Name: Kristine O.
Location: Madison Square Park
Date: July 16, 2017
Job: Product Designer
A: Where are you from?
A: We met at USC, obviously. The class was Magical Realism and I forget the rest of the name…
K: We met in GE 5 (there are several general education classes you have to take at USC throughout your degree).
A: Good times. Where are you located now?
K: New York, I live in Brooklyn.
A: Where did you take me and why?
K: I took you to Madison Square Park. In my year here, I feel like this park has been a nice consistent place where I can just sit alone but not really feel alone. It’s in the middle of the city, but it’s not as big as the other parks in New York, so it’s usually not as busy. And it’s near my office, so the first time I went here was when I interviewed for my current job back in April. I did a solo trip to New York for two days and I got Shake Shack in the park and just sat and absorbed the city. When I started working, I would sit and have coffee with my mentor at this park, friends would come visit me and I would meet them for lunch here too. Sometimes now after I workout on the weekends I’ll buy food and bring it to the park, call my family and just talk to them.
A: Now the fun part…I’m just making up these questions as we go. Who’s your favourite band/artist of all time? Or if you can’t choose, then just favourite at the moment.
K: For a long time, my favourite was The xx, which you probably figured out. I have their tote bag with me right now. Current favourite artist is Oh Wonder. They just dropped their new album.
A: What’s your favourite song right now?
K: I think “So Good” by Zara Larsson. It was playing when we were in Everlane yesterday. I was like jamming. I think it’s the name of her new album too. Her Spotify Session version [of "So Good"], listen to that one.
A: I’ll listen to it when I go home.
A: Next question, what was your favourite class that you took at USC?
K: Ooo. Probably Design 3 because that’s when I realized I wanted to be a designer. It was also my favourite professor that I continued to take classes from. She was this badass Asian-American woman.
A: Oh nice, so she was kind of a role model for you?
K: For sure, and on the first day of class she was describing what it means to be a designer and it felt like she was describing me. And I didn’t know something like that existed, I didn’t know there was a job that utilized all those skills and that type of thinking and I was like 'oh this is dope!' That’s when I did the switch from photo to design.
A: So you really connected with this professor and it was kind of a turning point in your career?
K: Yeah and she is the reason why I met my current boss and she was his professor too.
A: Do you still keep in touch with her?
K: Yeah, she visited New York in March and my boss and I had lunch with her.
A: That’s so awesome.
K: Yeah she tried to embarrass my boss.
A: That’s hilarious but also awkward because you were like 'stop, that’s my boss.'
A: What’s your favourite restaurant? It can be from anywhere, it doesn’t have to be in New York.
K: In Chicago, it’s Portillo's. I f*cking love Portillo's.
A: Oh my god, I’ve heard so much about Portillo's. I know someone who would rant and rave about how good it was and would go out of his way to go there when he was near Chicago. I’ve only been to the one outside LA. What would you recommend ordering from there?
K: I’m really boring and I like the salad there.
A: Wow…ok what’s in the salad? What makes it so good?
K: There’s bacon, macaroni pieces, cheese, and it has their house dressing so it’s a really good savoury salad. There’s avocado, chicken…it’s definitely not healthy. And they always give you a lemon poppyseed muffin.
A: Ok fine, it’s a filling salad. Fair enough, I’ll accept it. What’s your favourite drink? Alcoholic drink.
K: Moscow Mule. Because of the mug. It’s refreshing. I really, really like that it has its own mug.
A: Do it for the mug.
K: And it’s good. I don’t usually like ginger, but it has a really good balance.
A: What is your favourite piece of clothing that you own? Closet staple, can’t live without it.
K: I got it recently. It’s from this boutique in Williamsburg on Bedford. And I've gotten a comment on every item I've bought from there. It’s a boutique so they have really signature pieces. Ok, I have this light pink button down blouse with Frenchies on it.
A: Like French Bulldogs?
K: Yeah and they’re all wearing red bowties. So I save it for special occasions, like I wore it for my birthday and I was like this is awesome.
A: That’s so dorky but great.
K: So awesome.
A: Speaking of clothes, what’s your favourite place to shop? That boutique?
K: Yeah it’s called Pema. Awesome store.
A: This is for the people. The people wanna know.
K:I can’t think of anything else. Maybe IKEA.
A: Oh yeah, IKEA is great. You can find so much stuff and they have bombass food for cheap.
K: The meatballs.
A: Good answer. Plus they make really good cinnamon buns.
A: Since you’re a designer, who’s your favourite artist?
K: Oh god. I don’t know if I have a favourite.
A: Ok, how about an artist you think people should be aware of?
K: This will take me a second…ok not my favourite, but I think this person needs more love. Barbara Kruger. She’s the one who did the original art pieces that are supposed to look like advertisements where it’s red tags with white and Supreme just stole it.
A: Oh yeah, I read an article about that somewhere.
K: She did that elevator in LACMA. That was all her and now all these brands are just ripping off her work.
A: Right, all these streetwear brands that are becoming mainstream and people are hyping it up so much.
A: And they’re making shit tons of money.
K: So much money and then other brands are ripping off those brands. It all started with her.
A: From an artist who was using it for creative purposes.
K: I feel like she needs more love. More people need to know about her because her work is basically everywhere.
A: Interesting, that’s a good choice.
K: For awhile I really liked Edward Hopper’s paintings and how he used light. I feel like that’s like the kind of style I tend to shoot.
A: What’s your favourite animal?
K: A dog.
K: ‘Cause it’s a dog. They’re loyal, they’re dogs. There’s so many shapes and sizes and they’re all beautiful.
A: True that. What is your favourite thing to do by yourself? Everyone needs alone time and everyone has something that they like to do by themselves to decompress.
K: Probably journaling. Or thinking about decorating my room.
A: Last question…
K: You didn’t even ask me my favourite colour.
A: Too boring…oh wait you’re a designer, I should probably ask you that. What's your favourite colour…pink?
K: Yes…before it was called millennial pink.
A: Oh my god, why is that a thing?
K: I don’t know. I’m also into this shade of yellow that I’m wearing.
A: Alright, last question for real, it’s gotta be good. Who is your favourite celebrity and why?
K: Gina Rodriguez. Because she's one of the first people that I’ve seen on TV that looks kind of like me and is the first person on TV that I feel like I can relate to really. To the point where I’m like, oh is this what white people feel like all the time [when they watch TV]? I think the Latino culture they show a lot [in Jane the Virgin] is very similar to Filipino culture, so even seeing their family dynamics and seeing that not every family is perfect is great.
A: It’s reminiscent of your family, it’s relatable.
K: Exactly. Also, I think she’s gorgeous. She's not super skinny, but still lives a healthy lifestyle. Like she does boxing and she always posts videos of her trying to do pull-ups. She’s just incredibly relatable and down-to-earth. On social media she does a good job of mentioning important people throughout history that might have been overlooked. She just spreads positivity.
A: Yeah she’s incredible. She did a talk at USC recently.
K: I was super upset that I couldn’t go.