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Meeting the cast of Ck One’s new campaign, a story of American youth

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one future #ckone captures the perspectives of young Americans from across the country, shot by seven photographers in their home towns

For 25 years, Ck One has embodied youth culture. And in 2020, hearing from young people in strange, unprecedented times has never been more important. Where next for the world? Where next for America?

For Ck One’s new campaign one future #ckone, the brand has platformed young voices all across America, capturing them in their hometowns, and amplifying their perspectives at a critical point for a divided nation. The casting is natural and authentic, a beautiful alchemy of eleven kids from El Paso to Alaska shot by seven photographers – Adraint Bereal, Brian Adams, Elliot Ross, Miranda Barnes, Rose Marie Cromwell, Shan Wallace, and Texas Isaiah – all of whom have their own connection to the cities they’ve documented.

The cast are all from different walks of life with vastly contrasting lived experiences – one is a 21-year-old rancher from Wyoming, another is a DACA recipient in Texas, another a school shooting survivor from Florida. The result is a time capsule of American youth at a seismic point in their lives, and the nation’s history. Here we meet the 11 cast members and hear their stories.

Name: Brandon Woody, 22

Location: Baltimore, MD

Bio: Brandon Timothy Woody is a creator from East Baltimore. Woody started playing trumpet at age eight and has grown tremendously since. He spent one year at the Brubeck Institute and one year at the Manhattan School of Music before dropping out and moving back home. Woody has taught and performed in venues, schools and programmes internationally. Woody is currently in the process of recording his debut album set to release early 2021 with his band UPENDO.

How has your perspective on the world changed this year?

Brandon Woody: At the beginning of the year I knew that I was already living my dreams, doing the things that I wanted to, but then all that was stripped away from me and I was forced to depend on no one else but myself, and invested in myself, so that I can make my project since it’s the most important thing to me. Everything I want to do I can do, no matter the time, situation, or finance. This year has made my perspective way bigger, some people have taught me the hard lesson that you can’t depend on anyone else but yourself.

“They make us out to be so angry, so violent, so hateful. We need to normalise our vulnerability, our honesty, our sensitivity” – Brandon Woody 

What is your American Dream?

Brandon Woody: My American dream is to buy blocks back in my hood with my friends and create a mentorship program for all types of arts and crafts free for Black kids and teens in my city. To travel the world and heal people with my music, but also to own land in and outside of my city, and to be self-sustained and teach those morals of self sustainability to my whole family, so that we can be wealthy forever. 

What do you want your legacy to be?

Brandon Woody: My legacy will be connecting the generations and the Black trumpet lineage, and not only that but every lineage I am directly a part of or involved with in some way. It is so important for Black representation but also to correctly pass down the history. My legacy will also be an inspiration and positive example of what it looks like to love yourself and love your flaws, I want to inspire people to be their undeniable raw self at all times. Seeing my elders doing this made me fall in love with my flaws. I want to inspire people with wounds and scars to not think that they make the look worse, but these are battle wounds, that are forever part of you and make you look unique. I want to build a legacy to let everyone in the world that deals with scars and keloids to accept and love themselves. I want my legacy to inspire the next generation of non-judgmental, self loving, genderfluid, and open creators.

Name: Ting Tai, 21

Location: Baltimore, MD

Bio: Ting Tai grew up in Memphis, Tennessee before moving to Baltimore where she has lived for the past 13 years with her family. Ting is Asian-American/Malaysian-Chinese and is passionate about increasing representation of marginalised groups. She also enjoys art and photography and is currently in her sophomore year at Howard Community College where she is studying environmental science.

Describe 2020 in three words. Almost over, thankfully.

“We have got to shed the useless notion that topics such as basic human rights and climate change can be turned into political subjects” – Ting Tai

What is your American Dream?

Ting Tai: We have got to shed the useless notion that topics such as basic human rights and climate change can be turned into political subjectsI have a vision of a world where we can come together despite our differences, to focus on what is good for the general public and our world as a whole. With our current political system, there is a sense of radical polarisation in America that pits the two parties and their political stances against each other. We have got to shed the useless notion that topics such as basic human rights and climate change can be turned into political subjects. These are issues that impact us and our future as a whole, and therefore should never have been politicised.

What do you want your future to look like?

Ting Tai: I don’t know yet, but I’d like to keep it that way. I want the future to be something I can shape on my way, not something I have to plan. I want the ability and opportunity to be who I want to be and do what I want to do until it doesn’t serve me anymore. I want to be able to travel, to experience the world on my own terms. I want to choose to have a future that doesn’t fit into the constraints of what is expected. I want everyone to have the right to be able to choose themselves and not be restricted by attributes like race, gender, age, sexuality. I want myself and the people around me to be free to choose their own future.

Name: Chris Gomez, 18

Location: Coral Springs, FL

Bio: Born and raised in Coral Springs, Florida, Chris Gomez was greatly impacted by the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting. Since then, he and his friends have been much more involved politically.

Describe 2020 in three words.

Chris Gomez: It’s been crazy.

“We’ve been promised a better future for a long time. We want something more” – Chris Gomez

What is your American Dream?

Chris Gomez: Make sure my parents are happy and my Grandma is looked after – if not by me then someone I trust.

What are your hopes and fears for your generation?

Chris Gomez: My hopes for this generation would be to branch out farther than you thought was possible and my fear would be more division rather than cooperation. If everyone just lost interest in everything that would suck.

What do you want your future to look like?

Chris Gomez: I want my future to have the opportunity to exist.

Name: Jace Mitchell, 21

Location: Crowheart, WY

Bio: Born and raised in Crowheart, Wyoming, Jace Mitchell is a rancher who bought his first cattle at 16. He is passionate about his work on the ranch and his small rural community. He wants the ranching community to be preserved so his daughter can continue to experience it as she grows. Working with animals has taught him patience. 

Describe 2020 in three words.

Jace Mitchell: A different year.

“Everyone’s story is different than yours” – Jace Mitchell

How has your perspective on the world changed this year?

Jace Mitchell: Be more self-reliant.

What is your American dream?

Jace Mitchell: Owning and operating my own ranch.

What are your hopes and fears for your generation?

Jace Mitchell: I hope that the younger generation listens to and takes advice from their elders. I fear that the younger generation thinks they’re smarter than everyone.

Name: Juan Paul Flores Vazquez, 21

Location: El Paso, TX

Bio: Juan Paul was born in Mexico and migrated to Modesto, California where he was raised. Juan became a DACA recipient at age 16 and moved to El Paso, Texas a year ago to pursue his dreams of becoming a filmmaker. He is currently working at a call centre to support himself while working on film projects and learning from various directors in the El Paso film community. He wants to continue writing and directing projects inspired by real people and experiences.

How has your perspective on the world changed this year?

Juan Paul Flores Vazquez: As a DACA recipient my perspective has changed on how someone like me can “vote.” Voting is ultimately a choice you make, so I made a vote to march for Barrio Duranguito, Barrio Chamizal, and for Black Lives Matter. There’s so much happening in El Paso. It was difficult seeing my friends vote while I stood in line knowing I would have to sit aside and wait.

What is your American Dream?

Juan Paul Flores Vazquez: When I was younger I felt I’d never go to school. I remember I applied to my local movie theatre when I lived in Modesto, Ca. It was a beautiful building with neon lights all around. I asked for an application only to go home and have my mom sit me down and explain why I couldn’t “legally work”. That’s when I realised what being “undocumented” was really gonna be in my life. Imagine this kid dreaming about being a filmmaker, who would hire him in Hollywood?

As I’ve gotten older I still dream about directing movies, I still write horror films. I recently saw the billboard of Calvin Klein with my face. I rushed to El Paso back in late 2018 with some money and some clothes to work with the filmmakers out here. I rented my apartment and worked on any film set I could. I learned so much and that became my education in film.

“My hopes would be that we all stay active our neighbourhoods, and actively march with those families and allies that need our support. You are a living cell amongst others fighting bacteria that wishes to destroy rich history and culture. Fight with your fellow cells. Don’t let the bacteria bring you down” – Juan Paul Flores Vasquez

What are your hopes and fears for your generation?

Juan Paul Flores Vazquez: My hopes would be that we all stay active our neighbourhoods, and actively march with those families and allies that need our support. You are a living cell amongst others fighting bacteria that wishes to destroy rich history and culture. Fight with your fellow cells. Don’t let the bacteria bring you down.

What do you want your legacy to be?

Juan Paul Flores Vazquez: That I used my camera to capture these moments. These stories. Even though the revolution won’t be televised, it certainly won’t go undocumented, not on my watch. Don’t let your stories go undocumented.

Name: Lex Bautista, 22

Location: El Paso, TX

Bio: Lex Bautista likes to sing and play the violin. They were born in California but has lived in El Paso since they were three. Lex is highly involved in the local community and is passionate about LGBTQIA+ issues as well as immigration as El Paso is a border city.

Describe 2020 in three words.

Lex Bautista: Challenging, unpredictable, and uniting.

How has your perspective on the world changed this year?

Lex Bautista: 2020 has made me see the world as it truly is and how it has been for years, a mess only the people can fix. I see everything as something that needs to change. It’s no longer about comfort, but about rebuilding. It is also about finding and making deeper connections between family and friends. Love and kindness is so important in the world today.

“2020 has made me see the world as it truly is and how it has been for years” – Lex Bautista

What is your American Dream?

Lex Bautista: To see justice, empathy, and power to the people.

What do you want your future to look like?

Lex Bautista: I want to see more representation. I want to see people of different genders, races, ethnic backgrounds, disabilities, and sexualities be seen and heard more through media, politics, and any other large platforms. I want to see what we should have seen a long time ago. I personally want to see my city grow and the people in it to stay El Paso strong.

What do you want your legacy to be?

Lex Bautista: That I was selfless and loving. I gave to my city, family, and friends. I want to be know as  that person who did everything I could for the people around me.

Name: Quannah Chasing Horse Potts, 17

Location: Fairbanks, AK

Bio: Quannah Chasing Horse Potts, is Han Gwich’in from Eagle, Alaska, and Oglala Lakota, from the Rosebud Lakota Nation.  She is an advocate for obtaining wilderness designation (permanent protection) for the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, protecting those sacred lands from oil development. Every year Quannah hunts caribou with her family and fishes for salmon in the summer, which has given her a strong connection to her people’s indigenous lands and way of life. Quannah is passionate about climate change and environmental justice. She plays basketball, is a musician, snowboarder, and is apprenticing as a traditional tattoo artist.  She lives in Fairbanks, Alaska with her family.

Describe 2020 in three words. Chaotic, unjust, critical.

How has your perspective on the world changed this year?

Quannah Chasing Horse Potts: It’s changed a lot. 2020 has come with a lot of challenges. We as people are being tested right now. I’ve realised we need to start taking action, we can’t keep standing back watching. We are in a critical time right now.  We need to meet the challenges of 2020 with action.

What is your American Dream?

Quannah Chasing Horse Potts: My American Dream is that Indigenous people will finally be able to live in peace without the continued threats we face. Black, Indigneous, people of colour will receive  justice, peace, clarity, and true freedom. My American Dream is that future Indigenous generations will be able to continue our way of life, that our culture and traditions will be thriving.

“I don’t see myself as an activist. I see myself as a protector. You know, I was just protecting my way of life, practicing my ways of life, and sharing my story” – Quannah Chasing Horse Potts

What are your hopes and fears for your generation?

Quannah Chasing Horse Potts: I hope that my generation will rise to overcome the division in our country, that we will unite and speak as one. I fear from the oppression that a lot of BIPOC people are still experiencing in America today will cloud our hope for our future. I hope that some of the fears that result from today’s America, will be overcome with the love, hope, and determination for good from my generation. 

What do you want your legacy to be?

Quannah Chasing Horse Potts: That I am part of a group of Indigenous youth warriors who brought solutions to the world for the greatest problems of our generation: climate crisis, human rights, justice. 

Name: Jawn Davis, 24

Location: Los Angeles, CA

Bio: Born and raised in Los Angeles, Jawn Davis spent most of his life in Compton. He has a passion for skateboarding and would love to make it a career. He also enjoys creating music, bringing his artistic visions to life through his various creative outlets such as painting, and repurposing thrifted clothes with embroidery for his friends. 

Describe 2020 in three words.

Jawn Davis: Where’s my mask ?

How has your perspective on the world changed this year?

Jawn Davis: I wouldn’t say my perspective hasn’t changed, but the world has. We’re all going through this same thing (COVID -19) no matter your political views, race, or age. BLACK LIVES STILL MATTER THOUGH. 

“I fear that my generation will become such an online-based generation that real-life interactions are gonna be weird” – Jawn Davis

What are your hopes and fears for your generation?

Jawn Davis: I hope my generation continues to change the narrative and chase their potential. And I fear that my generation will become such an online-based generation that real-life interactions are gonna be weird.

What do you want your future to look like?

Jawn Davis: I would want my future to be successful and peaceful. I see myself owing plenty of businesses and land so I can have my own garden. So I could grow tomatoes and bananas. And build my own skatepark. That would be cool.

Name: Toni Bravo, 20

Location: Los Angeles, CA

Bio: A native of Long Beach, California, Toni Bravo is a multifaceted creator with a passion for storytelling and depicting diverse points of view. Roller-skating has greatly impacted her life by giving her a sense of community. She also loves music, drawing, and reselling vintage clothing. Toni is currently studying Film.

Describe 2020 in three words.

Toni Bravo: Compassion. Growth. Community. 

How has your perspective on the world changed this year?

Toni Bravo: 2020 has pushed me to challenge just about everything. Having so much time to look into myself while the world around me shifts has allowed me to truly look within our society in a new lens. This year has proven and emphasised the importance of empathy and community. 

“Something I would like to change in the world would be perspective” – Toni Bravo

What are your hopes and fears for your generation?

Toni Bravo:  My hopes for my generation are that we continue to speak up and speak out. I know we are capable of so much and I admire the fire we all have. My fears about my generation lie in the lack of environmental attachment due to technology. I’d hope that we all are capable of ditching the technology we are bonded to, every so often, to enjoy nature and the Earth around us. Along with that, another fear I have for my generation is the extent of clean-up we’d have to do as a result of what generations before have left us. 

What do you want your future to look like?

Toni Bravo: I want my future to look colourful. I want to see more Black and POC folks in the media I see. I want the Earth to be cared for the way it cares for us. I want my future to look like one that includes more people that look like me. 

Name: Alex Arauz, 20

Location: New York, NY

Bio: Alex Arauz is a Brooklyn native who now lives in Queens with his family. Alex was homeschooled and discovered his passion for fashion at age 15. He has worked assisting stylists and is starting his freshman year studying fashion communications at a university in London.

“I hope that we are able to have some say in our own future before there’s no world for us to have a future in” – Alex Arauz

Describe 2020 in three words.

Alex Arauz: Overwhelming, clarifying, surprising.

What is your American Dream?

Alex Arauz: To leave everything behind, go completely off the grid, not rely on anything greater than myself to survive.

What are your hopes and fears for your generation?

Alex Arauz: I hope that we are able to have some say in our own future before there’s no world for us to have a future in!

Name: Destiny Batista, 21

Location: New York, NY

Bio: The youngest of six children, Destiny Batista is extremely family-oriented. She was born in Brooklyn, New York, and currently lives in Brownsville in East Brooklyn. In her free time she and her friends dabble with rap at a local studio and she hopes to start learning how to freestyle. Destiny is currently finishing her accounting degree and supporting herself by working part-time at a fast-food chain. She met photographer Miranda Barnes four years ago at a high school support program for adolescents. Miranda was her mentor and they instantly clicked.

How has your perspective on the world changed this year?

Destiny Batista: My perspective on the world has changed drastically this year. I thought this was my year to work until I could enrol myself back into school but due to COVID I had to work extremely hard to keep a job. I realised my health was more important and decided to step away from my position at a fast food restaurant. This was the best decision I could have made. It allowed me to focus on myself and my passion. 

“My fears for my generation are that kids will get so caught up with technology and social media that they will forget how to be genuinely happy” – Destiny Batista

What are your hopes and fears for your generation?

Destiny Batista: I hope that young people in my generation can learn to come together and support one another to stop oppression against our own people. My fears for my generation are that kids will get so caught up with technology and social media that they will forget how to be genuinely happy and live their lives. 

What do you want your future to look like?

Destiny Batista: I would like for my future to be full of opportunities that will help me to evolve as a person. I hope that I can continue to share my success with my family and keep on making them proud. 

Head here to find out more about the one future #ckone campaign and shop the collection.