Gemma Magazine is an online magazine about artists, their talent, and the comprehensive story of their struggles and accomplishments. Overall, it is about their journey (within themselves and towards reaching their professional goals). On behalf of Gemma Magazine, writing upon artists and attending events of all types is about the facts. Yes, the form is creative and artistic, however; the actual structure of representing someone and their talent needs to be stated in the factual form, while still producing a sense of inspiration and creativity. Trust me, as a writer, there is nothing worse than having the artist let you know that they were not portrayed correctly. Well, here it is — Gemma does not always get it right, even when we think we do. On a personal note, (and as the Editor), I take that to heart. It even takes me a few days to understand what went wrong. Why? It’s simple. We are completely inspired by every artist that we feature.
We could post Instagram photos on the daily with one sentence. However, that is not the vision of the magazine. I’m attracted to artists and feel an obligation to them because that is the goal of Gemma Magazine. However, it’s also the vision within my heart. Portraying the artists correctly can be compared to raising kids. If you have more than one, they are all different and as a parent, you should let them thrive based off of each child’s innate personality. You might want to mold them based off of your standards — but that usually doesn’t work. There is also so much to discover and be in awe of by watching them grow into their individuality.
Why is representing someone correctly so important? The answer lies somewhere within me, but I rather not look. It’s more appealing to keep my eyes on them. Maybe I feel I’ve been categorized incorrectly and need to get the artists right. The vision has meaning, value, and importance. Mostly, it resembles integrity and emotion (all in one).
In the end, we will continue to produce, represent, and write the right way — with heart, objectivity, and a lot of inspiration. Nothing will be swept under the rug. Actually, looking at the painting, performer, and designer dress, is a fantasy that tells a truth. Just listen carefully.
Riza Santos (Riza Racquel) is on the rise: Fashionista, Influencer, and Making her mark within the music world as a DJ. Riza is also from Canada and expressed her sentiments about her heritage by saying, “As a Canadian, it always warms my heart when people from other countries tell me about their positive experiences with Canadians. Canadians take pride in having a true identity, and we love our hockey!” said Santos. Riza is incredibly ambitious about being a Global Ambassador, becoming a refined DJ, and most importantly; giving back. She’s well spoken and highly professional. Riza also served in the military and highly values her family.
Riza is also an experienced actress and dancer who is vocally trained in music theater and opera. Her additional dance skills include jazz, hip-hop, salsa, and traditional Filipino dance. Riza aspires to become an entrepreneur in order to help students with financial resources who do not have the funds to obtain a post secondary education.
Riza started in pageants because she knew it would lead to the next positive step — which it did. Santos does not take her good fortune for granted. She works hard and with integrity. Riza’s schedule is hectic, so Gemma was so thrilled that she took a moment to speak with Gemma Magazine.
Tell us a bit about growing up in Canada and how you decided to enter pageants and what is your personal view on them?
Canada is an incredible country with a mosaic of cultures. That being said, pageants are not the first thing you’d associate a Canadian with. I entertained the idea of joining a pageant through the influence of my mom and grandpa. My mom is gorgeous and so glamorous. However, my grandma wanted her to focus solely on her chemical engineering degree. I was encouraged to try out pageants as part of an extracurricular activity.
I view pageants as a stepping stone and also to advocate a cause that I’m passionate about. Also, I wanted to see the world, but I was a university student with a limited budget working in retail. Winning pageants gave me opportunities to travel internationally and to see the world through reputable organizations. The pageants I have participated in team up with charitable causes; they have personal meaning. I’ve volunteered nationally and internationally. Pageants were also a gateway to modeling, and that opened up a lot of doors and opportunities for me.
It’s incredible that you have won 3! What has pageant life taught you that you have been able to incorporate into your daily life?
Pageants provide unique experiences that can be transferred for personal development. At the same time, I don’t believe anyone should join a competition without the intention to win. I am a very competitive person; I think the process itself of preparing for arenas of competition–where one has to be self-motivated to produce the best version of themselves–should apply towards everyday life.
The reality is that as humans, we can be both competitive and cooperative. Pageants are competitions, but through them, I’ve made lifelong friendships that have outlasted the competition. Most importantly, I’ve learned that this journey of life is about the people you cross paths with, putting your best foot forward and showing up. People will remember you after the competition. It’s not always about winning.
You are an advocate for environmental protection. Can you please expand?
I think everyone can be an advocate for environmental protection. Just educate yourself and do your part. Lower your carbon footprint, and a be a responsible consumer. For example, I like to ride my bicycle or carpool as methods of transportation. I recycle, carry my reusable bags and utensils, and I love my metal straw. I encourage other people to do the same. Substantive change begins with you.
Can you please tell us why this is valuable to you?
It allows me to speak, and for people to know me behind the image and the persona. I have the real opportunity to be influential, and that being said: I’d like to advocate for a life of principle. The best way I know how to do accomplish this task is to be principled in my own life.
I was on the phone with my sister and niece on the way to the grocery store, when we came up with the acronym #GIFTED. We spoke of our family legacy and what we genuinely practice. Traditionally people think others are born #GIFTED. We want to introduce a new viewpoint. I think it encompasses a mindset that I was brought up with
G is for Generosity starts with being grateful and abundant wherever you’re at in life. It’s also empathetic toward others, seeking to understand them, and having compassion for them.
I is for Integrity. Trust is foundational and valuable because it is the foundation of all relationships in life. My father taught me that you’re only as good as your word and it should be ironclad. My word is my honor, and my courage Geis my life. I aim to live a life of integrity regardless of who is looking.
F is for Focus. Goals can only be achieved through focus and small shifts in action and focus cause people to succeed.
T is for Tenacity. Tenacity is making strong efforts and focusing on purposeful action. It’s not just about working hard but making sure what you do is purposeful. It’s not easy, but I do find that when I stay purposeful in what I do, feelings remain in perspective.
E is for Education. It’s not just about formal education, but learning from experience–and not just the bad ones. You may not always win the battle, but never lose the lesson.
D is for Dedication. Anything worth doing isn’t going to be easy. There are still setbacks, and it can be so easy to not see things through to the end. But dedication is about commitment.
I believe anyone can make the world a better place with these values, because it’s the foundation for a grounded person, and what is society other than the people who comprise it?
Where do you get your inspiration from? My dad lost his father when he was 17 years old, but thankfully he had his siblings to help support him, and he completed his post-secondary education. My family has taught me the principles of living with integrity, having a self-motivated work ethic, and doing my best. They are conscious of leaving a legacy and creating a better future not only for self but for future generations as well.
“My family inspires me. They have a compelling story to tell, and I see my own life fitting into this larger narrative. My extended family immigrated to North America using education as a vehicle. I have uncles and aunts that earned both MD and Ph.D.’s. One of my uncles had seven degrees and was also a summa cum laude at UP, educated at Harvard Law School on a Fulbright scholarship, and was the first Filipino elected into Canadian government.” (Riza Santos)
Tell us more about some of your hosting jobs and your You-Tube Channel? I have had excellent opportunities to host various international competitions as well as the Asian Poker tournament in Macau. My You-Tube channel focuses on my international travel, as well as beauty and make-up tutorials.
What are your current goals and aspirations? I love music, and I am looking forward to DJing. I’m a mezzo-soprano vocalist and musician at heart. I studied Classical Music under a dramatic soprano who studied at the Moscow Conservatory of Music and worked at an Opera house in Paris.
What does music mean to you personally? I love how music brings people together. I grew up in a home where someone would always be playing guitar, piano or singing. Music moves people and can invoke deep emotions one can’t express in words. Music has always been a big part of my life, and I’m excited to get more involved and share my music on a more general level.
Claire Godard is the creator of the stylish blog: The Code of Style (www.thecodeofstyleblog.com). It’s a standout within the blogging world. What is her inspiration? “I decided to start this blog mostly because I am in a state of defining my style and in need of a few key pieces for my wardrobe. I also enjoy helping my mum with fashion and style advice, usually at the beginning of a new season or after she has bought a beautiful piece, but she isn’t sure how to incorporate it in her current wardrobe,” says Godard. The Code of Style focuses on finding a personal style and learning that women can achieve beautiful style regardless of age, budget or body type. It also covers current trends, offers tips on organizing your wardrobe, and shows the readers how to incorporate particular pieces. Godard is on a mission to inspire — both with her blog and as a woman, who inspires other women to go after their dreams.
The Code of Style is a contemporary and prosperous lifestyle and style blog. Did you know your vision from the beginning or it formed over time? It has formed over time. I started my blog as a hobby, never would I have imagined it would grow to where it is today and the impact it has on the community. I am a proud advocate of women empowerment, and it is our mission to inspire women to go after their dreams.
Claire is all of 24-years-old and currently lives in London surrounded by some of the most inspiring and stylish people. The Code of Style consists of ‘Style Series,’ ‘Streetstyle,’ and ‘How to Style.’ It’s quite refreshing that she takes her job as a role model seriously. She wants to motivate other women and encourage them to be the best version of themselves. As it turns out we have the Urth Caffe and Gucci Street Style in common in regards to L.A. loves. Godard is extremely busy so we really appreciate her taking the time to speak with Gemma.
What is a typical day for you? *Takes a deep breath. Are you ready? I start my days at 5 am with a killer gym session (spin class, pilates, yoga &, etc.), taking Lauren to school and levels, running errands, meetings, editing/creating content, responding to emails, grocery shopping day to day repeat – regular mommy duties. Regardless of how busy my day is; my number one priority every day is to give Lauren a gift and surprise. The gifts aren’t lavish at all, they are small items like a crispy rice treat, chocolate dipped pretzel, a Peppa pig figurine, &, etc. and I wrap it up in a gift box. The reason for this is because I see every day that we are alive, is a gift. The gift of life to enjoy another day with my daughter is a blessing, plus the smile she gets warms my heart every day. That is the cherry on top after a stressful day of work. Gym, errands, meetings, shoots, and repeat. 😉
You have accomplished so much in the blogging world. What inspires you daily? Also, how do you want to inspire others? What inspires me daily is excellence. I inspire to be the best version of myself – practice makes perfect! I want to spread a positive message by supporting and actively involving myself with the community by sharing my experience. I feel it is my responsibility to be the role model, it is my job to inspire, motivate, and support women to chase their dreams and pursue to be the best version of themselves.
Are there individual designers that you adore due to timeless cuts, textures and aesthetic? Growing up, I have always been and am still very obsessed with Oscar De La Renta, Valentino, & Gucci. Oscar De La Renta and Valentino dresses are so well made – from the stitch, fabric, and details are to die for. When you wear an Oscar De La Renta or Valentino dress it transforms you into Cinderella, it is unspoken magic! I also love Gucci for its streetwear collection. The collection gives me all the serene, fresh feeIs. I’m eyeing on their metallic bomber! 😉
Something that you highly recommend all fashion-forward women have in their closet.
The essentials that I recommend are as follows: For day to day basis is a nice, efficient track suit. What I mean with efficient is; its gotta have pockets. Lots of it. Pockets makes busy days smoother. A bomber jacket – it’s sporty for the daily and most of all effortless! Solid color tee shirts (V-neck and crew neck only) and mom jeans with no rip. I wear mom jeans almost every day, and probably while asleep also since I am still on work mode while sleeping… I chose no rip because it’s appropriate for more situations the day may bring. Two pairs of hoop earrings (gold and silver) moderate size that will go with everything. A cap to block the sun from my face, I am proactive on skincare and health. A handbag; any color or size of your choice because color is the new black, right? Lastly, ugly sneakers. If you read my other interviews, you know I am a shoe addict and very much obsessing over the current “Ugly sneaker trend”.
Do you prefer a handbag or clutch? Both. For my lifestyle, I use handbag a lot more because I am always on the go and need space to carry lots of stuff in my bag. In my handbag, you can always find a lipstick, sunscreen, hand sanitizer, keys, money, cards, phones, hair accessories, lotion, perfume, a Swiss army knife, and Lauren’s toys – I think that’s all the essentials. Preferably clutch for special events. 🙂
What advice would you give to someone who wants to get out of their comfort zone with individual style? I would say, “Let’s give it a try and explore change, it’s fun! You got nothing to lose, and everything to gain!” I am a firm believer in evolution. The path to finding the best version of yourself is changing. Let’s go!
What are three great beauty tips for healthy-looking skin? This is one of my favorite questions since I am a health freak. Number one: you must have your beauty rest – be well rested. Two, stay hydrated; drink lots, and lots of water. Three: You are what you eat; having a healthy diet is crucial to youthful looking skin. Four: a great moisturizer because that is food for your skin. I change moisturizer according to season. I know the question was three beauty tips, but I have four. 😀
Do you find it challenging to balance career and motherhood?
Yes. All. The. Way. It is extremely challenging. There is already so much to do with running your own business and being a single, present Mother. Some days are more overwhelming than others – but when I am super stressed with work and feel depleted, I would either take a long nap, detox from work responsibilities, and social media for a couple of days. You must listen to your body and take care of it because, without your health, there is no wealth. Regardless of the challenges, I believe the best investment is in yourself and your future. May you go after your passion today!
Your organizational skills are excellent. Does this come naturally to you? Before motherhood, I was a carefree, single individual with minimal responsibilities. When I became a single mother, I was determined to get my career back at rocket speed. I set out a plan, strategized, and executed. To manage my time efficiently, I put extreme amounts of effort into organizing & planning. Planning is key. So, to answer your question, no it did not come naturally to me – I had to learn to unlearn and become a new version of myself – Motherhood. What has always been natural was my adaptability to life’s challenge. I embrace all obstacles because what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger!
When in Los Angeles, do you have favorite boutiques you love to visit? I am on “mom’s brain” right now — the last boutique I visited recently was the Disney store. It’s magical, and we pretty much live there. Each time we visit, Lauren gets extra happy, and it’s quite contagious! For myself, I frequent Urth Caffé on Beverly Drive pretty often to enjoy a cup of coffee. For shopping, I like walking around Melrose Avenue to shop for the latest trends.
What do you love to do in your downtime with your daughter? I love taking her to all the places that she enjoys. She loves going to the outdoor and indoor playground, water parks, Disneyland, Target’s toy section, & the children’s museum. On the weekends, we love going to the local farm to pick our fruits and veggies. She is growing up fast, and I try to spend as much time with her as possible. Anytime with her is pure bliss
Favorite place to travel and re-charge and be Claire? Hmm, favorite place to travel. I have yet to have a favorite. My ideal situation to re-charge would be sitting on a beach, under a palm tree, coconut in one hand, book in the other, and breathing in the ocean breeze. Life has been quite hectic lately that it’s hard to remember when the last time I enjoyed that scene. Perhaps the big island Hawaii will need to add that re-charge time in the priority list.
I know The Lupus Foundation is close to your heart. Do you work with additional nonprofits Yes, I stay connected in local organizations regarding Women, Mothers, and children. I believe Mothers make the world go round and children are our future! We must empower, educate, support, and motivate. No effort is ever too small, let’s come together hand in hand and vow for a change!
Your mindset is very positive and robust. What are your top three strengths that influence your drive/work ethic? To Inspire, to Empower and to Motivate! I want to share this quote with the world. This quote was sent to me from a dear friend during the toughest time of my life and I hold this to my heart. My friend sent me an hourglass with a note: “One part of the hourglass is always full, the other empty. This cycle of emptiness and fullness follow each other – just like in life, where joy and sadness for example often follow each other in cycles. “
On behalf of Gemma Magazine, we would like to thank Claire Godard for speaking with us.