HOW (NOT) TO BE PHOTOGENIC | Bruges, Belgium

Bruges, Belgium | Your Friend, Jess

If in 1996, brand marketing had existed on social networks, I would have my name ready for monetization. At 3 years old, I knew what I wanted to be (first woman president who lives in outer space), where I wanted to live (Disney World), and most importantly, my signature pose that would be in every photo ever taken. With a camera always in tow, my dad at any moment would say, “Picture! Picture!” and I would look at the camera, prop my right foot on its toes, lean my head, and say “Cheese.” Unfortunately 18 years later, I have lost the ability to find a signature pose, and let’s not even get started with brand marketing.

Why do we travel? For the Instagram. This might as well be the motto for Gen Y. While on my trip to Northern Europe was as picturesque as a Pinterest page, taking my picture was the most important part. Striking a pose, however, is where it’s time to get creative. At least Lena Dunham had advice from Hamish Bowles for her February VOGUE cover. 

So while reviewing my photos from Bruges, Belgium, I couldn’t help but question what my face was thinking. For the split second that the camera snaps a shot, my face either digs deep into subconscious emotions, or sometimes nervously pretends that people are not watching me take a selfie.

As a person who is least qualified to give anyone advice at being photogenic, I can only tell you what NOT to do in front of the camera. Anyway, Instagram’s got enough filters to hide that pimple you forgot to put concealer on. 

Here is what NOT to do in front of a camera:

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Where I Went: City Center of Brugge

What I Ate: Waffles & Hot Chocolate at Venice Corn

What I Wore: Mid-December with 50F means an open peacoat with Doc’s

MIDWEEK WANDERLUST: Museum Mile

Being “lost in New York” is a complete misperception that parents use as a reason to not let their kids move here. It’s a grid system, as John Mulaney points out. Growing up riding subways ever so often, my dad would teach me the mechanics that goes with finding my way around Manhattan and I took notes on the streets and clues of the city. Now, however, I would just use my handy dandy iPhone. Sorry, Dad, that’s what technology is for…except Apple Maps. Maybe I just wasn’t listening the whole time my dad was explaining what it means to be “street smart.”

Travelling from Brooklyn to Manhattan is equivalent to the length and energy of a road trip. Instead of ending my summer by literally taking a road trip, I headed to the Upper East Side to revisit my childhood playgrounds. Every museum in New York has its own significance to me. I grew up visiting the American Museum of Natural History almost every month and now I have finally graduated to The Met and Guggenheim. (Thanks to the likes of Blair Waldorf, who a) made me want to try on headbands in front of the Met, b) look for a prince at a museum, c) be. her.)

Art is exhausting, particularly modern art. Your mind will get blown…either from confusion or admiration. I’m one of those people who think, “My 3-year-old nephew could paint that.” Will I ever understand abstract art? How did it even survive? There’s a whole thriving art community in Brooklyn! *cough* DUMBO *cough*

Maybe I should just go back and visit the fake whales at the Museum of Natural History. Whoa, wait. Am I Holden Caulfield?

Guggenheim Museum

Guggenheim

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SLEEP ALL NIGHT TO GET LUCKY

As the anticipated age of 20 hath approacheth, it is inevitable for me to check-in with my life. I should not be slipping off-track, but making sure I’m just the right amount of “off the beaten path.” Most of the time, I try to assure myself with my “consoling mind” that the path I am currently paving is the right one because it is my own. However, a pressure to compare myself to the people I look up to creates a pressure to imitate them.

12am

Every night at 12:00 AM, my iPhone alarm goes off asking me if I have accomplished my day’s duties. I try to make myself accountable. I make rules for myself. No Twitter for more than 30 minutes. Do not play more than five games of Dots. No sneaking into the pantry for sugary cereal. So, I set that alarm. Then somewhere between 2:30 and 3:15 PM, I have successfully made a textbook list of loopholes to my own rules (the same goes for my New Year’s resolutions). I can spend 10 more minutes on Twitter because 2 people favorited my tweet that I thought would be too intellectual. One more game of Dots. I won’t eat Frosted Flakes, but I will have two servings of the Quaker Oats Cinnamon Squares because they’re healthier. Okay, two more games of Dots. I am my own greatest enemy…and a strategic one at that.

Then as 11:55 PM rolls around and I am on my 79th game of Dots, I wonder how many plays or blog posts I could have written today. Mindy Kaling wrote plays in college, and yet I have none. Then my “consoling mind” kicks in thinking that Mindy did not have Dots when she was in college. If she did have an iPhone, then she would have totally been spending time on that game the whole day, too! Right? I hope so.

I have no published works on the Internet yet, which is the ubiquitous and most narcissistic complaint of every Millennial (and Journalism student). Then I think that Tina Fey was the editor-in-chief of her school newspaper. Great, so am I. Check. Lena Dunham grew up in Brooklyn. So did I…in the completely opposite side of Brooklyn. But anyway, check.

I like to start blogs and projects because my optimistic mind goes into overdrive thinking that I could totally get sponsors that will pay me for writing. I am not even close to getting there and that dream seems hopelessly far away. This essay, however, was not sponsored by the makers of Dots; however I would endorse it if you like to waste time. Then again, some nights I get lucky. Lucky enough to fall asleep through my alarm, never having to face the fact that today was yet another lazy day in the life of a Millennial.

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