Instasize: So, welcome to Cuba, and thank you so much for joining us in our creator tour. Do you want to just introduce yourself and kind of give us a run-down of kind of, I don't know, you give us a quick little introduction of who you are, and about your Instagram brand, your lifestyle brand, what have you.

Atsuna Matsui: So, I'm Atsuna, I used to do photography, before I jumped in doing blogging, influencing stuff and I met Natasha through this Cuba press trip, and it's been really amazing so far.

IS: Awesome. How would you kind of sum up your Cuba experience? Whether it be in three words, if you just want to tell you, what are your first impression of Cuba?

AM: Okay. Cuba has been very colorful. Lots of, lots of vintage cars and buildings, and I would say it's very warm. In terms of even the weather and the people. People are so friendly here.

IS: I know you guys can see her on camera, you can't see me, thank goodness. She is always so well put together even in the humidity. I don't know how you don't ever look dirty or sweaty. I'm a mess. Reason We're behind the camera today.

AM: It's the oil blotting sheets.

Atsuna Matsui

IS: Yes. Thank you for letting me use one the other day. But okay. So, one thing I did notice, while going through your Instagram page, is your usage of props. So when did that get started or is that just something that you kind of picked up as part of your creative process?

AM: Yeah. So, I think in the beginning, I did a lot of fashion shots, and then over time I wanted to put more focus on lifestyle. So, I took my location... A lot more consideration with the location I'm going to, adding props so that it seems a little more organic to the space, so that you're kind of creating a story as opposed to just being a person modeling enough in front of a background. I love it.

IS: Because you did touch that you did photography prior.

AM: Yes.

IS: And I do notice that your photos, they almost look like an editorial, like photo journalism, I would say.

AM: Oh, thank you. Yeah.

IS: So, how did you get into photography?

AM: So, I've always been into photography since I was in middle school.

IS: Okay.

AM: And I started out with a film camera. I thought I was going to be a photography major, and I ended up going through the pragmatic route of going to a standard university for a bachelor degree.

And I always knew that I was a very creative person and it really goes to show that even though I didn't study something that was in the creative field in college, I always feel like I came back to it.

Because when I had my office job, I was just dying to always just have a creative outlet and that's what I use Instagram for.

Atsuna Matsui

IS: So, you went to college, but you kind of always knew that you wanted to work within the creative field?

AM: Yes. Yes.

IS: So, What were you doing prior to taking on content creating full-time?

AM: So, I actually had a marketing job at an office and I thought I would be okay with it, but I just realized working in a cubicle, thinking that I was going to be at the rest of my life, I really suck the soul out of me.

And so that's why I just had Instagram as a creative outlet and I didn't think that I was able to do it full-time until I just created that opportunity for myself and I just went down that path.

IS: Why did you think you couldn't do it full-time?

AM: Oh, Instagram?

IS: Yeah.

AM: Just because it was such a new industry, and it wasn't very established. A lot of uncertainty. And I feel like just doing freelancing work in general, you have to pave the path for yourself as opposed to when you work at an office, someone tells you what to do. The duty and task of the day.

Atsuna Matsui

IS: Awesome. So then, I guess what was your aha moment? There's always this talk of right before you make a change in your life. It feels like there's so many things that hold you back from just fully committing to it.

So, what kind of gave you the push to just take this on full-time and believing in yourself that you could accomplish, taking this career path and doing it on your own?

AM: To be honest, I think it was the motivation I got was the hatred I had for my previous job.

IS: Okay.

AM: Just that working in an office environment, it wasn't for me. I didn't have the flexibility with my time, and I just always felt like, "Oh, I wanted to do more creative stuff." And so, I wasn't fully prepared to do Instagram full-time. I think I only had 50K at the time, but I was just so devoted like, "I'm going to do this, I'm going to make it happen." And so I did.

IS: Wow, that is awesome. I'm super pumped that you were able to kind of follow that career path, and I know a lot of people aspire to do that, but they just kind of not. I guess they allow the fear to kind of hold them back.

AM: Yeah.

IS: And I know it's a common issue in your field of work to kind of hit creative funks or maybe reach points where you're just, I mean, no one else has done this before.

AM: For sure.

Atsuna Matsui

IS: You're literally forging a new path and I think that's such an appealing thing with social media.

AM: Yeah.

IS: So, how do you stay on track, and get yourself out of those creative funks when you find yourself in them?

AM: I think it's always about finding creative solutions. Because again, when you're doing freelancing work, you have to do yourself, and figure it out. And for me, I've always been a perfectionist, and so it was just kind of accepting that failures are going to happen. But failures are also good because you learn more from your failures than your successes.

IS: Absolutely.

AM: And so, just always see every opportunity as kind of a learning experience, and kind of carving the best method of doing what you're supposed to do.

IS: I love it. I literally always say, "Fail first, and adapt."

AM: Right. Yeah.

IS: Learn what you can, and move on.

AM: Exactly.

Atsuna Matsui

IS: So I love that. Okay. So then, how, when you are out scouting locations, or when you're kind of looking for that next shot, what is your creative process, or what do you look for?

AM: I think these days, I'm very collaborative with the photographers that I work for. Right now I have a personal photographer, and I'm just a lot more collaborative like, why I want to hear the ideas that they have, and so that we're working together as opposed to like, "It's completely my input and just my personal brand."

IS: Because it's not really fun for the photographer to work with me if it's just everything that I want. So, a big part with me, I put a lot of emphasis on the locations I want to shoot because I want it to look very holistic.

AM: Yeah.

IS: I mean we shot... I was able to watch you while we were touring around Cuba, and you are very particular with lining up the shot, which is great because I know we were in certain circumstances where I had to kind of step in and help you and I hope we got the shot. I hope everything was delivered the way you were hoping for.

AM: Yeah.

IS: So, I guess... How do you refer to yourself when talking about what you do for a career when it comes to meeting new people, or your family? What terms do you use, or how do you describe it?

AM: I guess I would describe myself more as a content creator. I wouldn't necessarily think of myself as influencer, because there's a lot of weight with that statement. "How am I influencing?" And even more so recently, I've been putting a lot of thought like, "What is my message? What is my personal brand about?"

And I really think I just want to spread positivity and creativity. Yeah. That's the main two things that I really try to focus on. And so just.

Atsuna Matsui

IS: Oh, I would say you're nailing it.

AM: Thank you.

IS: Visiting your Instagram page, I would definitely get both positivity and creativity vibes.

AM: Yeah. Yeah.

IS: So, you're definitely own brand.

AM: Thank you.

IS: Okay. Leading into our next question, do you think Instagram will be in your foreseeable future in the next 5 to 10 years? Do you still blog?

AM: Yes, I do still blog, and like I was saying, since social media is a fairly new industry, I feel like there's a lot of unpredictable factors in it. And when I was younger, I would really plan out like, "Oh, my five-year plan, my 10-year plan."

But honestly, so much of life is unplanned, and I just focus a lot more in the present and what I can do now. And just focusing on the vision that I do have, and right now I just want to spread positivity and creativity like I was saying and I want to expand my portfolio. I am getting into doing commercial work, and some print work, and yeah, hopefully in the future maybe I'll even do a business.

IS: Amazing.

AM: Yeah.

Atsuna Matsui

IS: What type of... Are you thinking of kind of branching off into maybe clothing, or more photography based, or when you say business, like what? Just out of curiosity.

AM: I think anything is possible at this point. I haven't put too much thought into it. I have always, like I was saying, really, really love photography, so if I do something I feel that would make me extremely happy.

IS: Okay.

AM: But I definitely want to diversify my portfolio and don't just want to stick to just doing social media work.

IS: And I think that's so interesting when it comes to social media. This idea that we do have so much opportunity because it is such a brand new industry, but there is so many different avenues that you could go down. So we're very excited to see what you do in the future.

AM: Yeah.

IS: And last but not least, I am curious. What is your favorite aspect of social media?

AM: Oh, favorite aspect. I think it's just the ability to connect with like-minded individuals that also do other creative fields. Although I feel like social media has gotten some bad rep obviously, but I feel like social media essentially is a tool, and it's how you want to use it. If you want to use it to do good, you can. If you want to use it to do bad, you can as well.

And lately I've been realizing I do want to put a lot more focus on spreading good, using my social media, just bringing awareness to people, and really just connecting with other like-minded individuals. And it really does provide the ability to do that because you can connect with different people around the world that really inspire you essentially. Yeah.

Atsuna Matsui

IS: Okay. So are there any current creators, that you would like to... Let's give them a little shout out. Who Inspires you?

AM: Tara Milk Tea, she does a lot of really creative content. Yeah. And a few others. Tessa, is also a really amazing one as well.

IS: Yup. Home from Salt Lake city, she is a Salt Lake girl.

AM: Oh really? I didn't know that.

IS: Yeah.

AM: That's super cool.

IS: She's incredible.

AM: Yeah, yeah.

IS: Big fan of her work. But okay. Awesome. Well, thank you so much for hanging out with us, and for being with us in Cuba. I'm sure we'll see you in another country pretty soon.

Atsuna Matsui

AM: Yeah.

IS: You guys can follow any of her handles, which will be placed below. Check up on her blog, and I we'll catch you on the next time, the next creative tour.

AM: Cool. Thank you so much for having me.

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