Fashion Editorial: LA’s Cool Kids

Aside from perfect weather that causes some major East Coast envy on Instagram, one of the best things about the City of Angels is our super cool LGBTQ community. ​L.A. is full of amazing queer artists and entrepreneurs that are as hot as our weather, and cool as our sea breezes. So, I styled an exclusive dapperQ fashion editorial celebrating the fashion of three queers on the L.A. scene: chef Maria Carter, recording artist Selina Carrera, and ​Dawnita (aka DJ Euphoric). The three are an open-minded bunch and let me push them outside their comfort zone, allowing me to style them in the hottest looks of the season: sports​ gear re-imagined as casual wear, business-inspired separates, and vibrant Dashikis. During the editorial shoot with photographer Genna Sandler, I also had a chance to interview all three to get a glimpse into their daily world. (*Feature image outfit above // Maria: Wichkim shorts, Tamar leggings, models’s own bra, stylist’s own necklace. Dawnita: Stuzo Clothing jersey, Tamar leggings, stylist’s own necklace and earrings. Selina: Apuletown Dashiki, Apuletown beanie, Apuletown pants, necklaces model’s own.)

cool kids1From left to right: Dawnita, Maria, and Selina

Outfits // Dawnita: American Apparel jacket; model’s own pant and bra; stylist’s own necklace and earrings. Maria: Stuzo Clothing jersey; Anonymous Jeans pants. Selina: Apuletown jersey; Priceless pants.

North ​Philly ​transplant Chef Maria Carter (@iamchefcarter) is a charming and handsome definition of dapper. Spending her childhood observing her mother and grandmother’s Southern style of cooking​ helped her realize her ​passion ​for all things food. Upon graduating​ from ​culinary school at the Art Institute of Philadelphia​, she​ ​relocated to the City of Angels​ ​and has brought her food expertise to ​boutique hotels and​ ​restaurants​.​ ​When she’s not in the kitchen, Maria​ ​ can be found at a nearby grill feeding hungry friends, on the dance floor of your favorite night spot, taking a mini​ vacay in the middle of nowhere, or dreaming of owning her own food truck.

​​Cee: What does the term “dapper” mean to you?

Maria: When I think of dapper, I think of someone who has a certain sophistication when it comes to style. This can manifest as pride in their appearance and the way that they carry themselves.

​​Cee: Define and describe your personal style​.

Maria: I would describe my personal style as eclectic. I love playing with colors and bold patterns. My clothes are a mix of vintage pieces and street fashion.

Cee: What is your favorite pieces/item of clothing?

Maria: I have a lot of vintage shirts that I’ve collected over the years that I’m in love with; it’s hard to pick a favorite. I would say that hats are my favorite accessory, I can’t get enough of them right now. I feel like hats can just complete your whole look if worn and paired correctly.

Cee: Why food?

Maria: I love to bring joy and happiness to people’s lives, so food is just one of the many ways I can do so and it’s something that I found myself to be very passionate about. Working in the kitchen can be a very stressful environment, but I love rising to the occasion of meeting those challenges.

​Cee: How long have you been doing what you do and how did you get your start? ​

After I graduated culinary school at the Art Institute in Philadelphia, I decided to move to Los Angeles to start my culinary career. My goal is to one day own a gourmet food truck, but as of right now I’ve been working a variety of jobs for the last three years trying to gain as much experience in the kitchen as I possibly can.

cool kids 4Outfit // Mike Vensel vest; American Apparel shirt; American Apparel pants; stylist’s own sunglasses.

​Cee: What do you love most about LA?

Maria: I’m from the East Coast, so the first thing out my mouth is going to be that I love L.A. weather!

​Cee: What is your favorite place in LA?​

Maria: My favorite place in L.A. isn’t technically in LA​: Malibu Wines. I love ​being able to pack your own picnic, listen to live music, and share a bottle ​(​or two) ​of ​my favorite red with ​my favorite people.​ The perfect wine pairing can really compliment a meal.

​Cee: Describe your perfect day in LA.

Maria: My perfect day in L.A. would be ​taking a drive to a brunch spot by the ocean on Sunday to share delicious food, mimosas, and plenty of laughter​ with friends, all while looking super dapper.​

​Cee: What are your upcoming projects?​

Maria: I’m working on a YouTube cooking show that will following me from my nights out to my late night creations in the kitchen. Stay tuned!​

Recording artist Selina​ (@selinacarrera)​ still has that “new L.A. smell.” Another Philadelphia transplant, Selina had the honor of being backup singer to none other than the incredible Ms. Lauryn​ ​Hill.​ ​Other​ artists Selina has worked or performed with include Joey Bada$$, Wale, Gilbere Forte, Seal, Pras Michel of The Fugees, Denitia and Sene, Flow-Rida, and Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs. Her ​fun and ​unique​ approach to freestyle will capture even the most jaded listener.

​​Cee: What does the term “dapper” mean to you?

Selina: To me, the term dapper is a lifestyle that conveys a certain sharpness in personal taste and style.

​​Cee: Define and describe your personal style.

Selina: My personal style is somewhere between 90’s retro and sophistacated vintage. I love button ups, pattens and ironed collars just as much as I love my sneaker collection, harem pants and jean jackets. I rarely dress according to my gender role because I usually find myself somewhere in-between the spectrum, and I think that aspect of myself really translates through my personal style.

​​Cee: What is your favorite pieces/item of clothing?

Selina: Accessories, ripped up jeans, crop tops, leather jackets, and jean jackets. Basically, everything 90’s

Cee: Why music?

Selina: For me, music is not only my passion, but also my outlet. I love the process of creating and the feeling of completing something to sound exactly the way you imagined. I love to have fun and kick it with my homies, but I’ve always been sort of quiet – observing the world around me. When I perform, or sing, or record, it’s like a crazy rush I can’t explain – like I’m transforming mid way through, connecting to people through my music by allowing myself to be vulnerable and free. Performing and making music is a safe addiction for me because you can get free and never have to come down off the high.

​​Cee: How long have you been doing what you do and how did you get your start?

Selina: For like the last ten years give or take. I’ve been singing and going to creative and performing arts schools since middle school, but I guess you can say I got my “big break” back in Philly when I used to work downtown on South st. Jay-Z was performing a block down from where I was working at the time, at this spot called the TLA. I walked down on my lunch break, was crackin jokes with some of the promoters and told them I could sing. A couple of them didn’t believe me, so I sang for them on the spot. From doing that, about six months late,r I got a deal with Sony/Columbia, and the rest was history.​ ​Honestly, I love what I do, I love the business that allows me to to pay my bills, and as much work that goes into it, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

cool kids 5
Outfit // Wichkim shirt; Wichkim pants

​​Cee: What do you love most about LA?

Selina: The 3 W’s, word to Kendrick Lamar [laughs]. I’m still new to L.A., so I still got that Cali sparkle in my eyes.

Cee: What is your favorite place in LA?

Selina: The graveyard that everybody’s buried in called Forrest Lawn Memorial. I know that sounds hella emo and dark, but it’s like where every celebrity and regular person is buried in L.A. from Michael Jackson to Nat King Cole, and Bette Davis. It’s the closest way to be in the presence of those legendary artists that came before, and their stories intrigue me. Other than that, I like being in the studio or kickin it wherever with the homies. I work a lot, so I really value the time I get to kick it with friends, and they usually know where all the fun spots are here in L.A., as I’m still learning.

​Cee: Describe your perfect day in Los Angeles.

Selina: Waking up hella early and going on a hike that leads to the top of a mountain or a beach, hittin the brunch spot with the homies, doing music workshops at the juvenile prisons with the incarcerated youth I work with (those kids, are DOPE),
going to the studio to put in work or freestylin’ with my homie Bianka, and ending the night having fun and spending time with my homies

Cee: What are your upcoming projects?

Selina: Right now, I am getting ready to release my next project entitled “Everyday Love.”​ We’re shooting three more videos for the project and I really love the concepts for each of them. It’s going to beautiful and I can’t wait to share that with ya’ll. On the production side, I just finished scoring my first short film called Take 5, which will be playing in different film festivals this year. And, I’m already started on my next score. Other than that, I have a few performances coming up here in Cali that I’m hype for, and collaborations with some of my favorite artists that are in the works, releasing all in due time  ​S​tay updated ​at

Dawnita aka DJ Euphoric (@thedjeuphoric) is a highly accomplished LA-based DJ, an All-American NCAA athlete, model and activist. ​Known for her unique mix of today’s hits and old favorites, ​plus her ability ​to mix genres​ seamlessly, Dawnita’s been “causing eargasms and back spasms” at some of LA’s largest non-​profit fundraisers, fashion/in-store events, nightclubs and private parties​. ​

​Cee: W​hat does the term “dapper” mean to you?

Dawnita: I’m southern, so it’s the equivalent of sharp to us!

Cee: Define and describe your personal style.

Dawnita: Classic and colorful. I love 40’s & 50’s looks. Women were so classy and sexy. I like to mix and match pieces as well.

Cee: What is your favorite pieces/ item of clothing?

Dawnita: All of my high-waisted pants

Cee: Why music?

Dawnita: Music has such a healing emotion, it’s the one thing that can help you to escape and live in the moment at the same time. I love the way it makes people feel and that’s why I’m deejay Euphoric, which means a state of happiness.

Cee: How long have you been doing what you do and how did you get your start?

Dawnita: I went to Scratch Academy and learned the basics in 2008, after that I kept teaching myself various programs and setups. I’m still learning and always will be, but I knew early on when I was making mixed tapes as a kid this was where I was headed.

Cee: What do you love most about LA?

Dawnita: The weather and how around every corner is a new opportunity, if you’re open to it

Cee: What is your favorite place in L.A.?

Dawnita: Chateau Marmont.

Cee: Describe your perfect day in LA.

Dawnita: I love days that revolve around music and food. L.A. has lots of small music festivals, that is my ideal day.

Cee: What are your upcoming projects?

Dawnita: I just ​Dj’d this Season’s Last Comic Standing on NBC. It was an incredible experience for three weeks. I DJ a lot of private parties, work on brand events, and will also be joining some friends this summer to DJ at the Roosevelt pool for their event, which is open to the public​.

Photographer: Genna Sandler @gsandlerphoto
Wardrobe Stylist: Cee Sando @ceesando
Hair: Kyron Christenson @honeycombncoil
Makeup Artist: Veronica Haywood @veroniikaah1
Clothing provided by:
American Apparel
Anonymous Jeans
Apule Town
Mike Vensel
Stuzo Clothing
Tamar Collection

Tags from the story
, ,
Written By
More from Cee Sando

Tomboy Femme Fridays: The Gay Scent & Queer Signifiers

Feature image via Where to Get It I smell gay. … I...
Read More

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.