We had the good fortune of connecting with Miranda Smith and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Miranda, how do you define success?
I find success is a difficult to measure for many creatives my age. For us, social media drives so much of the discourse around success; follower count, like count, impression rate. This goes on and on and on. The promise is that with social media success comes financial success. However, social media and finances are not necessarily linked. And the quest for social media numbers has led to burn out, as more and more creatives speak out about the daunting content output rate that is required for social media success. A continuous search for fame and fortune does not seem to make a creator happy. As a result, it has become clear to me that social media can not become the way success is defined.
For me, success is more of a personal goal. Success is being happy with the work that you create. Beyond that, it’s also being part of a community that you engage in, creating and maintaining friendships with fellow creatives, inspiring each other and making a positive impact on your community. This can’t be measured by graphs or numbers. It’s a much more qualitative of a concept. But I think it’s this type of success that leads to happiness.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I mainly work in costuming and taiko, For here I’ll focus mostly on costuming. I started making costumes for myself when I was still in high school. They weren’t good and I don’t think anyone remembers them except for me. When I was in college I started taking on projects that I though were beyond my skill level. They were not well made per se, but I learned a lot from the experience and the amount of positive reception convinced me to try even harder projects. After much experimenting, some success and a lot of failures, I ended up where I am now.
If there was one advantage I had, I think it’s that I never feared failure. After all, it’s a costume. If one turns out bad, yes I’ll be a bit sad, but it’s not the end of the world. And in the process, I learned so much. Even now, I still try out new ideas. Some of them work. A lot don’t. But it’s the process of learning and exploring that makes me happy, so even if my project ends up a mess, I’m still happy that I tried.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
The go to response for Orange County is always Disneyland. And I love Disneyland, but there are more options. For the first day, I think it would be best to have a slower day. For that I would recommend going to the antique shops in the Orange Circle. There are more than enough knickknacks to entertain you for a day. On the second, I would go to downtown Anaheim to go to Requiem and the Anaheim packing district. For the third day, Disneyland would be the theme park option, but I would also recommend Knott’s Berry Farm. On the fourth, I would recommend going to the Bowers Museum as well the Cube in Santa Ana, then going to Fourth Street Market for dinner and a drink. On the fifth, I would want to explore the unique communities that Orange County has formed, such as Little Saigon, Koreatown, and Little Arabia. On the sixth, I would go to the beach. It’s a bit of a drive, but the beaches in South Orange County are less crowded and nicer than the usual Orange County beaches. And on the seventh, I think I would bring them for a nice bowl of ramen at one of the many award winning ramen shops in the area before dropping them of at John Wayne airport
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I want to thank the taiko community and costuming communities in general for being positive places and welcoming to all people. For taiko in particular, I would like to thank Asano Taiko and LATI for their support and for costuming I would like to thank Eric (@suparrobo), Jon (@jonwasabii) and Heather(@heathersewsstuff) for their support.