No matter if she’s traversing around New York city on her scooter, getting from gig to gig flaunting a silver sparkle helmet, or hitting the surf at Far Rockaway in her super flattering wetsuit separates she created under the name La Bamba – Ann Kim is always in action, and always doing it in style.
We caught up with the professional multi-tasker to find out about launching her own brand, unwinding with alone time, and just what makes a modern warrior take on the world.
What people call you: Ann
Where you live: Brooklyn, New York
What you do: I'm the founder of a surf brand (@labambanyc) and a brand consultant.
How would you describe your style?
It's really split, I'd say. "On-duty": Eclectic, but still elevated. I love fashion, but I tend to avoid trends. Personal style wins my heart any day. "Off-duty": Laid-back, California casual. I love jeans.
Who are your icons? What is it about them that inspires you?
Margiela, Rei Kawakubo, Ingmar Bergman, Malcolm X, Abbas Kiarostami, Stanley Kubrick. I've had these exact same icons from high school until now. It might be time to find some new ones! But throughout the years, I stay inspired by their fearlessness. Their commitment to their own vision, of doing things their own way. That confidence to be bold and to take risk. It's so scary to be a different voice in the room, or in the world. It's always good to remind myself how beautiful and empowering it can be to let your real self be known.
When do you feel most confident?
I feel most confident when I am moving my body. A couple years ago I discovered I'm what is called a "kinesthetic learner". I've always learned best by doing, and through physicality, but I never knew there was a term for it. It's been life-changing to know that about myself.
What’s your daily routine?
First thing in the morning, I take my dog out for a walk and pick up my daily red-eye coffee in the neighborhood. Then I come back to my apartment, catch up on personal emails and work on my surf brand La Bamba NYC for a few hours. The rest of the day is devoted to my consulting work. I'll try to squeeze in some jump rope or exercise mid-day, for my sanity and the benefit of those around me ;) I love to cook, so if I'm not too busy, I'll make the effort at dinnertime. In the evenings, I just unwind at home with a book, meditation or a movie.
Describe a time in your life when you felt like a modern warrior.
Oof. Honestly every day in New York is spent like a modern warrior! But probably the year I decided to launch a surf brand. I was working a full-time job that I despised, while freelancing to bootstrap the launch of the brand, and of course working on the brand itself. I was working non-stop, all night. It was definitely a year of my life, I felt unstoppable and focused entirely on my personal goals.
How do you relax and unwind?
I carry around a lot of tension and emotion in my physical body. When I'm truly trying to relax and unwind, I spend time alone whether traveling or just going to a museum or movie by myself. Other times it's more simple. I just lie on my bed or on the floor and exist with my thoughts. No distractions.
What keeps you going?
Little incremental victories. They happen every so often, little by little. And I'm reminded that the tiny steps I'm taking aren't stupid, and that they're paying off. The universe is taking notice. That motivates me to keep on going.
Something you’re obsessed with right now:
I just bought a scooter so I can get around with more ease. But it's not the scooter I'm obsessed with. I bought a silver, glitter helmet that I want to wear all the time! It's a little disco party on your head. I'm obsessed.
Words to live by:
In the words of another warrior, Carlos Castaneda, "sereno y desprendido". Detached, and at ease.
What’s your hype up song or anthem:
You can never go wrong with Beyoncé and Nicki Minaj's "Feeling Myself".
What does Warrior mean to you?
Doing things your own way, with heart and commitment.