Every so often, a jill of all trades comes along. A woman who doesn't limit herself to just one skill, one who walks with courage while inspiring others. California-based artist TOBI GHOST embodies the true meaning of what it is to hold that title, from being a fashion designer to teaching kids at school. We spoke to TOBI on her career and what's gotten her to this point. Check out the interview below.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
My name is Yvonne Lear Randolph. My birthday is June 20, 1992. I was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and raised in Sacramento, California and I am currently residing in North Hollywood, California. I love ice cream and cheesecake. My numerology is Master Number 11.
What is the inspiration behind your name ‘TOBIGHOST’?
My inspiration began from this question I asked myself as a kid, "What is God's spirit/personality like?" I do not want to give away too many hints, but I will give you this... "TOBI" in African, as well as Hebrew origin, means "Our God/Jesus is great." "GHOST" has multiple meanings like spirit, soul, breath, life, and living principle.
You seem to wear many hats in the art field, including fashion design and choreography, you also teach in schools. How does each of these realms contribute to the person that you are today?
I DO wear many hats. (I strongly believe that they all coincide with each other, one way or another). I came into fashion design because I was not able to afford to buy the latest clothes/the latest trends, so I had to make my own costumes to wear to my competitions or shows. Fashion design taught me to be a resourceful person with my creativity. Being a choreographer, I learned so much about myself discipline, my ability to adapt, and resilience.
I will have to say being a teacher in the classrooms of Sacramento and Los Angeles has contributed greatly to the person I am today. Valuable things can be learned from children. Childlike transparency, authentic awareness, and keeping an open mind were traits I formed a habit of while working with children. I also learned to be an accountable person, as well as being consistent in my accountability. Lastly, bonding with my students let me be aware of how appreciative I am of the things I did learn from them. I'd like to tell my T.S.U. students, colleagues from Babcock Elementary School and my Clinton Eagles "Squad" at William Jefferson Clinton Middle School - Thank YOU for passionately impacting my life.
How did you manage to focus on the positive after experiencing hardships?
I had to remain steadfast in my faith. From my hardships, I learned that although I may have felt anger, sadness, and hurt in the moment, and that was uncomfortable to me, I understood that is OK to feel what you feel in that moment as long as you remember that it is just that, a moment, it is not permanent. I had to know eventually that I must focus on the fact that there will be many moments after that which will encourage me to feel comforted, happy, and bliss filled.
“From my hardships, I learned that although I may have felt anger, sadness, and hurt in the moment, and that was uncomfortable to me, I understood that is OK to feel what you feel in that moment as long as you remember that it is just that, a moment, it is not permanent.”
What inspired you tap into music and fashion?
I admire how music inspires my self-expression verbally, to confidently state how I am feeling, what I personally experience, and what I learned in those experiences. With fashion, I have the freedom to represent myself in a way that truly shows how interesting and innovative my ideas are. It's truly up to me, and that is the dopest part.
Can you tell us about your website OriginalGirlfriend.com? What inspired that platform?
ORIGINALGIRLFRIEND, aka "OGF," stems from the nickname given within an empowering sisterhood that I share with Ahlyn Thao. Our friendship has matured exceedingly well over the span of seven years. OGF is currently surfing the wave of transition. It started out as a contemporary clothing brand that showcased our inventiveness. However, OGF has slowly become a platform that shines a light on social justices, cultural exchanges, and a collective of creators.
How important is it for you to give back to the culture that you grew up in?
It is crucial. I am fortunate to experience the proverb "It takes a whole village to raise one child." Daily I am reminded that I have the character I have because of those who contributed selflessly to what they saw as needs on my path to becoming a capable woman in society. Being intentional when I contribute to the progression of our culture is most key. Even when I am facing unfavorable circumstances I know in my heart it is a privilege to be able to serve our communities and the many different cultures which dwell in them.
What advice do you have for aspiring young women who struggle with finding a purpose?
A few words of wisdom I'd like to share with aspiring young women (men included) who struggle on finding their purpose is get acquainted in your relationship with God. God has got you covered on what your destined purpose will be. Once you know and have an understanding, commit to giving it your highest standard of excellence. God Bless.
Tell about 3 of your influences and why do they influence you.
My UNSHAKABLE Faith, My BEAUTIFUL Family, and the PHENOMENAL people I am blessed to call Friends have a huge influence on the example I plan to set for those of like mind, a foundation I will set for my loved ones and an endless supply of opportunities to self-reflect and improve. These influences in my life make sure that I am well equipped mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
Top 3 favorite restaurants in Sacramento.
1. Chicago Fire. Their deep dish pizza is the bomb.com. Ouuuu but STUFFED CRUST DEEP DISH PIZZA is the bomb.com/yougetyolife!
2. I love hometown buffet because growing up that was the turnt up spot for graduations, good report cards, and First Sundays after church.
3. Golden Corral is the upgraded version. I simply love buffets. Whoever thought to put multiple dishes from various cuisines all into one place is a genius. Very key thinking. *DJ Khaled Voice* They don't want you out here feeling full!!! They don't want you out here eaten around the world in one place!!!
What does MISSBISH mean to you?
Photos by: Tasha Bleu