January 19th, 2011. I had started my blog 3 months ago and lived on Kings Road in West Hollywood. A few blocks away was a brightly painted pink wall and I thought it would make for the perfect backdrop to shoot some photos for my new blog, Damsel in Dior. I had no idea what the future would hold, nor did I have any preconceived speculations on the crazy attention that this wall would receive by bloggers and tourists 2 or 3 years later. I have no claim to this pink wall, but there I stood in my platform heels trying to create something new, something exciting and something that felt right to me.
Starting my blog in 2011 felt like quite a bold move. After working for nearly five years in corporate America with “real jobs” for me, the idea to branch out as an entrepreneur felt like watching a baby deer walk for the first time. “The blogging bubble is going to burst,” everyone warned me. But I kept my eyes open, my head up and I worked with extreme passion and drive each and every day.
I have driven past the infamous pink wall hundreds of times over the years. To and from meetings, Dr’s appointments, visits with my family and friends. I’ve stopped dozens and dozens of times at the red light on the corner of the pink wall at Melrose and Harper. I glance at the wall in reflection of my shoot back in January 2011 and how much things have changed since then.
June 20th, 2017. There are dozens and dozens of people, mostly bloggers, lined up outside the pink wall. With the rise of social media marketing and “selfies” on Instagram along with the change in our culture, the wall now represents more than my personal growth in a career as a blogger or influencer or whatever it is that you want to call “us.” There are pink walls all over the world now, only they aren’t all pink. There’s the “Love Wall” in NYC, Sugarhouse Studios in London, the blue town called Chefchaouen in Morocco and Flinders Lane in Melbourne – only a few examples of the hundreds of places made famous via social media.
I wasn’t driving past the Pink Wall in Los Angeles to find out that, in celebration of Pride, Instagram teamed up with the landmark Melrose Avenue Paul Smith storefront to paint rainbow stripes over its exterior. I was sitting in my office, looking at my phone. With so much white noise in the world right now, I jumped up from my desk and grabbed my favorite photographer, Felicia Lasala.
“This is something I stand behind”
The day was young but we knew that in order to snap a few photos without a crowd that we’d need to arrive early. I parked at a meter and strolled into the nearly empty parking lot. The balmy morning heat struck my face and when I neared the wall and entered the shade there was a cool summer breeze that swept over me. The streets were quiet, I could smell coffee beans and the taste of bacon lingered in my mouth. I thought of my two uncles, Larry and Noe, who we lost to HIV. I thought about my family in Texas. I thought about my brother and his husband. I thought about how happy I was to be standing there in that moment. I felt proud.
The most beautiful thing in life is to see people join together in equality and love. Hopefully this post, in some small way, inspires you to share this same message with others.
Instagram’s Pride celebration also isn’t staying solely on your screen. Over the course of this month, Instagram artists will debut rainbow murals in London, Nashville, Madrid, and Cleveland. LA’s Paul Smith selfie wall, normally pink, has also been turned into a rainbow for the month. The murals are part of a larger Instagram movement to honor pride and with this global initiative they will turn walls in cities around the world into colorful beacons of support. When tagging photos, Instagram is encouraging users to add #KindComments and #pride2017
Special thank you to Felicia Lasala for capturing these images
Here are the photos from 2011