We are often told to “live in the moment” and that the present is where we should focus on because the past is gone and no one can truly predict the future. But what if we told you that everything that is happening today is nothing more than an idea that was stemmed from the past about a vision or reality of the future. One person that currently brings a vision to life is none other than The Native’s Jerred Pastones; at the age of 24, he has already produced some of the biggest live concerts with the biggest names in R&B/Pop the island of Guam has seen in recent years that truly speak to the demand of this upcoming generation. The mentality of “watch what I do, not what I say” is currently turning attention not only to his clothing/fashion brand, The Native but also through his concert and event series that have taken the island by storm.
We recently took a break after EIF Guam and are now back in gear to feature some of the island’s most inspiring individuals pushing creative and artistic boundaries in the Mariana Islands. In our second series, we caught up with the young CEO/Artist/Entrepreneur that’s making leaps and bounds in his domain with a relentless will to push Guam’s future in a forward direction.
Hafa Adai Jerred, let’s get straight into it shall we?! So what inspired you to take action and create The Native and the concepts of all your other brands?
I created THENATIVEWORLDWIDE when I was 17 years old because I was your typical broke High School kid who couldn’t afford the clothes I really wanted to wear. However, the difference between my approach and that of your typical High School kid and one that is key advice I’d give today to people in my HS age is that I was down to at least TRY to figure things out, and I also accepted beforehand that I was super bound to fail and “eat shit” often. The truth is that even though I tried to prepare myself for the hardships I’d face many of the things I ended up going through over the years brought me to the lowest of lows, yet I might also note that the wise advice here would be that what you might deem a “loss” is subjective. I also wanted to create something that everyone around the world could connect with, and within that same process build some sort of bridge between Guam and the rest of the modern world, specifically through the modern art scene or whatever you want to call it. Today I’m 24 years old and I just feel like the future of Guam’s youth lies in the development of Creative Culture despite how vague that Vision may be. I believe that today a Guam Based Creatives biggest chance lies in leveraging modern resources such as the Internet to put us on the map collectively. In my opinion, the real challenge is that nobody from Guam has actually made a large social impact in today’s creative world from the inside out. With that said, it’s an ongoing Mission and we’re still figuring things out. At the end of the day, my friends and I are just having fun with it and I feel like my generation is currently playing a significant role in building that positive and relevant connection between Guam and the rest of the world through Fashion, Music, Art and Events. It’s through that culmination did I find inspiration to start my brands and begin to take action, just at least TRY!
Still, I want to be very clear that my ambition to make a global impact from the inside out is not to knock those who have left the Island with intentions to build a name for themselves so that they may bring it home and share their experiences at the full benefit of the next kid with a dream who lacks the opportunity to travel. I truly believe that both approaches are equally important and should never be compared with one another with the intent of deciding which approach is best. The sad thing is that I also feel that despite feeling like we’ve been blessed enough to play such an amazing role in Guam’s History, most of us won’t be alive to see it in full momentum. Either way, it’s a Vision that inspires me to keep doing what I do. I have many friends who fight to preserve the Islands ancient culture but I’ve always felt that my personal God-given duty is to push myself to pave the way within industries I’m most passionate about so that the next generation could prosper through the foundation we’ve collectively built with today’s free resources and opportunities our elders never had access to. Never forget who we are culturally, but giving the next generation the tools to effectively tap into the Modern world.
You have been pushing your peers and the younger generation to pick up a book and read lol, specifically mind-opening business/entrepreneur books (the grind, mentality, and hustle). Why do you think it’s important for young adults like yourself to read these books and what are a few you would recommend?
I push the Youth, and my Peers to read these kinds of books because I believe that nothing changes until YOU change and that if you can change your mind you can change your life. I personally consume this kind of content in several ways such as Books, Audios, and Videos depending on my situation. For example, I like to read when I want to get away from everything else, I’ll listen to business audios while driving or in the shower and I’ll watch some videos on Youtube while I eat etc. It’s important to me that my mind is always in the game, and always learning. At the end of the day Applying what you Learn is a major key towards putting good use to the information you consume. Today you have tons of ” experts ” who are self-taught via the methods I’ve mentioned above but not many of them actually have experience. Anyone can learn marketing online, but how many of those Gurus today can tell you factual true stories of how their strategies have had big impacts on their clients and their own companies. Not many I’m sure. In this “Information Age” our blessing has been having free access to an insane amount of all the answers we could ever need. However, it’s a double edged sword as too much information can lead towards information overload and people wasting too much time learning from non-credible resources.
I’ll drop (3) books that have changed my life:
You may have been getting the perception of overnight success with 3 massive concerts featuring Russ, Jhene Aiko, and Kehlani in the span of 8-months. Tell us about your beginnings and early-stages developing your event concept and vision behind it.
To be completely honest, all my life I never thought I’d be doing this kind of work. For as long as I was a kid my goal was to be an architect, then later I wanted to join the Military and I got close to doing so my Senior year of High School in 2012. It’s my obsession to reach my dreams, my willingness to risk it all (YOLO) and my trust in the process that’s guided me to where I’m at and to be the person I am today. Understand that as an Artist before an Entrepreneur I’m naturally an introvert and so to be the face of the show has always put a lot of insecure pressure on me, but again its my obsession to be better and my competitiveness in nature that forced me to own up to my own bullshit so that I could be the best version of myself every day. Today I consider myself an Ambivert which is someone who can switch back n forth from being an Introvert to being an Extrovert. On any given day I like to spend most of my time Alone, but in the company of others I can hit that switch and be the most interactive in the room. It’s really a weird thing that took a lot of practice…can you imagine my first big event where I had 800 people in the room passing me around to take photos I almost had an anxiety attack? It’s a weird journey but again my obsession to reach my goals has pushed me beyond my comfort zone, and I’m still a big work in progress.
Truth is I got into event production because when I was 19 years old in 2013 no store on Guam wanted to carry my brand. As someone who doesn’t consider NO a final answer, I sought to create my own environment with or without anyone’s support. In 2013 I booked a nightclub and hosted my first pop-up shop. It was a huge success and was the beginning of the Legacy I am building today. There’s so much else that’s happened in my life between that moment and today such as deciding to turn my Brand into a platform for Artists and Entrepreneurs, Starting my own Creative Agency ( NOWYOUSEEMEDIA ) and getting my heart broken and getting close to killing myself. There’s been a lot of hardships, but all of those moments have shaped me into the Positive Person I am today and I would not go back in time to change anything if I had the opportunity to do so.
What are some of the thought-process you think high school students and young adults should develop in order to be successful at what they do whether in school, career, or business (entrepreneurship).
IF YOU DONT HAVE A PLAN YOU’RE PLANNING TO FAIL
I can’t stress enough the importance of planning. Our wildest dreams are all elaborate plans, and it’s easy to feel good about that fantasy but harder to put the pieces together. Personally, I like to reverse engineer things meaning I look at the end Goal then try to break it down backwards based on where I’m currently at in life. For example, if your goal is to make a Million dollars you need to look at your current income to see if it adds up and 9 out of 10 it won’t and so being clear with what you currently have to work with and what you need to do to get there is important in bringing visions to life.
ITS OKAY TO CRY FOR 5-MINUTES, THEN GET YOUR ASS BACK TO WORK
Life is Hard, but I like that because it means not everyone will have what I’ve struggled to achieve. It makes life more interesting that way..but still, we’re all human and in this journey, we’re bound to run into all sorts of problems in and outside of our business. I think it’s important to let yourself feel that pain, and it’s equally important to know when to stop dwelling and when to turn that pain into gasoline for your work. It will never be easy but it will always be worth it.
LOSSES BECOME WINS
In my opinion, LOSING IS SUBJECTIVE. I believe that we learn more when we reflect on how we’ve reacted to situations instead of dwelling on the aftermath of said “Losses”. In short, I really believe that you only Lose if you DONT LEARN. With that said every loss is a lesson waiting to be discovered and dissected. I encourage people to dig deep and reflect on negative experiences so that they may learn from them. It’s deeper than falling and getting back up..
HATERS = FREE PROMOTION
What are some of the lessons (growing pains) you have learned along your journey into reaching the milestones and success you have accomplished so far?
1) Working with Friends/Family isn’t always the best move to make although your heart may tell you it is.
Naturally, we want to involve our loved ones but you need to understand that their minds and hearts may not be in the same place as yours is in regards to your vision and what needs to be done to achieve those goals. I’ve had things stolen from me and damaged because I trusted friends who we’re only a part of my Brand because it was and still is the coolest Brand on Guam lol. Protect your vision at all costs.
2) The Bigger You Get The Faker It Gets TOO.
I’ve always heard some of my favorite Artists talk about how everyone switched up when they became famous. Although I wouldn’t consider myself “Famous” Today I work with and I’m good friends with people who many consider as such and boy let me tell you everyone and they mama wants to be my friend now. It’s been a weird realization as these feelings are fresh only as of the last year and I’m still learning how to deal with it and how to filter out those who truly have my best interests at heart and those who just want to be around me for “Clout”. Just know that if you don’t give up eventually you’ll hit that turning point in life where the momentum really kicks in and you begin to see everyone who hated on your ideas suddenly support you. I guess you could call this a Bittersweet Feeling.
How do you stay self-motivated on a daily basis that allows you to continue to push forward in what you do?
I keep a photo album in my phone titled “MORE LIFE, MORE WINS” thats full of screenshots from hundreds of people who have DM’ed me telling me how much my work Inspires them, and has changed their lives etc. People have told me they don’t know where the Art scene on Guam would be today if I didn’t stick my neck out to build this Platform, and it low-key makes me want to cry lol. I refer to this photo album when things get tough and I start to doubt myself. This album reminds me that my work and mission have become larger than myself as one person, and that pushes me to keep going for the sake of everyone involved as well as those who can benefit from my work in the present and future.
What were some of your hobbies or favorite past times growing up in Guam? Did any of that help shape what you are currently doing now?
I’ve always been a leader and a very competitive person at heart, and before all the Fashion and Events work I was obsessed with being the best Wrestling/JiuJitsu practitioner. Those days are a bit far out but those who really knew me back then will tell you I lived on the Mats. Today I have Cauliflower Ears and it serves as a reminder of my past and my commitment and sacrifice to be the best at what I do. I wrestled for (4) years in high school took 2nd place all island my Freshman and Junior year and took Gold my senior year. I was Team Captain starting my sophomore year so I’ve always felt comfortable being a leader. I once joined paddling just to condition for wrestling and I was the Steersman(Captain) of our boat. That year my crew went undefeated and we won JFK a championship lol. I never paddled again but those times serve as a reminder behind my ability to learn fast and my drive to Win in life. I have a handful of medals from outside tournaments as well, even took 3rd competing in Japan my first time. I injured my knee in 2014 and it totally changed my game…at that point I decided to take that drive and apply it towards my businesses and now we’re here today and have done what we’ve done.
I owe so much of my work ethic to the lifestyle I lived on the mats. The mats have taught me valuable things such as:
– How to See and Seize Opportunities
– How to bounce back from a loss
– The importance of training after hours while the competition only trained during regular practice times
– How the Battle is won in the mind before the game is even played
– How sizing up another person and feeling like they are much bigger or experienced than you means you’ve lost before you’ve begun
– How there’s something to learn from everybody
– How to Lead others
– How to Adapt in all situations
– How to handle the pressure
Do you think it’s important for the community of Guam and Saipan (more specifically the Government) to support the forward progress of art, music, fashion, and food culture? What kind of impact do you think it will have on the local community if everything expanded tremendously not just in Guam but overseas (Asia/Stateside)?
I feel like you’re asking me this because you KNOW that this is the Foundation behind what and why I do what I do lol. The Future is Creative!!!
Personally, I believe that because of the kind of access the internet has given us we don’t actually need the Gov to back us to help us shape Guam into a Creative Paradise, but hey if they did decide to put some money into our Projects It’d definitely skyrocket our Productivity and Potential. I’ve done everything I’ve done being in this small company with not a lot of money but a big vision and the balls to back it. I always ask people “What does Guam Export” and nobody has an answer because there is none, how about we Export our Talent and Creativity? We have so many Creative people in the Marianas who lack a voice and platform to connect with the modern world that obsesses over this. At the end of the day without a lot of natural resources to sustain our growing population, I believe Tourism will always be our #1 source of economy. Now the issue with that lies in that the industry is slowly declining as for the longest time we’ve only targeted the same people who I believe to be middle-class families in Japan and Korea etc when there’s an entire world dying to experience paradise.
With that said I want my people to be known for more than sandy beaches and cotton candy sunsets, I want Guam to be a creative safe haven and a place open to creatives across the globe. It’s such a far-fetched idea but I truly believe that it’s possible. The sad thing is that I also feel like I won’t be alive to experience this transition in full force however I am doing my best today to lay the foundation for this vision. Now understand I’m not out here saying that we should forget about our cultural roots I’m just saying that there is a vast majority of kids on this island who want to connect with the modern world through fashion, music, and the arts whom lack a platform to get there. The same goes for every other island in the Marianas. I’m just playing my part. People will still say I’m not doing enough or that I’m pursuing the wrong things, but to be frank I really don’t care as I’m seriously convinced this is my God-given responsibility. Call me Crazy, I know I am, but just know that everyone who’s had the biggest impact on this world had to be a little crazy too 😉