Your Name: C.J. Strickland
Location: Tokyo, Japan
Occupation: Language Instructor, Fashion Nomad, and Food Instagrammer
Where did you come from? I was raised on a small Native American reservation in Atmore, Alabama, but have since claimed Tokyo as my tribal grounds.
A Fear: One of my biggest fears, presently, is not taking the necessary risks to become the next great designer. I work tirelessly to hone my visionary and technical skills, so to never make it would be heartbreaking. I’m also completely terrified of the ocean – I take sleeping pills every time I fly over the Pacific.
A Goal: To do what I love and love what I do. I’ve never been content with the idea of a 9-5.
A Memory: Earlier this year I began working on a new business that focused on Japanese fashion trends and popularizing it to the Western market. I worked with a few close friends of mine and together we developed the outline for what looked to be a promising business venture. Sadly, due to waning interest from group members and a lack of dedication, the project fell through and I was left disappointed. That was my first lesson in business: never expect others to be as dedicated to your goals as you are.
A Hero: The Man in Black, Johnny Cash. He managed to rise from years of addiction and built an incredible legacy. His extremely honest lyrics have always resonated with me and inspire me to be just as transparent.
A Fault: My greatest fault would certainly be my tendency to burn bridges with people after a negative experience. Sadly, this is especially true with close friends. Because I easily trust people and let them in, I am more hurt and angered when they disrespect betray me. It’s an issue I’ve been working through, but there isn’t a simple solution to it.
A Talent: Oration. I’ve always had a knack for it even from a young age. Though it took some time for it to develop, my talent for delivering a strong narrative and commanding attention when I speak has certainly aided me throughout the years.
A Prized Possession: My kick-ass beaded tribal bolo tie. It was a custom made piece from my uncle and is the perfect statement piece for any look.
A Need: An internship with Paul Smith.
I want More: Opportunities to see my loved ones. I miss them so much.
I want Less: Moments in which I doubt my own abilities and self-worth. Thinking poorly of myself creates unnecessary barriers.
What would you change about the world? Let’s spend fewer hours behind the desk and more time running in the grass with no shoes on.
What do you love about yourself? Setting my sails for lands beyond the barriers of the reservation. Being a nomad has helped me learn how to love myself.