#ReadingtoLive

In the last two and half years, I’ve read more books than my previous two decades combined. I’ve developed an insatiable appetite for information and a desire to learn; learn more about love, happiness, success, classicism, racism, acting, music, and myself.

In order to awaken that desire in others, I started sharing my books on Facebook with the #readingtolive . I believe knowledge is our new currency, and I want everyone to be wealthy. Prior to this year, I would read mostly fictional novels, my favorite writers being David Baldacci and James Patterson. However, this year, I gravitated toward spiritual guidance, and African-American based authors. I even read my first Harry Potter book. My favorites this year have been The New Jim Crow, Assata, The Seat of the Soul, and the previously mentioned Harry Potter – and The Sorcerers’s Stone. I’ve also gotten into audio books. I listened to The Science of Getting Rich by Wallace D. Wattles, and the Richest Man in Babylon.

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I must admit- I started a few others, as well. I started reading Ghandi’s Autobiography, and A Message to the Black Man by the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. I promise I will finish because these are great men, but let’s just say they aren’t J.K Rowling.

I’m always down for some new books. Please feel free to share your favorites, or ask about any of the books I’ve mentioned. If you post what you read on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter #readingtolive, and help spread the wealth.

 

Push The Rock

I did this video three and half years ago. Things have change on the surface, but it’s still a grind. The struggle continues. However, to struggle isn’t a bad thing. To give up, is a bad thing. But to struggle, to press on in spite of your conditions, is an amazing thing. #anchordown

 

Summer in Cali Pt. 3

For anyone who follows my page, or knows me, knows that ever since I started modeling I try to work in different markets whenever I can. Miami slows down in the summer, and I like to travel to experience other cities and possibly work with my other agencies. Hopefully, I can work a few jobs, I try to set up a few shoots to create in between time, and ideally, my family can come visit me. Last summer, I spent a little over 8 weeks in New York City through my agency, Fusion. This summer, I chose Los Angeles to work with my agency, Vision.

By the end of July, I had worked one job via my Miami agency, had one casting, rented a car, made the commute to LA a few times, but thats it – no bookings from Vision, no test shoots, nothing. At this point, if this was a basketball game, I’d be having a horrible shooting night heading into the 4th quarter, down by 15 points. But the only way to change a bad shooting night is to keep shooting, and thats what I planned to do.

I started reaching out via Instagram to several locally based photographers. I was sliding up in DM’s like I was Yo Gotti, hitting up whoever had dope pictures featured on their timeline. Only three replied – Mike Lerner, Storm Santos, and Maxwell Poth.

People always ask me, “Do you get to keep the clothes on your shoots?” Well, sort of. I book a lot of jobs, where Im paid well to do something I enjoy, but 90% of the time I’m not keeping the clothes.However, most of my portfolio consists of my own work. Shoots that I’ve paid for out of pocket, which include the styling, and honestly, I rarely return the clothes. Backtrack to my luggage dilemma on my journey out to LA, and know I was trying to pack as strategic as possible – which meant my clothing options mostly consisted of plain t-shirts, a few pair of jeans, and some sneakers. I definitely wasn’t prepared to style three collaborative shoots. So I went to South Coast Plaza in Coast Mesa, one of the highest grossing malls in America, and I got to pulling clothes for myself. After five hours, and spending way more than I wanted, I pulled some great pieces from John Varvatos, Zara, Scotch and Soda, and Adidas. And for the first time, I was going to try to do my own make-up, so I dropped some change in Sephora too. I only had two and half weeks left in Cali, so I was determined to make it count.

First up was Storm! Storm (@stormshoots) is an award winning musician, cinematographer, and producer. One of the dopest photographers I’ve ever worked with. We shot at his flat in downtown LA. I didn’t really have a clear inspiration, rather just a desire to create. We chatted for about 30 minutes about life. He took me on a tour of his eclectic collection of superheros and action figures, which included several of my son’s favorites like The Flash. We shot some in studio and on his rooftop, which I found out, is next door to the infamous Cecil Hotel.

 

Next up, was Mike Lerner. Mike is cool ass Republican, and history buff, who used to be Justin Bieber’s tour photographer.  Along with knocking out some great shots, we talked about why he’s a Trump supporter (he was actually pretty logical), talked about movies, and I was bombarding him with history questions. We shot around his place in Fullerton.

 

My last shoot, on my last week in Cali was with Maxwell Poth. Max was gracious enough to fit me in before he hit a surfing road trip down to Mexico. By this point, I was out of ideas, but once I saw his home, the place where we were going to shoot, I became inspired. We talked for about 25 minutes about our experiences, goals for the shoot, and went over wardrobe. I really wanted to knock out some solid body pictures since I was doing two-a-days (sometimes 3-a-days) and I was inspired by a few editorials from my contemporaries.

2015 Goal Evaluation

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Photog @elliotcito

By this time every year, just guessing, I figure about 40% of every one who made a resolution are still on track. Fighting tooth and nail to make it through. I’d say 25% have fallen off track but are making a conscious effort to keep their goals in mind. That leaves 35% who gave up and are looking forward to starting a new resolution next year. By the end of June -which I call halftime – by halftime, that 35% club will turn into the 50% club. People will fall off, get back on, fall off and some will eventually quit.

For now, I’m honestly in that 25% club. I’ve fallen off, lost sight of my goals, to find them again. I’ve been knocked down, gotten back up. Walked in and out of a storm. It’s not even halftime yet and I’m battered and bruised. I’ve accomplished so much in 2015 already that I started feeling comfortable and content with relaxing. But I can’t! You can’t either!

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Stay tuned for Season 3 of the Invictus Challenge

This is the YEAR of FINISHING! Not “Halfwaying” or “Almosting”, but FINISHING! I’ve done a lot but I still haven’t reached MY goals. I’ve almost accomplished my goals. I shot for Tommy Hilfiger, but not a campaign. Almost. I’ve traveled to Mexico, but not London, Rome or Italy. Not quite. I booked a pretty good print ad, but not a SAG commercial. Ugh Almost. I’ve made a good amount of money, but not enough to buy a house. Halfway.

Lets refocus. Re-energize. Take a few minutes to figure out why you were reaching for these goals in the first place. For all those who already reached their goals, go to level 2 of your goals. If you already lost that weight, lets firm up that body. If you already traveled to that country, lets visit another. If you already made that money, lets double it. Halfway, almost and not quite are not FINISHED.

A Time To Celebrate Greatness

There comes a time every year when the world comes together to acknowledge the greatness of a certain group of people. We pop champagne, throw festivities and offer gifts in their honor. This time of year is none other than Capricorn season. Some of the greatest people in the history were born between December 22nd and January 19th.

Martin Luther King Jr., Muhammad Ali, Issac Newton, Al Capone, Elvis Presely, Benjamin Franklin and Michelle Obama are all capricorns. Capricorns are natural leaders. We are innovators and dreamers. We see the bigger picture. We aren’t afraid to put in the work because we know the end will result in success. We believe in the process. We are extremely dedicated to our goals, to a point of stubbornness. 

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Like all the great capricorns like Lebron James & Dwayne Wade, Jim Carrey, Denzel Washington, Marilyn Manson, we push the envelope. We take it to unseen heights and dare you to doubt us. We won’t debate with you about our process because we realize that you don’t have our drive, but we will remind you about your pessimism through our victories. 

So happy birthday Steve Harvey, Feliz Cumpleanos Pitbull and R.I.P to Aaliyah. Keep Rocking David Bowie, America loves you Ryan Seacrest and you are still revered Paul Revere. We are still booking rooms at the Hilton, Mr. Conrad Hilton Jr. and still watching Casa Blanca, Humphrey Bogart. So happy birthday to all the Caps here and gone.

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Change Your Mind, Change Your Future

“You can do anything you put your mind to.”- Mommy

I never really grasped that quote until about two years ago. I didn’t fully believe until about a year and a half ago. But it’s true. Every human is wired the same. We all dream big and have aspirations and goals. We also all have obstacles, tragedy, unforeseen circumstances and so forth. I believe 95% of all people have thought about  something great. Something that when they thought about it scared them. It made them say, “naw this is stupid” or “people wont go for it” or “I cant afford to waste my time on this”. Then how many times have you turned around and saw something incredible come along and say, “why didn’t I think of that?”, or worse, “damn, I thought of that before.”

At some point every great thing, every innovation, every invention, was written off as stupid, dumb, and/or a waste of time. From the telephone to Instagram, they were the 5% who just kept along their path, followed their dream and overcame every obstacle. We can all do it. There is enough sunshine for us all. Hollywood isn’t running out of roles. The music industry isn’t turning away good music. Art galleries are begging to be filled. People are yearning for something fresh and new, and we all are capable. 

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These six books changed my life. Out of the six, I would recommend The Artist Way, How to Get Out of Your Own Way and The 48 Laws of Power to anyone, in any profession. These books may not help you, and they may offend some people even but my point is you have to change your mind. You have to change your way of perceiving reality. Success is a long, hard, tumultuous journey but its conquerable. We are all geniuses, you just have to figure out in what.