If the energy and enthusiasm exuded by Travelista TV’s Teri Johnson (NYC) via email was any indication of what was to come, I knew I had to prepare myself for a bundle of energy and nothing less. Teri contacted me to produce new images for her amazing and informative travel brand, a task she would complete during a visit to Nassau, Bahamas. Needless to say, I was not disappointed as I met Teri and she told me her goals for what she wanted to achieve. Teri already had close connections to The Bahamas as her good friend Latoya Moxey, (who happens to be a friend/client of mine) told her of my work initially and recommended me for this project. Teri stated that once she saw my portfolio, she felt compelled to contact me and bring her vision to life.
To capture the full essence of what Teri envisioned, I put together a team and called on stylist, Lavonne Alexis of ShoptheCC to assist me. Of course with Lavonne’s extraordinary energy and work ethic, we created looks for Teri that combined Teri’s southern background with her jet setting lifestyle and love for fashion.
I chose the beautiful Love Beach in Nassau on which to photograph “The Travelista” and with my team behind me, she rocked every look highlighted with jewelry from DVK and Jason Fish (NYC) as well as sponsored swimwear from Allure Swimsuit Boutique and designer Rich McCoy.
Teri took some time out to do a short interview while on set. Here’s what she had to say:
1. How did you come up with the name Travelista™?
When my friend and business partner Andrea and I decided to create our own travel web video show seven years ago, we called ourselves “The TravelGirls”. We were using that name for a few years but we were forced to come up with a new name because there was already a magazine called TravelGirl and we would never be able to trademark TravelGirls and use it commercially.
After a few months of racking our brains to come up with a better name, I happened to be on a flight from Los Angeles toNYC reading a magazine where words ending in “ista”, kept popping up like Fashionista and Barista. I knew immediately that we should call ourselves “The Travelistas”and operate using the Travelist TV platform.
2. What does the brand represent?
A Travelista is a woman who loves to travel and explore the world. She is curious about other cultures and people, she enjoys speaking other languages, sampling various cuisines and meeting interesting and fascinating characters. She is open minded, a global citizen, and loves to look good, especially when she travels. A Travelista combines the style and grace of jetsetters from the 60’s with a fun, adventurous twist that makes her stand out wherever she goes.
3. What brought you down to the Bahamas?
I came to the Bahamas to visit Nassau, write about my experience and to learn more about what’s in store over the next eight months for Paradise Island. I was amazed to see how much growth and expansion is taking place in the real estate and resort market and what this means for US and international tourism.
I also decided to come to Nassau to do a photo-shoot with photographer, Scharad Lightbourne. I needed to update images for my Travelista Teri brand and I felt as though the Bahamas was a perfect backdrop for me because I feel at home here and have an immense love for the Caribbean. Although born and raised in Houston, Texas, I happen to be an island girl at heart who is used to the heat, friendly people and good food, all which are plentiful in the Bahamas.
Prior to last year, I had never had my own web presence apart from Travelista TV and the shows I’ve done for BET, TVOne and Huffington Post. I knew I needed to create my unique web presence that reflects my passion for inspiring people to live better and travel more. From tips on how to look like a rock star when you travel to how to correctly pronounce French wine, I strive to provide my audience with tools, tips and destination highlights in an entertaining video format.
4. Tell us about the shoot?
My dear friend Latoya Moxey, a Bahamian swimwear designer and entrepreneur, referred Scharad Lightbourne and after seeing links to his work; I was determined to shoot with him. I believed in his ability to capture my personality and the essence of Travelista.
The shoot went amazingly well. Scharad’s team of professionals made my job very easy. As a director and producer of my own show, I am usually in charge of production in almost every project I do, but for this photo-shoot, I was able to relax and let Scharad and his talented team run the show. I was extremely comfortable and felt as though I was working with people I’d known for years.
Prior to our initial phone conversation, he watched a few of my Travelista videos and had detailed branding and style questions for me to answer. I knew he got it when he sent a Pinterest Inspiration board with looks that were perfectly in alignment with my brand.
6. How do you think the branding and new images will enhance you as a travel personality?
With my new images and branding, I am confident that I will get a boost in my profession as a travel host and spokesperson. My new look will not only translate well for travel and tourism brands, but for fashion, beauty and lifestyle brands. I was fortunate enough to have been selected as the pro-bono client for the Studio NYC, a digital and animation company, whose summer interns are using their creativity to do a brand overhaul for me. The combination of their work on my logo, color scheme, and animation combined with my new photos by Scharad, I know I am truly blessed to have a powerhouse behind me. With my series on the TravelChannel.com launching later this summer and my current role as the spokesperson for Hampton Hotels, the timing for my new look could not have come at a better time.