Photojournalist, rock climber and roller derby skater. Yes, Susanica Tam is one of those ladies that seems to kick ass at all things cool. Starting her career as a newspaper photographer, Susanica soon figured out how to make a career of photographing the active lifestyle she loves — shooting editorial and commercial photography of action sports like roller derby and rockclimbing. “Just like surf photography, it’s easier to document if you can be in the medium yourself.”
Because Susanica is so unique in how she moves and marries her varied interests, we tapped her to be part of an extraordinary group of women that inspire us and our new activewear line Move. She is a MoveMaker and we’re honored to have her energy and expertise. Here Susanica shares pretty much everything that rocks her world.
What inspires you to move? Movement is like medicine for me. The moments when I float a move on the rock, or break out of an impossible pack on skates and have the sensation of soaring are when I feel most like myself, but it takes sustained effort to get there!
I work well with an ignition point, like a cup of coffee, or a tangible goal, or feeling discernible progress as starter fuel. But I guess my best inspiration usually centers around people. Having a community and role models holds me most accountable. I’m so grateful to those who’ve run alongside me because I hate running. But the knowledge that I’ll simply feel better if I go and knowing someone I like will be there plays a big part in inspiring me to move.
There was a time when my idea of perfection would have been being crowned the winner of some absurd shit. But I’ve learned to reason with my sense of competition. I try to adhere to the simplest reminder, a literal interpretation of the phrase: a body in motion stays in motion, and a body at rest stays at rest.
How do you move through the world differently? Photojournalists are trained observers, so I depend a lot on my ability to adapt quickly but also stay out of the way. This immersion process has allowed me to absorb many experiences, cultures, languages and situations that I’ve transitioned continuously in and out of, and it has shaped my outlook and capacity to relate to people.
Playlist: Juan Luis Guerra and various bachatas, Lana del Rey for my moody summer nights, T.I, Daft Punk, Eminem and Chvrches.
Favorites eats: Uh oh, this is a serious topic. My guilty pleasure is mac’n’cheese! My healthy-ish favorites are the salads at Four Cafe in Eagle Rock. Current crush is Samosa House Sunset which opened an eastside location recently. Forage in Silver Lake for farm-to-table lunch and desserts. Fresh pesto at Colori downtown. I love fish tacos after a day on the water, hearty Cuban food after a long shoot, Salvadorian breakfasts the morning after a late night, Vietnamese spring rolls on-the-go, late night ramen and noodles and pupusas at local joints.
We are really lucky here in SoCal to have so many farmers markets with seasonal fruit and veggies. Right now I also have rainbow chard, summer squashes, mulberry and lemon trees in my garden and get fresh eggs from my pet chickens, DG and Rosco.
Hidden talent: I have perfect pitch. I also find great satisfaction in putting together IKEA furniture and piecing together the little pictures in the instructions.
Why partner with Move by Alternative? Because I am a glutton for comfort and Alternative makes the most comfortable, dreamy clothes that I can wear to sleep, workout, and then leave the house without changing and still get complimented on. It is truly rare to find a company so thorough and genuinely committed to design, concept and follow-through. I enjoy following the designers on their worldwide travels on Instagram and I can really feel the enthusiasm that Alternative puts into their projects.
Written by Shannon Randall
Photos by Andrew Lee