My name is Jasmine Star and I'm a photographer and business entrepreneur from Newport Beach, California, and I used social media to build every business that I have ever created. I am also the founder, along with my husband, of Social Curator, a monthly social media membership that empowers small business owners to show up, build their brand, and market their business every single day with the resources that we provide, ay! The story for me, some of you guys know. Some of you have even been following the journey, specifically for many years, know that the story for me starts in 2005. Why 2005? I was at UCLA law school. I was tired, I was stressed, and I was overwhelmed. Like I had mentioned before, my dad is an immigrant from Mexico, my mom was born in Puerto Rico, moved to New York, then my parents met and fell in love in East Los Angeles, California. They are not educated, they are not wealthy, we are the bluest of blue collar families to ever exist. So when, after my mom homeschoole...
d me the vast majority of my life, I didn't learn how to read until I was 11. I got a whopping 945 on the SAT. And then all of a sudden I got a full ride scholarship to college, my parents were like, wow, she did it, man! (audience chuckles) She really made it! And I was like, I did, Dad! I made it! We're going to college. We're, I have a twin sister, so every, it's never just me, it's the two of us. So my sister and I, we go to college, and then I got a full ride scholarship to law school. And there my parents my celebrated me going to UCLA law school with a party and we invited everybody that we possibly knew, and I felt like, we did it! This is the American dream. This is how you parlay, this is how you move out of a socioeconomic status, this is how you move from being one of them to one of being included. This is how you move from driving, like, the beat up Honda Civics, to the Teslas and Roadsters in West Los Angeles. From East Los Angeles to West Los Angeles, we movin' on up, that's what we doin'. And when I got there, I was so stinkin' sad. It was like my whole life had led me up to this thing to make me realize, it's vacuous, and it's empty, and it left me longing for something. I didn't know what that thing was. And then, my first year of law school, my mom was, had a relapse with brain cancer. And it shifted something so big in me that I didn't know how to get my world right again. And the only thing that I realized at that time, was that life was so short. My mom was 50 years old and I was 25 years old and I had this wild realization that I didn't want to die a lawyer in 25 years. And it's not until now that I could look back and to be like, oh, how funny, I thought I had 25 years left when none of us are even guaranteed 25 minutes. So here I am making these wild assumptions that I'm gonna have a corner office in West Los Angeles with pointy little shoes and driving my BMW and being like, I made it! And I hate it. Ooh, I like that. I made it, and then I hate it. What would it look like for me to do this crazy and wild thing of not going back and saying no to a full ride scholarship? And living in a beat up apartment with my brand new husband because the thing is, I had to plan a wedding, my mom had to be there. We planned this wedding in about three months. And my mom, the doctor said, she will not walk, she will not talk, she will not be able to fly, and my mom was a fighter. Because my mom is still, to this day, with us. Yes, lord!
Yes, that deserved a woo! And she walked me down the aisle. She was bald, she had palsy, half her body didn't work, and there she did, limped me down the aisle with my dad. Best day of my life. So then I come back, get married, and my husband asks me a very hard question. If you could do one thing for the rest of your life and be happy, what would it be? 'Cause you are miserable, going back to school. I was like, I wanna be a photographer. And he's like, great, you don't have a camera. I know. I know I don't have a camera! But if I got a camera, I think we could actually make this work. And January 1st, 2006, I open a brand new camera. This is kind of like the big shift in the photography world. Big shift from going to film to digital. The very first camera, digital camera, I got was a Canon 20D, and I just thought I was living the life. I opened this box and I was like, Annie Leibovitz, move over. Ansel Adams, there's a new kid in town. And I start taking pictures, and boy, do I suck. I mean, these aren't bad, they're like, really, really bad photos. And as a girl from the hood, what you know is you just take what you have, and you make it work. So I didn't have connections, I couldn't afford to go to school, I was renting all my lenses, I was renting memory cards. You know you up a creek without a paddle when you can't even buy your own memory card. I was renting memory cards, I was shooting anything that moved, I was using YouTube and Google and, crazy enough, I started this thing called a blog, and I started blogging. I started building a following and I started connecting with people in real life, actually online, and I was like, what is this thing that's happening? And then, a big shift happened for a girl who had not a camera who decided to become a photographer, and three years later I was voted one of the best wedding photographers in the world, top 10 most influential, most socially influential. I don't say this as a humble brag, 'cause that annoys me, I'm just saying, what I come to know is my truth, is that when people now come to me with their wild and crazy ideas, with all the reasons why it won't work, I'm just gonna sit back and nod and be like, it will, if you want it. So are you gonna fight for your reasons why you're gonna succeed, or are you gonna fight for your excuses as to why you will fail? I'm here for both, you tell me what you want to do. So around this time, I get a phone call from a gentleman by the name of Chase Jarvis and, like, in brown hood area, no one names their kids Chase. That's a game you played, right? (audience laughs) And so I get this phone call from a 206 area code, he's like, hi, this is Chase Jarvis. And I'm like, cool, hey. He's like, I'm at a barbecue but I'm starting this crazy thing called CreativeLive where we teach people live classes and we're wondering if you wanna shoot a wedding. And I was like, uh, okay. He was like, I'm at a barbecue right now, I'll call you tomorrow. I was like, cool. I go to Google and I look up this Chase Jarvis guy, and I turn to my husband, I was like, whoa. He's like a big deal. (audience laughs) And the next day, he's like, we wanna have this wedding. I was like, I thought about it. Really, I just Googled him, I was like, ya look legit. And he's like, we wanna do this wedding. So do you wanna be the photographer? And I was like, I think that's great. He was like, cool. We're gonna do the wedding in four weeks. I was like, I'm sorry, there must have been something, you said four weeks? And he's like, yeah. So, if you can help us find the couple who wants to get married in four weeks, and we're gonna have the wedding. And I was like-- So then I just go to social media, my blog. I just start putting out, does anybody wanna get married in Seattle and they'll cover the cost of the wedding? I didn't think people would agree, and one amazing couple did. And what I don't think Chase Jarvis understood was actually how a wedding takes place, right? Like, you gotta rent chairs. Rent chairs? We could just have fold-outs. I was like, no, no, no. This is like a wedding, okay? Seating charts. Wait, wait, what, like people can just stand during the reception. No, no, no. And so what we realized, that I had to be, fit a little bit in the center. CreativeLive, my clients, perfect wedding. And I felt like Pocahontas, like, okay, well, what she really means is, no, no, no, what they really will say is. (audience laughs) And so then Chase, being amazing, rallied the community in Seattle and said, we need to give this girl a wedding. And people from Seattle came, they set up chairs, they wiped down tables, they made it come together. And that was one of the, I think that was the third ever CreativeLive class. So we didn't have a venue, I was like, well, what're we gonna do? Where do they get ready? And Chase is like, they'll just get ready. And I'm like, well. She needs a place to get dressed. And he's like, you could come to my photography studio. Okay. There you see Laura having like the time of her life and you also see, like, the laundry bin in the corner. And I loved it because it was so raw and it was so real. She got her makeup done in front of a whiteboard where he was like, doing his expense accounts. They met at the wedding venue, which is a chocolate factory in Seattle called Theo. At the time they were just starting, now they're like huge, you can see them in all the Whole Foods. I was like, I knew Theo before they were Theo. (audience laughs) And so, as they got married, can you just imagine like the scents of dark chocolate and cocoa? Yes, lord. Amazing. So, what happens on this wedding is something we just didn't expect. What we thought we were coming out to do is teach a class on the internet, and what happened was 150 thousand people tuned in to watch this wedding. A record that still is maintained til today of the largest online viewing audience for a wedding. And we trended on Twitter. We were above Barack Obama and Lindsay Lohan on that day. I mean, come on! I was like, Mom, like, I trended on Twitter. She's like, I don't what the Tweeter thing is. I'm like, don't worry, it's a really big thing. So what happens is we look back at these experiences and we're like, that was so great, yeah, it was so moving. Let me take you to day three of a four day event. Where I finished the wedding, and all I see on social is everything I did wrong. You didn't put the parents where they were supposed to. You forgot to shoot the wedding rings. Yeah, I did. You didn't remove the stickers from the bottom of her shoes. And what they were doing was posting out my photos in real time, and nothing makes you more shooketh than seeing your work as a photographer untoucheth. You know what I'm saying? And so people are like, why is her settings that? Does she know her ISO is too high? And that's just one thing you just should never do after a very emotional day is go and read all the amazing, nice stuff that people talk about you on the internet. (audience laughs) I lay on the floor, disgusting, of a bathroom, never do that, that's how bad I was. I was like, I don't care, I could, like, this is filthy, and I'm a germaphobe, and I'm gonna lay on this floor and I'mma weep my eyes out. Because I thought I just made the biggest mistake in my career. I went on and I taught a class, I opened myself, I made myself vulnerable, and look what happened. It got handed to me back. And I told JD, please, let's quit. I wanna go back home. And he said, you agreed to the four days. You better show up, and you better make whatever the internet, whatever dirt the internet is gonna throw, and you better make something good out of it. And on the fourth day, we came back and I just explained, yes, I made mistakes. Yes, it was not good. Yes, yes, yes. But look at what we produced. And what we produced was a beautiful wedding gallery, a beautiful wedding book, we got featured in magazines, and we created a wave on the internet. And what happens is that I learn that you cannot out-give the internet. That is why I am here today. I am here because people were like, Jasmine, are you really gonna share everything you know? I'm gonna share everything. Because I believe in the overall good, that when I stand in my purpose and you stand in your purpose, and together we are purposeful, we're gonna create massive changes. I don't care that you know everything that I do. The real question is, will you do it? Of all the tens of thousands of people who are gonna watch this class, two percent of them are actually gonna deploy on the things that I do. I will share, I will share, I will share everything again and again and again. And I'm gonna keep on talking over the noise in the back 'cause it ain't a thing. (audience laughs) Not today, Satan. I will talk louder. That's what we do in Latino families. We just talk over the other person and we just keep on going (mumbles). Okay, so. Y'all, I know that I hear what's going on in the background, okay, people on the internet don't. So we're just gonna keep on walking through this. So, around this time, around like the whole CreativeLive, I started using social media. And I started using social media because it was free. I was trying to build a business, I needed to get attention, and I didn't have money for formal ads. That still remains a large case of what I preach today. Wherever you are starting your business, social media is free and yours for the taking. So, I started using it as a photographer, and then people were like, hey, can you teach me how to do that in my photography business? I said, sure, of course. And the people who work for photographers were saying, can you teach me how to do that in my business? And I said, okay, why not? I've become such a vocal proponent that in 2006, USA Today said, we see what you're doing and how you're talking to business owners, and this new thing called the algorithm was presented on Instagram, how do you feel about it? I came out and I said, I think it's a good thing.