For our latest Prism Babe shoot, we followed Maly Mann, alongside photographer Casey Liu, Prism stylist Danikha and assistant Sophia to nearby Palos Verdes peninsula to meet our friends from the Traveling Photo Bus, who brought their groovy ‘71 VW to serve as the perfect backdrop. We took in some major views of the South Bay cliffs, explored the King Neptune fountain at Palos Verdes Estates, and stumbled upon the cutest café for a coffee break. We packed up our newest arrivals - including the cutest spring styles from Lykke Wullf, Faithful the Brand, and even some pieces from the Prism Vintage Collection - and had the greatest day of styling, shooting and adventuring.
Though she was in front of the lens for this shoot, this born and raised Long Beach babe spends her free time as a photographer and visual artist, and has even recently started selling her personal vintage collection on Instagram. After recently signing with M Model Management, Maly has worked with brands like Stateside and Zappos utilizing her signature cool-girl style and injecting her personality in every project. We chatted with Maly about her work, how she stays inspired her advice for aspiring artists.
You’ve got an amazing portfolio with a super distinctive look. How do you inject your personal style into a shoot, even when you are working for someone else’s brand?
Thank you! Reading that makes me so happy. This is a very interesting question, mainly because I’ve never thought this through during a shoot. I think the best thing that helps me put my own style into a shoot is personality. I try my best to create a good relationship with the photographer, creative, client, etc. before the shoot starts so it feels more genuine. Then after the fact, I’m able to just be myself while understanding what they need from me.
You recently took some time off getting your degree in Studio Art at Cal State Long Beach, which can be a little scary, right? What made you decide to take the break and how is it working out?
There were a lot of factors leading up to me taking an extended break. My lifestyle requires a lot of moving around and school made me feel stagnant. I felt as if I couldn’t pursue what I wanted to in that specific moment. After I took the break, I’ve been the happiest I have ever been. There are the occasional stresses of life (being a grown-up) but those stresses are necessary, and sort of happy stresses.
What advice would you have for young artists and inspiring models out there?
If I was on a stage in front of a million young artists and aspiring models, I would tell them one very important thing, and that is to take the leap and do not be afraid of your own success. Going into the creative line of work is so scary, especially if you’re a newbie to it but nothing is impossible. As long as you have passion in your heart and confidence, then you’ve got it all in the bag.
You balance your time as a model, photographer, and now shop owner! What keeps you creatively inspired?
Ah, this is definitely one of the hardest questions I receive. I truly don’t know what exactly keeps me itching for more. I think I mentally need to create and when I don’t, I feel crazy. Other than the absolute need to create, I am also surrounded by creatives on a daily basis and their energy keeps me moving. All of my buddies are insanely talented and I’m fortunate to be around the next generation of badasses.
How did Shop Hitori come about? Where are you hoping to take it?
Oh man, I’ve collected a plethora of vintage over the past few years and I feel that it was time to clear out. After I started it, I got an overwhelming response and decided to keep searching for curated goods. I hope to keep the shop live for a while! Who knows, I might have a space someday (that’s big dreaming).
You’re a Long Beach babe - born and raised! - share some of your go-to spots in Long Beach.
Yes! I grew up here in Long Beach and no matter where I go, I always want to come back here to the city. There is a certain charm about Long Beach that you just can't find in any other coastal city. For coffee, Lord Windsor. For food, Harbor House. For a beautiful sunset, Palos Verdes.
What was your favorite moment from the Prism shoot?
Toward sunset, the crew and I tried to race to a outlook to capture a few golden hour shots. We ended up being a little bit too late but instead of golden light, we witnessed the most beautiful purple and pink sky over the ocean. That was definitely my favorite moment.
How would you describe your personal style?
I thrive on a vintage wardrobe. I would have to say that my style is a mixture of a Parisian grandmother and 70's tomboy with a Japanese twist.
If you could pick five things from Prism Boutique as your Spring must-haves, what would they be?
I was drooling was drooling over everything I got to wear during the shoot, namely the Paloma Wool Caoba Pia Shoe, the Sugarhigh Lovestoned Black Stardust Coveralls, the Faithful The Brand Stripe Fiscardo Dress, the Free People Compass Star Pant and this amazing Vintage Levis Jacket.
All images by Casey Liu