Exclusive: La Carmina Takes Over Tokyo!
Despite the torrential rain, La Carmina and I braved the weather as she gave me an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the makings of her vlogs, took me vintage shopping, and introduced me to goths, designers, and club kids that I would have never met otherwise. Read the interview below!
La Carmina in a Black Milk cape and DIY Lobby Girl Hat.
At first glance, La Carmina is petite but her magnetic energy is contagious and noticeably fills the room. Her hair is colored in vivid shades of blue, green, and pink and she is decked out in a black lace cape and homemade hat inspired by the film The Grand Budapest Hotel. Despite there being a camera crew around her, she is relaxed and immediately makes me feel at home. Any notion of established bloggers being divas immediately flies out the window of the modern Shibuya apartment she is staying in.
STEPHANIE: What brings you to Tokyo this time?
LA CARMINA: I’m in Tokyo several times a year for work, and it’s always with different people. This time, we’re working with Odigo. They’re a new travel startup a bit like TripAdvisor but the focus is on Japan and its unique attractions.
You’re a bit of an expert on cool and unique spots yourself!
Yeah, I just love how Tokyo is so endless. Even though I’m always coming back, there’s always something new to discover.
So what are you doing with Odigo?
I’m hosting a party, doing video, consulting...and I’m also running a workshop where I’ll be teaching about blogging.
La Carmina giving a speech at the Odigo launch party.
I know a lot of people, young people especially, who are interested in getting their foot in the door with blogging––what would be your biggest advice for the first step?
Oh man, there are so many steps! I would say to really focus on content and quality, and keep aiming to improve. Aim to have the best photos, the best writing, and put out the best possible content.
Is there anything else people who are new to blogging should keep in mind?
Find your own niche. Instead of copying someones path, just do your own thing.
So when you’re writing a blog post, do you set a time to sit down and do it or is it more on the go?
I really love blogging and I never get tired of it, and because I’m travelling so much these days there are endless things to write about. A lot of fashion bloggers blog in real time, which I don’t do.
Why don’t you blog in real time?
I don’t want the pressure of having to put on a new outfit every day, and to me there’s more meaning. After a big trip, I can spend more time editing and really putting my thoughts together. When I’m on a trip, I just experience and capture.
La Carmina capturing a moment for her blog.
Can you tell me a little bit about your outfit inspiration today?
If you’ve seen the film The Grand Budapest Hotel, it has such a strong visual style both in the set designs and in the costumes. This is inspired by the Lobby Boy outfit, except I’m the lobby girl. My outfit has a similar retro–military look.
Who are you wearing?
This dress is from a designer in Hong Kong. She does everything by hand and works out of a little store called Spider––one location, one designer. My cape is from Black Milk Clothing, and I made my hat with a little fabric, press ons, and gold nailpolish.
How do you pick what to wear? I know it can be very overwhelming, especially with such a great wardrobe.
Yeah it can be, especially when you live out of a suitcase! I always try to put together different options. If there’s an event or a shoot, then I pick with the theme in mind.
What’s your go to outfit when you’re not filming or on the go?
Something that’s comfy but still a bit stylish. I love oversized shirts that have kind of a gothic or cute print with leggings.
La Carmina picking out clothes at Streamer Coffee Company’s thrift shop.
So at home, how do you keep your closet organized? Especially with all of the really great clothes you have.
I confess it’s hard. I try to really stick to investment pieces now, like things that I know I’ll wear long term and are collector’s items. I also clear things out and give clothes to charity or have a sale. These days I try not to accumulate too much.
That’s something that I’m struggling with as well.
I wouldn’t enjoy blogging if it were a new outfit every day and all about consumerism and your looks and that’s it.
What about makeup? Do you have any favorite products?
Again, I highly recommend investing. I love Makeup Forever’s HD foundation, Anastasia for brows––everyone loves Anastasia. Japan’s beauty stores are great for eyeliners and eyelashes. These days I try to keep it more simple. I don’t do a lot of the crazy colors or overdo it.
La Carmina is a TV host, a travel and fashion blogger, and an expert in all things oddities. She wears multiple hats––not just the Lobby Girl hat––and is helping make blogging accessible to the masses while bringing alternative youth cultures into the mainstream.
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