Images: LOLA PLAKU

Images: LOLA PLAKU

MEET LOLA. MUSIC MAVEN. STYLISH IN SNEAKHERS. STREET MEETS SWEET. EFFORTLESSLY EMPOWERING. SHOW STOPPA. 

Within our CNK Chick Chat Series, it has always been important to connect the dots regarding how these boss babes inspire us. Whether it be through our passion for sneakHERs, style, or business - there is always a common thread that serves as a motivational tool for our audience. I was first drawn to Lola (you all may know her as @iluvlola on Instagram) because of her dope sneakHER style. While her IG feed is amazing, and she obviously knows so many familiar faces within the music industry - there was something more to Lola that I found intriguing.

While she has a built a career in a tough market that can create illusions of so many different things or "highlight reels", one thing stands out about Lola. Her authenticity. Her genuineness is embedded into her work ethic and a driving force to her success. She uses her voice and platform to lift others as she climbs - while staying true to getting to know more about herself as a strong woman in the game. She believes in respect, and puts actions behind her words. Working behind the scenes with some of the hottest celebrities is an everyday thing for Lola. Regardless of her "cool meter" being off the charts (It really is), she stays humble and doesn't lose sight of what it takes to create a force to be reckoned with in her field of expertise. We champion that reminder - the force is female.

Check out our interview below and what Lola had to say about the music industry, hard work, Chickspiration, and more in her own words.

 Image captured by: Chris Lowe

Image captured by: Chris Lowe

LOLA'S CLIFF NOTES ON JUMP STARTING INTO THE MUSIC INDUSTRY AND THE BIRTH OF THE LOLA MEDIA GROUP...

I started in the music industry as a journalist for a magazine called HipHopCanada, which at the time was the largest outlet for Canadian music. I also did party promotion, and eventually concert production, artist booking, tour management, artist management, PR and marketing and everything in between needed to connect those pieces together. I worked with artists like French Montana, A$AP Rocky, Travis Scott, Waka Flocka, Big Sean, The Weeknd, Kehlani, Dej Loaf, etc.

Last year I took a break from my never-ending travels, sleep deprivation, crazy work hours, and decided to take some time to focus on building myself up as a woman and entrepreneur and launch Lola Media Group. The company focuses on artist & brand development and marketing as well as artist management.

ON MOST MEMORABLE BREAKTHROUGH MOMENTS...

I have had a lot of breakthrough moments. I think producing Trinidad James first show in NYC was one of those. Producing A$AP Rocky’s first show in Toronto was one of those. Touring with French Montana on the Bad Boy Reunion tour was an honour so that was definitely a milestone for me.

 Image captured by: Chris Lowe

Image captured by: Chris Lowe

PRESSURE MAKES DIAMONDS...

I think if you are good at what you do people have no option but to recognize that. I am not sure about the “boys club” openly being more inclusive…

I just think more women are kicking the doors down. My biggest challenge thus far, which is a challenge that I think both men and women face is staying relevant. How do you constantly evolve in a way that people need your services, your advice, or your expertise? Artists struggle with this when it comes to making music and staying on top, but us behind the scenes people struggle with the same challenges.

I value people and the relationships I have with them. I do everything with passion, integrity and perseverance and I like to think people respect that.

LADIES, DON'T BE A HARD ROCK WHEN YOU REALLY ARE A GEM.

TO THE UP AND COMING YOUNG WOMEN WHO WANT TO FOLLOW A SIMILAR CAREER PATH...

I would say take the time to figure out what you want, to discover yourself and love yourself. Give yourself the energy and the time to grow as an individual and believe in yourself more than anyone else believes in you. In the darkest hours there will be no one there to pick you up and guide you and help you, so you need to be able to push through on your own. Tell yourself how amazing you are and that you can do anything you put your mind to…because you are, and you can. Don’t be rude, disrespectful or condescending. Don’t ever take others for granted, and do what you can to always learn, always grow, and always better yourself.

 Image captured by: @brittany_inc

Image captured by: @brittany_inc

HOW CAN BOSS BABES CREATE THE SEAT AT THE TABLE?

Well I think that women need to really believe in themselves and take control of their destiny. Expecting inclusivity BECAUSE you are a woman is a self perpetuating stereotype. What I mean by that is that if you expect other people to pull up a chair for you because you are a woman and that you should be included in conversations or discussions because you are a woman, then you need to realize that your gender is defining your role and your job.

You should get a seat at the table because you are the best person for that job, because you deserve to be a part of the conversations, and because you have earned your peers respect; …and you just happen to be a woman. That is how you are going to create the seat at the table. You have to go in there and kick that door down. And also, more women need to take themselves seriously and demand their worth.

 Image captured by: Ro Lexx

Image captured by: Ro Lexx

LOLA ON HER FAVE STREETWEAR:

I was recently introduced to a Korean brand named Ader Error from my friends at PUMA in Germany, that’s super dope! I like Daily Paper from the Netherlands, Privilege out of NYC, Atelier New Regime from Montreal, Get Fresh and Legends League from Toronto. I think Virgil and Off White are absolutely killing the game. Of course Heron Preston, Midnight Studios, Ksuubi … I’m not really big on brands, more so being comfortable, supporting my friends, and wearing things I like.

SNEAKHER STYLE IS A MAJOR KEY...

Well growing up in Albania as a young kid and then as an immigrant teen living in Toronto, or rather Mississauga, I wasn’t really a big sneaker fan. I more so just went to the store and bought whatever I felt I liked at the time or I was comfortable running around in. I was mainly into chuck taylors but as I got older would spend on an expensive sneaker here and there, Chanel espadrilles, Margielas etc…

When I started working in the US and being in NYC I got introduced to a new level of street style…There are just so many people with such diverse styles and preferences that I had to take notice and adjust accordingly.

Sneaker and apparel wise i have been wearing mostly Puma. I am creative directing a sneaker campaign with them for 2019 and have had a chance to visit the head office in Germany, meet and work with their designers, their marketing teams, look at some of the un-released collections and have been thoroughly impressed with some of the releases that I haven’t even seen before in the US market. Also I have been wearing platforms heavy recently and stuff that’s just a little more edgy and Dolls Kill is amazing for that. Fila’s “Disruptor” sneaker was my favourite drop of 2017-2018 thus far. I’m definitely a Vans girl, and a Converse girl, and an Air Jordan 1 girl so I have a few options there.

SHOP SOME OF LOLA'S FAVE SNEAKHER STYLES BELOW

 Image captured by: Ian Buosi

Image captured by: Ian Buosi

CHANGING THE GAME FOR WOMEN...

I have to say Puma to be honest. And not because i’m biased…but because their partnership with Rihanna really took the brand to a new level altogether… She (Rihanna) oozes femininity and independence and empowerment and it’s what was necessary for so many women and young girls to see in fashion and lifestyle. To see that they could be different and edgy and a little bit weird and unapologetic and feminine and bright and feel good about themselves. That I think alone put the brand at the forefront of female empowerment.

Then their “Do You” with Cara Delevingne, another powerful female, unapologetic, a little bit raw, classy when she wants to, wild and free when she wants to, drove that message home.

I think with all the women that they have collaborated with or featured in campaigns, they have embraced their authenticity, something many young women need to see happen more often.

LOLA'S CURRENT SNEAKER ROTATION IN 3..2..1

Current sneaker rotation…Vans, Puma Basket Platform, Nike AirMax 95. I don’t have a grail sneaker but my all time favourite shoes that I can wear with literally anything…are Rick Owens Geobasket high top sneakers.

SHOP LOLA'S ROTATION SNEAKHER STYLES BELOW

 Image captured by: Ian Buosi

Image captured by: Ian Buosi

SHE'S NOT A BUSINESSMAN, SHE'S A BUSINESS, MAN.

Most creative jobs in the music industry are fairly new and unexplored. I pretty much created a career lane by meshing all my experiences together and don’t really conform to any one particular title. Because these jobs are so new to the general consumer, especially ones rooted in digital viability, women like myself become sort of role models or career leaders for younger generations. It is important that we show inclusivity. It’s important that we don’t just live our best life “showing out for the gram”, but that we truly empower those we inspire; that we offer a helping hand, a conversation, a piece of advice etc.

#CHICKSPIRATION... WHO RUN THE WORLD?

For me, Chickspiration is not just saying “look at how far i’ve come” but it’s saying “how can my experience help nurture your ambition?” I can probably give you at least 5 girls off the top of my head that I have spoken with before who were intimidated by me and felt that they would never even get the chance to speak with me because I looked “too cool” and they didn’t think I would even respond to them. These same girls see us in these popular circles or see other girls who they idolize hang out with other “cool girls” kicking ass in the industry and sometimes are too intimidated to ask for help. That breaks my heart. That’s what #Chickspiration is for me, to include not just inspire.

AMEN.  Catch more of Lola on Instagram HERE.

cnk-cass.png

You May Also Like...