Evelyn Obamos is the International Program Manager for Pinterest, where she focuses on helping Pinterest expand outside of the United States. Aside from her job at Pinterest, she is also a photographer and writes for her own blog, EvelynBlogs. We're so happy we had the chance to sit down to chat with Evelyn - she's witty, intelligent, worldly, and passionate. Read on for her point of view on all things digital, photography, Pinterest and more!
Aloha from San Francisco! I'm Evelyn Obamos, and I'm a serial hobbyist. As an island-born city girl, I thrive at the intersection of lifelong learning, hustlin, and chill af vibes. Un-classically trained (YouTube), I dabble in guitar, ukulele, and piano. I also play tennis for fun and sing karaoke for sport. What my resume won't tell you is that I fit the bill of what some people controversially describe as living the American dream, and my mom still has no clue what my day job entails.
My serendipitous entry point to the Pin Factory is best described in Zig Zagler's quote; Success is when preparation meets opportunity. I hadn't initially planned to work in tech, but a lot of my Filipino community work and teaching experience, leading up to that point, was ripe for a niche role as a Community Manager on the International team. Anyone who's worked at a young startup (or even a non-profit) knows that what you sign up for doesn't always describe what you end up doing (which isn't a bad thing!). That said, my responsibilities quickly evolved. Fast forward to three years later, and my role eventually grew into a hella-stacked, cross-functional team that finds ways to help Pinterest grow outside of the US. Oh, and we're called pinployees. Heh.
Besides the puns, I love that Pinterest offers a world of possibilities. Being human, we sometimes underestimate what we can learn or do in our lifetimes, and Pinterest challenges that notion by instead inspiring what we can do next. I often find myself saying Pinterest is how I survived grad school. Expanding my cooking portfolio, refining my stylistic choices, and planning my trips all have positive correlations to when I discovered ideas on the app. It's the ultimate 'adulting' and productivity app, personalized for me.
This is a tough question because I find myself shooting anything and everything from engagement portraits to creepy (but cute) candids of strangers. I guess the common denominator would be how I stylistically compose each photo. A quick glance at my Instagram feed reveals my obsession with shooting photographs in negative space, where my subjects look tiny relative to the environment around them. Whenever I travel, I'm always reminded that the world is bigger than everyday minutiae. So I try to portray that vibe in my slightly overexposed, VSCO-filtered gallery.
As a Xanga (whoa, throwback) generation blogger, it's funny how I still struggle to figure out how to narrow down my scope, especially since I want to write about everything! Lately, I've taken on more personal entries, but you'll see it's a smattering of travel, food, and even some client work. I really enjoy the depth of personal blogs, where there's more freedom to be multi-dimensional. The best part is having offline conversations to probe topics further. It's incredibly humbling when friends and colleagues let me know they read something I wrote and took away something from the content. I most enjoy writing about recurring conversations, usually some socio-cultural-psychoanalysis. Blogging lets me brain dump ideas to refer back to later.
In the title of that post, I wrote that digital detoxing left me cynical. That feeling hasn't fully escaped me yet, but it's good to have a healthy dosage of scrutiny on what can be digested online. We feed our minds with whatever we consume, and it's very possible to overdose. We should be mindful of our intake. As social creatures, we are infinitely fascinated by social engineering. Naturally, our online platforms serve as fish bowls for observation. Truth be told, I'm not entirely sure how social media can be better. At the macro-level, we're able to widen our reach of people to connect with. Individually, a growing number of people have never felt so alone. How we thrive all comes down to how we best self-remedy and nurture our own personal growth. Regularly unplugging and disconnecting is just one way. We should also acknowledge that a lot of activists, small businesses, and marginalized artists use social media to amplify their platform. Support these folks.
I think of intellectual growth as a muscle you have to exercise, stretch, and have a grace period cadence to process. It's not surprising that more and more people recognize the value of self-care. Keeping up with the world, and trying to stay emotionally sane in the process, is exhausting. I find stability in maintaining areas of my life I have (somewhat) better control of — my time and energy. Lately, I've had a pretty regular routine where I try to carve out time for my three weekend R's: Run, Read, Reflect (Write). Even if it means pushing some friend hang outs into June, blocking out me-time has been very rewarding. On the flip side, I also find value unpacking loaded topics with friends, especially when a conversation helps me understand something better or offers a different way of looking at a topic. Chaos is a symptom of cognitive dissonance. At a time where we can easily feel divided, we could all benefit from seeing other people's perspectives and simply listening.
...Coming Full Circle by Leny Strobel (among dozens!)
...an extension of being human through technology.
...(backpacking) the motherland, Philippines. Mango shakes all day, errday.