Nicky G: Social Media Director, RealSway; Artist Management, Jake&Papa; Founder, HerOwnLane. Los Angeles, CA

Nicky G: Social Media Director, RealSway; Artist Management, Jake&Papa; Founder, HerOwnLane. Los Angeles, CA

It's always fun when business and pleasure collide in a perfect day.  Add coffee, kicks, and California to that mix and you pretty much have our time spent with Nicky G in a nutshell.  In a morning filled with conference calls, social media posts, and non-stop emails we met this self-proclaimed orchestrator of all things (pretty accurate, might we add) in Hollywood for a little java and a peak at what's currently in her very busy sneaker rotation.  

hen your CV is as decorated with gigs that land you in-depth convos with J.Lo and managing the madness of a multiple massive social media followings, chances are that it's more than just your shoes that have stories to share. “I'm living my dreams.  All of this has been a ride filled with hard work and so much growth. But the most rewarding has been making connections with people, building brands, and doing this crazy work everyday." 

The holiday spirit was alive as The Grove set the perfect backdrop and between sips of Chai and trolley rides, Nicky reinvigorated our thirst for simple silhouettes with her collection of comfy Reebok Classics and New Balance mainstays. A recap of her recent time on tour with Jake&Papa, the duo she manages, brought out the blacked out Timbs. And, after handling a few urgent messages from her gig as Social Media Director for a certain OG Triple OG hip-hop journalist (Hey Sway!), Nicky kicked her feet up in a pair of perfect Huaraches and dished on her passion project - HerOwnLane,  a platform she created which allows Nicky to use her social footprint to and empower young women.  Needless to say, we left our time with this Jill of a few dozen trades practically floating on a cloud of Chickspiration and Christmas cheer.

Tristen Paige: Philanthropist/Founder, Turning Paiges. Pasadena, CA

Tristen Paige: Philanthropist/Founder, Turning Paiges. Pasadena, CA

Would you be shocked if we told you that it ('it' being this very website you're browsing while probably trying to avoid actually checking your work emails) doesn't matter much to us if your sneaker collection is on the small side. 

Despite what you might think, it's not always about the sheer volume of brands lining one's sneaker rack; it's ultimately the stories and experiences behind the shoe (or shirt, or bag... we're not too picky) that really draw us in. Example: Tristen Paige.

While it doesn't exactly hurt that our hours with Tristen were accompanied by Nike Flyknits and the always lovely Jumpman; it's really about the experiences behind them, which she spilled during our recent shoot at her Pasadena bungalow. Talking throughout our random snapshots (she sat eloquently at her desk, always attentive) she shared stories behind everything from the decision behind her Air Max Thea 'Joli' ("They just BREATHE, you know?") to how her Flyknits have simply become her everyday I-have-to-go-somewhere-now shoe.  Then, we got more personal.  

If the shots of the books-on-books intermingled with the FD Style Guides and a massive copy of Philanthropy Age didn't quite tip you off, Tristen has a serious desire for giving back. Switching from her daily live in Dallas to a student in Pasadena hasn't stopped her from acting as Chairman (or Chairwoman. Just saying.) and Founder of Turning Paiges, a Dallas-based non-profit organization designed to touch lives through ministry, outreach and service.  Through events like their quarterly trips to feed the homeless, their charitable mission trip to rural areas in the Dominican Republic to teach sign language (you can contribute to the next trip via GoFundMe) and  the TP 'Sole Saving' initiative designed to provide new or gently used sneakers for the homeless, Turning Paiges is bringing the good in a world that needs all it can get.  Who else feels warm and tingly inside?

When she isn't raising her voice for a good cause, a call to prayer, or advocating for victims of domestic violence, Tristen is raising something else: her daughter Laila.  So, you can appreciate the serious thing Tristen has for tranquility and positive energy in her amazingly cozy house in Rose Bowl country. On an equally obvious tip, her creativity is also pretty darn boss as customized pumpkins (Laila wasn't eager to let go of Halloween), a complete outdoor zen spot for one (complete with massive candles and a swing that'll take you back to childhood with a quickness) and her very own art littered the walls of her place, which prompted us to ask only one thing: when can we come back?

Cassie Holt: Singer/Songwriter. Dallas, Texas

Cassie Holt: Singer/Songwriter. Dallas, Texas

Ok, so let's just get this out of our system - "THIS MAN AIN'T SH*T!"

If you're a fan of Cassie Holt and the Lost Souls; we know you were thinking it, too. Now, allow us to proceed.

Aside from the aforementioned "man" (side note: she's not a man basher - that one was just a doozy), it was Cassie Holt's soul that brought us to her Dallas house in the sky. We'd heard plenty of whispers about the vintage trinkets that seemed to fuse so perfectly with her old school vibe, so when the opportunity to see it for ourselves came along, well, we ran. Actually, we took an Uber, but that's beside the point.

Just when we thought we'd seen the beauty that Dallas has to offer in it's converted high rises, this happened. Because how would you decorate your abode if it was an office building built in 1913?  Stack it with pops of color and vintage flair right down to the Nike Pegasus 83 and OG issues of Playboy?  Farrah Fawcett's scantily-clad snaps might be a miss for some, but consider this just a small taste of what's coming to you in Cassie Holt's gorgeous A-P-T.

After entering her spot through the reclaimed oak office doors (complete with 'Letter' slot and diamond glass panes...OHMYGAH) we were transported instantly into Cassie's retro world of awesome.  Decorating every crevase and corner of her eclectic abode in the plush (the couch = everything), the whimsical, and a treasure trove of books, knick knacks, and the type of vintage jewelry you can only get from your grandmother's A-1 collection.  Cassie set her sights on her "tranquil space" and made it a place we'd totally like to call home. Yes, you read that right. The ambiance is real in her little oasis, which is filled with her keyboard and oh, you know, just about a billion vinyl records. We're talking everything from Sade's Promise to, like, every single Aretha album ever.  Oh, and there's even a section devoted to her love for all things bejeweled and bedazzled; we're pretty sure her middle name is 'Estate Sale.'  Cassie Estate Sale Holt.  That's it.

And it was only up (literally) from there.   After rummaging through her closet and making ourselves at home in her shoes, we kicked it with coffee on the rooftop (the Dallas skyline and a really nice high rise neighbor from my hometown of Minneapolis kept us company) and got deep about body image, the evil that is Sally Mae, and why finding your happiness is worth all the crappy life moments. And when it comes to her music? Cassie candidly told us: "There's too much soul in me not to share this with the world."  We agree, ma'am.  100%.

Shoes: Nike Air Pegasus 83 - Shop Now

Sandrine Phay: Founder, Hope Dealers PR

Sandrine Phay: Founder, Hope Dealers PR

Besides the whole “Everything is bigger in Texas” thing, there are stereotypes everyone has about The Lone Star State. Since we live here and everything it's only fitting that our very first CNK Closet feature embodies a few traits straight out of Cowboy Country. While Sandrine Phay doesn't exactly walk around in cowboy hats and boots, her larger-than Big Tex personality and love for all things SOUF, make it hard to separate this Texas girl from her roots. Plus, she says "y'all"...a lot.

 

Aside from her knack for the underground (no surprise she can often be found taking in Dallas' rising music scene) Phay’s got a sincere appreciation for the deep-fried southern culture that makes Dallas so great. The self-confessed “hope dealer” (she even named her company after the catchy moniker) is a master at repping her city on everything from crewnecks to simple satchels. “I'm a sucker for the little things. Dallas is growing and I'm in the thick of it.  A love for the music is something that comes natural to me.  That definitely reflects in my style.”  One need look no further than the computer she keeps within reach, stacked with sticker reflections of her favorites - including Texas icon Selena v=because, anything for Selenas.

We arrived at her home with a camera and a smile and quickly got to work making closet alchemy. Phay’s home is a simple mix of sassy meets sweet (we about had a laugh attack at the Henny Pure White and Cinnamon Toast Crunch combo in her kitchen) and her sneaker style seems geared more towards those concert-filled nights mingling with the artists she pushes with her specialized brand of PR punch. We were totally gaga when we saw the Kobe sneaks convienitly tucked between Retro J's and Infrared Air Maxes.  A “Choose Happiness” reminder on her fridge only further captured a mood that seemed so Sandrine.  All about positivity, period. Turns out she even bought the matching tote because, good vibes should travel with you right?

Phay played the quintessential host, too: turning on the jams and suggesting post-shoot dinner options, quickly winning us over and getting the key to our Deep Ellum loving hearts. After dressing her up in (wait for it!) a CNK Signature tee and those Air Maxes, we kicked off the shoes and let Drine bring on that southern hospitality.