I love life
I laugh a lot
Life is a constant adventure
Text & Photos by Angel Pai
You may know Angel Pai as an actress who has graced your TV screen on shows such as “The Blacklist” playing a spy, or a TV host covering red carpet events on NYCTV and MTV. Or, as an international fashion muse that has opened and closed some of the most talked about New York fashion shows for world renowned designers such as Malan Breton, and featured in top publications worldwide- Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, GQ, MAXIM, ELLE, Marie Claire, to name a few…What you might not know is that Angel studied medicine at a young age and was on the dedicated path to becoming a neurosurgeon. But after she graduated university early, while visiting Taiwan, she innocently offered a group of ‘foreigners’ staying in her hotel to help them communicate with the locals, only to have her life change forever. This group turned out to be a French film crew shooting on location. Inspired by Angel herself, a pivotal role was created and offered to her mid-shoot. The French film later moved on to appear in numerous festivals throughout Europe. This story of discovery is just a slice of her ever-evolving artistry.
Angel Pai was born in Taiwan, raised in New York City, and lived in seven countries. She was an accomplished martial artist in Taekwondo throughout her teenage years and has since won eight gold medals in championships. She expanded her training into fencing and archery. As a fine artist, she began exhibiting oil paintings at age nine, having won numerous awards, and while attending the prestigious Stuyvesant high school in New York City, was chosen to exhibit in association with the Museum of Modern Art.
Art and humanitarian efforts deeply infuse all aspects of her life. As CEO/founder/designer of her jewelry brand, ILLUMIN DESIGNS, Angel personally sculpts and hand-makes each piece of crystal and gemstone jewelry, inspired by nature and the properties of the stone itself. Currently developing the WORLD collection, ILLUMIN DESIGNS is working with charity foundations around the world, dedicated to empowering and educating women and children worldwide. Whether it is through her photography while travelling the world, creating sculptures or building large-scale metal art and architecture at Burning Man, Angel strives to brighten the path for others.
Currently, Angel is developing film / tv programming with the intention to empower and inspire by promoting uplifting stories of humanitarian accomplishments, and sharing the trials and tribulations of the human story.
In her own words:
Bermuda is one of my favorite escapes every winter from NYC. Barely a two hour flight, with its mysterious history and stigma, it is one of the most naturally beautiful and perfect “all encompassing” islands I have experienced. On my second trip to the island, I came across this abandoned, ‘unfinished’ church on my way to another outworldly beach (there are quite a few on the island). I saw this structure and literally jumped off our scooter. I was inspired to create these ‘timeless’ images, inside a gothic church, damaged by storm, weathered by time, never to have had the funds to be completed. And yet, more powerful to me as it stands the test of time and a haunting reminder of what it could’ve been, made sacred by the fact that it was never a place of worship.
The only thing more beautiful on this island than the breathtakingly gorgeous landscape and the unyieldingly vibrant gem sea- are the People of Bermuda. In all of my world travels, never have I come across a country of full of people where their way of BEING is the definition of kindness and hospitality. On my first trip to this gift of an island, we asked two locals for directions as we were lost looking for a grocery store. The sun was setting. They tried explaining the way, warning us how far of a walk it would be, and that we might get lost in the dark. As New Yorkers, we chuckled, assured them we will be fine, thanked them, and marched onward with their directions. About ten minutes after, a speeding car pulled up right next to us. It turned out they were at a friend’s house when we chatted with them, and they ran home to get their car just to find us, scoop us up and drive us to the supermarket- because they were afraid we would get lost. Not only did they drive us there, they insisted on waiting for us as we grocery shopped, so they can drive us back to our rental to ensure our safety. that, my friends, is just one example of what I meant when I described this as an “all-encompassing island”. It is pure beauty of the natural wonders of the earth and of the human connection. This is truly an island I would visit just for the people on this island.
I have a personal rule of thumb to not travel to the same ‘vacation’ destination more than once, as there are so many gems in the world I have yet to explore. However, Bermuda and Tulum, Mexico both serve as the only two places I have happily visited more than once, and will continue to do so. Tulum, a mysterious world of its own- with the stunning coastline, untamed jungle, and out-worldly cenotes, contains a sacred and ancient energy I can only best describe as an “energetic vortex”. Perhaps that is why the ancients chose this particular location to build their sacred temples, now the famous Mayan ruins. Tulum, once known as Zama- “City of Dawn” was inhabited as early as sixth century. This one-of-a-kind melting pot of the traditional cultures of the ancients, mixed with an eagerly developing modern thirst, creates an energy surge unlike any other. Magically entrancing, ancient, and longing to belong to the modern world- all at once. There, I felt out of this world, out of this realm, and in the present – all at once. written by Angel Pai