Today we’d like to introduce you to Emil Ravelo.
Emil, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Before trekking out to Los Angeles to pursue photography, I was a young parent floating through community college convincing myself I needed to be a Zoo Veterinarian to appease the noise coming from my immigrant parents and familial circles. After many years of up-and-down letter grades and epiphanies later, I found the power in taking responsibility for one’s life. The unfortunate truth is that the majority of my teen-hood was spent chasing the status quo simply because that was the only track I was conscious of or that was encouraged. I didn’t have anyone around telling me to dream big or that everyone was entitled to their own unique journey. It wasn’t until I began following artist and choreographer, Parris Goebel, that I experienced shifts in my mentality.
The notions of intentional-living and dreaming big completely metamorphosed my outlook on life indirectly revealing the dual purpose of my move to LA… alignment of my career goals and nourishment to a growth mindset. There’s still so much to learn and unlearn at the same time, but we’re only progressing forward from here! And from the words of the brilliant mind that is, Lauryn Hill, “…anything that’s not growin’ is dead, so we better be changing.”
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
What’s a success story without adversity? I’m an extrovert by heart and thrive when connecting with others, but found it hella difficult connecting the dots in my career. In retrospect, the difficulty was rooted in my self-loathed doubt. I’d meet so many creatives in the industry whose work genuinely resonated and swear to myself that I’d reach out for prospective jobs, but I was too fixated on the idea that my own work had to be so succinct and perfect before I pressed the send button. It was mad debilitating. It was either that or I’d bounce back and forth between the morale of coming off too opportunistic and forfeiting a genuine connection.
It’s said that the window of opportunity only stays open for so long and a lot of those windows shut before I could gain the courage to peep through. It bums me to ponder on all the missed opportunities, but you’ve really got to live and learn. I looked to Instagram literally way too much, too… assigning the idea that I was sourcing inspiration, but instead turning that time into hours of scrolling only to succumb to more self-loathing. And self-loathing led by the comparisons of others’ success stories. Like, to be inspired by someone’s success, but then depreciate your own value by comparison is so damn unhealthy. The cognitive dissonance was real!
A lot of wasted time, but I believe I had to endure those repetitive hells to genuinely grasp the lesson and grow. In the end, I feel like if you want to excel in the commercial industry as a creative you have got to get comfortable with showing your work no matter your skill level. Don’t let fear interfere!
We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
Photography’s my bread and butter! I don’t think I’ve quite found my niche just yet, but I’ve spent the past years honing and learning about my craft. I’d shoot a lot of events and lifestyle work with hotels in the city for the great pay and new experiences, but fashion and portraiture are my constants. Dazed, Oyster, and i-D are some publications serving as foundations for aesthetic influence over my work, but again, I’m still trying to discover how I can set my style apart from the very saturated market. In terms of accolades, I’m most proud of myself for practicing resilience and picking myself up with every rejection… the road to following your dreams is not for the faint-hearted!
Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
A lot of them involve my brother or nieces and nephews, but one that I’m remembering intensely right now is arriving back in America after a long stay in the Philippines. I remember arriving at my family’s pink-hued home and storming upstairs to my parents’ dimly-lit bedroom and turning on the cable box flipping through my favorite channels because they weren’t available overseas. I watched a lot of TV growing up so this was a long awaited reunion, hahaha. It was either Underdog or Yogi Bear on the screen at that hour. I’m also remembering morning breakfasts in the same bedroom while lounging on my blue inflatable chair either tuning into Pokemon, Music Videos on MTV, or Bug Juice… tell me y’all remember Bug Juice!
PHOTO 1 Subject: Denise Khumalo | @makhu; Makeup: Disco aka Justine Fang | @disc0_lem0nade Styling: Emil Ravelo; PHOTO 2 Subject: Noah Cincotta | @noah_cincotta Styling: Emil Ravelo; PHOTO 3 Subject + Makeup: Disco aka Justine Fang | @disc0_lem0nade PHOTO 4 Subject: Jocelin Donahue | @jocelindonahue Makeup: Dee Daly | @deedaly1 Styling: Sunzhique | @sunzhique Producer: BJ Panda Bear | @bjpandabear; PHOTO 5 Subjects (L-R): Madeline Sideras | @madelinesideras + Ian Whalley | @iantwhalley + Olga Ravelo + Francis Deguia | @francisdeguia + Sam Taylor | @sam.thealchemist Styling: Emil Ravelo *Footwear given by Adidas Original; PHOTO 6 Subject: Stevie Scott | @steviescott Styling: Lauren Frost | @laurenfrost; PHOTO 7 Subject: Camille Hyde | @camillehyde Makeup: Rebecca Sophie |@rebeccasophiemakeup Styling: Lauren Frost | @laurenfrost; PHOTO 8 Subject: Chanise Fields | @chanisepaige Styling: Lauren Frost | @laurenfrost