About Jes

Fraiche Boutique Toronto Floral Dress

Name: Jesilou (Jes) Tongio
Age: 28
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Occupation: Writer, web producer
Education: Bachelor of Journalism (Ryerson University)
How I describe my style: Edgy, relaxed
Anything else?: I love classic rock, jazz, cats, and you

My mission

Hey friends! I’m Jes and welcome to my style blog, Brash & Brilliant.

I’m a strong believer in style being whatever YOU want it to be. I work as a writer and web producer in Toronto, Canada, and along with my experience in storytelling and producing high-quality visuals, I strive for everything I create to be inclusive. Don’t let anyone hold you back with words like, “Makeup should be…” or “Fashion is supposed to be…”

I invite you to join me in embracing your own definition of style, sharing love, acceptance, and appreciation for yourself and others, and welcoming everyone in a fun, creative, and self-expressive environment for all! ♥

If you’re curious as to what my process is, a coworker of mine requested I do a li.st of seven things I ask myself before posting a beauty tutorial to YouTube. I thought it would be good to share here to give you a sense of why I create these videos and why I take time before hitting “Publish”.

7 things I think before I post a beauty tutorial to YouTube

(Click to enlarge)

Why I started style blogging

I launched Brash & Brilliant in October 2014 for two main reasons:

1. The first truth is I don’t really care that much about style, beauty, or fashion. But I care about capturing it and capturing it well.

First and foremost, I’m a writer and a web producer by day and night, and I am obsessed with shooting, editing, designing, and creating high-quality visuals. I just can’t stop making things.

I was inspired to start this blog after seeing the beautiful photography work on Jennifer Grace’s style blog, Native Fox. All I wanted was to aspire to take beautiful outfit shots like this and this of other people. Then I remembered how much of a control freak I am and that if you want to get things done right, you have to do them yourself.

So I decided to be the subject of my own photography — of course with the help of anyone kind enough to hold my camera (usually my mom) and hit the shutter button after I’ve painfully set up every shot.

With that, makeup and fashion just happened to be 1) areas I have a fair amount of knowledge and experience in; and 2) great mosaics of colour and flair for a camera to capture. And thus, Brash & Brilliant was born.

2. But the second and more important truth is that I find it really discouraging whenever I hear the following:

    • “Makeup should be about making you look younger.”
    • “Makeup should look natural.”
    • “Makeup should make you look less tired or look like you don’t even have makeup on.”
    • “It’s the office ~or~ it’s a dark venue — who are you trying to impress?”
    • “She looks completely different without makeup on.” (OK, so? Different means inherently worse/better? Man, that’s rough.)
    • “You wear makeup to meet patriarchal expectations.” (LOL, girl, bye. Pretty sure I experiment with makeup for myself, thank you.)

I do not agree with those statements at all. We should not be makeup-shamed. Makeup is a legitimate area of interest, a hobby, an art form, and — for many — a necessity. Should we really take those things away from people? You wouldn’t ask a painter why he or she bothers painting even when there aren’t people around to see it. They paint because that’s what they enjoy to do. On that same note, makeup is whatever you want it to be and we should encourage each other to explore it however we choose — not bring each other down for “not looking natural” or “having too much of it on” or “looking unrecognizable without it.”

Me + fashion

Fashion used to just be an afterthought for me. I had little sense of personal style and I really didn’t care. But then a wise sage named Tracy Jordan (30 Rock) spoke the words that would change all that: “Dress every day like you’re going to get murdered in those clothes.

Suddenly, I pictured myself in a ditch somewhere… dressed in my usual get-up of saggy jeans, runners, and a men’s Toronto Maple Leafs hoodie…  and then a photo of my body overdosed in all that navy blue… circulating on the news– No. The horror.

Since then, I’ve taken that quote a step further and now I vow to dress every day like I’m going to have my picture taken (‘cause, dude, you just never know). Now, I treat my daily looks like art projects, constantly looking for new and different ways to express who I am and how I’m feeling.

My style muses

Celebrity / character style that inspires me or reminds me of my own

Chrissy Teigen

Chrissy Teigen

Ahh, Chrissy. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. One would be that she’s the epitome of relaxed-chic. She is my ultimate style muse. She makes effortless look bold, and bold look effortless. Whenever I put on a loose grey tee and throw my hair up in a bun, I call it Teigening.

Rosie Huntington-Whiteley

Rosie Huntington-Whiteley

If there’s any celebrity who I find I dress the most like, it would be Rosie Huntington-Whiteley. Whenever I want to make a statement with my outfit while also feeling comfortable, my go-to look is usually any variation of the drapey knit, leather-look leggings, and wide-brim fedora combination. And hey, those hats help extend a hair-wash by a day or two ;)

Britta Perry (Community)

Britta Perry (Community) – Portrayed by Gillian Jacobs

I started shaping my own personal style around the time I started watching Community. Britta Perry’s “natural talent for severity” (love that line) really came out in her gritty looks. Something about those leather biker jackets, basic tees, jeggings, and high-heeled booties resonated with me. Now, leather jackets have become my go-to piece to throw on when I want to go from half-past-couch-potatoing-all-day to lets-style-it-up-o-clock.

Emily Fields (Pretty Little Liars)

Emily Fields (PLL, Season 3+) – Portrayed by Shay Mitchell

It’s not that I necessarily find inspiration from the fashion of PLL, it’s that I often find myself saying, “That outfit looks like it came right out of my closet.” This is mostly true with Emily, whose character’s style can by summed up as edgy-athletic (as of Season 3, that is). My thoughts were confirmed in one episode where she was wearing the exact same Nike wedges I bought a year earlier. Same goes for the leather sleeves and cut-out shoulders.

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