Every week I write a column called BE YOU for one of the local papers (The Times of Acadiana) – Each week someone different answers the questionnaire – the paper often has to edit them,  so here are all the answers, unedited (the whole truth.) This week is Gina Aswell.

Gina Aswell is a Brand Developer at the Russo Group and one of those people who is hard to ignore. She is full of insight, wit and says the most unexpected things – my kind of person. Gina is one of those people who has real conversations and values all the right things in life. She inhabits downtown – she works 26 steps from where she lives (yes, she counted) and thrives on the mini city environment that surrounds her. I think you’d like her.

What was your first job?
Receptionist for an attorney who dealt with immigration.

Describe a typical day in your life.
A walk with the dog, a great day at The Russo Group, a great dinner with Derek and drinks with friends.

What advice would you give the younger you?
Don’t worry about sticking to a path, just roll with it and drink in the experiences.

What event in your life most shaped who you are now?
My mother was very sick when I was 13 years old and was not expected to make it out of surgery. She is a miracle who I am thankful for having in my life every day.

What values do you live by?
Honesty, integrity and compassion – well, I try to stick to those.

What do you most appreciate?
A good/sick sense of humor. It’s annoying when people take themselves too seriously and a really good sense of humor, where nothing is sacred is rare. Maybe that is why I married Derek. He makes me chuckle every day. Even when I want to strangle him, he makes me laugh. So, I can never stay too mad too long.

What is your favorite journey?
I love going somewhere new, especially when I ask the locals where to go and what to do. But, the greatest moment is wandering around and uncovering something special by yourself. I try to let it happen in every place I visit, but it ALWAYS happens when I am in NYC. There is always something new to explore in that city. It’s magical.

Where is your favorite place to be alone?
Anywhere with a book – I can turn into a recluse even in the middle of a crowd, when I get involved with a character.

What living figure most inspires you?
Sudha Chandran

What was the best advice you were ever given?
“When you’re too good, you’re no good.” My grandma always used to say that to address the people pleaser in me.

What book would you tell everyone to read?
Ha! I read cheesy romance, sci-fi, mystery and fantasy novels- nothing based in reality. It’s my guilty pleasure, and I rather not recommend.

What is the best thing about where you live?
I live Downtown, and I can’t just name one thing. I work 26 steps from where I live, and I have the best food, music and art surrounding me. It’s incredible. Oh, and my loft is so very cool.

How do you “let the good times roll” ?
Food + Drink + Music + Friends = Good Time

What did u want to be when you grew up?
A soloist with American Ballet Theatre – ha! It makes me chuckle just thinking about it.

What is your motto?
Every change or sacrifice leads to a new adventure, so embrace it and you will always come out ahead.

How would you like to be remembered?
I don’t think it’s important to be remembered by others. Live for yourself with compassion for others. Whatever comes out of that, then fab.

What do you say to yourself when you doubt yourself?
“Come on Gina! Get yourself together and just do it!” Yes, I talk to myself in the 3rd person…frequently.

What three things are vital to BEing YOU?
Laughter, dancing and being tactless

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
It is, what it is.

What is your favorite word sound?
My dog never barks when she is awake, so it is super cute when she barks during puppy dreams.

What do you collect?
Souls. Seriously, I collect art. Nothing too expensive, but I’m building up a collection nonetheless.

What food could you live on for a month?
Sushi, all day, every day, for a month.

What would you change about yourself?
I always wish I was a bit more thoughtful when it comes to my friends and family.

What literary, movie or cartoon character do you most identify with?
Emma Woodhouse from Jane Austen’s Emma or Leslie Knope from Parks and Recreation.

Describe yourself in five words.
Goofy, Sarcastic, Enthusiastic, Blunt, Adventurous

What is your idea of happiness?
My husband, dog and I curled up on a sofa and watching a great movie.

What is your favorite movie?
I can’t pick one: “Star Wars”, “Persuasion”, “A Clockwork Orange”, “The Turning Point”, “Harry Potter”, “Schindler’s List”, “The Big Lebowski”, etc.

What music defines who you are?
The Rolling Stones

What do you most regret?
Anything I do that hurts the people I love.

What question do you wish I’d asked?
What’s your spirit animal

What would the answer be?
A frog