This podcast is sponsored by FLUX Hawaii | Images courtesy of The Holoholo
Virginia Paresa is a fashion and home decor designer based in Hauʻula, Hawaiʻi. Bianca Bennett is a UX designer and project manager in New York City. Both grew up on Oʻahu, and have seen firsthand the talent and creativity that have come out of the islands, both at home and globally. Tapping into this energy, they have launched a podcast, The Holoholo, that features conversations with women and men from Hawaiʻi and their inspiring stories of creative expression—for starters, photographer Melanie Tjoeng, and street artist Sean Yoro. We quiz them about it below.
How do you two know each other?
Virginia Paresa: We met at the University of Hawaiʻi. It was my senior year of the fashion design program and we were scouting models, and Bianca was the perfect model.
Bianca Bennett: I was walking by the Fashion Design and Merchandising department and think she asked if I modeled. I thought she was joking!
How did the idea for The Holoholo come about?
VP: I had been listening to podcasts for a while, and I couldn’t get enough. I love podcasts and listening to fun conversations between people that inspire and connect you to ideas, places, or things you’ve never thought of before. But I thought there weren’t enough inspiring stories from women out there, and there definitely was no podcast that reflected Hawaiʻi and its unique culture. I was scratching my own itch with the idea of Holoholo. I wanted to meet and interview more women, like me, with similar stories, that were making it in a creative field. And I thought if I want to hear about this, then maybe other people do too. Bianca and I have kicked around ideas of projects we wanted to start together, and when creating a podcast came up, we were both excited about the concept of interviewing Hawaiʻi lovers all over, and inspiring each other with our stories to keep pursuing our dreams or goals. Illustrating that it is possible, you know someone who’s doing it, and they come from the same place you do.
What can readers expect when they listen to The Holoholo?
VP: A fun, island talk show!
BB: And a lot of behind the scenes stories, relatable insights, and overall inspiration.
What has been the most interesting thing you’ve learned so far creating these episodes?
VP: Everyone’s story.
BB: I think the most interesting thing we’ve learned creating these episodes is the fact that everyone is different—there’s not one particular formula for success, though I do think that there’s something so intriguing about the roads people take in order to find that success. It’s almost like this: Everyone has a different map that they follow, and it gets them to different places by different routes, and trying to understand those elements is so interesting.
How do you do this so far away from each other, and with a 6-hour time difference?
VP: We try and coordinate our schedules so that we can both be on interviews, but it is difficult with work and school.
BB: Lots of coordination! I’m back in school again in an intensive program and Virgi has a really demanding work schedule, so we set time aside for each other to touch base, recap, and take time for friendship.
Risa Hoshino is featured in The Holoholo’s newest episode. Listen to it, and past episodes, here.
Bianca, where do you find Hawaiʻi in New York City?
BB: It’s super lucky that Hawaiians always seem to find each other. I was walking down the street in Philly with my best friend once, and somehow spotted from a block away a family of Hawaiians who were visiting from Maui. After some quick, “Oh you know so and so!,” we found out that the mom had taught a handful of my cousins at Kamehameha Schools. I think we have this preternatural ability to find each other and make the aloha happen that way. I’m also fortunate to have so many Hawaiian friends here—and also many non-Hawaiian friends who possess different versions of the aloha spirit. I’m quite grateful to have this kind of ʻohana, especially in a city like New York. Another lucky thing: There are elements of Hawaiʻi in the restaurant scene here too! Onomea in Brooklyn is one place where you can get actual mac salad … also, poke is blowing up here! I just need a good acai bowl and I’m set.
Virgi, how do you stay tapped into the global Hawaiʻi scene from Hauʻula?
VP: I have a huge appreciation for art, culture, music, etcetera, so I’m always on the hunt for new and exciting things that pique my interests. I don’t know if I’m “tapped in,” but I know what I like and I just follow that all the way down the rabbit hole.
What is the most ridiculous thing either of you have asked someone yet, or want to?
BB: Ridiculous thing? I really want to ask people who have left Hawaiʻi how much they’ve spent on Spam since leaving. The Spam struggle on the mainland is REAL! On a more serious note: I’m always really curious to know what people’s morning routines are like. You know, in like a Ben Frankliny kind of way.
Listen to all episodes of The Holoholo on Soundcloud or iTunes for free.