THE CITY SERIES TORONTO: LAUREN TOYOTA


WE'RE SHOOTING IN YOUR AWESOME LOFT. TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT THIS AREA. 
This is my boyfriend John’s studio! We’re living in it a little longer until our house is finished being renovated. This area is Liberty Village. It’s a newer part of town and there’s lots of condos and urban luxuries nearby but I like that we're just on the outskirts in a place with more character. It’s also quieter on our street because of that.



 


WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE THINGS ABOUT TORONTO?

I love that it’s big but not too big. I know the city very well and I also just love that there’s so many options for nightlife, food, fashion etc. You can have whatever you want pretty much whenever you want it, which is an incredible luxury.

 

HAVE YOU EVER THOUGHT ABOUT MOVING TO A NEW CITY? IF SO, WHERE?
I always think about it, but it never seems totally doable. I have lived in Vancouver before and I went out there for work so that was a very good reason to move. To just pick up and go on a whim seems less attainable. But I vacation enough that I feel like I spend a lot of time in other cities. I’m being drawn to the west coast of Canada and the US more and more though. I love the vibe, the weather, and the food.

 

YOU'RE ALWAYS SO BUSY SHOOTING VIDEOS, EDITING AND TRAVELING FOR WORK - HOW ARE YOU FINDING LIFE AS A YOUTUBER?
I love my life as a YouTuber. The freedom I’ve always wanted and craved from a job my whole life has finally happened by making this transition. I do whatever I want, when I want it and to be able to say that is a real blessing.

 

WHAT HAS BEEN THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE SO FAR FOR WORKING IN THE INDUSTRY?
I think my initial challenge was the freedom. Having so much time and freedom to do what you want is scary at first. You’re not used to having that so you almost freeze and don’t even know what to do! But I went with it and started to trust my own instincts, listened to my gut even more, and just kept showing up until it all started to come together.

Coming from broadcasting I always had to get approvals, my ideas were never good enough, you feel like you’re walking on eggshells in a corporate office constantly trying to prove your value and worth so I wasn’t used to setting my own rules and trusting my own ideas.

 

HOW ARE YOU BALANCING LAUREN IN REAL LIFE AND HOT FOR FOOD?
They kind of go hand in hand. The audiences have started to cross over and having both brands allows me so much more creativity. Things I never felt would fit on the format we created for hot for food now work great on my own channel and I like being able to reveal ALL of what I do, outside of just vegan food! Where I’m at right now with both channels is I feel like it’s the perfect amount of work for me, and the content is being released consistently to satisfy the growing audiences.

 

FOR YOUR FIRST LOOK, YOU CHOSE THE NATIVE APOLLOS AND WE STYLED WITH WITH SOME COOL RICHER POORER SOCKS. TELL US HOW THEY WORK INTO YOUR STYLE.
I love patterns and lines like this. Anything kind of graphically designed is appealing to me and the colour combos are bright and unique but not over powering. That’s basically me. Linear and noticeable but not over powering!

 



THE PEOPLE FOOTWEAR SNEAKERS (A BRAND YOU'VE WORKED WITH BEFORE) ARE A COOL TAKE ON A CLASSIC. HOW HAS THE RESURGENCE OF THESE VEGAN BRANDS CHANGED YOUR OUTLOOK ON THE FUTURE OF ANIMAL-FRIENDLY FASHION?

Well these brands are creating cool unique shoes that just happen to be vegan. It’s not like they’re branding themselves as a vegan footwear company and I actually think that’s beneficial. I think brands should offer synthetic options in their lines and you are seeing it more and more. Most vegan footwear isn’t really that cool and I feel like it lacks a modern edge and a modern approach to marketing. I like that I can just go on to SHOEme.ca and find vegan options that aren’t just hiking shoes or weird toe shoes.

WE JUMPED OUTSIDE IN THE NEW CYPRESS FROM PEOPLE FOOTWEAR - THOUGHTS? THEY LOOK SO COZY.
At first I wasn’t sure they would look good on me… but they are super cozy and comfortable and I actually really like the look of them. And I think you can style them differently, because they can take on an outwear look and a more casual cool look.

HAVE YOU WORN THE ILSE JACOBSENS IN THE RAIN OR SNOW YET? HOW HAVE THEY HELD UP?
I have worn them when it was a bit rainy, but we haven’t had any snow! Or I wasn’t here when it actually snowed. But they’re very durable and comfortable and I love how bold they are!

IS IT HARD TO MAKE A MEAL AND NOT TAKE A PICTURE?
That never happens. Even if it’s a less set up photo it goes on snap chat. There’s a place and an audience for everything I eat!


DO YOU TAKE TIME AWAY FROM YOUR PHONE/LAPTOP? DO YOU UNPLUG?
 
I want to do that more in the evenings, but I find John and I always sort of need to be working in small ways when we’re together at night. That being said I actually feel like I’m not as attached to my phone as some people who don’t even work in the social media realm as heavily as I do. I’m pretty good about not checking likes, comments etc. all the time. I dedicate time every few days to get back to people and check things like that. Now that I’ve synergized my life and career into one thing it doesn’t actually feel as overwhelming because it all goes together. Whereas when I had my career in television I also felt pressure to be keeping up a personal brand side to things and it seemed like more work on top of what I was already doing.

WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE SOCIAL MEDIA CHANNEL AND WHY?
I still love Instagram. I get excited when I see a bunch of really great photos and posts together in my feed and I get a little neurotic if I happened to have posted something not so good. It bugs me. But I like that there’s a collection that’s easy to see and at a glance you can see cool things other people are doing. But because I’ve found such a great home on YouTube I am appreciating that platform more and more. The community I’ve created is really great. There really isn’t negativity at all and so I’ve had a really positive experience on there.


BEST PIECE OF ADVICE YOU'VE RECEIVED THAT'S HELPED YOU TO WHERE YOU'RE AT TODAY?
I don’t think anyone’s actually said this to me, but I grew up seeing it reflected back to me a lot and I just remember holding it very closely to me. And that is just to be myself. When I watched VJ’s like Sook Yin, Rachel Perry, and George Strombo on Much growing up I saw people being themselves and it instilled that value in me. I wanted to be like them but me. Through them being authentic I knew I could be successful by being authentically me and no one else.


SINCE WE SHOT YOU AND YOUR PARTNER JOHN TOGETHER, HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT COUPLES' STYLE MATCHING?

It just happens. I wouldn’t believe that any couple is trying to match intentionally. We don’t try to ever look the same but often times when we go out we do. We’re either both wearing plaid, or all black, or denim shirts with black jeans. It’s funny because we get dressed and then we realize one of us should probably change!

 

HOW MAINSTREAM HAS 'BEING VEGAN' BECOME?
I think it’s is definitely mainstream and growing fast. It’s not a trend, but just a movement and a reaction to the food system we’ve created. I also love hearing about all the celebrities and influential people taking on the vegan lifestyle. That helps the movement immensely.

 

HOW HAS IT AFFECTED YOUR STYLE?
I just buy less clothing. I think that might also have to do with not working in TV anymore too, but definitely since being vegan and becoming consciously aware of the fabric and material that clothing is made of I can’t just buy anything. I have to look at labels and really sometimes go out of my way to find sweaters that don’t have cashmere, wool, angora etc. There was a time when I never looked or even thought about that stuff even as a vegan. I changed my eating habits first and everything else came a couple years after.

 

BE HONEST, HOW MUCH DID WE UP YOUR SOCK GAME WITH THESE NEW RICHER POORER STYLES?
Well I usually just wear black socks… so I had no game. Now I’m in the game with these.

 

WHAT ARE THREE ESSENTIALS EVERY ASPIRING YOUTUBE VLOGGER SHOULD INVEST IN?
A light of some kind because you’re going to want to shoot at night once you realize how much content you need to create, a point and shoot camera or a new phone with a good camera (just google “best vlogging camera”), a tripod – it doesn't have to be fancy.

 

Even a gorilla pod will be good for your phone or your point and shoot.

THE GREAT DEBATE IS HAPPENING NOW, WHAT'S YOUR VOTE FOR CALLING TORONTO TDOT OR THE6?
I feel like The6 is almost played out since we all want to be Drake, but when you say Tdot you sound lame and old. So I’m going with The6.

Subscribe to Lauren in Real Life and Hot For Food on YouTube. 

 

 


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