Her blazer is from Gap; her top is from Old Navy; her skirt is from Target; and her shoes are from Payless.
Perla Mendoza: I’m a 22-year-old corporate communications (alumna) interning for C & G Restaurant as a marketing coordinator. I have experience with public relations and human resources… I went to a recruiting interview this morning, and ended (up) being overqualified. But they’re going to help with my search for an entry-level human resources job.
The Cougar: That’s awesome, good luck with that! Do you have any role models?
PM: My role models are basically every woman who’s a mother (and) who has a career or business. They all inspire me to push for more and work harder.
TC: Did your parents always support your dreams and goals growing up?
PM: My parents did not always, but they did once I decided I wanted to be a professional and get my start in Houston. Then they supported me 110 percent with tuition, food, rent-free home, allowance, a car, gas and all my expenses and vacations paid. So it was almost like they were making an investment in me and believe in me. They’re my No. 1 supporters and motivators and my favorite people — Jake, my boyfriend, too.
TC: How would you describe your style? Who are some of your style inspirations?
PM: My style inspirations are different cultures and raw materials or textiles and designs that are original to ethnics all around the world. My favorite style essentials are brown leather, blue or jean button-ups, lace and black. I feel like any combinations of those four create a very natural look, like you’re walking in Spain and any moment you could go to the beach or get on a bike and meet for coffee or dinner with a friend. This is maybe influenced by all those Spanish girls I saw in 2010. I also like black and white minimalistic chic looks I see street-style bloggers wear on Pinterest.
TC: What are you specifically grateful for?
PM: I am especially grateful for my supportive parents, for the opportunities that were granted to me through their sacrifices, education and learning opportunities and for my healthy brain — I love my brain. So, not being mentally handicapped or impaired and not being deprived of education… there is so much illiteracy and poverty in the world, and it’s correlated.
TC: What piece of advice would you give to readers?
PM: My advice is to not be afraid to seek opportunity. If the going is rough, pretend your life is a movie and that every day there will be a happy ending, and it will help shift your perspective. Having three to four supportive, smart, 100 percent people who care about you unconditionally will matter more than 15 friends you party with. Hang out with people who are smarter than you. If you want to be a professional, seek and talk to professionals. Have professional friends. Be grateful every single day for everything you have and everything you are and everything you have accomplished because you are lucky, and we forget that we are.
His plaid shirt is from American Eagle; his T-shirt is from Target; his khakis are Levi’s; and his shoes are Toms.
Chris Luong: I’m a filmmaker here in Houston; I have my own company. It’s called Sloan Visuals. Professionally we do weddings, but on the side we do short films and documentaries. It’s a lot of fun.
The Cougar: That sounds really cool! What kind of music do you like?
CL: I listen… to a lot of indie pop. Really catchy stuff. The ones I’ve liked for a long time, one is called Hot Hot Heat. I really like Coldplay and newer bands; I like Two Door Cinema Club, Young the Giant, stuff like that.
TC: Do you have any role models?
CL: There’s a group of filmmakers called Still Motions. They sort of set the standard for filmmaking for me. They’re a filmmaking group based off from Canada. Now they live in Portland, Oregon. They started making wedding films, but they got so big, now they work for the NFL and do documentaries. They’ve won Emmy (Award)s.
TC: Is that what you want to do, documentaries? What kind of documentaries?
CL: That’s what I want to do. Really inspiring stories of people. People connect with other people. That’s my drive.
TC: Did your parents always support you?
CL: Yeah. At first, when I was in high school, my parents were like “Be a doctor.” I was considering going into medical or becoming a computer engineer. But filmmaking just stumbled upon me because I found that filmmaking group.
TC: Do you have any favorite movies or directors?
CL: Not specifically, as a lot of filmmakers usually do. But for me personally, I don’t know all my directors. If I had to choose, Stanley Kubrick and Wes Anderson are all great.
TC: How would you describe your style?
CL: My style is really influenced by my two older sisters. We’re all five years apart. They’re really fashionable, very chic. One’s a total hippie, she lives in California. Another one is really business-forward. My style can be very casual but also very professional and more edgy. That’s what I go for mostly.
TC: What are you thankful for?
CL: I am thankful for my family and friends. I’m thankful for the friendships I’ve been able to create out of almost nothing. It’s really unique having really deep friendships that come out from nothing.
TC: What piece of advice would you give to readers?
CL: Don’t BS things. If you really want it, if you’re passionate enough about it, it will happen. Not everyone knows what they want to do, but as far as my life goes, I’m a really optimistic person. On the good side, I do whatever make me happy, but on the downside, (when) doing those things, I procrastinate. Doing what makes me happy lets me know what I love to do. What I love to do is filmmaking, rock climbing and dressing nice.