Name: Marissa Alves
Current City: Los Angeles
Hometown: Seattle, WA
Marissa Alves moved to the sunny side of Los Angeles last year with her boyfriend, Nick to dive deeper into the creative community the city has to offer and further chase her dreams. When she's not behind the camera, she loves traveling outside of the country, cuddling with her cats and digging for vintage goods.
Read on to discover more about this bonafide, multi-talented lady.
In a few sentences, tell us a little bit about yourself?
I’m Filipino and Portuguese – my mom is from a city in the Philippines and my dad, a small surf town in Portugal. They decided to raise me in the good ole Pacific Northwest. Both cultures shaped me to be the woman I am today. From a young age, my family told me that family was everything and let me tell you... I have quite the family. Both sides of my family are quite large, so being an only child didn’t feel so lonely. My Filipino side especially is filled with artists and creatives. My mom taught me how to use film when I was young which guided me into a film photography class in high school which then lead to getting a degree in commercial photography. I’m 5’1 but don’t let my size fool you, while I shoot I carry a portable ladder around because, let’s be real, I’m a 5’1 tall photographer. I need a ladder!
I blame my parents for my crazy travel addiction. I have to leave to every few months or else I start to lose my mind. Personally, I think seeing the world is one of the most important things I can do in my lifetime. Before I became a photographer, I wanted to become a marine biologist as the ocean has always been a huge part of my life, especially when I was younger. My parents LOVED to travel and being an only child they would always take me with them. I would find myself in other countries surrounded by clear blue water with a huge fascinating playground within it. I truly love everything about the ocean and will always have a passion for what lies within it and will always continue to find ways to conserve what we have left of it.
Between freelance photography and co-founding Honey Ginger Co., you're quite the hustler. What attracted you to each craft and what's the origin story of Honey Ginger Co.?
Honey Ginger Co., a brand of curated vintage and handmade skin care, was a side passion project that was hard to keep up at first and when it reached a point where I couldn't do it on my own, I brought on my boyfriend, Nick. I knew I had a niche for always finding the best vintage at estate sales, thrift shops, etc. and my friends/family would always say I should start a side projecting selling my homemade skincare products so voila, Honey Ginger Co. was born. The name actually came from a blog I started with my best friend that we eventually didn't have the time for. She's a talented wardrobe stylist living in Seattle who's always crazy busy and I'm a freelancer with a schedule all over the place. We never had the time to write a post. I loved the name, so I asked her if I could turn it into what it is today.
What are some of your favorite shoots from the past?
Some of my favorite shoots have always been working with other talented women because it takes more than a photographer to take a good photo. It's a team of photo assistants, digital techs, models, stylists, makeup artists, and hair stylists that truly make everything flow. Most photographers have a go-to crew that they've worked with in the past to create a smooth shoot. Having a crew that gets you and your work is key!
What's your favorite product that you've created?
My favorite product I’ve created has to be the facial oil for Honey Ginger Co. I’ve struggled with a combination of oily and dry skin for so long and I never thought that putting more “oil” on my skin would help. Using all natural and organic products are incredibly important and it has completely changed my skin for the better. I’m so happy to share it with other people who have been struggling with the same issues.
Where is your favorite place to escape to?
PORTUGAL! Specifically, a little town called Ericeira which is along the coast and only 30 minutes away from Lisbon. I know that’s a far place to escape to, but Ericeira is my home away from home since my whole Portuguese side of my family lives in Portugal. I grew up going to this little town and it was always somewhere I could escape reality, relax and enjoy time with my family. Also having my Tia Lurdes’s cooking is like nothing from this planet and I will never find a better homemade meal. She even makes her own fermented wine and my Tió catches the fish and collects the mussels in the morning, it’s pure heaven! Not to mention, I look like every single person walking around there so that’s kind of cool to not be the only brown skinned, bushy-browed, wavy-haired, shorty around.
Let's dive into the future, describe your dream life?
My dream life honestly is just short and sweet, as long as I’m able to take photos for the rest of my life while being able to travel the world I’m one happy camper.
What are some challenges you hit at this point in your career and how do you navigate through them?
Choosing this career path hasn’t been an easy journey. Freelancing is tough. You have good months and bad months. Personally, I hit creative roadblocks and even compare my work to others quite a bit. Most creatives go through this and it’s just a hump you have to get over and keep pushing yourself to try and create. I overcome these humps by making a trip, even if it’s just for the day. Clearing my mind usually helps me creatively. My favorite places to go when I have this roadblock is the ocean, of course. Something about feeling sand in my toes and the sea salt in my hair really gets my creatives juices flowing.
Discuss the importance of female friendships in your life.
Female friendships are SO IMPORTANT! I’ve always had my best friend/go-to-girl for everything! I go to her whether I had a bad day, have a funny story to tell, or just need some advice (as a stylist, she understands the industry too). She’s been my friend for over 11 years now and I really don’t know how I’d get through those rough college years without her. Female friendships aren’t always just a friend, I’d consider my mom to be one of the closest and strongest woman figures in my life. It’s important to have a strong woman figure in your life because it helps you be stronger together and get through the everyday struggles all women (and people of color) have to go through.
Who are your greatest influencers?
I’d say my mom is the greatest influencer. She’s one feisty and truthful woman who won’t beat around the bush to tell you some advice, even if it’s not what you want to hear. On a professional level, Annie Leibovitz has always been an inspiring woman to me.
If you could have dinner with any woman in history, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
If I could have dinner with any woman in the world it would have to be my women ancestors. I know that’s vague but I’m so intrigued by my family tree and curious what they went through and how they lived.
What are you grateful for?
I’m grateful for my family on both my Filipino and Portuguese side. They remind me of how important my culture is and remind me to always keep it close to my heart. I’m so incredibly grateful and proud of my heritage and how far they’ve come. My grandpa on my Filipino side was a Colonel in WWII and what he overcame to get my family over to the US was unimaginable. He was part of the Bataan Corregidor death march, went through malaria and witnessed many deaths around him yet he persevered and survived. In exchange to keep his family safe, he made an agreement with the US to move his wife and 5 children from the Philippines to the US. Even though he’s not around anymore, he still lives on in my family and I’m beyond grateful for his service and courage.
Quote to live by?
My quote to live by is by Martin Luther King: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.”