Confidence and Humility: A Los Angeles Story
Last weekend, I went to Los Angeles for the shooting of the first episode of the second season of Young and Hungry.
This is because the main character, Gabi Diamond, has a few things in common with my girlfriend, Gabi Moskowitz. Both are spunky, funny, driven chefs – both blonde – both with terrific ambition. And this isn’t a coincidence. Gabi is actually based on Gabi.
Though Gabi Diamond lives in fictional San Francisco, “the real Gabi” lives in actual San Francisco. And, that said, in my mind, Gabi Diamond lives in Los Angeles, because that’s where I go to see her. I walk into a huge building with lofty ceilings and lots of lights – and lots of people – and lots of rushing around. And about thirty feet away, my girlfriend’s fictional alter-ego comes alive on stage.
The show is cute and clever and has a ton of heart. And similarly, Los Angeles. It’s cute. And clever. And has a ton of heart. I know this; I haven’t just felt that heart, but I’ve seen it. I’ve had the pleasure of joining the writers of Young and Hungry in their creative den, and I’ve watched storylines take shape on a white-board. Their passion for their craft is phenomenal. They are dedicated to the stories, to the characters, and to making a show that will make people laugh. And in that studio, last weekend, the thrill of creativity was palpable. I am, generally, happiest around creative, passionate people. And there was so much creativity – in Studio 15, and in Los Angeles, in general.
Walking down the streets of Los Angeles, however, I sometimes found myself thinking uncharacteristic thoughts. I was overly attuned to how people look, to how I look, and it was impossible not to. Everything is coiffed.
Old women with little dogs. Both old woman and dog are coiffed.
Slinky dude in head-to-toe leather. Trying not to look coiffed, Totally coiffed.
The most attractive people I’ve ever seen. Coiffed, coiffed, and coiffed.
And there I was, standing in line for a coiffed coffee, feeling self conscious. It brought out my inner middle-schooler.
“Am I okay?”
Kristina Welzien, a friend and genius, hooked me up with this amazing cut (and the photos, too). She, too, is confident and humble. (While I’m at it, I’ll mention that the TieBar.com flower strikes that same balace: flower made of humble yarn. In-your-face red. Get the idea?
This was neither good nor bad, but an exercise in articulating who I am. Sometimes it’s good to be pushed to the margins of who you are. Then, you can have a Northern California-esque “check in” with yourself.
I’m a Style Writer, and to be sure, I have never been un-self-conscious. What is so awful about being self-conscious in middle school, however, is that (as we remember) there is no refuge in two critical mindsets that true grown-ups learn: confidence and humility. Confidence is earned, slowly. With hard work. Meanwhile, the slings and arrows of life beat humility into you; but also, it must be chosen and honed. Like confidence. Slowly.
Which brings me back to Gabi. Both Gabis. Both are occasionally self-conscious, as are we all, but both blend healthy portions of confidence with humility. Gabi Diamond, going to bat (culinarily speaking) against the famous chef Michael Voltaggio, says, “I’m not afraid of a trial. Because I’m innocent and my food will be proven delish.” And yet, she is humble and kind when interacting with her friends – even if they’re not as wildly talented as she is. Gabi Moskowitz, meanwhile, could knock the socks off a world-class food critic — with the food she throws together on a work night. And then she’s willing to cook for her mother’s book club or for a fundraiser for a local school.
Even this guy would be blown away by Gabi’s cooking.
She has an incredibly successful blog, two cookbooks and a T.V. show. But she’ll brainstorm with me as if Style For Dorks were the most important blog on the interwebs.
The real Gabi.
And how does Style fit into this?
Find the balance.
Be self-conscious enough to look. To care.
Be confident, enough to dress in a way that helps you feel like you’re the most handsome version of you that you can be.
Be humble. Period.
Blend your inner S.F. with your inner L.A.
Be like Gabi. Both of ’em.