We had the good fortune of connecting with LeAnn Mendoza and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi LeAnn, how do you think about risk?
Risk taking is like standing at the edge of the diving board for the first time; without taking the plunge you will never know if you’ll absolutely hate it and vow never to climb up the ladder again or maybe you’ll love the rush of adrenaline and feeling of your body cutting through the air. You must allow yourself to try and fail or try and prevail – you really won’t know unless you take that risk. Personally and creatively, I will always allow myself to jump in or if I am more hesitant, get my feet wet. This is what brought me to all the good decisions in my life. I started my photography business because why not? I even started uploading to youtube because why not? Just do what your heart says – by the time you’re at the edge of the diving board, you already know what you want to do.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I took class about the avant-garde and a big theme was this idea of “turning inwards” where artists, in a world where everything felt contrived, turned inward into innate expression. When I first heard of this concept, I thought it was profound, yet so simple and obvious. In my creative pursuits, my main priority is always authenticity and honesty. I guess I will just do what feels right for me creatively and if I can do that, I can never feel embarrassed or blame myself for not getting it right. As long as I am finding joy in what I do, I am creating exactly what is right for me and exactly what I want the world to see from me.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I absolutely LOVE being a born and bred San Diegan as it is a paradise for foodies, adventurers, and sight-seers alike! For a week in San Diego, I’d start the day off at one of the many amazing coffee roasters, coffee shops and cafes we have in San Diego – my personal favorite is Better Buzz Coffee! Snap a few pictures in the adorable interiors of these shops, grab a couple burritos and boba for a picnic at Balboa Park, Coronado Beach, or Sunset Cliffs. For dinner, try some of the food from the cultures that make San Diego the melting pot that it is. Some places I’d make sure to go to is Pho 7 Cow and Tita’s Kitchenette in National City, Al Azayem Restaurant in El Cajon, Nishiki Ramen, J Wata Temaki Bar and Tofu House in Kearney Mesa, Don Panchos for their Surf N Turf Burrito in Imperial Beach – the list could go on and on and on!

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
From time to time, a quote that I read years ago comes to front of my mind: “Nothing of me is original. I am a combined effort of everyone I’ve ever known” (Chuck Palahniuk, Invisible Monsters). I have everyone to thank for everything that I am. The good, the bad and the mediocre have all played a role in the character I am today. Creatively, I would not have started without the inspiration of Andrew Kearns and Jessica Whitaker on YouTube, and a conversation I had with my most amazing creative friend, Wednesday Tran about again, risk-taking. I’d like to also shoutout my family for tolerating me doing the most to get good shots and supporting my creative journey every step of the way. And to everyone who believes in me, thank you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

Instagram: Personal @leannmmendoza | Photography @leannmendozaphoto
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/leannmendozaphoto
Youtube: LeAnn Mendoza