By: Anastasia Barbuzzi
As you might have noticed, my Face to Face interviews all consist of ladies who represent the same girl-powered attitude that Written Girl exudes and have made their creative passion their job, proving that it's possible for people to make a living off of what you truly love to do. They've taken control of their career destiny and have done it on their own terms. They're confident, composed and super cool, which is only part of the reason why the woman interviewed for this edition of Face to Face deserves such a great introduction.
You might know her as a Much Music TV host, the girl who recaps the latest episodes of W Network's Hockey Wives so conveniently for you, or as a vlogger extraordinaire . Whatever platform you recognize her from, Lauren Toyota's online presence, emotional connectivity and ability to fearlessly express her thoughts and beliefs is sure to leave a lasting impression in your mind.
In all honesty, I was overjoyed to receive a message back from Miss Toyota agreeing to an interview. Being that I'm a fan of her YouTube channels and blog, I knew that she must've been busy with a thousand other projects and wasn't expecting a reply so soon. With that said, I had hope and trust in her seemingly loyal and considerate personality that she would be willing to open up on WG ASASC (as soon as she could). Luckily, I'm able to present you with an honest, inspiring Q & A session featuring Toyota in such a timely manner that reflects her outgoing and determined demeanor. Most of all, it shows how this self-made, newly established #GIRLBOSS is doing things her own way, on her own time. Take notes.
Q: How would you describe your personal style/style of your online content?
A: I never know how to answer that personal style question. I think I’m just someone who never wants to do what everyone else is doing. When it comes to dressing myself it’s always a feeling. I never look at magazines or blogs to inform my style or what clothes I buy. I guess that’s the same thing with my online content. It’s what I want to do or feel like doing. Very rarely do I pay attention to what anyone else might be doing or a trend etc.
Q: What inspires you?
A: Life inspires me. My friends inspire me. I find I get really inspired by a great movie or tv series too. Just experiencing someone else's creativity is inspiring.
Q: How does producing content and hearing people's responses make you feel?
A: That’s the best part about what I do. Just to see or hear the reactions whether positive or critical. In the end it still doesn’t influence or sway what I’ll do next time but I like hearing a reaction from people. I will be honest it’s 98% positive feedback I get, so that’s nice! I love hearing from people who are going vegan or have decided to start making some life changes because of something I said or showed them through my videos.
Q: What keeps you going through everyday of work and life?
A: Just the need to create and the feeling I get after I create something… anything. It could be a photo, an edit, a sentence, a recipe, or an idea. I love that feeling of being creative and creating something that I envisioned.
Q: How would you describe the importance of veganism in your life and what pushed you to create a career that's centered around it?
A: Going vegan is the best thing I’ve ever done. It’s transformed and informed all aspects of my life and I do love that I can make it my job to just be passionate about food, cooking, and my love for animals. It really was a push in a sense to make this a career. I was starting to feel underwhelmed about what I was doing in television and then I literally was pushed out. I was laid from my job. It was the universe just pushing me in a new direction that I had a desire to follow but needed that kick in the butt to just take the big leap! I’m so happy with what transpired.
Q: Is there ever a time that you feel uninspired or that there's a shortage of creativity?
A: Definitely, but when that happens I just stop for a minute and remember that I always come up with the idea or the inspiration that I need. Always! So my best advice for when you feel stuck is to just trust that the good idea (or the job you want or the love you want) is literally right around the corner, it’s so close. So just relax and trust that it will come when it’s meant to. The most important thing for creativity to flow is to actually relax and stop doing. We DO too much all the time. We need to get centered, go within, all those things that let us connect to the flow of creativity that’s inherent in all of us.
Q: What's your favourite thing about the career that you've created for yourself?
A: That I get to do what I want, when I want. I have no one telling me it has to be any certain way. I make my own rules, set my own schedule and it’s extremely rewarding.
Q: Through your YouTube channel and your food blog, you've become your own "girl boss". What made you want to step away from your previous job and the corporate world and take charge of your career's destiny?
A: I’ve always had this internal battle with the corporate world. I never agree with any that happens in the corporation. I care so much about the big picture that I get really frustrated when I am not heard or taken seriously and that’s what happens or tends to happen in the jobs I’ve had where I work for someone or for the big business. So I’ve always craved the idea of being my own boss. But honestly I’ve always been scared of that too and I had no idea what I would do that would be my own. Once the pieces started to come together a couple years ago and hot for food started to become the thing I liked doing most then I knew that was the path I needed to follow.
Q: In one of your recent YouTube videos you talk about unpaid/paid work. As a blogger, vlogger, social media guru and businesswoman, what would you say to women who don't believe they can make a living doing something creative and something their passionate about?
A: I would say that they’re limiting themselves. Because you can absolutely get paid to do anything in this amazing world we live in. You just have to have the idea, drive, and then the belief and total trust that it will figure itself out. What I mean is, there’s so much more happening that’s bigger than you can control. So it really starts with a belief or an intention. If you believe you can’t, you can’t. But I am telling you you can so flip that switch in your brain! I know some people get stuck around the idea of not knowing what their passion or purpose is. That may take some time, solitude, reflection, and likely a step away from your day to day routines to discover, but it can be done a little bit everyday. Everyone loves something. I loved watching television growing up and wanted to get paid to watch tv. That doesn’t sound like a job does it! But that’s what I ended up doing when I worked at Much and MTV!
Q: What's would you say is your overall message or advice to women and girls in the working world who are looking to do what they truly love, looking to be themselves and looking to live the best/healthiest lifestyle the can?
A: Listen to what your gut, your heart, your insides whatever you want to call it, are telling you. I sometimes call it the higher self. The real you. There are feelings all day long or physical or emotional signs. The more you can tap into it and know that they are signs from something so much bigger than you and that you need to pay attention to the happier you will be when you follow those instincts. Everything is instinct. It’s your guidance to everything. So don’t neglect or ignore it!
I sincerely hope that Lauren's words translated into inspiration and assurance for you as they did for me. I would like to thank her again for sharing with WG and would also encourage you to check out her social media platforms for more inspo and insight into her life and work. I'm almost positive you'll become an instant fan (unless you already are). Click the icons below!