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David Zambrano of “DezCustomz” Talks to Us About Family, Art, And When He Finally Thought He’d “Made It”

David Zambrano isn’t your madre’s artist. Zambrano, the owner of DEZ Customz Art, is part of the new guard of artists and content creators on the internet who march to the beat of their own drum. The LA-born and DC-based artist and shoe customizer (known as Dez to his customers) started his art career customizing cars before he pivoted to shoes. Although Zambrano will be the first to tell you that his journey to success was long and difficult, he worked at his dream long enough to become the shoe-customizer to the stars. You can see Zambrano’s artful customizations of sneakers, cleats, and high tops on countless all-star athletes, from Tom Brady to Stephen Curry. 

But his client roster isn’t the only thing worth being impressed by. Zambrano boasts 115,000 followers on Instagram, landing him squarely in social media influencer territory (even if he doesn’t like the term).  A quick scroll through Zambrano’s page will expose you to the depths of his talent. Recently, we had a chance to talk to this Latino visionary about family, artistic integrity, and why he doesn’t think of himself as an “influencer”.

M: Tell us a little about your process–where do you get your ideas from? Do they come to you naturally or do you have to brainstorm them?

DZ: I get inspiration from everywhere. When customers come to us for work, we have to cater to their requests. I love taking their ideas and making one-of-a-kind pieces from them. I love graffiti art. A lot of my canvas works have elements of graffiti art in them. I’ve always loved that style.

M: How did you get into customization?

DZ: My road to success has been a rough one. It didn’t really take off until I was in my late 30s. It’s a long story, but I’ll give you the short version. It was a fortunate combination of incredible circumstances. I’ve always been in art. At the time, I had tried to start a few art-focused businesses and they all failed. I had resigned myself to the fact that art would be a hobby for me. I was managing a body shop and painting artwork on cars, helmets, and motorcycles. A kid approached me via a phone call and we started to work together customizing shoes. He brought me clients and I did the artwork. We were invited to NY Sneaker Con for the first-ever Ace of Customs Competition and we won. That was the beginning of it all. 

M: What did you think when your designs first started to gain attention online?

DZ: The first time you see your work on a sports broadcast, or really anywhere, is crazy. One of the first times was when I did cleats for London Fletcher for his last game in the NFL. It got picked up all over the place–images were on the news. It was crazy. Another time I did cleats for AJ Green of The Bengals. It hit everywhere, sports blogs and everything. It was all surreal. I was among some of the first customizers to have their work picked up online through multiple media outlets and on TV. It was crazy. It still is really cool when the work gets picked up.

M: Can you tell us about the time when you first thought to yourself, “I’ve made it”?

DZ: It took so long to believe that I was even okay in this business. So many failures make you doubt and even resist success. I was always waiting for the rug to get pulled out from under me. I was always prepared to go back to work for someone else. I had kids and couldn’t afford to be prideful. So it took about 2-3 years of steady business for me to believe I had made it. It’s weird to even say it now.

M: What did you think when your designs first started to gain attention online?

DZ: The first time you see your work on a sports broadcast, or really anywhere, is crazy. One of the first times was when I did cleats for London Fletcher for his last game in the NFL. It got picked up all over the place–images were on the news. It was crazy. Another time I did cleats for AJ Green of The Bengals. It hit everywhere, sports blogs and everything. It was all surreal. I was among some of the first customizers to have their work picked up online through multiple media outlets and on TV. It was crazy. It still is really cool when the work gets picked up.

M: Can you tell us about the time when you first thought to yourself, “I’ve made it”?

@dezcustomz/Instagram

DZ: It took so long to believe that I was even okay in this business. So many failures make you doubt and even resist success. I was always waiting for the rug to get pulled out from under me. I was always prepared to go back to work for someone else. I had kids and couldn’t afford to be prideful. So it took about 2-3 years of steady business for me to believe I had made it. It’s weird to even say it now.

M: Why do you think people resonate with your work?

DZ: The reason I feel the work resonates with people is that they see the detail, pride, and passion. Another reason I think is that I don’t make my personal life some weird secret. I post my failures, my struggles, about the love I have for my family, my kids, my life and art. I think people like to see that. I think when you’re human, people find it easy to root for you. At least I hope they do. I always tell people: if you knew what I’ve been through, you would cheer for me! I really believe that. I have suffered for this craft. There was a time my family had to move three times in three years because I couldn’t make the rent. The last time, my son was only one year old. I had to be away from him for a month because of the living situation. It killed me. 99.9% of people wouldn’t go through that, no matter how much they love something. I’ve shed blood and tears for this. I feel like that comes out in everything I do artistically.

M: Of all the shoes you’ve worked on, what’s your personal favorite?

@dezcustomz/Instagram

DZ: Choosing one shoe as my favorite is sincerely an impossible question to answer. I have so many favorites. There are some that have emotional ties, others that have just been very near to me, like a favorite show or movie, actor or character. I’ve done portraits of people that have died, those always hit me hard. So yeah, really it’s impossible to say.  

M: When you first committed to this career path, were there any people in your life who didn’t believe you could make a living off of customizing shoes? How did you overcome self-doubt?

DZ: Committing to this was hard because of the failures that I had already experienced, some of which I mentioned earlier. I was constantly worried that I would let my family down. Incredibly, my wife had the most faith. She pushed me, and that meant a lot. More people doubted me than the number of people that thought it was possible. That fueled me. That gave me all the resiliency I needed to keep going. And honestly, for me, God. I believe that a person like me is blessed with a life like this only through the grace of God. I don’t push my faith on anyone, but that’s what I believe wholeheartedly.

M: On your Instagram, you’ve spoken a lot about how important art is to you. Was there ever a time you turned down a commission based off of your own artistic integrity? What would make you refuse a customer?

@dezcustomz/Instagram

DZ: We don’t turn down too many works as long as we’re allowed to be creative. There are occasions where we have, though. Simply, we don’t copy work. We won’t recreate something that someone else has already done. I won’t create hate art either. I won’t create something that relates hate towards another human.

M: Who are some Latino artists that you look up to as role models?

DZ: I don’t think I could name a favorite artist. To be honest, I have a fascination with all things art. I respect so many artists that I would not feel comfortable naming any, even a couple. I take influence and inspiration from everything I see. I think as artists, we simply see things more vividly, we feel things deeper. That’s what brings the art out.  

M: What exciting things do you have planned for your next career move and your future as an influencer?

@dezcustomz/Instagram

DZ: I have no idea what the future holds. In all honesty, whatever I do I know that art has to be involved. In a perfect world, I would be more focused on canvas work, interior murals, and tattoos. I don’t see myself as an influencer. I think that word is overused and I feel like it waters down an individual. I see some influencers post constantly and ‘create’ content constantly because of the pressure to stay relevant, but in doing so the product suffers. I sometimes don’t post for days. And that’s ok. I’ll post when I create something that inspires me to post. 

M: What would you tell fans of yours who are looking to follow in your footsteps as shoe artist, content creator, and an influencer?

DZ: I would tell anyone looking to become a shoe customizer or simply creating art, period, be true to the art. Never do it for popularity, likes, attention etc. Value your skill and people will learn to value it. And if they don’t, then that’s not a reflection of you.   

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Besamé Cosmetics’ Sold-Out ‘Lucille Ball Collection’ Is Officially Coming Back This Fall

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Besamé Cosmetics’ Sold-Out ‘Lucille Ball Collection’ Is Officially Coming Back This Fall

Archive Photos / Getty

Fans love Lucille Ball so much that when Besamé Cosmetics launched a collection dedicated to her back in June all of its items were sold out within a matter of twelve hours. The collection paid homage to the beauty of the iconic Hollywood comedian who, alongside her husband (Cuban bandleader Desi Arnaz), starred in the television classic “I Love Lucy.”

Now, the souped-up limited-edition Lucy items are back by popular demand.

The launch date? This September.

Lucy fans can pre-order lipstick of the new line on the brand’s website.

“Already, hundreds of orders have come in to pre-order these colors inspired by classic Lucy looks,” a representative from Besamé told Allure about the line which pays homage to the iconic actress’s signature look.

The retro makeup line gives fans a chance to seize up to seven beauty items that are supposed to match the makeup Ball wore in her days of stardom. The Ball collection comes complete with an eye shadow palette, lipstick, a pressed powder compact, and a pencil set for eyes and lips.

Like every Besamé item, the collection’s products are encased in rounded gold. This time, however, they come with a special design that features an original drawing of the actress.

The collection can be purchased as a bundle for $150. Additional gifted items will be included for the whole bunch.

According to Allure, those who purchase the collection will receive “two additional and exclusive products: an I Love Lucy tote bag and a set of false lashes the brand says ‘are based on the exact size, shape, and color that Lucille Ball wore.'”

The Lucille Ball collection is just the first in a new collection by Besamé.

Besamé has stated that they intend on producing an Iconic Women Series featuring iconic figures from history. It’s unknown as of yet who else will be featured on the upcoming products but we’re crossing our fingers for Latina icons like Dolores Huerta, Celia Cruz, and Rita Moreno.

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Latinas Are Defining Their Natural Hair For Themselves And It’s Pretty Beautiful

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Latinas Are Defining Their Natural Hair For Themselves And It’s Pretty Beautiful

Cameron Spencer / Getty

Pelo. Whether we grow it, curl, straighten it, or shave it we sure can’t seem to get enough of it. While, of course, we understand that having hair does not define us, for so many of us it means so much. After a recent stunning post, we found on Instagram posted by @goddess.veil we decided to ask Latinas the ultimate question.

“How would you describe your natural hair?”

And as it turns out, Latinas had quite a bit to say. Check it out below.

This chica described it as her BFF.

“El frizz y volumen mis mejores amigos!!” –beaamartz

“My hair is naturally red, extremely thick, coarse, and wavy. I even had a hairdresser compare it to llama wool I have learned how to take better care of it now that I’m older and not hate it anymore.”- katy_katie_katu_kat

And so many chicas called it wild and loved.

“Wild, free and unapologetic! I’m so glad I never listened to all the negative people that used to tell me to straighten my hair…no heat damage over here boo.” – lizbeth_ariana

“My glory it’s long curly and rebellious lol no matter what products I put in it does it’s own thing so I’ve embraced my natural curls and baby hair and even my natural color.” – ari_sotof

“Wild.” – tatismoreira

“God-gifted.” – jcarcreative

Greñuda and perfect.

“Greñuda con estilo.” – jannexees

“Free.” – storyexploratory

A fighter.

“Wanna be curly but wavy to frizzy on it’s best day. Can’t make up its mind but has a mind if it’s own until I bring out the straightener and we duke it out. The heat always wins!!” – tiazoom

“A natural flow with some wave.” – lidi83

Long and strong with the power and beauty passed onto to me by my ancestors.” – bri_g16

The indicator of my many moods lol depending on how I have it represents my mood of the day.” – jenivy09

Full of Vida is our favorite way to describe it.

“Wavy and full of vida.” – misdaisy

And we can’t help but tear up a little bit over this description as a protector.

It’s my protector, lays long as rapunzels in the stories, part of my identity and soars as the birds in skies and as blessed as God made me. HAPPY WARRIOR WEDNESDAY MIS GUERRERAS AND SISTERS! BLESSINGS ON THIS RISING!” – brightdollface

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