Long Island’s first selfie studio pops up in Ronkonkoma


The minds behind the Apt. 84 “skoolie” experience are back with a pop-up selfie studio.  

PopUp Speakeasy Selfie Studio is a one-stop spot for Insta-worthy pictures — and it’s only $25 for an hour. 

Lindenhurst resident Catherine Ovejas and her business partner Jose Rivera transformed their old storage space in Ronkonkoma into an interactive photo experience, which is the first on Long Island. 

The duo said they were also the first to bring the skoolie experience business to the East Coast.

“We are kind of always ahead of the game,” Rivera said. “Speakeasy was a word used back in the day, now the kids are using it again — words, clothing, everything that was used back then is back.” 

The spot itself is like a “speakeasy” — located at 1860 Pond Road in Ronkonkoma — the selfie studio is kind of off the beaten path. 

Take a photo in a glamorous bedroom, a rock n’ roll setting, or a classic ’50s diner — there are 14 themed backdrops people can choose from. 

Another plus is that there are plenty of selfie lights to get the lighting just right. 

“It’s a team effort and right now we just wanted to create a space that’s affordable where everyone can have fun,” Ovejas said. “We don’t think of selfies as a vanity thing, for us it’s about creativity, self-expression, sharing memories — to me it’s something you can really categorize under art.” 

All the props were handpicked by Rivera and Ovejas, many of the items are vintage finds or repurposed by Rivera himself. 

This includes a bright pink, repurposed Volkswagen bus, an old church marquee turned into a cute sign, a chair worth $2,000, and 100-year-old luggage priced at almost $800 that River and Ovejas scored for just 30 bucks. 

Friends and family also helped the entrepreneurs out by gifting them old cameras and records. 

The selfie speakeasy has a lot of exciting collaborations in store, Rivera said, including with local businesses, influencers, professional photographers, and they’re even shooting a music video in the future. 

The goal is to expand the brand worldwide and all over the island — Rivera said they don’t know where the next location will be yet, but he’s been looking at NYC or the Hamptons. 

“We’re not the first ones to come up with the idea, but we’re pretty good at marketing and doing what we do, so we’re hoping to take this and create a brand that’s known worldwide,” Rivera said. “I think we can definitely do it — I don’t think I know, that’s the difference.” 

For Ovejas, self-love is the driving force of the business and encouraging those who visit Popup Speakeasy Selfie Studio to break out of their comfort zones. 

“We want you to take that hot picture of yourself,” she said. “I’m raising a daughter, I want her to be confident and want her to look at other girls and say everybody is pretty, everyone is beautiful. 

Check out photos for a peek of the selfie studio below. For more information or to book, message the studio on Instagram @popupspeakeasy.

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Top: Woman taking photo in the pink Volkswagon van, only at the Pop Up Selfie Speakeasy in Ronkonkoma.