Category Archive for Fims + Videos
Inside with Palina Rojinski: hosting a Hong Kong travel TV show for Pro7! Farfetch Style Reinvention.
At last, I can show you footage from my latest Hong Kong travel TV show shoot! (I’ve filmed two more times in Asia since then, but it takes forever for shows to come out… hence the old hair color.)
If you live in Germany, perhaps you saw me on the new ProSieben series, “Inside – Unterwegs mit Palina.” I was the fixer and on-camera host for this new TV show, which takes Palina Rojinski around the world in search of local experiences.
But fist, I want to share with you a new Style Reinvention project with Farfetch, where I reinterpret boy-style for a female wardrobe.
It’s always fun to film TV shows in Asia, since this lets me see the latest fashion and trends up close.
Right now, Kpop style is everywhere. I’m particularly keen on the sleek, black, rocker clothing worn by Korean boy bands such as Excite (above).
Kpop male idols have always leaned towards an androgynous look — so why not mix up your wardrobe with some menswear pieces? I teamed up with Farfetch to create a “Style Reinvention” moodboard. I had fun breaking out of my usual zone, and browsing the men’s section for ideas.
Clockwork from left, I created a K-pop rock star look with:
– Issey Miyake black studded backpack
– Off-White top (this type of black/white contrast is very Kpop)
– Rick Owens blazer with shawl collar, stud cuff, and zip leather boots
– Raf Simons black skinny jeans
Now, I feel like I can fit in with the Korean boys of the band 24K!
How would you reinvent your style? Farfetch is inviting you to build your own moodboard (like I did), and share it on your blog and social media with the hashtag #myfarfetch. The best outfit, chosen by Farfetch, will receive a £250 voucher to spend on their site. The competition ends Oct 31 — Halloween — so get to it. Can’t wait to see what you come up with.
And now, back to the travel TV shoot in Hong Kong.
It was a pleasure to work once again with Pro7, the biggest German TV network. I previously filmed with them for Joko vs Klaas in Vancouver (where we sewed Joko’s lips together), and Tokyo (where we gave Klaas a bagelhead).
While I can’t release the whole episode, I put together some of my TV clips in the video above and on YouTube. I also have behind the scenes photos and stories to share — so read on for martial arts, horse racing and snake soup!
I was Palina’s on-camera guide to Hong Kong, in this episode of “Inside.” For the first scene, I met her at Hong Kong airport.
(My company, La Carmina & The Pirates, did the fixing for this TV program, meaning we arranged all the permits, casting, story ideas and more.)
If you’re from Germany, I am sure you’re familiar with Palina Rojinski. She’s a DJ and popular TV host, and we hit it off straight away.
The concept of the show is that Palina wants to get offline, and travel around the globe without the help of cell phones, computers, or money. As her Hong Kong local insider, I was excited to show her the city’s wildest nightlife and food.
We filmed a thrilling scene at the Hong Kong Jockey Club race course, in Sha Tin. People placed bets on horses, and cheered like maniacs when their favorites galloped by.
This photo gives you a sense of the excitement in the grandstands, as betters cheered for their favorite horses and jockeys. Horse racing is a popular attraction in Hong Kong, a former British colony.
My friend John Skeleton and I were the odd Goths out, in this racecourse filled with older men! John was my fixing partner for this German TV show, and led all the scouting and first day’s shoot.
On this turf, jockeys paraded their horses for the spectators.
I’ve only been to the Hong Kong horse races once when I was a child, as it’s not exactly my scene. However, it was fun to film here with the TV show. Palina placed a bet on a horse — and with the magic of TV, she won!
After the races, we paid a visit to our X-mouthed friend Miffy. (Or as we call her, “Miffeeehhhh!”)
Oh Miffeh, always getting into shenanigans. (The TV crew filmed the balloon, and you can see it in this video.)
This was a very special scene… because it starred my cousins, uncle and aunt! As you probably know, I have many relatives in Hong Kong, and they generously opened up their apartment to Palina and the TV crew.
Palina and my family chatted about growing up in Hong Kong, and all the cultural quirks. They offered her local snacks, and let her sleep in my cousin’s bed… surrounded by cute stuffed animals.
The B-roll camera did a time lapse of the sunset. My uncle’s apartment has a marvelous view of the harbor.
Can you imagine looking outside, and having this as your view? Palina loved meeting my family members and learning about their cosmopolitan lifestyle in Hong Kong.
Palina Rojinski insisted on taking selfies with all of us, and left adorable notes for them, written in Chinese.
On another day, I arranged for Palina to visit a villian hitter. These women set up stalls beneath the overpass of Causeway Bay, around Hennessey Road. They offer a menu of spiritual rituals that drive out negative feng shui.
This lady set up an altar with incense and statues of the Chinese folk gods, including the red-faced warrior Guan Yu.
My aunt appeared in the TV program, as Palina’s Cantonese translator and guide for this scene. She introduced her to the villain hitter, who performed a dramatic ritual that stamps out bad luck.
She burned papers and beat an effigy, to vanquish Palina’s enemies. It’s quite the ritual, and worth witnessing if you’re in Causeway Bay.
Talk about bad timing… We ran into a traffic jam, near the Hong Kong government buildings. A huge crowd had gathered there. What was going on?
Later that evening, we looked up at a TV screen… and couldn’t believe our eyes. The Hong Kong protests had broken out into chaos, with police firing gas into the crowds. This was the start of “Occupy Central,” and we had missed it by a hair.
Regardless, the show must go on. Palina was up for a food challenge, so I set her up at Sher Wong Yip New Snake Restaurant.
Look who else has eaten snake soup here… My friend Andrew Zimmern of Bizarre Foods (Travel Channel)! Remember when I took him around to Tokyo restaurants for his TV show?
At the entrance, there was a big glass case filled with writhing snakes. This cat sat right next to the snakes, and didn’t seem at all scared.
The owners held up snakes, for a teaser shot. In Hong Kong, people traditionally ate snake soup to “warm up the body” and for its supposed medical benefits.
The taste of snake soup? Just like chicken with herbs. I bet you wouldn’t even know you were eating a serpent.
We ended the Offline TV shoot with a bang. Palina had to fight one-on-one with martial arts expert and filmmaker, Sam Leong.
He taught her some killer moves at his Kowloon fighting studio.
Then, we drove to this epic location overlooking Hong Kong, for a kung fu death match!
Take a moment to watch my German travel TV show appearance, and let me know what you think. Thanks to all my friends and family for making this episode a success. We couldn’t have done it without you.
PS: We were so busy running around that it was hard to take photos. Here is a clearer head-to-toe of the outfit I wore on this travel TV show. These were shot at Pacific Cebu Resort (more photos here.)
A few of my friends have been to Vietnam, and encouraged me to visit. They gushed: “The food is out of this world, and everyone is so nice.”
After spending time in Hanoi and Ha Long Bay, I must wholeheartedly concur. “Hat’s off to Vietnam!”
I wanted to have an immersive, authentic experience (as always) — so I went on a custom journey with Vietnam Food Tour.
Thanks to our bilingual local guide, we were able to travel to small villages where we talked to locals, and learned how to cook Vietnamese food!
Read on to see how I made spring rolls, Nuoc Cham dipping sauce, and other delicious dishes…
Watch our Vietnam video, above and on YouTube.
My friend John Skeleton and I flew to Hanoi from Hong Kong — an easy and inexpensive two-hour flight.
Vietnam Food Tour arranged for a car to take us from Noi Bai Airport to our hotel in the Old Quarter. Along the way, we saw throngs of motorcycles zipping between cars – Mad Max style!
It rained a little that night, which gave us the chance to take bokeh photos from the car window. (This is the fabulous DSLR camera that we use.)
Vietnam is humid and has mosquitoes, so I devised a stylish way to stay covered. I wore a lightweight cotton tank top and leggings, and a sheer lace maxi black dress on top.
If you’re going to a destination with high humidity, such as southeast Asia, I recommend finding a long lace dress like mine, or a short sleeves version to keep cool yet protected. More of my picks below:
On the first day of our journey, Vietnam Food Tour took us to a village about an hour from Hanoi, along the Red River Delta.
Thanks to them, we were able to see charming parts of North Vietnam that we wouldn’t have gleamed on our own.
We stopped at Van Giang Village’s morning market. It’s true that the Vietnamese people have kind hearts. Everyone waved and smiled at us, and gave compliments as we walked by.
John and I were the only foreigners in sight, since not many travel out to this village. (Vietnam Food Tour specializes in small, custom excursions — meaning that we were the only ones on the tour, with a guide and driver.)
Our sweet guide, Bao, explained that the villagers grow fresh vegetables in their gardens. They bring their produce to the market, where they greet their neighbors and exchange food in a friendly atmosphere.
Many villagers wore Vietnamese pointed hats (get one here!). This conical straw hat is made from natural materials, and provides protection against both sun and rain.
Who wore it best, La Carmina or John Skeleton?
I think this little girl on a motorbike, with a “not impressed” face, wins first prize!
We walked through the wet market, where vendors sold fresh seafood. Some of the ladies prepared Vietnamese dishes for you right on the spot.
John left his bloody heart on this tray.
As fans of The Walking Dead, these chicken-zombies caught our attention.
Tropical fruits, fresh flowers, Vietnamese conversations… What a joy to experience the sights and sounds of this local market!
Our driver took us from the colorful village center, criss-crossed by electrical wires, to a more rural area nearby.
Even the cows are laid-back in wonderful Vietnam. They were hanging out on the roads, and didn’t blink an eye as the cars weaved around them.
Our guide Bao went out of her way to show us the culture and beauty of her country. She stopped to pick up a yellow apricot blossom, or hoa mai, and gave it to us. This noble flower is integral to Vietnam’s new years celebrations, called Tet.
The countryside pond and trees look like something from an ancient painting.
Our guide, Bao, took us to the 300 year old house of Mr. An. He graciously invited us to meet his family, and learn how to make Vietnamese dishes.
We were in awe at his beautiful garden and open-air traditional house. We stopped to admire the family altar, which honors Mr. An’s ancestors as well as the Buddha (since much of Vietnam is Buddhist, followed by Taoist).
Mr. An has some of the most impressive Bonsai trees in the entire region, which he displays along the winding path to his home.
Mr An served us green tea, prepared in the traditional way (by pouring it several times back and forth, and then serving it in small cups). Although he only spoke Vietnamese, we could feel the warmth of his hospitality.
We were curious about the bullet holes that marked the outside of his home.
Mr An revealed that before 1946, his ancestral house has three separate buildings. However, when the French occupied northern Vietnam, they set up camp nearby. During an attack on the Communists, the two front buildings burned down, and a gunfight left traces in the remaining walls.
The Indochina Wars (and American Vietnam War) caused hardships during the mid-20th century. However today, the country is at peace, and very safe for tourists. And despite these conflicts, the Vietnamese people are remarkably open and kind to visitors.
Even though Mr and Mrs An didn’t speak a word of English or French, I was able to connect with them through the universal language of humor!
(The rice paper that we used to make spring rolls reminded me of a moustache, hence this funny moment.)
Mrs An kindly walked me through each step of making Vietnamese spring rolls. I learned how to prepare and mix the ingredients, and roll them up. She gave me and John thumbs up, as we got better at the process. (See this cute moment here!)
Perhaps not every spring roll is as tightly packed as it could be… but we had such fun, working under the tutelage of Mrs An.
John noticed a shelf of spooky liqueurs, flavored with dead snakes and quails. We had never seen alcohol made with birds before.
John wanted to try the snake potion, but Mr An warned him that it was only for those aged 50 and up!
Mrs. An took us into her family kitchen, to cook the spring rolls and stir-fry green vegetables. We put together a Nuoc Cham dipping sauce to accompany our feast.
(We made a vlog about our cooking class. I hope the video makes you smile.)
She brought out a salad made with seaweed and vegetables, as well as a seafood soup and other side dishes.
And then, it was time to sit down and eat until we were ready to explode! The spring rolls were so delicious — better than any we had ever had — that John said he could eat about 20 of them. (And proceeded to do so.)
In classic “village generosity,” as our guide put it, Mr An freely poured us the herbal-infused liqueur that he brewed himself. Before leaving, he insisted that we take a bottle back with us!
This turned out to be one of the most memorable meals of the entire year, and gave me a new appreciation of Vietnamese cuisine. We were grateful to get to know Mr and Mrs An, and hear their personal stories of the wars.
Vietnam Food Tour also arranged for us to have dinner at one of Hanoi’s top restaurants, Com Viet.
We walked across a bridge surrounded by leaves, and past a display of Asian art.
On the restaurant’s outdoor terrace, I said hello to a little bird.
(My off the shoulder black silk top is another way to stay covered without getting overheated, in humid South East Asia.)
The female staff wore traditional silk tunics and pants, known as the Vietnamese aoi dai.
(All photos by John, Bao of Vietnam Food Tour, and me.)
Com Viet felt like a walk through Vietnam’s elegant past. As we ate, we listened to classic songs played on this string instrument called a dan tranh.
We tasted several courses of traditional cuisine, starting with bun thang soup and fresh rolls with prawns and vermicelli.
Loved the fresh flavors and presentation of the dishes, including appetizers in two baskets on a pole (a miniature version of what street vendors carry).
By now, I understood why my friends raved about Vietnamese food. It’s light, healthy, and never over-seasoned or spiced.
Vietnam is often an overlooked Asian destination, which is unfortunate. My local food tour turned out to be one of my favorites of the entire year — I wouldn’t have had these experiences if I came here on my own.
(You can check out Vietnam Food Tour’s various Hanoi excursions here — we did the Savour four-day package, and I recommend it with all my heart.)
Much more to come, including our Pirate boat trip through Halong Bay… For a sneak peak, take a few minutes to watch our Vietnam travel video.
If you’re a fan of Game of Thrones, then I have a feeling you will like these Iceland photos… inspired by the fantasy fashion and northern landscapes!
I’m also happy to announce that our Iceland travel video is now out — and you can watch it here.
(It would be amazing if you can share this post with friends who are fans of the HBO series. I’d love to hear what they think.)
Above: I’m honored to have one of these Icelandic images on the cover of Love Japan magazine. Inside, you’ll find an exclusive interview with me, and a spread of photos taken both in Reykjavik and worldwide.
Love Japan is a publication that I believe in: it’s dedicated to Japanese culture, lifestyle, food and fashion. You can find this issue in various stockists around London, or order it online through their site (the first 20 customers get special gifts). It’s also free to read online here.
During our time in Iceland, Joey and I also shot an atmospheric film of our travels. It’s quite different from my usual episodes, and has more of a music video feeling. What do you think? Watch our video above, or on my LaCarmina YouTube.
A big round of applause for my team:
I’m a fan of HBO’s Game of Thrones, which is partially shot in Iceland (standing in for the Wall and North of the Wall). What better place to do a photoshoot inspired by the characters?
I channeled Daenerys Targaryen with my braided and curled hair.
Iceland is a photographer’s paradise, thanks to the clear light and dramatic landscapes. Photographer Joey couldn’t resist crossing the road to capture this mountain range.
We got access to these hidden nature areas, thanks to Thor and Anna of Salty Tours. They were excited about our photoshoot concept, and brought us to the perfect settings, far away from other tourists.
Since we were on a private Jeep tour, we could go wherever we wanted and work at our own pace. We couldn’t have asked for a more magical location, at this elf park.
I’m channeling the dragon queen and King’s Landing fashion, with my wide-sleeved top (by Japanese brand Ozz On, found at Closet Child.
Salty Tours took us to sulfur hot springs, Icelandic horse farms and other hidden spots throughout our day journey. We were grateful for this customized 4×4 experience, which went above and beyond a regular Golden Circle tour.
We even stopped by a bizarre rack of dried fish, and tried fermented shark! For the full story of my Salty Tours adventure in Iceland, check out this post.
When Joey and I researched Iceland, we were in awe of the black sand beaches. We asked Salty Tours to take us to one, and they delivered by bringing us to this epic, deserted beach.
How Gothic is this location? Joey set up lights, and Thor and Anna kindly assisted us with the equipment.
We were grateful for their help — we wouldn’t have been able to capture images like this, without Salty Tours!
The image above should have you humming the Game of Thrones theme song…
My stylist, Stephanie Hoy of Stratosphere Hair Salon in Vancouver, put my hair in princess braids. We looked at photos of Daenerys and Cersei, and she created her own look inspired by their hairstyles.
Stephanie also does all my vivid hair colors, which never fade out. Give her a ring if you want rainbow hair like mine!
Waiting for my dragons to come back to me…
Finally, Salty Tours took us to a little-known waterfall, Öxarárfoss. We got to go right up against the crashing falls, and get the best possible photos.
Yes, there’s an Asian dragon on my Ozz On top — how appropriate!
The mist from the waterfall resulted in a mystical effect.
It’s pretty obvious that I fell in love with Iceland! The energy here is remarkable, and unlike anywhere else in the world I’ve visited.
Humongous thanks to Salty Tours for making our dream photoshoot a reality. If you come to Reykjavik, shoot them a email — there’s no better way to experience Iceland than on one of their private, bespoke Jeep tours.
See the rest of my Icelandic nature tour, including the cute horses we met on the way!
If you enjoyed this post, we’d appreciate any shares! And please take a few minutes to watch our Iceland travel video — there are RuPaul’s drag queens in there.
Fashion blogger profile on FashionOne TV! Tokyo’s Cutest Stores: Kokokim pastel goth, Harajuku girls.
Tokyo remains the cutest place on Earth — and there’s no better place than Harajuku for fashion inspiration!
Wouldn’t you like to follow along with me in Tokyo, and see what happens on a typical day? You can, thanks to the magic of television…
I’m honored to be profiled by FashionOne, the international style TV network that broadcasts to 120 countries worldwide!
The “day in a life of La Carmina” episode first aired on June 15, but you can see it on repeat and online on FashionOne’s channel (or just click play below).
Thank you to Stephanie and everyone at FashionOne TV, for letting me share my world with you. The video is created and produced by my travel filmmaking partners, Borderless Media.
In the video, you’ll notice that my team and I stayed at an AirBNB in Shibuya. We’re big fans of this short-term apartment rental site, which lets you live in comfort — as if you were a local — while spending less. Our apartment had two bedrooms and a kitchen, and was a five minute walk from the station. (Psst, here is my AirBNB discount link that gets you $31 off your first booking!)
A lot of people ask me where to stay in Tokyo. If you’re only visiting for a short time, I urge you to stay in one of the major districts (I prefer Shibuya or Shinjuku). This way, you won’t waste time and money on getting to the city every day. Also keep in mind that the trains stop running around 1am, so you might as well be in a neighborhood where you can party and then walk home.
But let’s go back to fashion blogging in Japan. To celebrate the release of the FashionOne episode, I thought I’d share photos of the best alternative shopping destinations in Tokyo.
Let’s start with Harajuku, since it was featured in the travel video. Over the years, Takeshita Doori has gotten more and more commercial. Nonethless, you can still find Goth, punk and metal fashion here.
At AC/ DC, the clothes are inexpensive ($10-40 US per item), and have cute-Gothic prints you can’t easily find anywhere else.
Such as tutu-dresses and this Miffy-mouthed hoodie.
Many of Harajuku’s shops are quite mainstream now, but if you wander down the side-streets, you’ll find the gems. Here’s a sign for Kera Magazine, featuring a cute model in a dessert-pastry-print Lolita JSK.
The StayReal brand is actually from Taiwan. The Heavy Metal Hello Kitty sign gives you a hint of the cute meets edgy fashion inside.
It pains me to report that more punk and Gothic brands are closing doors. Sex Pot Revenge is now no more. On the bright side, Hyper Core and Listen Flavor are still around.
And the experimental fashion boutique, Dog, is as madcap as ever. (Address: 3-23-3 Jingumae, Harajuku)
Every time I go down these stairs, I’m astonished by their intricate, avantgarde designs. Dog’s pricetags are expensive — I’ve never bought anything here, but I love to loo.
Lady Gaga and others go nuts for the various handmade garments, from Japan and all over.
For more affordable prices, stop by Kinji, the secondhandstore on Meiji-jingumae. Mori and dolly-vintage fashion is big here.
And if you have no money to spend at all… Well, Death Is Free!
Onward to Shibuya, another favorite neighborhood for the young and trendy. There are endless restaurants and bars here.
Inside Tsutaya (the music and DVD store), we saw these posters for the Jrock band Black Cherry. Looks like the two guys are giving some “fan service”…
Everyone has a smartphone these days, even this cute bear sitting at the top of a skyscraper.
Don’t forget to look down, or you’ll miss these Japanese manhole covers, decorated like flowers.
High-quality images are important to me, so in recent years, my blog photos are all from DSLR cameras. However, there are times when I’m in a hurry, and simply use my iPhone to capture inspiration.
I usually share these snaps on my Instagram, but felt I should also put some in this post for you. Keep on reading for my Tokyo smartphone snaps…
… including a peek at the Kokokim pastel goth boutique, which sells coffin purses in mint and lavender!
♡ Lots of photos below, click to see ♡ More here!