“So Aja, what school did you attend and what field of work would you ultimately like to end up in?”
“I received my BA in marketing from University of San Francisco and am currently working towards my MA in broadcast journalism at the Annenberg School of Journalism at USC. My ultimate goal is to have my own travel show, which will explore the various cultural, dating and religious aspects of each city or country. Traveling is a passion of mine and I hope to give people a more in-depth look at different cultures other than our own. I also think that when people see the natural beauty the world has to offer, they will want to stop destroying it by making a conscious effort to save our environment and natural resources.”
What is it like running around conducting interviews for Neon Tommy covering stories from, Celebrity filled events to Sustainability planned initiatives? What was it like to be in Campus Girls and Maxim?
“Working for Neon Tommy has been a very eye opening experience. I have covered topics ranging from California politics, sustainability initiatives, red carpet events and the LAUSD. I recently started a weekly column called Blacklisted, which explores the most bizarre stories in popular culture. Conducting interviews continues to be a nerve wracking experience, especially with topics I am not too familiar with, but doing research before hand and preparing questions ahead of time always makes the interviews go as smoothly as possible. Covering red carpet events is not as glamorous as one might think! There is a lot of down time and normally you only have a couple of minutes with celebrities and have to try to hold their interest. The most fascinating topics, to me, are always the ones dealing with sustainability and the environment. People are very passionate about the issue, which makes for a more engaging story.”
“Being in Campus Girls was a great experience. As I previously said, I love to travel, and being able to shoot a swimsuit calendar in the Virgin Islands was quite the treat. The locals are so kind, it reminded me of being back home in Hawaii. Being a semi-finalist in Maxim’s Hometown Hotties has been a great experience so far. It’s never fun having to compete for votes against 99 other beautiful women, but I feel that I have unique characteristics, which will take me all the way to the top 10!”
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You have covered a few stories related to Sustainability in the Los Angeles area, why do you think sustainability is so important to our generation?
“Sustainability is very important for our generation because we simply don’t have any other choices. We are using non-renewable resources at an alarming rate and although people are aware of this I don’t think they fully grasp the gravity of the situation. Although there are initiatives in place to help decrease global warming and increase awareness of sustainable options, the government can only do so much. The responsibility is on the community.”
Los Angeles is known to have some of the worst air pollution in the country, what is the city doing to be more sustainable and environmentally friendly?
“The city is doing quite a bit to help alleviate the air pollution in LA. The Los Angeles Metropolitan Transit Authority (LAMTA) is the first major transit authority to run its entire fleet completely off of natural gas. This reduces carbon emissions by 300,000 pounds a day and cuts smog forming chemicals by 90 percent. The city also passed a new master bike plan, which boasts 1,680 miles of interconnected bike ways all over the city. Along with increased driver awareness and safer cycling roads, the plan pledges to add 200 miles to the path every five years. Both of these initiatives are helping to reduce gas emissions from cars and trucks by giving the community healthier and greener transportation options. The LA County Board of Supervisors also passed the plastic bag ban last year but I haven’t really seen that being enacted or reinforced.”
Would you say that the attitude to being more environmentally conscious is picking up in LA?
“I can’t really tell whether or not LA is becoming more environmentally conscious. I know that there are various environmental groups trying to set the stage for a greener city, but I don’t think most of the people can be bothered with worrying about the issue. Although air pollution is a major issue in the city, I think that LA is too much of a driving city for people to want to get out of their cars and use different means of transportation. It is just more convenient for everyone to drive. There are cities, like San Francisco, that are extremely conscious about the environment, and while I hope LA will get there one day, the city is definitely not there yet.”
Is there one thing that you do in your daily life that can be attributed to sustainability?
“There are many things I do in my daily life to help this situation. Only using natural sunlight during the day and turning off lights in rooms I am not in at night is a simple way to not only save energy, but to decrease your electricity bill. I try to walk every where, which unfortunately is hard to do in LA, but I am going to buy a bike soon so I can go to the grocery store or gym without having to jump into my car. And instead of buying Tupperware, I keep the containers I get from ordering out or grocery shopping so I don’t have to dirty the landfills with more plastic. Everything from using reusable tote bags, to carrying around a stainless steel water bottle helps.”
If you could travel to one place in the world where would it be, and why?
“I would love to go to Greece or Croatia. Culture, food and ocean-what more could a girl want on a vacation?”
If you could be one animal in the world what would it be?
“I would be a dolphin because they are super smart and really graceful.”
Make sure to vote for Aja in Maxim’s Hometown Hottie contest! You can see more of Aja here and the awesome stories she covers for Neon Tommy!