• About a Girl: Chelsea Yamase


    Consider this a shot of spring-summer sunshine: we’re hanging in Hawaii with local Chelsea Yamase, for a surf and sun-soaked day in the life. 
    Photos by Joshua Grant Rose

    Above: Amuse Society Elliot One-Piece, Out From Under Romper, Pendleton Jacquard Towel

    Can you share more about yourself + your background? What’s led you to what you’re doing now?
    I was born and raised on the island of Kauai in Hawaii. I was the nerdy, shy girl growing up who spent way too much time in the library. I'm still addicted to learning and challenging myself in new areas. I think my change of path started when dropped out from architecture school and had a life crisis when I realized I couldn't ever see myself spending that much time in an office. For someone who was so scholastically inclined it was terrifying to not have a direction. So at 18, I moved to Europe and fell in love with traveling, people and storytelling. Fast forward six years and I had graduated with multiple degrees, worked as an art director and graphic designer, as well as a private tour guide, spa attendant, waitress... 

    In the last two years I've been able to figure out how to combine the skills unique to me — a wide range of outdoors pursuits, travel, modeling, and a background in journalism and design — into a job. It's a special kind of happiness when I get to spend the day creating with my friends in awesome, natural locations. These things take time, and it's been both scary and exhilarating to let go and trust in the process.

    Above: 6 Shore Road X UO Divine One-Piece 

    It seems like you’re always on the go! What are the five best places you visited in the last year?
    This last year was the most I've ever traveled! I'm horrible at choosing just five, but if I absolutely had to: the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska, the Philippines, the Gold Coast of Australia, road tripping through the Pacific Northwest, and New York City.

    What’s a typical day in the life for you?
    The very strange and exceedingly beautiful part about what I do is the variety. I typically wake up around sunrise and eat a papaya or smoothie while answering emails. Some days that portion takes up five minutes and other times I take a "down day" and will be on the computer for 10 hours straight to get caught up on editing photos or video conferencing. Most days, though, I get outside diving, surfing, or hiking, and taking photos. Dinner is a late affair as I've made it a habit to always watch the sun set from somewhere outdoors —even if it's just me climbing up on my roof.

    Above: Out From Under Underwire Bikini Top and Bottoms,  Silence + Noise Front O-Ring Strappy Bralette, Alvarado Shorts

    Can you share advice for someone looking to you as a role model for carving their own path — breaking away from a typical 9-5 lifestyle and following their own adventures? How have you made it work?
    Short answer: work really hard, find a job with flexible hours, learn to save money, monetize your passions.

    Long answer: I think it's like most other things in life where it's two-thirds working really hard, plus a bit of luck and good timing. Find things you are extraordinarily passionate about and learn to do them well, then ask yourself "under any circumstance would someone pay me to do this exact thing?" My lifestyle of travel and outdoor adventures is a dream to me, but only because it's all the things I love which make them not feel like work. I lived with my sister the last few years and she saw the "behind the scenes," and told me in all honesty that she wouldn't want to do what I do. Unless you are extremely lucky, not working a 9-5 will mean you are actually working way more than that...it's just that some of it will look like playing so it gets confusing! I'm "working" all the time. Right now, for instance, I'm in Chicago answering emails at 2:30am because I flew for the last 11 hours to be here for a one-day event and this is the only time I have to do it. But I have zero complaints: the point is more that you really have to love it!

    Above: 6 Shore Road X UO Divine One-PieceAmuse Society Elliot One-PiecePendleton Jacquard Towel

    Can you share a favorite quote or maybe a personal mantra?
    My all-time favorite quote is actually a poem I first read years ago called "The Invitation" by Oriah Mountain Dreamer. It's something I go back to again and again when I'm feeling unsure or confused or even happy; it immediately realigns me with what is important in life. Part of it says: 
    "It doesn't interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart's longing.

    It doesn't interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dream, for the adventure of being alive....

    It doesn't interest me where or what or with whom you have studied. I want to know what sustains you from the inside when all else falls away.

    I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments."

    Above: Silence + Noise Front O-Ring Strappy BraletteAmuse Society High-Rise Bottoms6 Shore Road X UO Divine One-Piece, Pendleton Casa Grande Stripe Towel

    What roles do health, fitness, and being active play in your life? 
    I've always felt a strong pull towards being healthy and I think that's reflected in my diet and activities. I am healthy because I am active, but I am active because it makes me a happier person. My motivation comes from wanting to be strong enough to scale mountains, paddle my surfboard, and hold my breath.

    Can you share a favorite recipe you've been making recently?
    I like really simple food like fresh fish with salads (using vegetables from my garden). I have also been making a special dessert: combine coconut milk, chia seeds, and a dash of vanilla and cinnamon. Let that sit for a few hours until the chia seeds expand in the milk to make a pudding then add your favorite fruit. I love mango with it!

    Above: Amuse Society Elliot One-PieceOut From Under Romper

    What’s next for you?
    I just finished filming the pilot for an adventure travel show I'm hosting for the Travel Channel, so crossing my fingers and seeing how that path goes! In my personal life I'm trying to find a way to incorporate more of my passions into my work. I've started to do more volunteering and would love to create a program that allows kids to be educated outdoors.

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