We had the good fortune of connecting with Mariel Cornel and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Mariel, other than deciding to work for yourself, what else do you think played a pivotal role in your story?
Turning inwards and focusing on building my relationship with myself completely changed everything for me. My brand became more authentic because I was authentic. It helped me better connect with my work and as a result, my content had more depth and spoke louder to my audience. My vision for my brand and the purpose behind my work was clearer and therefore I was able to communicate more effectively when creating. To get to this point, I was really honest with myself. I focused on healing my traumas, unpacking triggers, listening to my inner child’s wants/needs, and I spent more time with myself. By doing this, I felt more impulsive artistically and less uninhibited. Ideas flowed more naturally because I no longer tried to define myself as a brand. I let my brand naturally reflect who I am as a person. I used to box myself in by hyper-focusing on what did and didn’t align with my “brand” but that only restricted my creative freedom and narrowed my range of opportunities. As people, we are always evolving and our interests are ever-changing. As for me personally, my interests cover the entire spectrum and almost every strange niche in between. Therefore my work could never be consistent if it were to be continuously defined by the same key words. If you’ve been with me from the beginning, you’d see that I went through a boho, Coachella phase and it slowly became more influenced by streetwear. I never fully encompassed either of those lifestyles and always blended my interests, which is what my flavor is now. I could never find true authenticity with the lens I see my work through if I didn’t see myself for who I truly was. Learning to love and accept that person was the best decision I’ve ever made and the internal work that continuously goes into ascending will follow me through the rest of my life.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
All and all, I’m just proud of the fact that I built Polydeux from scratch and in sticking by it, I’ve been blessed with an insurmountable amount of opportunities to travel and work with brands/people I never would’ve been able to work with had I not pressed on with my passion. I really pride myself in my ability to storytell and create work with dimension. Content creation (for the most part) is almost the same anywhere you look. I try to focus on creating with an editorial approach and elevating an idea with theatrics. It was definitely not easy to get there, and had it been, the rewards would not be as gratifying. A lot of trial and error was involved. A lot of mistakes, lost partnerships, and missed opportunities played a huge role in where I am now but they were necessary for me to learn from. Being consistent and obsessed with creating is what attracted a solid followership and clientele. I also always knew I had something different to offer and if I didn’t have space to sit at others’ tables, I brought my own. Mentally, I was distracted with what other influencers were doing but overcoming that and owning what skills I do have helped me stay focused on my own growth. It’s easy to get caught up in what you don’t have or what you can’t achieve out of lack, but when you are constantly moving from a place of gratitude, the noise learns to silence itself. I learned that what’s meant for you will always be meant for you. I learned to have tough skin, to trust your gut, and to not be afraid to fail. Stay in your lane. Don’t doubt yourself. More opportunities and better people will gravitate towards you when you do. When you stay focused on what’s true to you and your work, a lot of clarity sheds light on the disillusionment that surrounds your energy. I may not have the most followers in the world and I may not be world renowned, but since I was a kid, I’ve always known that my purpose in life is to change the world and impact others through my art. If there’s anything you need to know about my brand, is that that’s exactly what I’m going to do.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I love taking my friends to hole-in-the wall spaces and supporting small businesses. In the 626 area, I’d take my homegirl to Art + Science cafe, perfect for those who are indecisive like me and can’t choose between matcha and espresso. They combine the two brilliantly. Plus, they have bomb handrolls if you’re too lazy to commit to finding parking at Kazunori (I’d also take her there too). Hironori in Pasadena is my favorite ramen spot, hands down. A little workout at Basecamp Fitness or yoga wind down at Core Power would be the best way to start the day. Rosebowl Flea Market is another must-do. If you do hit up Kazunori, I highly highly recommend Birds and Bees in DTLA. Their hidden bar is old-timey and literary-inspired. Not to mention, their head bartender and owner are super sweet and hyper-focused on serving only the best drinks on a rotating menu. For matcha, I love Maru for a gentrified experience but Tea Master in Little Tokyo is hands-down the best when it comes to the tea. This family-owned business puts a lot of care into serving high-quality matcha with organic sweeteners and non-dairy options. As for coffee, Go Get Em Tiger has strong strong espresso, so if you need a kick in the face, I’d go there. If not, RVCC Intersect has a bomb espresso tonic as do Andante but their space is perfect for remote work. I also recommend Yang’s Kitchen in Alhambra for amazing fusion Taiwanese food. They’re down the street from 7 Leaves so a little walk and boba post-meal is always a good time. Kang Ho Dong Baekjong in Temple City for quality K-BBQ (LA hack: the lines at this location are ten times shorter than the one in KTown), alternatively TK92 in San Gabriel is my fave AYCE joint. However, if you’re in Buena Park, I recommend Eight8 KBBQ for their famous 8-flavored marinated galbi course. Afterwards, we’d head to The Source for coffee at In-Sit, or maybe Myungrang for corndogs, donuts and photobooth pics at Flippoly, and definitely catching a Korean movie at CGV. Myungin Dumplings in the same city has the best secret sauce as approved by Anthony Bourdain, himself. Yuchun (also in the area) kills it in the cold noodle game, perfect for a hot summer’s night. Thrifting in the OC is also part of the itinerary. In San Dimas/Pomona area, I’d suggest escape rooms and Thai dinner at Sanamluang and tea at my favorite hidden gem, CK Cafe. They offer a huge array of teas served in tall beer mugs for $4. I’d also check out the James Turrell installation at the Pomona College of the Art. In Glendora, Donutman is choice af. Afterwards, a short hike to top of the world in Rowland, arcade games/karaoke/ping pong at Round 1, and a drive-in movie at Mission Tiki in Montclair. A trip out to Victoria Beach in Laguna at night is also a must as well as a gondola ride in Long Beach.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I dedicate this shoutout to my witches, my little coven of spiritual clairvoyants and my best friends. They’ve truly held space for me to speak my truth and be unabashedly me. Their unconditional love and openness has allowed me to explore new territories and push boundaries. Without their support, I wouldn’t be able to have awakened into the person I’m meant to be today.
Other: twitch.tv/polydeuxx https://vm.tiktok.com/ZMJBG8wge/