03.15.2017 - 03.24.2017 // New York City

  Leaving Los Angeles I was unprepared for the amount of anxiety I would have for the first time in my life. I was lucky enough to gather friends for my last few days on the west coast for one more night on the town for who knows how long. It was refreshing to let my guard down one last time. As soon as I landed at JFK I knew I was immediately back in my element and the anxiety subsided. If you've ever been to the city, you'll understand what I mean when I say the energy and pace NYC gives you makes you borderline superhuman. Productivity is first nature here.
   I hit the ground running the day after I landed with an early morning meeting with one of my good friends Anthony Morrison. Talk about how awesome it is to see one of your friends doing amazing things with their life and career. Anthony brought me behind the scenes of the very popular Good Morning America show. SO COOL!! While I was watching two different sound stages on two different floors communicate with a live audience, I couldn't help but think this is what watching an Orchestra is like. So fluid, effortless, and in it's own way...kind of beautiful. 


Future host? Only if they allow nervous laughing. 


(My buddy Anthony and I hanging out on set and someone else having an impromptu shoot at the desk too, because the GMA staff is that cool)


(Yes, that is Ryan Reynolds) 


  Almost immediately after we went off air, I had to jet over to mid town east to meet with the incredible and wonderful company, Smile Train. If you haven't had a chance to look them up or maybe you have heard of them and haven't researched what all they are about. This organization teaches local doctors how to do cleft lip/palate repairs. Often times Smile Train can be found supplying hospitals and clinics with supplies and devices they need to successfully do these repairs as well as teaching local physicians. CEO Susannah Schaefer and VP Troy Reinhart opened their office doors with such welcoming arms. Everyone in the office was incredibly friendly and had already taken time to look at the "1IN700" website and educate themselves on my personal initiative. It was a pleasureable experience for sure, and one I will not soon forget. Who knows, maybe this will develop into a further partnership...you will just have to wait and seeeeeee ;) but for now enjoy this photo of me doing my best Christie Brinkley on the SMILE bench. 


  I have also had the incredible opportunity to reconnect with a few dear friends of mine who are NYC based full time. One being the beautiful, artistic, and Trinbagonian (Trini), Renee Bhagwandeen. While she has done A TON of things, you might most recognize her from America's Next Top Model: Cycle 20; L'Oréal Campaign 2017; break out acting role in "Ballers" along side Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, voted #2 Most Beautiful Black Woman in the world, and many, MANY more accomplishments. I am proud to be her friend and watch her flourish in such an exhausting industry. 


(I took that almost 4 years ago ^^)


(Roaming around my first day back in NYC) 

   Overall, my Big Apple return has been one of excitement, networking, and productivity. I am really happy to have made my way back into the city for a month before heading abroad to as many foreign countries as I can, to find more of the "1IN700" community to photograph. 
   I got through my first weekend of shooting entry photos in the city and WOW. I can't believe I have as much content as I do now. I have not had the opportunity to sit down and edit a bunch of the photos just due to a packed schedule but guys...I am up to entry number 98... It feels so surreal. A year ago I was on my first 10 entry shoots. The first year I was simply figuring out how to get this project off the ground. I was met with a lot of "That's really ambitious..." or "What if you just kept your first book domestic so you don't overwhelm yourself." I found myself being simultaneously discouraged and inspired to focus on accomplishing EXACTLY what I had in mind for this community and for this project. Here I am, almost a full two years later after having the original idea with 98 entries collected and a plan for my international tour in place. I have my ticket to London...and my ticket to Germany. The most intense part of this journey has just begun and rest assured friends, I am more focused than ever. I think these photos of how amazing my first weekend in NYC was will help you understand exactly what I mean. 


Mr. Dennis giving his best smile for a selfie with me


   I also want to give a couple big shout outs to a couple studios who donated their space to me and "1IN700" on the WEEKEND. First one being Dune Studios at 55 Water Street in downtown Manhattan. 

This studio was absolutely massive. I walked in and found myself taken back by the wall of windows that overlooked the choppy water on the souther tip of New York, New York. Not only that, but the entire studio felt like a great place to relax and find your creative strides, which was perfect for the emotional, positive, and personal encounters "1IN700" was bringing to Dune Studios today. 
Thank you so much Jay Stradwick and the Dune Studios team for accommodating myself and "1IN700!" Your kindness will never be forgotten. 


   The following day, there were some scheduling conflicts with Dune Studios so we began reaching out to other studio locations, hoping that someone would be as generous as Dune was. My agent Kiley (aka Super Woman) got in contact with yet another professional, high quality photo studio. This one was in mid town west on 37th street in Manhattan. Located in a small building off 9th avenue I was surprised at what an efficient use of space this studio had been arranged. With several shoot locations within each studio, I was given all of the space and privacy the families who participated and myself needed to execute our meeting and photos without interruption. I walked into Emporia Studios with a big smile on my face, ready to get to work.






  When Kiley came to me with the news that Emporia Studios and their team was happy to host "1IN700" for the final day shooting in weekend one, I wasn't even sure how to begin to thank them. We were kind of cutting it close on choosing a location. But really guys...How incredibly generous is it of these people to open their workspace for all of us on our path to awareness creation?! Mind blown. Seriously. New Yorkers get a bad wrap, because I have been met with nothing but kindness, empathy, and generosity.

  One of the partners at the studio, Cesar, met me the morning of my shoots to help me get settled into the space. Almost immediately I had my first family there and my camera in hand. Work days like these, are definitely a change to how this project started out. Shooting in Air Bnb's across the nation worked very well for a while, but I am beyond stoked to have the opportunity to shoot "1IN700" content in such a professional environment. So another huge THANK YOU to Emporia Studios on West 37th St here in New York City. 


   For those of you who follow me on Instagram, you probably will hear about how rough travel can be on me. On anyone really. Travel is by far my favorite kind of adventure to have, BUT it is inevitably exhausting and can take a toll on your body and belongings. THANKFULLY, NYC has some of my favorite shopping and brands here. Sabon NYC being my absolute favorite skincare brand, I was soooooo happy to walk in and find exactly what every man needs for traveling:
Gentleman Collection Travel Kit 


  If you hurry, you can even catch this brand new product on SALE. For real dudes, it's worth it. My skin and hair has never felt so protected like it feels after I use the shampoo with paraben oil and silky hand cream for those cold city nights. 
   I think it is safe to say, the Northeast has treated me very well so far. I have so much in store for all of you following along. "1IN700" is t-minus 1 month from officially being an international project! I couldn't have done it without the amazing help from the community I have learned to call family. 
Here we go!

Zachary Rodetis-Urenda