Kendall Sanchez: Fashion Blogger

Kendall Sanchez is an up and coming fashion blogger from Oildale, California. At the young age of 19, she is already making her strong presence known in the fashion community.
We initially discovered Kendall while browsing the street-style website almost a year ago. At the time, Kendall had already been successful as she was working with some big companies like Pac-Sun. In the short amount of time we’ve known Kendall, her style & her art has improved quite dramatically. Kendall’s style is definitely a force to be reckoned with, as she is always on top of the game. We see her improving every day, every week, and every month, which is extremely admirable and inspiring. It’s almost rare to find someone so young that has the drive, business sense, and marketing techniques that Kendall possesses. We love that Kendall is not a one-trick pony as she is a person that has range… one day she will be wearing clothing that is pretty and girly, then the next day she will be wearing something that is punk/grunge inspired, all the while rocking each and every look with ease. It’s because of the potential we see in Kendall that we really look forward to seeing what this girl is going to accomplish. Look out world, Kendall has something to show you…

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Photos By: Robert Bejil Photography

Jin N Tonic: Model/Actress/Bad Ass

In this murky pool of models in Bakersfield, Jin N Tonic successfully manages to set herself a part from the typical “cookie-cutter” model. Jin N Tonic (Jin for short) is a model with such a unique look & attitude, that you can’t help but fall in love with her work. How does she manage to be such a pro? Well we sat down with Jin to figure that out!

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How did you get the name “Jin N Tonic”?

“I got the nickname ‘Jin’ while dating a guy with the nickname ‘Juice.’ The ‘N Tonic’ was added as a fake last name so people couldn’t look me up on Facebook. Ironic really, that now I spend 99% trying to get people to do just that!”

Where are you from?

“I was born in Bakersfield, CA, but grew up in Nampa, Idaho and went to college in Boise (for 6 friggin’ years) before moving back to Bakersfield. Funny how life likes to come full circle…”

How old were you when you realized you wanted to be a model and/or actress?

“I’ve always wanted to be in front of the camera! When I was 12 or 13 I made my little sister photograph my first ‘photoshoot’. When I was younger I would fantasize about being on set with Brendan Fraser (who didn’t find George of the Jungle sexy?? And don’t forget The Mummy)?”

How long have you been modeling and acting?

“I did some theater in high school, but besides the improv stuff it wasn’t really my thing. I wanted to be in front of the camera! Plus theater people are on a whole ‘nother level. My first photoshoot was six years ago, but an unsavory photographer left a bad taste in my mouth and to be honest I spent a lot of years ‘finding myself.’ It wasn’t until a chance photoshoot 2 years ago that I remembered what it is that I love to do!! Good timing too because after I graduated college, I was in need of starting a whole new career path that had no need for a college degree..”

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What was it that made you decide that you wanted to do be a “Traveling Model”?

“I’ve always been determined to travel the world. Being a “Traveling Model” just kind of happened. I was in Boise and a photog in SLC said, ‘Hey, if you’re out here, let’s shoot!’ and I said “how’s next week?” and it all went from there. Plus this last year I have spent half my time back in Boise for family stuff and the other half in Bakersfield. All the traveling in between has allowed for many stops along the way. Plus, one opportunity leads to another. When I got sponsored on the Select Models Group Shoot/Cruise to Mexico, I met a photographer there who later flew me out to NYC for New Year’s.”

How long did you model “exclusively” from your home town until you started to travel consistently?

“Hmmm… honestly it was only a couple months that I started really shooting in Boise before I moved to Bakersfield. I got side-tracked for a few months with a stressful and time consuming job (silly things, jobs) but once I got my head back together a year ago I remembered, ‘Oh yeah Jin, you moved to Cali for a reason!’ and I haven’t stopped since. (No plans to stop anytime soon either).”

Name some places where you’ve traveled for modeling/acting jobs.

“Between August and December of 2012 I had photoshoots in 9 different states; Idaho, California, Washington, Oregon, Utah, Colorado, Nevada, New Jersey, New York; plus the Mexico cruise.”

So far, what is your favorite place you have modeled/acted?

“I absolutely fell in LOVE with NYC!! It was completely worth the two week East Coast Plague I came back with.”

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What was it that you did while you where there? (theme of the shoot, sightseeing, etc..)

“NYC is HUGE on fashion and even HUGER on fetish stuff! I only do ‘implied nudity’ and typically don’t like strangers tying me up and hitting me with shit, so I stayed away from the fetish (although I love the genre). I did reunite with my cruise sponsor/photographer for a naughty snow bunny shoot, and was part of a Hillary Flowers Masquerade/Lingerie Fashion Show at Gotham Hall on New Year’s Eve… and yes, there was plenty of sight-seeing, and lots of clubs, and lots of bottle service.”

How is it that you are able to consistently book modeling/acting gigs that keep you traveling?

“I am always on my computer. I put out casting calls, I respond to casting calls, and I promote myself shamelessly no matter where I go. I’m annoying as fuck I’m sure, but it keeps me going!”

Do you have a certain modeling style? (example pin-up model, lingerie, fashion, etc..)

“I do it all! Sometimes I wish I had a ‘style’ though, as my portfolio is all over the friggin’ place! My versatility really sets me apart though.”

What is your favorite type of modeling to do?

“I don’t have a favorite, although Pin Up is by far the funnest!! It’s just so cute. Fashion has a BIG place in my life. I’ve always wanted to be more in fashion, but never did my homework because I’m a shorty. I’m changing that now…”

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How many tattoo’s do you have?

“Depends on who you’re talking to, haha! The way I count ’em though, I have 11. Unless I’m forgetting some (which I sometimes do… I’m serious).”

What about piercings, how many do you have?

“I have 10 in my ears, one in my nose, two in my bottom lip, and two in my belly button. So that’s what… 15ish.”

Do you have any regrets in regards to your tattoos and piercings? Do they ever hold you back from bigger or more profitable gigs?

“My first tattoo is a bittersweet memory. I got it when I was 18 and I remember having the thought about it affecting future gigs I would get, but I told myself, ‘Oh well, I’m never going to really be a model anyway.’ So it’s almost like a permanent symbol of me giving up on my dreams! Since then I’ve gotten more, and if I could go back I wouldn’t have gotten any. They are definitely limiting in the kind of commercial (i.e. PAID) work you can get. Sure, you can Photoshop that shit out, but why would a photog take on the extra shop hours when there’s literally hundreds of girls in line behind me with ‘virgin skin’? I’m also sort of limbo with the amount of ink I have. Too much for commercial work, but not enough to lump myself in with the true ‘alternative’ and ‘ink’d’ type models. So it’s like now that I’ve started, I almost have to keep adding on. I have no desire to go spend thousands on a sleeve (or laser removal!) just to fit into a genre though. I’m basically just going to have to go out there and keep breaking all the rules! My advice to any girl with serious modeling goals though, would be to NOT get tattoos. Especially if you are 5’7″+ and want to do runway. That being said though, I definitely know plenty of models that do have tattoos and are very successful.”

How about shoots… Any regrets out there?

“I don’t regret anything, but I have made a lot of mistakes that led to unfortunate instances in my past. Nearly all of these were a result of me being less than smart in who I was shooting with. I had no guide in becoming a model, and went against my better judgement a couple of times. I’m lucky that I am ok, but some gals aren’t! It’s a risky business, and the number one goal should always be your personal safety first – no matter who the shoot is with. I hope though that from my mistakes others can learn too. There’s a lot of bullshit in this industry that a lot of girls convince themselves is ‘part of the biz’ when really it’s not. That’s the unprofessional world: it’s full of sharks and you never go anywhere from there.”

I have seen a few drawings and I believe a painting or two from you… Why do you paint and/or draw?

“I’ve always liked being artistic. Art was the only class I ever enjoyed in school because people left me the fuck alone and I just got to sit and make something maybe kinda sorta neat. What I really do more than anything though is doodle. Anytime I was in class I would have to doodle in order to pay attention, otherwise I’d fall asleep! I think it’s my brain’s need for more stimulation than what the education system ever had to offer.”

Is the rush of finishing an art piece as satisfying as seeing a “post photo” from a shoot you have done?

“Haha, I’m not sure! With the exception of art class assignments, I almost never actually ‘finish’ anything. One day I think I’ll have a gallery showing – “The Unfinished Works of JNT” It is really neat though when I DO finish something and a friend wants to keep it. I have a few friends that have what I call “fridge art” in their homes. It’s not quite art, but it’s good enough for the fridge. There’s a couple of things I’ve made on some actual walls too, which is just a sign of how sweet and supportive my friends really are.”

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Is there an Actress or Model that you look up to?

“The first ‘alternative’ model I ever found was Apnea. I remember being soooo excited to find a model that wasn’t your cookie cutter, fashion type. If she could do it, I realized that I could too! That was in high school though, and I haven’t seen much from her in recent years. Right now I’m totally obsessed with Ulorin Vex, Kato, and Mosh. I think they are all gorgeous and incredibly successful. They’re all very talented, and Ulorin’s illustrations are mind-blowing, and Kato is the creature of Steampunk Couture. As far as actors… wow, a shit ton of names just came to mind. I admire anyone who can be diverse in the characters they play, and I admire any woman who can be funny AND intelligent (go Tina Fey! Way to set the bar high!).”

Who are some of your favorite photographers and/or videographers you have worked with?

“Haha, you?? ;D I couldn’t begin to choose, I have worked with dozens of amazing individuals, and the list keeps growing every week!”

What would you say is your biggest accomplishment so far as a model/actress?

“I would say that finding a sponsor for that cruise was a huge deal to me. I was in Idaho at the time and had a ‘fundraiser’ selling prints to friends to raise gas money to get me down to Long Beach. It really opened a lot of doors. There’s also my first magazine spread in January’s edition of Ladies of Steampunk. My first time in print and a month later that’s already quadrupled. Plus Ladies of Steampunk has already asked me to come back for more! (I can’t divulge too many details there though)”

What are your long-term and short-term goals in the industry?

“Short term is to take advantage of all the talent hidden here in Bakersfield and save up some money. I hope to be moved to Portland by the fall, and then the 3 year goal is to be in LA. From there, who knows! I want to have a successful blog following, be involved in fashion, join a cabaret group, become a yoga master, work in comedy, make and star in hundreds of music videos, and travel the world! All in front of a camera of course.”

Anything else you want to say or add?

“Yeah! Please come stay in touch at! I’ve just started a blog, a newsletter, a monthly print, and am getting myself set up as a stylist too. I’m just starting out in my career, but in these last two years I’ve already accomplished so much! It’s a snowball effect really, and I have no intention of slowing down anytime soon.”


Follow Jin N Tonic:

Official Site:

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Photos By: Robert Bejil Photography

El Paraiso Tacos Y Mariscos

El Paraiso is a Mexican food truck based in the Southwest part of Bakersfield, CA. This town is no stranger to the slew of street style Mexican food trucks, but El Paraiso manages to stand out as being one of the best in town. Not only does the physical appearance differentiate this establishment from the others, but the food is the real celebrity of this unique truck. El Paraiso started its business around 2005, and still manages to provide tasty Mexican food to SW Bakersfield. Upon arriving to the restaurant, you immediately notice  bright yellow and red colors among the otherwise industrial setting. The trailer also includes 4 long tables, plenty of chairs, a TV, and an awning over the seating area so that you may eat your food very comfortably.

Now lets talk about the food! Ever since my very first taste of El Paraiso’s food, about 6 years ago, I’ve been hooked! One major thing that sets El Paraiso apart is their passion for making good food. Everything there is made fresh and made-to-order. It is all made with care and never will you receive a sloppy, greasy, unflattering, or hard to eat meal (which I’ve experienced a lot from other places around Bakersfield). They also make their hot sauce from scratch (one of the best I’ve had), which is amazingly flavorful and spicy. When we sat down with the manger, Jose Contreras said “that’s one thing we really wanted was to provide a really good spicy sauce”. I would say they succeeded in creating a masterpiece of a hot sauce! So good in fact that we suggested they sell a standalone version of it. When you look through the menu, you will notice that they do provide the usual Mexican food dishes. You’ll be familiar with the tacos, burritos, tortas, tostadas, rice, beans, and seafood, but the flavor of all these items will be like nothing you’ve had before. They also manage to consistently provide fresh ingredients for their meals. Everything is colorful, never old, and a big plus for me is that their lemon/limes are usually always juicy.

El Paraiso has remained a hidden gem in the S.W. side of Bakersfield, but that does not stop customers driving in from places like Delano and Shafter, just to get their fix. We are big fans of their food and once you try it, we are positive you’ll be a fan too!
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We got to sit down with Jose (manager) of El Paraiso and asked him a few questions about the business:

How did “El Paraiso” get it’s start?

“El Paraiso started from my dad’s inspiration through his recipes. Whenever we had family gatherings, my dad would prepare ceviche or tacos on his little grill. He would go to the market and buy specific kinds of meats to make the tacos and ceviche. It was mostly through the feedback from his ceviche, my family would say ‘wow, this is good stuff’ and ‘you need to start a restaurant’. They always told us that we needed to start something because the all the other ceviche out there are usually made with lots of vegetables and not enough of the fish or the shrimp, which is mostly what ceviche is all about. After recommendations from family members, my dad started to save money, bought a little taco stand, and from there just started expanding. We got some of our ideas from a couple of my uncles in Chicago who have restaurants over there. One of them flew down and worked with us for two years and helped up expand our menu and our business.”

Did you all start with the truck you have now?

“We first started with a trailer that we had, then later refinanced our home , and used that money to purchase the trailer that we have now. Back at around 2004, we noticed that there weren’t  a lot of taco stands or trailers; street food basically, there wasn’t a whole lot of Mexican street food going on around here. We come from East Los Angeles, and over there you see one in almost every corner, they are well populated, and each bring to the table something that everyone likes. That was another inspiration for my dad, since there wasn’t a lot here, we figured it would be a good idea and investment to start our own street food joint.”

What is your favorite meal to make?

“My dad’s favorite meal to eat are the tacos. He really likes the old-style carne asada with just salt and pepper and grilled onions on the side. He isn’t too fancy on all of the condiments that the other places use. I really the pastor that we make. So my favorite meal is pastor tacos and pastor tortas.”
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So how would you say El Paraiso is different than all of the other lunch trucks around Bakersfield?

“I think it’s different in the way that we are able to customize an order to however our customer wants it. We try to satisfy a person’s cravings no matter how strange an order might be. We are also very simplistic with our prices. We don’t charge taxes and keep everything simple. If a burrito is priced at 5 dollars then, that is what the customer pays. It makes it much easier on the customer and on us as well; with having to give out change and all.”

What lead you to pick that location for your truck?

“We wanted to find something local, something that was close to where we live, and a place where there wasn’t a lot of direct competition. Our location is in a high-traffic commercial area with lots of space. It was the best area out of about four different locations that we looked at. The property owner there at the time was willing to deal with us and it worked out well from there. Talking again about the space, a lot of truckers are able to pull right in and get out easily. Some of them rather not do that, so they are actually able to park on the street. Since we are right on the corner of Ashe and District, we are easy to spot and it’s easy to give directions.”
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Tell us a little more about the menu.

“Sure! We have all of the typical Mexican quick foods like burritos, tacos, tortas, quesadillas, ceviche, tostadas, shrimp cocktail, we also delve a little into the Mexican seafood.”

Regarding your inventory, do you all shop locally or get your food from distributors?

“Yes, all of the supplies we get are from local vendors and markets. It’s all fresh, so we go every other day and make all of our purchases.”

What would you say are your more popular items?

“Our top selling items would probably be the carne asada burrito, quesadillas, and customers love our pastor tacos! The pastor is basically made from scratch, we don’t buy any sauces from anywhere. All the ingredients are purchased locally and then everything is home-made. We prepare everything at home and don’t have to rely on a third-party to help us get our food to how we want it.”
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Does El Paraiso cater?

“We did that for the first four or five years, but since then have discontinued it. The trailer we have is not really built to be mobile, it’s more made to be stationary. In the past when we’ve catered, we noticed a lot of speed bumps or the truck wouldn’t fit in the area we needed to be. Basically it’s because of a lot of external issues that would affect the physical aspect of the truck. Also, at the moment we don’t have a small little stand that we can work with. When we did cater, often times we would book a client to feed 50 people and 90 would show up. It really just started to become very inconvenient for us. Although we do welcome any large orders, so we can cater in that aspect, but we just no longer go on-location to cater. So if anyone wanted to call ahead of time and order 40 or 50 burritos or tacos, we are more than happy to complete that order and then they can just come pick it up.”

Is there anything on the menu that is a secret family recipe?

“Yeah, our secret recipe would be our adobo sauce which is home-made. I would say the adobo sauce that makes the pastor a pretty unique characteristic of our establishment.”

Tell me, what’s it like to know that truckers are coming from all around the country, tasting your food, and thinking in the back of their mind “man, I cannot wait to get back to California to get some more that food!”

“We have had customers say that they couldn’t wait to get here to eat. I think it’s very complimentary and a nice thing to know that people are anticipating going to our place. It’s not like they are just going to have lunch, they are going because they want to have some good grub. It really inspires us to keep doing what we do.”
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What are some of the long-term thoughts for your truck?

“Well, right now it’s almost going to be 8 years doing this business in the same location. My dad recently has been interested in selling the establishment, although he is not really advertising selling the business, he is just open to the idea. He may be interested in handing it over to someone that wants to take over or expand the business to take care of it. We have received a lot of feedback from customers that say our food stands on it’s own and marks it’s own territory. Who knows, maybe someone would want to be an associate of sorts and someday sell our business. As far as ourselves, turning this into a restaurant would require personnel and much more of an investment. Right now we make enough to cover the bills and maintain a humble living.”

So if your dad were to sell the business, what would you do?

“Currently i’m attending Bakersfield College, but I eventually want to go to a four-year. I have my girlfriend’s full support for that and i’m very thankful that I have someone that encourages me to move on in an academic sense and to continue my educational career. I might be heading into some sort of social work, something involving society. I’m really into the topic of sociology, well the psychology behind sociological elements and social trends; so i’ll probably be pursuing something along those lines. Also perhaps teaching? I follow a lot of my girlfriend’s advise. She tells me that I might be a good teacher, so I might try and pursue that as well. Something that I can do to affect other people in a positive way, affect the community and help make it a better, more thoughtful environment for everyone around.”

Hours of Operation: Mon-Fri, 7:30 am – 3pm

Phone: 661-809-7115

6500 District Blvd.

Bakersfield, CA 93313

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Photos By: Robert Bejil Photography