Don’t Call Me Exotic is a self-portrait project that explores the ambiguity of living as a person of mixed race.
Paying tribute to the artist's Filipino & Guatemalan cultural heritage, this project explores the nuances and perceptions of people with mixed heritage through a fashion and editorial lens. The main looks feature the iconic Filipino butterfly sleeves paired with a wooden fan, a small floral headpiece, and fruit from her family’s garden. The look is completed with “easter eggs” that pay homage to Kayla’s Filipino culture. While Guatemala is often known for bright and colorful fabric, Kayla took a more nuanced approach by wearing a head basket of fruit and florals, as seen on the streets of Antigua, incorporating a pop of the iconic fabric underneath. Through subtle cultural accents and symbolic fashion, this project pays tribute to Kayla’s upbringing and her path to creativity and self-acceptance.
Photography & Creative Direction: Kayla Mendez
Hair & Makeup: Dorkita Jones
Florals: Events by In Bloom
A modern renaissance woman, traveler, and artist at heart, Kayla Mendez is a commercial photographer based in Florida and LA. Kayla is known for her romantic imagery and ability to bring her client’s vision to life through her artful use of light and shadow play. Her work has taken her all over the world to locations such as India, Ethiopia, Paraguay and beyond. Kayla's style is luxurious, thoughtfully curated, and she is often praised for her ability to capture the mood of her subject while creating an ethereal vibe. Kayla's work is largely inspired by the colors of her travels, sunlight and warm tones, impressionist paintings, and old vogue editorials.
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