Style Q&A: Venita Aspen | An Interview with Charleston Magazine

hey guys! i did an interview with charleston mag and its finally out! you can find the link to the final here. the questions below didn’t make the final cut but i wanted to share them with you so you could get a better understanding of me as an individual. my favorite question was the last one…. cheers!

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How would you describe your career right now—the balance of modeling and the Aspen Agency?

WILD, THRILLING, everything I’ve ever dreamt of then some and this is just the beginning. There really isn’t a true balance.. no day for me is the same and that’s honestly the best part. 

Tell us about your goals/intentions for the Aspen Agency!

My goals change daily but the Aspen Agency believes that there is a place at the table for all brands and individuals. Our intention is to celebrate inclusivity on any spectrum.We believe that everyone has a seat.

More specifically, what are you working on right now? Any big projects on the horizon you'd like to share? 

I have a few big projects coming up one of them being my collaboration with Brandless. Brandless is an online grocery store that sells organic + non gmo items for only $3. They take the middle man out of things in order to make groceries affordable again. They offer a slew of other things like napkins, cookware + toiletries all for only $3.

I’m also currently working on a collection of sorts but I can’t say to much about it just yet but keep your eyes peeled.

You work with so many different brands and designers—how do you stay organized and make it all happen?

Taking everything one day at a time is how I make it all happen.. no need to rush what is already yours.. take the time to perfect it it to the best of your abilities. Listening to your body when it speaks is another way I make it happen. If my body tells me it’s tired at 2pm I take a short nap because I won’t be able to focus on anything if Im mentally or physically tired! Time management is a way that I stay organized.. 


Do you have any organizational tools you love—whether it’s an app or a specific notebook or just a way of organizing your day?

No app believe it or not. Im pretty old school when it comes to organization. I tend to only use Appointed Co notebooks + agendas and I also keep all my papers in Shop Bando folders. You can pick up all of these things at Mac and Murphy on Cannon. 

What’s one thing you’ve done or practice you’ve followed that you think has contributed to your success as an entrepreneur? 

Enjoying the sound of my feet walking away from an opportunity that wasn’t meant for me in that moment. It’s easy to feel like we have to grab and do everything that comes our way but that’s how you get burned out. 

Other things to note are, not over explaining something.. if an individual or a brand clearly isn’t understanding where you are coming from let it go, you’ll stress yourself out trying to over exert yourself to someone who clearly doesn’t care. 

Don’t say yes just to relieve the stress of someone else. We’ve all been there.. you get asked to do something and you may be that persons last hope but you can’t forget to think about yourself and your sanity in situations like this because these things are usually last minute and your schedule may already be full. 

What’s your favorite fall/winter collection? Any specific pieces you’re coveting?

Pyer Moss.. he’s just a favorite in general. He uses is voice in the fashion community to create collections based on + talk about heritage and activism in the black community. He has a few things that I am dying to get my hands on. A beautiful curtain wrapped silk dress + all of his wide leg trousers + a baby blue Asymmetrical Linen Napkin Skirt.. Oh, and I can’t leave out his tee that says “stop calling 991 on the culture.

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Do you have a go-to bag or accessory that you wear daily?

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Again my work methods are old school to some… no fancy totes or designer bags here. I carry a backpack by State Bags. They donate a backpack full of supplies to a child in need when you purchase a bag from them.. no, me saying this isn’t sponsored or anything in this interview for that matter.. I just really appreciate shopping with brands who are trying to make a positive impact on communities who may have less than. 


Accessory obsession of the moment?

Kindness.. I guess you can’t really but this at the store but it’s something that I wish could be added to that timeless staple list… 


We all want to look as fit and healthy as you! Are there any products that help you get there—whether it’s a food item or the best workout leggings ever?

 I have a few options actually but lets start with what you are wearing. Athleta is my all time favorite brand right now. They are all about the power of she and empowering women so why wouldn’t you want to be apart of that? To my knowledge they are one of the only brands dedicate to making workout clothes just for women not women and men so they can really tailor to our needs. 


Have any other fashion favorites? Do share—our readers love recommendations!

I kinda have more of fashion tips… always shop sale, invest in your staples like nude heels for women of a good white sneaker for men things that just never go out of style.  Follow the beat to your own drum.. just because its out there doesn’t mean you have to do it.. that goes for everything in life honestly.. 


Your skin is luminous—what’s your secret?

DRINKING WATER AND MINDING MY BUSINESS…I promise you it works.. but if you are looking for something to purchase I use the following: 

Gentle Skin Cleanser from Germain Dermatology (I mean everything is good here)

Clinique Take the Day Off Oil (makeup remover)

Super Glow Serum by Glossier 

Super Bounce Serum by Glossier

Cetaphil Daily Moisturizer 

Recently you posted on Instagram: “Don’t forget to take the time to do one thing for yourself everyday.” What might that one thing be for you?

Anything that gives my mental a break may it be a run, grabbing wine at my favorite spot Graft or getting my nails done the list goes on. As long as it doesn’t require me to do to much heavy thinking I’m game. 


Any items on your holiday wish list yet?

I wish for more open mindedness and less closed off thoughts. Just imagine how much further we’d be if we took the time to listen to someone else’s thoughts instead of shutting them down the moment it may go against our own ..

Santa Baby? I hope you’re listening. 

xx VA

Model, businesswoman and Charleston native Venita Aspen spreads message of inclusion | an interview with the post and courier

Venita Aspen has a message: Your voice, and what you chose to do with it, will carry you forward.

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Change is the only certainty and it’s vital to remain confident in who you are and what you want to stand for. It’s your “capital-V” Voice.

“If you depend on something, you have to know it might not always be there for you,” Aspen says. “I had to ask, ‘What’s actually going to make people see me more than anything else?’ And it’s my voice.”

Thus far, her voice has taken her plenty of places. She’s a third generation Charlestonian and a culinary school graduate who now operates the Aspen Agency. Though she “got picked on a lot for coming into the kitchen all fashionable,” she never wavered in her personality. As a model, Aspen has appeared in national ad campaigns for Sutter Home Wines, Anthropologie and Old Navy, to name a few. 

Ultimately, though, she decided that the kitchen wasn’t where she wanted to be. So she worked a few Charleston-based fashion jobs before moving to New York for a new opportunity.

Later, returning to Charleston, she realized that the only person she wanted to work for was herself. So, she took her combined work as a stylist and a model and the Aspen Agency was born.

The Aspen Agency, however, is not a modeling agency; it has a broader, more inclusive goal and remains separate from her freelance modeling career.

“The Aspen Agency believes there is a place at the table for all brands and businesses when it comes to creating content ... no matter how big or small the name and budget,” Aspen explains.

She represents brands that champion inclusion, diversity and empowerment. One of the best examples is a recent campaign for the International Longshoremen Association (ILA).

Though the port is male-dominated, the president of the ILA (who has three daughters) wanted to change that by making a promotional video showing that women not only could be successful working at the port, they could rise to the top. The video they created with Motion Film Works features Aspen.

“Just having two minutes and thirty seconds to show that, if you’re a woman, you can be at the top of the chain — it’s inspiring,” she says.

Aspen uses her platform as a model to make a difference.

“My goal is to bring awareness to girls that look like me that anything is possible, obviously, and to also show that when you do something for yourself and by yourself, how stressful that actually can be,” she says.

Aspen spreads her message by pulling back the curtain on struggles young women — especially women of color — face in everyday situations. She is honest about her work and her struggles, reminding us that social media isn’t an accurate representation of life.

“We are still stuck in looking the best and having the best and keeping up with the Joneses, but the Joneses aren’t even keeping up!” she says emphatically. “They’re putting up this facade to make it look like they have it going on. But they don’t.”

In other words, you’re not alone; the struggle to work, to do what we love, is difficult and it affects everyone. And that’s why Aspen is passionate about using her platform in a way that benefits others.

“A big focus of mine is to let people know the real insight of working for yourself and having a vision and trying to use it positively.”

When asked if she has any advice to offer others, she says, “ ‘No’ does not mean never, it just means not right now.”

And that message is just one more way Aspen uses her voice.

venita aspen’s tricks to living a positive life and taking a killer photo | an interview with beckett boutique

It seems you can’t turn a hypothetical  “corner” of the internet these days without reading headlines along the lines of, “Why Millenials Have No Work Ethic”, or “Millennials Ruin Everything, Run For Your Life!”. And then you meet Venita Aspen, a twenty something with the most infectious smile in Charleston and who can simultaneously charm a snake while taking a fierce approach to life and the pursuit of her dreams.

In a sentence, she works hard, stays true to herself, and she kills it. Blogger, Model, Stylist, Creative Director, Initiative Taker, Gritty Entrepreneur in every sense of the word. It is hard to find anything awesome happening in Charleston that Venita isn’t headlining or at least creatively a part of.

If you are thinking all this fantasticness gets to her head then you would be completely wrong. Her humble graciousness is as inspiring as her beauty. While working with her throughout the years, we have never seen a dressing room left messy, or a borrowed clothing item left with a stain. Moreover we receive handwritten thank you notes! Call us old fashioned, but we freaking love that level or partnership and conscientiousness. For all of the above we are super excited to share this local style power house with all of you! 

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q: HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR STYLE?

  a: I would describe my own style as, global, timeless and intriguing.

q: We know you are super busy being an absolute boss, what are your tips and tricks for staying fashionably fresh when you are are on the go?

a: I always try to incorporate something that has movement and it’s usually a cardigan of some sort, rings + other fun accessories like a turban. It doesn’t matter how “basic” an outfit may be, you can always jazz it up by adding one or all of these items.  

q: The world is your oyster and your unique personal style reflects that. What style/trend would you like to see come back, and what trend do you think should vanish forever?

a: A trend that I would like to see come back has nothing to do with fashion.

A trend that I would like to see come back is respect.

 We may talk to someone about our views and they may not agree with those views and that’s okay but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t respect them or what they are saying just because we may not agree with it. I feel like we are doing a lot of that right now and it is not CUTE or TRENDY.

q: A trend I would like to see vanish forever?

a: You know I don’t have one because not every trend is my cup of tea but it may be someone else’s and I’d never want to take away something somebody may love.. No matter how strange it may be to me!

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q: What attributes or values have contributed to your drive for success…. And what advice do you have for others following their passions?

a: Some of my attributes of my drive for success is listening to my body, mind, and soul. I know it may sound weird but it’s true. If my body is tired I let my body rest. If I’m so stressed out about a shoot or a project and I start to get a headache because of it, I let it go and ask for outside input as to not stress myself out about it. If my soul and spirit are low I allow it to be low to a degree.

I see no need in pretending to be happy…

or like I have all my ducks in a row when I don’t. All that will do is make you feel worse because you aren’t where you think you should be even tho that is what you are telling people.  The same goes for being happy. If my spirit is overly excited about something I allow myself to be overly excited even if someone else may think I’m being weird. Who cares ya know? I live my life for me because at the very end of the day, when your parents are living their lives and your friends aren’t there you are all you got. 

q:Advice?

a: Don’t let what others are doing determine where you think you should be. Just do what it takes so you can get to that point. Beating yourself up about not already being there will do you no good.

Go after what you want. If you want to start modeling, reach out to agency’s or other models for advice. You want to be a stylist? Ask a local stylist if you can assist them. It’s really easy.

I mean when we want a large fry from Mcdonald’s, what do we do, we get it!

 So why shouldn’t you apply that drive in all aspects of your life?

List your last three Amazon purchases – ours are absurd (cough cough stainless steel straws) so no shame!?

a: A clear backpack, deodorant be gone sponges, and disposable makeup mask! All items for my styling kit.

q: Favorite guilty pleasure TV show that got you through this past crazy snow storm?

a: My favorite guilty pleasure TV show that got me through the storm was The Real Housewives of NJ and ATL!

q: We love your dialed in attitude and conscientious worldview, what are some issues that you feel passionate about in today’s chaotic world, and what are you doing to support them?

a: Issues that I am passionate about are: Proper Representation + Healthy Food for all no matter the budget.

a: How am I supporting proper representation. I am supporting proper representation by working hard to be the face that young women can look up to and say “ I want to be like her” or “hey mommy, she looks like me”

It is so important for everyone to feel like they matter,

                                                                                   that they are represented by their favorite brands. I mean I don’t want to get on my soap box here, but sometimes you just get tired of looking through magazines or shopping online and not seeing anyone that looks like you so you have no choice but to do something about it.

Healthy food for all. Many don’t know, but my first degree was in Culinary Arts and my goal was to make healthy eating + organic goods accessible to ALL. A few days ago I was presented with a project that will allow me to do just that and I’ll guess you’ll just have to wait and see what that is!  

xx VA


the mental stability of a creative

please excuse any grammatical errors in this post as this is just a passage i wrote for a talk i gave at smad con which i had no intention of sharing but someone needs to read this wanted to keep it so yea…a few commas may be missing + other things

so often at events that pertain to social media, we usually only hear or talk about how we can exert ourself to be better, but you never really hear anyone discuss how we can take the time to better ourselves. so I’m going to shake things up a bit because change doesn’t happen when you’re comfortable. 

a topic that I feel isn’t discussed enough is obviously our state of mind but the roller coaster of emotions that we go through every day as a people but definitely as a creative. we get accepted, denied, and put on hold everyday sometimes all within the same hour. 

depression is our biggest enemy. it’ll be the biggest battle we face daily. you can be the happiest person in the whole world and feel the wrath of depression at any moment. i’m going to preface this by saying that everything i am saying is all easier said then done. we as creatives need to normalize the discussion of depression in our industry. we have made it such a strange thing to be depressed and to allow that emotion to work its way through our life. does that make sense? we no longer take the time to allow the emotion to happen, we just ignore it. We have literally decided that we are going to take an entire emotion and make it obsolete until the unimaginable happens, death. We take the death of an individual who has suffered from depression and we shout it out to the rooftops. Screaming yelling and posting how much we didn’t realize how depressed they were. It’s because they are told to keep that side of their life private and if they open  up and talk about it their fans won’t look at them the same. STOP UN NORMALIZING the emotion that is depression. We just can’t skip over it. No more! 

Talk to your friends, talk to yourself, talk to anyone that is willing to listen and not judge you on the things that may put you in the state of depression. What I mean by this is, don’t let someone say “well that shouldn’t bother you” or “that’s not enough of an issue to make you depressed” Those are the kind of individuals that will keep you in the circulation of “all day everyday happiness” and that’s not a real thing because we are human and we have emotions. 

When you things that bother you, you must take action immediately don’t brush it off. Even if it’s an inkling of the feeling talk about it. Find someone that works for you, a traditional doctor or holistic as long as it works for YOU. If someone says something about you or your work in general and it bothers you to the point that you can’t stop thinking about it SAY SOMETHING. If they can’t take the time to understand how what they said or did may have made you feel KEEP IT MOVING. You don’t need that kind of negativity in your life. This applies to day to day life and business matter. No amount of sadness is worth your time or money. You can’t get your time back and money will always come. SAY SOMETHING

We as creatives are always trying to keep up or be better then the Jones’ if you will. That has got to stop. It doesn’t matter WHEN or HOW you do something as long as you get it done.

Being a creative can be tough. You are constantly fighting in your head about whether or not you should do something like going to an event or catching up on emails.. 

You’re always thinking, will this be beneficial. If I don’t go will people think that I think that I am better then them? I mean it is seriously an every day battle. We as creatives don’t work on someone else’s schedule, we work on our own, which is a LUXURY and we need to always remember that.

We feel bad for taking days off because we are always thinking well I could be working.

This tends to lead to more stress and this is where the practice of balance then comes into play. We have to remember that we need to stick up for ourselves and our decisions. The results will always be better if you set aside time to get a few work things done then go play instead of not touching any of your work and then stressing about it the whole time your supposed to be playing.. make sense? 

You create your work and life balance. Don’t allow anyone else to do so. 

I’m now going to take the time to touch on the the following. Acceptance, being denied or turned down, and being put on hold. 

 

ACCEPTANCE. That’s our favorite word right? We’ve done all of the hard work to get up to this point and now we’ve gotten the prize. Don’t slack up here. Now you need to bring your A game to the table times 1,000. Show your client why they chose you over everyone else. Be timely, be persistent and always ask questions if you are confused about what they may want. Never leave room for error.

 

okay so this is the easy topic I’ll go to the tougher one next. BEING DENIDED

 

getting denied is one of the hardest things and one of the worst feelings. it’ll make you feel like you aren’t worthy of whatever opportunity you just lost and any other opportunity that is to come. THAT IS NOT TRUE. it will take sometime to add this into your daily routine but you have to remember that YOU DIDN’T GET THAT OPPERTUNITY because something better is coming. Something that is more deserving of you. you may not be the right fit for that client and THAT’S OKAY. we are not going to get very job we pitch the first second or third time around. we may never get it at all and that’s okay because it wasn’t meant for us. don’t become bitter, don’t give up, and don’t allow the “no” that you have received from allowing you to accept the yes that is coming. 

 

and last but not least being put on hold. 

 

being put on hold can be just as stressful as being denied because that’s what it feels like. that’s not always the case. you may be put on hold simply because you may be two steps ahead of them and they just aren’t ready for that kind of exceleration yet.  don’t allow being put on hold to make you feel like you’ve lost an opportunity. the opportunity just ins’t ready for you yet. what do they say, “good things come to those who wait?” 

 

as a creative, perspective is our best friend. It will keep us out of those dark holes of sadness and make it easier for us to see the light. we must always remember PERSPECTIVE. 

 

 

i don’t want to seem like I’m only talking about one sided being a creative.,

 there are PLENTY of positives that come with being a creative, but those things are ALWAYS talked about. it doesn’t seem like anyone takes the time to talk about the hardships so that’s why i’m here. 

 

i can go on and on about different subjects, like discussing money, your rates, when to tell someone else no and etc but I’ll save that for another discussion. i wanted this to be short and sweet and i didn’t want to take up to much of your time but just enough of it, because I know you’ve got work to do.

 

 

i get asked a lot “How do you stay motivated” i give the same answer every time i’m asked this. i OPEN MY EYES. the start of a new day is motivating enough for me on most days. some days I’m stuck in my head but then I’ll apply all of the above to get myself going.

 

we need to remember that everything we do is a LUXURY. getting that coffee, getting your nails done, having central ac, its all luxury. 

 

we as people but especially creatives need to keep on the for front of our brains everyday that we work for ourselves, we make our own schedule and that it doesn’t mater the order we do things as long as we get them done. 

 

 

please feel free to reach out to me if you are struggling with anything ANYTHING or just need some general guidance if you’re having an off day.

venitaaspen@gmail.com