• About A Girl: Tina Jo

    Twenty-one-year-old student Tina Jo is sitting still for the moment, but chances are she won't for long. The LA student, studying Fine Art and photography, has lived all over the globe — from South Korea to Hawaii — and along with her frequently-stamped passport has a wise, worldy perspective on how to look for (and take) opportunities to explore, ask questions, and be creative. We caught up with her during a day in the life in LA — even though it was one of her first weeks in the city, we think she already feels like a local. 
    Photos by Kristian Punturere

    Above: Native Youth Scratch Print Top,  Denim Front-Button Skirt

    You've lived internationally, and in Hawaii, and now in LA. Can you share a little bit about your experiences in each of these places? 
    I have lived in multiple countries (Australia, Canada, Korea, USA)  and each experience was definitely a blast. When I first moved to Australia, I was only four years old...When I started preschool I didn't know what was going on, [because] it was the first time I'd seen any ethnicities besides Asian. Over time, I made friends even though I could not speak English at all. After that, we ended up moving to Canada, and then back to Korea, where I spent my middle school years. 

    When I was 15 years old, I moved to Hawaii with my 19-year-old sister. I attended an all girls' school as a freshman, and it was definitely challenging. There were a lot of ups and downs; living without parents and just depending on my older sister during my teenage years was a big challenge. Also learning English was a difficulty that I had to go through again. However, I met a lot of people who helped me throughout high-school and supported me. My art and photography skills definitely improved while being there, and it was a time for me to explore a bigger world. 

    Experiencing multiple countries’ cultures and lifestyles during my youth strongly impacted my life. Traveling or moving to a new place is not a fear for me but an excitement, and I don't worry about meeting people or letting something like language barriers hold me back. 

    Above: Native Youth Scratch Print top, Kimchi Blue Seamed skirt, adidas Stan Smiths

    You're currently in school in LA. Can you share more about what you're studying? What's your dream job?
    I am majoring in Fine Arts – concentrating on photography. It has been about 7 years since I fell in love with photography and I definitely want to continue developing my skills. I would eventually want to work as a fashion photographer. 

    Above: Native Youth Scratched Print top, Corduroy Button Front Mini Skirt

    My top spots in LA are…
    I am still discovering places but …
    - My house. My best friend Alex and I moved into this cute townhouse. We are still putting things together but it’s turning out to be a beautiful place and I adore it so much! Also, there is beautiful light that comes through. I think it will be a good place for photos.
    - Dinosaur café. I instantly fell in love with this place. Great interior design and high quality coffee. 
    - Manhattan Beach. This area is refreshing, and a lot of places to eat with the breeze and the smell of the ocean. 

    My top spots in Hawaii are…
    This one is easy!
    - North Shore Waimea Bay. My boyfriend took me here and we spent the Saturday swimming in a clear ocean — one of my favorite beaches.
    - Hawaii Kai Spitting Cave. This is more of a local spot, with huge rock cliff over the ocean. At nighttime, it feels like the stars are covering your whole body up. It is the most chill and calm place ever. 
    - Kyung’s Seafood. Forever my favorite Korean and seafood spot ever. I worked here when it first opened, and the owner took really good care of me. Their kalbi and poké are so amazing. 
    - Ward Theater. I love movies — this is a favorite spot for film. 
    - Spalding House. Formerly a house, the family donated to become a museum, with design that still maintains the old historical vibe, great art pieces I could never get tired of, and a nice garden for relaxing in. 

    Above: Corduroy Mini Skirt, Camp Collection Striped Tee

    My go-to outfit is…
    Most of the time, I try my best to wear the most comfortable outfit I can — I don’t put too much effort on trying to be "fashionable" so I just try to keep things simple and clean. Favorites are: high-waisted shorts, plain T-shirts, stripe shirts,  flannels, button up shirts, baby doll dresses, and Dr. Martens boots. 

    My style icon is…
    The model Soojoo: her style is chic and minimal, and she has such a unique look.
    I’m inspired by…
    Ever since I started having more fun with taking portraits, I’ve been getting inspiration from people and colors. People with unique looks help me create images in my head...I tend to stare at certain people, just thinking about how I'd photograph them. Color-wise, I’ve been searching for vibrant colors and thinking about how to mix them in unexpected ways.

    I can’t stop listening to…
    "Sunny" by Bobby Hebb. It’s a perfect song to listen to when I drive down the highway.

    Five things on my to-do list…
    1. Visit Costa Rica and volunteer at sloth orphanage. 
    2. Publish a photography/poem book.
    3. Make a short/feature film 
    4. Travel Europe with my family
    5. Travel just by walking, and take photos of my journey.

    What’s your morning routine?
    Usually I go jogging in the morning and then of course get some coffee, then I get ready to start my day. But ever since I moved to LA, my morning routine has been jumping in the shower, then grabbing my keys and going out to run errands.  

    What’s your guilty pleasure?
    My guilty pleasure song is "Shake it off." Some people call me nerdy for listening to that, but it just makes me feel good when I am stressed out. I blast the song and drive around singing along. 

    What makes you the happiest?
    When magazines publish my photos, or when I shoot for bigger brands or projects...it makes me feel good that I'm doing things right, and that some people are enjoying and seeing my work. 

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