I stopped doing interviews for a while, but I began to miss the whole process so I just had to come back, and the right way was to come back with Aviva Yael. We all know her as one of the buzzing hearts on Buzznet. However, there is more to her than she lets us know. I had a most killer chance to ask this lovely lady a few questions so we can get to know her a little bit more. Enjoy!
Opening Ceremony Launch Party, Tokyo
Guna Campbell: How would you describe yourself in one sentence?
Aviva Yael: I’m a curious, passionate, generous, somewhat naïve goofball.
AY: When I was working at a magazine I used to bartend at a place in the East Village called LIT to make extra cash (writers tend to starve, even in full-time positions).
One day my friends and I were hanging at the bar talking about a friend of ours who had gone on a date with a chick who had a horrendous tattoo of an alien on her back. Everyone seemed to have a story about a bad tattoo they’d seen, and at some point in the conversation my friend Perry (who founded Kickstarter), turns to me and says ‘someone really needs to write a book about bad tattoos.’ Boom.
Originally I was going to write an entire book called ‘Dealbreakers’ (this was in 2007) with multiple subjects, tattoos being only one chapter. Alas, Liz Lemon published a ‘Dealbreakers’ book on 30 Rock and her character became a cliche for a few episodes - 'The Dealbreakers Lady.' I’m relieved that wasn’t my fate. I wouldn’t want to be Liz Lemon (well, head writer of a show starring Tracy Morgan, maybe. But not the whole dying-alone-with-my-cats rest of it).
Anyhow, as we were putting the book together I started to not only love tattoos; I got completely immersed in tattoo culture. So I had to change the title from "Worst Tattoos" to "The Best, Worst, Most Ridiculous." It was the first book that came out like that - before Tumblr-to-book deals. We did it the hard way, without submissions, traveling to tattoo shows, stalking people on the Internet, and walking into tattoo shops like we were reporters.
The book is a complete toilet read, but I'm glad I did it. We got to travel and meet some amazing people. Howard Stern was the first person to promote it, and I did a radio and book tour. The highlight was being a guest on Carson Daly's show when Kathy Griffin was the main guest (I love her). Lots of hilarious memories came from the making of that book, and it opened lots of doors for me.
GC: A stalker birdie has told me that you are the former Fashion Director of Vice Magazine. This means that you're a writer, fashion director, you have your own blog... a killer blog I must say, and you bring the best stuff to Buzznet. How do you do it? What inspires you to keep on going?
AY: Thanks for the nice words. Every endeavor I've pursued, whether it's a full-time job or an independent project, is something I care a lot about. I really don't like to do anything I don't believe in, and I thrive on a challenge. I would rot and die if I had to punch a clock or do paperwork. I need something creative and challenging in front of me or my brain starts to wilt. But as far as Buzznet goes, I am such a tiny part of it. It’s really the members who create all the amazing content, and who inspire me every day. I look at incredible art, fashion, writing, music, and other forms of creative expression from some of the most interesting young people in the world, so that’s pretty motivating.
GC: Are there any new exciting projects or events coming up for you in near future?
AY: I’m working on my second book. I can’t say what it is about, but it will tell a tale of American subcultures through one particular angle (not tattoos). But my biggest focus right now is trying to read all the books I bought on Amazon and learn more about Futurism, which is a passion of mine. My dream is to become best friends with Raymond Kurzweil and Neil DeGrasse Tyson so I can cull their brains for information casually, like over the phone from my couch while painting my nails and whatnot. Or while laughing over dinner.
GC: Song on your mind right now?
AY: I’ve been listening to Mika Miko’s ‘I Got a Lot (New New New)’ all week. They’re sort of like a mix of Bikini Kill, the Go-Go's, Le Tigre, and The Pandoras, but young. They have a song called 'Turkey Sandwich.' LONG LIVE SURF PUNK BABES!