When I called winner #2 of my 30 After 30 contest, I found a laidback Long Beach native who had just finished her journalism masters in Phoenix, AZ.
Chrystall Kanyuck (nee Chrystall Kanyuck) had found me through a song I sang on for Hepnova, the bi-coastal, 3-city can't-name-the-genre band. I chatted with her about collaging, my new favorite verb, and then she dropped the news: she had just found a job in the British Virgin Islands.
The BVI, as the hip kids say.
Picking up and plopping down in another country to be a reporter is exactly the kind of chutzpah I like. Here's what she had to say about turning trash into masterpieces and moving to a tropical island:
52 Faces: How did you get into collaging? (Yes I've turned this into a verb.)
Chrystall: I started collaging in high school mostly out of just needing something to do. It was convenient because my grandmother was a bit of a hoarder; I always had access to discarded reader's digest and AARP magazines. The feeling of making something new and fun out of essentially garbage was addicting, though, so I kept at it.
52 Faces: Have you ever collaged (there it is again) something dark or even negative? I mean, collage can't only be happy-joy-joy woowoo, right?
Chrystall: Most of what I make has a mix of positive and dark themes. The one I finished most recently, for example, looks pretty and kind of romantic, but there's also the exploding volcano and this sad little lonely guy in the corner. Other ones look -- when I go back to them after they're finished -- like heartbreak or loss or very chaotic. I think they just reflect how I'm feeling while I work.
52 Face: How do you have the guts to move to a Caribbean island by yourself? Do you have a great support system or just really big kahunas?
Chrystall: I think I've been too wrapped up in my excitement about it and getting prepared to be nervous or scared so far, but I'll have to keep you posted!
I definitely do have a lot of support from friends and family: they're helping me with everything from storing my coats to paperwork to just talking me down when I get overwhelmed about how much there is to do.
From everything I've read and the folks I've talked to so far about the BVI, the toughest adjustment for me will be all the rain.
52 Faces: Did you always want to be a journalist when you grew up? If not, then what?
Chrystall: I thought for a while I might teach or get into something science-y, but journalism is the thing I kept coming back to. I still have the press pass from my high school paper :)
Go visit her blog! Enter 30 After 30!