Editor, writer, and blogger Nikki Carter is hustling. Nikki first caught my eye with her super engaging creative series "Workflow Wednesday" on her website Spirit Style and Scribe. Her posts are inventive and unique, and her perspective is authentic and true. A few weeks ago we got together to shoot in front of some truly fantastic Top Mob graffiti that Nikki knew about, and I had no idea existed. I was so thrilled when I arrived to see the ridiculously awesome backdrop we had to work with.
Nikki looked great and truly popped in front of the inferno of color in the background. We shot for an hour or so and drove away. Last week I drove by the same location and it had all disappeared into a sea of drab grey paint that now covers the entire building. We were so fortunate to be able to shoot there, it made for a perfect moment. Check out the images from our shoot and the rest of Nikki's profile below.
1) How does New Orleans inspire you?
I have always felt that my relationship with this city is wholly separate from any other relationship I have - I would say it's a spiritual connection I have with New Orleans. Since I grew up as an Army brat and moved around every few years, for me to put down roots and call somewhere my home is not really something I thought I would ever do, but this is where I feel like my work is and where I belong. My friends and the community I have found here are so amazing and that really pushes me to keep evolving. My life is a great balance of everything I love: traveling, working on creative projects, and spending time with inspiring people. This is where I really started doing what I love, where I found myself and started to put myself out there, where I really defined my voice. I've been through some crazy ups and downs here and at this point, I feel like so much of me is wrapped up with this place that I can't imagine leaving anytime soon.
2) How did you start writing/editing professionally and how has your business evolved in New Orleans?
I guess my first "real" writing gig was for GoNOLA - I was hired on to contribute content 2-4 times a month for the site back in 2010 or 2011. I was so nervous when I started out because I hadn't ever done a real interview or a write-up; I had just been writing on my own blog and doing short stories, poems, and little editing projects for as long as I could remember. The girl who hired me really liked my blog, so she gave me a chance - I would say that writing for the site introduced me to people that set me in the creative direction I'm going in now. I wasn't from here, so getting to meet and interview people like Jac Currie (founder of Defend New Orleans), the late artist and curator John Otte, and a myriad of other local artists and business owners was really cool. I tried to cover topics that were a little less predictable than the usual - like I wrote about the skateboarding culture here in the city and did a piece on tattoo artists. I actually met my boyfriend after I interviewed him for the site and he introduced me to so many of his friends who were also artists, so I'd pitch ideas to GoNOLA about interviewing these people I was meeting and try to give everyone a little bit of press. It was a great boot camp of sorts for me to get used to writing for the web. I also took some heat for a few things I wrote that people didn't like, but that toughened me up and made me realize you can't please everyone, which I tend to want to do.
I eventually started doing some work for other sites, and this year I took a leap and went out on my own with a freelance business where I do contract writing, editing, and proofreading for clients. I still keep up my own blog, Spirit Style and Scribe, where I interview people who interest me. I also post stuff on style, travel, and personal growth. Producing content on my own has been the scariest thing I've ever done; in a situation like that, everything is fully under your creative control and your name, so you put this product out there and take all the credit or the fall for it. But I wouldn't trade it for anything; it's gratifying to know I'm making my own way and doing things in a way that feels right to me. I like not having to ask anyone’s permission to take an idea and run with it. I just do what I want.
3) What's your favorite cocktail?
I'll take an old fashioned anytime; I also like a Ramos Gin Fizz, depending on the occasion.
4) What’s your favorite New Orleans dish?
My comfort meal of choice is a $5 old-fashioned, an order of Korean wings, and fries with smoked onion aioli from Oxalis.
5) What’s your favorite New Orleans song?
I will never be mad at anyone for playing old Cash Money or No Limit stuff - Hot Boys, UNLV, Juvenile, Soulja Slim. That stuff all came out when I was going into middle school and I just never stopped loving it.