Humans of Orange County Outtakes
#HOOC Outtake #10:
“I have always depended on the kindness of strangers.”
Thankfully, unlike Blanche DuBois, I’ve been lucky enough to depend on the kindness of friends. Kelly and Lydia were introduced to me over email through Charity L. Miller — on a Tuesday morning in early spring, Kelly’s friend’s parents swiped the three of us into Disneyland, allowing me to snap a few photos before ducking off to work.
This would be my first photoshoot for the book — a friend of a friend had the parents of a friend get us into Disneyland, all for a project they knew relatively little about. Small coincidences like this would occur throughout the photoshoot process, and I’m incredibly grateful for all these little meetings. From fish bowls with Katie and Griffin to panther-riding with Matt (pictured below), everyone who said “yes,” despite hardly knowing me, is a true American saint.
I can only hope to pay these kindnesses forward.
Although no, Los Angeles, I will NOT appear in your improv or sketch show. Anything else is fair game.
#HOOC outtake #9:
ABG = Asian Baby Girl, the female counterpart to a “fuckboi.”
ABG’s love contouring, raving, and wishing they could date black men. Reppin’ the ABGs was a necessity for #HumansOfOrangeCounty, leading us to an ABG photoshoot with Tammy Do and Tam Liu (Yes, they are both named Tammie/y. Yes, this is a very ABG name, along with Amy, Stephanie, or Vivian).
We began our morning blasting Calvin Harris hits while the Tams applied fake eyelashes. Tam Liu then tried to contour her nose. I’m not sure if she was successful, but when I met you in the summer, the leaves were God we're basic.
Snapbacks were donned. Ugh, yes, this Chainsmokers song is MY JAM! Me too! I can’t WAIT to go to EDC with you and Jae. Who are you getting your yay from? Michael. Is he the one in Lamda? No he’s in Pineapple. Bitch, are you fucking him?!
Omg I’m so hungry, let’s go to Boiling Point.
#HOOC Outtake #8:
One of the first moments in #HumansOfOrangeCounty was based on a real life event of a Bible study group passionately arguing over spreadsheet management at Panera Bread.
I was in attendance at this Panera Bread every Monday night thanks to my OC writing group, the Barmy Drapers. The two years I spent in the OC were sustained by our little community of sci-fi, steampunk, and fantasy writers.
The Barmies were kind enough to allow me to snap pics of them during one of our weekly Panera Bread trysts, and they’ve been nothing but supportive the last two years. Extra shout-out to Eddie and Amber, who went out of their way to do separate photoshoots for me! Nerds unite!
#HOOC Outtake #7:
You know the #HumansOfOrangeCounty poster with my ass on it? Or the book cover that’s a direct parody of the Humans of New York cover? Both were done by the brilliant Ryan Sulak. He conceptually designed an amazing book cover when I was giving weird direction, and he's a hero for patiently dealing with my million little edits.
This book was largely self-edited, but Karen Robinson was a hired hand who copy edited the book wonderfully back in September.
The photos were all edited by the wildly talented Natasha Azevedo, and because of her, the photos you see in the final product won’t look like they were dimly lit in the dungeons of Hell.
Thank you to the Humans of Orange County editing team — the book is beautiful because of your fine work!
One week til you get to see it.
#HOOC Outtake #6:
Here is a picture of the “Yorba Linda gang sign.”
Yorba Linda is a special little microcosm of Orange County, filled with lifted trucks and an excessive number of churches. We thought we were hard in the streets, but really we were a collection of white and Asian kids who would grow up to love money and Jesus.
Having to come back to Yorba Linda after the freedom of Berkeley was excruciating. But it was also the little city that raised me, and I owe an especial debt of gratitude to the Yorba Linda Public Library for housing me during all those hours of #HOOC editing.
As a writer, there are often not enough spaces to work in that are both free and comfortable. Except for the library. Thank the Lord for this last publicly funded writer’s sanctuary. I owe the YLPL so much.
#HOOC Outtake #5:
I attended my first Indian wedding in May of 2015, and I was pretty much not sober for a full week.
My favorite Desis in Orange County are the Mathur boys (Why are there so many male species of you? Why am I not friends with a Mathur lady?!), who are a goddamn riot and a half. These bhenchods have been a constant for me in the 949, and their turn-up was lit enough to inspire a little paragraph about Indians of Orange County.
From a table in Vegas to the throes of a Ducks playoff game to the trenches of Kendrick and Kanye shows, thank you betas for letting me loose and keeping me sane during my rough patches.
Bhabhiji in the house, forever.
#HOOC Outtake #4: I took 50+ photoshoots worth of pictures for this book.
Some of them were planned, but most of them were done quickly, efficiently, in drive-by shoots. I would stop by someone’s residence or workplace, or they would meet me at a location (God Bless the Irvine Spectrum and Diamond Jamboree), and we would get a couple pictures done in-between events, work, or life.
#HumansOfOrangeCounty would not have been possible without these people's willingness to volunteer their time, reputation, and dogs to this project. Even if they don’t appear in the final product, I'm immensely grateful they let this basic bitch snap a pic of them.
They are the real stars, and may their notoriety blossom because of it. All their names are listed in the Thank You section of the book.
#HOOC Outtake #3:
When I first sent out the email about #HumansOfOrangeCounty, Cory Darling responded immediately.
I jokingly told her that it’d be great if we could do a shoot on a boat. To which Cory replied, “I have a boat …”
I owe an immense deal of gratitude to Cory and the Darling family. This basic has been nothing but supportive since the beginning, and I feel of all my OC friends, she feels most deeply, to her core, my anxieties about Newport Beach.
The boat shoot came together because of Cory. The boat party is happening because of Cory. The few children you’ll see in the book were all supplied and volunteered by Cory. Cory is also one of the most generous and hospitable people I know, and she gives the white people of Orange County a good rep. Thanks for everything, homes. And Go Bears.
#HOOC Outtake #2:
There is no one who owns the title of “pizza slut” better than Tammy Do.
The most critical person to this entire project was my pho and bowling buddy — all the photos you see in the book were shot on Tammy’s fancy-ass Nikon. She leant me her camera for months at a time, and worked around our busy schedules to coordinate drop-off and pick-up of the equipment.
She also had to emotionally support an existentially confused friend who would pop over on a Tuesday morning for a session of Sour Patch kids, Flaming Hot Cheetos, and wine. I once asked a drunk Tammy (aka Drammy) what the three best moments of her life were. Her response: “The first time I ate pizza, the second time I ate pizza, and the third time I ate pizza.” This is why we are friends. Thanks dude. For the company, the Ducks hat, and making this little work of art possible.
#HOOC Outtake #1:
All ten #HOOC outtakes said thank you to everyone who was a part of the book making process.
But this last one is for you, beautiful crowdsource.
The most Millennial thing a Millennial could do, besides overusing the word “literally”, is to thank social media.
So I want to say thank you, social media. I literally could not have done this without you. Everyone who has ever liked, laughed, commented, or grimaced at one of my statuses has encouraged me to keep going with this project. The book’s intended audience was you, and I hope you enjoy it.
Lynn Q. Yu