Interview: Derek Blanks [ American Celebrity Photographer,Illustrator,Director And Producer] Covers OTSM’S Entertainment And Lifestyle Issue.

Derek Blanks is a talent unlike others who share his craft. Respected media brands like CoverGirl, ESSENCE, BET Networks, and Sony Music Entertainment, to name a few, frequently seek him for iconic campaigns and cover shoots while celebrities’ request him exclusively for personal photo sessions including the Alter Ego, as made popular by NeNe Leakes of Bravo’s The Real Housewives of Atlanta.

Hello Derek, thank you for taking the time to talk to us! We’d love to hear a little more about your background in photography and how you got started in the field.
I’ve always had a love for art and being creative. Most people don’t know that I didn’t start out doing photography. I’ve been drawing since I’ve been able to write. I was introduced to painting in the 7th grade through private painting lesson that my dad paid for. And I attended the Academic and Performing Arts Complex in Jackson, MS from 3rd grade through my senior year. I always knew I wanted to be an artist for a living. From high school, I went to the Maryland Institute College of Art. So I’ve been doing some form of art almost all of my life.
My first celebrity job was shooting the red carpet for the Ludacris Foundation. I guess it was a success because shortly after they hired me to shoot for his “Tantra” energy drink. I was extremely nervous, but I worked past my nerves and did the job. Ludacris made it easy for me because he was really cool and easy to shoot. 

When working with celebrities, is there a specific protocol that takes place when you get booked for the shoot?
Typically they’ll call or text me and I’ll have my assistant or my mom, who is the business manager at my studio, work out the logistics and the money side of things. If it’s a commercial job or something coming from a record label, I’ll let my agent handle the specifics.

What has been the best moment of your career so far?
I honestly have so many moments that have been pivotal to my career that I really wouldn’t be able to pick just one. If I had to name one shoot that I was really excited about, I would have to say shooting Gabrielle Douglas for the cover of Essence Magazine right after her Olympic win, was pretty big for me.

You’ve really worked with a lot of artists and entertainers as well. What is it like photographing celebrities and also designing the Photos?
I treat all my clients like celebrities so I look at it the same.  I try to make them comfortable because if they’re comfortable, it will show in their images. As far as designing, I have a graphic design background as well. My first job out of college was as a graphic designer so it’s pretty easy to put it all together. With technology evolving every day, my job gets easier and easier to do.

What are your latest and Upcoming Projects?
I’m most known as a photographer, but I’m also a director.  I just completed a commercial for G-Technology drives. I have a few video projects in the pipeline coming up. I’m doing a power shoot and a few test shoots in Los Angeles. I try to do about 3 or 4 power shoots and at least 2 to 3 photography workshops in Atlanta each year.

What advice would you give aspiring Photographers, Graphic Designers, and People wishing to excel in the Photography and creative design Industry? 
Do what you love. Don’t do something because of the money it can potentially give you. If you do what you love, eventually the money will follow. Once you’ve developed what it is that you would like to do, always be willing to learn more about it. Growth can only help you.

What was the most surreal moment you ever experienced during a photography shoot?
I was shooting Chaka Khan and the studio caught on fire. It was totally unexpected, however, she was so professional, she continued to pose. She had a great attitude about the situation. That’s a moment I’ll never forget. She even jokes with me about her being so hot that she caused the fire.

 Lol ! Yes she is Definitely Hot!! So What inspired your previous Project “Alter-Egos”?
Digital manipulation has always been interesting to me. Wanting to merge my photography and drawing/editing component of my art was something that I saw as a welcomed challenge.

What is your favorite lighting modifier ?
I don’t have a favorite modifier. I try to figure out innovative ways to light things so that I don’t have to use modifiers. I use non-traditional forms of lighting like shooting through blinds or a cut-out piece of board that I created. I think that’s what sets my work apart from other photographers.

Where do you visualize yourself in 6years?
I’m starting to delve into television now so in 6yrs, I can definitely see me directing movies.

What inspires and motivates you daily?
Everything from billboards, magazine ads, walking down the street, etc. Really anything visual inspires me.

What’s your philosophy about life?
Life is short and you have to try to accomplish all your hopes, dreams and goals or you’ll later regret it.

Visit Derek Blanks Official Website To View More Of His Wonderful Works
Do Not Copy, Download Or Distribute Any Of The Images In This Feature, All Images Are The Copyright Work Of Derek Blanks.

Fashion : How to Reinvent Your Look – Beauty Edition. #FBlogger

Getting a complete makeover is a great opportunity to reinvent yourself and introduce a lovely change into your life. Whether you’ve decided to turn your life around and begin a new chapter as a brand new you or you’re just tired of the look you’ve had since high school, you can restyle yourself without having to go through an embarrassing episode of What Not to Wear. 

Find Your New Style

There’s a world of inspiration in the fashion and beauty field, so dive in and find a style that fits your personality. It’s important that you feel comfortable with a new look, so take some time to discover who you want to be. If you’ve decided to embark on a business venture, you can go with a classic, elegant style. On the other hand, if you want to relieve stress and become a more relaxed person, you can opt for a casual, playful look. This is an opportunity to enter the new chapter of your life in style, so don’t be afraid to experiment and try something bold. 

Revamp Your Wardrobe.

The fashion scene offers so many inspiring outfits and all you need to do is choose pieces that reflect your style. Start by going through your closet and saying goodbye to articles of clothing that don’t fit your new style. Although giving up some of your favorite pieces will be difficult, don’t give in to the temptation to keep them (unless they can fit into your new style, of course). When choosing new clothes, you should invest in classic, essential pieces that you can wear on different occasions and combine into various looks. From shirt dresses and classic designs to statement jackets and close-fitting leggings, you have plenty of trendy options. This is a simple way to revamp your closet without spending a fortune. 

Experiment With Your Hair.

Even the slightest change in your hairstyle will completely transform your look. What’s even better is the number of choices that you have! From simply parting your hair the other way to dying your hair in another colour, you can experiment as much as you want. You can try a completely new haircut, for example, a short yet chic bob. On the other hand, if you want your hair to look longer or thicker, you can use fabulous clip in hair extensions that will add volume to it instantly. You can also make two braids with some casual yet feminine pieces falling along your hairline. Finally, you can also style up your hair with some chic accessories, such as ribbons or floral details

Reinvent Your Makeup

Another simple way to reinvent your look is changing your makeup style. There are some bold yet classic solutions that will completely transform you. For example, if you’re used to wearing subtle lip gloss, why not try something bolder and more seductive such as the ever-popular red lipstick. If you want something playful, you can try a colourful mascara. Not only will this change your look, but it will also accentuate your eyes. On the other hand, if you’ve featured a bold, eccentric look for years, you can tone it down with some subtle, but enticing choices, such as matte lipstick hues or skin-coloured eyeshadow emphasised by an elegant eyeliner. 

Choose A New Skincare Routine.

Reinventing your look isn’t only about changing the visible details, but also about giving your skin a natural, youthful glow. A simple, but healthy change you can make is switching to organic skin and beauty products. Organic products are based on natural ingredients that will provide your skin with numerous nutrients while regular products may irritate it with their chemical-based substances. Furthermore, you should apply more sunscreen to protect your skin from harmful UV radiation and prevent premature aging. Finally, you should also consider using night creams and treatments that will nourish your skin and reduce fine lines and wrinkles. The transformation starts from the inside and, as soon as you implement some changes in your skincare routine, your skin will become healthier.

From simple, but effective changes to a complete makeover, you have numerous options to reinvent your look and yourself. 
Brigitte Evans
Brigitte is a newbie writer from Australia, with a sweet tooth for makeup and everything sparkly.When she is not drooling over the next big thing in the beauty industry, she is reading mystery novels and making plans for her next trip. She is a proud aunt of Sophie, age 2 who rounded her Chanel lipstick but loves her anyway.

Wellness: 5 Habits Your Future Self Will Thank You For. #Lifestyle

As a society, we are encouraged to live in the moment and only focus on things that will benefit us now, without thinking about our wants and needs in the years to come. But the truth is, you can provide benefits for your present self, while still reaping major rewards for the future, just by adopting a few healthy habits at a younger age. The small actions we take today have the power to make huge lasting changes tomorrow. So, here are some of the habits your future self will thank you for having.

1. Limit negative influences

Habitual negative thoughts most of us encounter daily have a way of consuming us and leading to a state of depression and hopelessness, which can be devastating for us in the long run. Thankfully, thinking positively and treating ourselves kindly can also become a regular habit. Whether you choose to compliment yourself out loud in the mirror every morning or write down things you are grateful for every day, such positive affirmations will undoubtedly build your confidence and motivate you to tackle everyday obstacles with ease. Stress is also a great negative influence many of us encounter on an everyday basis, but it can lead to serious mental and physical health issues. That is why it is extremely important to find a healthy coping mechanism when encountering stressful situations, as well as to set aside a few minutes out of your day to relax and unwind while doing something you truly enjoy.

2. Adopt a healthier diet

Oftentimes we get so consumed by our busy lives that we turn to unhealthy fast food as the quickest option for our daily meals. However, by setting aside some time out of your day to prepare rich, healthy meals you will start to see a major difference in your overall health, as well as your looks, not to mention the important benefits you would be giving to your older self. Opt for nourishing, healthy foods filled with antioxidants, unsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids, in order to improve your dietary habits. Don’t forget to stay hydrated throughout the day, because water improves your metabolism and flushes out toxins, while nourishing your body and your skin.

3. Establish a proper skin care regimen

Taking good care of your skin now will reduce the signs of aging later in life, which is why it is so important to establish a good skin care routine. Start by using a gentle cleanser that cleans your pores and lets your skin breathe, and always remember to incorporate a good moisturizer into your regimen, in order to give your complexion proper hydration. If you suffer from stubborn blemishes, quality acne skin care products are especially important to incorporate into your beauty routine. Always remember to apply sunscreen, or use UVA and UVB protective products, to protect your skin from the harmful sun damage you are exposed to every day.

4. Create a regular exercise routine

Exercise is the one thing we all know we should be doing, but we rarely actually incorporate it into our daily routines. The biggest misconception about physical activity is that it needs to be a huge, exhausting endeavor, such as weightlifting or cardio exercises. While these things do have numerous health benefits, the truth is that you don’t have to go to the gym every day in order to improve your health. Your wellness routine can consist of anything from yoga and morning jogs to dance sessions in your living room. The most important thing is to find an exercise activity you truly enjoy, in order to stay persistent, and your future self will undoubtedly be eternally grateful.

5. Remember to get enough sleep

Adequate sleep is an extremely important contributor to your overall health, because chronic sleep deprivation can lead to serious health issues, such as obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. In order to feel rested and energized in the morning, your body requires at least seven hours of sleep every night. If this looks like a difficult task for you to accomplish, start by going to sleep and waking up at the same time every day, even on weekends, in order to adopt a healthier sleeping pattern your body will instantly be grateful for.
Scarlet Gratton

Scarlet is a passionate writer and regular contributor at interested in fashion, lifestyle, and health. She loves traveling, you could say that she is a real travel addict, especially when she has a chance to visit some exotic destinations. She would tell you that inspiration can be found in the most unexpected places.

Exclusive Feature: Meet OTSM'S Female Entrepreneur Of The Month - Mallory Humes [Marketing And Business Consultant].

OTSM: In a few words, Who is Mallory?
MH: I am a marketing consultant and I teach those who want to have some breakthrough in their brand or business how to take their business to the next level.
OTSM: What motivated you to go into this field?
MH: I want to help entrepreneurs end any marketing frustration they have and create an effective client marketing strategy and plan that works best for them. 
OTSM: What were you into before becoming a "Marketing and Business Consultant"? 
MH: I work best when I am part of a team. I spent the past 15 years in the crazy world of retail in customer service, marketing, product marketing, inventory management, and sales. Through retail, I gained an understanding of the world of customer service. Gaining knowledge in this industry was essential, so I obtained my Associates in Business Administration, and quickly went on to receive my  Bachelor's in Marketing.

OTSM: Tell us about your brand "Mallory Your Consultant".
MH: "Mallory Your consultant" is a service-based business in Redford, Michigan that helps creative entrepreneurs and small businesses create a marketing strategy through effective marketing planning. My mission is to empower creative and determined small-based business owners to solve their current marketing challenges, discover new ways to reach their clients, develop new skills to grow their business and create a marketing plan and strategy that brings them joy, fulfilment and growth. 

Beauty : Exclusive Interview With Jill Caputo [OTSM'S Best Female Hair And Beauty Entrepreneur Of The Month]

Jill Caputo is a Hair, Beauty & Skincare Expert, She is an Experienced Independent Consultant with a leading Luxury Hair and Skincare company called [Monat], She is also the Managing Market Mentor.
She has demonstrated a history of working in the automotive industry in sales, book-keeping, marketing and advertising, She is also highly skilled in Sales and Strategic Planning. 
She is a strong consulting professional with a Bachelor's degree focused on Family and Consumer Sciences. When I first connected with Jill, I thought to myself, what a wonderful
woman with beautiful vibes and energy, she has now got me hooked on "Monat" and I know this beautiful soul is heading to greater heights. [Read Her Full Interview Below]

Fashion - Ways To Coordinate Bride And Groom Outfits For The Wedding. #weddings #fashion

Choosing the right wedding outfits for you and your future husband can be a fun, yet exhausting experience. We can only imagine how hard it must be for a future bride to find her dream gown. On the other hand, the groom's suit is equally important. If you want to look like two peas in a pod and show that you're a cool couple, you can match your outfits just for fun. Traditionally, the groom isn't supposed to see the bride's dress until they are about to exchange their vows, as we all know it's said to be bad luck. However, if you are planning to do a themed wedding, or to get your outfits coordinated, then ditching the tradition would be a step in the right direction. Here are some cute ways you should follow in order to bring together your big day attire.

Fleur power!

Wedding decorations, as well as flowers, represent your great taste and it should be done in major style. The safest way to tie your outfits together is to pick a neutral bouquet that matches the groom's boutonniere. Make sure you use the same flowers that you're using elsewhere at the ceremony. Also, these flowers can match flower decoration on your wedding cake.

Twinning is winning

You could totally have your own 2001 Britney and Justin iconic moment by matching your outfits together. No, we aren't encouraging you to wear denim on denim on denim for your wedding day, but opting for the same attire color would be amazing. First of all, not many brides are into wearing white. Different shades of nude, peach and almond colors are pretty elegant and easy to pair with most men’s wedding suits. Second of all, you could always find a single detail or an accessory that goes with the groom's tie or pocket square, and show the guests you're tied together on so many levels. 

Nail the wedding game

Since weddings are getting more and more modern these days, women tend to think of every single detail that will look good on photos. Some brides like to get pretty creative with their nail art, while others choose to remain simple and effortless. We can all agree that a nail polish is the best accessory, and you should think in advance what shade would work best for you. There's no mistake when it comes to neutral hues such as rose gold, nude, blush or beige. What's more, these colors can match your hubby's boutonniere or bow tie. If you want to bring in that 'something blue', then opt for baby blue pastel nails, and you're done.

A lil' themed party never killed nobody

Today, you can pull inspiration from everywhere, and make your wedding day fun and unforgettable. You can make it either modern or with a vintage touch. Think of a mutual TV series or a movie you both like and make a show. Get into the characters and channel their looks. Think of a fairy tale you could recreate and your guests would surely appreciate your willingness to make it all spectacular and lit. Plus, it's not every day you get to be a princess, so think big.

His and Hers

The right choice of shoes is important for both of you, so find a matching color that is versatile and comfy, and that you could both wear after the wedding. Black is boring and predictable, so make your man have some color in his shoes. Golden ankle strap heels perfectly match the beige cap-toe oxfords. So, show the world you're stepping into marriage in style.

The rings

The rings can contribute to the whole bride and groom look, even though they're not technically part of the outfit. Not many couples opt for the same rings, but it costs nothing to make an exception. White gold rings are universal for both of the newlyweds and they are lifelong essentials.
So, is your big day getting closer? If so, go through the list again and envisage your perfect wedding styling.


Brigitte Evans
Brigitte is a newbie writer from Australia, with a sweet tooth for makeup and everything sparkly. When she is not drooling over the next big thing in the beauty industry, she is reading mystery novels and making plans for her next trip. She is a proud aunt of Sophie, age 2 who rounded her Chanel lipstick but loves her anyway.