Time to read: 10 minutes, 52 seconds. 2104 words.
Meet Eric and Andrea Richards, a mother and son duo sporting our Sup fits. We chatted with them about creativity, cannabis, and what it means to be a SUPER Role Model.
Sup: Eric, tell us a little bit about yourself!
Eric: 👋 my name is Eric, and I am a Creative Director here in Toronto. I kind of found my way into this position through the culmination of all my hobbies, interests and work experience. I’ve actually always had an interest in fashion. During school I started a little clothing line, with my long time friend and business partner Rahul Madan, which eventually evolved into what we now call WIL Studios. The brand’s platform allowed me to explore a lot more design, film, and photography, which I feel was the foundation to where I am at today. Fast forward a number of years later, I have the opportunity to shoot Mom for Superette!
Sup: Flawless set up Eric. Mom, tell us everything.
Andrea: Hello, all! My name is Andrea I am a single mother of five kids (yes all mine). I have one son-in-law and three beautiful grandkids. I have worked at many different jobs but have been at my current place of work for 15 years now and while it’s enjoyable, I’d be very happy to win the lottery and retire 😂. We had a family cat for 16 years and even though I swore I’d never get a dog (too much work), we are the owners of a female Shiba Inu named Mochi. Our lives would not be the same without her!
Sup: Wow, to say you’ve got your hands full is an understatement. That must be pretty incredible to have so much wonderful company.
It’s clear that you and Eric are close! Has this always been the case?
Andrea: Eric has been accused of being a mama’s boy, and well, it’s true to some extent. We have had many arguments but we have always had an easy rapport and would never stop talking to each other. Eric gives me emotional support even if he is not aware of it. He seems to have an intuitive sensitivity to making people feel good and I think it's partly what makes him successful with people and in the work he does. Despite being a mama’s boy, he has grown into a very independent, very cool human who makes me proud.
Sup: So Eric, can you explain the concept for this Sup photoshoot? We’ve been told this is not your first son & mom creative endeavour.
Eric: I wanted to capture the energy of the colourful products and playful branding of Superette. When I’m shooting I love to catch candid moments, and shooting with my mom makes it that much easier. It was really both of us thinking of quirky ways to capture the product, and lots of laughing along the way.
This is not our first shoot, no. Last year, at the beginning of the quarantine, I decided to use the time at home as an opportunity to shoot a little editorial together using some of the wardrobe that I had in my closet. Asked her that morning (lol), and luckily she had some time to model in our makeshift living room “studio”. She killed it. The photos can actually be seen on BULLY Magazine.
Sup: What does this shoot with Eric mean to you?
Andrea: I think the biggest thing for me is that I’m humbled he asked me to do this. I feel so proud of him and where he is at today with his personal and professional growth and all of his success. I’m in awe of him.
Sup: Y’all are gonna make us cry! You two look like you had a blast on set. What’s the best thing about working with fam?
Eric: This was a very unique and fun project to be able to work together on. Not many people can say they got to shoot their mom in a fashion editorial. I even got our dog Mochi in some shots! It was really nice to see how excited all of my brothers and sisters were for our mom to be the ⭐ of a photoshoot, so i'm really happy to be able to do that for us. I love that we’ll have these photos and memories to look back on.
Sup: Super cool. What else has been keeping you busy and what are you looking forward to most?
Eric: Due to COVID-19 I have been spending a lot more time at home, which is great. A lot more time to slow down, reflect, and figure out where to focus my energy. Really looking forward to finishing some passion projects I haven’t had the time to. Also, starting some new ones coming down the pipeline.
Sup: Tell us about some of the projects that you’re working on, so that we can keep our 👀 peeled.
Eric: For a long time now we have wanted to find a way to use our experience and knowledge in the creative industry to help elevate other BIPOC artists and entrepreneurs. To do this, we just launched our new organization What We Like. Through here we will be continuously finding new ways to create opportunities for our community.
With that said, I am very excited for the launch of our first initiative called Project Reframed! Partnering with the City of Toronto, the project will promote visibility and foster new connections through a multi-platform experience, including an online VR gallery. Look out for Project Reframed around the city!!
Sup: Woah, the future is now! This all sounds amazing and completely necessary.
This brings up another question we’ve got for Andrea. WIth it being Black History Month while also reflecting on the social and political events of the past year in particular - how has this changed the conversation about race and equality in your home?
Andrea: This past year has really opened up the conversation in our household not only about black inequality but also women’s issues and economic barriers. Each one of us has endured some form of discrimination because of one or all of these issues together. But we have not let it bring us down. And despite having 5 kids with very different personalities, they are solid as one when it comes to supporting each other and accepting each other for their own differences. I taught them to be kind to everyone and I believe my kids have taken that to heart.
Sup: Well they’ve got one kind and strong mama to thank for such unconditional care.
So we’ve kind of touched on this a bit already but - who are your role models and how have they impacted the way you approach raising a family?
Andrea: I feel very lucky to have a long line of strong women in my family. My grandmothers on both sides and my mother have all been hard working, resourceful, kind, and generous. They provided a good foundation and support system for me to raise my five kids. As I got older and gained my own sense of self, it helped me to open up and be less rigid. I’ve been able to foster a more communicative, open relationship with my children. Becoming single probably helped too 😅
Sup: As a parent, what would you say you've hoped to instill in your childrens values?
Andrea: I think the three key things I've said often are to always work hard, be confident in themselves, and to be good with their money (never stingy) but manage it well.
Sup: Work hard, be nice. If only it could always be that simple. Eric, your turn. Who do you look up to the most?
Eric: No surprise here. My mom was a huge role model for me growing up. Seeing her work two to three jobs at a time, instilled the value of hard-work in me. Without her I would not be where I am today.
Sup: Okay, Eric. You’re really going to make us cry twice today?
One-day-at-a-time seems to be the recurring slogan for 2021. What keeps you inspired in these weird times?
Eric: I love to learn how to do new things. Finding something of interest, learning about it then ideating on how to make it happen is exciting to me. It keeps me engaged and inspired to move forward.
Sup: Also no surprise there. You always seem to have something SUPER interesting on the go! What about you Andrea?
Andrea: Family definitely keeps me going. The younger kids are still making their way in this world and I’m trying to support their endeavours. One of their most recent projects has them learning how to grow their own weed - and have started with an indoor tent and a few plants 🌿. The process is much more complicated than I thought and there is so much to learn!
That’s been keeping things fun and COVID-19 has provided a very unique opportunity for us all to just be together and I’m thankful.
Sup: Okay, now we’re talking! So, what’s your relationship with cannabis? Was weed something y’all talked about in the house while the kids were growing up?
Andrea: I have a long history with cannabis. But to be honest, I never smoked it until I was in my 40s. For most of my life it was taboo and not something a “girl like me” should ever do, you know, stay pure.
Most of it stemmed from being Mormon for a time, but I think my family was just always against it even though I had been exposed to it all my life through my stepfather and then friends and siblings. For my kids though, it was something other family members did and it was only talked about as a bad thing and with fear and trepidation. As the kids got older, and as I became more independent, I felt my views change. I knew there would be drinking and weed and I felt I’d rather preach safety for them, instead of just preaching. Now they are all young adults, and we can talk about these things openly.
Sup: Eric, we have a feeling your answer may be much different than your mom’s. With legalization and the work being done to destigmatize cannabis, what’s your take on consuming cannabis? Is it a part of your creative “lift” shall we say?
Eric: I will smoke a blunt with my boys on occasion. I wouldn’t say that it is a part of my creative process but more of a way for me to collect my thoughts and relax, or even celebrate.
Sup: Those reasons are all highly ideal ways to enjoy weed 😌
We know Mom is reading, but Can you tell us about the first time you got stoned? Do you have a favourite memory?
Eric: I think the first time for most people is memorable. I was at a friend’s cottage, and we had all decided to try it for the first time. I don’t think any of us actually got high the first night lol even though we all had “munchies”. After a few more tries we got it right though, and it was a good time all around.
Sup: Some good, clean, fun. Okay, that was pretty PG. Let’s hear what Andrea has to say.
Andrea: My kids know I love to go to a club with loud music and dancing. When I was newly single, it was awkward for them when I first started going out and truthfully it was awkward for me too. I was really nervous and I wanted to feel confident.
Weed definitely helped me to loosen up and enjoy the experience instead of being uptight and anxious. My favourite memories are all those experiences at a club, getting high and then feeling the music beat through your body while you dance and have fun with myriads of other people all around you.
Sup: Oh do we miss that feeling. It’s pretty incredible how things can just feel, taste and seem a little more sparkly.
Speaking of sparkly things, you look great in the Smurf stonersuit. What was your fave Sup accessory on the shoot?
Andrea: Thank you! I think number one goes to the toques. They were the perfect shape and size and I would like to own them in all the colours. Also, the shopping bag, that thing would never leave my side (literally).
Sup: You both are so inspiring. Thank you for sharing your time and good vibes with us. We can’t wait to check in with you next.