1: Tell me where are you from? Where do you live?
I was born and raise in the city of Angels, where everything is possible, Los Angeles. In the past few years I have been living in DTLA and have seen its transformation.
2: What is your daily mantra that you repeat yourself to ensure success?
I don’t have a mantra in particular. But I do live a life that is grateful for what I was handed, what I am currently experiencing and for what the universe or God have in store for my future. In addition, I like to think about how what I am doing benefits or affects someone else.
3: What pushed you to start your venture of creating awards or ceremonies or the lifestyle media brand what is your motivation to be an entrepreneur?
I feel like creating is in my core and I am mostly driven by seeing what I imagine come to fruition. The feeling of accomplishment that I get when I was able to overcome obstacles and create things that others only see obstacle gives me a kind of orgasmic experience. I like to take things and break them down only to build in a new way or with a renewed perspective; my own. As far as what pushes me to start a new venture. I really just go with the flow, I am very lucky that the universe really just sends me these crazy ideas and with it the tools to make them a reality. Don’t get me wrong none of these come without obstacles. However, I learned early on when I was in the US Marine Corp how to overcome obstacles by analyzing it, finding solutions and quickly execute resolutions. When I created The US Lifestyle Group it was really a marriage of my fashion and luxury background with my time in Media. After experiencing the last presidential campaign and witnessing the attacks on so many communities, I wanted to make sure there was a place where the US Lifestyle was told in the eyes of a diverse America. But I also knew media wasn’t doing it well, so that’s when I decided to create a media company that provided a global lense into the real American Identity and the contributions people from around the world, of different sexual preferences, and varied beliefs have made to form the authentic US Lifestyle.
4: In regards to your children do you feel that the legacy you are creating/ leaving them, they will be able to take over one day and continue broadening their horizons for the LGBT community?
At this point my daughter is an adult already. She will make her own decisions on what career path she wants or how she represents me. If she chooses a career that aligns with my company I would be more than willing and excited to hand it over when the time is right and when its earned. I feel that we put a lot of pressure on children raised by LGBT people to be our champions, with that said though I also think it will be natural for her to be one. I raised her as a gay dad for over 20 years in a time when being a Gay parent was much less accepted. She has seen a lot and many things have changed over the years. The perspective of many straight people her age towards LGBT people has changed. I’m always proud to see how she handles situations when people are demeaning, sexist, or plane jerks to people in general. I believe she will definitely be our champ.
5: What is the hardest part about being a single dad raising a daughter?
I think people tend to think that being a gay dad to a daughter is just fun. I’m sure many imagine dress-up sessions and shopping trips. Don’t get me wrong that also happens, I am a designer after all. But that’s only a small part of what happens. There are still many experiences I would never know how to guide her through, simply because I am not a female, no matter how much I read about a subject. But I think I have never raised her as a gay Dad I have raised her as her Dad period. I do recall a time when I took her to the emergency room and instead of the staff being concerned about her health they kept on interrogating me about my relationship with her. I was a young man that looked even younger showing up at a hospital by myself with a little girl, why? It was one of those times I felt if I were a woman taking her in, regardless of LGBT preference, that experience would have been very different.
6: You have created so many new ventures for the community what are your next steps or projects? What do you consider the next level of your creation?
This is a very hard question to answer since I like the universe to send me my next. I do think that as long as I continue to do things with a genuine believe in equality and always do things with and open heart and thinking how it will benefit others. My nature is to do things for others. I’m as equally interested in knowing what that great adventure will be. I’ll let you know as soon as it comes my way and if I already know I’ll let you know as soon as I can lol .
7: Do you feel the LGBT community has enough representation in the fashion world? What could be done better?
ENOUGH?! well possibly but it still lacks diversity at all levels and segments of the industry.
8: Do you hope to one day to fill Karl Lagerfelds shoes and be at the head of one of the major brands (Chanel, LV etc…?)
That would be nice! I would love for a major house to pick me up and take a change with someone with my unique perspective on design and business. But again, diversity is lacking at the highest levels of Fashion, so that is something I’m not holding my breath for, you know being Latino and all. But luckily, I never needed to take anyone’s place, I’ve always created my own. I’m also good with that,I’m also not against LVMH or Tom Ford buying my company or something like that lol. I mean, I am a business man after all.
9: Do you feel that using your voice/plateform in speaking up will be helpful in the upcoming elections or do you think that fashion world should stay out of the politics world?
I definitely and undoubtedly plan on using my voice as a designer and as a media person in the upcoming elections locally in the US, and continue to make support global issues. I don’t think we live in a time when we can afford to “stay-out“ of politics. I didn’t serve my country, in an effort to stand for freedom, only to not use that freedom and stand up for what I believe in. As of lately I have taken fashion as a way of using my voice to bring awareness to social issues. The #ResistDress was in support of LGBT people in the armed forces, it made an appearance to San Francisco, LA and Spain’s World Pride. My SS19 collection “Reflections” shot at the Louvre in Paris highlighted mental health and its transformative emotional journey. In my latest collection FW19, which was presented in Paris as part of “The Ones to Watch”, I took on Domestic Violence, appropriately names “Peace Over Violence” and was a tribute to my daughter and the many men and woman who are victims and survivors of this global epidemic. I’m already working on my next collection which also highlights just another global epidemic.
10: What do you hope your impact will be for the future?
I hope that my efforts make a dent in creating acceptance of people that are different than us and create awareness and solutions for the many issues affecting our community. I hope that what I do, brings people together, to have those uncomfortable conversations to continue and help humanity move forward.
11: If you had to choose one album to represent your current state of mind for 2019 what would it be?
Anything and everything Sade… her songs takes me everywhere I need to go. As I was creating my SS19 Collection it was definitely a big part of that creative process.
Written by Manon Manoeuvre