BTS with ITES – Island to East Side



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My alarm rings, it’s 6:15 am. I roll over to grab my phone. I call an Uber to the office before my feet even hit the ground by my bedside. I pull myself together and grab the 17 pound bag of props that I collected from our apartment the night before. I am out the door by 6:21 am. 

Sienna is already at the office. Hannah is on her way. Gab is still sleeping. It’s photoshoot day. 

I am a perfect mix of excited and anxious. My creativity is about to peak and I am praying everything goes smoothly. I am ready to get in the makeup chair because if you have seen me in any of our recent IG posts, I can assure you that I did not wake up like this. 

I am usually the first to get my makeup done because I live the closest to the office and then the girls don’t have to be in super early. We have about a 12 hour day ahead of us from start to finish - getting ready, traveling and prepping on the set, shooting, videoing, capturing BTS content, wrapping up at the shoot, and then finally regrouping at the office. It's exhausting and exhilarating all at the same time. 

We typically are ready to head to the set around 11 am. By this point, we have all eaten lunch and already feel like we have worked a full day. Hannah is annoyingly energetic and Gabrielle has quit easily 5x this morning because she is over us and the chaos, but she’s finishing our hair first before she packs her bags. Sienna is the only employee I wholeheartedly love in the moment because she’s just doing her thing, being Sienna, and smiling. 

We could be shooting just about anywhere - a studio, an apartment, someone’s home, a pumpkin patch. We pick up our photographer, Lisa Richov, and pack her lighting equipment into the already overstuffed trunk of Gabrielle’s 2006 Honda CR-V. We blast the radio (using one of those cassette tapes that hooks into your iPhone because the car doesn’t have AUX) and dance to our latest, favorite song. We snap a story and post it on IG to let you know we’re on the way!

If you haven’t already gotten this sense, we have a GOOD time. We also work like crazy people and don’t take anyone's sh*t. We most definitely do not take ourselves too seriously. We actually aren’t serious at all and I think it makes the best content. We don’t care who is watching us or what type of spectacle we are making in the streets. We don’t overly plan or curate any of it. We have a mood and show up to the scene ready to make the magic happen. 

We also don’t really ask permission if we have an idea, we just go for it and then wait for someone to stop us. For example, when we launched the fringe bags we went to a pumpkin patch and corn maze. Hannah, Gab, and I drove to Queens jamming to music and talking about how we love that this is our job. Little did we know that the corn maze we drove an hour to was closed that day. We failed to look that up before we dressed in our fall best and traveled out of NYC. Classic us. Oh well, that didn’t stop our mission. We arrived at the gated maze, let ourselves right in, and started to strike our poses. Less than four minutes later, a woman on a tractor was screaming and driving full speed ahead to get us out of the maze. We got the shot though. And felt shameless about it. 

We aren’t professional models but we are the cheapest hires we can find, and it works! I think you guys like to see our faces (I think).  Although Sienna now thinks she is a model, the running joke is that I need to call her agent if I would like to request her for a shoot. Her "rates" keep skyrocketing however I am yet to see her work anywhere else other than on our feed (LOL). Nonetheless, she’s worth it and there’s nothing more that I love than a woman who knows her value and asks for it. 

Hannah is a natural beauty with her chill style, crazy curls and porcelain skin, so nothing makes me happier than forcing her to dress up in a look that couldn't be more opposite... like a glam Barbie who has pin straight hair and glitter everywhere. It is guaranteed that Hannah claims to have an allergic reaction to the false eyelashes and we see remnants of eyeliner on her for up to 3 days. 

Gab is our saucy model. She really brings the sass to ITES. I was 6 when she was born, sixteen when she was 10. I like to think I taught her everything she knows. But when we are modeling together, Gab has no problem telling me everything I am doing wrong or if I look embarrassing.  In true younger sister fashion, Gab won’t admit that I am cool but I think she knows it.  In true older sister fashion, I snap into stage mom mode REAL quick and Gab usually tells me I need to leave the room when her turn is up. Not like I own the joint or anything.  Needless to say, being on the set with the Carmona girls is a real treat. 

A short while ago these days horrified me. Now, I look forward to them. I used to dread putting myself out there in fear of not liking how I looked. It would be a lie to say I am completely comfortable doing it now, but you know what they say... growth comes from discomfort.  

The best part of these days is they show there's nothing any one of us won’t do. We all lift boxes, roll racks, assist with lighting... I mean, have you ever been on the set of a production where the talent is also fetching coffees, steaming the clothing, and organizing the props? When I say we do it all… I really mean we do it all. 

When the day (which feels like two) finally comes to an end, we regroup at the office. If we aren’t eating super clean, we probably order sushi as a treat, which Gab doesn’t eat, but that doesn’t matter because like I said, she already quit 14x and is home by now. The three of us organize ourselves, clean up, and recap the day. 

I go home, show John 8343622363 videos of the same exact thing and repeat myself over and over again about how amazing the shoot went. He definitely wants me to shut up but he listens to my excited rant as I come down from my creative high.  Then he begs me to go wash off my excessive makeup that I am purposely prolonging removing because I love it so much. I finally get in bed. Before my eyes close I seriously take a moment of gratitude for my team, my business, and my day. We outdid ourselves once again. I feel exhausted, empowered, and excited to do it all over in 2 weeks. Until then, I’ll just stare at every last photo from the day in amazement that we somehow pulled off another production that was somehow better than the last, which was better than the one before that.

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