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San Francisco Stories: Singer, Dancer, Model & Actress Jenefer Taylor

Welcome to the second installation of the new MCLV series San Francisco Stories. In SF Stories I’ll be sharing features on some of the interesting, innovative, and creative people who I’ve had the good fortune to meet during my years here in San Francisco. From entrepreneurs like Livzo Founder Nataliia Karpenko who I featured in my first post – Catch up on that here if you missed it – To Designers, magazine editors, healthy living gurus, and start-up mavens.

Today’s interview is with a talented and beautiful young lady who I saw walk the runway at San Francisco Fashion Week in September 2013 and whom I followed on social media long before we actually got a chance to meet.

When we were finally introduced I was impressed to discover an ambitious, creative, artistic soul with dreams of conquering the music industry. And perhaps film and fashion while she’s at it. 🙂

Singer Dancer Model Actress Jenefer Taylor SF Stories San Francisco Fashion Fitness Lifestyle Food Beauty Blogger

Read on to hear about her healthy approach to fitness and nutrition, what she’s hoping to accomplish, and where you may be able to find her in the next few years…

MCLV: Singer, dancer, actress, model – You clearly enjoy exploring various creative projects. Which art form would you say is your favorite?

Jenefer: 100% singing! I LOVE IT! It’s been my passion and makes me happier than almost anything… Aside from dogs. Saying I am obsessed with animals would be an understatement.

MCLV: With the many hats you wear, having a strong, healthy body is important. What tips do you have for people who want to start 2015 on a healthy note? 

Jenefer: Don’t obsess over where you want to be. Be aware of where you are now and make choices daily that will get you to where you want to be. I’ve found that when I fixate too much on an ideal, it can be nerve-racking. Instead I choose to reward myself daily on my improvements and keep pushing harder.

MCLV: With call-backs and auditions popping up at a moment’s notice, you need to be in fighting shape at all times. What are your top work out and healthy living tips?

Jenefer: Well, I walk every day. It’s so therapeutic and it keeps me happy. I like to walk and listen to music to reflect. But I mix it up with private training sessions, kick boxing, yoga, and ballet. I’ve recently picked up running and even though it’s hard sometimes for me to start, I’m always glad I did after the run. I start my mornings with hot water and lemon to kick-start my metabolism. And then, other than that, I just drink LOTS of water, always get in a green drink and sleep when my body tells me I need it. 

Singer Dancer Model Actress Jenefer Taylor SF Stories San Francisco Fashion Fitness Lifestyle Food Beauty Blogger

MCLV: From Porsche to Neiman Marcus, you’ve worked with some amazing brands during your career. Do you have a favorite experience or an especially fun project you could share with MCLV readers? 

Jenefer: The Porsche commercial has been the most exciting and rewarding so far! We got to shoot it in San Francisco and I was lucky enough to work on set as a precision driver. Never before did I imagine myself flooring it to 60 miles plus and driving through the streets of SF, with police escorts in front and back and multiple cameramen in the backseat. It was like the city was ours for the day! It was exhilarating and I could have kept driving for days. Plus the people on set, really made this experience. Everyone was a rockstar that weekend! 

MCLV:  You’ve recently made the move from San Francisco to Los Angeles – With regular trips back up north, of course. What are the biggest differences between SF and LA on a day-to-day basis? What changes, if any, have you see for your career?

Jenefer: Oh my gosh! LA is packed. There are so many people here! The traffic sets it apart from any place, for sure. Haha. I went to Pepperdine so I am familiar with SoCal. But it was different in college. I feel this time, living here I am really focused on my career and because I am so dialed in to my passions, it has been amazing! There is just so much opportunity and every day presents new avenues to explore.

Changes to my career? I think the biggest change I’ve noticed is feeling more empowered and excited… Even more so than I was before. I just started advanced classes at the Beverly Hills Playhouse and my fellow actors are so supportive! I have two teachers, Allen and Art, who are just so talented and have such great feedback to scenes performed. Everyone has such high energy, is super dedicated and really goes after what they want. I feel a real sense of community in these classes and it’s one of my highlights every week!

Singer Dancer Model Actress Jenefer Taylor SF Stories San Francisco Fashion Fitness Lifestyle Food Beauty Blogger

MCLV: What’s in your five-year career plan? Where do you see yourself?

Jenefer: Hmmm. I’ve learned “plans” don’t necessarily work out the way we always think and that’s not a bad thing… When I was in High School, I always thought I would be married by 24 and have 2 kids by now. But that’s not the case and I’m so happy about that! REALLY.  I have a journal I use. I like to write down my biggest goals and then under them, write down every possible thing I can do to reach them. Then in a couple of months, I check back in and see what I’ve accomplished and what else I can pursue.

Before I booked the Porsche commercial, one of my entries in my journal was “book a national car commercial.” The Porsche commercial was global. In 5 years I want to own my own home, be in love, be the face of a major brand (perfume, makeup, clothes… Something like that), be working on set as a lead actress/singer in a major feature film and I would also like to have my own non-profit… Probably something with animals.

MCLV: What words of wisdom do you have for people who are new to the entertainment or fashion industries who would like to follow in your footsteps? 

Jenefer: Be grateful. Because when you’re grateful life is just better. Know your gifts and know where you need to improve. Have goals, be precise and stay motivated daily! Focus on being the BEST version of you, you can possibly be. Don’t be afraid to ask people for help. When someone knocks you down, get back up again. Elvis Presley was told he couldn’t sing. He didn’t let that stop him from becoming the King. And believe in yourself. If you truly want something, find a way. It’s that simple.

Thank you for stopping by MCLV Jen!

Be on the look out for the next project from this talented performer by following her on Facebook or checking out her website.

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Beauty Guru: Kerstyn Inouye

Budding designer, make-up guru, and new-blogger-on-the-block at Dipped In Black, Kerstyn Inouye is here today to share a few of her favorite make-up and beauty tips, tricks, and must haves.

Kerstyn was my roommate during my Fall trip to London where she closed down the runway for CCUOCO’s London Fashion Week debut. I spent a week watching with wide eyes while she put together gorgeous beauty look after look. All the while using brushes that I never knew the purpose of!

Beauty Guru San Francisco Fashion Blogger Street Style

MCLV: Between a gig at Sephora and social media snaps of you playing with new colors, styles, and types of make-up, it’s clear that you’re a beauty lover. When did you first fall in love with make-up?

K: Surprisingly I found my love for makeup after I got a job at Sephora. Being around all of the talented girls inspired me to experiment more myself.  Plus – I got to see all the new products come in and be the first to play with them! It made it hard not to fall in love.

MCLV: You like to mix things up on the make-up front and try new things, but do you have a standard beauty routine? From cleansing to make-up basics?

K: As much as I love to venture out, sticking to the basics is my favorite thing to do. I am obsessed with skin care, so I start by cleansing my face, then applying a serum, and following with a moisturizer. My favorite products right now are the Algenist Replenishing cleanser, Ole Henriksen Truth Serum (Day), Kate Somerville Dual Serum (Night), and Fresh Umbrian Clay Mattifying Moisturizer

For complexion, I apply a light weight foundation such as Buxom Show Some Skin Foundation, and then proceed with contouring. My favorite bronzer is the Two Faced Chocolate Solei  (and it really smells like chocolate!), blush I go with Marc Jacobs Shameless, and for a highlighter I just use a matte white eye shadow (since I am so pale!). For eyes I use a few nudes and brown shadows from the Smashbox Full Exposure Palette, then I apply a thin winged liner from Tarte (the fine tip is phenomenal!), and then apply They’re Real mascara from Benefit.   

Of course, I can’t forget the brows; right now I use Anastasia Dip Brow. A must-have

Beauty Guru San Francisco Fashion Blogger Street Style


MCLV: When it comes to make-up, what are your favorite brands? The ones that continually put out products that you love.

K: Some of my favorite brands are Make up For Ever, Benefit, Mac, and Tarte (the best all natural cosmetic brand!)

MCLV: What are the top tricks of the trade that you’ve learned over the years as a make-up lover?

K: Blend, Blend, Blend! It is so crucial to blend out eyeshadow, contouring, etc, so that you don’t have any harsh lines and it looks as natural as possible. Also, as tedious as it may be, always make sure to clean your brushes because all that makeup buildup is not good for the skin!

MCLV: What products do you always have in your purse for midday applications and touch-ups?

K: I wear lipstick every day of my life, so there is always one of not multiple lipstick colors in my bag. I also carry a fluffy kabuki brush paired with a mattifying setting powder from Laura Mercier to keep that shine away.


MCLV: What are the five skin care, beauty, or make-up products that you can’t live without?

K: I am obsessed with radiance so I always have one skin care product with Vitamin C, so that my skin is forever glowing.  I would die without my brows, BB Cream, mascara, and lipstick; my essentials for a minimalist day. 

A huge thank you to Kerstyn for stopping by to share her tips & product recommendations. I’ve already ordered half of these babies!

Who’s YOUR beauty guru?

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San Francisco Stories: Model, Vegan & Livzo Founder

I’m excited to introduce a great new series for Moi Contre La Vie called San Francisco Stories.

Since moving to the Bay Area nine years ago I’ve met more extraordinary and interesting people than I can even remember. Intellectuals and academics who challenge the status quo on a daily basis, brilliant entrepreneurial minds that are changing the landscape of the business world, and determined, ambitious innovators who are carving out a niche for themselves by following their passions.

In the SF Stories series I’ll be introducing you to some of these amazing people who I’ve met in the hopes that they’ll inspire you as much as they inspire me!

Deciding who to feature for the first SF Stories post was a challenge but I ultimately decided that my fabulous Ukrainian friend Nataliia was the perfect choice. She’s active in the technology sector here in San Francisco, devotes her considerable talents to worthwhile charitable causes, supports the Bay Area’s burgeoning fashion industry, and has an Instagram account that always inspires me with pictures of gorgeous hikes, delicious vegan meals, and motivational quotes.

SF Stories Nataliia Karpenko Livzo GoLivzo Vegan Model Entrepreneur


MCLV: One of the things that I love about San Francisco is that everyone you meet has such an amazing and diverse work life. You’re a great example of someone who keeps herself incredibly busy and challenged with all sorts of fun projects. For example, in addition to being an editorial and runway model, you also work in San Francisco’s innovative technology scene. How would you describe the work that you do on a day-to-day basis?

NK: I work in tech full-time and right now, in addition to working on building a social network centered on preventative health and wellness called Livzo.  It’s been great working with my cofounder and being able to support this amazing industry. We’re focused on seeing how we can bring relationships between health experts and patients to a more productive level. Additionally, I share my time with fashion technology startups through business development strategies. And finally, I am involved in the community through charity work for cancer research fundraisers and charities that support women.  

MCLV: When you’re balancing jobs and working on various projects simultaneously, staying organized and on top of your schedule is key. Do you have any tips or suggestions for people out there who are trying to keep their own personal balancing act going?

NK:  It’s important to know what your short and long-term goals are because it will help you to understand what needs to come first and what can wait until later. I need to do a lot of multitasking to manage my company and my team so I set high priority tasks first. Another tip that’s helped me is to isolate myself when I’m working. I even change my “office” environment by going to a local coffee shop. Having a calendar also helps.  I make sure to plan all meetings and deliverables into the calendar. And of course,  it is very important to be healthy and provide your body with proper nutrients to keep yourself going. These are the top ways that I’m able to be more  productive with my projects.  

SF Stories Nataliia Karpenko Livzo GoLivzo Vegan Model Entrepreneur


MCLV: I’m a huge fan of your Instagram feed where you share some of your delicious meals. From restaurant dishes to home cooked breakfasts, you clearly enjoy a great meal. You’re also a vegan – Can you tell us about how you maintain your diet while traveling, eating out, and cooking at home?

NK: Being vegan isn’t an easy thing, especially when you travel. My favorite vegan cities in the US  are New York, LA, and surprisingly Vegas. When I travel anywhere else, I need to be more cautious when ordering meals from the menu because dairy products or traces of fish are often in the food. When I travel I’ll actually start a conversation with waiters or even the chef. What I’ve learned is that you need to offer a brief explanation of veganism. Sometimes, I get meals with dairy because it’s uncommon in most places to serve vegan meals. I regret having to return a meal so I’ll try to avoid that though by communicating everything in advance.

MCLV: Can you share your favorite recipe(s)? Top ingredients? Favorite foods you can’t live without?

NK: I’m addicted to salad in the morning. I couldn’t live without my morning arugula salad with blueberries and almonds. I really like to pay attention to having a balanced diet and be sure I am getting enough nutrients. I am an athlete and an entrepreneur, and they both take a lot of energy. It’s stressful, so I have to make sure I fill myself with daily protein and carbohydrates such as quinoa, a vegan plant-based product that has complete protein similar to animal based protein. I also enjoy tempeh and edamame, which are high in protein as well.

MCLV: You also post some envy-inducing pictures of your weekly hikes, runs, walks, and other great outdoor activities. Staying healthy and enjoying some relaxing downtime are important when you’re busy – What does your weekly workout regime look like to stay in shape?

NK: I’m so fortunate to live in Marin County near Mount Tamalpais State Park. It allows me to hike at least twice in a week. I try to combine cardio and strength exercises, I prefer to do light weights  by bouncing on a BOSU  Ball. I focus on entire core body strengthening and also Pilates, which help me to improve my posture. That’s important with my sedentary lifestyle because during my day, I am sitting in my office and that affects my posture.  Another thing that really keeps me motivated is using fitness apps to track my fitness activities, count calories, and advance my physical performance over time.

SF Stories Nataliia Karpenko Livzo GoLivzo Vegan Model Entrepreneur

MCLV: Any fitness or healthy living tips you can give MCLV readers to help them stay motivated to live a healthy, active life?

NK: Having good company or having someone with similar goals helps.  It’s ideal to have someone who will go on a late run with you after work or hike with on Saturday. If you don’t have anyone to do  that with, then seeing others success through Instagram and Facebook or with apps like Map My Run or Fitbit to see the challenges others are taking is good. Connect with people and also follow  a good blog .  I love Pinterest and sometimes I spend an hour looking for the perfect quotes or pictures that help me stay motivated. Also, I think participating in big competitions like marathons is a huge motivator. I participate in marathons, which keep me on top of my routine .

A huge thank you to Nataliia for stopping by MCLV and sharing her story! Be sure to check out her website Livzo!

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Model Feature: Michelle Grey

I recently got the opportunity to interview Michelle Grey – A local model, actress, singer, dancer, and performance artist here in San Francisco.

She has just landed her first movie role and it was great to sit down and chat about not only her career and her many successes, but her advice for others interested in getting started in the entertainment industry.

Model San Francisco Fashion Interview San Francisco Fashion Blog

LV: You’re a performance artist who does everything from singing & dancing to acting & modeling – How did you get your start? What’s your background?

MG: Often people get overwhelmed when they hear this, they ask, “What is your focus?” But my career evolved over time into what it is now. My first love has always been music and I first performed when I was 5 years old at Church. From that very moment I knew what my purpose was and I’m blessed that my passion for music has never faded. So, for me this isn’t only a career, but my life’s work. I sang in church on Sundays, was involved in choir, played the flute, took singing lessons, performed at school for special events, entered talent shows, auditioned for school plays… Anything I could do to share my music. I loved how it seemed to bring happiness, peace, and hope to others, as that’s what it does for me when I watch others perform.

Acting became a part of my life as well because it was an extension of the same process. I was introduced to acting through musicals in elementary school and continued to pursue theatre into college as a Theatre major at USC .

Modeling was actually a bi-product of these jobs and ultimately a secret pleasure of mine as well. After graduating college and working in LA professionally many of the jobs I booked were modeling-related, but it wasn’t my focus at the time. It was later, when I needed more creative fulfillment, that I chose to embrace that part of the creative arts.

LV: From a business perspective what do you wish you knew when you first started your career?

MG: This is a big question and I’ve actually been thinking of offering a summer class to share some insight and clarity into these basic business aspects. However, when it comes down to it, a performance career is so layered that even the business aspects are intertwined with your personal self, and I think this is the most important business understanding.

Technically what you’re selling is – YOU.

I suppose I wish I had understood this more. Talent, integrity, passion, loyalty, hard work – None of that matters to others when the road gets rough. This is okay, it’s simply human nature. But when you identify clearly who you are, what you do best, know your market, and what you love to do, what drives you to create, what you will sacrifice for, and why? Then YOU have defined your “Brand” and can be true to it no matter the challenge.

Everyone has an opinion, some incredibly helpful, and others not. Creativity is always allowing yourself to grow and change, being current, succeeding in a fickle industry while feeding your purpose keeping you and your brand in alignment.

Model San Francisco Fashion Interview San Francisco Fashion Blog

Want to learn more about agents and managers? Head over to Legally Vogue and check out the rest of my interview with the beautiful & talented Michelle Grey.

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Links You’ll Love



You’ve got your dress, you’ve picked up the perfect shade of lipstick for your pout, now what to do with your hair? Harper’s Bazaar has some fabulous ideas with their Holiday Hair Ideas – Celebrity Inspired Holiday Hair Ideas.

If you’re a makeup lover then you’ll adore this post & all of the color inspiration – Spring 2014 Color Trends.

The runways were filled with sheer hemlines last season but sometimes it’s hard to see how these beautiful trends can be translated to the street. Wonder no longer! The Sartorialist – If You’re Thinking About…… Sheer Hems.


If you loved my latest MCLV Stye File: Miranda Kerr in Victoria Beckham post you’re adore all of the fabulous Miranda Kerr looks featured on My Dress My High Heels My Style – Miranda Kerr in 3.1 Phillip Lim & Balenciaga {Left} and Miranda Kerr in Proenza Schouler {Right}.

Haven’t gotten enough shopping yet this year? Check out Mama’s A Rolling Stone’s Your Holiday 2012 Shopping Guide for some more tips & sales for the remaining days of 2012.

Health & Fitness:

Tis the season for… Getting really really sick. Having recently been taken down by a stomach flu I’m reminded how the cold, wet weather makes this the season for the cold, the flu, and other holiday-ruining ailments. So help boost your immune system this season with Green Thickie’s Cold and Flu Busting Coconut and Orange Smoothie.


Adorable workout clothes are a great way to get yourself motivated for a gym session. Don’t believe me? Just take a look at these cute duds over at NYC Pretty.

Taking your lunch to work is a great way to not only save a few dollars, but to ensure that you have healthy options to choose from for your lunch and for your midday snacking. If you’re just starting this practice or you’re running out of tasty choices check out Women’s Health’s 10 Healthy Lunch Ideas.

There are an endless number of delicious options out there for festive holiday cookies but one of my favorites this season has been Peas And Thank You’s Candy Cane Crinkle Cookies.

Given the chatter around the recent ballot measure relating to organic food, GMO, and labeling I thought that this piece from Mark’s Daily Apple was particularly relevant right now – 7 Foods You Don’t Need to Buy Organic.

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