It was Saturday, November 18th, 2017. I was invited to shoot an Outwords / LGBTQ+ event on the rooftop of the W Hotel in Hollywood (Thank you, Creel Studio for hiring me). Yes, it sounds dreamy...and it was. That was the night that Dean Lin crashed my third date with Kayla. I don't know what kind of intuition this guy has; his first question was, "When is your wedding?". 👰♀️ 💕👰♀️ Meanwhile, Rinat Greenberg & Leanna Creel were smiling in the distance, totally unaware that they would officiate our wedding 2 years from then. 🌈♥️🌈
This is the photo our clan took that night:
Three and a half years later, it felt like no time had passed...
Everyone has a story…here is Dean Lin’s:
RR: How has Covid-19 impacted you personally?
DL: "I remember reading something about COVID in a news article in mid-January and joked around, being like, 'wow Americans taking this so lightly watch it become so serious and a traumatic pandemic.' LITERALLY jinxed it. Anyway, COVID was so sudden and it was a Wednesday, then by Monday I was unemployed. At first, I think the pandemic really helped me catch up on YEARS of sleep, but it obviously got pretty old. As an extrovert, COVID hit me and my mental health like a wrecking ball but it also was a time where I was allowed a lot of self-reflection."
RR: Did you or anyone you know get Covid-19?
DL: "I’m grateful that I haven’t gotten it, but I swear I felt like I got it. I got really sick back in Dec. 2019 and had the same symptoms as COVID, so honestly... SUS. Some of my friends who were the most careful got COVID and it really put it into perspective for me. There were some friends who tested and had antibodies but were never aware they had it.”
RR: What specifically changed your personal / professional life during this time? I.E. what daily routine did you have to adjust?
DL: "As I said earlier, I was unemployed in March at the start of the pandemic. At first, I was so scared of the unknown because working in entertainment, it was already hard trying to land a full time job after college. And the fact that it was almost a year of my first full-time job.. it was gone just like that. However, this gave me time to really unpack things that I needed to work on mentally whether it be from burn-out at work, from school, or from life. I got to finish a manuscript and publish my first book during the beginning of the pandemic. That was something I was really/still am proud of!"
DL: "Personally, I think I grew a lot during this time. I was able to set more time aside for virtual therapy and work on what people call “shadow-work,” trying to get to know myself without all the stress in life. My daily routine changed from your typical 9-5 to a more relaxed routine, which helped me conquer lots of my anxiety pent up from overworking. I had more time to explore nature alone, run outside, and spend time reflecting. This was a time where I got to be an adult at my own pace and actually accomplish some goals (drivers license, car, solo travels, etc). But also, I lost some good friends I thought I had non severable bonds with and got closer to people I didn’t think I would. I moved into a studio apartment and experienced living alone for the first time in my life without roommates (honestly, liberating)."
RR: What do you miss most about life before Covid-19?
DL: "I miss hugs and I miss going on road trips with close friends. As much as I felt burn-out, I love the hustle of Hollywood and the excitement of working on my career. I miss being able to see my sister, since she’s all the way in NYC. I miss meeting new people and I miss… MONEY haha."
RR: Is there a story behind your mask?
DL: "I actually got this from a show I worked on as Talent Assistant. Either the 2020 BET Soul Train Awards or on the set of Cardi B’s new show, Cardi Tries."
RR: What has covid made you grateful for?
DL: "COVID made me grateful for my health, technology, and the peace/silence when living alone. Also grateful for all the frontline/healthcare workers aiding us to get out of this pandemic..."
RR: What has been the biggest challenge for you during this time?
DL: "The biggest challenge for me during this time is finances and sometimes still my mental health in terms of not being motivated to be creative due to the feelings that this won’t be over…
RR: What are you most excited for when things return to “normal”?
DL: “Being able to work in-person in entertainment again, travel back to Europe and continue pursuing my dream to be on camera/host my own talk show…! ONE DAY!"
Thank you, Dean Lin, for sharing your story! Literally. 📖