FIT.” That’s truly become my mantra along this self-love and acceptance journey. When it comes to my fitness routine and overall lifestyle, I’ve adopted a much more loving way of looking at things. I’m done punishing my body and ‘hating the weight off.’ I truly want to be health, plain and simple. Fitness is what I’m after, not a stick thin figure (as I once would have killed for).
Many communities of color value extra meat on the body, mine included. It’s possible to be healthy and curvy and that’s what I’m after. So, there’s no more fat and body-shaming going on over here.
You should really check out Indian Alley if you’re ever in Downtown LA. The murals are constantly changing and they’re just glorious. Enjoy!
Shirt: SquatLife Apparel | Leggings and jacket: Forever 21+ | Shoes: Nike
Photographer: Trey Jones (IG: @cjonesphotog)