Chic Talk with Jhené Aiko!

JA2July 24th my partner-in-Chic Michele Gates and I became the envy of all R&B, and all around music aficionados, far and wide when we announced that we had just interviewed the inspiring (and young, oh SO young and already SO accomplished!) Jhené Aiko!

Why the Pop Tarts silliness? Why this chance for the interview? What was Jhené doing in San Francisco? How come we got to interview her (other than the fact that we are so cool and interviewing her was a must. DUH!)? We’ll let Billboard do the explaining. You see…

For the past four years, Kellogg’s Pop Tarts has relied on free concerts featuring young pop acts to reach tweens, starting with Carly Rae Jepsen in 2012 and continuing with Demi Lovato and Austin Mahone in 2013 and 2014, among others.

But for 2015, the breakfast staple decided to take its pop-music connections one step further by tapping three artists — Jessie J, Jhene Aiko and Rixton — for an original song. The result, “Sorry to Interrupt,” quietly debuted on SoundCloud in late May before a lyric video was posted to the brand’s YouTube channel on June 10. To date, the song has received more than 40,000 SoundCloud streams and 100,000 YouTube plays. The song will be serviced to pop radio, digital retailers and streaming services at the end of July….

The three artists, booked in partnership with Universal Music Group’s brand partnerships team, [re-teamed] for a free, live concert for Pop Tarts’ Crazy Good Summer program [on] Friday, July 24, at San Francisco’s Nob Hill Masonic center….

Aiko, who had never met or worked with Jessie J or Rixton prior to “Sorry to Interrupt,” [told] Billboard of the collaboration, “They were all so fun to work with and had lots of positive energy. I think I added a bit of my style to this song. I’m usually laid back and that is reflected in the music I make. Both Jessie and Rixton are high energy, so I think I balanced it out by adding some chill.”

JA1To say that we were impressed by Jhené would be an understatement. Having gotten her start in music in her early teens, nay, as a tween (!!!), Jhené, at the tender age of 27, has not only built quite the name for herself but she already boasts collaborations with B2K, Drake, Gucci Mane, Kanye West, Big Sean, Childish Gambino and many more!

It was a pleasure to meet Jhené. Whether her music speaks to you or not, the woman behind the music, her definite chill vibe and soul searching ways will, no doubt, take you in and make you thirst for more!

Michele and I wanted to know what drove her. What made Jhené tick? What inspired her? How did she keep a level head and juggle double duty as a mother in such a fast moving, and male-centric, industry? For answers to these questions, and much more, kick back, watch, and enjoy!

Advertisements

The Chics at the Fashion Incubator San Francisco Workshop Series: “Using Blogs to Build Your Brand”

2June 17th we, The Chics, partook in quite the fun and exciting Fashion Incubator San Francisco panel “Using Blogs to Build Your Brand”, moderated by our favorite writer, fashionista-in-the-know, San Francisco Chronicle STYLE contributor and fashion commentator Tony Bravo!

The experience was inspiring, fun beyond what words can convey, and hey, who could ever dislike being asked to share the spotlight and act all wise ‘n all on a subject? Not us! We LOVE ego and we shall feed it any chance we get! HAH and *wink, wink*!

1So, without any further ado, want to get noticed and covered by fashion bloggers? Need inspiration for your next blog post that will make your brand pop? Then click on through and hear leading fashion and lifestyle bloggers from j’adore couture (Kim Mitchell Stokes), Stylenik (Kristen Philipkoski) and us, The Chics, Leila Radan and Michele Gates, reveal what works and what won’t in building followers to grow your brand.

Whether we did a good job or not matters not, we looked good and we were filmed. Mission accomplished!

Thank you Tony for thinking of us and asking us to be on the panel and thank you Fashion Incubator San Francisco for hosting us!

Chic Talk with Nigel Barker!

May 27th we, The Chics, interviewed former model and celebrity photographer Mr. Nigel Barker, of America’s Next Top Model fame, as he made a stop at Macy’s San Francisco to celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month and to promote his latest book, Models of Influence!

Here’s where I have a confession to make. Up until Michele informed me that we’d be interviewing Nigel, I had no idea who he was! The closest I’ve gotten to watching reality TV, is HGTV as I’m drawn to anything and everything real estate, design and remodeling. Yes, this means that I have never watched America’s Next Top Model… nor have I ever watched The Face… or any reality TV show for that matter, aside from Betsey Johnson’s short-lived reality TV stint on the now-defunct Style Channel because DUH, anything and everything Betsey Johnson is a MUST! But I digress.

So, a few days pre-interview I had to google Nigel’s name to see what I had missed out on and to say that I was blown away by the man is an understatement. His prolific body of work and his contagious passion and zest for life speak for themselves but, being the romantic geek that I am, what truly moved me was Nigel’s deep love for his wife and children, and for their family and friends. I was, and still am, particularly taken in by Nigel’s Instagram page. Seriously, check it out. Nigel has a unique way of viewing the world. He turns even the most casual of outings into picturesque moments of inspired existence where he takes the time to share his thoughts and to wax poetic on life, on his experiences and, more frequently, on his deep appreciation for what he has manifested and what he is living. There we are privy to his travels both alone and with his family, their latest adventures and discoveries, the deep bond his wife shares with her twin sister, the deep love and appreciation that Nigel has for said bond, and so much more, all captured ever so artistically and shared with the world at large.

So yes, we met Nigel Barker, THE Nigel Barker, the celebrity you all know and love. But more substantially, we also met Nigel Barker the man, the kind, sweet, charming, intelligent, polite, handsome-inside-and-out lovely human being that he is and THAT is what thrilled me the most.

And so without further ado, here you go, a motha of a post because not only do we have one video of Nigel, we have THREE! Delve on in, watch, love and share! Here we are with Nigel in our latest installment of Chic Talk!

After our interview, Nigel was ready for his Macy’s San Francisco talk and Q&A and we caught it all on tape for your viewing pleasure, thanks to our lovely Team Chic videographer Nancy Ericsson! Enjoy!

And last, but definitely not least, here’s a little side chat I had with Nigel, dedicated to my high school Sri Lankan friend Sasha, filmed both by Nancy and by me.

How’s that for some Nigel Barker fabulosity? Good? You’re welcome!

Chic Spotting: John Waters!

May 20th my partner-in-Chic Michele and I proved our hard core admiration of none other than acclaimed director John Waters, by being first in line for his sold out (within the first 4 minutes of it being posted online we were told) book reading at local San Francisco bookstore, Green Apple Books on the Park!

Though we have yet to score an interview with Mr. Waters, we are pursuing him and have even tracked down his very lovely and polite publicist and come Fall may be able to talk one on one with the Pope of Trash himself, the very Prince of Puke, or as he likes to refer to himself, the one and only Filth Elder! Oh yes we will!

We did, however, manage to get some Chic guerilla footage of the man himself reading from his latest book, Carsick, and answering our questions in the Q&A no less. Don’t believe us? Click below and watch our latest Chic Spotting adventure starring the fabulous John Waters!

Chic Talk with Justin Fichelson!

May 11th saw us, The Chics, in the company of Justin Fichelson, San Francisco native and one of the stars of the upcoming reality TV show, Million Dollar Listing San Francisco!

Michele was under the weather but gracefully showed up for moral support and in solidarity with me as I went at it alone and interviewed Justin at one of our favorite San Francisco stores, Wonderland SF.

Having initially reached out to Justin on Facebook, Michele and I were pleasantly surprised to be greeted with warmth and humor by this local social butterfly and reality-TV-star-in-the-making. Justin was sweet and kind online and even more so offline, as well as down-to-earth, funny and charming. We can attest to the fact that whatever diva-ish stories may surround most reality TV stars, we will never believe such potential future claims about Justin! We think his Bravo profile says it all!

A native San Franciscan, Justin Fichelson is one of the Bay Area’s top luxury brokers at Climb Real Estate. He is the true embodiment of a real estate shark and credits his success to his exclusive roster of clients and unparalleled knowledge of the market. Fichelson is a master networker, and not only knows the key venture capitalists, angel investors and founders of Silicon Valley’s most successful and innovative companies, but is personally friends with them. His circle also includes the Getty and Hilton families.

Voted “Most Likely to Become a Millionaire” in high school, he sat side-by-side to many of the up-and-coming tech superstars and works hard to ensure he’s their first call when buying property. A constant in the San Francisco society pages, Fichelson knows the importance of making the rounds and can frequently be seen attending charity galas and serving on the boards of various committees. From his colorful suits to his unconventional living situation, he embodies the eccentric persona of a true native San Franciscan and is always working his social network to land his next big listing.

So, without any further ado, here is our Chic Talk with Justin Fichelson himself! Though I must say, “unconventional living situation”?!? Why was THAT not brought up in our interview Justin? WHY? Perhaps a follow-up is in order!

Thank you Justin for a fun interview and thank you Irene Hernandez-Feiks for welcoming us all into your incredible world that is Wonderland SF with open arms! And to you Chicsters we say, remember to tune in to the premier of Million Dollar Listing San Francisco on July 8th! Congratulations Justin!

The Chics About Town, June 2015 Edition

Oh Chicsters, forgive us, for we’ve been remiss at keeping you in the know! A mixture of life, busyness and sheer laziness kept The Chics from tuning in but, rest assured, NO MORE!

As you know, The Chics exploded unto the scene by interviewing fashion icon, and the inspiration of A Pile Of Chic, Betsey Johnson! Next up was supermodel Kate Upton, followed by a very busy month of March that saw them politely stalking, meeting and filming Margaret Cho, ending with a big splash that was their interview of Danish actress, incredible visionary, philanthropist and activist, Connie Nielsen!

Their interview with Connie was their first professionally filmed interview. What do we mean? Well, we are so excited to announce that A Pile Of Chic has their very own Team Chic, comprised of videographers Nancy Ericsson, John Chris Lopez and Stefunny Pettee! Welcome to our world of Chic guys!

Now let’s delve in, shall we?

May 7th the incredible Writer/Director/Producer Jill Soloway, of Transparent fame no less, was in town for a conversation with Michelle Tea and Eileen Myles at the Contemporary Jewish Museum. Of course, our Chic actress Leila Radan rushed on over and met her! Does that get our Chics one step closer to maybe interviewing Jill some day? We do not know but we do know this, what The Chics decide they want, The Chics will get so we reserve bragging rights for the day that interview is indeed scored! Jill Soloway, we’re coming to getcha!

JS

May 11th saw The Chics in the company of Justin Fichelson, San Francisco native and one of the stars of the upcoming reality TV show, Million Dollar Listing San Francisco! Michele was under the weather but gracefully showed up for moral support and in solidarity with Leila as Leila interviewed Justin at one of their favorite San Francisco stores, Wonderland SF. Thank you Irene Hernandez-Feiks for welcoming The Chics into your incredible world with open arms!

Check out the sneak peek of the show here, our candid shots below and stay tuned for our interview with Justin!

j1

j2j3

May 20th Michele and Leila proved their hard core admiration of none other than acclaimed director John Waters, by being first in line for his sold out (within the first 4 minutes of it being posted online we were told) book reading at local San Francisco bookstore, Green Apple Books on the Park! Though they have yet to score an interview with Mr. Waters, they are pursuing him and have even tracked down his very lovely and polite publicist and come Fall may be able to talk one on one with the Pope of Trash himself, the very Prince of Puke, or as he likes to refer to himself, the one and only Filth Elder! Oh yes they will!

They did, however, manage to get some Chic guerilla footage of the man himself reading from his latest book, Carsick, and answering their questions in the Q&A no less, but we’re gonna tease you for now with the below snapshots and show you the footage at a later date just because we can! So, for now, the below is all the John Waters Chicness you get!

IMG_8632jw1

jw2jw3

May 27th Leila and Michele interviewed former model and celebrity photographer Mr. Nigel Barker, of America’s Next Top Model fame, as he made a stop at Macy’s San Francisco to celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month and to promote his latest book, Models of Influence! Oh yes, THE Nigel Barker! What can we say? The man was a true gentleman and as charming, intelligent, passionate and polite as he is handsome!

Here’s a little side chat Leila had with Nigel, dedicated to her high school Sri Lankan friend Sasha, and a couple of shots, both that Nigel himself snapped with Leila’s iPhone 6Plus. Does this mean that The Chics have been photographed by Nigel Barker? Why yes, yes it does!

nbIMG_8627

And last, but definitely not least, we are beyond thrilled and honored to announce that we are partaking in quite the fun and exciting Fashion Incubator San Francisco panel Using Blogs to Build Your Brand, moderated by our favorite writer, fashionista-in-the-know, San Francisco Chronicle STYLE contributor and fashion commentator Tony Bravo! Spread the word and come on down and join our Chics as they add their voices to those of leading fashion and lifestyle bloggers from j’adore couture and Stylenik as they all reveal what works and what won’t in building followers to grow your brand. Get your tickets here and join us this Wednesday the 17th, from 6:30pm – 9pm! Don’t miss it!

How’s that for an update? But wait, to recap and to add a bit more goodness to the mix, stay tuned for:

  • The posting of our Justin Fichelson interview.
  • The posting of our guerilla footage of director John Waters.
  • The posting of our Nigel Barker interview.
  • The posting of our first panel experience.

HUZZAH! And on we go with the show. YO!

Chic Talk with Connie Nielsen!

April 20th found my partner-in-Chic Michele and me in the beautiful Marin home of Danish actress Connie Nielsen, safely tucked away from the rowdy-trafficky-overcrowded-pretty-much-shut-the-city-down infamous San Francisco pot day festivities.

IMG_7900IMG_7901

IMG_7893IMG_7905

As gracious as she is beautiful, Connie warmly welcomed us into her home and generously granted us an extended interview that found us doing away with our Hollywood career related questions (after all, her incredible body of work speaks for itself) and placing our focus on her inspiring non-profits, Human Needs Project and Road To Freedom Scholarships.

We left Connie’s home in awe of her accomplishments and fully enamored by her, her kind heart and compassionate ways. In a world where quick fixes are the norm, where solutions are short term and, more often than not, act as self-aggrandizing bandaid token acts of kindness aimed at elevating one’s philanthropic profile rather than truly offering those in need a long term solution, Connie’s accomplishments with Human Needs Project and Road To Freedom Scholarships stand out as models of tangible hope that both elevate and nurture human dignity along the way. But why write about it when you can delve in and see for yourselves?

Click on through and join us in our awe, and in our celebration, of a woman we admire, respect and simply adore, Connie Nielsen.

 

Chic Spotting: Margaret Cho!

As you know, we, the Chics, live in SF. We ADORE Margaret Cho, the famed comedian, actress, singer, SF native and homeless rights advocate. ADORE. Like, seriously, love to the umpteenth level spread thick on a delicious bed of ADORE raised to the highest degree ADORE could ever be raised to!

My partner-in-Chic, Michele, heard that Margaret was to be in town. Margaret tweeted where she would be. Her whereabouts-to-be were also advertised so, naturally, we showed up and ever so politely stalked her.

We met her at the beautiful event held at the SF Eagle, on March 28th, that honored the late Robin Williams’ work with the homeless and raised funds for a film about Margaret Cho’s #BeRobin campaign.

We got her number.

She gave it to us. Her number. Willingly. We are just THAT cool. Apparently, Michele and I are also an angry, lesbian couple but we’ll leave that for another day.

And while Margaret is to be our summer 2015 interviewee, for now, you get this… Margaret in all her glory, that one day when we, the Chics, had the honor of meeting her in San Francisco!

Mental Note: When filming with an iPhone, hold the phone sideways for proper footage or else you get this. But hey, it’s Margaret Cho so we’re not complaining!

Chic Talk with Kate Upton!

March 3rd found us, The Chics, in downtown San Francisco, at EXPRESS, for the Kate Upton Spring Fling Shopping Event. A Pile of Chic was invited to the EXPRESS launch party of their spring collection and their Brand Ambassador, Kate Upton herself, was making an appearance. Yes, THE Kate Upton, the supermodel-actress-larger-than-life uber human and icon herself! I knew this wouldn’t be any low-key, ordinary fashion event, and expected it to be the memorable, hot ticket fashion event that it indeed turned out to be.

The event was pretty chill and almost everyone I ran into wanted an answer to the burning question of the night, “where was Kate?” Our EXPRESS PR liaison informed me that Kate would arrive late due to an EXPRESS twittercast she was doing in a private area within the building.

When Kate emerged to claim the spotlight, it was obvious. Everyone swarmed around her like bees to honey. And, let me tell ya, those bees weren’t budging an inch! Wherever Kate moved to, the crowd moved with her in unison. Mere minutes after arriving at the event, she was guided towards the EXPRESS backdrop to do mini interviews with the media.

Our interview was slated for 7:30 pm and I was nervous! For one thing, I was bound to a pre-approved, strictly (and I mean strictly) EXPRESS-related-and-EXPRESS-only list of questions and I was trying to memorize them because I didn’t want to stray from the questions! And to top things off, I kept getting texts from our videographer who didn’t know where EXPRESS was, so I was trying my best to text him directions as I juggled my nerves and my memorization objectives with the texting-direction-giving task at hand.

7:20 pm arrived and yet our videographer hadn’t. Kate was running ahead of schedule and so our turn was up! We couldn’t push out the time of the interview and were hurriedly pulled to the front of the eager, Kate-hungry crowd to meet the woman of the hour. My Partner-in-Chic, Leila Radan, being the resourceful, dynamic woman that she is, pulled out her iPhone and started recording the interview! Come rain or come shine, footage of Kate was a MUST!

The event was amazing. Kate Upton is an absolutely gorgeous woman. She’s well poised, engaging, intelligent, inspiring and only 22 years old! What she has accomplished in fashion and film in such a short amount of time is truly impressive. My favorite memory of the night is her kindness and grace, reflective in her having been so accommodating with allowing us to take several selfies with her and our group of friends smack dab in the middle of her press junket. In one of the pictures, everyone’s gaze is misdirected away from the lens. Not Kate’s. Kate’s gaze is aimed straight ahead at the camera along with an intense and beautiful smile. That’s why she’s the Supermodel.

IMG_7186

Interview Disclaimer: The interview occurred against the very noisy backdrop of the gathered crowd, the very loud music, of people talking… Leila’s iPhone perfectly captured it ALL and, my, was that crowd loud! Leila transcribed everything I said and, fortunately for us all, Kate was loud and clear! So, tune out any and all side conversations, tune in to Kate, and enjoy!

The Chics About Town, March 2015 Edition

Oh my The Chics have been busy! They’ve been so busy that we’ve been remiss in properly bringing you up to speed. So, no more!

March 3rd found The Chics in downtown San Francisco, at Express, for the Kate Upton Spring Fling Shopping Event. Down a videographer, Leila took one for the team, behind the camera, and Michele made her first solo appearance as our official Chic interviewer for the night, interviewing Kate Upton. Find a sneak peek below and stay tuned for the actual interview!

IMG_7186

Oh how camera ready and polished they are, right? Well, as much as we love fashion here at A Pile Of Chic, we also appreciate it when people get real and “getting real” seems to be quite a skill Leila and Michele have mastered (though we cannot say the same is true for their photo booth skills). See for yourselves.

52381      52382

52499      52501

104959-strip      105203-strip

March 19th our ladies experienced the official launch of the newly opened W Beijing – Chang’an, featuring the queen of burlesque Dita Von Teese, as they “rocked the empire” at the W in downtown San Francisco. Though no official interview is forthcoming, they snapped a couple of shots and a mini video that packs quite the punch!

FullSizeRender (1)      IMG_7447

March 24th The Chics received exclusive VIP treatment, as did the other select guests, at Jennifer Siebel Newsom’s San Francisco film premiere of The Mask You Live Infollowed by a VIP after-party at Brooks Brothers in downtown San Francisco. Leila was even quoted by her beloved, and hands down favorite writer/reporter/fashionista extraordinaire, Tony Bravo, in his San Francisco Chronicle piece ‘The Mask You Live In’ has a good reason to make all boys cry. Michele and Leila were even snapped by acclaimed photographer Drew Altizer’s team at the event! Pictures and official documentary trailer below.

And yes. Jennifer Siebel Newsom graciously agreed to an interview. Though confirmation of a date is pending, the news is thrilling to us here at A Pile Of Chic!

L&M      IMG_7546

And last, but most definitely not least, here are The Chics with their summer of 2015 confirmed interviewee, Margaret Cho herself, famed comedian, actress, singer, SF native and homeless rights advocate. The pictures were snapped, and much fun was had, at the beautiful event held at the SF Eagle, on March 28th, that honored the late Robin Williams’ work with the homeless and raised funds for a film about Margaret Cho’s #BeRobin campaign.

Stay tuned for raw footage of a raw, raunchy, and always hilarious Margaret Cho at the event! A bonus run-in and fun was had with beloved-friend-to-The-Chics-and-Robin-Williams’-best-friend Michael Pritchard himself,an American stand-up comedian, youth counselor, and advocate of social emotional learning.

IMG_7611      IMG_7629

How’s that for an update? But wait, to recap and to add a bit more goodness to the mix, stay tuned for:

  • The posting of our Kate Upton interview.
  • The posting of our fabulous, live, raw Margaret Cho footage.
  • Upcoming coverage of everything Chic from our Betsey beginnings to the most current Chic happenings by our very own Michele Gates for her SF Examiner column!
  • Forthcoming interviews with Danish actress Connie Nielsen, Margaret Cho, Jennifer Siebel Newsom and more!

OK. Now we’re done.