Womxn in Seattle: Christine "Crane" Geronimo (Interviewed by Emma Eekhoff)

Womxn in Seattle: Christine "Crane" Geronimo (Interviewed by Emma Eekhoff)

I am so excited to kick off 2019 by re-introducing interviews to Fresh Jess! Emma and I are highlighting some of our favorite womxn of color in lifestyle snapshots These womxn inspire us to do better with their hustle, perseverance, and ability to keep it real at all times. Enjoy our first interview by Emma!

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Meet Banago Philippine Bags (+ Support Their Kickstarter!)

Last week, this Kickstarter campaign pitch landed in my inbox. Intrigued by the obviously Filipino word 'Banago' (pronounced ba-NAH-go), I clicked the email open and was immediately drawn in by the vibrant color and modern style of what I knew to be traditional Filipino straw bags. Founder Renée Patron graciously took time out of her busy New York Fashion Week schedule last week to hop on the phone with me and satiate more of my curiosity around Banago.

Banago was a flourishing accessories brand whose factory had been leveled during Typhoon Haiyan. Renée began teaching weavers, mostly women, to become self-employed business owners and to work within the safety of their own homes. Before Haiyan, Banago grew to help provide for the livelihood of over 400 artisans, who became leaders in their communities. Renée herself is a veteran of the fashion industry, with experience in everything from design to production to distribution. Her solid reputation helped land Banago's high-quality, high-fashion bags on the shelves and in pages of Nordstrom, Anthropologie, J.Crew, VogueLucky Magazine and more. 

Watch Renée tell the full Banago story here:

It's just too rare to see a Filipino shine in any industry, even as we've found ourselves in virtually every corner of the world. Renée's hard work cemented Banago's place in all of these retailers and magazines, and for that I admire her.

I want to help Renée and her team restore their factory, their homes and their lives that were destroyed by Haiyan, and hope you do too. The Pintados bag is about to be the 'It' bag of the season 'round these parts!

Aces Interview: Davida Ingram, Gates Foundation Visitor Center

No matter where you go or what you do, your experiences are always punctuated with the memories of the people who left an impact on you. Whenever I go to the Gates Foundation Visitor Center, I make sure to catch up with my friend and one of Seattle's culture savants, Davida Ingram. Davida is an educator at the Gates Visitor Center, meaning her days there are filled with meeting people from all walks of life, taking them on tours and providing them with the richest experience they can possibly have there. Davida and I met way back in our careers, and I'd say the Gates Visitor Center is the perfect place not only to meet Davida, but to get a true sense of her passion for educating others. Definitely take a tour with Davida next time you're at the Gates Visitor Center, and today, get a peek into her life:

What's on your playlist right now?

  • Lake Street Dive (I love their cover of the Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back)

  • NighTrain (go see them live)

  • Thee Satisfaction

  • Meklit Hadero (Abbay Mado)

Who is your biggest inspiration today?

Oh, dang. That is really hard. Right now, I am inspired by actors like Harry Belafonte and Danny Glover for their commitments to social justice. I also love that we live in city that is constantly making connections between civic life and social justice.

Describe your style.

How would I describe my style? Fashion-wise—eclectic. I love mixing and matching vintage and contemporary. I was raised by women with style—I have my own and it’s very different but it’s my way of honoring them. People-wise, in terms of style, I love making connections so understanding what’s important to others and what motivates them really matters to me. Like a lot of educators, I think it’s important to keep learning, so I often think about my learning style. I am definitely the person who’s computer is slow because too many things are open.

What's your favorite way to unplug after a busy day of tours?

I am a not-quite-closeted introvert. So, one-on-one conversations really help me unwind. But Thursdays and Sundays are all about Scandal or Game of Thrones. One of my favorite Scandal times is gathering with other community workers who like to bug out about the latest plot twists.

What are you reading?

Honestly. Facebook. In the sense that I curate my “current events” content based on what my friends are posting. Their links take me to places for news. Crunk Feminist CollectiveImpatient OptimistsSalon are regular reads for me. I am also a (proud) nerd so I am usually reading more than one book at a time. My new books are Singing Plants  and a book of poetry called Twerk. Anything by Toni Morrison or Toni Cade Bambara is a good stand by book for me.

What's your favorite meal & beverage?

My favorite meal changes—right now it’s all about smoked salmon, wakame and white rice topped with sesame oil and chili flakes. And I loves cherry Kombucha with chia seeds.

What are you most excited about in the coming months?

We have a teen action fair  coming up on May 10 at the Visitor Center and two teen workshops. I see our programs as passports to a global context with an emphasis on young people as change makers. So those two things have me really excited.

Davida Ingram - Gates Visitor Center

Davida Ingram - Gates Visitor Center

Can you tell us a little about the Gates Foundation Visitor Center from your perspective?

On my tours I often share that the best part of my job is that I have learned about so many issues that existed under the radar for me, until I got here. If you walk into our bathrooms, you will see photos of different toilets from around the world, along with info about the over 2.5 billion people who don’t have toilets. I’ve seen myself as a global citizen for many years in terms of my interest in cross-cultural dialog, art, design, music, fashion and more. But my job, and the conversations I have here with staff and especially our visitors, helps me see ways of building affinity with mothers who want to raise their children’s standard of living because they live on less than $2 a day.

What's your favorite thing about the Gates Foundation Visitor Center?

The people. Buildings are nothing without the people. The vision for this place was to inspire our visitors to share and discuss the things that they want to consciously do to make a better world. Now, I almost said the Visitor Center’s public programs were my favorite thing—but *surprise* they are all about people too, whether it’s visitors or our partners from the community. Our recent work parties, family days and teen events are people-centered things that I love about my job, aside from touring.

Is there a specific Gates Foundation Visitor Center visitor/group who's inspired you?

One of my biggest joys comes from working with our teens. We have workshop and special teen committees, and they are filled with really remarkable young leaders who want to make a difference now and as they grow into adulthood. I just had to sit down and tell one of our participants Malaya that I was so proud of her for her recent volunteerism with a group called Birthday Dreams. She’s been helping to organize birthday parties for children in families and foster care that struggle. Birthdays are always big for me so when she mentioned that it really moved me, like I teared up. She and other amazing youth will be presenting at our May 10 Teen Action Fair, and I would encourage anybody to come and check their stories out. They will inspire you.

Any events coming up at the Gates Foundation Visitor Center you're excited for?

Well, if you could not tell, the May 10 Teen Action Fair has me pretty psyched. I love giving young people an opportunity to shine. And it’s incredibly powerful when they have their communities surrounding them and cheering them on. We have a range of different topics that teens will be tackling at the teen action fair—health care in poor countries, education, arts & culture—but at the heart of each of these issues is a young person who sees his or her part in turning the tide. And that is definitely something to get excited about. It’s boring to be cynical.

Thank you!

Find Davida at the Gates Visitor Center.

Read all of my Aces interviews here.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Visitor Center is open Tuesdays - Saturdays, 10:00a.m. - 5:00p.m. at 440 5th Ave. N. Street and garage parking are aplenty. 

Register online for a group tour of the Gates Visitor Center.

Check out their events calendar for upcoming special programs.

Join the dialogue! Follow the Visitor Center on Twitter and Facebook.

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Visitor Center. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Visitor Center.

Aces Interview: Chanelle Laurence

Fashion blogging is so. freaking. BORING lately. Somewhere along the line, fashion bloggers all started to look and dress the same - and where's the fun in that? The industry may have jumped the shark, but it only makes the ones who go against the grain stand out even more. I adore following a lot of L.A. fashion bloggers for this reason - no matter what, they are always reppin' that perfect California style. One of my favorites is Chanelle Laurence of The Penelope Times. She's got a distinct style that's all her own, and I love it. I'm also a fan of her store, Penelope's Vintage, and had the pleasure of blogging alongside her at WWDMAGIC in August. She's bold, sassy, laid-back and one of the nicest bloggers I've ever met. Real recognize real and I'm happy to know her. Meet Chanelle:

Chanelle Laurence

Chanelle Laurence

What's on your playlist right now?

Running by Jessie Ware, Another Tomorrow by Lusine, Jessica by Major Lazor, Kilo Kish and anything Classixx.

Describe your style.

My style is edgy with a hint of vintage and ALL LA. I love looking like a tomboy one day and throwing on a dress for brunch the next... it’s always changing but that’s why I love fashion: I can wear whatever I feel like being that day.

Chanelle Laurence

Chanelle Laurence

Who inspires you?

Entrepreneurs, Designers, Go Getters and Edie Sedgwick.

What are you reading?

Right now I’m GLUED to the Shopify blog because I’m a social media + marketing nerd. I also recently started reading The Secret which I can’t wait to finish.

Chanelle Laurence

Chanelle Laurence

What are you most excited about in the coming months?

My boyfriend and I are in the process of working on a clothing line which has been occupying my day dreams for quite some time now. We both graduated from FIDM so it’s been something we’ve been planning for a while. I can’t wait!

Chanelle Laurence

Chanelle Laurence

Aces Interview: Tac Anderson

Twitter was a different world back in 2009. It hadn't reached its tipping point yet, and it felt like a small, manageable community. I found myself making tons of friends and admiring not-yet-friends in many circles - Seattle, blogging, social media, fashion blogging, fashion, hip-hop music, MMA/UFC. You could tweet at anyone and would likely get a response, because we were all trying to figure out what the hell all of this social media hype was and how it'd fit into our lives. Those glory days are gone, but I'm thankful to have people like Tac Anderson still active and awesome in my Twittersphere.

Tac Anderson

Tac Anderson

I think I first learned about Tac through my dear friend and his former colleague, Jordana Bruner. I can't remember if I'd met Tac in real life before, but we did for sure very recently at a local marketing event. I've been following Tac's tweets, Instagrams and blog posts for years, from his own adventures navigating PR and social media in Seattle, then out in London, then back again. Though organization and productivity are never-ending lessons for me, I am a big fan of Tac's Getting Things Done (GTD, as in the David Allen productivity system) Moleskine hack and revisit it often when my to-do list needs a serious shape-up. Tac's like a quiet force in social media nowadays, in that he doesn't post as much but everything he says is good stuff.

Tac Anderson

Tac Anderson

What's on your playlist right now?

  • Cumulus (new local Seattle band)

  • Phantogram

  • White Lies

  • Tokyo Police Club

  • Bloc Party

  • Pixies (always)

  • We Were Promised Jetpacks

Describe your style.

Monochromatic NW Geek meets London.

Really all I need is Doc Martens, 501s, a black (or gray) shirt with the occasional flat cap, scarf and/or cardigan.

I try and keep it simple and everything matches black and gray, especially more black and gray. I grew up in the NW but living in London for a year left its mark.

Tac Anderson

Tac Anderson

Who inspires you?

Everyone and no one. I don't have role models. I don't get inspired by people, but by actions. The everyday decisions to strive to make oneself better is what matters. The things people do, even ordinary people, are what I find inspiring.

Tac Anderson

Tac Anderson

What are you reading?

I love reading. I just launched a new blog, the Book Punk where I review cyberpunk and steampunk books. I also contribute book reviews to the I Hear of Sherlock blog. I just finished Nexus by Seattle author and technologist, Ramez Naam and The Will of the Dead written by steampunk author George Mann. But I'm also really excited about S, a new book by JJ Abrams, which is a book within a book.

Tac Anderson

Tac Anderson

What are you most excited about in the coming months?

2014. I think it's going to be an amazing year.

Thanks Tac! Find him at Fear My Blog and on Twitter.

Read all of my Aces interviews here.