SHOE OF CHOICE
THE WHOLE STORY
What’s your story, Jackie?
I was born and raised on the perfectly serene oasis of Kaua’i, Hawai’i. This island lifestyle guided me toward greater appreciation for the land, the sea, and the people. I grew up in a very pure and happy environment that granted me with a foundation based on love, respect for myself and others, and compassion towards all. I have always been an advocate for education and deeply value all the awareness that I have acquired throughout my life. I graduated from the University of Hawaii at Manoa with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Apparel Production Design and Merchandising and a minor in French. Shortly after, I went back to school to get my credential in Elementary Education with the aspiration of becoming a teacher. Becoming a teacher meant that I could uplift, foster, and inspire young minds in a way that would forever guide their path of life towards something with significant meaning. After having difficulty finding a teaching job in Los Angeles due to a “lack of experience” I decided to prioritize my passion for fashion with my sister Camille in order to create a swimwear line of our own called Cami and Jax!
What’s the best way to describe what you do?
I grew up with the ocean in my backyard and the mountains in my front yard. I would consider myself a pretty well-rounded athlete but primarily value my moments spent in the ocean. As a little girl, I used to avidly compete in surfing competitions but as I matured, I felt it slowly take the fun away from the sport. Now I surf in my free time and never feel pressure to perform at a certain level or have stress related to competition. Surfing is a means for me to reflect, grow, move freely, spend time with others who share the same love, and value my life for all its worth. I treasure being in the ocean. I wouldn’t consider it my single-most passion, but it is something that grounds me and I can always find balance and serenity doing it. My sister and I are focused on building our brand identity and strengthening the “Cami and Jax” swimwear label. Since youth, Camille and I have had a lifelong dream of establishing a swimwear line of our own. It wasn’t until recently that we were determined to make our dream a reality! Camille and I share a perfect balance of the life skills, industry knowledge, stamina, and passion that it takes to start a company of our own.
How have you impacted the community or environment?
The most rewarding thing I have ever done was teaching at a low socio-economic kindergarten class in the Los Angeles Unified School District. I have never felt more appreciated in my entire life. Some of the students came from such hard lives and school was their one place to escape reality and be who they were meant to be. They were so eager to learn and truly valued all the dedication, care, and concern that I had for their optimal achievement and happiness. All children really want is someone on their side, someone who is proud of what they “can” do and not upset about what they “can’t” do, and someone they can depend on. I feel like we equally impacted each other’s lives, and for that, I carry gratitude.
Another thing that I find just as rewarding is through our swimwear line. We donate a percentage of all trunk show and sale earnings to children, families, charities or foundations that are in need. I didn’t realize how meaningful it would be until I saw the impact it made. At the end of the day what really stays close to heart is knowing that we have genuinely impacted someone’s life in a way that we could never really do before. It is a pretty incredible feeling.
Where is your favorite place to travel to?
I have been fortunate enough to travel to quite a few places but I must say that my favorite place to travel to thus far has been Tahiti. It’s not just the “world class” surf, the crystal clear water, or the dreamlike backdrops… It’s the culture, the people, and the lifestyle. I have never experienced a more welcoming community of people. The French Polynesian are endlessly giving with no intention to ever receive. All they want is gratitude, friendship, and respect. They live a simply beautiful life and take great pride and value of their rich culture, people, and country. I love it in Tahiti because it has been the one place where I have felt most at ease, connected, and closest to home. Also, I am able to communicate through my knowledge of the French language and I find great challenge, fun, and humor having the opportunity of doing so.
What are your plans in the next couple years near future?
My plans for the near future are to strive to be the best version of myself I can possibly be! I am going to be 100% devoted to my swimwear company Cami and Jax and work on building our brand as much as possible, while creating lasting connections and friendships along the way! As crazy as it is to start a company of my own, I have the best business partner (my sister) and parents in the entire universe and having fun along the way will never be pushed aside!
Lastly, any sponsors or things to plug?
Flo Water, Indosole, Cami and Jax… Do my parents count?!