We had the good fortune of connecting with Pearl Steffie and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Pearl, what’s your definition for success?
Success means different things to different people. There isn’t one perfect picture of what it should be. There isn’t a dollar amount either. Success doesn’t have one definition. To me, attitude and character matter more than wealth and achievements. You can get on any social media platform and find people preaching about being successful. They almost always correlate the word success with other words such as money, followers, more money, and well…money. People throw success and money around as if they must coexist. You cannot have one without the other. This idea that money and fame will bring happiness is premature.

As a society we are so focused on impressing the people around us. So much so that we often forget to impress ourselves.  Success to me is not about fancy clothes, expensive things and driving luxurious cars. Success is pure and utter joy. It’s waking up every day and looking forward to what’s coming. It’s being surrounded by people who love and support you. Success is loving the process, the hustle. It’s being grateful for what you already have.
You should always strive to be better. You can still set huge goals, and work really hard towards them; I’m not saying you shouldn’t. I’m saying that you should always take a moment to realize that you’re already successful, and that if you for some reason don’t reach some of your goals, that you were successful anyways because you loved every part of your path. To me, That is true success.
If you don’t feel successful despite having a home, great friends and family, food on the table every night, then work on finding what makes you happy. It is then that you’ll find success. Make a list of things that make you happy. Make a list of things you do every day. Compare the lists. Adjust accordingly. Stop living for “the day when…” and start acknowledging the present; your current success. I hope you find your definition from within. I hope the only comparison you make is with you of yesterday, and you of what you want tomorrow to bring. That’s where growth happens. That’s where success is found.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
When I was growing up, My mom always wanted me to become an actor. She took me to auditions, put me in classes for guitar and vocals. However, I actually fell in love with cooking, and became very passionate about food. It inspired me to focus on becoming a Chef. So, I went to Culinary School and opened up my first restaurant at the age of 23. But I didn’t stop there. I know there’s more to life than that. I wanted to explore, experience new things that would help me hone my skills as a Chef and open my mind to the outside world. I knew of course that different places have their own unique food. So, I decided to moved to America. Where the culture, values, and of course the vibrant food scene are much different.

As a Chef, it is important for me to travel and work outside of my country of origin to open new horizons and nurture my creativity. When I finally got to the U.S, I looked for more creative expressions to explore and having had experience in front of the camera, I decided to take up modeling. I was moving city to city, advancing both of those arts and landed in California which attracted me with its great produce, seafood, wine and lots of folks open to new adventures in the culinary world.
 Food brings balance to my life. It’s not just my career, but what best describes who I am. Food is what I know my future is. At the time, modeling was something that was always on the back burner for me. So, three years ago I focused on modeling and started taking modeling classes. Getting to where I am right now wasn’t easy. Having two full-time and highly demanding jobs as a chef and model are lifestyles that seem to completely contradict each other. I’ll admit, it takes a very specific kind of personality to be able to successfully straddle the image-conscious and high-octane world of fashion, and the gluttonous, late-night world of restaurant life.
In the culinary world, long and grueling hours in hot kitchens, and getting burns from pots and pans is all just part of the dress code. For 14 hours, five days a week, I am a Chef in two different restaurants. One is an American-Asian Fusion restaurant called Blasteran, located in Beverly Hills; the other, a traditional Korean Street food joint. When the weekend finally comes, I throw my food-stained Chef’s jacket into the dirty linen hamper and get ready for my model shoots. It’s a beautiful thing to have the opportunity to express myself through the creation of food. I truly feel the food I craft is an expression of who I am. As a Chef, we put ourselves out there as artists and creators. But let me tell you the most challenging part of being a Chef. I’ll be real, nothing frustrates me more than when diners don’t connect with our perspective. They want their food their way and well, it pisses me the hell off! I put my work out into the world and people don’t know how much it stings to have your work not appreciated as you intended. This is what keeps me up all night; Asking myself: “How could I do it better and what should I have done differently?” It eats me alive.
My family, friends and virtually everyone close to me don’t understand the life I have chosen for myself. They don’t understand why my mind is racing at 2AM after a 400-cover(A 400 customer night) on a Friday. They don’t understand why I can’t celebrate Thanksgiving, Christmas or New years with them. They don’t understand that there is really no sick days at the restaurant, or why I settle for grossly underpaid wages. The thing is, that I can’t imagine my life any other way. I’ll take a hand full of cuts and burnt blisters, achy knees and the hankering for a cocktail at the end of the night, over having to sit miserably in an office desk for a better paycheck. To me, living this life means I get to be creative and stand proud of something I believe in. It means I get to showcase my skills in the heat of battle, and feel the adrenaline rush. I get to sleep with a certain peace of mind and awake the following morning hungry for more. I show up to work every day looking to make the most of it. To learn from the best, seek to be the best, and teach others to be the best.
In my other world of modeling, I struggled most with insecurities. Being a model doesn’t mean that I am confident 100% of the time. If I’m being honest, most days I hate my body. I have those moments like so many others, when it’s hard to look at myself in the mirror. there are times I despise the way I talk because I find my voice annoying. I love myself, but there are days I don’t. Sometimes I wish that I looked different or I wish I was anyone other than who I am. But at the end of the day, being a model is a job, and you have to show up no matter how you’re feeling.
Let me remind you that even the people you’d assume are 100% confident because you see them rocking photoshoots, can be rotten with self doubt. When these feelings creep into my mind, I always remind myself that I am stronger than my insecurities. That what I consider to be my “quirks” are actually my biggest strengths. My looks and my personality undeniably make me who I am. I don’t have to be ashamed of that. No one deserves to feel less for simply being who they are. We are all unique. Isn’t that amazing? Sure, we all share similarities, but at our core, there is no else on this earth quite like us, and when I think about that- like really, truly think about that- it’s actually really, really beautiful. It has taken me a long time to be able to look in the mirror and say “though I have my share of insecurities, I am confident, strong, and I love myself for who I am.” There is a power in having the strength to live life unapologetically. To be able to say I AM ME. Forget worrying about what others think! I’ll be honest though, it’s a daily battle. Just as it is for most people.
Figuring out who I am and what I want out of life has helped me accept and love myself, but there’s no magic solution. It just takes time. I’m confident, but not all the time. I’m beautiful, but I don’t always feel that way. I’m moving towards my dreams and goals as I try to figure this crazy life out, but sometimes it feels like I’m not going anywhere at all. And that’s just life. Some days are better than others. It’s a journey. Life is like a novel, not a short story. Characters take time to develop. Themes aren’t always clear until a few chapters in. I’m not even entirely sure where this plot is heading. I’m still so early on in my journey; still finding my way. But I have learned that that’s okay, because everyone else is finding their way too.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
L.A. is of course known for many things. The entertainment industry, expansive beaches, a great culinary scene and a renowned nightlife. But, if you want to boil L.A. down to its most essential bits, it’s important to experience the attractions that make it the spectacular city that it is.

On any given day you can swim in the sea, hike up a mountain, see someone famous and shop until you drop. I’d tell them to make sure your suitcase is filled with swimming suits, hiking boots and plenty of space for souvenirs. Now when it comes to a place to eat, I of course highly recommend my workplace. At “Blasteran” in Beverly Hills, we make everything from scratch and our food is phenomenal.
Now, I’m an outdoor person, so I frequently take my best friend for a picnic and some wine on El Matador Beach; my favorite spot in Malibu. Also, hiking is one of my favorite outdoor activities and L.A. is known for it’s outstanding urban hikes. You can either hike the Runyon Canyon or the famous Hollywood Sign path. When you’re in L.A. you have to take a trip to Korea Town to experience some authentic Korean BBQ! Wi Korean BBQ is one of the best, cheapest all-you-can-eat Korean bbq in Ktown. The quality of meat there is amazing and the price is definitely a steal. The staff are very nice and the side dishes were also really tasty. It’s a relatively “undiscovered gem” in Los Angeles, making it perfect to escape the crowds.
If course you can’t forget the Venice Boardwalk. It is home to the weird, wonderful, wacky and wild. Every bit of LA culture can be found on the boardwalk, and you’ll find yourself gawking at once-in-a-lifetime sights of pure zany humanity. If you fancy experiencing the area like a resident, hop on an electric bike and follow your guide through the sights of Venice Beach and Santa Monica pier. It’s the most picturesque spot and features a bevy of attractions, such as amusement park rides and kitschy restaurants. Enjoy the ocean breeze as you cruise along the boardwalk, because you’ll miss it when you leave!
With L.A’s beautiful year-round weather, there’s always an occasion to grab a drink outside. Savor the sunshine and warm nights. Right between downtown Los Angeles and Beverly Hills, on Wilshire Hotel’s rooftop terrace, you find this lovely rooftop bar called “The Roof on Wilshire”. It features amazing 360-views over the city, with the highlight being the sweeping vistas over Hollywood and Beverly Hills. The terrace is equipped with a small swimming pool, large and comfortable lounge chairs and cabanas. The rooftop bar is open all day for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It offers a very relaxed atmosphere, perfect for a long day poolside in the sun, sipping on drinks, or a more cosy evening setting with dinner under the LA stars.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I want to take this opportunity to honor my Mom. If it weren’t for her, I wouldn’t be here. Growing up with a single mother gave me direction and taught me so much about life. She showed me how to exist despite all the loss she went through. There’s something about watching her uncover her strength that allowee me to find mine. Being the product of an independent woman reinforced my ability to know how to stand-alone. I grew up watching her take on all of the tasks of the world, and It instilled in me that I can do the same.

She taught me what I need to know about independence, and the importance of self-love. She allowed me to experience strength on levels no one else can touch, and resilience beyond measurement. She has taught me that there is no mountain too high to climb and no dream too big to dream. She has shown me that no matter what life throws at you, being strong and keeping a good heart is always an option worth taking. My mother showed me success should never be flaunted and nothing worth having ever comes without hard work. So shoutout to all of the parents who do it alone, especially mine.Thank you for teaching humanity each day more about love. Thank you for being the type of person in the world that shamelessly displays vulnerability and makes the world more beautiful. Finally, thank you to all of the single mothers and fathers who show up for their bad days, representing humility and human nature.
I would also like to thank my Boss Norma. Every time I hear someone complaining about his/her boss, I’m lucky that I have to wonder what that feels like. I have always had great bosses who significantly contributed to my growth. They are the true leaders from whom I learned the most from. But Norma you see, she is different. She’s incredibly openly human and inspires us to achieve our dreams by words, actions, and most importantly, by example. She shows such sincere appreciation for hard work and extra effort and inspires me every day to dream more, learn more, think more, do more and become more. It’s truly an honor working with her. Nothing I can say will ever convey the amount of gratitude I owe her for showing me how to have the right attitude.

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/pearl.steffie/

Facebook: https://m.facebook.com/HairPixie.com.pearl/

Image Credits
Kevin Trinh (@trinh.photography) Anthony Bello (@tony_nomadic) Jarrod Cole (@s2bphotos) Michael Vinze (@michael.vnz) Jesus Alber Mendoza (@mrgsus95) Selvin Castro (@_selvin_photography_)

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