Photo by @photo__mark

If you don’t know me by now, I am a full born and bred Cali girl. I’m hardly home, but I am always reppin’ Los Angeles City. I grew up learning how to roller skate on Santa Monica beach, playing basketball at Pan Pacific Park and spending my weekends at The Grove. Los Angeles will always be home but most importantly, it will always have my heart. Many people make the assumption that Los Angeles is the city of sink or city (it definitely can be), but when you are surrounded by people who truly care about your growth and success the journey is worth it.

People have often told me “if you’re not losing friends, you’re not growing up”, which was true for me but it doesn’t have to be true for every one. Some people are in your life for a reason or a season but that also relates to your environment. After I graduated  high school, I began my college journey upstate New York. Many of my friends stayed local or went to college and universities a few hours away from home, but that was not my route. Spending my college years in Syracuse, NY, then moving to New York City after graduation, taught me that it’s important to live in an environment that makes you happy. I could of easily returned home to Los Angeles after graduating, but I wanted to challenge myself. I currently live in New York City, but every time I return home to Los Angeles, it’s like I am pressing a restart button.

Los Angeles has taught me that I ALWAYS HAVE OPTIONS. Not everyday is a surf on the beach, but it’s okay to watch the waves. The L.A. city life is definitely laid back, which has taught me that you can only control situations that you have control over. It’s annoying to sit in traffic, but you can’t control that, so find an alternate route because there is always a way. Home has also taught me that FAMILY IS EVERYTHING. When living at home, I became used to a routine which consisted of me spending time with my family. Los Angeles is a city full of adventure and when you have family to share those adventures with, it’s very rewarding. My family and I consistently tried new restaurants, worked out, and even went to concerts together. Success can always be accomplished when you are surrounded by individuals who feel rewarded witnessing your growth. Lastly, home has taught me that LIFE IS ABOUT BALANCE. Los Angeles has given me different outlets to find my happy place. I am the type of individual who needs a getaway when they are upset or off balance. L.A. is full of scenic views and each one I go to, I’m able to find peace and balance. I’ve been so blessed to grow up in this amazing city and gain knowledge of my surroundings, but the best thing of all is that I’ve gained knowledge about myself.

XOXO,

IVY COCO

Shop The Look: @eldiorsodeckdesign

http://etsy.me/2q6DiuE

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

I’ll never forget  February 2008, at my all girls catholic school in Los Angeles, CA. My middle school wanted to be “inclusive” so they renamed black history month to “multicultural month”. As a 13 year old black girl who went to a predominately white school, I felt like I was the only one yelling “Black Lives Matter!” while my ruler whipping nun of a principle was yelling ” Well, all lives matter!”. Back then, I felt I couldn’t change the 15 year old tradition of my schools “multicultural month”, but I knew I could change perspective with words. I rushed home after basketball practice on February 1 and bolted into my mothers bathroom. She was ecstatic to hear about my day but I was just ready to tell her about how my crazy catholic school really renamed black history month. I thought she would be ready to be my accomplice and march up to my school the next day to speak to the principal about this preposterous notion, but all she said was “look up Sojourner Truth”.

Sojourner Truth was a black female abolitionist, civil rights leader, and women’s rights advocate, who is best known for her speech “Ain’t I a Woman?”. After my mother said her name, I did tons of research on her. I read her memoir, books, and multiple sources. She was so cool to me because she spoke dutch, made her way out slavery, and led her people to freedom. My 13 year old self became so obsessed that I started dreaming of conversations between the two of us. At the end of February, my school held a multicultural potluck for the students and their families. The students were allowed to bring in foods from their culture and make speeches. Only 5 girls in the entire middle school signed up to make a speech and I made sure I was one of them.

The day of the potluck my mom had to catch a flight for a speaking engagement, but she made sure I looked good and went to school with the best Jamaican fried plantains. My mom is talented when it comes down to motherly costume design. Between 6:45 AM to 7:30 AM my mom took the time to transform me into looking like Sojourner Truth. She slobbered a big ole kiss on my face and said “Baby, today is the day you speak your truth!”.  At 10AM, I walked into my school gymnasium with 200 of my school mates and their family members. I waited for my care taker Ms. Mae, who is like my second mother, to bring my fresh plantains to school and tell me that I could do this speech. At noon, I began making my way to the stage podium. My heart began to race and my hands started to shake, but as I looked in the audience, Ms. Mae was entering the gym with the plantains and she had the biggest smile on her face. I left the podium, took center stage and began reciting Sojourner Truth’s speech, “Ain’t I a Woman?”. I felt like I was Sojourner leading men, women, and children to freedom, declaring my rights, and speaking my absolute truth. After my speech the entire gymnasium was on their feet roaring, clapping, and whistling at me. I walked down to the floor level with a huge smile on my face, knowing that I killed my speech and ready to eat Ms. Mae’s plantains.  An older white gentleman, that was freakishly tall, tapped me on my shoulder, shook my hand, looked me in my eyes and said ” you are powerful, that was powerful, and thank you for teaching me”. I looked him in his eyes and said ” thank you”, knowing that my BLACK HISTORY MATTERS!

xoxo,

Ivy Coco

Photographed by Castle

Processed with VSCO with kk1 presetProcessed with VSCO with a6 presetProcessed with VSCO with c1 preset

 

fullsizerender

Outfit Details:

screen-shot-2016-09-22-at-7-03-53-pmSomedays Lovin Daze Blue High-Rise Flare Leg
Vegas Nay Grand Glamor Lashes

My entire life, I have tried my hardest to keep my hair healthy and full of volume. As a young girl, my mother kept my hair in cornrows, twists, bantu knots/china bumps, or individual box braids.Growing up with an older brother who rocked Iverson cornrows, I had to follow his lead and be swagged out just like him. My mother put my hair in cornrows and braids so it was protected and well maintained during my childhood adventures, activities, and sports.  Myself , along with many other Black girls and other women of color, grew up wearing CORN ROWS or BOX BRAIDS to maintain healthy hair.Whoever wrote the article about KIM KARDASHIAN’S “BOXER BRAIDS”, should probably do some more research on ethic hairstyles. I’m not sure who created the term “BOXER BRAIDS”, nor where it developed from, but THAT IS NOT THE CORRECT TERMANOLOGY AT ALL!

When I first heard the incorrect term of cornrows, I was upset because I believe my cornrows hold cultural value and expression. For decades, media and high fashion have appropriated Black culture and have used a numerous amount of  styles and renamed them to fit “the norm”. Well, if you ask me, french braids and cornrows are my norm. I don’t care who wears the style, but it is important to me that they are referred to as CORNROWS and NOT BOXER BRAIDS!

3 REASONS WHY MY CORNROWS ARE NOT “BOXER BRAIDS”

  • Braids DO NOT stem from Boxers. Many female boxers wear cornrows as a protective while in the ring, but boxing or boxers did not develop the cornrow hair style. Cornrows were developed by Africans and depending on how the braids were styled you could identify someones age, status, religion, occupation and tribe.
  • Braids/Cornrows are a protective style for many black girls/girls of color. A protective style means that a person’s natural hair ends are tucked away and are kept that way to lock in moisture. Protective styles help with hair growth and avoids yanking and pulling hair on a daily basis.
  • Braids make me who I am today. All through elementary school and middle school, I wore braids because they looked cool and at the same time it helped me maintain healthy hair. My braids helped me develop confidence and made me feel like I could conquer the world. “Boxer Braids” might just be for the runway, but cornrows were created for everyday and the runway. When I wear my cornrows, I don’t just look good, I FEEL GOOD!

Love and Hugs,

Ivy Coco

Photographed by Anna May

Hair Braided by Shawnah at Hairstory Philly

fullsizerender-1img_1495RED_2189.jpgRED_2152.jpg

IMG_4474.JPG

Shirt, Shorts & Jacket: Thrifted

Bandana: My local dollar store

Boots: Top Shop

Whether you believe it or not, we all have our own signature statement. Some have signature hair, a signature smell, or a signature look. These are all things that make a statement about who we are. Our signatures makes us standout and show that we are unique in our own way. Your signature statement doesn’t have to stay the same throughout your entire life. As humans, we are always evolving. We aren’t expected to stay the same, so embrace your change. Whenever I have an urge to try or do something new, I make sure I write it down! I guess you can say that I am starting my bucket list early, lol. Before I start checking things off my big bucket list, I am doing small things that can make a statement during my every day life. For example, a simple smile can actually make a HUGE statement. I’ve been seeing the whole “resting B*t$& face” craze on social media, and I definitely don’t want to have that facial expression. It’s really unattractive when you are attracted to someone that has a bad attitude or facial expression. I have to catch myself here and there, because sometimes my face looks like I’ve smelled some terrible cheese, but I’m actually perfectly fine. How you express your emotions make a statement about who you are.

When I am not trying to improve on myself, I am usually trying to figure out how I can make a statement within my wardrobe. Usually when it comes to outfits, you can make a statement with jewelry or other accessories, but I have never been a big jewelry person. A trending look that I have been loving, that is great on both men and women, is wearing a bandana. A bandana is fun to wear in place of a necklace. It is easy and simple to wear during the spring and summer time. Also, bandanas come in a variety of colors and are very inexpensive. They can be bought at your local thrift store or dollar store (that’s where I bought mine). It can be worn so many way and it allows you to spice up your wardrobe. You don’t have to do too much to make a statement. Sometimes the little things can have the greatest impact.

Different ways to rock a bandana: 

From: SHUT UP I LOVE THAT SHIRT ON YOU

BANDANA TREND 2015.jpg

Peace,

Ivy Coco

Photographer : Rikki Wright ( Instagram: @foreverrikk )

Rikki is an amazing photographer than knows how to capture emotion. I love her way of direction and styling. She has such a blithe spirit and she made me feel very comfortable when shooting.

IMG_4405.JPGIMG_4477.JPGIMG_4479.JPG

IMG_3025

HeadWrap: Runway Boutique (IG: FashionFatima)

Shirt: Handcrafted Myself

Skirt: Vintage

On my 18th birthday, my father gave me a thick piece of metal that had a message engraved into it. The message said “What would you do, if you knew you couldn’t fail?”. At first, I thought the quote was very powerful, but once I started reading it to myself over and over again, I realized the depth of the quote. Imagine all the things you could accomplish by just trying. Often times we don’t push ourselves because we are simply afraid of a negative outcome. As individuals, we live in fear, the fear of what people might think about us, the fear of judgement, and the fear of ourselves. When we are constantly fearing, we begin to get comfortable. We get comfortable with the same morning routine of getting up, going to work (or class), and we end up just being complacent with ourselves. Sometimes its nice to get relaxed and comfortable, but the slow pace cannot remain for long. In the words of the Spice Girls “spice up your life”. Instead of waking up and stepping into a comfort zone, just stop and have a 2 minute self reflection with yourself. Ask yourself how today can be better than yesterday or the day before that. Never be afraid to fail because of the outsiders trying to get inside of you. Wear that violet shirt that has been sitting in your closet for months now, because it probably brings out the color in your eyes. Try a new hair style, hair cut, or even a new hair color. Start a new spiritual connection with yourself or wakeup early and go to the gym to start your day with movement. The least you can do for yourself is, when you wake up, look in the mirror and love what you see. When we stop living in fear, we begin to befriend ourselves, and when we begin to love ourselves we can be available to love the world that surrounds us.

Peace and Love,

            IvyCoco

All Photos taken by : IG@TheFlowerPapi

IMG_3017IMG_3024IMG_3102-1