We're back with an all new Cool Girl who will get you inspired and motivated to get to work on your dream career. In this interview, I spoke to Cristina about living in San Fransisco, the biggest risk she ever took in life, YouTube, and so much more.
Get to know Cristina Viseu...
Besides answering these questions, what are you up to at the moment?
Work is crazy. I work on multiple beauty brands and we have a lot of projects because it’s almost Holiday season. I thrive under stress so this is nice for me. I’m currently doing pre-production on a video in Tokyo. I’m going there for vacation but I decided to kill two birds with one stone and film while I’m there. I always find an excuse to create content because it’s what I love. Tokyo is one of my favorite places. You have trains that stop at midnight but when people go out, they go out. One time we missed the last train, and had to sleep in a karaoke room. I was absurdly upset but it was the most interesting experience of my life. I saw all sorts of characters that night and the first train proved that I wasn’t the only one who partied hard. Trying to find locations to film in is harder than it sounds. Tokyo is really protective when it comes to filming. I think a lot of people think Tokyo is this really edgy place but in reality it’s the complete opposite. People get freaked out by my tattoo if I have it out in public. It’s much harder to film over there so pre-production is always essential!
Were you always based in San Francisco? Or did you make that move to align with your career path?
I’ve always lived in San Francisco. I used to dream of living in New York or LA because those are the default cities most people think of when they think “creative” . Because the majority of my video shoots end up happening in New York or LA, I end up getting the best of all worlds. Career wise - I don’t think it matters. There are good creatives in every city. It’s what you make of it.
Would you say San Francisco (and maybe even California in general) is a good hub/place for creatives?
There is a laid back vibe here which definitely contributes to creativity. I’m very fortunate to live and work in a place where I can wear whatever I want, rock as many tats as I want, color my hair all sorts of rainbow, and... you get the gist. I know that’s definitely a privilege that most people don’t have. Also - contrary to popular belief I do believe there is a community here of creative people who want to make a positive impact in the world. In San Francisco, there is a booming tech scene. And although the nature of my work is very different from tech, I do appreciate the diversity.
Who are you listening to musically at the moment?
A mixture of St. Vincent, Kendrick, Ariel Pink, Tame Impala, K.Flay, and B0RNS. Crazy fun fact -- I love music but made myself stop listening to music cold turkey for about 3 years to experience what life would be like without something you love. It was really tragic and all my friends thought I was bonkers. I still have catching up to do for that three year gap.
While the creative industry can be extremely rewarding, it’s can be hard to break into, as well as stay in. For any potential creators out there, what would be the main piece of advice you’d give them?
My boyfriend once told me, the easiest way to get the job is if you are better than everyone interviewing you. And it’s true. If you want to get your dream job, the solution is to be the best. Simple as that. The route to getting to be the best... not so simple. Also - work on side projects always. This part is crucial.
You also make YouTube videos! There’s been a lot of talk surrounding the platform recently due to demonetization issues. Being a creator on the platform, would you say this has deterred you at all from creating for your channel?
So I’ve been on Youtube for a LONG time. I had many different Youtube accounts before this one and I’ve managed Youtubers before as well. Demonetization is a real thing. Most of the time, its from music licensing. I think three years ago is when we started getting better royalty free music. Before that were these awful tracks that sounded like rejected Christmas jingles or mayo commercial music (no offence mayo companies.) For me, YouTube is a place where I can upload my visual diaries. For a while, I definitely stopped making my aesthetic videos because I would get flagged for choosing certain songs. It’s much better now but we also have a better selection of music.
What would you say is the hardest part, as well as the most rewarding part about being a creative and working in the creative industry?
The most difficult thing is finding the balance with being creative, being authentic, and making a living doing both. There will be a time, especially once you’ve created a good reputation in your field, where someone will offer you a lot of money for something you don’t really want to do. And that moment will be a crucial defining moment of your career. Either way - you are fucked. Either out of money or what you stand for.
With the work you do, there’s definitely a level of inspiration that you have to maintain. What do you do to stay inspired?
Consume more media. Consume different media. I’m overly serious in my work but I love a good dank meme. It’s completely different than what I make. I make beauty videos but in my spare time I watch this guy scare people in a pink onesie and a lot of weird shit. I think things can get pretty stale if you keep referencing the same stuff. Art can be anywhere.
How do you define success?
Success is in the unremarkable everyday tasks. A lot of the time when we see someone as successful, we choose to ignore all the hard work they’ve done to achieve it. It’s easy to write things off as talent because that would validate that we, ourselves aren’t successful from some predisposed defect. It’s much easier to romanticize success. As a society, we don’t want to hear about all the nights and weekends an artist worked. Because that would make success mundane. But it is. It is the culmination of hours and days and years doing one solid task. Until it has become fused with your DNA. It is years of blood, sweat, and tears. Rejections and dead ends. But most people, ourselves included, only see the outcome and think “Huh, must be nice”.
To many people, they would say life is about taking risks. Is there a risk you’ve taken, whether a while ago or recently that ultimately paid off?
The biggest risk I’ve taken would probably be not taking a job right after college. Most of my friends did and I was terrified. I wanted to progress rapidly in my career and the best way to do so was to accumulate 5-7 years of experience in one. I did that by working freelance. By the time I got my “first” job I had 10 - 15 high-profile companies in my portfolio and a lot more experience than someone “fresh out of college.”
What do you think first got you into the art of creating? Especially with video and photography?
Growing up, I was in a pretty restricted household. My parents are immigrants from Macau, a once Portuguese owned port near Hong Kong. Being an artist was not part of my parents’ grand plan so of course I naturally gravitated towards it. I would attend college level art classes at a university while still in high school behind my parents’ back. I was really into Japanese Rock music at that time. It was nothing like anything I’ve ever seen in America. I’m talking 80’s glam rock metal hair and six inch platforms. Growing up, there was barely any Asian representation in American media. You had your stereotypical token nerdy Asian character on T.V. but that was it. So of course when I saw these people that sort of looked like me with bright pink hair and piercings, I fell in love! With the scene and eventually the fashion. Unfortunately, I couldn’t understand anything! There was all this content I had no access to. Because of that, I wanted to create a little portal for everyone who was
also into that subculture. I was 18 when I decided to launch a magazine. I didn’t know it at that time but it was the first experience I had producing. I did it all. I learned every single Adobe product in a weekend. I learned studio lighting, sourced models, retouched images, type-setted interviews, distributed it, hired people. It was scrappy but one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had. After that, I gravitated towards photo and video through trial and error. I had a lot of different career paths and I was fortunate enough to be able to have been able to do that.
When do you feel most you ?
I am by no means a morning person. I’m actually a night owl - my preferred bed time is
2 - 4 AM which completely does not agree with a “9-5” job. But my favorite time is early early morning -- when the world is quiet. Not because I enjoy the tranquility but because there is something I love enough to forfeit sleep. Because I have trained myself to go against my human instinct to hit snooze. And I feel proud and alive in that moment.
What are the top five beauty products you see as a must in your lineup?
I think beauty starts at skincare. Skin is the blank canvas which you apply everything to. The things I can’t live without have definitely changed since I started make-up (it would have been false eyelashes and glitter ten years ago).
1. A good make-up remover. I never sleep with my make-up on. I use a multi-step removing method with a combination of wipes with an eye make-up remover,face oil, and a make-up removing cleanser.
2. Moisturizer. I’m using Dr. Jart Water Fuse. I find that my skin works better with Korean Beauty Products. I also have a whole crazy skincare regimen but let’s talk about that another time.
4. Highlighter. I’m probably biased because I work here but I LOVE Fenty Beauty’s highlighters. All of them. I use a new combo every day.
5. Liquid Lipstick. I know gloss is coming back but I’ve always been a matte girl.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
“Are you happy?”
I’m a very unnatural producer. I’ve trained my brain to work that way, but I’m in no way a person who naturally thinks in call sheets, time-tables, and budgets. I was working in fashion when my creative director pulled me aside and asked me, “Are you happy?” At the time, I was taken aback. Of course I’m happy. I have the dream job that most people would want. But at the core of it, I was the unhappiest I’ve ever been. I produced videos but I didn’t film, edit, or direct. At that moment, I realized that if I wanted to work in that industry or any industry, there were other ways of doing it. I’m so grateful for that question. This isn’t as simple as: if I’m unhappy I should give up. There are many hurdles to overcome in any field. Your career and life in general will always have something askew because that’s life. The question should be -- Am I happy? If not, do I love this enough to be uncomfortable or temporarily unhappy?
How do you feel about the term, Cool Girl?
I like it but I feel more of a cool person instead. I think being a girl is something that's there but I don't really think about it often. It's like having an arm or something.
Book or Movie? Movie!
Vintage or Runway? Runway
To Love or Be Loved? To Love. Most take being loved for granted.
Single Concert or Festival? Festival
West Coast or East Coast? Depends on the season.
Hot or Cold? Cold. Always.
Digital or Film? Digital. Love film but it's too risky.
Color or Black + White? Color
Coffee or Tea? Coffee 24/7
Driving or Walking? Depends on where you want to go.
Outside or Inside? Inside
The Past or The Future? Future
Glossy or Matte? Matte