Courtesy of Wendy Zhu
I met up with Jaden Fergus at the gym in the middle of Boston Latin Academy (BLA), and we walked to the upper library to find a quiet place for the interview. He was wearing a black Anti-Social Social Club hoodie and khakis. We pulled chairs from the closest table and sat across from each other. 
“I’ve always had an interest in flying since I was a little kid and I pursued that,” Fergus said. He started flight school at Beverly Regional Airport in 2014, taking one-on-one lessons as a sixth grader. After Fergus got accepted to BLA in 2014, he started a new hobby, photography. At first, he took pictures with a friend who took urban exploration or “urbex” photographs of rooftops and abandoned buildings. From there he started taking pictures of people, thinking that if they wanted their pictures taken and he could do the honor of making them look good, he could make money from it. People learn about him through connections, word of mouth and social media, so most of his gigs are paid shoots.
 Being a student pilot is very difficult. Fergus has to take on a lot of responsibilities as a student at BLA and a young pilot. “Honestly, everything about being a pilot is challenging, but like anything else you do, you practice and get better at it,” he said.
As he overcomes these challenges with practice, he enjoys flying more and more. His favorite part about being a pilot is the freedom of it. He’s able to go places that many can’t, such as flying to Cape Cod to just grab some lunch and fly back.
Fergus learned to make time to balance school, his photography gigs and flight school. He is regularly booking photo shoots and finds that making money by doing something you love is the easiest and most fun way. 
“The plan is to do commercial piloting for the rest of my life,” Fergus said. “I will be getting my license in December.” All of his experiences as a pilot have been very eye-opening and he’s loved every moment of it. 

Read more…
Courtesy of Link Nguyen
 Lisa Estrella “Liv” Yang is a courageous Asian American business owner in the nail industry. She grew up in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, and felt different from the other kids. In this society, Yang was different from the other kids. She came to the United States as a second generation refugee, and most of her peers couldn’t relate to her experience of post-war trauma. Additionally, very few spoke her native language of Hmong, creating a cultural barrier. 
Yang started doing nails when she was in elementary school as a way to cope with bullying and depression. She was able to express herself through nail art. 
“You can show different facets of yourself depending on the occasion and still be true to yourself,” she wrote in an email. “I am grateful for my ability to express myself through nail art because that medium offers so many textures, colors, and embellishments that are interchangeable depending on the mood.” 
Her inspiration for creating press-on nails originated from her very first makeup social where she witnessed how nail polish positively affected people in her refugee community, the Hmong people who fled to the U.S. for shelter after the Vietnam War.
Yang attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison. There, she created a pro-self-esteem movement which attracted young women from all over campus to talk about beauty standards over a nail polish session. In 2014, Yang was selected top four out of over 16,000 competitors for an all-expenses-paid trip to New York City in Sally Hansen’s nationwide “I Heart Nail Art” competition. As a queer Southeast Asian woman, Yang always felt like she didn’t fit in. She lived in a state where the population was 80 percent white and only 2 percent Asian. The definition of “beautiful” in her community was white beauty.
“Growing up I felt excluded from the definition of ‘beautiful’ because rarely did I ever see a darker-skin Asian woman who was short and average size,” Yang wrote. Her experience of not being able to fit into a “one-size-fits-all” mold brought her to Boston, where she started the company Faceted Beauty.
 Yang faced many challenges throughout her nail journey and as founder and CEO of Faceted Beauty. “There are so many uncertainties as a startup,” she wrote. “My role as Founder and CEO is mitigating risk every day to ensure the survival of the company. Challenges can range from finding new customers to finding the right talent for the Faceted Beauty team.” However, her challenges taught her how to manage failure and how to get back up.
 As an entrepreneur, Yang enjoys going through the process of bringing positivity into people’s lives with nail art. She has always been “proud to be joining a long history of courageous Asian and Asian American business owners in the nail industry.” Now, Yang is getting ready to launch Faceted Beauty in Fall 2019, to promote their mission that “beauty goes beyond a one size fits all." 

Read more…
Courtesy of Kenny He
I took the escalator at the Galleria Mall up to the second floor. After turning the corner, I saw a line of people waiting outside of Foot Locker. I knew what they were here for: reserved sneakers that customers didn’t pick up. I saw Timmy Hogan, next to Elijah Hardaway Drizzy, a fellow sneakerhead, cracking jokes about the people in line, like, “Ooooh I’m telling you’re a reseller.” We had nothing to do but sit around until 3 p.m. when Foot Locker started letting the unclaimed pairs go.
Hogan began reselling sneakers in 2012, at the age of 12. “I used to go to conventions to sell my shoes and I sold through Facebook pages,” he said. Secondary markets were a little slow back then because smartphones and the internet were not as far-reaching then as they are today. If you didn’t have money for physical advertisements, you didn’t get much traffic. So, Hogan didn’t get until 2017. 
“I made around $120,000 in 2018 through reselling and $40,000 so far in 2019,” he said. Now, in 2019, there are online marketplaces like StockX and GOAT that dictate the price of a product. They are the middlemen between retail stores and anyone else who couldn’t purchase the shoe initially.
A few months back, there was a special release of the Nike SB Dunk “Green Lobster” that was exclusive to Boston. Hogan was lucky to be one of the first people lined up at Concepts. This shoe was a collaboration between Concepts and Nike. He got one pair by camping outside Concepts and another pair on the website. A few days before the release, the price of a pair dropped from nearly $1,500 to $400. Hogan sold both pairs for around $500, about market price. 
Online markets like StockX and GOAT have pros and cons. A majority of the items listed there dip within the first week of their release.
“It’s kinda bad cause it drives down the market,” Hogan said. “I remember like a few years ago before StockX and GOAT were there, [the] market was high on a lot of items.” 
Often, people panic and sell for whatever money they can get back. An example is the regional exclusive Yeezy Boost 350 “Clay.” On drop day, the price actually surged. But after Adidas orders started being delivered, prices started dropping. A size 10 in mens went from over $400 to around $350. 
Hogan managed to get his hands on 33 pairs. If he sold all of his pairs, he would make about five grand in profits. However, he’s deciding to wait. 
 “Hold them cause they’re just gonna go up in price over time,” he said. He’s predicting that within six months, some sizes for the Clays will reach $800.
There is often controversy with high-demand brands like Supreme, Adidas, Nike, Bape and Off-White. Some claim these brands are taking product away from fans and collectors, thus ruining the culture. Others complain that they couldn’t get a pair because of resellers. 
However, high demand makes it harder for everyone to cop, not just resellers. “I’m a reseller myself so reselling doesn’t really bother me. If you want to be a collector, be a collector,” Hogan said.
Extremely high-profile releases like the Air Jordan 1 “Solefly” and the upcoming Air Jordan 1 “Travis Scott” continue to cause conflict between sneakerheads, as some have resorted to selling fakes for profit. 
It is almost impossible to tell a fake pair from a real pair without comparing or using a black light. “I think fakes are the most terrible thing in this game, not only does it mess with resellers, [but] it also messes with collectors as well because if they buy a shoe they’ve wanted for a long time and its fake, that’s terrible,” Hogan said.
 At the recent sneaker convention Boston Got Sole, the event was hosting a raffle for a pair of the Travis 1s. It turns out that their pair was fake. “There was an outstanding amount of people walking around with fake Travis Scott Air Jordan 1s that are currently selling around $2,000, although the host of the event did well with blocking them out,” Hogan said.
Drizzy and Scott Stornaielo, owner of The Vault Lifestyle Boutique in Lynn, busted about four people with fake Travis Scott 1s during the two-day event.
At the end of the day, it’s harder to make a living from reselling nowadays. As the sneaker consumer market grows, the stock is spread among more people, allowing fewer people to have excessive amounts of product. “Buying all Clays $500!” Hogan said jokingly in the Foot Locker, and we walked out into the spring breeze. 

Read more…
Courtesy of Darren Seto
On the afternoon of a warm Sunday, Ann Moy, wearing a gray sweater and simple, elegant jewelry, returns from her weekend job at Chinatown’s China Pearl. Moy presently works three different jobs. In addition to working at China Pearl Restaurant on the weekends, Moy has been a volunteer board member at the Castle Square Tenants Organization for over 30 years. She’s also volunteered on the Chinatown Land Trust Committee for four years. 
Growing up with her older brother and sisters, Moy gained maturity through her siblings. She watched how they interacted with people, and noticed the ways they dealt with problems. She was always interested in teaching, so after she graduated from BPS, she pursued a bachelor’s in education at Boston State College and received her master’s in education at Lesley College.  She loves kids and was inspired to teach by her mom, who loved to study but never had a chance to teach in China.  She also was inspired by watching her nieces and nephews grow up.  Her BPS elementary teachers inspired her to go into teaching too.
After graduating from college, Moy worked as a senior social worker at Villa Victoria in the South End.  Then, she had another opportunity to work in Acorn Day Care Center and taught for two-and-a-half years before landed a teaching job with Boston Public Schools in a brand new class called Early Childhood Special Needs in 1985. Moy would go on to have a 33-year career with BPS.
In 1987, the Castle Square Apartments were being sold to a developer, so Mony and her colleague Debbie Backus formed a tenants’ group called the Castle Square Tenants Organization. 
“My goal is to just come in and help out as much as I can,” she said.
She wanted to learn more about the sale and get involved so she could help her community and advocate for the tenants.  She was a secretary on the CSTO board, and then later became the president, the position she holds today.
 On the weekends, she continues working at China Pearl because she loves to interact with people she meets from near and far.
Throughout Moy’s career, she has been blessed to work with people who gave her smiles, laughter, encouragement, and support.  She has worked with people who have different perspectives and different personalities, but she always stays focused on the goal, despite her challenges. She solves problems through open communication with the team, allowing them to find a common solution.
As I leave Moy’s office behind, I feel moved by her words and thoughts. I felt that she was passionate about helping the community and learned a lot from her understanding of working with other people. “I hope people come back to CSTO generation after generation and bring new ideas to their community and carry on the tradition in CSTO,” said Moy.  She wants to set a precedent in the community for the next generations to follow. 

Read more…
Courtesy of April Attride
Caitlin Reardon wakes up in the morning and gets ready for another day of excitement and positive smiles to start off the morning. Reardon is an educator at the Franklin Park Zoo. She teaches people of all ages about the animals at the zoo with the hope that they might become more interested in animals.
Reardon was introduced to animals at a very young age. “My uncle has worked with animals his whole life, so I was fortunate to be around exotic species since I was young,” she said. “I loved being around them so much that I knew I wanted to go to school for something revolving around animals.” 
Now, Reardon gets to change people's view on animals and make them see the better in them, along with making them want to get involved. She loves to work with the 5-and-6-year-olds because she loves to see them learning. It brings joy to hear them share what they’ve learned.
“I love speaking to them about animals because of their excitement,” she said. “They always want to share everything they know. Whenever I am able to work with this age group, the children’s enthusiasm in learning about the animals always brings a smile to my face.
Reardon has worked with turtles, snakes, lizards, small birds, ferrets, rabbits, foxes, sloths and a few others, but like many people, Caitlin loves all animals. But, there’s one that holds her heart. “My favorite animal is the jaguar, which we have at our Stone Zoo location,” she said. “My favorite jaguar fact is that they have the largest jaws out of all the big cats, which means they are able to crush their prey’s skulls. [Also,] Jaguars’ fur is quite coarse, which allows for the rain to slide down their fur as it would on a raincoat.”
Reardon is proud to be part of the zoo team. She loves to encourage an interest in animals in all the people she comes into contact with at the zoo.  “I love both of our zoos and the amazing animals [who] call our zoos home,” she said. “As long as we continue to educate guests and spark their interest in new species and conservation topics, I will continue to be proud of this job.”

Read more…