Lily Dale Assembly
The Auxiliaries

La Carmina winner of Best Blog of 2016

La Carmina won our Best Blog of 2016 award and we talked with her about the past, 2016, and the future.

The Auxiliary Awards Best Blog of 2016 La Carmina

How do you see the development of your blog from its conception through now?
La Carmina : When I started my La Carmina blog in late 2007, I was merely intrigued to try out blogging (which was in its early stages), and had no expectations for my website. For me, this was a hobby, a space for me to express my love of Japanese subcultures, goth fashion, and cute-meets-alternative design. However, I loved writing on my blog and it opened doors (such as to writing books and hosting/producing travel TV), which enabled me to pursue this full-time. I experimented with different features throughout the years, for example, I used to do more Visual Kei and Jrock concert reviews, and most of my content was about Japan. However, as time passed, I got more opportunities to travel and focused more on alternative/underground cultures and lifestyles around the world. My blog’s design and technology have of course grown with the times as well; the latest theme is mobile-friendly, and I also post regularly on social media, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat @lacarmina.

The Auxiliary Awards Best Blog of 2016 La Carmina

What do you think was your greatest achievement of 2016?
LC : I was in 16 countries in 2016, which was my most-travelled year yet. It was an honor to be invited as an influencer to Istanbul, where I participated in the World Tourism Forum and got to see the Blue Mosque and other world wonders. I also appeared in a huge NBC show called “Better Late Than Never”, which co-stars William Shatner, Henry Winkler, George Foreman, and Terry Bradshaw. I couldn’t believe it when I got an email from the TV producers, asking me to be their travel buddy for the Hong Kong episode!

What was the greatest obstacle of 2016?
LC : Since I was on the road so much, I had little down-time. I’m still catching up on a lot of the content from last year’s trips, which included New Zealand, Myanmar, Japan, Sweden, Mexico, Belgium, and Slovenia.

To what do you feel you owe your success?
LC : I’m fortunate to have started blogging early, and was one of the early adopters. I feel I was able to evolve and broaden my work over the years to travel, design, food, etc. This lets me keep on sharing new content from around the world, while remaining true to my site’s DNA: alt and subcultures. For example, in 2007, a typical story might be about Lolita fashion in Harajuku. Now, I’d write about my experiences volunteering with punk rockers in Yangon, and going to drag queen shows in Auckland.

What’s one big goal you still hope to achieve?
LC : In this field, it’s difficult to set goals because everything changes so quickly, such as the rise and fall of social media platforms, and there are no clear trajectories. As long as I can keep experiencing and sharing multifaceted stories, I’ll keep on feeling the same energy for blogging. I do have some bucket list travel destinations that I hope to get to soon: India is a big one, and South America especially Easter Island.

What are your plans for 2017?
LC : I’m excited to be heading to Amsterdam and Athens in mid-March, working with the tourism boards to do stories about alternative culture in these exciting cities. I have another big TV show shooting later in the spring, as well as a job in a dream destination for goths that I can’t reveal yet… but hint, Dracula. Very excited for what’s to come.

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