How This CEO Is Changing The Modeling World & Finding Inspiration At The Grocery Store

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Sebastian Flores is the awesome co-founder and CEO behind the brand new and revolutionary dashboard for casting models: Meriad. As J+J has partnered with Meriad for campaigns and finding the perfect models, it's become clear that Sebastian is the perfect example of a young, motivated, and ambitious entrepreneur, ready to make a change in the world. We wanted to chat with him about his experience starting his own company, what inspires him to continue striving to be the best, and where he goes to find an adventure, but we never knew the answer was going to be the grocery store.

J+J: Name and job title?

SF: Sebastian Flores, Co-Founder & CEO of Meriad

J+J: What is your current location?

SF: Venice, California

J+J: What is your niche or thing you're particularly known for?

SF: Idea generation and a healthy disrespect for the status quo.

J+J: From beginning your own company to following you dreams. Can you share with us any tips you have for success?

SF: Success can mean different things to different people, but to me success means you’ve found a balance of comfort and discomfort in your life that causes a pretty consistent feeling of happiness. For some people it may mean living off the land in a tent somewhere in Yosemite, and for others in a mountainside mansion with an infinity pool overlooking the LA skyline. Whatever the end goal may be, my tip is to follow the things that pull you, instead of those we sometimes get pushed into. With all the pressures around us pushing us into different directions, some we may not even personally want to go in, it’s hard to listen to that little compass inside of us and stay the course. But listening to this compass, I believe, is the only way to stay true to the route that makes sense for you and in doing so, will reach your own definition of success.

J+J: What's your favorite social media channel right now?

SF: Does YouTube count?

J+J: Where do you see your industry going within the next 10 years?

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SF: It’s tough to answer this question because Meriad will hopefully eventually enter a few different industries, but at the moment, our focus is in shaking up the modeling industry, and this industry has operated in pretty much the same way for decades. With the emergence of technology and social media, it’s been changing a bit, giving rise to the “Instagram model” and the like. We’re definitely seeing clients booking models based on how many followers they have. This shift toward technology will only continue, and I predict the industry will begin adopting tech-based software solutions to improve the efficiency and transparency lacking in the current traditional booking methods.

J+J: What is your "go to" tool?

SF: YouTube is the ultimate tool. Whether I need to learn how to whip up a nice meal for the lady or a new programming language for a website, I go straight there for tutorials.

J+J: What's your favorite book?

SF: I have a few favorites: Fiction: People of Paper by Salvador Plascencia; Non-Fiction: Justice by Michael Sandel, the autobiography of Malcolm X.

J+J: What is your favorite thing to watch?

SF: At the moment, I’m watching a lot of food travel shows on VICELAND, Huang’s World and F*CK That’s Delicious! It’s interesting to see how these shows that are seemingly all about food, incorporate substantive social and economic perspectives from the countries they visit into the content. You can learn what goes into a good risotto and at the same time, what’s causing the immigrant crisis in Italy.

J+J: What are you jamming to right now on your playlist?

SF: My playlist is all podcast episodes, even at the gym I like to listen to podcast episodes. My two favorite podcasts at the moment are the Tim Ferriss Show and the Joe Rogan Experience because they interview people from all different background and industries, covering a myriad of topics.

J+J: What inspires you most?

SF: I’m inspired by individuals who push themselves to their physical and mental limits and achieve the things they set out to achieve. There are so many factors, distractions, and circumstances that every person is faced with on a day to day basis, that may or may not interfere with your goals and motivations, but I’m inspired by the people who push through the BS and accomplish their personal goals. Their level of self-motivation and unwavering determination push them to become the best in the world at what they do, and I try to use their focus as energy to fuel my life.

J+J: Where is the first place you go when looking for an adventure?

SF: I go to the grocery store. I guess this kind of goes with the previous question of where I find inspiration, but the grocery store has always meant a lot to me. I love exploring the different foods, smells, and packaging designs. When I travel to a new neighborhood that caters to a specific culture, I try to check out their grocery stores because they can tell the story of a culture and a people. What is so essential to a Korean family, for example, that a Korean supermarket had to import it all the way to LA? What is in the fresh meat section? That’ll tell you what the most popular dishes are that a typical family might make. And the differences in packaging? Wow, you can learn so much about a culture and what they find attractive by looking at colors, fonts, and imagery used on foreign packaging.