Check out our interview with talented influencer, model and Masterchef contestant Paige Jimenez.
Follow Paige @paigejimenez
Your journey from being scouted as a model in Asia at age 14 to becoming a trained chef and successful entrepreneur is truly remarkable. Can you share a defining moment or experience during this journey that shaped your “Jack of all trades” approach to life?
Honestly, I think I was born with it. There’s never been a hobby or task I’ve been assigned to in life where I thought “I actually can’t do this.”. It’s my biggest strength and weakness. Every challenge or task I come across I always take it with open arms, a deep breath and pure determination.
Losing your father to an unexpected heart attack at Disney World must have been incredibly challenging. How did this tragic event impact your life and influence your determination to pursue your passions even more fervently?
It was the hardest thing I’ve yet to overcome. Losing someone at a young age is a special experience, it’s one that most of us never get to experience until much later on in life. With a brain that has (hardly) been yet to succumb numb to societal standards, everything is so fresh and SO real. Losing someone at a young age inspires you to attempt to make an impact for others after your death. Life has never been so vivid and real to me. We only have X amount of time on this earth, it should be our mission to leave on a positive note.
Moving from Hawaii to LA and then auditioning for Masterchef, all at a young age, took a lot of courage. What drove you to take these bold steps, and how did being the youngest contestant on Season 8 shape your culinary aspirations?
Who knows what the f*** they’re doing at age 17? Certainly not me. I cooked purely for passion and because it was truly the only thing I was semi-good at doing. I never dreamed that it would lead to anywhere career-wise because it is so rare to see female successful chefs in the industry. It seemed like becoming one of those people who taste test candy. A pure dream.
I definitely was scrutinized for my age when I was on Masterchef…. and… guess what? As a 25 year old today, I would do the exact same. There’s nothing more satisfying than putting a teenager who thinks they know it all in their place.
You decided to pursue a French Culinary Degree at the French Culinary Institute after your experience on Masterchef. What made you choose this path, and what was the most valuable lesson you learned during your culinary training?
I’ve always been drawn to cooking since I was young. I was modeling full time when I had the realization that I was utterly bored and uninspired. If you have a passion, there’s something inside of you that eats you alive until you start doing it often. It’s like a disease. I could never ignore cooking, no matter how far along I get with other endeavors in life. It’s truly therapeutic to me.
Transitioning from the traditional kitchen to starting your own social media agency, Hello There Collective, is quite a shift. How did your diverse background in modeling, cooking, and social media marketing converge to create this new venture?
Everyone always says all my ventures are SO different. But, they’re all the same. Each of my passions are about bringing people together and making them happy. It’s so fulfilling. I feel that’ll always be my goal no matter what I do in life.
We’ve heard that your corgi travels with you everywhere, including London. What inspired you to have your furry companion accompany you on your adventures, and how does he influence your daily life and work?
I was diagnosed with BPD a few years ago and with it, came the ability to make my dog a service animal. He comes everywhere with me. I can’t imagine life without him. I feel like everyone in their 20’s can be rather selfish — Remi has taught me to stay grounded and take responsibility. He’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me.
With your experience in the culinary world and social media, you’ve worked with big brands like American Express and JBL. Could you share a particularly memorable or exciting project you worked on with these brands?
1000% we worked with Doja Cat on a JBL activation and it was so refreshing to see someone with such “clout” be able to make something truly feel like their own. She was so intuitive, so creative and overall an inspiring human being to work with…. Truly a Doja stan.
Embracing a “Jack of all trades” approach can sometimes challenge societal expectations that encourage specialization. Have you faced any unique challenges or misconceptions in your career journey, and how did you overcome them?
Absolutely. Being a “figure” on social media job is exhausting in itself. The constant judgement and scrutiny you face is unheard of… something I would not wish upon anyone.
Taking a moment to breathe, be centered and remember why I started always gets me going again.
Looking ahead, what are your future plans and aspirations? How do you envision combining your passions and skills to make a lasting impact on the culinary and social media industries?
I have a ton of future aspirations, but don’t want to speak too soon, so follow @paigejimenez to stay tuned. 🙂