• About A Girl: Casey Liu

    After growing up in the naturally stunning landscapes of Hawaii, one might think photographer Casey Liu would feel jaded when it comes to awe-inspiring natural scenery, but that's not the case: she feels just as positively about middle America as she does her lush hometown, even calling Idaho a "hidden gem." "I also talked about Idaho in my last interview for Tumblr Tuesday so hopefully people don’t think I’m crazy," Casey laughs as she finishes telling us, again, about how beautiful, Idaho (of all places) is. 

    Born and raised in Hawaii, Casey spent the majority of her adolescence on the islands, which means she now has a deep appreciation for any place that feels "different" to her, and intrinsically has a love for the outdoors and the beauty of nature. And while she loved every second of growing up on Hawaii, Casey, ready to give another idyllic location a try, recently moved to LA with her photographer boyfriend, Lionel Deguzman, and is now "obsessed." We visited Casey on a recent visit to Palm Springs for her 22nd birthday to find out a little more about her life growing up on the islands, what she misses about home, and where she finds the time for growing list of passions.
    Photos by Lionel Deguzman

    Above: Casey in the Gypsy 05 Printed Halter One-Piece Swimsuit

    Now that you've made the move to LA, what are your favorite things about each city?
    [When it comes to Hawaii,] I can’t think of a better place to have grown up. It's safe, slow, and people are kind. Supposedly, we’re third on the list for “worst traffic cities in the US” but you will see more shakas than middle fingers flying out car windows at any given time of the day. I had never heard so many car horns until I moved to LA! The word “aloha” may sound funny or foreign to others, but I’ve learned that it’s this real thing that lives in a lot of the people on these islands.

    Unfortunately, Hawaii can also be painfully inconvenient for any young adult trying to grow creatively. It’s an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean so it makes sense for things to catch on slowly. That goes for music, trends, and politics. I love how Long Beach/LA is completely saturated with talent, which is a constant motivator for us in our own pursuits. Also, the fashion is everything. Living in Hawaii grants you one year-round outfit: T-shirts and slippers (can't believe I just made that complaint), meaning half of my wardrobe never saw the light of day. People here in LA also have really open minds and seem to be less surprised by weirdos (which is important because my boyfriend and I are pretty damn weird).

    Above: Casey wears the Samantha Pleet + UO Noble Romper

    How would you describe your personal style?
    I dress for comfort 99 percent of the time. I only buy something if it looks great and also feels great–which explains why I’m usually in overalls, a romper or some sort of slip-on. I also have an obsession with earthy colors. I think growing up in Hawaii I was surrounded by lots of tropical hues—blues, greens and oranges—so my tastes have changed. I also own a ton of vintage. Some of my favorites are my long sleeved dresses, jackets with cute collars, and my patterned rompers. Rompers are my jam!

    Who are some of your style inspirations?
    Oh, man. I’m so bad at keeping up with latest trends but my dear friend Madelynn is a fashion vlogger and she has amazing style.

    We recently featured you in a Tumblr Tuesday post for your photography. What are some of your favorite things to photograph?
    I really love photographing my travels. I like when my pictures can tell a story in a set so I guess I’m really into documentary photography. The homepage of my website showcases my lifestyle images so I think that’s what I’m most proud of. I also love fashion work. I love meeting and working with amazing brands and shooting campaign work for them that is creatively stimulating and inspiring.

    Above: Urban Renewal Remade Cashmere Collar Sweater

    Have you traveled to any places for your photos that especially took your breath away?
    Yes! So many. Bali and Idaho are two of my favorite places I’ve traveled to. Those two names have likely never been in the same sentence together, but it just goes to show how every place has its own sort of beauty. I think just being somewhere new is the most fun you can have, especially when you’re a little Hawaiian girl who hasn’t seen much to begin with.

    What's so magical about Idaho?
    The first time I visited Boise, I had very little expectations. Not bad ones, I just had no clue what to expect and I was just visiting a friend. Idaho ended up being a hidden gem filled with everything lovely. My friends there don’t all agree, but as a visitor, I appreciate being able to explore without a thousand tourist traps along the way. The hiking is great, the people are nice and THE TREES…the trees. Also, some of my favorite people in the world live there, and that makes everything worth it.

    You’re also in a band with your boyfriend, Lionel (who also shot this feature!). Can you tell us a little bit about that? How did that start?
    I am! We’re called Tigers in the Sky. We started dating when we were sixteen and Lionel’s been playing music for as long as I’ve known him. I, on the other hand, had no plans of ever performing anything anywhere. That changed after I graduated. We put out some terrible garage band songs on Tumblr that people enjoyed, and then we ended up playing this art show in 2011 for a Vans artist. They enjoyed it so much that they flew us out to Florida to play at a surf expo. It was a pretty surreal experience! Those were my first times singing in public. We got really into it for a few months and then I ended up becoming really busy with photos and Lionel with skating so it never really took off. Three years later, we moved to California, crowd-funded an EP and now it's released! It's been a real big adventure.

    Above: Casey wears the Samantha Pleet + UO Noble Romper

    How do you find the time to do all this!?
    I don’t know! I imagine there are people far busier than me. I just kind of take it day by day, though some days I never get to leave my computer. It takes a lot of investing—time, money, effort—into trying to make it all work, but so far I’m having a blast and I’m excited to see where it leads!

    Okay, can you tell us a few other things that you're currently into?
    My boyfriend and I are getting really into cooking. Sort of. He’s taken up a knack for sandwich making and I’ve taken up a knack for eating them. Also, we just got back these zines we made for our band and I’m so stoked on them. I definitely see more zine making in the future. I also just finished reading The Help which had me on all sorts of emotional rollercoasters. I’m currently reading I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou.

    Anything you’re looking forward to this summer?
    Road trips! Big Sur! Going home! We’re playing music at Hawaii’s first three-day music festival in August, which is really exciting. It's happening on Oahu, from August 21-23rd, and it's called ISLE 9. It's an "open air festival" featuring hand-picked electronic artists from Berlin, as well as local artisans and musicians from Hawaii.

    Above: Casey wears the BDG Crinkled Linen Boxy Romper

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