Written by Olivia Lopez
Written by Olivia Lopez
Meet Olivia Lopez
Name: Olivia Lopez
Age you feel (and actually are!): 27
Your Off-Resume Title: Multi-Media Storyteller(Podcast Host, Author and Culture Contributor)
Tell us about your upbringing. Where did you grow up? Who raised you? What was your home life like? How would you describe yourself as a kid?
I spent my early childhood in Manila, and moved to Los Angeles when I was 7. My parents separated quickly after moving to America so much of my formative years was spent shuffling between two homes. (Looking back now, this detail is what has perfectly groomed me to always being on-the-go, in a perpetual state of packing and unpacking).
Growing up, I loved reading. I idolized my older sister, and would adopt whatever interests she was getting into as my own. My obsession with magazines started with looking through her early copies of Seventeen and Teen Vogue — my friends and I used to dress up in front of a mirror and trend forecast using our fists as invisible microphones. I loved to play — perhaps my first sense of community came from childhood, having a large extended family and community of friends growing up in whatever neighborhood we moved into.
I was also a bibliophile — I spent a lot of time in public libraries and book stores. My favorite series were Laura Ingalls Wilder and the Baby Sitters Club.
Is there a story or moment from your youth that you go back to as an adult? How does who you were as a kid translate to who you are now?
I moved around a lot when I was younger, and never setting down roots to one place has fundamentally shaped who I am today. I’ve always felt a sense of being “outside”, and it wasn't until after school that I embraced this “otherness”.
I was painfully shy when I was younger, and it wasn’t until middle and high school I started to bolster the strength and confidence to express myself.
On personal and style evolutions
We're endlessly inspired by the process of personal evolution – are there significant moments that have defined who you are and what you do? If so, how many times have you recognized a significant shift in your identity? What has been the hardest part of these personal shifts? What has been the most gratifying?
I live in a perpetual state of iteration; I think that’s one thing I’ve learned from moving frequently. It pushed me to develop a certain level of self-awareness to adapt to a new environment. How does my identity fit into this place? The first conscious shift I can remember is when I moved from Los Angeles to the suburbs of Orange County — although it’s categorically in Southern California, I experienced a massive culture shock moving from a metropolitan city to a conservative, suburban sprawl and mostly homogenous community. I definitely changed a lot in those years — I was a teenager yearning for energy and a way to express myself when my immediate environment wasn’t providing me the culture I was craving.
Another more evident shift was the borders closing down in March due to Covid lockdowns. For nearly ten years prior to the pandemic, I was living a hyper-nomadic lifestyle and saying “yes” to every job that would take me to a new part of the world; I always said “yes” because everything felt like a once in a lifetime opportunity, but I didn’t have any boundaries between my personal life and work; and I ran my body down so much that in summer of 2019, we had to call a doctor to come to my boyfriend’s flat in Paris when I woke up one morning with a 103 degree fever. I was depleted, and developed bronchitis from traveling on too many long-haul flights. After spending the summer on antibiotics, I decided I needed to be more intentional about my work and travel.
How has your style evolved with you? Are there pieces you have kept forever? Have there been trends you loved, and then forgotten?
I’ve become much more minimal with age — it’s a cliché but I’ve gravitated less toward trends and more into life wear pieces.
From past trends I loved — there are so many embarrassing ones! Probably the American Apparel tutu days — not even while I was enrolled in a professional dance training did we wear these.
At what age (or ages) have you felt closest to yourself or true to your identity? Why? How did that make you feel?
27 was my favorite year, and symbolically my “golden” birthday. I’ve always had a high risk tolerance — it’s the triple Scorpio / water sign in me: intuition trumps everything. I finally took the risk of moving to New York and found my dream apartment. Moving to New York felt like the law of least resistance; everything fell into place.
Kasama means togetherness in Tagalog – who in your life has had the most significant impact in your evolution? If many, how did their impact differ and what did you learn from them? What does your support system look like?
My father, for sure. He’s instilled my curiosity for the world and sense of adventure. I’m also now reaching an age where the friends I made in my formative adult years are reaching the decade benchmark of friendship: The friendships I’ve maintained through this decade have been my support system — each uniquely providing support for different obstacles that life throws my way.
On the power of community and who she'll be in 10 years
As a multidisciplinary creative – and now, author and host of a podcast – what role has the community played in your personal evolution? What about this element of your work do you love the most?
Community is at the heart of everything I do; I cover culture and aspire to capture what’s happening in the world; and so much of it involves direct engagement with members of different communities and highlighting their ideas and contributions. What I love most about producing the podcast are the moments of reflection and deep connection — each story is singular but universal themes emerge.
Is there a moment where your community really showed up for you – during a difficult time or a joyous time? How so?
When I launched my book, Lust for Los Angeles, I was shocked by the response and support of friends and acquaintances I’ve encountered throughout the years. I had deeply feared that my book would be a failure, and every praise or purchase from a lovely reader, editor, influencer and stockist brought so much joy to the two-year long process of producing the project.
Looking forward – who is Olivia Lopez in 10 years? What has she accomplished? How does she spend her days? What is important to her?
I’ll let that one write itself out!
If you could write a one-sentence note to yourself 10 years ago and 10 years ahead. What would you say?
10 years ago: Believe it or not, everything you do now will come into full circle in 10 years. 10 years ahead: Just a reminder to carve moments of simple joy out of the everyday.
Top 3 bucket list to-dos (COVID-19 OR NO COVID-19.) Go.
- Take that class you’ve been holding off on doing: (Finally took my first interior design course, and landed my first client in the same summer).
- There’s no better time than now to start your passion project.
- Move to a new city; It’s a chance to fall in love with the everyday.