Since starting my '...in New York' series I have up until now managed to coerce three people into doing a little interview and photoshoot with me, and today comes number 4, Tyler Coffin. Now, Tyler is slightly different than the last 3 shoots I have done because we found each other in the blogosphere rather than being introduced or already knowing them AND she is a bonafide American. That's right, I have American friends!
Tyler has her own blog, TinyMissTyler, which was born in a similar way to mine; she was off on an adventure and wanted to share it. Originally from Texas, she moved to the Big Apple to pursue a career in PR and marketing, something that her bubbly and outgoing personality would be perfectly suited to. When we met last Friday, outside the Natural History Museum, she was in a mad rush because she'd suddenly found herself on an express train and overshooting me by 50 blocks. Sitting on the Museum steps I looked around worrying that I wouldn't recognize her. The truth is I needn't have worried as her Cheshire Cat-sized smile can be seen from a mile off. Within seconds she greeted me with a massive hug and then we were instantly chatting and comparing New York stories.
Why did you move to New York over anywhere else?
In truth, I picked New York because I wanted to live and work abroad and thought this would be the best first step. There weren’t any pesky visas to acquire, no unanticipated language barriers… however, I miscalculated a bit. There was New York to conquer. We’ll see. I love this city, but we’ll just have to see how long I can deal with this much concrete.
I knew I needed to be in a big city. I knew I needed to be somewhere inundated with opportunity, and that’s where I am now. Sometimes opportunities are small and stay that way, sometimes they’re huge and imposing from the outset, and sometimes they’re tiny at the start and grow into something massive. It’s inspiring just being here.
What is it like living and working in New York?
Well, I wouldn’t say I’m really working. I have two part-time jobs, but that’s not what I want. I want to have the same job Monday to Friday. I’m hoping to find a job in fashion marketing or in public relations, but I’m honestly just looking to find work that I get excited about. Sometimes I wonder if I’m too picky to be here; I don’t want to spend 90% of my week staring at a computer screen, but I don’t want to be part-time forever, either.
Why did you start your blog, tinymisstyler?
Technically, I started tinymisstyler during a semester in Spain. The photos were iPhone-generated and the copy was representative of my general loquaciousness (e.g., I routinely wrote 1500+ word posts), so a lot has changed. When I graduated from college, I finally bought a self-hosted space and made some big changes to the format. I learned about SEO in school, so the posts are different. I try to put them in a niche now, but mostly I just write about what happens to me. Now, TMT just serves as a way to concentrate on something and not go crazy.
Where is your favorite place in the city?
My favorite place in the city… hm. As much as I moan about it, I love most of this city. So far, I’ve spent a lot of time in SoHo (because I work there) and in the West Village. I like it when the streets are smaller and the buildings develop personality. I love the way fire escapes look on a narrow street, but I also love Central Park. My favorite spot there (so far) is Sheep Meadow. I mostly just love finding good spots to grab coffee—I’m trying to compile a list. I love different places for different reasons, you know? It’s so hard to choose!
Do you think that outsiders can become true New Yorkers?
What I’m finding out more and more is that New York is a city of transients. I think that I would probably have to live here for 7-10 years before being comfortable calling myself a New Yorker, but I think that finding your place in the city is actually much easier than people think. Once you get the hang of the grid system, find your go-to wine supplier, have some routine, and don’t take bull from anyone, you can be anything you want to be in this city—even a New Yorker.
Despite being so cold that I wasn't always sure if my fingers were actually clicking the button and taking the picture I had such a great time shooting with Tyler. She was such a good sport that when a school group crashed our shoot and started yelling out that she was beautiful and "work it for the camera" plus asking for her autograph, she played up to it perfectly: calling her thank yous and blowing kisses (see above as Tyler blows a kiss to her adoring fans).
Not only was she so much fun to be around but she was easy peasy to shoot, even with the fading light. I'm still learning a lot about shooting portraits but the top tip I've learned so far is, don't involve your model in so much conversation that you only have pictures of her gabbling away... it was hard with Tyler as we both speak a mile a minute and have a lot to say, however, this is the first shoot where I really had a variety of images because I was confident enough to ask her to 'freeze' when I saw the shot (literally and figuratively!).
Don't forget to check out tinymisstyler, she might be tiny but she has a big personality and it comes through beautifully on her blog.
Thanks for spending the afternoon with me Tyler, I had a blast, and I'm super happy with how your pictures came out!