I May Be Down, But I’m Not Out

Growing up, I always knew that college was a goal and an important step in my life. I bounced between a few community colleges and then in August 2001, while in my first semester at Grossmont College, I realized that I would major in economics. A couple of weeks later the September 11th attacks on the United States occurred and I was devastated, however I was also more determined than ever to succeed and use my talents to help make the world a better place.

Within one year of realizing my major, I had finished two economics courses (micro and macro) at Grossmont, completed an internship at an investment bank, participated in three college counselor meetings and was accepted into San Diego State University (SDSU).

While at Grossmont I also took an English class, which was required to transfer into SDSU. It was there I learned my talent as a writer, as my teacher had a total verbal orgasm on the sidelines of my term paper.

It was my first research paper and was titled something along the lines of “The Benefits of Producing Industrial Help in the United States.” Sure I was a pothead still, so in between blazing and surfing I thought it would be a cool research project.

I turned in my paper late, which I soon learned was the reason in high school I always got a C in English to compliment my otherwise straight A’s and occasional B. What I didn’t expect was my teacher’s reaction. 

While taking the written final, she called out my name. All the other papers had been handed back but since I turned my paper in a week late, she was grading it during the final. 

"What the fuck, I’m not cheating!" I thought. Cheating was frowned upon and we were threatened continually with expulsion in most of my classes. Plus I’m smart as hell, so why would I cheat. If anything, someone would know that and try to copy my Scranton (the fill in the bubble answer sheet students use for testing purposes).

The older female professor called me up to her in front of everyone else. Eyes wandered in my direction but I wasn’t that nervous as I am not or ever will be a fucking cheater.

"Have you written a paper like this before?," she asked.

"What do you mean, I took English in high school but this is my first college course," I stated in a low tone so that those wondering eyes on my back would give up and return to work.

The professor responded, “A research paper, with citations.” So she wasn’t concerned with cheating, I was relieved.

"Yes, I’ve never done a paper with citations before." What I didn’t tell her was that a girl I met at the bar I worked at (can’t remember her name either but I know we only went to second base), was an English professor at another college and since she liked me, she was nice enough to teach me about citations and overlook mine so that they were correct. In essence, I knew my citations were good so what the fuck did she want?

In my mind I thought “I know the paper is late, so give me my low grade already, let me finish this course and I’ll never step foot in an English class again, promise.” Not so fast, however.

"This paper is excellent. It should be sent into The Wall Street Journal for publication. You are one of the most talented writers I’ve ever seen in 30 years of teaching English. Do something with it. I’m giving you a B-minus because it’s a week late. Here you go."

After returning to my seat, I looked at her notes. In the margins, before I could get to the end with the grade, were comments every inch or so that were along the lines of “Oh my God, yes!,” “This is Great!,” “I like this!” and “Wow!”

As I stated earlier, orgasms all over my paper. Then the B-, which wasn’t bad because I only needed a C to pass the class and enroll at SDSU. I finished my Scranton, turned it in and bounced.

Since I found out I was the shit at writing, I decided to put it to use. After I began classes at State, I became a photojournalist for Surfshot Magazine, a local surfing publication. While at Surfshot I became an opinion columnist for the SDSU daily newspaper, where I submitted a 650 word column on anything I pleased each week.

At the newspaper I quickly learned professionalism as well as politics. The editor was a black female that took the bus to college and her assistant was an emaciated, poorly dressed, white and prematurely balding 20-something year old male. Once they found out I leaned conservative, the leadership of the Opinion staff looked down on me and wanted to oust me. I was a well-dressed, white male that lived by the beach and owned a vehicle. I naturally fit the privileged stereotype, even though I had to work my ass off to pay rent just like they did.

Although I wrote several political pieces, the only one that was published was in regards to the nomination to the bench of now-Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, which I stated may be a threat to Roe versus Wade. Along with the Roberts article, other articles they published of mine were either non-political or beneficial to the liberal agenda (such as campus safety ideas such as limiting deliveries at peak between-class hours, which would clearly cost more to businesses and not be a docket on the conservative agenda).

Eventually I was asked to leave by the opinion editor.. actually I was told to leave. After complaining that my non-liberal articles were being scrapped for weaker articles by less talented staff that supported her liberal agenda, she had enough. She used everything she could against me. This is where I also learned to be careful when writing emails.

At the end of the Spring semester, she told all of us, whether or not we were attending summer school (I was not), that contributing to the paper (which was monthly, not daily in the summer) was optional and they needed about four people per month to publish the paper.

I wrote her a week later that I was working all summer and didn’t want to contribute. She wrote back that she really needed someone for just one article. After reviewing her request, I decided to contribute a piece (which ended up being the Roberts article). I even drove all the way to State to pick up the paper since I collected the ones I was published in.

When I was told to leave the paper in the next semester, she stated in her “evidence” against me to the Editor-In-Chief that I “clearly did not want to participate as noted by my email this summer where I didn’t want to contribute.”

What a crock of shit! I met with the Editor-In-Chief and it was futile. She was protecting her hard-working, $6 per hour opinion editor who would have been tough to replace as the assistant editor could hardly even hold a conversation let alone lead a group and nobody else wanted the job.

So I left the paper and ended up being promoted to assistant editor at Surfshot. At this time I was only down temporarily, as the Surfshot promotion and lessons learned in political maneuvering healed my loss at the newspaper.

The magazine was growing and with my newspaper experience, I soon found myself as an advisor to the publisher. I taught him a shitload of valuable lessons I had learned and consulted him on staff, responsibilities and company growth prospects. I remember staying late one December evening to teach the publisher how to work with a professional Editor-In-Chief and what responsibilities a new editor should entertain. I remember this because I had a calculus final and still had to make my legal cheat-sheet (one-side of a standard sheet of paper) for it.

I ended up with only a few minutes to make the cheat-sheet but did fine in the class. What I did here was showcase that when I work for a company, I don’t work just for the experience and/or the paycheck. I work to make the company better and give 110%.

In two years I graduated SDSU with a degree in economics. The recession was set to begin as home prices were on the decline and large banks began experiencing trouble. I had a job lead in New York to work for Bear Stearns, which was a dream of mine. Morgan, the investment banker in New York! That was my dream, then.

I realized banking was not a great idea and it was a good thing, as the whole sector was set for unprecedented layoffs over the next year and Bear Stearns ended up becoming nearly insolvent before being sold for a fraction of its year-before value.

I attempted to become an asset manager for a real estate company to no avail, they wouldn’t take my calls or talk to me in person. Since I liked real estate, I even tried to become a leasing agent for $10 per hour. A fucking lame-ass boring job showing yuppies apartments in Mission Valley. As a good-looking, energetic and young recent college-grad, why not?

Those assholes never even called me back! Must have been a tough market, perhaps some laid-off real estate brokers got those jobs but I wasn’t deterred. I was still a recent grad and was only looking for jobs in a particular sector (for an entire two months I tell you!).

I branched out to the restaurant industry where I had worked in both the kitchen and front-of-the-house (serving, food running, hosting, ECT…). Within a week I was hired at Harbor House, an $8 million per year two-story tourist trap in Seaport Village.

I was a server, however they needed a bartending shift or two covered per week and the current bar staff couldn’t do it. Bartenders made less tips per shift, about $100 when servers were making $150+ on a slow weekend lunch shift. I quickly volunteered as I wanted more bar experience and was once again working for the company, not for my paycheck.

After two weeks as a server/bartender, I was pulled aside by Evans, a manager with the restaurant group for over a decade. I was just out of college, he was in his sixties. I was fresh and full of energy, he was old and full of energy. Everyone loved the guy.

I was thinking “What the fuck did I do now? I’m kicking ass here, they have no reason to get me in trouble. Oh shit, I know what he wants. I’m a fucking rockstar. He’s gonna promote me.”

Sure enough, I was promoted to management. Turns out I was already the top server regarding sales, was seen as a company man for stepping up as a bartender, got along with everyone great and was well-liked by management. I’m sure it was also helpful that I had also found menu and computer pricing discrepancies that when fixed would save the company over $25k per year.

As you can imagine, when fish tacos are $11.95 on the lunch menu yet were $9.95 on the computer, no customer would complain. I don’t know how nobody else caught it, however after checking all lunch menu pricing after I noticed the error I found about $8 worth of pricing that in my estimation was easily costing the company over $2k per month.  

As a company man, I didn’t brag about this or seek recognition. I actually handed the hostess a sheet with all pricing errors and correct amounts to give the GM when he wasn’t busy. He naturally asked her who the fuck gave her that and thanked me profusely. Job well done.

After a year as a manager for about 100 employees, I was a little burned out. Sure I bartended and served a couple shifts a week as well, however the restaurant offered no growth and the GM was set in his ways. They weren’t open to change and although I was making over $50k per year, had all debts from college paid off and bought an older Cadillac Escalade (got a great deal, was only $8,800 during the recession while blue book was $14.5k), I was bored out of my mind.

I ended up getting in trouble and it involved sex, however it turned into a great situation. That’s right, downright fucking got me in a heap of shit.

For months I was telling myself to get the fuck out of Harbor House and start my business idea, which was a free, fashion magazine geared towards women. I couldn’t do both as the job was demanding and I barely had enough time to eat, sleep and exercise on my off-hours.

To keep it short, one girl I was friends with and occasionally carpooled with was dumped by her boyfriend. She thought they were getting married but apparently he didn’t think so. I gave her my sympathy and somehow the whole “let’s fuck as friends” deal happened. I don’t know how but it did.

I remember clearly telling her as a manager I couldn’t fuck the help (haha) so we had to keep a lid on it. Also, I told her that we shouldn’t fuck because she would start to like me and I didn’t want her as a girlfriend. She INSISTED that she wouldn’t develop feelings and I told her that’s a bunch of bullshit and that she would start to like me and end up getting hurt again.

We hooked up a few times and it was fun. At this time one of the girls I hired in the summer was just driving me nuts. I didn’t know why but every time we worked together I would get a chill as she got close to me. A butterflies-in-the-chest, heart-pumping, brain-freezing chill. I couldn’t ask her out but I did want her to ask me out.

Soon enough she asked me to take her surfing, we kissed and I was in la-la-land. The other waitress was still depressed about her ex. Since the one I was fucking had acted a little weird when she got too drunk before my new-girl surfing date, I hadn’t even hooked up with her.

After the surfing date the first girl said she wanted to come over to smoke some weed. I was still sort of a pot-head, so I said okay but that we were done fucking. I didn’t have time for drama and I could tell she was starting to like me.

She came over and ended up giving me one of the best blowjobs of my life. As all guys probably feel, there really isn’t a better feeling than receiving a bomb-ass blowjob from a hot-ass chick. I was literally in disbelief and when it was over, I had a smile the size of the grand canyon on my face.

She wanted to fuck next but I told her to chill and give me a break. Since I wanted to start a magazine, I had a show recorded called “The City” that involved Elle Magazine, so I asked her to watch it with me.

I was told to “fuck-off,” that I was an “asshole,” and that she was leaving. I still valued her as a friend but of course I wasn’t gonna beg for forgiveness in a hormone-infested, unnecessary rage.

I had a whiteboard up on my living room wall with magazine goals on it. There was a note from the other waitress on it from the after-surfing, after-dinner, let me try and fuck you evening (she liked me so said she couldn’t do it and left if you really want to know, so I had to wait for fun with her).

Apparently the broken-hearted waitress saw the note before the blowjob, then used it to fuel her rage after the blowjob. Of course I wouldn’t find out until a week later.

So the next week there was an unofficial, unsponsored-by-the-management employee party at another waitresses house after work. The broken-heart waitress was too “sad” to go and the waitress I wanted had to work late. I decided to convince lonely-heart to go to the party and that I would give her a ride but leave early (since I had plans with the new girl). We would just go as friends, as I cared for her as a friend.

Whoops!! Broken-heart got wasted, totally smashed. She asked if I was leaving to go hang with new girl. When I said yes and asked her how she know, she then exposed the fact that she saw the whiteboard note before the last encounter we had a week earlier. I told her I really liked her and about the surfing date, reminding her that I told her I didn’t want to hook up with her anymore two weeks prior and that she promised not to like me.

Well, after I left she told one of the gossip-spreading loud-mouth waitresses that we were fucking and that I ditched her at the party to go fuck new girl (who I hadn’t even hooked up with yet!).

Within a couple weeks her friends at work (most of the staff) all were pissed at me and two of them, girls I protected from the GM when they deserved multiple write-ups during a few of my previous management shifts, ratted me out.

I couldn’t get fired for here-say, however since we had laid off several workers during the recession (I even had to personally let my favorite waitress, a girl that had so much happiness and did such a great job, go because the GM decided she was on the short list - I kept her on for the first two rounds of layoffs but couldn’t do anything by the time I was asked to let her go on my shift), I was a great new layoff candidate. It makes sense now, as you don’t want a dozen upset women working with a manager who they think fucked over their best friend.

So I was laid off and broken-heart apologized profusely. She was so upset that that happened but she couldn’t do anything about it.

I was down, once again. I used this to my advantage however. I had saved up cash and after a month of relaxing, I finished my business plan for the magazine and spent the next three months editing it with mentors.

My career counselor at State had started a couple of successful businesses and was just working at the college for retirement fun. I went to him and he gave me the best advice anyone could. He said “plan the work, work the plan.” Those six words changed my life. While others discouraged me, he showed me the key and told me that I could do it.

I began visualizing everyday how I wanted my life to me. I kept at it, borrowed money and then launched the company.

Over the next three years, I made the best free, local magazine that San Diego had ever seen. One guy, named Matt, who owns a promotion company and works with several nightclubs, saw the magazine and invited me to lunch. Matt said all the girls couldn’t put the magazines down and that since he rallied girls for club promotion, that he wanted to be part of it.

It was a smart move on his part, as we sponsored Vegas trips, inserted party photos from his events and even profiled the guy once with a two-page spread. He helped out by telling his decision-maker friends that our magazine was the shit and that they should advertise.

This guy ended up being one of two dudes I met through the magazine that have some of the best integrity that I have ever known. The other guy, Travis, was an early advertiser that saw the value of reaching our demographic for his t-shirt business. He took me to lunch after about a year of advertising to let me know he had a new company he wanted to promote through editorial, which was a watch company.

His watch company, which we did a two-page spread and a video on, ended up doing quite well. They went on MTV’s The Real World, became a sensation and then ended up expanding globally on the giving-back-to-charity platform.

Over the three years I published the magazine I held several accounts and worked about100 hours per week. I produced dozens of events, promoted for the nightclubs, raised money for charity, produced dozens of videos and made great network connections. Also, I only slept 3-4 hours per night max! I remember that I would pass out during most of my haircuts but was forgiven by my regular girl because she knew how hard I worked.

One of the biggest joys would be seeing unpaid interns move on and get dream jobs off of their experience at the magazine. Employers knew the magazine and since it was so clean, with cutting-edge fashion, nightlife and editorials, huge credit was given to these girls that put so much love into the product.

After three years I learned my biggest lesson in business. Although I should have realized this before, sales is the biggest driver of business. I just thought that since I had the best product out there, was the most popular magazine for nightlife-customer targets and had the biggest promotion and event capabilities for a local magazine that clients would come to me.

One client, Bar West, is a nightclub in PB where I now live. I reached out to them before I started the company and gave one of their girls a mock-up with Bar West on the back cover.

I couldn’t even get a meeting for what I deemed was my biggest and most important potential client. I went ahead and published a few issues, after which they ended up calling me. I met with the group and walla, they were on board!

Bar West ended up being my best client. They always paid their bill on-time, whenever I asked for trade that was adding up they gave it to me within an hour and to top it off, they were a great lead for other clients as the place was always on the cutting-edge of the new and best advertising strategies.

In retrospect, I should have made contact with the upper-management at Bar West before going into business, rather than allow an assistant to tell me they weren’t interested. It was funny, when they called me and we met the girl in charge asked me why the fuck I didn’t approach earlier. I told them that the assistant (who ended up getting a promotion to marketing manger a year later) told me to eat a dick rather than give up a meeting and a fair-shake at their business. Of course I didn’t use those words but that’s exactly what happened.

The company ended up cancelling with us after six issues as they had to spend money on a new venue, however they jumped back and forth with us as a client afterwards. I always inserted party pictures from their club for free and gave them the best placement possible, really showing them that I valued them as a client. I even gave them the back cover for the music issue one year at no additional charge, since the ad they gave me had a huge up-and-coming DJ on it named Brett Bodley and I wanted to hook them up.

Toward the end of 2012 I partnered with a girl I was dating on the magazine, which turned out to be a big mistake. She ended up leaving after a six-week period but not after costing me the resignation of over half the staff due to her inability to work with others. Don’t work with someone you date, lesson relearned!

To be successful, we had to get more advertising clients. After this girl left, she decided to take some clients down with her to spite me. She told stories about how I “ripped her off” and “don’t give a fuck about _____ client’s venue” and “only wanted their ad dollars but thought they were losers.”

It worked! A few clients told me what happened and were smart enough to see right through it and forgive my lack of judgment in bringing her on. Other clients fell hook, line and sinker.

One of my biggest clients, a nightclub downtown, had me promote several events and give them free ads before they would pay for any marketing. I had guestlists of over 300 people, threw fashion shows for free and kicked ass so hard for them! They ended up joining us and one of the promoters they worked with ended up getting a job as their marketing manager.

This guy was a marketing genus and it was a great move for the nightclub to pick him up. The problem was that he treated me like a housekeeper that kept breaking shit instead of a valued market partner. He taught me a huge lesson though. He wanted to help me succeed and gave me tips on how to get more clients. He told me it was all-or-nothing with nightlife, that he would start off with us since they are a nightclub-industry leader but that I would need everyone for them to stay on board.

I learned he liked girls too, a lot more than me. I don’t know what the fuck he had against me! I think it must have been my lack of marketing experience. I had the magazine down pat, however my sales pitch was weak compared to hard-liners from other companies that have dedicated sales professionals. With me, it was a one-man show with a lot of free fucking help from people who were in love with the product. A salesperson would cost money that I didn’t have, so it remained a one-man show.

Another thing he taught me was to lock in advertisers before giving them free shit. He said he wanted to advertise in one issue, so I sent out a photographer to hook him and his boss up with a free portrait and 2-page spread.

Turns out he decided that the free spread was enough, cancelled the ad as I had no contract for the month and I ended up taking a bath that cost me over $1,000. I could have saved the grand by cutting his feature to one-page, as well as everyone else in that feature. the eight extra pages needed to keep him in a spread cost me $1,500 at the printers - money which I could not recover without his support.

Rather than go back on my word to the photographer and everyone else involved in the feature, I took the hit as a hard-knocks lesson and investment in the magazine’s future.

Turns out since we had such a strong readership that a shit-ton of people called this guy and his boss to say “fuck yes you guys look good in that magazine way to go you gansta fuckin’ animal.”

Success was earned here, however it ended up catching up with me by the end of the year with the new chick as my partner. He started chatting her on Facebook (I learned FB is a very important part of a marketing manager’s job). He confided in her. He told her secrets that I heard but didn’t want to hear!

Basically this guy wanted a better sales pitch from me, more nightlife comp ads (both of which he told me) and a hot chick to work with instead of me.

Instead of working for comp ads, I worked on building the best team possible and producing the best magazine possible. We were tight and focused. I had a kick-ass social media strategy that was working. Our response was incredible, I had top PR companies from LA asking me to insert A-List celebrities on the cover. Production was working better than ever.

Sales were slacking. Our competitor was destroying us somehow. My pitch needed work and after taking such a huge bath on one issue of lost ad revenue, the money to print new media kits was no longer available. I was falling behind but managed to get enough sales to produce each issue.

In the last issue I published, I ended up giving Bar West two pages for the price of one (which included a free back cover). I got several new nightlife venues on board and let the problem girl go. It seemed like everything was okay.

Next we shot the cover with The Millionaire Matchmaker. Now the magazine was good I went to all of my advertisers.

Oops!! I fucked up in two ways. With another new competitor on the market, I should have been at sales earlier. These guys were charging half my price and had a slick sales guy that people liked. The second error was the human resources blunder I mentioned earlier of hiring a girl I was dating.

I’m not going to say she dated me just to get the magazine job but I should have seen the signs coming. She set up a tax-attorney meeting to help us “save money,” which ended up a pitch to give her “50% ownership stake” in the company. What the fuck? I may have been in the honeymoon phase but seriously, I wasn’t fucking stupid.

When she left, she wanted more money that I agreed to pay her. She ended up telling one client not to pay me until I paid her, when her commission was coming from their club! All she did was make the intro, do one meeting and send out a mass-email to potential clients for an event that the club’s hotel was hosting. I actually closed the sale, went to the event, promoted it and got the payment (all while she was on vacation on the East coast for three weeks).

In commission jobs, you share it when someone helps you like that. I told her it’s all hers though and did pay her accordingly. Just as I learned in the two-waitress incident where I got fucked over, this girl rallied the club marketing-manager against me. She told the club “Morgan hates your venue and said the event was bullshit and he just wants your money.” This only delayed payment and sabotaged months of relationship-building.

The previous venue that I brought up, with the guy who really wanted to help me succeed and loved our magazine, decided not to advertise with us after the girl I was dating left. I don’t know why, however she did tell me that she would do everything she could to destroy my relationship with that client.

To top it off, Bar West (who I had featured in 2.5 pages for free) decided they wanted to wait to advertise as well, all while continuing on with my original competitor as well as a free college newspaper called The Koala. As many know, The Koala makes money by talking shit on studens, with comments such as “I fucked that girl  and sorority XXX with no condom and I have herpes, good luck with that slut.” Women hate that paper and it hurts people. Most people read it then toss it, where my magazine was  loved, saved and re-read several times by our readers. We sought to empower women through fashion, which was part of our mission statement.

So Bar West and Club “I’m not telling you” were both out. A third club, which is one of the leading clubs in San Diego, told me they wanted to advertise 3-4 issues in 2013 and do an event with us. At the meeting I said “what if I lower the cost of 4 issues such that the same price gets you 10 issues, so you would have ads all year. This would help you get more readership and help me with other clubs, as “guy from club I’m not telling you” said it’s all about comp ads.”

Well, too much information kills you. She told me I sounded to “needy” and that she wasn’t going to advertise. She was all about free promotion of their club girls and asked for that but refused to spend a dollar. One of her VIP hosts was our fashion columnist and the girls that go to the clubs ALL like our product better, however she was out.

I learned that it’s all about relationship building and not to tell people all the facts. I’ve always been hurt by people because I’m so TRUSTING. I thought more issues with their ad would be good, she thought fewer ads made her club more exclusive and I didn’t listen well enough. It turned into her not wanting to advertise and me questioning 3 years of no-sleep and 100 hour weeks.

I felt that she went back on her word and didn’t care that we were actually supporting the industry and focusing all of our editorial toward fashion and nightlife, which the nightlife girls LOVE. I was supporting her staff and friends, as well as photographers she adores. What I didn’t have was an established relationship with her as my competitor did, as well as an understanding of her needs that cost us the entire year of ads.

Losing these 3 huge clients after 3 years of dedication meant I would have had to take a huge hit on the next issue with money I could no longer afford to lose.

Since I didn’t publish, these guys can say they made the right decision, however it was by my lack of alternate clients and adequate sales pitches that cost me years of hard work and cost over a dozen lost internships and paid-jobs.

Today I am sitting on The Millionaire Matchmaker issue which would work, except for the news, events and editorials for places that are no longer in business. I am going to write an apology to everyone who was affected by this issue not making it to press. It would work for a February 2014 issue if I had the sales, however I am not going to make any promises.

I learned also that there are many people who decided since I did not publish that I am no longer useful as a friend or person in their network. Through the Instagram “unfollower” application, I have seen model wannabe’s, a couple of industry folks and a few randoms unfollow me. On Facebook I noticed that the marketing mangager from Club “I’m not telling you” ended our online friendship leaving me reduced to one of his “followers.” I’m convincing myself that he wanted more followers and that’s why he deleted friends, as I was up about 120 to 30 last year and am now behind 125 to 175.

Now I need a job to make rent. I’ve been looking for two months and have found nothing. I’ve interviewed at restaurants and bars and heard mostly “you are too qualified.” So what if I managed a place before, I need a bartending, serving or management job. I will even barback!

One thing that is for certain is that I am beneath no job. I will work for the company that hires me and do a kick ass job as I always have. I put the company first and have an excellent track-record of promotion.

As a magazine publisher, I helped many with free promotion. Now that I have not published in several months, my supporters have dropped off. I’ve openly asked for bartending jobs and been denied. Even today someone who I have always supported stated that “We found a more qualified candidate. Good luck in your search.” A textbook fuck you. Trust me I know as I used to have the same job as a hiring manager.

Two months ago someone who I thought was an actual friend turned me down for a bartending job that I thought I had in the bag. He said “you held the bottle wrong” when I did my pour test. Sorry I held the middle of the bottle and not the nozzle you fuck! You could have given me a chance!

I realize now that I was a threat to his job and I’ve got great ideas and he doesn’t really care about the place he works at. He knows I am a company man, where he is a “paycheck man.” The guy who I did a pour test with failed miserably. He made a shot when the drink ticket said “drink.”

After the interview I told him about his mistake and he said “I didn’t give a shit, if they hire me they hire me otherwise I don’t give a fuck. This place isn’t even that busy.”

This guy was hired and I was not hired. Only after actually texting my “friend,” I was told that I was passed up for about 4 other people who were hired. He never wanted to give me an opportunity. Turned out he was a “friend” when I could offer him something but when it came to returning the favor, I was denied.

As I’ve learned time and time again, I may be down but I’m not out. I have a shit load of talent, am fucking smart and have a proven track-record of success. The American Dream is not to start a business, fail and end up in debt with no job. The American Dream is to succeed and succeed I will.

Whether or not I’ve helped others, I am not expecting anything in return other than straight-up honesty. If my lack of a big rack disqualifies me, that’s cool just tell me. If I’m a threat to your job, then you aren’t worth working with anyway.

I only want to work with the best. I only have hired the best. In every aspect of job hiring, I look for someone better than me. Not that I am threatened, it only helps me up my game. And life is one giant, fun fucking game isn’t it?






W Magazine’s November 2012 Collector’s Edition: The 40th Anniversary Issue

In the November 2012 issue of W Magazine, I am excited to see four alternate covers shot by New York-based photographer Steven Klein. As it is the 40th anniversary of the magazine, each cover represents a decade of fashion that they have covered in their 40 year history: the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s and the 2000s. So how did they do?

The 1970s Cover

For the 1970s, W Magazine choose Rooney Mara, whose claim to fame as an actress came with her title role in the 2011 film The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I have no doubt to why they picked Mara. Her role as the lead in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo as well asher Oscar-nominated performance (for best actress), her recent addition as a face of fashion-powerhouse Calvin Klein and her look all make for a national magazine cover girl.

To put it mildly, the Mara 1970s cover is outstanding. The white poplin shirt has a complicated, yet easy to understand collared overlay of simple clothing design materials (pins, cloth, sequins). The mixing and matching of these materials is brilliant, which is what you would expect from Prada. The embellished collar leaves a subliminal focal point for the cover itself.

The two, quarter-sized black objects on the cover seem to be made of some sort of plastic, which as a focal point objectify duality. As this decade was a renewed time of female independence, the duality suggests equality of man and women. The simple clothing production materials embellished on the collar represent a leftover from the 1960s, a time where the social progressive values and economic liberty of women in the western world began to grow. The hippie culture began to wane and the socioeconomic effect of varied gender roles in the industrial world led women in America, for the first major instance since the 19th Amendment in 1920, the public opportunity to be independent and equal to their male counterpart.

The Prada silk and wool coat further emphasizes this duality through the pattern of diamonds. The coat is patterned with a diamond within another diamond, so each diamond is actually two. Also, the outer diamond is colored light on the bottom half and dark on the top half, further signaling the notion of yin and yang, which is used to describe the interconnectivity and interdependency of polar opposites. In this case, we are referring to man and woman. The yin and yang is symbolized with the diamond, which is the woman’s symbolism of dedication to her male counterpart and also known as “A girl’s best friend” (made famous by Marilyn Monroe in the 1953 film Gentlemen Prefer Blondes). In this regard, it is clear that the woman is the focus of this duality.

Moving to the hat, the cover is reminiscent of Vogue’s February 2012 cover of Taylor Swift by Mario Testino. In both instances, the hat symbolizes being a woman, not a girl. Mara’s hair represents professionalism, which focuses us back on gender equality with women’s new role in the workforce and graduation from the 1960’s unsophisticated hippie culture. The makeup is soft and natural on the face, yet the dark red lipstick and black mascara compliment the purple hat’s dark shade and highlight both depth and individualism of Mara as a 1970s woman.

The 1980s Cover

As we enter the 1980s, W Magazine  represents the decade with actress Mia Wasikowska. Although she may not be a household name, she is well-known as Alice in Tim Burton’s 2010 film Alice in Wonderland. I am not impressed with this choice, yet am not disappointed either. Regardless of the cover girl, we have an entire decade to analyze from one photograph.

For the fashion, let us begin with the bustier, designed by Nicolas Ghesquière for Balenciaga. The bustier notions a sense of intimacy with the female form. The square patterns on the top suggest strength, which is key as the woman’s role the workplace increased greatly in the 1980s. The squares are pink and blue, which represent male and females as noted by newborn babies clothing in the western culture. If you look closely, the pink squares are surrounded by blue squares as well as darkness. This represents women in the workplace. The women are surrounded by men as well as darkness, which is the unknown. Where will this socioeconomic change bring women? This uncertainty is the darkness, as the western woman has finally pushed into an entirely new world after an entire history of child-rearing and home-making.

Moving to the face and hair, the gender push into the male-dominated workforce is represented by the short hair. The short hair, along with the rainbow earrings, represents the 1980s shift in the western world to accept homosexuality. The makeup, which is pink and blue, correspond with the bustier while complimenting the earrings. The pink once again symbolizes the woman, while the blue accents represent the colorful decade as well as moving into the man’s world.

The 1990s Cover

Scarlett Johansson represents the 1990s in a cover that depicts her as a gothic, alternative rocker that would fit into the alternative-grunge music and fashion scene in the early 1990s in Seattle, Washington. With the career and death of Kurt Cobain a large influence of this decade, the fashion followed the music and Goth emerged as a new trend. The information age began and Generation X became the voice of the youth.

The dress and bodysuit designer, Dolce & Gabbana, are absolutely meaningless. Other than pay homage to an advertiser and giant fashion brand, a boring black top is what the 1990s grunge look required. The hair is multiple colors, starting with white on top, followed by red ends and a black underlay. The white and black gold rings are perfect accessories for the trend. The nose ring symbolizes the newfound interest of facial and body piercings, which is highlighted with the music video from Aerosmith’s 1994 music video “Cryin’,” where Alicia Silverstone famously gets her belly button pierced then jump off a bridge with a bungee cord tied to her belly-button ring.

The 2000s Cover

Keira Knightly rules the 2000’s in the final cover of the 40th anniversary issue’s collector’s edition. In this final decade of the W Magazine cover set, the western world was represented by globalization, the internet, diminishing resources, the September 11th attacks and proceeding war, the integration of Europe and the global financial crisis.

Cover girl Knightly, well-known as Elizabeth Bennet in Joe Wright’s 2005 British film Pride & Prejudice, as well as Elizabeth Swann in the Pirates of the Caribbean film series. Knightly is quite the celebrity and with her major roles in film, a great choice for the 2000s cover.

The only article of clothing we are given is a Chanel braided tweed jacket. The red lamp which was visible in the other three covers is hidden, yet the red glow is heavy on her heart. So how does this look represent the 2000s?

First off, the braided tweed jacket is fabric that represents women being woven into society. The braids are consistent and even, all one color. The women have made their entrance, have completely passed the stereotype of home-maker and transformed into the new, accepted western culture of socioeconomic equality with men. The color of the jacket is gold, yet Klein’s image also reflects an iron or silver color. This represents globalization, with silver/iron representing manufacturing and industrialization while the gold tint symbolizes the basis of this quest, which is the competitive search for money and riches.

Moving to the accessories, the Fabergé earrings are white gold with ruby and diamonds. They probably cost a fortune, further representing globalization’s quest for riches. The ruby represents the east, as they are the worlds hub for ruby generation, while the diamond represents the west for obvious reasons. Fabergé is also known as the world’s most exclusive luxury brand. It is a brand that originated in Russia in the 19th century and is now owned by a firm based in London. This further ties in the search for riches as well as the East-West interdependence that we know as globalization.

The hair is white with green roots, which are highlighted in front of a green background. There are also three candles present, two white and one red. The cheeks are a supple white and lips are red. The  coloration of green and white represents resources, the environment, vigil and growth.

Let’s start with the green roots and background. Green represents resources as that is the color of plants, grass, trees, ETC… It is also the symbol of the environment, as companies during this time began the push to “go green,” or become environmentally friendly.

Moving on to the white hair and candles, white comes from the green, which is the color that represents the combination of all colors, thus redirecting back to the globalization trend of many types of people connected in one world. There are two white candles, representing the two World Trade Center towers from the September 11, 2011 attacks, as well as the vigil held after (white color and the flame). Also, there are white dots of light behind Knightley on both sides of her shoulders. If you count them, they are seven above her right shoulder and two above her left. Add these to the two white candles and you have eleven white lights, which represent the day and the year of the attacks.

The red candle above these lights is placed in a corner and in front of the green wall. This, as well as the red lips and red glow on Knightley’s left breast (where her heart is), represent the centered (lips) growth (candle) of love (breast) for the environment (green wall) and the people of the world (breast).


Using major symbolism, W Magazine truly captured the essence of four decades of western values that they covered in their first 40 years as a publication. In a time where magazine covers have been less than impressive and more focused on the celebrity-cover newsstand sales, W Magazine  went above and beyond to create a collector’s edition that focused on the foundation of the fashion world we live in. As always, the world we live in creates a consciousness that fashion embodies on a global scale. With the increasing awareness of our neighbors and the further reach due to globalization, fashion ties in the gap and transcends language.

It is an honor to publicly disclose my thoughts on Klein’s rendition of four major decades that changed the world faster than the thousands before it. Please accept my humble thoughts on this most remarkable set of covers that are sure to keep writers busy for decades to come. As a picture is worth a thousand words, a masterpiece is worth a million introspective thoughts and I’d be happy to hear yours.

(Source: wmagazine.com)

The Joys of Booking Celebrity Talent for Magazine Editorials

This month we published our July issue of Fashion 5.0 Magazine featuring Jaimie Hilfiger, model and socialite that is also the niece of the fashion magnate Tommy Hilfiger. In this blog, I will demonstrate what we do at Fashion 5.0 to determine the covers, as well as what I learned on this particular shoot.

Jaimie Hilfiger, although she may not be well-know yet, could become a household name one day. The big reasons she was great for our cover are the following: her uncle is a fashion icon, she shares his last name, she is an actual model and she looks like a starlet. So how did we get her?

To get large talent, we started where we could and worked our way up. Tenley Molzahn, our company’s current editor-in-chief, was a big reality television star from The Bachelor (season 14) and The Bachelor Pad(season 1) before she joined us. She was interested in our cover model proposition and ended up on our July 2011 “Summer Nights” issue. She had a great attitude on the shoot and told me about her passion for writing and sharing her thoughts with the public. Within a couple months, she agreed to become our editor-in-chief.

A few months after Tenley joined us, we got our first really big cover. Ali Fedotowsky, known for her roles on The Bachelor (season 14) and The Bachelorette (season 6), agreed to shoot the December 2011 cover. Ali was actually noted as People Magazine’s top 25 most intriguing people to watch for 2010, so this was a big jump for us. To top this off, she was featured on the cover of People the same week our December issue came out, due to her late November breakup with her fiancé Roberto Martinez.

Tenley was actually on the same season of The Bachelor with Ali, so she knew Ali and was excited that we attained such a big star. I asked her what she preferred for the covers after securing Ali, and she said something like, “I like what we have going on. It is really nice having both fashion models and celebrities for the editorials. While the magazine is the size it is, it is good to utilize both models and celebrity talent for the covers. It gives me a good feeling as a woman and provides a great balance for our readers.”

After Ali’s cover came out, Fashion 5.0 got a lot of momentum. We utilized agency models in the spring and then went big again for our May/June 2011 “Summer Guide” issue. Using Ali as a launching pad, we quickly secured Alexis Bellino from The Real Housewives of Orange County (seasons 5, 6 and 7). Alexis is incredibly well-known and part of a reality TV series franchise that is growing at an incredible rate. While reality stalwarts The Jersey Shore, The Apprentice, Survivor and American Idol wereall down in ratings, the Real Housewives franchises were just getting bigger and bigger.

Alexis was amazing to work with! After spending the day with her (disclaimer: I did not see the show and had no idea what to expect), I thought she was a dream wife and mother. I did watch a few minutes of the show after the issue released and am not sure why she was getting negative attention from her fellow cast members. I know they want drama for the show and perhaps she is an easy target. Either way she was absolutely caring with her three children, very understanding with her husband and a total doll to work with. The first thing she said when I got there was “Hi, nice to meet you Morgan. Would you like me to brew some coffee for you guys?” Needless to say we went to Starbucks and pushed her through hair and makeup as quickly as possible. The hospitality and nature of her kindness absolutely made my day. The way she handled her children made her an instant hero in my book, as every good mother should be!

Getting Alexis was relatively easy. We used Ali’s issue as an example and asked her if she was interested. While Ali took an insane amount of time to book, Alexis was down right away and we booked her the instant her schedule permitted. She was perfect for the Summer Guide issue and really nailed the shoot. We were incredibly lucky and counted our blessings.

Before we even saw Alexis in print, I booked Jaimie Hilfiger for the July 2012 “Summer Nights” issue. I got her though her publicist, who had my name from Cision, an email database that publicists and PR companies utilize to find placements for their talent, businesses and products.

Hilfiger’s publicist found me there and sent me an email about a musician she wanted us to feature. The musician wasn’t anything we were looking for, however I was both nice and prude. I thanked her and was honest, then asked if she had any talent that was well-known. She gave me a couple of options, with Jaimie being one. I was like “Duh, get her,” and made the right moves to make the shoot happen.

So now we have had quite a few nice covers and have evolved even more as a company. Our team is learning, growing and getting more and more respect every day. Our fashion editor is now on Fox 5, the local news station, every Friday morning doing style segments as a community expert. Our photographers are evolving and the creative pool we have to choose from is growing fast. Our readership is getting larger and people keep telling us how each issue gets better and better. We are so lucky and I feel so fortunate to be part of such a rad company!

So what did I learn from Jaimie’s shoot? When you have an all-star team and a model who is actually a starlet, just let them do their thing. Watch the time to make sure you get what you need, but let them take care of the details.

Speaking of timelines, you never know when you are going to need to stop shooting when you have celebrity talent! Models are booked for a certain time, but if you are a superstar there are things that will come up so you have to be prepared. We actually needed about five more minutes to complete one more look during her shoot, however her boyfriend showed up and said “We have to go.” So she changed and booked as fast as possible, without the thought of asking him if she could stay for another few minutes.

We still had a slam-dunk cover and high-fashion, edgy fashion editorial that has received incredible response. We live, we learn and we grow. I only hope that my successes can be an inspiration and tool to help others grow.


(Source: fashionfiveo.com)

This was the Fashion 5.0 May/June 2012 issue release party fashion show at Stingaree Nightclub in San Diego, CA. The fashion was provided by Tease Boutique and the styling was done by A Style Concierge.

(Source: fashionfiveo.com)

I went to Dana Point, CA, to the home of Alexis Bellino from The Real Housewives of Orange County, for the Fashion 5.0 May/June 2012 cover shoot. The day was incredible and I cannot speak more highly about Alexis! Her kids were there and they were wonderful. The way she parents is so loving and great. I see and wish for only good things to come her way! Hope you all enjoy the photos!!

(Source: fashionfiveo.com)

Dean Hall, fashion editor for Fashion 5.0 Magazine, highlights this season’s fashion trends used in the May/June issue cover shoot with Alexis Bellino from The Real Housewives of Orange County!

(Source: fashionfiveo.com)

This is my first post about Fashion 5.0, which is the magazine I publish in San Diego. I hope you like our cover editorial and will keep you posted on the next issue.

(Source: fashionfiveo.com)

The model, fashion, background… everything works here. The only thing I might change is the tube top to a quasi see-through bra. Super cute!

The model, fashion, background… everything works here. The only thing I might change is the tube top to a quasi see-through bra. Super cute!

I have mixed emotions about the Taylor Swift FEB 2012 Vogue editorial by Mario Testino. First off, the cover is great! When comparing the APR 2010 Elle cover by Alexei Hay (as well as other past magazine covers), you immediately get the feel of Swift as a grown woman rather than a little girl. Testino’s capture symbolizes Swift’s graduation into womanhood.

Diving further into the cover, the hair and makeup are great. Swift is a natural beauty, however the straight hair with bangs and the clean, sophisticated and polished makeup brings a clean elegance to the table. Testino’s capture of her relaxed posture accompanied with a modestly raised chin supports the mature refinement this new look requires, which is quite a change to the “innocent little girl with her head down” look that we have grown so accustomed to. 

The heavy eyeliner increases the depth of her face, which is further expanded by the dimensions of her over-sized hat. Once again, another symbol of her maturity is declared. The absence of light under her hat along used in conjunction with the eyeliner gives a subliminal sense of deepness, which is likely the highlight of the entire cover.

Moving into the editorial, titled “The Single Life” (and adeptly so), we find Swift on a couch playing a ukulele, a small Hawaiian instrument that looks like a mini-guitar. This is ironic, as it could be taken different ways. Did she outgrow her guitar? Clearly not, so the reader is left with only one conclusion. She is bigger now, instead of the 16-year old girl that took America by her innocence, charm and talent in 2006. To top it off, her silky-looking floral dress, white rocker-heels and cast-aside leather cowboy hat add to her grown-up yet on-trend new look. 

The first look has a 70’s feel to it, which is enhanced by the location and textures. The couch appears to be suede or velvet, with a backrest that resembles the rear seat of a Lincoln Continental from the same era. The brink background, accompanied by the flooring and rug and to this theme. The angle of the rug, her thigh, the hat, the guitar and the guitar case all point directly to the black void between the brick walls, which makes that dynamic impression of depth that once again reinforces the entire concept of her new image:  a grown-up Swift with a new look.

This spread wonderfully compliments the cover and clearly opens the editorial with it’s intended conception, along with all the class and sophistication the reader clearly expects from Vogue. The next look pushes this notion even further.

In the second look, Swift is in a relaxed conversation on a payphone. Payphone are outdated, but in the 70’s it was a different story. The vintage look of this feature is now dominant and the reader new knows it is intended. The fashion is once-again country-rockstar, with her trendy and one-of-a-kind boots, over-sized coat and white-leather tassel bag. 

Getting into the depth of this shot, look at how Testino positions Swift as well as the frame. Above and below her left knee, space is created between her leg and the white coat, with shadowing at the top of this space. This leg is also an arrow pointing to the depth of the frame, which is stairway we can’t see but know is there. The bricks on the left wall, the railing, the phone cord, her left arm, her left hand (fingers and thumb), the floor and the posters all point to this void. Further, her body stands out (and the fashion) as the right side of her body, which is closest to the void, as well as her face, is the only part of the picture that contradicts the directional flow of this area. This highlights Swift in all the ways a photographer could ask for in such a setting. This look is great and the way it was captured showcases Swift in another masterpiece and further push into the direction the readers want it to go. 

The reason I have mixed emotions about this editorial is summed up in the next look. The third look has a black and white frame, which contradicts the cover and interrupts the introductory nature of the feature. Also, new players are introduced in a dramatic way. The reader has to look for Swift, among many musicians. Her styling is one of the hottest rock-star looks of the shoot, which is too bad because the reader does not convey this with so much confusion and distraction. This shot is an idiosyncratic error that brings about reader anxiety, confusion, lack of interest and editorial disequilibrium. Moving along, the editorial continues to deteriorate and disappoint.

The fourth look is cool with the guitar cases and the clear “I am a traveling musician” look, however we already know Taylor Swift plays guitar and travels. Duh. Enough already, this is not just another “Inside the Box” shoot with Taylor Swift, as any Joe could think of this shot. This is a smiling, one page feature in a local magazine for a smaller artist, who is so excited for the interview she blasts it all over Facebook. One thing this shot is not is Vogue. Not only have you confused the readers with the other musicians and rodeo clowns in the last shot, there is nothing new in this shot. We already saw the same style boots in the payphone shot, as well as the same type of brown hat on the cover. The disassociation with Swift’s “new” look increases as there is little depth, you cannot see her face and the fashion is repeated while blending in to the background.

By the fifth look I have forgotten this is even Taylor Swift. She takes up one-sixth of the frame, her fashion doesn’t scream at the reader, the background is busy and unnatural, her guitar is purple and there is a fake fire in the fireplace. 

I transformed from quintessential excitement into a reader left hungry for something better rather than something more. Kudos on a fantastic cover but disappointed on with the way the editorial fizzled right in front my own eyes.

(Source: Vogue)

(Source: glam-mode-on)

Just love these two girls at Coachella last year. Great fashion, can’t take my eyes away!

Just love these two girls at Coachella last year. Great fashion, can’t take my eyes away!