Our monthly community chat starts with the beautiful Toree Michelle. A talented wedding and lifestyle photographer, aspiring bilinguist, model and our dear friend.
Are you into astrology? We are! What is your sign?
Hell YES! I only got into it a few years ago and am still learning! My sign is Libra, I am actually a Libra-Scorpio Cusp with a Scorpio moon and Sagittarius rising!
What do you do?
I am a barista and a wedding photographer! I primarily photograph weddings but I also love portraits and landscapes as well! However, with my hopeless romantic heart, weddings are what I am most drawn to.
How would you describe your style?
My goodness, currently my style is all over the place. One day I’ll channel my love for the simple french women style, other day’s I’ll dress in vintage pieces and look like my grandmother, and other days I dress grunge, and other days I am living in menswear! With the rollercoaster of emotions that I go through, my style definitely emits that.
Who/what are your fashion influences?
One woman that I will always be in love with is Audrey Hepburn. I would say in the last few years, one of my biggest fashion influences has been Parisian/French women. Their effortlessly chic, sexy, yet classic wardrobe and je ne sais quoi draws me in. Some social media fashion influencers that I have been religiously following are Tar Mar, Rosie Ann Butcher, Nghi Vu, Sharon Alexi, and Tashi Rodriquez.
What do you do to stay creative?
I struggle with anxiety and depression which can often affect my motivation. To stay creative I watch romance/drama movies, listen to music, and read books that make me feel alive again! I go through many creative ruts and roadblocks and this has never failed me.
When do you feel your best?
I find that I feel my best in two completely different scenarios. One is when I am surrounded by my amazing friends and the beautiful women in my life. I have made certain changes in my life that have now allowed me to spend time with the people I love most. The other scenario is when I have had time to fully recharge myself and cleanse my space. I love getting to be in my own company as I am a very introverted person. I will do anything from plan for upcoming projects, day dream about the future, online shop, and binge watch my favorite shows over and over again.
How do you unwind?
If I am being completely honest here, I don’t unwind in the “healthiest” of ways. Over quarantine I have joined the universe that is TikTok and I love getting a good laugh in before I go to bed, especially after a stressful day. I love to make myself a warm cup of mint tea with honey and a late night snack and enjoy it while I read whichever book I am currently obsessed with.
How did you know you wanted to become a photographer?
I knew from a very young age that I wanted to spend my life creating art. I can specifically remember writing an essay freshman year in high school talking about how I will work in the creative industry. I got my very first point and shoot when I was in middle school and once I went to high school I received my first DSLR. I mostly took photos of friends and landscapes but once I graduated, I realized I could merge the two things that made me the most happy and freeze moments in time with my camera for a living.
What projects are you working on now?
Currently I have a few weddings coming up! I am also planning on doing more mini shoots as well as some other fun projects with creatives. I am also in the middle of rebranding which is so exciting!
What’s your most treasured item of clothing/jewelry and why?
My most treasured item of jewelry would have to be my Mejuri gold hoops I purchased last year! I bought my grandma and myself a matching set which is why they’re so important to me. She’s very picky with her jewelry but loved these!
What are some of your favorite places to spend time at in Phoenix?
I am a lover of Downtown Phoenix. I grew up in AZ and to see all of the beautiful changes that have come to Phoenix has given me a new appreciation for Arizona. I love to get coffee at Songbird, Futuro, and La Bohemia. My favorite matcha spot is ChaCha’s Tea Lounge! I love thrifting at Buffalo on 7th street as well as Retro Ranch. Changing Hands is my all time favorite book store so getting to walk around there for hours is calming. Though I have grown up in Arizona, I feel like I am still discovering so many small businesses and local spots in Phoenix.
What was the last good book or poem you read? Do you have a favorite quote from it?
The last book I read was Normal People by Sally Rooney for the 2nd time, I actually have three different versions of the book because it’s THAT good. Currently I am reading a novel called Bared to You by Sylvia Day, it’s AMAZING!
I can’t choose a favorite quote from NP that I love as I love every single word said. I have read many romance novels in my life but none of them have been as realistic and raw as this one. The open conversation about the characters mental health as well as the struggles of their relationship keeps me coming back for more.
What is one thing you did last year that you’re most proud of?
The one thing I did that I am the most proud of is to decide to leave a long term relationship. It was the hardest thing I had ever done but I knew I had to listen to my heart. I knew something didn’t feel right inside of me and that I didn’t deserve to be treated the way that I was. I was able to realize my worth and recognize that I had done every possible thing I could have to help the relationship. I am finally starting to feel like I am able to find myself again!
What are you most looking forward to in the next five years?
I am looking forward to being able to live and experience everything life has to throw at me in the next five years. The good, the bad, ALL OF IT! I am very much looking forward to spending time with friends and family, growing, moving to a new city, discovering new things that I love, reading more books, possibly travelling back to EU if it is safe enough to do so by then. The uncertainty gets me so excited.
You can find Toree via her Instagram here