Wanderlust

Small town girl with big dreams! Nothing inspires us more than the transformation Moe took on when she decided to leave her hometown for the City of Angels. To learn more about her journey, take a peek below:

Moe taken by Wes Klain.

 

1. Name:

Hello! My name is Monique Marie Stuck A.K.A Moe.

2. Where are you from (City, State): 

I was raised in Council Bluffs, Iowa, home of the rolling plains & cornfields!

 

3. What were the first steps that you took after deciding to move to California?:

SAVE MONEY!!! Then, naturally, I attempted to plan it all out detail by detail for about three months in advance, only to find out that LA doesn’t do anything one month in advance, let alone three! So, after pulling my hair out up until about a week before we left, I gave up, booked an airbnb, and decided that I would drive cross-country. If it was meant to be, it would all work out if I tried hard enough. If it didn’t work out, I knew it would make for a great adventure!

A little Moe thinking about all the exciting adventures that lie ahead.

4. What initially prompted you to move to Los Angeles?:

I knew from a very young age that I wanted to experience living elsewhere the first chance that I got. It just so happened that chance came after graduating college. As for my decision to move to LA… that was fueled by the fact that it was one of the few places I had already traveled to and really enjoyed. Do I think I’ll be here forever? Probably not. But LA is a great place to start with its limitless opportunity and beautiful weather.

5. What was something that stuck out to you/inspired you when you first arrived in LA?:

People in and around the city are much more health conscious in terms of leading active lifestyles and what kind of foods they’re eating. I’ve learned how important the foods you’re putting into your body is for your overall wellbeing. There are also so many fun ways to keep fit and healthy here! I’ve been inspired to seek out all these new ways to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Moe enjoying her day out in nature.



I didn’t know much about things like pilates, yoga, cross-fit, boxing… I mean the list goes on and on! And don’t even get me started on how amazing the food choices are here. If you had asked me about going to a vegan restaurant before I lived in LA, I would probably have rolled my eyes. Now, I really do understand the hype. It’s amazing how much happier you can become when you open your eyes up to new things and educate yourself on what being healthy really means. Here in L.A., it’s a lifestyle and it’s fun, delicious, and exciting!
 

Moe at Boxing Class.

Moe taking in the view of the wild, wild west.

Moe shot by Alina Schessler.

6. Did you find it easy to ‘fit in’ in Los Angeles? What advice would you give a prospective model who fears that they may struggle with this?

I have never really “fit in” and I still don’t. I would never tell an aspiring model moving to LA on what they should do to fit in. LA is perhaps the best example of a city made up of “transplants” (people from other cities and countries who move here). I think it’s one of the reasons why it’s such a fun and exciting place to live because it’s made up of all these unique cultures and flavors. That wouldn’t happen if people didn’t stay true to who they were and where they were from.

My advice to anyone who’s struggling to “fit in” in a new place or even in the same place you’ve been for years – STOP TRYING TO FIT IN! We are all different and weird in our own unique way. Just be the best version of yourself and naturally, people with similar values will gravitate towards you.

 

7. How have you managed to stay humble in Los Angeles?  

Well for one, I was raised to believe that every person is equal and should be treated with respect and kindness regardless of where they come from, what they look like, or how financially secure they are. That very principle is the foundation in which I was taught to build everything else.

Moe giving her biggest smile after cheering.

I was also taught to work hard for the things I want. Everything I have, I’ve had to work hard for and I know that if I want anything greater, I must continue to do so. I knew it was going to be tough sometimes and there would be days where I second guessed moving here, but I arrived here in a good mindset, with a happy soul, and I’ve only grown since then. I’m not saying I don’t have bad days (or even weeks), we all do, but I feel that I have really good, strong core values and those align with always trying to stay humble.

I think that appreciating your successes and accepting there will be failures along the way are both keys to remaining humble. I try to do things that reinforce that, like listening to Oprah’s super soul conversations on apple podcast and reading inspirational books!

 

8. Is there something particular that you feel new-comers to L.A. may potentially struggle with that you feel is preventable?

I can’t stress how important it is to surround yourself with the right group of people, not just remotely in Los Angeles, but anywhere. I’ve been lucky enough to have a group of friends here, as well as a family back in Iowa, that are so supportive and genuine. They all are also willing to remind me of how lucky I am to live where I do and have a career in modeling. That helps me stay grounded more than anything.

Moe twinning with her Mom. 

9. Out of your family, who is your biggest cheerleader? How have they expressed support for your dreams? (If you could include a photo of this family member with you – that would be awesome!)

My mother and my grandmother. They both support me in completely opposite ways. One is my limitless cheerleader while the other my voice of careful reason. They are both a force of nature!

My Mom is a single mother of six children. My grandmother is a single mother of two and has been confined to a wheelchair since she was in her early twenties after a plane crash. I always say that the amount of calamity that has taken place within our family would put the soaps to shame, Hahah! However, never once have I heard that been used as an excuse as to why something couldn’t be done. The words “I’m a single mother” and “I don’t have working legs” were never part of their vocabulary and it wasn’t until I left home, was on my own that I realized how hard both their lives must have been. Yet, they both went through life with all their hardships so strongly. Nothing has given me greater support for my dreams than having both of them as examples to show me I can do anything regardless the setbacks I have faced in life. They taught me to use my worst experiences as motivation and growth, rather than use them to hold me back.

 

Moe looking adorable in her hometown of Council Bluffs, Iowa.

10. What is the biggest difference between Los Angeles and your hometown?

After asking this question to a fellow Iowan friend, who also resides here in LA, her answer was TIME. She stated that time seemed to go at such a different pace than it did here in LA. Then I thought about my own answers such as traffic, population, and weather. I realized that all these things added up to TIME and how much more of it you seem to have in Council Bluffs, Iowa. All the commotion of the big city and even the beautiful weather all year round, make time go by so fast!

10. Is there anything that your hometown has in common with Los Angeles?:

We both have great food!

Moe rocking a simple white wardrobe, complimented with a fashionable pair of Pooh Bear slip-ons. Definitely a fashionista from the start!

 

11. In your opinion, what is one of your most valuable lessons that you’ve acquired after being raised in Iowa?:

Simplicity.

It’s not really a lesson, but I feel that it’s one of the most defining factors in how Iowa made me, well, ME! Iowa is comprised of mostly small towns, except for a few cities. When you don’t have 4 million people bustling around a town, life is much simpler.

The simplicity of my small town taught me humbleness, compassion, generosity, honesty, commitment, and most important of all, gratitude. When your town offers less to do in comparison to a big city, you appreciate and get excited about little things, like driving to Walmart with your mom to get groceries! I learned to truly value the little things, which is a lesson I’m finding out myself because I’m slowly realizing, that the little things are all that really matters.

 

12. Is there anything specific in Iowa that you wish you could put into your pocket and bring to Los Angeles, but can’t?:

My family, so every time I experienced something new and exciting, they could be right there with me.

13. Are there any stereotypes about Iowa that you feel should be put to rest?:

That we all live on farms, own a tractor, and say ‘Merica!

14. Do you ever feel homesick? How do/did you cope?:

Yes. I miss my family, but technology makes things a lot easier to cope. I love Iowa and wouldn’t trade my experience growing up there for anything. It will always have such a special meaning to me. I think it helps considering how many people in LA aren’t from LA; everyone understands the difficulties of being away from home.

Moe hiking the coastline of California.

15. Are there any new hobbies that you have adapted to since moving to Los Angeles?:

Hiking! It’s free and it makes my soul dance.

16. Has there ever been a favored moment in LA where you had to pinch yourself and say “this is surreal?”:

Yes! When Nous signed me I remember thinking, “this is surreal because I look like an ogre a lot of the time,” Hahaha! No but really, Nous was my number one pick in representation so getting that offer was a very surreal experience. I still have to pinch myself now and then to make sure my life is real.

17. How long did it take for you to feel ‘at home’ in Los Angeles?:

It’s weird because that feeling, of being at home, left me when I was about 14 and I didn’t get it back until about a year ago. I think home is where your soul feels most at rest and happy. I don’t think it’s constant, either. Everyone experiences that feeling at different times and I don’t think it’s entirely dependent on where you are, but rather how you are.

19. Do you have any other advice for prospective models that are looking to move to Los Angeles?:

JUST DO IT. If you have the right mindset, you’ll know that regardless what comes of the leap, the one thing you can be certain of is that it will make for an amazing adventure and a life changing experience.

Just make sure you are doing it for the right reasons. What modeling looks like in the magazines and on the TV shows is much different than what it is actually like in real life – for most of us. You have to take care of your body and work hard, there is always going to be an element of rejection involved with the casting process, and you will be pushed out of your comfort zone at times – but hey, that’s true for anything worthwhile!

Can’t get enough of Moe? View her portfolio and follow her on Instagram.

Summer may be over, but the memories are not! We caught up with two of our jet-setting Nous girls, Tori and Grace, to speak on their recent adventures overseas. Here’s what they had to say ~


Tori Bass spotted in the Clapham district of London photographed by Shonay.

First and foremost, Where did you girls travel to?

Tori: I travelled around London and made a quick visit to Cologne (Germany).

Grace: Hong Kong with occasional visits to Guangzhou.

What brought you there?:

Tori: A mix of a vacation and work.

Grace: A few months prior, Nous spoke about sending me somewhere in Asia after I graduated from High School, but I wasn’t sure as to where at the time. Then in August, I got an email making sure that my passports were current, and to prepare to leave for Hong Kong; few days had passed when I got an email saying that I’d be leaving the next day! 24 hours later, I was on a plane to begin a new journey in my modeling career!

Grace opening the runway show for FFIXXED STUDIOS  in Hong Kong.

 

 

Where have you stayed or are staying for the majority of your trip?

Grace: I’m staying in a neighborhood on Hong Kong Island called Kennedy Town, which is an area where a lot of families live. It has only recently started to become more connected to the rest of the island because of its MTR station that was added in January. Because of this, the area is a more “hipster” part of Hong Kong, and it’s not as modernized as the more downtown areas such as Central.

Tori: I stayed in Greenwich, London. It has some of the best views of the city.

City views in Greenwich, London.

 

Did you girls get to visit any cool historical landmarks that you can now cross off your bucket list?

Tori: I went just about everywhere. Being the history nerd that I am, we visited Westminster Abbey, the Tower of London, Hever Castle in Kent, Kensington Palace, Churchill’s War Rooms, and a whole lot more! I was so happy to finally cross them off my list of places to visit.

What is the fashion like where you two visited?:

Grace: The fashion is pretty similar to that in the states, due to the western influence in Hong Kong. I’ve noticed that people tend to look ‘on-trend’ and put together, and I’ve seen more people carrying designer handbags than in Los Angeles (although maybe some of them are awesome knockoffs, who knows?).

Tori: Everyone is London seems to dress super fashionable. A sort of “elegant but comfortable” vibe.

Grace backstage for FFIXXED STUDIOS runway show in Hong Kong.

What’s something you packed that’s not absolutely essential, but you like having it?

GraceProbably a journal. It’s been a good way for me to reflect on what I’ve learned throughout this trip in Hong Kong. I’ve also been making a list of lessons in it to take away from this experience, ranging from simple ones like never leaving the apartment without a portable charger, to more personal ones!

Out of all of the foreign cities that you have visited recently, which place stuck out the most?:

Grace: Out of the two cities, definitely Hong Kong. I love how everything is super connected and easy to get to, and how it has several cool places in nature that you can go to if you want to escape the city.

Tori: Probably Cologne. I had never been to a German country before so I didn’t know what to expect! It was so beautiful and the weather was perfect!

A street view of Cologne, Germany’s sensational architecture.

How neat! That’s great that you found a easy way to get around the city. This brings me to my next question – What did you find to be the most effective form of transportation (walking, car, bus, train, etc) in the city or cities that you visited?

Grace: In HK, I usually take the subway system, called the MTR, and then walk the rest of the way. But when I’m in Guangzhou, we go to castings and jobs in taxis and vans, which makes for great book reading time.

Tori: I did a little bit of everything, but mostly stuck to the ‘Tube’ (London’s underground public rapid transit system). It makes it so easy to get practically anywhere in London.

Grace scanning her options at the Ladies Market in Hong Kong.

Thank you for your advice! Both sound like great tools to use when navigating through London and Hong Kong. Yet, while venturing through each city, did either of you guys discover any ‘hidden gems’ that most people have not heard of?

Tori: Greenwich Palace is fairly popular, but if you’re into history like me, then it’s definitely a good place to stop. It holds a lot of history that I had no idea about.

GraceThe Ladies Market in Mong Kok is great for finding cheap items, and for a bargaining, too (although my friend I went with did most of that for me haha).

Both of those places sound interesting! Now- let’s talk about people. Did either of you meet an interesting person while traveling that you felt has positively impacted your life?

Grace: Yes, just recently I had a conversation with a new friend at dinner, while I was feeling a little homesick. I asked her if she ever felt that way, and she told me that while she does miss home, she uses those feelings to motivate her to go even further in her modeling because she knows that she’ll always be supported by her loved ones. This caused me to think about homesickness in a new way, and it also motivates me to work harder as I continue to model in HK, because I want my family to be proud of me when I return.

Tori taking the summer sunshine in while working in London.

I love that you shared this with our readers, as it broadens the perspective for those that fear that modeling would disconnect them from their loved ones (by traveling so frequently). Moving forward, what time of the year do you believe would be the best time to visit the city that you traveled to?

Grace: Probably in the fall. I arrived in August, and it’s been really humid and hot here so far. In the fall, it’s supposed to cool down and become less humid, so I’m definitely looking forward to that.

Tori: Visiting London in the Summer was the best decision. Since it tends to be rainy and cold (during a large portion of the year), it was nice being able to experience the city while the weather was still beautiful! However, I’ve heard London is stunning during the Christmas time too, so I’ll have to visit again soon.

Now, I’m sure while visiting these cities you two also had some pretty spectacular meals. If someone was planning to travel to the cities that you visited, what’s the one meal they shouldn’t miss?

Tori: If you visit Cologne, you have to visit Freddy Schilling! I’ve never had a better veggie burger in my life!

Grace: If you visit Hong Kong, Dim Sum! You order a bunch of small plates and it’s especially good for a weekend brunch.

Dim Sum, a famous meal local to Hong Kong, spread out in all it’s yummy glory.

Oh my- both of these dishes sound delicious. I am sure with all tasty options near by, it can be hard to focus on health. What do you do to stay healthy/fit while you travel?

Tori: I found that finding healthier vegan options in London was a lot easier than I would have imagined. I never had a problem finding something to stay within my dietary preferences.

Grace: There’s this unsweetened Jasmine Green Tea that’s sold in almost every convenience and grocery store that has been one of my go-to drinks. I’m going to miss it when I arrive back in the states.

Tori’s passport ready to embark on her adventure with her to London and Cologne.

Thank you both for sharing. Both sound like solid ways to stay fit while abroad. Now, in a more generalized sense, I am sure our readers would love to know: what was the most exciting thing about modeling abroad?

Tori: Traveling has always been a passion of mine, so having the opportunity at all is amazing! I love having the chance to meet different people that I maybe wouldn’t cross paths with back home.

Grace: Probably having the experience of living on my own for the first time, and being nearly halfway around the world from home too! Also getting to experience the culture and lifestyle of Hong Kong has been wonderful for me.

Did either of you find any differences between modeling in the United States VS. abroad?

Grace: Yes. In the US, I would do mostly editorial style modeling. But in HK and Asia in general, modeling is much more commercial, and I had to learn to adapt to this style (I didn’t have much experience with it prior to coming to Asia). But I feel that it has only helped me grow as a model,  because I’ve learned to be more familiar with this style.

Tori Bass working her magic for ASOS in London.

Tori: Yeah definitely. It’s hard to point out any single difference between working in the U.S. and U.K., but I really did love working for ASOS. They’re a massive company so there’s lots of going on/people on staff, but they still manage to put out a very relaxed, and easy going vibe to keep everyone motivated.

Are there any social norms or practices that you’ve encountered on your travels that you wish were more common in the USA?

Grace: I’ve noticed that people who are sick tend to wear face masks. I wish that was a thing in the US, especially at schools, because I feel that fewer people would catch colds here.

Do you have any additional advice for others that wish to travel to this city?:

Tori: When it comes to traveling around London, be sure to visit as many markets as you can! I loved seeing all the different types of foods, crafts, and clothes that all of them had to offer.

Grace: Be prepared for the humidity and high temperatures! It does get cooler in late September (as I’ve been told). Also, living space is much smaller in HK than it is in the US, so don’t overpack.

 Love what you see so far? Check out this video of Grace opening FFIXXED STUDIOS‘ SS18 Runway show!:

View Grace’s portfolio and follow her on Instagram.

& also, take a peek at Tori working her magic in London during a shoot by Shonay:

View Tori’s portfolio and follow her on Instagram.

 sakurataylorsagecover

It’s official- we’re having a summer romance with Taylor & Sage (and we’re not talking about the cute boys next door). The fashion gods have answered our prayers with an affordable collection that has every pinterest-worthy outfit we’ve been pining for. You know, that effortless blend of trendy and bohemian fashion seen on all your fave celebs and bloggers: flowing vintage dresses balanced by modern booties, perfectly faded denim, and high-waisted everything topped with button ups and distressed tees. We’re kind of obsessed with the way Sakura is rocking these looks, and plan on scooping them up as soon as they’re available! Keep scrolling to get an exclusive sneak peek at their upcoming fall collection.

 

 

 

 

 Check out Taylor & Sage here.

Take a look at Sakura’s portfolio and follow her on Instagram.