Profile and Leo's Take
Age：24 Years in New York： About 3 years
Kelly was introduced to me through Nana, and I'll just start by apologizing because I think I took her entire afternoon babbling on about the art of photography, new music, doing what you like in life, and a little too excessively on Instagram and its nature, when she actually had work to do. I'm sorry Kelly...you even made me chocolate milk. Anyway, Kelly is an extremeley talented photographer and film creator (I've never seen such editing skills...breathtaking), and currently she is doing a lot of work with bands, so basically looking at her videos makes you jealous because most of us have jobs stuck in offices and not touring Europe or shooting on the Faroe Islands or navigating a caravan of VW Euro-buses throughout the US. But you should look at her videos anyway becasue they are AMAAAAAZING!! All of her answers are good, but for the quick read I would recommend her month (Q.1), her images (Q.5), children (Q.9), and her moments (Q.11). So Kelly, thank you so much in many regards, and as I'm writing this in May 2015, I will be seeing you soon in London! YAY!!
→Check out Kelly's site and her incredible work!!: www.kellyteacher.com
Place for shooting and reason
Place: I guess it is pretty obvious. We're in my apartment right now in Clinton Hill in Brooklyn. I did try and put a lot of thought into what would be the best place. I think because I work from home and I think that home is such an important part of who I am that I really wanted to do it in my apartment. I'm sure that's probably what everyone else says when they're doing their home, too.
If you were handed US$2500 and received a one month vacation where you could live in one city, anywhere in the world, where would you choose? What would you do?
I'd go to South America. There's this sister city to Machu Picchu called Choquequirao. It's basically just as well excavated and well maintained as Machu Picchu, but it doesn't have any kind of public transportation to get you there. You have to hike three days in or two days in and then back out. So it only gets like 25 visitors a day as opposed to Machu Picchu that gets in the lowers thousands a day. But what I've read is they are building a tram to take people there so by the end of 2015 it potentially could get just as many visitors. So I would love to try to go there as soon as possible - before the tram. I don’t know… if I lived in another time I would want to be an explorer because I just feel like when you happen upon those places that no one else is there it's just like the most incredible feeling. I would hike in and out, which would probably be like four or five days. Then maybe I would go to Patagonia and I would go exploring and go see the glaciers. I've never seen a glacier before. That would be pretty awesome.
>>>The sister city to Machu Picchu is in Peru?
Yeah, it's in Peru. I know Peru isn't super close to Patagonia, but they're on the same continent.
>>>And you have a month!
What country do you feel “close” to, other than your own?
I guess I'd have to say England - but…ummm…I mean, I guess for different reasons. I could say Ireland since my dad has Irish citizenship because his grandmother was born there. So…well definitely the country I have the most feelings for is the United States. The reason is because the U.S. is, I think, one of the only countries in the world where people still ask "Where are your parents from?" Because a lot of people's parents aren't originally from the U.S. Obviously the further generations you go back their parents definitely aren't from the U.S. I don’t know, I have friends in England that are like "Well, my parents are British and their parents were British, and their parent's parent's were…” - maybe one of them was French, but for the most part... People from the U.S., it is such a melting pot still and that's really cool. My dad's Jewish, his father and his parents (so my dad’s grandparents) are Jewish and both of their parents came from Eastern Europe, Lithuania. They were kicked out of Lithuania because all the Jews were kicked out of Lithuania because you can't be...
>>>Really? Because my ancestors are Lithuanian Jewish.
>>>I never met anybody who's had Lithuanian Jewish ancestors.
Oh, wow! High five! Yeah, and so they were all kicked out in the 1890's. Ireland offered asylum for Jews. I still have Jewish relatives in Ireland and there's a Jewish history museum in Dublin if you're ever there and want to learn about Jewish history in Ireland. My great grandmother was born in Ireland, I think my great grandfather was born in Scotland. Basically they all had to move out. They had babies in Ireland and then migrated to the U.S. where they had my grandparents and then my dad. I guess Ireland is the other country that I feel closely to. I love Ireland. My name's Kelly, so…and my favorite color's green…so yeah! I love Ireland. I haven't been there too much, I have some Irish friends.
What one "thing" and "place" best represents your city?
Is this personally? (YES!) For me one…I guess one place, I don't know which one this answers, but it would be the Chrysler Building. I'm in love with art deco architecture and the Chrysler Building, in my opinion, is the most beautiful building in the world. I don’t… it's so beautiful and I think it represents both positively and negatively so much of what New York is as an ideal. The architect that built the Chrysler Building never got paid haha. But it's also such a thing of beauty and steel.
>>>Is there a thing? That might be the place.
Yeah, I don't know if that's the thing or the place.
>>>It could work as both if you want it to. If you don't have a thing.
There's something else. Like what would a thing be? Can you give me an example of a thing?
>>>Ooh, you're asking back.
Like it can be a random...? Like… a pizza, a slice of pizza? haha
>>>That works, too haha
I'd say the subway in New York is a thing that represents New York the best. It's dirty, everyone takes it, it's really diverse. You do see everyone. I love that I've run into so many of my friends on the subway or I made a friend on the subway who I had met once and she recognized me and I realized that she lives a block away from me and now we're friends. I think that's one of those things that's so cool about New York. It's so easy to meet people and become friends with people and the New York subway makes that so easy. It's so easy to just hop on the subway and meet a friend, and hop on a subway and go somewhere and…yeah!
If you were to redsign your country's flag, how would you do it?
I love the American flag. (Laughs) I LOVE the American flag. (Laughs) I was Betsy Ross in third grade for a school project. That is her name, Betsy Ross? Haha
I just think it's such a beautiful flag. Besides the, well…maybe you could say, controversial number of stars, in terms of how many territories the U.S. has, maybe we could add some for Guam and all those places.
Puerto Rico, yeah. American Samoa. Besides the number of stars I think our flag's pretty awesome. I think it's beautiful. I love our flag. I don't know if kids still do this but in elementary school before each day did you have to pledge allegiance to the flag?
>>>Yeah, we did that at least in the early school years.
Yeah! I think our flag is beautiful!
Please tell me the images you have for the following words.
A really…if you're ever on a ferry and you're going from one place to the next on a ferry and you look out and it's just ocean for as far as you can see. The really cool part about it is the water is never the color that you expect the ocean to be. It's always… a dark murky green or almost black. I think that it's so easy for people to say the ocean's blue - or in Thailand where you can see a mile away it's beautiful. But when you're really on the ocean there's just …I don’t know, so many different colors that it can be. And it's just as far as the eye can see.
Ummm…(Laughs) I guess, in my head I'm imagining a very close up satellite photo of the sun where there's these black spots and these explosions happening. I've been reading scientific books about how accidental our existence is and how incredible the sun is and that we're this distance from the sun and just what the sun really is - this giant amazing ball of stuff. (Laughs)
I'm imagining a tarot card with the Grim Reaper on it. (Laughs)
How do you feel about the future? Both yourself and mankind.
(Thinking) I feel pretty positively about the future. I guess…I don't have particular images about the future. I think we're in a very interesting time where everyone's like "Well, we’ve hit that point now the planet's going to die and it's all our fault.” And… I do consciously try and recycle more, try and not buy silly non-recyclable things. But it's one of those things that…well, the future is so out of our immediate mind space that I think it's really hard for mankind in general to buck up and do anything about really saving the planet. Although, I'd like to think that we still have time. As for my own future…?? (Thinking) I don't know, I haven't - I don't think too much… I think for the most part I'm a happy person so I feel like I'm going to be happy in my future. Everyone in my immediate surroundings is healthy so I plan on them still being healthy in the future.
>>>So what positive images are you seeing?
I feel like what's the point of waking up in the morning if the future isn't positive? (Laughs)
What's the most important "thing" for you?
The most important thing. Whoa. (Laughs)
>>>Isn't that hard?
(Laughs) Yeah. (Thinking) Is love such a cheesy answer?
>>>There aren't any cheesy answers.
I'd say love is the most important thing for me. Love for my family, love for what I do, for someone to love me. Love is kind of what makes the world go round in my opinion and what motivates people to do what they do. Whether it's for another human being - I think people work jobs for their family because they love their family. People pursue a career in photography because they love photography. That sounds really simple but I do think love is the most motivating thing in the world… I love a lot.
>>>You love a lot?
I do. I love a lot.
What do you look for in a partner?
(Thinking) I look for someone that is motivated by their passions. Someone that has a good sense of humor. Someone that loves themselves because I think, in my personal opinion, you really can't love anyone until you love yourself. So you want someone that is confident and loves themselves and feels secure with themselves because then they can help you love yourself more and you feel more secure. If they're motivated then can help you be motivated. If they're silly then you can be silly with them. Those things, I think, are the most important.
Do you want to get married? Do you want children? What do you want to do with them? How do you want them to grow up?
Marriage: Yeah. Children: Yes. That's such a funny thing. There definitely is… I think it's funny that people make plans for their kid. Its like…there's the stereotype that women plan their wedding before they even get engaged, but I think everyone definitely thinks about…one thing that I would really like to do for my kids is, expose them to different cultures growing up. Depending on where my life is. If I could spend a year in another country with them that, I think, would be awesome. But even if it's just a full summer vacation I think… learning and seeing different cultures as a kid really helps you get perspective on where you come from. And meeting different kids or different people from different backgrounds, I think, makes you a better person, makes you an easier person to get along with. Someone that is going to go further in life because they've been able to make connections and…what’s the word…they have seen similarities in other people that are different from themselves. I think that's really important. I think it's really easy as…I think I definitely grew up in a bubble. I think so many people grow up in - whether it's growing up in New York City or growing up in a small town somewhere else, so many people just know their surroundings. And I think when you get out of school and then try and do something with your life I think you're just much better equipped if you can relate to more people. I think you're happier that way. I think you can have better conversations, take in more information, and share more of yourself.
>>>Great. This is just a personal question I have regarding that I know your background a little bit. Did your father make you play tennis? (Kelly's father was a professional tennis player)
He didn't make me play tennis.
>>>Do you have siblings?
I do, I have an older sister.
>>>Did he say you two should play tennis?
The one thing, my dad was definitely never like "You have to play tennis." It was definitely a sport that we both played growing up. But he was never our coach, we would have other people coach us and he was..I’m sure he was really happy that when we were playing we were playing. But he was definitely like "You do what you want to do." I think what's so inspiring about my dad is that…any sport, like tennis, it was something that he was so passionate about that he'd play it before school and after school and every weekend and every free moment he had it's like that's what he wanted to be doing. I think for him he just wanted to see us find something that we wanted to be doing, that much.
>>>What a great dad. He was good at tennis, too. A lot of people who force things upon their children are the people who didn't become that successful in what they liked…
I can see that for sure.
What would be the ideal thing to see the first moment you wake up? What would be the ideal thing to see the moment before you fall asleep?
I might be cheating, I guess, but the first thing that I would want to see when I wake up would be…can it be an image or does it have to be one thing?
>>>No, it can be an image.
I really, as much as sometimes this sucks, I love waking up with the sun. Just…you feel like you have the whole day ahead of you. And then being in bed next to the person you love and the dog that you love. That would be the thing that I'd want to see waking up. Going to bed, hmmm… (Thinking) I don't know. That's interesting…(Thinking) I don't know. I guess ideally I would love to have had such a full day that I don't remember going to bed, I guess, that I'm so exhausted with the most amazing day ever that you just see the side of your pillow.
>>>Nice. Then you wake up and your dog is right there and the sun.
(Laughs) It's beautiful.
>>>What a great life haha
Let's see if I can do that.
What was the happiest moment in your life? What was the most terrifying moment in your life?
I think…(Thinking) I think the happiest moment of my life, and I think it was really, really, I was really happy when it happened but it's also such a positive event that it's kind of expanded -
Not expanded. What's the word when you drop a pebble into the water and…
Rippled, yeah, thank you. My senior year of high school my mom called me to tell me that I had gotten a full scholarship to college. It was just like…I remember she called me. We were having problems with my Great Dane and one of our poodles was being territorial. She was crying, and I thought she was calling me to tell me that one of our dogs killed the other dog. So I was at my friend Abby's house…she's Jewish, we were at her grandparent's just about to sit down to Shabbat dinner. So my mom told me, she was like "You got a full scholarship to USC." She was really excited.
>>>WOW!!! You were excelling at something.
Haha yeah, I don't know. It was just one of those moments that I think it's just so validating. I think, not only is it just so… so great at the time because it was like "Yay! College is free! Because of me! That's so awesome!" But I think it's also so great to give your parents back - not back, because a lot of kids pay for their own college, but where I come from everyone's parents pay for their college because you're upper middle class or higher than that. To kind of be able to give that back to my parents was really awesome.
>>>Can you tell us how you got it??
It was a merit scholarship. USC's really awesome that literally you just apply a month earlier with the same application and then if they like you then you come back and you have a full day where they try and sell you on USC and then you have to interview. I just had a stroke of luck…an amazing interview. I was pre-med and I had worked at a melanoma cancer research thing and the student that was interviewing me had also done a very similar thing at USC. My favorite teacher in high school had gotten the same scholarship at USC and was telling me, that she was joking, that she'd go to UCLA if she didn't get the scholarship so I made the same joke because it actually was true. It was just like I had all the right answers and I was vibing with the guy… I got good grades, I got a good SAT, but I wasn't top in my class at all… I was just like a good all around person and they wanted that.
Pfff… The most terrifying moment. (Thinking) That's so hard… (Thinking) …(Laughs) I don't know if I've ever been truly terrified besides scary movies… I feel like I should think of something good… (Laughs)
>>>If it's not coming off the top of your head then you've probably have only seen the scary movies. Because it's all perception.
Yeah. (Laughs) I also think I'm fairly naive in that I have definitely been in stupid situations, but they weren't that terrifying. But looking back "Kelly, you probably should have been way more nervous.”…Terrified. I'm sure I have been terrified, but I can't - I have one moment. I have a terrifying moment. Which is just going to be like "Oh, Kelly, that's the most pathetic moment." (Laughs) Let me know when you're ready… I actually don't know if I want to be sharing this terrifying moment. (Laughs)
>>>It's up to you.
I was a silly high school…it was the ninth grade. I guess for a lot of people that's still middle school. Me and a couple of friends were at this party and we had this guy give us a ride home. My friends, being really silly, they were sitting on the top. I didn't think they had their safety belts on, they were sitting on the back of the car. It was a convertible. I live up a really windy street, at the top of a mountain. The guy was going way too fast. We didn't think he had been drinking, I don't know, maybe he had been doing drugs or something, but anyways he goes around a corner way too fast and crashes. We're in ninth grade, we'd all been drinking we're all just like "Aah!" so we leave…we run, because we're so nervous and scared and terrified and we run and literally I go hide in a bush and call my sister and my mom "I'm down the street there was a car accident. I don't know what to do." We're just hiding so sure that police are out looking for us. Obviously they're not…but that was just me being a terrified little ninth grade party girl. Ended up being fine. No one was hurt. No one pressed charges.
>>>How did they fall off the convertible, though?
I don't know how that happened.
>>>People are going to be like "Oh, she's SO from L.A." when they hear that story hahaha. An open car…the nice life haha.
What was your childhood dream? What would you say to the childhood you, now? And what is your dream now?
s (Laughs) I know that one. My childhood dream was to be an actress. I definitely wanted to do that for a really long time. I would tell my childhood self "You are so lucky, you're not trying to be an actress anymore and that you're so much cooler than that and so much more interesting”… I'm not knocking actors and actresses because I have a lot of friends that are actors and actresses and it's so hard. For me it just takes so much of you and it takes so much of your self esteem and it's so draining for me personally… personally that I think that I'm a happier person. I just got to go to Europe on tour with a band. That's pretty cool. I never expected that I would be doing what I'm doing now as a kid. But I think that I've stayed truer to myself not realizing that changing careers was the way to stay true to myself. I think that if I had become an actress I would have become something that wasn't actually what I should be doing.
>>>And your dream now?
(Thinking) I don't really know. I guess my dream now is to do what I'm doing now - to be even more passionate about what I'm doing and go even further with what I'm doing. Obviously to get paid (Laughs) more with what I'm doing. But to get better at what I'm doing. I would love that…my dream is to be recognized, not necessarily by the United States but by any substantial group of people. I'm not quite sure what that group of people is, but just to be recognized for the skill and talent that I have and to be…not that I'm not proud of what I am right now, but to have a project that I'm really proud of that gets recognized. That's my dream.