As our Chicks N' Kicks series has continued to grow, we've interviewed a number of young ladies who are making waves, taking names and rocking kicks as they handle business, but never have we featured a duo...until now. Los Angeles-based creatives A$hlay Ca$hlay and Tae Merida are an inspiring pair not only because they've managed to make a name for themselves in a city packed with talent, but they've done it while remaining a team in both their individual and collective efforts.
As a photographer, Ashlay Cashlay delivers images that tend to capture your attention. As a person, Ashlay Cashlay delivers a personality that does the exact same thing. With a generous Tumblr following (due, in large part, to her personal reflections and what I've dubbed, Ashlay-isms) and a voice that seems to reach well beyond her 27-years, Ashlay Cashlay continues to march to the beat of her own lens as she dives into the male-dominated directing world. If that wasn't enough, Tae Merida is pretty much a trip to the triple threat candy store as this statuesque beauty proves she's more than just a pretty face with the marketing and creation of 20andSomeChange - a new addition to the production company AND online magazine she (along w/ business partner Ashlay) are creating for your everyday consumption.
Take a look below as we head to the Santa Monica Pier to chop it up with this model entrepreneur (see what I did there?) and this self-described "wave goddess."
Occupation: Photographer, Director, Creator.
Kicks Shown: Nike Blazers
Website/Contact: www.ashlaycashlay.com / firstname.lastname@example.org
Name: Shante' "Tae" Merida
Occupation: Model, Marketing, & Entrepreneur.
Kicks Shown: Air Force 1's -Butter
Website/Contact: www.TaeMerida.com / booking@TaeMerida.com
CNK: For those who may not be familiar, tell us a bit about yourselves.
AC: IM ASHLAYCASHLAY. PHOTOGRAPHER/ DIRECTOR/ CREATOR; WAVE GODDESS.
TM: I'm Tae Merida; My heart is with modeling & my mind is with marketing. I'm a humanitarian at heart, loyal by nature, a bit of a spitfire, and the girl that can make anyone laugh.
CNK: Ashlay, talk to us about how you got into the video directing game and how your creative eye has grown since your start.
AC: I STARTED PHOTOGRAPHY KNOWING I WOULD EVENTUALLY TRANSITION INTO FILMING AND DIRECTING. DURING THE PROCESS OF ME TRAINING MY EYE I STARTED SEEING STILL IMAGE CAPTURES IN THE FORM OF MOVEMENT, THE MOMENT THAT STARTED HAPPENING I KNEW IT WAS TIME TO GIVE FILMING A SERIOUS TRY. I THEN BEGAN FILMING, DIRECTING AND EDITING.
CNK: Looking back on Arima Ederra’s “Earth To Arima,” it seems like your photographer’s eye played a huge part in the shot sequencing and the presentations of color. What did you learn most from that experience from a director stand-point?
AC: ARIMA EDERRA'S "FLOW CHART" WAS THE FIRST FULL LENGTH VIDEO I DIRECTED. IM GRATEFUL FOR A NUMBER OF REASONS BUT WHAT THAT EXPERIENCE TAUGHT ME IS ALWAYS FOLLOW YOUR GUT FEELING - DOING SO ALLOWED LITTLE ROOM TO INDULGE IN DOUBT WHICH LEAD ME TO CAPTURE ALL THAT I ENVISIONED EXACTLY AS I ENVISIONED.
CNK: Tae, it’s so interesting to see some of the images you’ve shot because you seem so versatile in your modeling ability. When did you know that modeling was something you could see for your future?
TM: I have always had a passion for posing and playing dress up at a young age. After I graduated college and trying to get into my field, I had a moment where I had to ask myself what really gives me the most fulfillment. -And shortly after I relocated to Los Angeles in pursuit of my happiness.
CNK: We’ve peeped some of the footage and the buzz surrounding 20andSomeChange. Talk to us a bit about the concept behind that collective.
WE ARE CURRENTLY REBRANDING 20ANDSOMECHANGE.COM BUT WE'RE HAPPY TO ANNOUNCE IN ADDITION TO OUR PRODUCTION COMPANY WE WILL BE LAUNCHING AN ONLINE MAGAZINE. ASHLAY AND I WILL PRODUCE AND EDIT CONTENT ALONG SIDE A FEW CONTRIBUTORS. THE IDEA BEHIND '20ANDSOMECHANGE' WAS TO SERVE AS A PLATFORM TO HIGHLIGHT UP & COMING AND ESTABLISHED ENTREPRENEURS IN THEIR TWENTIES; AS WELL AS PROVIDE A MEDIA OUTLET FOR TWENTIES ALIKE THAT COVERS EVERYTHING FROM FASHION, MUSIC, ART, EVENTS, & LIFESTYLE MINUS THE NEGATIVE PRESS. BE SURE TO CHECK BACK IN A FEW WEEKS FOR THE RELAUNCH OF OUR SITE!
CNK: Chicks N’ Kicks is really all about promoting healthy business relationships amongst young women who are working hard to create a legacy. One thing I really like about the two of you is you really seem like you genuinely support one another. What are some of the ways you help each other excel outside of your collective work?
AC: FOR STARTS IM TERRIBLE AT SCHEDULING. TAE' ON THE OTHER HAND IS AN AMAZING PLANNER I HAVE MY MOMENTS WHERE TO MUCH IS GOING ON AND SHE IS ALWAYS THERE TO QUICKLY GET ME BACK ON TRACK. ALSO, SHES REALLY GREAT WITH HEALTH AND FITNESS SO IM BLESSED TO HAVE GAINED A NUTRITIONIST AND A TRAINER ALONG SIDE MY BUSINESS PARTNER AND FRIEND.
TM: I always say Ashlay is my biggest cheerleader, and I truly mean it. If I come up with an idea, Ash is not only behind it but will encourage me to actually follow thru with it and take on any creative direction. She's has a "motherly" instinct and genuinely has my best interest at heart.
CNK: Finish this sentence – “My personal style is ____________.”
AC: A TOUCH OF VINTAGE AND AN OVERALL IDGAF. WEAR WHATEVER MAKES YOU SMILE AND FEEL GOOD ABOUT YOURSELF.
TM: Edgy with a touch of sleek & simple. Your style is a true reflection of your identity, so do you and have fun with it.
CNK: Ashlay, we’re huge fans of The Cashlay Project and the chronicles of your journey. Your posts seem both extremely personal and insightful – what, if anything, does this catharsis do for your work?
AC: THANKYOU! TCP IS MY ONLINE MEMOIR I DONT PROMOTE IT IF YOU'VE VISITED COOL. IF NOT COOL. THE ARCHIVE BACK DATES TO 2008 - ITS BEEN A SOURCE FOR ME TO REVISIT ON DAYS I NEED A REMINDER ON HOW FAR IVE COME.
CNK: You’ve both are working and living in Los Angeles. What kind of growth have you both seen in 2013? What can we expect to see throughout the remainder of the year?
AC: FOR ME IM BREAKING OUT OF MY SHELL AND OWNING ALL OUTLETS THAT IM ABLE TO BE CREATIVE IN. ALL IN ALL IM BEING ME. . PEACE OF MIND ; PIECE OF MINE. AS FOR THE REST OF THE YEAR I WILL CONTINUE TO DROP VISUALS.
TM: Personally, the transition of moving to LA has been a huge blessing. I'm learning to truly 'let go & let God'. I've slowly but surely let my guard down and found a way to turn my insecurities into a form of confidence. Throughout the process, I've seen growth in my modeling and a clearer way of thinking. For the remainder of the year I will continue to focus on my passion & build my brand.
CNK: Obviously we love sneakers. What are a few of your favorite pairs to rock?
AC: MY ALL TIME FAVE SNEAKERS HAS TO BE MY HIGH TOP BLACK AF1 WITH THE GUM BOTTOM IVE HAD THESE SHOES FOR 10 YEARS. - I DONT THINK I WILL EVER GET TIRED OF THEM.
TM: All the Jordan 1's -especially the black & gold. But most likely you'll catch me in a pair of Chucks. #TaelorGang
CNK: Anything else you’d like our readers to know?
AC: SEND OUT POSITIVES VIBES TO THE UNIVERSE AND THEY WILL RETURN. I ENCOURAGE YOU TO TRY IT.
TM: My Daily Mantra: "TAKE PRIDE IN HOW FAR YOU HAVE COME & FAITH IN HOW FAR YOU WILL GO".