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The Inspiring Story Of How This DJ & Painter Manifested Her Success

If you’re lucky, you grow up with some sense of what your destiny is. For DJ and painter Quiana Parks, destiny was literally so close she could see it. It lived just over the bridge from her hometown of Paterson, NJ, in New York City — a place she says felt “just a leap of faith away.”

These days, Quiana’s pretty thrilled she made the jump. With her thriving DJ career and her paintings picking up recognition and landing gallery shows around the world, life is good for the woman who used to sleep in Port Authority when she got out from a late-night DJ set.

In partnership with ALDO, we spoke with Quiana about the past moments that delivered her to her destiny, how she’s enjoying her present success, and her even bigger plans for the future. Read on for the true tale of a woman who let nothing stand in her way.

Tell us a little about who you are and where you came from.
“I’m an artist and DJ straight out of Paterson, NJ. It was always my dream to move to New York, and with only 20 minutes between Paterson and the city, it felt like NYC was just a leap of faith away.”

What was the exact moment that made you want to DJ?
“My stepdad is a DJ and I always loved music and playing around with DJ apps, but it was nothing serious. Then a few years ago, I was at a club in the Meatpacking District and one of my favorite DJs was spinning. He was so creative with his transitions, and his scratching was sick! The crowd was so live and I couldn’t stop dancing — the energy he created in that room was incredible. I knew right then and there I wanted to do this.”

How did you go about learning the skills?
“After I had that revelation, I started really going in. I was obsessed. I practiced eight hours a day and started working with my mentor, a female DJ I really admired who took me under her wing and taught me. You can learn a lot very quickly when you have that drive.”

You told us that your third-ever DJ gig was a game-changing moment for you — how come?
“I was so nervous about that gig! I wanted to make sure every song I played was on point. I was also afraid that going from rap to soul wouldn’t go over well. But that was the music I loved and still do love, so I committed to it. It wasn’t until a really successful artist came over and said he liked my music that all my nervousness went away. I knew right then and there that I had nothing to worry about.”

Tell us about your style when you were starting out.
“Honestly, when I first started DJing, I dressed a lot differently than I do now. I wore tight dresses and six-inch heels because I thought that’s what I had to wear in order to be the superstar DJ I was working so hard to become. I still love a glam look, but these days I’m way more likely to do it in a way that feels like me.”

Tell us what your day-to-day life is like right now.
“I live in Clinton Hill, where I spend most days honing my craft — painting and seeking new inspiration for my pieces all day, then DJing at night. I never stop learning or creating.”

So how has your style changed
“It’s definitely evolved from my early days. I still like to be sexy, but now showing my personality and being comfortable is paramount. I love hoodies — my favorite outfit is an oversized hoodie with a miniskirt or shorts. And now that I’m on my feet painting and DJing all day, I can’t get away with those six-inch heels for my 18-hour days! A shorter, blocky heel on a badass boot keeps me moving and still looking stylish.”

What is the number-one thing you’re most excited about in your life right now?
“I always say I’m so lucky because I get to live for a living. My love of music and painting literally pays my bills, and I couldn’t ask for more. It’s always been a dream of mine to have a studio in my apartment where I can work on paintings and my music, and now I have that. Life is great!”

Did you ever think you’d reach this level of success, or did you work until you manifested it?
“I knew I’d reach this level of success because I worked hard and knew exactly what I wanted. Before I moved to New York, there were some nights I’d have to sleep in Port Authority after a DJ set because the next bus back to Jersey didn’t come until 7 a.m. It was hard, but I saw my dreams so clearly. Working hard is so much easier when you know exactly what you want. I did manifest my success. And I’m not done. You’ll see.”

Where do you see yourself in five or 10 years?
“Honestly, I have no idea, but that’s the beauty of it. I definitely see myself being happy, creating, and surrounded by people I love. I hope to take my art to new levels, have gallery shows all over the world. But only time will tell.”

How do you think your style will evolve in the future? Where can you see yourself wearing that black suit and sick heels?
“I see myself building more relationships and working with up-and-coming designers in the future. I also see myself evolving into a more sleek and classic look. I love the idea of wearing suits and a heel to my gallery exhibitions and DJ sets.”

And finally, complete this sentence: In 2019 and beyond, I plan to be…
“Blessed and highly fashionable.”

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