“Ask the next person you see what their passion is, and share your inspiring dream with them.” – Holstee Manifesto
I guess you could say that’s exactly what happened when I randomly discovered Mikey, or the other way around actually. I woke up one morning to find out that he had written an article about me. Seriously, I was so stocked that it took me few minutes to really realize! Coming from nowhere, this American guy that I’ve never met or talked to was writing about me, about my story, about my dream, about a French girl living in England who just quit her job in the hope of creating a better life for herself. For so long, I’ve felt like I was transparent by living in my own world, crazy for believing in my wildest dreams and awkward for thinking differently. By sharing my story, Mikey showed me that I wasn’t alone, that I was part of something bigger, that someone cared. He made the wheels turn.
Because you don’t get to meet people like Mikey very often, I’m honored to share his heartfelt story with you…
Who is Mikey Kavalus exactly ?
Mikey Kavalus is a fire-starter and renaissance man who can’t fit in a definitive shoebox and finds himself equally at home on the road less traveled, a deserted beach or an open dance floor. If you really want to know who he is, you should travel with him. Adventure is inevitable.
When is your birthday? 14 Aug 1983. I’m a Leo. Hear me roar.
Where do you currently live ? Portland, Oregon since July 2011 and loving it.
What do you do for a living ? I work for a lifestyle design startup based out of Brooklyn called Holstee.
Can you tell us a bit more about your role at Holstee… what do you do exactly ?
I started off doing “special ops” and social media back in October 2010 and transitioned to sales this past July while still coordinating any special projects that come my way.
How did you get this kick-ass job in the first place ?
My good friend Lizzie was helping me on another project and introduced me to Holstee as she thought Holstee had a similar brand appeal and intimacy to what I was going for. She also knew I’d get along super well with the Holstee brothers Dave and Mike, who coincidentally were looking to hire, and that was proven true as upon meeting, it was like we were already friends, we just hadn’t met yet.
So I know that you’re a co-founder of The Nomading Film Festival, tell us a bit more about it…what is it ? when and where does it take place ? who are the other co-founders ?
NoFF (the Nomading Film Festival) is a travel-based film festival for travelers, by travelers, founded on the belief that anyone with a flip camera, iPhone or point-and-shoot camera is now a possible filmmaker and that travel shapes us, defines us and connects us. We believe stories caught on film are some of the most entertaining, beautiful, rewarding, educational and inspiring, and that these need to recognized, awarded and shared.
Our inaugural festival was last summer 2011 in New York City and we’ll be returning again this summer 2012 for an even bigger and better day of festivities and celebration around travel. In less than 2 weeks, we’ll be making our debut on the west coast here in Portland, Oregon with a smaller yet similar day of screenings, workshops, giveaways, drinks, food and good people. More info here-www.nomadingfilmfest.com
NoFF was started in Brooklyn with my 3 friends- Andrew Jenter, Bassam Tarazi and Josh Wolff.
Besides Holstee and NoFF, you are also an actor, where did this passion come from ?
I started performing as soon as I could sing the lyrics to Jon Bon Jovi in my aunt’s basement, maybe 8 or 10 years old, and have always been drawn to the stage or camera since then. The first time I thought about being an actor though was when I was about 14 and I watched The Saint with my Mom. Val Kilmer was beyond cool in that film and his ability to play different people so effortlessly hooked me. Nowadays, I see film as the most universal medium available to us for communication and conversation and a superb film can impact and maybe even change a life forever. I think there is magic in that experience, and I love playing a part in that magic.
Which kind of role excites you the most ?
I’ve mostly been drawn to films and characters that scrape and explore the darker underbelly of society- the people we don’t necessarily want to speak with or idolize (the anti-heroes) and the stories / subject matters that we debate or don’t necessarily want to watch- as I think it’s important not to forget about those who don’t have it easy, but I’m also a super physical actor and I love comedy and would love the opportunity to do more slapstick comedy, or just a comedy in general.
How do you find the time to do it all ?
I enjoy being in constant motion and typically sleep 5-7 hrs a night and I can’t say I have the most interesting or busy social life but I love what I do and the people in my life and I feel very fortunate to be where I am.
What are your plans for:
Hopefully I’ll find out that I booked a guest starring role on a big TV show here in Portland.
Next month ?
I’m very fortunate to be spending February in sunny California. One week will be spent with my Holstee family to experiment with remote working opportunities as a team and the other few weeks will be spent visiting shops and friends in Los Angeles and San Francisco.
This year ?
This year is going to be one for the record books with trips already planned for California, Michigan, Baja Mexico and New York City. FYI I’m a bit of a travel addict. I also want to learn French, so maybe a Rosetta stone purchase or extended stay in France is possible.
What do you want to get out of life ?
As much as I can squeeze, but mostly unapologetic love, enduring friendship and breathtaking experiences that make me feel lucky to be ALIVE.
Your favorite quote ?
“The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire.” – Ferdinand Foch
What are your hopes and wishes for the future ?
That more and more people continue to recognize and take action to address the priceless fragility of both human life and the planet we’re lucky to be on, meaning people take full advantage to enjoy their finite relationships and all opportunities that come their way and that people also do something to leave this world better than we found it.
Anything you want to add ?
It’s an honor to be interviewed like this and to be a part of The Story of Us and I graciously thank you for giving me the space and time to speak my passion. If anyone wants to connect further, you can find me here.
Merci à toi Mikey pour avoir partagé ton histoire et j’espère te voir bientôt en France!