Before Danielle Villasana (@davillasana) found her professional path, she roamed the world. At 18, she waitressed in her home state of Texas to support months abroad in Europe and Africa. “I was in West Africa and I started to really grapple with the question of what can I do as a person to try to make this world a more equal, just and fair place,” says Danielle, now 30, whose experience in the region compelled her to pursue photojournalism as a career. Recently, she was on assignment for The New York Times, highlighting five of their “52 Places to Go in 2017.” “Travel can really open up your mind to how others live around the world,” says Danielle of her work on the project. “It’s so important to have those cultural exchanges with people so that we realize that collectively, as a human race, we have so much more in common with each other than differences. I try to express that most places are actually very safe and full of friendly people.” Check out @nytimestravel to see more from “52 Places to Go in 2017.” Photo by @davillasana
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Some 13 year olds ask for bikes, later curfews or larger allowances; Brooklyn and Bailey McKnight (@brooklynandbailey) asked for their own online video channel. “We grew up on our mom’s channel,” say the Texas-based twins, who gained their ease in front of the camera by acting as hair models for their mother’s own hairstyle-focused video channel. “Viewers were asking about us all the time, so we really hoped for our channel to showcase our personalities and the more personal aspects of our lives.” Four years later, Brooklyn and Bailey post new videos every week, which is dedicated to “all things fun” — anything from beauty trend trial and errors to comedy sketches and songs. “We try to showcase the normal, day-to-day aspects of being teenagers,” they say, which includes thinking about college. What will become of the dynamic duo’s channel once they strike out on their own? “We still plan to film videos while at college. We’re both excited for those adventures, but nervous to be away from home for the first time!” This week, Brooklyn and Bailey are headed to #VidCon, an annual celebration of videos and video creators. Photo by @brooklynandbailey
As seen through a puddle, cobblestones and nearby apartments became #WHPstandout material to Alek Malachowski (@hashtagalek). “I like how the reflection of the building disturbs the structure of the pavement,” says Alek. Photo by @hashtagalek
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Three — that’s how many trainers Isabela Moner (@isabelamoner) had in the six weeks leading up to filming the @transformersmovie, when the 15-year-old actress was getting in shape for her role as the independent Izabella. “I was doing cardio, boxing and resistance training,” says Isabela. “I had to build up stamina and endurance for the long days that little old me would be running alongside Mark Wahlberg.” Tough workouts and extraterrestrial bad guys aren’t even Isabela’s biggest challenges these days — it’s balancing school and acting. “My mom said I couldn’t continue acting if I didn’t keep my grades up,” says Isabela, who calls Cleveland home. “I usually fit in as much school as I can on set, but it’s hard to switch gears. You go from quadratic formulas to dramatic death scenes. It’s complicated, but also rewarding — I have such a sense of accomplishment in juggling both my career and my education.” Photo of @isabelamoner by @adamchristopherphoto
Starting today, we’re introducing the option to share a replay of your live video to Instagram Stories. Now, more of your friends and followers can catch up on what they missed. When your broadcast has ended, you’ll be able to tap “Share” at the bottom of the screen to add your replay to Instagram Stories for 24 hours. You can also tap the toggle and choose “Discard,” and your live video will disappear from the app as usual. When someone you follow shares a replay, you’ll see a play button under their profile photo in the stories bar. Tap it to watch the video and see comments and likes from the original broadcast. Since introducing live video in November, millions of people have used it to connect with friends and followers in an authentic way. Now, you can share these experiences with even more people. To learn more about today’s updates, check out help.instagram.com. These updates are available as part of Instagram version 10.26 for iOS in the Apple App Store and for Android in Google Play.
“Photography allows me to stay on the move, much like I did throughout my childhood and young adult years,” recounts photojournalist Diana Zeyneb Alhindawi (@dianazeynebalhindawi), who was born in Romania to an Iraqi father and Romanian mother. “Our family faced repeated harassment under the communist regime, but returning to Iraq was not an option for my father,” she says. “He would have been killed.” The family moved to Syria, then back to Romania, where they applied for asylum in Germany, but were rejected. “We ended up living in a refugee camp in former Yugoslavia, and were accepted for resettlement in Canada just before my 8th birthday,” says Diana. We were the perfect refugee family — my mother and father had professional degrees, and my brother and I were young enough to easily integrate into a new society and national identity.” Diana now divides her time between Brooklyn, New York, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. “I started working in humanitarian aid because I wanted to help people in the types of situations my family went through,” she says. Four years ago, she decided to turn to a career in photography. “It lets me immerse myself in the lives of others, and to continue working with those experiencing some of the world’s harshest realities.” #WhereIComeFrom June 20th marks #WorldRefugeeDay, a day to honor the men, women and children who must flee their homes under threat of persecution and violence. Photo by @dianazeynebalhindawi
A burst of bright yellow shines from Hong Kong’s monochromatic skyline. Follow along to see more of our favorites from last weekend’s hashtag project, #WHPstandout. Photo by @ryanmamba
“I wanted to be a singer since I was a child, but the hunger and drive for it escalated when I saw Lady Gaga perform on her Monster Ball Tour,” says 18-year-old artist Trevor Moran (@trevormoran), who has since gone on to record two EPs and garner a following of loyal online fans. “The proudest moments of my career are when my fans tell me I inspire them to be their authentic selves,” says Trevor, who believes #KindComments are all about love, respect and, of course, kindness. “The most memorable kind comments I’ve ever received were the ones I got the day I came out online,” says Trevor. “People all over the world were showing me great acceptance. It brought tears to my eyes.” It’s June, and in many countries that means it’s time to celebrate #Pride2017. Join the celebration by adding your own #KindComments that uplift you and others in the LGBTQ community.
Playing the inclusive, supportive character of Mae Valentine on Nickelodeon’s “Nicky, Ricky, Dicky & Dawn” isn’t much of a stretch for 13-year-old actress Kyla-Drew Simmons (@kyladrewatla). “I try to congratulate, acknowledge and praise as many people as possible,” she says. “My favorite emoji is two high-fives!” Growing up in Atlanta, Kyla-Drew relocated to Los Angeles to pursue acting at age 8. “Every day, I remind myself to stay focused and keep a positive attitude. That’s the only way to keep moving forward.” Watch our Instagram story now to hear more #KindComments — empowering comments that uplift you and others in the community.
The only mystery behind the popularity of Mike Chau’s (@foodbabyny) pictures is why no one came up with the simple equation — food + babies — sooner. So, what inspired Mike to pose his son, Matt, and his daughter, Samantha, with delicious-looking foods around New York City? Mike’s answer is simple: boredom. “Right after Matt was born, we didn’t go out very often,” says Mike. “We ordered a lot of takeout and ate at home. I was taking pictures, but it was getting boring. Same photos of Matt, same foods. Then I thought it would be fun to combine them. I figured if there was a shot of food with a cute kid behind it, it might be more interesting.” Judging by the response — Mike and his family are often recognized on the street by well-wishers — he was right. But the best part? The family time. “It’s just great that we can do this together, as a family, because we all love it.” Watch our Instagram story now to eat some tasty treats with Mike and his family this #FathersDay. Photo by @foodbabyny
In Ushuaia, Argentina, the southernmost city in the world, the June nights are long. “The moon shines double the time of the sun,” says Gisela Gomila (@giselagc_), who lives at the foot of the Andes Mountains with her husband and two children. “Some call Ushuaia the end of the world, but it’s the beginning of everything.” #TheWeekOnInstagram Photo by @giselagc_
Nastaran Farjadpezeshk (@nastaran__fp) is inspired by the simplicity of life outside of the city of Mashhad, Iran. “Whenever I get tired of the city, I take refuge in the suburbs,” she says. “It’s a new and different form of life.” #TheWeekOnInstagram Photo by @nastaran__fp
In the lush greenery of Taiwan’s Yangmingshan National Park, Vivian Huang (@vivianhaung) stops to smell the hydrangeas. “The light coming down from between the clouds made these flowers even more dazzling,” she says. #TheWeekOnInstagram Photo by @vivianhaung
There’s no rule that kids’ birthday parties have to be splashed with cartoon characters, primary-colored balloons and superheroes, say business partners and mom-friends Gabriella Toscan and Dorothée Monestier. In fact, they prefer a more sophisticated, design-forward aesthetic, which is why the owners of Paris-based My Little Day (@mylittleday) offer party supplies and decorations with both children and grownups in mind. “This is a different way of considering kids,” says Gabriella. “It’s more about bringing them into the parents’ lives with things that are cool and fun.” Gabriella and Dorothée began forming this philosophy before they became parents themselves. During college, the two dressed up as princesses and pirates to entertain at children’s parties, and before long drew up plans for activities, decorations and themes that were chic and a hit with the little ones. Nowadays, My Little Day has enough party designs and themes to fill up several childhoods, while the mission has remained the same. “The first idea we had — which was to help other moms entertain — is still there,” says Gabriella. Watch our Instagram story now to learn how to throw the perfect summer party with My Little Day. Photo by @mylittleday
It worked out that 17-year-old fashion designer Shami Oshun (@bluexheeta) didn’t decide to go to prom until the week before — after all, she only needed one night to hand-sew her own gown. “I’m kind of a last-minute person. That’s where all my best ideas come from,” says the Hayward, California, native, who’s been sewing since she was 8 and now runs her own clothing line, @shamioshun. Shami credits her design success with letting her ideas flow, so that’s just what she did. The day before prom, she bought a few yards of purple tulle, grabbed some pins and her dress form, and got to work, putting the finishing touches on just before her friends came over to get ready. While Shami had no expectations that her dress would be as much of a hit as it was, she hopes young designers will follow her lead and make events like prom their own fashion runway. “If I make a fancy dress, what am I going to do with it? Just take pictures?” says Shami. “Take advantage of nights like prom — do what you love and show off your skills.” Photo by @bluexheeta
Photographer Annie Tritt (@transcendingself) has her #EyesOn the journey of transgender youth around the world. “The project started with an idea of authenticity, of what it means to be yourself,” says the New York-based photographer, who takes portraits of transgender children for her series titled “Transcending Self.” “The dynamics that young people experience vary a lot depending on where they live and who their parents are. The only commonality is that the kids who are happy are the ones who are embraced for fully being themselves.” Now three years in the making, Annie didn’t originally intend to dedicate so much time and effort to the project, but the outpouring of support convinced her to continue. “I get messages every time I post something about how ‘Transcending Self’ has changed someone’s life,” says Annie, “from the young trans man who did not see himself reflected in the media, to a 28-year-old who did not think his life was worth living anymore, to a mom who reconnected with her trans child. It’s a project that saves lives. Now that I know that, I can’t stop.” It’s June, and in many countries that means it’s time to celebrate #Pride2017. All month long, we’ll be sharing stories from diverse LGBTQ community members from around the world. Photo by @trittscamera