Summer 2017 Recap: "This Is JCali"
From starting my first official job outside of college, first work trip, and getting to create my first website, Summer 2017 was one to remember. This summer was bigger than myself, and such a testament of what you can do when you put your heart and soul into what you want out of life.
Previously to summer starting I was participating in two internships. One was 3 days a week, and another 2 days a week, while weekends were for trying to figure out long-term goals. A full week of not making any money, but developing and connecting with individuals and leaders in their fields. That was all the reward I needed. Sure, financial stability would’ve been nice, but I was getting much more than money could ever buy. Towards the start of summer, one of my internships offered an opportunity to begin a career working in fashion – one I could not turn away. It was the first door opening right out of college and I was enjoying how much I was learning that I took it without hesitation.
Shortly after, the opportunity to become a fashion contributor presented itself. Shocked, excited, and nervous as can be – I accepted. I knew that while I wanted some time to adjust in one field, my parents had always raised me to work hard but more importantly learn and develop myself, and I believed being fully involved in things I wanted to pursue would do just that. Immediately I was working on my first magazine article, and assisting with a fashion show…in Miami. The dream had been presented and now I needed to execute it.
SWIMMIAMI was first. The opportunity had quickly shifted from assisting from our NY office to traveling to Miami to assist hands on. Through my trip and getting to experience working several shows as talent liaison I learned to work under pressure, always being on my toes and ready to make moves – no hesistation allowed in a fast paced industry, your team is everything, and kindness goes a long way. A rundown from day 1 to day 3 consisted of working events all afternoon, nights trying out local food spots before hitting the hay early, and mornings running some errands while preparing for the busy afternoon, and the cycle repeated itself each day. The whole time I remained grateful that I was able to be in the mix of this rush, plus was able to see some great fashion shows that ranged from Prey by Audrina Patridge (from The Hills), Cali Dreams, and Hot-As-Hell. There were definitely times when it got tough, but I just continued with the goal at hand to work my best.
Then, getting back from Miami meant straight into fashion contributor deadlines. The pressure was on, my first one with a new outlet I wanted to make sure it was authentic to my taste while catering to the readers it reached. Long nights of planning, overthinking, and doubt consumed me at first. After one day of catching up with friends and working on some pictures for my page I realized once how important it meant to be authentic to myself. I naturally enjoyed fashion, and if I was hired to do something it was because I initially had presented some sort of idea that the team liked, so I committed. I was proud and submitted my first issue (released on July 2017 as the July/August issue)
Lastly, my website – This Is JCali. While this had been a project I had been working on since Summer 2014, every time it didn’t seem right. I’m glad I didn’t do it before too because I don’t think I had enough to contribute. In fashion, lifestyle, #inmywords , none of it would’ve made sense because I hadn’t experienced some of most trying moments of my journey. In the beginning of 2017, I already knew that this year I would launch something – I didn’t know how, and what it would be but I knew why! I wanted a platform to share my journey, and things I was passionate about. A place I could call my own in which people could join in and either relate, or take time to explore a different perspective, all while enjoying their time here. Well after saving, and coming up with the name and layout it suddenly became more real as each day passed. The name came about because people called me Cali (short for my last name Calixto), but growing up I would always be so proud of my first name Jonathan – disliked when people would say “John” – and it took me a while to really understand what it meant to have an identity, that I wanted to leave the “J” as a symbol of my roots to everything – like a reminder of where I came from. Finally the “This is” was a way to not shy away from stating that this is my reality, and my story. Growing up and even now there are moments of doubt, hesitation, and so much fear in certain aspects that I shy away from letting my true self live but not with this site – I knew this would be a step in letting that wall down.
Now, that initial idea has grown into one day providing that security of being your true self to another individual. So through much thoughts, reworking several parts of this site and life, living in my situations and not running away from them, plus believing in my goals no matter any circumstance, it finally came into fruition this summer, This Is JCali.