Meet our Memphis Belle, Actress & Producer, CLARE GRANT. She's a creative MUSE with an adventurous spirit and a laugh that is highly contagious. Find out how being the eldest of 8 siblings shaped her into the person she is today, what fuels her creative engine and how she turned her love of acting and animation into a blooming career. #CHECKIT #HAUTESTREET #theMUSEdiaries
HAUTE STREET: Tell us where you are from, and how you ended up in Los Angeles.
CLARE GRANT: Mostly I lived in Memphis until I was twenty five, when a local film director I worked with, Craig Brewer, urged me to pursue acting professionally in Los Angeles. One of my brothers was living in Los Angeles, which made the transition easier.
HS: What was your favorite part of growing up with so many siblings, and how have things changed as you have all grown?
CG: Growing up the oldest of eight siblings is one of my greatest life treasures. All but one of them are ten to eighteen years younger than me, which pretty much means I got to extend my youthful indulgences in their name. But I was also responsible for them, which, as a teenager, I both loved and hated. Being the oldest had it’s perks though, I got to be the fun big sister who took them to midnight premieres of the Star Wars prequels and check them in to school late the next day. Fun things like that, that your parents don’t want to do. Now that most of them are adults, I finally get to be friends with them, which provides a wealth of love and enjoyment.
HS: What is your favorite family tradition, and what would you like to carry on with your own family?
CG: I think cooking together and shared meals between a family are really important, and that is something I want to have with my own family.
HS: Tell us about a moment that changed your outlook on life and why?
CG: Working opposite Christina Ricci in Black Snake Moan, I saw how hard she fought for her role, how hard she worked and how completely she embodied her character. I knew then that’s what being a professional looked like. She also helped me understand that the actor’s job is not just thinking about your own character’s role, but to think about every character and every single detail of the production and how it relates to your character.
HS: Can you tell us about your greatest heartbreak? Your greatest love?
CG: When I was in the fifth grade, my mom wanted to throw me a surprise birthday party. Unbeknownst to her that I was bullied and picked on by most of my school, she called every single kid in my fifth grade class to invite them to the surprise. When the ringleader of the popular kids got the call, she decided to throw her own pool party on the exact day and time of the party my mom was planning. I was clueless about it, and a fair amount of kids showed up to my party. I was overjoyed with surprise and excitement. Until one of the boys came up to me and said: “Yeah, “Ringleader” threw a party today too because she didn't want anyone to come over to your house, but I felt guilty about it so I came here instead”. That crushed me and broke my heart. I had been thinking-“these kids actually like me!”, but really they just pitied me. It felt like something I would never get over, but the truth is, I did, and I was stronger for it. It made me realize that what other people think of me doesn’t really matter. You can take the ways other people hurt you, or bad things that happen to you, and really let it stunt you, or you can brush it off and be stronger for it.
My greatest love is my husband, Seth. Never have I known someone who loves me so completely, who believes in me, champions me, pushes me to be a better person or who makes me so unbelievable happy. He would never judge me, and understands me more than anyone. We laugh together all day and can talk about anything for for hours at a time. It’s truly the definition of a partner.
HS: Can you share with us a time of hardship and how you overcame?
CG: When I came to LA, I had a nice bit of momentum booking acting jobs and within six months was able to quit my waiting tables job. Everything slowed down for me during the writer’s strike. Dramatically. Emotionally, that was a really tough time for me because I was scared it wasn’t ever going to pick back up for me. That’s when I decided it was important for me to start generating my own work, which has been an incredible experience.
HS: What advice has someone given you to keep you going and growing, and what advice would you give your 23 year old self?
CG: The best advice I’ve ever heard was from the Genie in Aladdin: “Bee yourself”. Being true to yourself is immeasurably valuable. My advice to young me would be: “Move to Los Angeles sooner. Like, yesterday.” Ha!
HS: Which superhero would you be and why?
CG: I believe it's important for each of us to be our own superhero. No one is going to care about you more than you. No one is going to save you but you. As soon as you accept that, you stop waiting for some exterior person or force to get you through whatever hardships life sets before you.
HS: If you could have any 1 super power. What would it be and why?
CG: Super strength. Then I could move my furniture around whenever I’d like.
HS: What do you think that someone in your position can do to help the planet?
CG: I think it’s important to spread a message of love and tolerance everyday.
HS: Where is your favorite place that you’ve traveled to and why?
CG: When I was sixteen, I traveled to Belize with my boyfriend and his parents to visit the Mayan ruins of Caracol. What happened on our journey through the rainforest to Caracol is a story in itself, but what that trip sparked in me, is a deep love and fascination with ancient civilizations and ruined cultures. Since then, I have explored the ruins of Greece, Peru, England, Palau and Yap. I have a list of countries whose cultures I want to experience and wander through their ancient ruins.
HS: What hotel would you move into if you could?
CG: Last summer, my husband and I stayed at this place called Lords of the Manor in Upper Slaughter, Gloucester. It was peaceful, charming and serene. It’s amazing to think you could make a life there.
HS: Can you tell us about your time modeling?
CG: I found modeling to be challenging in ways I never expected. Traveling all over the world by myself helped to grow my independence and self reliance. I learned how to better communicate with people speaking a language I don’t understand. I learned how to communicate better with my eyes and develop a relationship with the camera. I learned that shooting with a good photographer will physically pain you, but the shots are always worth it. I learned that as much as I enjoyed traveling, meeting new people and experiencing art through fashion, I loved being an actor more. And if I wanted to pursue acting as a career, I needed to focus on that and leave modeling behind.
CG: What is the most difficult thing about being in the entertainment business?
HS: If you let it, never knowing how long it will be in between jobs can be torture. You are not right for at least 90% of your auditions, so you have to be able to stomach a lot of rejection.
HS: Tell us about your passion project, Team Unicorn.
CG: Team Unicorn started out as a passion project in the form of a parody music video of Katy Perry’s “California Gurls” called “G33K & G4M3R Girls”. It’s a love letter, really, to all the geeky things that brought me and three of my girlfriends together. Now it’s evolved to being a geek-girl production company and fashion project. Through my & fellow unicorn, Rileah Vanderbilt’s production company Danger Maiden Productions, there are now several Team Unicorn comedic music videos and shorts, and is currently being developed as an animated/live-action television pilot. We also design geek inspired clothes for WeLoveFine. Together, me, Rileah Vanderbilt, Alison Haislip and Milynn Sarley are Team Unicorn.
HS: When did you discover your love for animation?
CG: Animation is one of my earliest loves. In fact, some of my first crushes were on cartoon characters. As a kid, I grew up on animation and dreamed of doing voice over. Doing voice over as an adult, on childhood loves like Star Wars and Marvel shows, is especially fulfilling.
HS: How has being of southern roots influenced your creative engine?
CG: Being from Memphis, music has always been massively influential in my life. I feel so lucky to have grown up in a city with as rich of a musical history and culture as Memphis. Creatively, music elevates me as both an actor and a creator.
HS: How do you manage to preserve your creativity?
CG: I preserve my creativity by surrounding myself with creative people. Working with other creative people is when I feel like I am at my best, which is why I love collaborating with other artists.
HS: Who is an influential woman in your life and why?
CG: My Mom taught me how to be strong, independent & compassionate. I also inherited her creativity, which she encouraged me to explore throughout childhood.
HS: What would you ask our next MUSE?
CG: What does being a Haute Street MUSE mean to you?
MEET TRICIA ANDREWS THE CREATOR/FOUNDER OF YOUR NEW BEST FRIEND... SOLE SERUM. SOLE SERUM IS AN INNOVATIVE FOOT PRODUCT THAT WILL MAKE WALKING IN THOSE HEELS A BREEZE. TRICIA SHARES HER JOURNEY FROM CORPORATE ADVERTISING TO ENTREPRENEUR, WHY SHE CREATED THIS PRODUCT AND HOW SHE TURNED HER BRILLIANT IDEA INTO ONE OF FORBES MOST INNOVATIVE PRODUCTS IN 2014. #CHECKIT #HAUTESTREET #THEMUSEDIARIESRead More
Haute Street MUSE, Nadin Naumann, sat down with Emily Elyse Miller, founder of trends on trends and #breakfastclub, creative gatherings with tastemakers starting in New York City.
Nadin Naumann: What gave you the idea of starting #breakfastclub and what is it about it?
Emily Elyse Miller: The #breakfastclub started as a way to connect with amazing new people and get the Trends on Trends name out there. I wanted to host an event that I actually wanted to attend, breakfast was the obvious option. The series is all about bringing creative people together in the morning and translating the Trends on Trends aesthetic off line and onto the community. The wonderful chefs I’ve come to know are taking a break from their tasting menus and having fun creating their ideal breakfast for friends, editors, social media influencers and other chefs. These breakfasts are meant to leave guests feeling like something creative and fulfilling has been done with their morning, while they were actually just eating great food and coffee and meeting wonderful new people — the perfect excuse to be a little late for work.
NN: How many have you had so far?
EM: We’ve had two so far with lots of exciting things to come in 2015.
#breakfastclubnyc No. 001
Sara Kramer and Sarah Hymanson created a family-style Israeli breakfast with a pop-up brew bar by Stumptown Coffee. A long communal table was covered with my personal collection of vintage dishes, platters, teacups and silverware as guests explored a five-story townhouse on the Upper East Side provided by onefinestay.
#breakfastclubnyc No. 002:
Chefs Jeremiah Stone & Fabian von Hauske of Contra on the Lower East Side in NYC cooked a family-style breakfast inspired by their favorite cuisines. There was conjee, chilaquiles and the best bread and butter you’ve ever had. Dillon Edwards of Parlor Coffee had a Chemex station and each guest was equipped with colored pencils and a cartoon coloring sheet of Jeremiah & Fabian designed by esteemed sommelier and illustrator of the coloring book, “Small Thyme Cooks.” The tableware was interspersed with multi-colored resin creations by Dinosaur Designs, meant to feel like dining at the kids table — because sometimes that’s the most fun place to be.
NN: What kind of individuals and how many do you invite?
EM: The breakfasts are filled with people that I’m inspired by, ones doing wonderful things for the creative community. Around 20 chefs, editors, social media influencers and tastemakers all gather for these family-style feasts. We are also planning larger format weekend walk-around tasting events in the coming months.
NN: What usually goes down at #breakfastclub? Any fun stories you'd like to share?
EM: Here’s the rundown: everyone begins to arrive at 9am and we try to get a coffee in their hands a soon as possible. Everyone chats, says hi to friends and makes some great new ones. Then, everyone gathers around a communal table and the family-style feast begins. These events are like finally grabbing that coffee with all of those people you’ve been meaning to. Guests share stories, ideas and do a lot of catching up. The coffee keeps flowing and everyone parts ways back into the real world.
As far as stories go, my lips are sealed, but I can say romances, collaborations and new businesses have all started at a #breakfastclub event and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for the next ones.
NN: Any plans for expansion across the U.S.? How often do you plan on hosting these?
EM: 2015 has some very exciting plans in store for Trends on Trends and #breakfastclub. We will be announcing some secret events over the next few months so be sure to follow us on Instagram, @trendsontrends_ for the big reveal. We are planning at least one per month all year so there’s a lot of breakfast coming up in my life — not complaining. We are planning many more #breakfastclubNYC events as well as #breakfastclubAUSTIN, #breakfastclubLA, #breakfastclubNASHVILLE and working on taking a few internationally.
NN: Do you have a favorite city?
EM: As much as I love to travel, I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of Brooklyn. It’s not just my home, but a place that is constantly changing and inspiring. I’ve also recently fallen in love with Stockholm.
NN: Any additional goals?
EM: Right now my goal is to bring the #breakfastclub around the world and build Trends on Trends as a thoughtful editorial outlet and creative agency. As for the future: as long as I keep my head in the clouds, I’ll never be afraid to reach for what seems too far away.
NN: Where would you like to see yourself in the next 5 years?
EM: Well traveled, still inspired and maybe with an apartment larger than 400sq ft.
NN: What's a piece of advice that has kept you going and growing?
EM: Something my dad has told me since I was little, “mise en place.” This is a chef term meaning, everything in its place. He would say this to me before I started cooking, making sure I had all of my ingredients ready and right where I need them. To me, this term applies to starting a business as well and I think of it every time I’m feeling overwhelmed.
Haute Street MUSE, Lana Carlson recently sat down for dinner with renowned artist Shane Guffogg and discussed the art of consciousness and subconsciousness.
Lana: First of all please tell us about your upbringing. Where are you from? What are the most vivid and most profound childhood experiences that you’ve had?
Shane: I grew up in a small farming town in Central California. I like to call it John Steinbeck country because it was where the people from the dust bowl era migrated to and brought the Oklahoma twang accent with them. The wide open space and infinite horizon lines had animpact on how I think about the world around me. The furrows that stretch from one side of a field to the other make amazing patterns as you drive down the back country roads. I think they all played a part in my work. And add to that, My family had a bird farm with hundreds of aviaries filled with parakeets, lovebirds, cockatiels and finches. I can't help but think the flying colors of the birds that would swirl around my head when I would go into the pens to feed and water them also played a part in the movement in my work.
Lana: When did you realize that you wanted to be an artist? Who or what inspired you?
Shane: I was drawing, like all kids, as soon as I could hold a pencil. And in first grade my teacher plucked me out of the group as the kid who could draw, and the label has been with me ever since. I think what inspired me about making art in the beginning was I felt like I was a magician and making something appear out of thin air. Painting is a form of alchemy for me and there in lies the mystery that keeps me coming back to the canvas.
Lana: Who are your favorite artists of the last century?
Shane: There are a lot of artists that come to mind and I will try to go in chronological order. First off is Kandinsky, especially the early abstract paintings, then Mondrian and his creations of form and balance. Monet's waterlily paintings had a big impact on me with their balance of abstraction and realism fused in to one beautiful vision. Rothko – his work goes right through my ability to reason and taps in to my ability to just be. Ruscha, who is a friend, always amazes me with his creative visual inventions, making me see the world around me with fresh eyes. And of course, Richter and those lush abstract paintings that do everything all the artists I listed do, combined.
Lana: How would you describe your style?
Shane: Abstraction is my subject matter, so I think that makes me a realist.
Lana: How did you come up to this style?
Shane: Many years ago, I began wondering what our thoughts look like before language is attached. That led me to literally begin throwing pieces of ribbons and documenting how they landed. It was a play on chance that gave a nod to both Duchamp and the ab-ex painters. I then began thinking about memory as the discourse between the physical and mental, the mind and body. I wanted to make figurative paintings but didn't want to tell stories, so my own physicality of mark making became an extension of my presence at that moment, thus making the work figurative in a pure way. I don't have preconceived ideas of the final result of each piece, but let the moment really be about tapping in to my subconscious and then consciously depicting that moment via paint.
Lana: What is your creative process?
Shane: My day begins when I walk out my front door and take the 22 steps to my studio door. When I walk into my studio, I try to sneak up on the works in progress, as if I might catch them off guard and give me a deeper insight to who they are. Then I put on music, often Raga or world music – music without words. It helps to switch my mind to the abstract realm where I see light and shadows, instead of images. When I feel my thoughts are clearing, I pour my glaze medium into a cup, get my brushes in hand, squeeze out the colors I think are needed, and begin. The marks I make are the result of a dance that is taking place between my subconscious, my physicality and my conscious observation of that moment.
Lana: What is your message?
Shane: I want my paintings to makes us pause and wonder. I don't want them to answer questions or make some political statement, but to engage us to ask questions. I want my work to hover right between the known and the unknown, what we think we know and what we know we know. That is where the magic lies.
Lana: Why do you create art?
Shane: When I am in my process of painting, I feel like I am dipping my toes into the center of the universe. It is the most amazing experience and the world, if only for a moment, makes sense.
Lana: What is the most difficult about being an artist?
Shane: Getting out of my own way and shutting out the white noise of life.
Lana: What is the most beautiful about being an artist?
Shane: Making the invisible visible
Meet Jen Woodward, our Yuletide Muse of the Month. A self proclaimed "anger management graduate" she is a Fashion Product Placement PR maven by day that has undeniable charm, humor and wit. Find out how she made the leap from New York to Los Angeles, what her perfect day looks like and why she "Costs more than you".
Photography by EASTON SCHIRRA
Fashion Director JOEY TIERNEY
Make-up by JADYN NGO
Interviewed by CHERYL ALDIP
HAUTE STREET: Tell us about your upbringing. What it was like growing up, family, friends, things you remember most and traditions.
JEN WOODWARD: I grew up in upstate New York in a small town about a hour outside of Buffalo. My childhood was filled with canines, horses, musical instruments and karate. I was adopted from Korea as an infant and for the entirety of my adolescence I was the only Asian in town. Growing up in my Caucasian family I had angst about adoption, aesthetics and life in general. My parents and I clashed so I moved out when I was sixteen. I grew up fast and faced a lot of responsibility without maturity. Despite this, today my parents and I have a great relationship. Which brings me to my favorite family tradition: listening them sing “The First Noel” on Christmas Eve. They have beautiful harmonizing voices. Every Christmas if we are not together they will call me and sing the entire song.
HS: Who is an inspiring woman in your life and why?
JW: I’d have to say my mother. We are very different people and we disagree on a lot of life views but she is a strong, smart, compassionate person. I lack compassion and know it is a trait I need to work on. My mother inspires me to be more caring. Her mother, my grandma moved into my parents home several years ago. Both of my parents have sacrificed an easy retired life so that my grandmother can be comfortable with family she loves. When I go home and see how much my mother dotes on her mother I am very moved and inspired to be a better person.
HS: What is a piece of advice that has kept you going and growing?
JW: Don’t settle. If you want more in life and in love - go get it.
HS: Can you tell us about an "ah-ha" moment in your life and how it changed you?
JW: My ah-ha moment was when I decided to move to LA from New York. In a month I sold almost all of my possessions, packed my red escort with clothes and drove to LA in three days. It brought me completely out of my comfort zone. I made the decision to turn my life down a different path and hit a restart. Los Angeles empowered me and showed me my own strength and now it is home.
HS: Have you had a hardship in your life that you have had to overcome?
JW: When you are experiencing a hardship in that moment it feels like nothing could be worse but looking back at the times I could call “hardships” none of it was. I am fortunate to have health, family, and happiness (most of the time).
HS: We love your blog - I Cost More Than You. Can you tell us about the name and why you started it?
JW: As old age starts to set in, I feel the need to remember things, possibly document more since I have started to forget a lot. Why “Icostmorethanyou”? I am adopted and I probably did. International adoptions can be pricey. They only allow people with some sort of money to take us cute Korean babies out of Korea. (which makes no sense as we are being adopted because we are being discarded for being female but I guess someone wanted Korea to look responsible in the process) My sister was also adopted but from Ohio. Therefore throughout our childhood “I cost more than you”, could be heard coming from my loud mouth, which may be a bit offensive and/or rude but quite fitting if you know me.
HS: Having to travel often for work- where is your favorite place and why?
JW: I think my favorite place is somewhere I haven’t been to yet but if I had to pick a favorite I would say Ibiza. (And it doesn’t have to do with work!)
HS: What are 5 things that you must do while there?
JW: 1. I spend time there with friends I only see a couple times a year. It’s a special place where I can catch up with the people I love that live far away.
2. Fish Shack. ALWAYS eat at the fish shack.
3. Beach lounging and exploring.
4. Es Vedra
5. And of course the amazing parties.
HS: Finish these sentences:
JW: I am most happy when... Dasha and I are in bed watching Wes Anderson Movies. For a dog she has a very elevated taste in films.
My favorite part of the day is... whenever I am laughing.
I am most inspired when... music, art and fashion combine making a perfect trifecta.
My most embarrassing moment was when... I was 12 and I peed my pants standing in front of my locker.
My pet peeve is... butt revealing jean shorts and short bangs.
A quote that best describes me is... “You have corrupted my imagination and inflamed my blood...” Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, Venus in Furs
HS: Top 3 instagram accounts that you follow and why?
And recently I started following and I am obsessed with @textsfromyourex. For example: First text: “I would cuddle you and tell you everything is ok” Response: “ I would punch you in the dick.”
HS: What does a typical day look like for you?
JW: My typical day is filled with telling my Doberman, Dasha how much I love her. Spending time at the showroom, working with stylists and communicating with our clients. Maybe a lunch or a dinner with friends followed by more admissions of love for my dog, some book reading and bed.
HS: How did you get into your line of work? What advice would you give to someone pursuing the same career?
JW: I went to school and studied law. I always had the intention of continuing to become an attorney but after working in law firms for nine years I realized it wasn’t what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. About three years ago I started interning for a Fashion Product Placement company, after two months I was offered a full time position and I left the legal field. I am now the Director of Fever LA. My advice would be don’t be afraid to take the lowest position because if you are competent and passionate it wont take long to be recognized.
HS: What advice would you give your 25 year old self?
JW: Don’t wear Herve Leger Bandage dresses just because everyone else is.
HS: Our November Muse of the Month, Tess Willcox asked, "If you could choose one thing to happen to you every single day, for the rest of your life, what would it be?"
JW: For my bangs to always be perfect. And world peace.
HS: All of our muses have a passion and desire to give back through their #PASSIONPROJECTS. Tell us about your passion project and why it is so important to you.
JW: If you could somehow merge Korean adoptees with orphaned Doberman pinchers into a program I’d never stop working.
Realistically, my passion project is writing. I love to write and would like to put together a book about adoption in a comical tone but also tackle the issues and questions that adopted kids have.
Interview by Lana Jolie Carlson
HAUTE STREET: Tell us about your upbringing.
Ugo Nonis: I grew up in Paris, in a good district raised by my mom and dad. My dad is very artistic; he is always using different media. Currently he does sculpture.
HS: When did you realize that you wanted to be an artist? Who inspired you?
UN: When I was in my early 20’s I realized that I wanted to create art, I was very interested in video game culture, pixelated art, art of video games, how computer games are represented, from the package to the game itself. "Mario” game, for example.
HS: What difficulties did you have when you first started.
UN: The biggest difficulty is pushing yourself to make first step. I was working for a long time in black and white. It was a challenge to go from black and white to color. Widening my horizons and opening myself to new techniques.
HS: What is your creative process?
UN: My creative process is continuous. I can just start painting any time. I try to work every day, even if it’s a ten minutes I still feel this need to create.
HS: How you describe your style? What media do you use?
UN: My style is figurative obstruction art. I use acrylics and oil paints on canvas. It’s very autobiographic. My stories are very often the subjects of the pieces. Sometimes there is a meaning and sometimes there isn’t. A good example is a piece that I created called “The meaning of life”. People overthink things in life. They try to put too much meaning in something meaningless, which I find to be pointless. I think there is not really a meaning of life, or we won't know it. So I just took definition of “meaning of life” from dictionary and put it in my piece. It’s kind of a joke.
HS: How did you come up to this style ?
UN: It’s an evolution of me as a person and artist. It has naturally came, I guess. I never thought about it or took anyone else’s example.
HS: Where is your favorite place that you’ve traveled to and why?
UN: Bali... I was there for 3 months, surfing. It’s a beautiful and inspiring place. I was there by myself, with my thoughts and ideas. Also, recently I went with my friends to South West of America, it was just amazing, especially Grand Canyon.
HS: What is a piece of advice someone has given you that has kept you going and growing?
UN: It wasn’t really an advice but just a phrase that someone just told me. - "It does’t mean anything”. It helped me to let things go. Be easier on myself and not to be too attached to my art.
HS: Do you have a passion project?
UN: Yes I do! To put a group show called "One by One", to proceed all raised money from the art to a charity that provides art therapy to kids. The show will include 30-50 art pieces, one foot by one foot from different artists. It will happen in early march.
HS: What is the most difficult about being an artist?
UN: In my world there is nothing difficult about being an artist :)
View Ugo's artwork December 11th in
Venice Beach, CA!
Meet our MUSE of the MONTH, Tess Willcox! This Australian native is a bohemian adventurer with an entrepreneurial spirit. Find out what she loves most about the Gold Coast, her top travel destinations and how this creative soul made the leap from her corporate career to focus on her passion - Ámes Collective. #CHECKIT #theMUSEdiaries
PHOTOGRAPHY BY DAVID WILLCOX
HAUTE STREET: We’re so excited to have you as our Muse Of The Month! Tell us a little bit about yourself.
TESS WILLCOX: I’m a bit of a wandering spirit. Extremely self reflective and connected to the earth and the water. An island country girl at heart, with a yearn to explore the big wide world forever. Always changing course and direction, but with the same intent at the end of the day; to live a life that is rich in love and happiness, whatever it is that will bring me that at any given moment, I will do that. A wine lover, a tree hugger, and a searcher.
HS: How did Ámes Collective begin?
TW: I like to think of it as quite the serendipitous moment. Right place, right time and right intention. I was already running the brand in my spare time, focusing on shoes and accessories. One day I broke my skatey, the next day got taught how to make them by a Shaper friend in Noosa, and just got hooked on the stoke it brought my best friend and I. We literally sat under Mango trees in the backyard shaping and painting, listening to music. We could never seem to find decks that were unique, that had the designs and things we wanted on them. Everything just seemed a bit generic. Who wants to walk / skate down the street with the same board as everyone else?! Why not celebrate uniqueness and originality and work on the concept of one offs! That’s when I incorporated the Soul Decks part of Ámes Collective, an avenue to put whatever resonates with your soul, on a deck!
HS: When did you decide to turn your passion into a career?
TW: I guess it happened on its own accord. It wasn’t something I set out to actively pursue as a career; it just organically grew in a way that I could have never anticipated. I like to think the stars all aligned at the right time, for me to make the decision to dive right in and turn it into my career. It was the start of a new year, I had so many orders coming in every week, and I was in quite self reflective period (always) thinking, how can I better serve what my soul needs at the moment. What I needed was to hang up my corporate boots for a while and be present, travel the world on my own accord, pour myself into my art. So I jumped.
HS: You mentioned that you left your dream job to pursue Ámes Collective. Tell us about what you did, how you got there, what you loved about this job and how you came to terms that you needed to follow your passion.
TW: It really was THE dream job. I was working as a Marketing Manager for a boutique and Luxury Resort marketing company. I fell right into the job straight out of university where I studied PR and journalism, and my boss took a massive punt on hiring me because I had no experience. I still remember getting that phone call saying I had gotten the job, I screamed so loud haha! Essentially what it offered me was an awesome workspace with people who I absolutely adore (and who are still some of my best friends), the ability to travel to the most beautiful places in the world and experience amazing Resorts, all in the name of ‘work’. We worked so hard, but we loved going to work everyday. It was just the best lifestyle. Living on the beach, driving 10 minutes to work every morning, not even wearing shoes half the time, and then brainstorming with a team who all bought something different to the table. Then there was the travel, some glamorous, some not so much. I really loved that job, it was my life for a long time! But I suppose everything has an expiry date and after almost 10 years I was feeling a little burnt out. I pride myself on always being able to look at the best in every single situation, and being able to bring a good energy into the workplace. But if I get to a place where that isn’t happening, I know things need to change. It was a difficult decision, like ending a 10 year relationship, and scary as shit. Someone once told me ‘you will not be enriched unless you go to a place where the outcome is uncertain’ and I had been so comfortable and calculated for a while, so I wanted to challenge myself and see what happened next.
HS: Where is the most luxurious place that you have traveled to?
TW: A hard question for a girl who worked for luxury Resorts haha! I am not the hugest fan of opulent luxury. It feels inaccessible and excessive to me. My idea of luxury is more rustic chic, with a focus on connection to the earth. Any time I travelled for work was quite luxurious, speedboats through Fiji, helicopters to different islands, beautiful luxury Resorts. I think I am yet to find the most luxurious destination.... Stay tuned for my Europe move ;)
HS: Where is the most adventurous place that you’ve traveled to?
TW: Definitely Mentawai Islands (remote islands off the West Coast of Sumatra) and Morocco. I have visited both quite a few times, and they always offer the most ‘off the well worn path’ experiences. Sailing through the Mentawai’s on a wooden yacht and exploring the islands barefoot after a surf, and riding camels through the Sahara desert in Morocco. Both unmatched experiences.
HS: Where should a person travel to if they want to get the most for their money?
TW: Anywhere in Asia. Bali, Thailand, Sumatra!
HS: In your opinion, where is a place that you MUST see?
TW: Everywhere! Step foot in all pockets of the earth. My absolute MUST DO’s are definitely Samoa, North Islands of Fiji, South Spain and of course, Margaret River in Australia (hometown).
HS: What does your perfect day look like?
TW: Waking up early, yoga on the beach and then a surf, meditate, coffee and breakfast in bed with someone special whilst reading a book, walking to the markets for fresh flowers, cruise around the neighbourhood on our skateboards, wine o’clock on a picnic blanket with best friends and partners as the sun sets, dancing into the night either on a rooftop or on the beach with beautiful music – the true bohemian dream.
HS: What is your favorite piece of art that you have created?
TW: I think the sign of a true artist is not being able to pick a favourite. I always want to be growing, changing, improving my artwork, so what I loved a few months ago, I might feel needs more depth today. It is all a process for me. But I am impartial to a bright pink cactus painting I just did for my brothers office.
HS: What is your creative process when working with clients?
TW: I tend to wait until I have the vibe of the client sussed before I use a particular approach. Some people are extremely specific in what they want, in which case I have to make it pretty clear that the beauty of an artist is in the creative process, so you might not get exactly what you want, but you will get exactly what I felt like painting haha. I take as much or as little direction from my clients as they want, but the final design will always stop with me. I learnt the hard way to say no to things that just aren’t my vibe.
HS: Can you tell us about a hardship that you have had to overcome and how you turned it into a positive?
TW: Oh there are many hardships in life! Losing people, breakups, crisis of confidence and self-acceptance. It comes with the territory of most creative women in their 20’s. I’m in my 30’s now and have found a peace and a calm I seemed to struggle with when I was younger. I think meditating, yoga and actively keeping wonderful people in my life can completely change your life.
HS: Have you ever had an "AH-HA" moment? Tell us about it.
TW: I have daily ‘AH-HA’ moments when I am really in tune with the universe. I go through peaks and troughs of being super in touch, and then cruising along. There was one trip through Europe / Africa about 3 years ago that was quite defining. That trip was where I worked it all out. My turning point of inner alchemy. The understanding that we are all connected, and that there is no one person that can complete you in this world. It is up to you and unreservedly you, to be enough for yourself. Dirty hands and a happy heart!
HS: Who is a woman that inspired you to be who you are today?
TW: My Mum. She has always been there to remind me that life will be continually kind to me if I allow it to be. I am thankful to have inherited her calmness and trust.
HS: What advice do you wish you would have given your 22 year old self?
TW: You are enough. You will find your way. Everything will be wonderful!
HS: What is something that most people don't know about you?
TW: I am an open book! Wearing my heart on my sleeve CONSTANTLY and without reservation. For me, that is the only way to live life as opposed to letting it live you.
HS: What is a piece of advice that has kept you going and growing?
TW: HOW TO BE HAPPY : Decide every morning that you are in a good mood and that your life will be filled with serendipitous moments today.
HS: What is the best thing about being an entrepreneur?
TW: The best thing is getting to design your own day, your own life, your own path. You have to be able to motivate yourself and instill a sense of confidence in yourself and your abilities.
HS: And what would you say is the most difficult?
TW: Learning to take criticism and issues in a constructive way. When your work is so personal it is quite hard not to take things personally. For me, it’s about giving myself a time limit on emotion and then letting go of the issue. If shit hits the fan, I will react pretty quickly, but then I look at the situation and work out how to fix it, or just let it go.
HS: What do you love most about Australia?
TW: The beaches, the lifestyle, the appreciation of living a good life, the humour. I love everything about Australia, but I am CRAVING the culture of Europe.
HS: 5 things that you must experience while visiting Australia?
TW: Oh, the wine and the waves are the first 2! Of course!
The ‘Great Ocean Road’ drive in Victoria (one of my favourite places for a road trip).
Having Woodfire Pizza and cold beers at The Treehouse in Byron Bay after a day at the beach.
Watching the sun set over the water with Fish & Chips anywhere in the South West of Western Australia.
HS: You have a new endeavor in London coming up! Tell us about it. What made you decide to move to London?
TW: Yes, London!! I am so excited. I make the big move next week. I had been living on the Gold Coast for 10 years this year, and after leaving my job and working for myself, I knew I was in for some kind of new adventure. The big wide world was calling, and I have wanted to live in London since I was a little girl. I’ve always lived on the beach, in bikinis and denim shorts. Even Winters in Margaret River (my hometown) where it gets pretty cold, were spent at the beach by bonfires. I wanted that elusive dream of living in a city, where I can dress beautifully and walk down the street to the markets, have a white Christmas, experience something different. There are some special people in London so I am really excited to make the move. Ames Collective will still be a huge part of my life, and I will see how it all goes in the European market (whilst still working on the Southern Hemisphere market) but I am all about growing and experiencing. So if I get offered the job of a lifetime there, then I might find myself on a new adventure and operating Ames from the sidelines again. I am open to every opportunity life throws my way.
HS: Tell us about your recent travels to Spain.
TW: I love Spain! My little brother has lived in Barcelona for the last 7 years so I have travelled there quite a bit. This year was the first time I have actually gone travelling with one of my best friends though, and spent time in the South. It blew my mind. It is legitimately one of my favourite parts of the world. Can you get anything better than the Spanish sun, grilled sardines on the beach, jugs of cold sangria and being topless on the beach. It’s like that place was made for me! The buildings are so majestic and the lifestyle is one that I could easily fit into. So relaxing! The only part of me that felt a little neglected was the early riser. I love to watch the sunrise over the water and do yoga. That does not happen in Europe – if you’re up before 9am then you aren’t doing it right.
HS: What was the most memorable moment of your travels?
TW: We met 2 Australian boys in Malaga, and jumped on their road trip around the South of Spain for a few days. So there were 4 of us drinking wine, finding secluded beaches, going on adventures, marveling at the whitewashed buildings along the Andalusia coastline. It was one of those periods in life where every single thing you would want to happen, happened. Divine timing at its best. We were there while the World Cup was on, so we were watching (or not watching) the games in crowded bars with locals, drinking wine and yelling. It was the best! Just stumbling across awesome little bars all around South Spain.
HS: Any tips for someone traveling to Spain?
Learn some basic Spanish and have fun with it. The best moments are trying to speak Spanish, the locals just laugh at you, but they will always help you out. My Spanish is terrible because I’ve always had my brother and his girlfriend around who are both fluent. So this trip to the South helped me pick up a little more. My other piece of advice is to go to the places off the beaten track. Don’t go to the bars with all the tourists in it, go to the local bar around the corner where the old Spanish guys are drinking Vino Tinto and eating olives. That’s where you meet the best people.
HS: What are 5 things that you MUST do while there?
TW: Visit Tarifa – across the Straits of Gibraltar facing Morocco. It is the cutest, quaintest little town on the South Coast. Absolutely magic!
Eat grilled Sardines on the beach in Malaga.
Visit El Palma – cutest little town of beach shanty’s. A total throwback to the 1970’s.
Wander around Valencia and marvel at the stunning architecture and street art.
Surf in San Sebastian. I didn’t get to on this trip – it was fricken freezing while we were there.
Complete these sentences:
HS: My dream career growing up was...
TW: Presenter on Getaway (Australian Travel show).
HS: My style is best described as...
TW: Wishing I was a cowboy, hanging at the beach, with a twist of classic and boyfriend rock. Erin Wasson – ish
HS: My most embarrassing moment was...
TW: On my last night on the Gold Coast, someone told me to go skinny dipping in the moonlight out the front of my house. So I did, and I fell on the run into the water. Around the same time I realized there was a guy watching. Naked falls, so graceful!
HS: My idea of the perfect date is...
TW: A rooftop terrace at sunset, with cushions and blankets, outdoor cinema and wine. Somewhere I can cuddle and enjoy the company of who I am with, I don’t like showy shit. I am more of a cute romantic. The simple stuff matters to me.
HS: I’m most afraid of...
TW: Losing the most important people. Which is why I make a point of telling the how much I care, every day.
HS: My drink of choice is...
TW: Wine. Red red wine. Or Coconut Water and Sailor Jerry’s
HS: I am most happy when...
TW: I am present. If I am exactly where I am. No thoughts of the future or the past. Just the now.
HS: Can you share things to come for Ames?
TW: Right now, while I am setting things up in London, I am taking a few months to establish the new direction of my ranges. I want to keep it fresh, exciting, relevant. So come back to me in a few months and I will have an answer :)
HS: Who is your muse?
TW: Erin Wasson
HS: What do you want people to take away from your MUSE diary?
TW: Just the want and need to be happy in your circumstances. We always have a choice. I hate the thought of anyone being unhappy, it actually hurts me to know that some people are. If I could get a few more people meditating and doing yoga, that would be awesome. Just the lesson of being present, gracious and gratuitous of what you have.
HS: Tell us about your PASSION PROJECT:
TW: The ‘Protect the Reef’ cause here in Australia that I am extremely passionate about - https://fightforthereef.org.au. We are at a crucial time in the history of the world, where greed is really taking over the need for us to protect our natural resources and wonders. The Great Barrier Reef sustains millions of different ecosystems and to put it in plain terms, without the synchronicity of these working together, we lose everything. I am always concerned with the environmental decisions our government is making, and the way we are treating our earth.
HS: What would you ask the next Muse of the Month?
TW: If you could choose one thing to happen to you every single day, for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Meet our MUSE of the Month for OCTOBER, Kodi Kitchen. This fitness guru is spreading the word that you are a work in progress - be the BEST U that you can be. In this exclusive Q & A she opens up about her big move to hollywood, why getting "fired" was possibly one of the most amazing things to happen to her and the moment she figured out that happiness is a choice that everyone has to make for themselves. #CHECKIT #theMUSEdiaries
HAUTE STREET: We hear your a Rodeo girl. Can you share a little bit about yourself and your upbringing, your family background, and where you grew up?
KODI KITCHEN: I like to joke that I am the product of a cowboy and a hippy. I was born on a ranch in Wyoming, big city living in a town of 100. My dad was a bull rider, my mom a teacher. We grew up playing outdoors at all times (aside from the 20 below when in Wyoming.) We moved to Ojai when I was four, although my dad went back to Wyoming so summers and often winters were spent up there. Both places are beautiful and lent themselves to a completely active upbringing. I was never coordinated, but loved doing sports, particularly soccer. We would spend the days riding horses, rodeos, hiking, camping, anything that involved movement.
HS: How did you end up in Los Angeles?
KK: The usual... a phone book! In truth I had wanted to model since I was in high school, but was extremely active in regards to sports and activities. Long story short, I opened the phone book and set up a meeting, which my mom then caved to the idea. One thing led to another and I began working. I went to college in San Diego but spent half the week up here, staying with friends like Britt a.k.a @Batmansmom and the other amazing girlfriends I had met. I have found that the women in Los Angeles are spectacular and that there is an abundance of simply rad women. Eventually the stars decided to point me towards full time living here and I have never looked back.
HS: What is your current state of mind?
KK: Full and happy! I am running a business, planning a wedding, decorating a little ranch house and selling the first house that I bought myself. Not to mention day-to-day living. I feel grateful every minute and I have learned the art of the to-do list. I like the range of things happening, knowledge is one of the greatest gifts we have. One of my favorite things about best U is the range of information I need to and get to acquire. It has not been an easy task to not get overwhelmed by that, and now that I have figured out a bit more how to manage this it has evolved into something fun. An hour learning the body and workouts one day, an hour learning QuickBooks the next and marketing strategies the following. There is no shortage of information out there that's for sure.
HS: Tell us about Best U. How did you develop the U bar and what are the benefits?
KK: The concept of the U bar is the brainchild of my amazing girlfriend and business partner, Nadine Loren. Much of my business plan revolved being the best version of you. I think one of the most harmful things we do to ourselves is to compare and when we focus in a positive way on becoming our best selves amazing things happen. We are all different. To have the courage to be who we are, the best version of that person is a powerful thing. I also don't think in regards to a workout that everyday should be the same. Some days you push yourself, some days you just want movement. It is important to honor that, which is one of the reasons we created these fun magnetic mantras in a total range to remind you of that. That is a bit of the philosophy behind the studio. When Nadine and I decided to go into business together, she read all of this and purposed the idea of creating "U bars" instead of ballet bars to coincide with the founding beliefs. She is one of those woman that truly believes she can turn the sky purple, so full of love and optimism. When I told her that, she said "well yea, wear purple tinted sunglasses and there you have it." An incredible example of your reality is in the eye of the beholder." So we went to work creating the U bar. It went thru many various evolvements until we created what we have now, which is patent pending! It comes in four different weights, goes on the wall and then it comes off for free weights as well as added core resistance. The distance is wide enough to keep your shoulders wide and force your core to engage as you do various forms of cardio and dance. We are currently working on at home version so stay tuned for that.
HS: What books are on your nightstand at the moment?
KK: The Goldfinch, A fitness book, (my personal training manual, I was doing a refresher) and The Spymistress. The latter I picked up at the airport, it is historical fiction, which I love. The story is a true account of a woman during the civil war who defied the Confederacy and aided in helping the Northerners. I find it so interesting, especially when done by a good author who writes as though it is simply a story you are witnessing. I recommend it.
HS: Who is someone you would consider your mentor?
KK: I am starting to meet more women in the fitness and the small business community. There is so much to learn when starting a business that I find mentors in various ways. I have recently found myself looking for some great networks of women in Los Angeles. I don't know if they are my mentors per say, but I have inspiration in a range of people from my fiancé to my dad, to Britt to my business partner. These people and more help tremendously on the days that are tough, when the world seems too overwhelming instead of too possible.
HS: Do you have any hidden talents?
KK: I can remember the lyrics to any country song! Any. Lucky are those that get to ride in a car with me, because behind the wheel I will belt out George Straight like nobody's business.
HS: That's AMAZING!!! We can't wait to plan a #ROADTRIP! Can you tell us about pivotal moment in your life?
KK: Being fired from my job was a very difficult time in my life. It happens to many of us, but it is not easy from an ego standpoint nor a financial. I had just gotten my first steady acting job on General Hospital, loved having somewhere to go and something to be inspired by. There was a regime change, and with the new producer came a slate cleanse of many of the newer actors. I had a 4-year contract and ended up doing less than 1. It turned into the biggest blessing of my life. It forced me to look at what I really wanted to do. I was scared of what the future held and I hadn't finished college so I was feeling unsure of myself. I didn’t know that I wanted to pursue acting anymore because it was never the game plan to act forever. I took the opportunity to find what it was I wanted lifelong. I started taking business classes, got certified as a trainer, read business and motivational books like nobody's business and realized it was time to "cowboy up." I made the life I wanted, which was being surrounded by incredible people and helping them to realize they are stronger than they think and that they can do anything that they set their minds to.
HS: Have you ever had an "AH-HA" moment?
KK: There was a time I put it as "I couldn't figure out how to be happy." Happiness is a choice, and sometimes it is difficult to figure out how to actually feel that happiness and contentment within instead of simply aspiring for it. I was not happy and couldn't figure out how to get that way. Once I opened up to friends and trusted myself, the happiness started to come. Amongst starting to do other things, but I think there is a lot of fear associated when we know we SHOULD be happy, yet are not. We can enclose ourselves in our own world for fear of being a burden, when in reality true friends are the ones that are there regardless of your state of being. I realized how blessed I was and how to create the days I wanted, which in turn led to the life I wanted. Everyday I am grateful.
HS: What is something that most people don’t know about you?
KK: I am the messiest human known to man. There...I said it! Basically a walking human explosion, which is something I have had to improve since other people are at my desk too. True-life confession, there you have it.
HS: Tell us about a woman in your life that has inspired you.
KK: My best friend, Britt. She has been my friend since we were four, my first friend when moving from Wyoming. Watching her go through breast cancer is hard, but to see her resilience and the way she lives life is truly inspiring.
HS: Being an entrepreneur is difficult and rewarding. What is some advice you have for someone starting his or her own business?
KK: Fine tune the task at hand. One of the most overwhelming things when I started, was knowing how much I had to learn and how much I WANTED to learn. Don't get too overwhelmed - every step counts towards the big picture. Dream big and take the little steps needed to get there.
HS: What is something you wish you knew when you were 22?
KK: That a healthy diet isn't vodka red bull and patron!!! And that you do deserve to be happy.
HS: Where is your favorite place that you’ve traveled to?
KK: Italy! My fiancé and I went last year; I absolutely fell in love with it. The fact that the people spend their days loving life, enjoying in the beauty and the simplicity was so inspiring. I believe simplicity is often overlooked. This pertains to both the way of life to the culture. The ingredients are simple, yet of an incredible quality. I didn’t eat pasta until later in life, safe to say I love it! It's not a meal you can have often so when I do I make sure to savor every bite. I fell in love with everything about the Italian culture… the history, the architecture, the fact that people spend an afternoon enjoying an espresso and people watching.
HS: For someone who has never been there - what do you suggest they see/do/eat/drink there?
KK: We went to a few parts of Italy: Milan, Lake Como, Verona and Venice. There is SO much to explore, but I only speak for those locations. In Lake Como we took a boat tour across the water, our guide was incredible and so kind and full of facts and history about the Lake. At one point we hit a wave and the small boat got doused. It was amazing. I was wearing a white Dolce & Gabbana mini dress and cute sandals. Within three minutes I was looking more like a little drowned Chihuahua it was hilarious! Love those types of adventures. Another piece of advice - eat EVERYTHING! In Verona we went to a restaurant tucked away on a side street. So much of life is people that you cross paths with, and they were beautiful there. We didn't speak Italian, other than a few inappropriate phrases that didn't do me much good there. So going to this restaurant and their limited English ordering the most delicious meal because we simply put ourselves in their hands. In Venice we stayed at the Hotel Cipriani, which has a claim to fame that the Bellini was invented there. Venice had so much glamour. Not to mention, hundreds of years ago they literally BUILT a city. In the ocean… I mean… I definitely returned home saying, "well if they can build an island I can learn QuickBooks." Yet again, the world is full of possibility. You really can't go wrong anywhere in Italy.
HS: Where is your next travel destination?
KK: I have two answers: one I am getting married, so many of my weekends are spent trying to find a venue that suits us. We are going to Napa soon and I am taking full advantage of this engagement. The second answer is I am heading to Kentucky with a pit stop in Nashville. Another amazing girlfriend Desi just got married there. Louisville is an awesome town! And the antiques... it became a joke that we wouldn't stop talking about the antiques we found. My dad and I are flying into Nashville, renting a U haul and driving the furniture we got back from Kentucky. You just can’t beat the prices! And when you're 200 miles from Nashville and have never been it makes sense to start there. I am from a family of truck drivers and rodeo cowboys so 2000 mile driving across America sounds like a magical way to spend a week.
HS: Finish these sentences:
If I could live anywhere in the world it would be… LA but with the opportunity to get out of town.
Someone I admire most is… my dad.
There’s nothing better than… laughter.
My most embarrassing moment was when… I walked my first red carpet. I had food in my teeth, so after smiling and beaming for pictures, I was informed that I might want to take a look in a mirror.
My guilty pleasure is… having a great glass of wine and watching Nashville.
HS: Who is your style crush?
KK: Sienna Miller
HS: What is your idea of happiness?
KK: Authenticity. Being surrounded by great people. The ability to work hard and enjoy every minute in my life.
HS: What is a quote that best describes you and your outlook on life?
KK: "Never let enough reality in to your life that there is no room to dream." My dad is a big advocate of dreaming, working incredibly hard and that if you struggle with your mindset or a situation in life it is your power to change it. Create the life you want.
HS: Ojai is on of our favorite places on the west coast. It must have been magical growing up there. Can you share some things that make this place so beautiful?
KK: Rumor has it is one of the only valleys in the continental US that runs East to West, making it a spiritual mecca. I believe that it is also special because it has small town qualities. We grew up outside, skateboarding the neighborhood, strolling through orange orchards. I don't think that mentality has left the place and I hope that it never will.
HS: To somebody who has never visited Ojai, what would recommend them see or do while they are in town?
KK: One of my favorite hikes is up the 33. It is about an hour to the top and an hour down. There is an incline so your booty really feels it, especially if you run up hill. When you get to the top you see the entire valley. It’s a great place to sit and do some yoga. The hike is called Cozy Dell. Also, Boccallis restaurant! They have homegrown Ojai produce (TIP - they don't take cards just cash or check!) They have the best strawberry shortcake you will ever have, there’s a great patio and it feels very small town.
HS: Top Instagram accounts that you follow and why?
KK: I tend to follow my friends often.
@Mlle_Clothing - Mlle Mademoiselle. The line is sexy, the pictures gorgeous.
@Hautestreet (it's true) to see what everyone is up to and to keep the inspiration flowing.
@SpiritualGangster, love their clothing and the message behind it.
HS: Best advice someone has given you that has kept you going and growing?
KK: "You get each day once - make the most of it." When we look at a day as though we will never get it back, we treat it with respect. That doesn't mean I work my booty off everyday, it means to committing what you want out of a day: relax, alone time, friendship, a wild one... choose and don't feel bad about it.
HS: What is your favorite item in your closet?
KK: It would have to be a belt that I have. The buckle is my dad's that he won riding bulls and I have it on a belt I love that I got in a small town in Wyoming. I actually brought it with me today!
HS: Who are your top three fashion icons?
KK: Coco Chanel, Kate Moss, Brigitte Bardot
HS: What upcoming projects & involvements can Haute Street viewers look forward to seeing?
KK: Lots with BEST U! Everyday I have the greatest time putting together events. We are doing a workout with "Burn This" and Marie Claire in October. I am also putting together a fun country music workout class, lots of stuff. In regards to my personal life, my wedding!
HS: HAUTE STREET x the MUSE diaries is all about giving back to those that are in need. Tell us about your “Passion Project.” Why did you choose this cause?
KK: I am currently talking to a few people about how to get more involved, but I am passionate about helping young girls build confidence and realize they can do anything. There is a difference between self-confidence and self worth. The more we can help to build self worth in an individual, the more people will realize their own power and potential. More and more women are realizing that, more organizations being formed and the power of women collectively is truly being recognized. If we start with young girls, imagine what the next generation will bring.
HS: Continuing on with our tradition, "What would you like to ask our next muse?"
KK: What is a culture that you respect and admire, either in past or present times?
HAUTE STREET: Tell us about yourself. Where you grew up. Your background. Your passion for travel - where it all began.
BROOKE SAWARD: I grew up on an island in Australia called Tasmania. My entire family are originally from the farm so I guess you could say I'm a small town girl! When I was young my family moved to a bigger city on the island called Launceston, which is where I grew up. My parents believed this would give me and my sister better opportunities, but the city was still relatively small with a population of 100,000 people.
When I was age 13 I was selected to perform in a children's choir for a movie premier in Hong Kong - my first trip overseas! I fell in love with the 'big city lights' and as cliche as it sounds, I was a small town girl in a big city - my love for travel stemmed from there!
HS: Where is your favorite spot that you regular?
BS: Fly me to Paris any day of the week.
HS: Best Off-the-beaten path spots you've discovered while on an adventure?
BS: Bruges, Belgium; Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic; and Hallstatt, Austria. (images of each on my website if you just use the search bar!)
HS: Best places to that you’ve stayed at or want to stay at while wanderlusting (Hotels, Camping & Glamping).
BS: My all time favourite was the recent luxury tree house I stayed in - Singita Sweni - inside the Kruger National Park. A serious case of glamping.
HS: How did you start your blog and when did you know that it really took off?
BS: I started from scratch and it has grown exponentially in the first 18 months - it is still under 2 years old! I'm not really sure if I feel as though it has even really taken off yet as I have so many more ideas and projects in the works! I'm always so busy of thinking ahead!
HS: How did you get started/ build a following?
BS: It really was just as simple as putting an idea into motion. It's one step at a time - which I explain to readers of my new Ebook 'How to create a successful blog'. You really have to work hard on each step rather than rush ahead trying to get an audience before you have great content - it's all about the process!
HS: What makes a good social media photo?
BS: Aim to inspire. In almost all of my photos I try to tell a story rather than just show a scenic shot or touristy shot. It's all about inspiring others!
HS: How do u connect with your social media fans?
BS: I'm best contacted on twitter! @worldofwlust
HS: Favorite treasure you've acquired in your recent travels?
BS: Because I travel full time year-round I try my best not to collect tangible goods! My photos are my best memories.
HS: Top 3 places on your bucket list that you haven't been to yet and why?
BS: Antarctica - the last continent I will need to step foot on after I visit South America in August; Iceland because it looks unreal; and Norway for the hiking/scenery.
HS: The most interesting person that you've met on one of your travels-where and why?
BS: A girl I met up with in Copenhagen, Denmark. She had contacted me out of the blue to see if I would like a tour of the city with a local as I had been doing a few meet-ups before then. She was the most genuine, down to earth person I had ever met. An absolute inspiration in every sense of the word. She was also Bosnian and very proud of her home country, despite having to leave in the 1990s due to the war. She had told her parents about me and my website and her dad was incredibly pleased to hear I would be visiting Bosnia later in the year. From that encounter, I was determined to do a good job of promoting Bosnia to my readers. It wasn't hard because I absolutely loved the place! One of my articles went viral in Bosnia and I now have heaps of readers from there! Crazy!
HS: We all know you love travel, what are your other passions?
BS: Really, you do? Haha.... I also love to sing, play piano, dance, yes - I was a 'theatre kid' in school. I have a great passion for writing which I'm sure you knew already... but my dream is to publish a novel one day!
HS: If you had an unlimited budget and could go anywhere in the world, where would you go and what would you do? Why is this your choice?
BS: The moon because you said 'unlimited budget' and I'm a dreamer.
HS: Travel fashion/packing tips?
BS: HATS! I wear them all the time so I don't have to do my hair... they also make any outfit immediately fashionable.
HS: Tell us the best locations in your home town for the following:
BS: best food - Burger Got Soul - my favourite burger joint. My favourite is the "Mind body and soul" veggie burger. mmmmm!
best fashion - Justin Paul Boutique
best people - You'll find the best people everywhere... there's something about Tasmanians, they're a friendly bunch!
best architecture - The city of Launceston is filled with interesting architecture from the past and present - head to Inveresk for the best insight.
best beach - We don't have one! Crazy, huh!
best history - The Inveresk Museum
HS: Number one travel essential (besides a passport!)?
BS: My frends headphones!
HS: Favorite travel buddy?
BS: My Canon DSLR! I love traveling solo at the moment - I'm sure it will change in the future but for now, I am my own best friend!
HS: Who is a woman that has personally inspired you in your lifetime?
BS: My mum. Words can't even do it justice to explain how tremendous she is. She's like that superwoman mum that you swear has superpowers to accomplish everything she does in each and every day. She works full time and always manages to have an impeccable household and an elaborate dinner on the table every evening - that to me is one of the most selfless lifestyles a person can have. She's amazing.
HS: Can you share any trips or collaborations you have planned?
BS: I have an exciting campaign with Ford Car Company - it will be filmed so you will get to see the whole thing!
HAUTE STREET HEARTS Mei Kawajiri, a freelance nail artist residing in New York City. She is an entrepreneur who is changing the #NAILGAME. Find out #MORE in this quick Q & A with the woman behind @ciaomanhattan2012!
Interview answered by: Mei Kawajiri
HAUTE STREET: At what moment did you realize you could make your skill into a career?
MEI KAWAJIRI: My brush stroke is from Japanese “SHUJI” which I’ve been doing since I was young and has always come naturally to me.
HS: NYC vs Japan - What is the difference between the two nail scenes?
MK: NYC – Everyone has amazing ideas that are super unique and fun to create. Everyone has a different style!
Japan – They stick to trends. If something starts trending, everyone will do the same trend, yet they are always looking for new style. Very cutting edge!
HS: Describe the creative process that goes into your work before you even get started with a client.
MK: I start by asking the client about colors they like, specific things in fashion, or style. Sometimes clients want very specific art, and sometimes I will create a sketch of the client’s idea. If they trust me…sometimes I can do whatever I want with their fingertips!
HS: Being a woman entrepreneur in New York were there any challenges that you've had to face getting into the industry?
MK: One of my dreams was to change nail culture here in NYC. I want to share with people in New York what is going on in the nail industry!
HS: Typically how much would the usual house-call mani/pedi cost?
MK: At the salon it would be around $100-$150. House calls would be more expensive.
HS: How far in advance do you recommend booking?
MK: 2-3 weeks
HS: Favorite jobs to work on?
MK: I love to work on television shows & doing work for fashion magazines.
HS: Talk to us about upcoming nail trends.
MK: 3D ART! Not just painting but art that actually comes off your nails!
HS: Best advice someone has given you that has kept you going and growing?
MK: Do what you want! So many people told me that “nail art would not be popular in New York!” but I kept doing it! I bring my own style to the industry!
HS: Favorite place you’ve ever traveled to (and why)?
MK: I love Paris! I did nail work at Colette at fashion week in 2014. Everyone there has cool style.
I also really love JAPAN. Japanese fashion is crazy!
HS: What are some upcoming projects/collaborations viewers can look forward to seeing in the near future?
MK: I am planning on going on a world tour to do nails soon!
Meet our MUSE from MILAN, Chiara Mazzucco. This italian beauty proves that she isn't just a pretty face. In this exclusive interview she opens up about her first american memory, the struggles of starting her own business while being a single mother and the moment she decided to live the life of an "INDIE CHICK". #CHECKIT #theMUSEdiaries
HAUTE STREET: Tell us about yourself. Where you grew up, siblings, family, friends, dreams, traditions, etc.
CHIARA MAZZUCCO: I grew up in a wonderfully open-minded household of do-it-yourselfers. I woke up every morning being pushed to educate myself, question authority, and to never take life so seriously, most of which I’ve adopted as general life mantras. The majority of my life was spent in a magical little home in West Hollywood; a place filled with cats, dogs, and family friends coming for dinner, card games, and viewings of my dad’s movies. My brother and I moved here with my parents, while my older sister stayed in Italy to finish school. Now that my entire family moved back to Italy and I moved to New York, I treasure those memories and am so grateful they built such a foundation for my definition of happiness. I will accept nothing less than my household becoming a circus of laughter, creativity, and inspiration for every guest.
HS: When did you move to the states? Tell us about that experience.
CM: I moved here February 20th, 1994. The first thing I remember was opening my eyes as we were leaving LAX and seeing a gigantic donut (courtesy of the iconic Randy’s Donuts). “This is America?” I asked my dad. “Yup, this is America.”
I had a bowl cut and a unibrow, wore leotards, and didn’t speak a word of English. Mean girls tried to get me to go into the boys bathroom, while assuring me that in America the color blue meant for girls, and I would go home frustrated with the English language. “Pretend you have a hamburger in your mouth. It’ll help the words not come out so crisp,” my dad would say.
HS: What is the hardest part about starting your life here in the states?
CM: Being a kid is hard in general. Remove verbal communication and you’re left with hand signals and facial expressions, neither of which is well developed at the tender age of 7. Not only that, but the culture shock was unbelievable. Growing up in Milan I had made friends with the Nigerian man who sold bracelets on my corner, but aside from that I wasn’t used to seeing people that were much different than I was. I was also so young, I wasn’t really looking for it.
HS: And what was the best part?
CM: The adventure. My dad was the only one who spoke English, so we would have lessons and he’d tell me stories and secrets on how to remember things like ‘Wed-nes-day’. It was a big bonding thing for my family. It also prepared me for the discomfort of starting new jobs or going to a new school, because let’s face it, feeling like an outsider happens to everyone, many times, in many situations.
HS: What is a piece of advice that has kept you going and growing?
CM: “No matter what you go through in life, you’re the only one guaranteed to be in it.”
It’s helped me redirect the focus to me when I have most needed it. A broken heart can easily make you feel like your entire world is shattered for good, so what do you do? You remind yourself that even soul mates are just visitors on your path and that you alone walk it. Nurture yourself and direct the energy where it’s needed most.
HS: Can you tell us about a life changing moment that you've experienced?
CM: I have had many life changing moments, but none have played as big of a role into my ‘today’ as the moment I was raped by my boyfriend when I was 15. Yes, it changed my life and my definition of sex and had, and continues to have, an impact on my relationships. However, it’s the reason I started blogging. It’s the reason I wrote a book. It’s the reason I went through the transformation I went through that led me to start The Indie Chicks and lead a movement of self-empowerment. So really, its impact was much greater, and better, than anything I could have ever imagined.
HS: How did that Change you?
CM: For the better. After him, I was in an emotionally abusive relationship, and the two combined made me hide into an empty shell for the better part of my high school years. The day came I could no longer handle the darkness and I decided to change. I created an ideal version of myself - a badass, don’t you dare think you’re worthy of breaking me - and I devoted an entire year to becoming her. One day, I was her, and from that day on, she’s been the foundation of strength for every single struggle I have faced in my life.
HS: When did you get your first Tattoo?
CM: I was 15, in Italy, and my tattoo artist cousin who is covered head-to-toe did it. My mom held my hand while he placed a pretty little butterfly, representing femininity, on my shoulder, representing strength.
HS: How many do you have?
CM: I have 5 now and am working on a sleeve for my left arm.
HS: What is the most significant meaning?
CM: I have a band around my left arm that says, “The Universe Beside Me.” It means that no matter what I go through in life, I have the biggest support system by my side.
HS: You lived in Los Angeles for some time - what made you want to take the leap and move to New York?
CM: My ex-husband and I had just had our son and my family decided to move back to Italy. We wanted him to have family near, so we moved to New York where Jason’s parents live. Though we’ve since split, moving across the country was a great move for both of our businesses and Luca, our son, has a beautiful and special relationship with his grandparents.
HS: When and why did you decide to start the indie chicks?
CM: The idea came up in February of 2012 and the site launched in May, so we’ve been up and running a little over 2 years. As a dating blogger, a lot of what I was writing on my personal blog was tailored to the individual and the concept of self-improvement and self-analysis came up a lot in my advice. I realized there was a real need to target the self and decided the best way to do so was to put together some of the best women writers on the web and start a movement.
HS: What has been one of your biggest challenges when starting a company like this?
CM: Anyone with an online presence knows how hard it is to get noticed. You may have a great idea for a website, but when you’re competing with big sites overpowering the web for a reader’s attention, it makes it pretty hard to get your site noticed. Gathering writers, doing brand outreach, hyping up the launch, and building something that would actually retain visitors was a lot to juggle with such a small team. Finding balance and learning to prioritize was definitely a start-up challenge.
HS: What has been your biggest motivation?
CM: Once we started getting positive feedback for the website, there was no going back. Every email that begins with, “Your website helped me…” or, “Because of you, I…” motivates me to keep going, be better, and give more. Building something I can tell my son I started building when he was a baby motivates me. My partners and my entire team motivate me. My reflection in the mirror motivates me. I can’t stop now. I have to keep going.
HS: Who is a woman who has inspired you in your lifetime to become the woman you are today?
CM: I have been inspired, one way or another, by most women in my life, with my sister and my mother being the two most consistent players in inspiring me to develop my heart. A lot of my teachers and college professors have pushed me to develop my mind. Random women I have met, at various stages of their careers, have inspired me to develop a career path. I choose to absorb and be inspired by as many people as possible.
HS: What is a piece of advice you could give your 20 year old self?
CM: “Keep going, listen to yourself. You’re on the right path. Every bit of doubt you’re feeling is coming from the right place.”
I was about 20 when I started giving in to the doubt that what I was told was supposed to be my life - college, husband, white picket fence and 2.5 kids- was actually not for me. I truly believe we’re a lot more self-aware at a much younger age than we give ourselves credit for. So my advice would be to give in to that self-awareness.
HS: Where do you see the indie chicks 5 years from now?
CM: Louder. I think we’re really on to something because we’re feeding into a woman’s real need. Our brand is about focusing on the inner sense of self. We’re about empowering the person you are those 5 seconds you first wake up in the morning, before you become someone’s mother, wife, lover, or business partner. We all have a core that needs to be nourished. We’re tapping into as many microphones as possible so we can get our message to more people. So in 5 years, I expect us to be bigger, better, and most of all, louder.
HS: Finish these sentences…
CM: If I wasn't doing this, I would be…. Working with apes. My second love is evolutionary psychology and I’m obsessed with primate behavior.
If I could have one super power for a day, it would be… Clone myself so I could get more done.
The most spectacular thing that I have ever witnessed is… Holding my son for the first time and him opening his eyes to search for me the second I said hello and introduced myself as his new mommy.
HS: What is something that most people don't know about you?
CM: That I fall in love a little bit with everyone I meet, men and women, even if I never see them again.
HS: We all have embarrassing moments - can you tell us about your #1 most embarrassing?
CM: I broke a guy’s sink by sitting on it once. Seemed like a good idea at the time until I was drenched in water, standing in a flooded bathroom, and the guy never wanted to see me again.
HS: How do you choose a cover girl?
CM: One thing that sets us apart from other women magazines is the fact we keep our readers involved in everything we do. We hold nominations open for about a week per issue and then we choose from that selection. Our cover girls have to be active in their community and be an inspiration, one way or another. Our cover girls are not models, they are brand ambassadors who represent the brand and have the ability to inspire and motivate our readers to become the best versions of themselves.
HS: Who is the indie chick reader and why is she so “bad-ass"?
CM: An Indie Chick is a self-empowered woman. Whether she’s a stay at home mom, a single 20-something or a devoted career woman, she’s committed to being the best version of herself and not letting anything stop her on her path in life. She’s a woman whose ability to tap into her inner badass makes her unstoppable.
HS: Tell us about your partners. How you guys came to be.
CM: We’ve had a few women come and go with the company, but the three current partners have held on strong for about a year. Julie, our VP and Senior Editor, has been with the company since about 2 months after we launched and Chrystal, our President and COO, has been with us for about a year. I brought both on with the exact same approach: I told them to trust me, that I had something great, and that I needed them to be a part of it. One is in North Carolina and the other near Philly, so we meet virtually every week and get together as often as possible.
HS: What is a piece of advice you can give women who are starting their own companies?
CM: Find mentorship in everyone you know. I think a big mistake we make is think we need to seek out mentorship specific to our field, but one thing I’ve learned is that mentors invest in people, not ‘concepts’ or ‘ideas’. Ask as many questions as you can, even if you’re outside sharing a cigarette at a party. The absorption of information from experienced individuals will get you further than any textbook can. Oh, and network, network, network.
HS: And advice about going into business with partners?
CM: Don’t forget you’re all people, with personal lives. The number one advice you get is to keep friendship and business separate, but I’ve found that advice to create more trouble than anything. Be conscious that running a business is a part of your lives and that there will be times, no matter how hard you try to keep them separate, that your personal life will cross over. Learning to be sensitive to that, especially throughout the start-up phase, is crucial to developing a strong, respectful, long-term relationship with your partners. You just have to know when to draw the line.
HS: Where is your favorite place that you've traveled to and why?
CM: As a single mom entrepreneur, I don’t get to travel much, though I am grateful to have spent so much time in Italy. The culture changes so much depending on where you are in the country, that it’s easy to feel you’re visiting different worlds. It’s pretty magical.
HS: Where is your next travel destination?
CM: Right before I met my now ex-husband, I had bought a one way ticket to Italy. From there, I was planning on going to Spain, Buenos Aires, and Australia. I didn’t know how I’d bounce from one place to another, but I knew I wanted to visit them all. I still plan to, in whatever order it happens.
HS: Tell us about growing up in Milan?
CM: I had some pretty spectacular friends growing up in Milan, many of whom are still in my life today. We went to tennis summer camp together, even after I moved to the States, and kept in touch throughout the year. There was a lot of ice cream, bike riding, and late night dancing with cute italian boys in town. My dad was a director, my mom a model, and my uncle in theatre, so most of my memories are a mixture of lifestyles.
HS: One thing that all of our Muses have in common is their need/want to give back to the communities and to their passion projects. Can you tell us about your passion project?
There are so many causes that are near and dear to my heart. Right now I’m looking to get involved in campaigning for self-esteem amongst our youth, and against bullying. I was bullied pretty badly growing up, and seeing what it’s doing to teenagers now, with the aid of social media, is absolutely terrifying. Children are committing suicide because of it. I want to be able to offer more than, “It gets better.” Growing up is hard enough without being a target for someone else’s abuse, but unfortunately bullying is common and no amount of campaigning is going to put a stop to it. What we can do is invest in strengthening them from within, so that they are strong enough to fight against it.
Tell us a little bit about how NOE Undergarments came to life.
NOE Undergarments came to life from our love and passion of lingerie and “little things”. We grew up on the island of Kauai and since we were babies lived in bikinis and you could say more “skin showing” apparel. I think this started the fantasy of loving tiny things… lingerie, swimwear and body showing fashion. Since we were teens we talked of the idea of starting a lingerie line... we always loved how something you can wear that is so small and often discrete can make you feel so sexy, confident and beautiful. We started really seriously conceptualizing a few years ago and then put the creative ‘pencil to paper’ in late 2012.
Describe the type of woman wearing your NOE Undergarments.
The woman who wears NOE Undergarments is strong and willing to take risks by not following trends but merely setting her own. She loves to feel sexy and beautiful for herself and that’s why she is beyond attractive. At the same time she is understatedly simple and finds interest in clean lines, uncomplicated garments and takes pride in noticing the little details of things. Whether it be in her daily life, the people she is with or her style. When you meet her in person, you leave completely touched by this contagious confidence and beauty.... that is the NOE Undergarment woman.
Lingerie is generally worn in the bedroom but your aesthetics are different. How can a woman wear your designs outside of the bedroom?
Yes, exactly… even the word “lingerie” stems a feeling of bedroom wear. When choosing our brand name we made the decision to not use ‘lingerie’ in our name, as we don’t fit completely in that category. We felt ‘undergarments’ let us be a little more abstract and open to how we were designing. We design the collection to be very versatile... every piece is made to be worn in the home or out in public as a layering piece or simply stand-alone fashion statement. Our collection is constructed of fabrics that are “showable”… shiny silks, premium grade meshes, patented Nano Lycra, Lambskin leather and most styles are trimmed with bold Herringbone Japanese elastic for strapping. The styles are more forward with untraditional silhouettes, back cut outs, deep V-fronts, bonded style bandeaus, etc. Between the fabrication combinations and silhouettes of our collection it really stands out from traditional bedroom lingerie. When you put on NOE Undergarment pieces, they don’t feel like “lingerie” some pieces may act as a function of lingerie, but as the wearer you want to show them off. We consider the collection very much a hybrid between lingerie and RTW. All our bras are designed to be worn under low scoop tanks or dresses or simply cropped tops, our leggings can be worn alone or as a perfect piece for a shorter dress or long tee and our slips can all be worn as cover ups, layered or our favorite way to style as a stand alone sheer slip with a pop bra/panty beneath.
What was the inspiration behind the most current collection?
The most current collection, SS14 was inspired by lines, we used geometric lines and shapes in this collection to add unique silhouette and seaming lines to create pieces that we’re very progressive in feel. We don’t use prints in our collection so playing with seaming details is a way we love to add a unique feel in styles as well as a perfected fit to more of our body-hugging pieces. We have our Peter group where we layer mesh panels on top of each other in certain areas of the garment to make a more contoured shape when wearing the style as well as a unique look.
We noticed that many of the pieces in the current collection are named after men. What’s in the names??
This is so fabulous you noticed this. We’ve never been asked this question and there is a reason behind each. The reason we decided on men’s names is we have a very much “yin and yang” of the brand—anything we do that is girly we love a masculine compliment so that is where the men’s names came into play… a rougher addition to a more feminine natured garment. The entire collection is based in capsules that all work together and divided by styling and fabrication. In the current collection we have the Ryan, Peter, Edward, Zachary, Oliver and Alfie capsules. Both of us are married and Ryan/Zachary are named after our fabulous husbands and the other men’s names have certain reasons from characters in books, poems, and movies to real life.
Being women entrepreneurs, what are some of the challenges you’ve faced getting into the lingerie industry?
With the August launch of AW14, it will be our 3rd season and we’re constantly facing new challenges and learning new things on a daily basis that surprise us. Both of us are not from the lingerie world, when we went to NYC to present our first collection at Curve NY (the biggest US lingerie tradeshow) in February 2013... it was so scary and we didn’t know what to expect. We met the most amazing and supportive network of people and everyone was so supportive to see we were doing something different. Since then the most challenging element has been breaking the preconceived notion that ‘innerwear’ can also be exposed. We also are such a hybrid so sometimes we hear “oh we don’t carry lingerie” or “where is your basic T-shirt bra” but we’re not exactly lingerie, we don’t make the perfected “t-shirt” or “push-up bra”…
Originating in Hawaii, did you face any challenges in exposure to the states?
We’re both from Kauai, Hawaii and Shelah still lives there while I live in Laguna Beach where our studio HQ is. We actually have more accounts and have seen more receptivity from both buyers and customers in the city spaces—NY, LA, etc. With our collection being a bit forward, it seems customers in these city locations find the collection more wearable. However, at the same time we have some sheer silk slips and triangle bralettes that do really well in Hawaii and West/East Coast beach areas. Originating from Hawaii has actually been an opening topic for many people as a point on the label… I think it’s a unique combination that people find interesting, twins that grew up on a small island and then making sexy forward undergarments.
How do you stay connected to your social media fans?
Social media is such an interesting and essential part of today’s world, it’s almost like a love and hate relationship. It’s so amazing to see people respond to your brand and love what your doing but at the same time it opens you up for critique and comparison that can be slightly overwhelming as well. Being a small niche brand, social media has been and is currently a way we use to show the personality of the brand and get feedback from our fans. We really try to show a combination of the day to day of the brand as well as polished imagery that we create, a combination of ‘spur of the moment’ and the ‘perfected’. We love doing shoots with our friends and new friends we meet in our pieces. We’re all about doing spur of the moment impromptu shoots… this shows the wearable side of the label and also allows us to show cool ways to style the collection. We’re lucky with the nature of our product people find it interesting… who doesn’t want to see a little sexy bod in undergarments?
Top 3 Instagram’s that you follow and why?
- Wolfcub Chronicles (@wolfcubwolfcub) – Brides (Brydie Mack) who runs the Aussie blog wolfcub chronicles is a friend and such a talent. Her instagram is always full of the most amazing high quality curated images – both from others and her own photography/styling. When we first started NOE Undergarments she was the first one outside ourselves to shoot and style the collection for her blog. She did one photo particularly that created a lot of interest on our label- a back shot of the Alfie Silk Slip just showing the bold T-strap down the center back, it was stunning!
- Garage Magazine (@garage_magazine) – we love the WTF with their photos. They show it all from soccer playing chickens to sexy nipple showing black and whites. We can laugh, get shocked and get inspired all through one photo source.
- Sticks and Stones Agency (@sticks_and_stones_agency) —Ains (Ainsley Hutchence) and her hubby Sebastien Fougere own Sticks and Stones Agency, which is a sales/creative/press agency in Australia. Their instagram is phenom… crazy, wild, weird, horrifying, incredibly sexy and unique. I love that they don’t care what people think or say, they do it their way. Their photos also make you laugh, get disgusted, get inspired and get turned on!
Favorite piece in the current collection?
This is something we both agree on… we have 2 favorites in the current SS14 collection—The Ryan Leather Zip-back corset and Oliver sport Bra. The Ryan Leather Zip-back corset is a white lambskin mid-length corset top. This piece has boning and structured cups to hold it’s shape, it’s lined with our premium mesh and has a bold gold zipper up the back. It’s a statement-maker and different … we love the softness of the lambskin, the intricacy and beauty of the construction and how damn hot you look when you have it on! Pair this with a casual menswear pant, healed booties and the look is pretty amazing. Our other favorite, the Oliver Sport Bra is one of our top selling styles for SS14, it’s simple yet very progressive and sexy. The style is made from European Nano Lycra and has a front high neckline and dramatic open t- back that encompasses our signature herringbone elastic and gold hardware. We love this piece as it has such a good balance of being sexy without trying.
What’s on your office playlist right now?
French Café Radio from Pandora, which will probably be followed by Iggy Azalea or Jay Z (haha!)
Best advice someone has giving you that has kept you going and growing?
“Listen to your gut instinct. Don’t deviate from your vision.”
For fashion, we’ve become obsessed with R13 and what they’ve been doing lately and of course our favorite Jeremy Scott is always so incredibly brilliant. Non- fashion, we are obsessed with good coffee and running (we both love to run… a good way to clear the crazies that can go on in your head and keep you sane!)
What gets you up for work every day?
The idea that NOE Undergarments is doing something different, the idea that we can create what we want to create, the idea that this world has very open limits and our amazing husbands and family!
Idea of happiness?
Love + passion in all areas of life. Good love with your lover, love of your work, love of your friends and family and love of the life you have…
Your favorite place that you’ve ever traveled to, and why?
We’ve both have been fortunate to travel to many areas of the world and places that stand out as amazing have been Tavarua, Fiji—amazing surf and people, Bali— unrestricted freedom, Interior Canada—incredible beauty, Italy—coffee and food and we always resort back to Kauai as one of our favorite places on earth for it’s beauty both in the land and the people.
What can’t you live without?
Coffee, chocolate + pen and paper.
Do you have a MUSE that you’d love to see rock NOE Undergarments
This sounds so cliché, she is not our MUSE but we would love to see Miley Cyrus rock NOE Undergarments… she has our collection and we can’t wait to see her rockin’ it as she could rock it like no other with her confidence and attitude.
What are some things viewers can look forward to seeing with NOE Undergarments for F/W 2014?
Some demure and some forward…. One of our favorites for AW14 is a “flame” lambskin leather ‘caged bra’ and an ultra light sheer menswear pajama set amongst some other feminine and masculine style pieces. In general, the AW14 collection is incorporating a progressive step on SS14 and we’ve spent more time really ensuring our collection can be exposed… #INNERWEAREXPOSED Follow us on instagram at @noeundergarments to see all the peaks before the collection launches on NOEUNDERGARMENTS.COM on August 1st!
Meet Erica Driscoll, a stunning Brazilian songbird and our Muse of the MONTH. You may recognize her as the voice of the indie-rock band #BLONDFIRE. This self proclaimed shy MUSE has secured a place in our YOUNG HEARTS not only for her multi-instrumental talents but she also reminds us that as cliche as it may sound - to listen to the universe. In this exclusive Q & A you'll find out what #tourlife is like for an #indie band, the exact moment that she knew she was on the right path and what her definition of success is. #CHECKIT #HAUTESTREET #theMUSEdiaries
HAUTE STREET: Erica, we're so excited to have you as a part of our Haute Street family! Can you share with us a little bit about your diverse upbringing?
ERICA DRISCOLL: I grew up between a city in the North of Brazil called Belém, and Grand Rapids, Michigan. My Mother’s Brazilian and my parents met when my Dad lived there for a few years while he was in the Peace Corp. Both places seriously couldn’t have been more polar opposite from each other, so it definitely made for an interesting childhood. While I enjoyed growing up in Michigan, I feel like being able to spend time in Brazil really opened my eyes to the fact there was a big world out there.
HS: What is something that most people don't know about you?
ED: I can be incredibly shy.
HS: What is the hardest thing about being on the road?
ED: I mostly miss the simple things at home. My own bed, healthy food, having a real day off.
HS: What is some advice that has kept you going and growing?
ED: Don’t settle and never give up! I think most of the reason people are successful, is that they won't take no for an answer.
HS: Who is a woman that has influenced you to become the person you are today?
ED: Definitely my Mom who loved the arts and exposed me to that world growing up. We were always going to see the symphony or to an art museum.
HS: Who would you say are your music icons?
ED: So many, but off the top of my head…Pet Shop Boys, Morrissey, Sinead O’Connor, Debbie Harry, many more…
HS: What is a hardship that you have had to overcome in your lifetime?
ED: A few years ago we actually got signed to EMI UK and we’re dropped while we were in the process of writing for the record. The label had gotten bought out by another company and they were dropping bands and firing A&R people left and right. It really felt like such a let down to think we were going to be putting out an album and have it not happen for us. We definitely felt a little bit lost after that, and weren’t really sure where to go from there.
HS: How have you turned that into a positive? How did that change you?
ED: I think it made me more self-reliant. As cliché as it sounds, I feel like everything happens for a reason. At the time they had us doing a lot of co-writes for the album, which were fun, but sometimes the songs weren’t feeling completely like us. This time around we knew what we wanted, had created a buzz on our own, and were already having a decent amount of success with or without a label. So when it came down to it, people just trusted that we knew what we were doing.
HS: Can you tell us about an AH-HA moment in your life?
ED: When I was living in NYC, my publishing company had set up a songwriting trip for me to go to LA to collaborate with different songwriters and producers. This was my first time doing anything like this all by myself, and I was really nervous, but excited about it. I ended up having a great experience with everyone I worked with and really felt like I was in my element. Funny enough, I actually worked with Wally, who is now my husband, on the very last day I was there. We hit it off right away and not only did I meet him, a song we wrote ended up making it onto Jessica Simpson’s album. If definitely felt like the universe was trying to tell me I was going in the right direction.
HS: What do you do to calm your nerves before a big show?
ED: A nice glass of wine…or two ;-)
HS: What is the hardest part about being a musician and making a career out of it?
ED: That there’s no set way to succeed in this business, so it’s all about finding new and different ways to keep going.
HS: What advice would you share with someone who has similar aspirations?
ED: Figure how who you are musically, what makes you unique. Don’t just follow trends, but follow your heart. Envision exactly where you want to be, not just that you “want to make it”. What exactly does that mean to you? Then make little steps everyday towards getting there.
HS: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
ED: Sipping champagne in the south of France!
HS: What is a piece of advice that you would give your 18 year old self?
ED: Don’t worry, it’s all going to work out!
HS: Where did your love of music come from? When did you know you wanted to do this?
ED: My Mom was definitely a big influence on me discovering my love for music. She taught me to play the piano when I was really young and always had records playing in the house that she’d be singing along to. Ever since I was little, music was the one thing I felt confident about. It just felt natural to me and I didn’t have a choice, but to keep going with it.
HS: Where do you draw inspiration from?
ED: I get inspired by so many different, sometimes random things. I really love quirky movies like Beetlejuice, Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory, Old Disney flicks, Shriley Temple, Fred Astaire, just being out in Nature is inspiring. Sometimes reading a random word or phrase somewhere, like in a magazine will inspire a song title or concept for me. I just never know where it’s going to come from.
HS: Do you have a favorite BLONDFIRE song?
ED: That changes all the time for me. Although, “Where The Kids Are” was such an important part of people discovering the band, that it will alway be a favorite of mine.
HS: What's it like being the only girl on a tour van?
ED: At this point I’m used to being the only girl, but I definitely become one of the guys on the road. Usually, as the tour goes on, the jokes get dirtier and dirtier and I pretty much become a weirdo that can’t relate to a mature human being! Insanely long drives will do that to you!
HS: Travel tips for being on the road?
ED: I usually pack mostly black clothes and throw in just few colorful things. It’s so much easier to put outfits together on the road when things are easy to coordinate. Plus, black IS rock and roll!
Food wise, we always try to hit up Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods whenever we find one. There are so many times that the food options are horrible. Pizza and burgers once and a while are fine, but when you’re living this as your day to day life, you start craving something healthy and it’s good to stock up when you can.
HS: Can you tell us about one of your favorite shows you’ve ever performed at?
ED: There have been so many good ones, but one that sticks out in my mind is Firefly Festival in Delaware last year. That show marked the end of 4 months on the road for us and we had a huge, really fun crowd. Plus, Tom Petty headlined that night, which was the night of the “Supermoon”! We listen to him a lot in the van, so it was a pretty epic way to the end the tour, singing along to every word under the giant, magical, Super Moon!
HS: Is there a destination that you haven't performed at yet where you would love to do a show?
ED: I’m really hoping that we get to perform at Lollapalooza in South America this coming year!
HS: Do you have any upcoming collaboration you can share with us?
ED: I’m really excited about a song I just sang and co-wrote with the amazing Russian DJ, Arty! That should be coming out soon on his new album.
HS: Where is your favorite place that you’ve traveled to?
ED: I have to say my Brazilian hometown, Belém. It’s a big city that’s located right on the Amazon River and the streets are lined with Mango trees. Beautiful people, culture, and amazing food!
HS: What would you recommend that someone do/see/eat/experience while there?
ED: I would definitely tell them to go see the Ver O Paso fish market, take a boat tour on the Amazon, and see a show at the beautiful opera house, Theatro da Paz. Food wise, eating a bowl of the real, pure Acai is a must. They serve it with sugar and tapioca and it’s the most amazing thing ever!
HS: Finish these sentences:
ED: I can’t live without…My guitar, good coffee, watermelon with cinnamon on it, coconut oil for everything, white cotton sheets, dry red wine, and most importantly, my Wally.
My biggest pet peeve …Judgmental people.
My most embarrassing moment was…I’ll never tell!
HS: How do you define success?
ED: Success is about living a healthy, happy life, surrounded by the people you care about, doing what you love. If I ever get frustrated that things aren’t going the way I want them to, I like to remind myself that “Life is a journey, not a destination.”
HS: The top 3 on my bucket list are …
ED: I definitely feel like playing music has allowed me to have so many amazing experiences in my life already. If I can dream though...play a sold out show at the Hollywood Bowl, do a song with Tom Petty, The Pet Shop Boys, U2, Johnny Marr, or Dave Gahan, and I've also always wanted to go to Greece...
HS: What do the MUSE diaries mean to you? Why did you decide to be a part of this movement?
ED: I love that the Muse diaries are all about women telling their stories and inspiring others. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that!?!
HS: What would you like to ask our next MUSE?
ED: What would you answer for question number 4? (What is some advice that has kept you going and growing?) :-)
Interview answered by: Kody Pickern
Tell us a little bit about SUGAR LA and how it came to life.
Sugar LA started outside of Sacramento actually in a small town called Roseville. I was working a full-time job and it really came down to a simple question – “How would you really enjoy spending your life?” So I decided to start shooting out of my 700 sq. foot apartment and putting my focus in to photography. My Fiancee called me Sugar (always has) and I knew I wanted to move to Los Angeles to further my career so I started marketing towards it. Really… never expected anyone to notice.
Describe the type of woman captured through the photographs of SUGAR LA.
I don’t think there is a “type.” I love that about what I do. What I really look for in the people that I work with is that they are doing it for the right reasons. The people that I shoot are really in it for one reason, the same as I am, to make great reason. There is never an alterier motive and with that said everyone that I have had the pleasure of working with has been intelligent, confident, strong, and some of the best people I have ever met. Like my IG says “I’m a photographer. These are my friends”
Why did you decide to focus only on women in your work?
It was something that I started noticing everyday with my fiancée actually. I would see her every morning getting ready, sitting on the floor, hair all over the place and I couldn’t help but notice those small little detailed moments of my life that I probably walked past 12,000 times that were beautiful, real, and simple.
How did you acquire your style?
It started with the idea of seeing something most people never do and then evolved out of necessity. I was shooting in a tiny little apartment and trying to make it look different every day without moving an entire place around. I work with only one lens which doesn’t zoom, I don’t use artificial light, and I don’t retouch images. Working with very little helps because you sort of force yourself to think “What else could I do?”
What is the first step in your creative process?
Truth? I spend a lot of time in museums. I don’t really look at much photography, never have. I’m a total nerd and those 16th century renaissance paintings are the bees-knees.
Everyone has an “Ah-HAH” moment; tell us about the moment you knew you were an artist.
I think it was the first time I had anything published. It wasn’t being published; it was about how it came about. I was shooting in my apartment and at the time I was totally into flash photography. A friend had come over to shoot and 5 minutes in my flash burned up (entire house smelled of melting plastic). I shot images anyway and pushed the camera past what I thought it could do as I was shooting with the help of a 12 dollar Ikea lamp at 10:30 at night. Anyway, two days later I received a message back and I realized that everything I thought about photography was wrong. I’ve been going that way ever since.
We love that you teach how to photograph women, the right way. Talk to us about your hands-on workshops.
I see SO many photographers out there that really don’t know where to start. My goal is to give a real world approach to dealing with people, perceptions, the industry, and shooting all in a way that everyone can understand. There are a lot of photographers that think it is about hair, make-up, Photoshop, you name it. They couldn’t be more wrong in most cases.
How do you stay connected to your social media fans?
Well I think for me it is something that comes pretty easy. I am always completely open, honest, and willing ot chat. I definitely try to respond to everyone I can as well.
Top 3 Instagram’s that you follow
My account was actually just deleted …I’ll let you know as soon as I can look up usernames again!
What’s on your office playlist right now?
Wow, I’m all over the board. Buddy Holly, Devo, Jimi Hendrix, Metromony, Kavinsky, Tom Waits, Notorious B.I.G., and Cults. I should stop, this could go on forever.
Best advice someone has given you that has kept you going and growing.
I learned early on from another photographer in my home town by the name of Tim Engle that it is not about what you have that will prove your success. It is about what you don’t have and what you can do with it. We were shooting with flashlights, fire, you name it.
Tesla Model SP85 Edition. I had the opportunity to drive one recently and it absolutely blew me away. Simple, beautiful, intelligent.
What gets you up for work every day?
My iPhone. Same as everyone else
Idea of happiness?
Doing what I love while traveling and making friends
What cant you live without?
George and Max – My cats.
Do you have a MUSE that you’ve fantasized photographing for your work?
I don’t actually have just one. The list is miles long
What are some projects viewers can look forward to seeing with SUGAR LA in the near future?
I am stepping into working with celebrities here soon and actually very excited about it. Also working on some 3D techniques that are quite challenging as well. I will let you know more as I get the details worked out!
HAUTE STREET: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your upbringing in London?
NIKKI PENNIE: I grew up in the countryside of England in the most beautiful place, Henley on Thames that is wear my parents still reside. I moved to London when I was 18 to study and lived there until I moved to the US. I did a degree in Fashion Management and the rest is history...
HS: When did you move to the United States and why did you decide to do so?
NP: I was constantly traveling back and forth from London for 2 years so I finally decided to move here permanently over 5 years ago. I was working for a British fashion house called Issa and then moved here and fell into styling. That then brought me to DJing and now that is what I do full time.
HS: How was that experience and how did it impact you?
NP: My experience of moving here was amazing as I had quite a few good Brit friends here from London and I had already spent so much time in the city it was already my 2nd home.
HS: How did you get into DJing?
NP: I started being asked by a few fashion brands to DJ at the beginning of last year. I then got introduced to this amazing British music producer; Dave Garnish, he was coming out here to train Paris Hilton as she had some big DJ gigs in Europe. He very kindly trained me for a couple of months and that was the beginning!
HS: What is the process of getting booked on a job?
NP: I am fortunate to get approached by brands or event organizers who will book me as they have heard about me through word of mouth, recommendations or seen me at an event.
HS: Can you tell us about your creative process?
NP: The client will normally give me musical direction for the evening and I will come back with ideas of songs or a sample playlist and then will plan my set accordingly. A lot of times I will read a room at the party and play according to the vibe, this is part of the art of being a good DJ ;).
HS: Have you encountered any situations being a woman in your field?
NP: Yes!!! DJing was originally a boys club and now, thanks to all of the latest DJ technology, no more bags and bags of records to carry to every gig.
HS: What are the advantages to being a woman in your field?
NP: You get to meet lots of cute boys that love music just as much as you do!! Being creative with fashion for each event I do, I channel a different look or designer. I love that I get to incorporate my love for fashion with my love for music.
HS: How would you describe your personal style?
NP: Eclectic and a mix of everything, it depends how I am feeling that day; Rock n Roll, chic, elegant, glam...a real mix!!
HS: If you could raid anyone's closet - who's would it be?
NP: Kate Moss
HS: Finish these sentences:
My fashion icon's are ... Carine Roitfeld & Kate Moss
Something that people don't know about me is…I love to drink hot milk before I go to bed!
My most embarrassing moment was…10 years ago in London, I was walking down High Street Kensington and my wrap skirt fell down and I didn’t realize until I looked up and everyone on the bus was pointing... BEYOND!!
Three words to describe myself are … Fun, Sweet & British
My pet peeve is… men that care too much about fashion
Nothing is better than ... white chocolate
HS: We heard that you have a VW bug with eyelashes…
NP: Sadly, it’s no longer. I just got a mustang!
HS: Who are your favorite artists of the moment?
NP: Tove Lo. Disclosure. Jessie Ware
HS: What are the top 3 instagram accounts that you follow and why?
NP: Beyonce...Queen B
Stefano Gabbana- Genius
HS: What is an essential piece of social media advice that someone has given you?
NP: #hashtag !!!
HS: What do you miss most about London?
NP: Victoria Sponge Cake from Marks & Spencers
HS: Tell us about a female who has influenced you personally in your life.
NP: My mum is an incredible woman in every way. She is strong & determined.
HS: Tell us about your favorite travel destination.
NP: Uruguay, its amazing there during wintertime & there is a very chic bohemian, glam scene.
HS: For someone who has never been there - what would you suggest he or she SEE/EAT/DO while staying there?
NP: Everything!! Red wine & red meat
HS: What destination is next on your travel wish list?
NP: I would love to visit New Orleans.
HS: Your asked to go on an impromptu trip to an exotic location for 72 hours but you aren't told where. What's in your carry-on?
NP: Sunglasses and Sneakers!
HS: Tell us about your most recent trip to Cannes and Marrakech.
NP: I was in Cannes to DJ a very glam party for Cannes Film Festival hosted by Relativity & Variety magazine. I then went on to Marrakech for a dear friends wedding, which was BEYOND amazing!! A day extravaganza.
HS: What advice would you give someone who is trying to get into your profession?
NP: Determination, hard work and persistence.
HS: What is a piece of advice that has kept you going and growing throughout your life?
NP: Don’t give up!!
HS: Can you remember a time in your life that "changed" you and how so?
NP: When I experienced the Tsunami & Earthquake in Japan, it put my whole life in perspective.
HS: If you could give your 15-year old self a piece of advice based on what's to come - what would it be?
NP: Enjoy life!!
HS: Can you share any upcoming plans and collaborations?
NP: Working on a fab remix right now with some amazing producers and lots more to come!!
HS: Tell us about your "PASSION PROJECT".
NP: My passion project is to help everyone in the world in any way that you can, especially young girls!
HS: Continuing on with our tradition - our June MUSE, Nadin Naumann asked, "What do you want to be remembered for?"
NP: Being kind :)))
Meet our JUNE MUSE, Nadin Naumann! She's a Brazilian beauty with an empire state of mind. Find out what this New Yorker loves most about the city that never sleeps, why Brazil has her heart and what experiences have made her the "toughest version of herself". #CHECKIT #HAUTESTREET x #theMUSEdiaries
Photographer Cyle Suesz
Fashion Director Joey Tierney
Styling by Joshua J. Lorenzo
Hair by Brenton Diallo
Make up by Veronica Calderon
HAUTE STREET: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
NADIN NAUMANN: I was born in NYC but have dual citizenship with Brazil. My mother is Brazilian and my father is German. My first language was actually Portuguese and I only learned English when I went to pre-k! I've lived in NYC my whole life and travel back to Brazil often to see my family - my mother is one of eight children so I have a huge family and lots of cousins there. I'd say it makes up for me being an only child! I went to Penn State and majored in Journalism with a minor in Law. I'm actually the first in my family to graduate college. Since then, I've been working as a publicist with fashion and lifestyle clients. I also worked on the Obama campaign in 2008 - talk about not getting sleep for months. Most people would describe me as a hustler - I live by the saying "good things come to those who hustle." If you want something, you have to work really hard for it. I mean, really hard.
HS: What do you love most about New York and why?
NN: Having lived in both the suburbs of New York and the actual city, I have to say that I love how it lives up to it's name - the city that never sleeps. You cannot imagine how useful it is to have a 24 hour CVS or Duane Reade every couple of blocks. The city is also so accessible and has everything you need.
HS: What do you love most about Brazil and why?
NN: The people. Although often feisty, Brazilians can be some of the nicest people you will ever meet. We'll give up our beds and sleep on the floor for you if you are visiting and cook you up a Thanksgiving style meal just because. Also, can't beat the gorgeous beaches.
HS: Tell us about your public relations business and how you got into this field.
NN: After I graduated from Penn State it was extremely hard to get a job, especially in Journalism. So, I went after Public Relations and have stuck with it ever since! I worked at a few agencies before branching off on my own. It's been about a year now that I've been handling my own clients and I have to say it is absolutely amazing. I get to choose who I want to work with and can work from wherever there is reception or an internet connection. It's been a blessing. In the past, I had very weird clients that I had to do work for because I had no say in the matter. One of them being a laser hair helmut - can you imagine?! So bizarre.
HS: What does a typical day look like for you?
NN: Every morning I wake up and make myself a kale smoothie, or a version of a green smoothie. It's very important to stay healthy and green smoothies are known to fight off many cancers. I usually spend most of the day working and then towards the evening always try to get a workout in. My favorite classes to take are at Barry's Bootcamp or SoulCycle.
HS: What is the most challenging and most rewarding thing about being self employed?
NN: Being on your own can be scary. There is no security in it really, because you have no real consistent salary. It depends on how many projects or clients I have at a time. There's always a risk that tomorrow I have no work and don't get paid. KNOCK ON WOOD!!
The best thing is definitely that I get to choose my clients and who I work with. I go after accounts that I am truly passionate about and enjoy. I don't want to work with something that I do not think is good or do not like.
HS: What would you say your greatest accomplishment to date is?
NN: I would say finding the time to get into Law School this year while also being a full-time caregiver and also working as a publicist and being a maid of honor for my best friend's wedding. They say, you have as many hours in a day as Beyonce, right?
HS: If you could give your 16 year old self a piece of advice for your future - what would it be?
NN: Be patient and enjoy life.
HS: Current state-of-mind?
NN: Super excited! I have travel plans to go to the World Cup in Brazil this month - something I can successfully check off my bucket list!
HS: Where is your favorite place that you have ever traveled to and why?
NN: Barcelona, for sure. I LOVE art & history and Barcelona brings that together perfectly. There are remnants of architect Antoni Gaudi throughout the city, one of the most famous of them being the Sagrada Familia church - a UNESCO world heritage site. The church is like something I've never seen before, completely different from other iconic churches like Notre Dame and so forth. Gaudi had a signature style that can easily be identified if you see it - it's almost a bit weird. It's often curved and very twisted. Barcelona is also the home of the very famous Pablo Picasso. The food in Barcelona was AMAZING - there literally wasn't one restaurant that I went to with my boyfriend that I didn't like! It is definitely a great destination for foodies. Also, Barcelona has amazing beaches that are considered the top ten in the world. I always prefer beaches over pools.
HS: What was something that you found most useful/helpful while there?
NN: Being able to understand Spanish. I'm not fluent and have trouble speaking, but I can understand almost 90%. Also, having a travel guide. I believe we had a Frommer's travel guide with a map inside and that is exactly how we got around.
HS: What are your favorite fashion take-aways from traveling out of the country?
NN: European fashion has a good reputation and is famous for a reason. Barcelona is considered the third most important fashion capital of the world because of its huge contribution to fashion textiles and international fashion markets. From what I gathered, they have a "it's cool to be casual" mentality when it comes to fashion. You'll see a mixture of simple and classic to loud and vibrant.
When it comes to beauty, I noticed European women preferred a natural look when it comes to applying cosmetics. They’ll just use the basics and they don’t overdo it.
HS: Where is the next place you want to travel and why?
NN: I'm going to Brazil for the World Cup this month but after that I'd love to go some place tranquil. I've had a hectic and tough year so I would look forward to relaxing on the beach with one of those umbrella drinks in my hand. Maybe the Maldives?!
HS: If I wasn’t doing this job, I would be…
NN: The president! Okay, not really. Most likely, traveling the world. I love traveling and experiencing different cultures.
HS: I can't live without…
HS: What is something that people don't know about you?
NN: I have a bit of a temper. Most people just see a really sweet side of me. Only those super close to me see my ... other side :)
HS: Can you share a moment in your life that has changed you and your outlook?
NN: My mother was diagnosed with brain cancer last year. I can confidently say that I am not the same person I was before that happened. When something like that happens to someone you love deeply and are very close to, it makes you really put your life into perspective. You realize that life is too short and you never know what tomorrow brings. Make sure you spend a lot of time with the people you love and make sure they know how you feel about them. Definitely make sure you end up doing something you are passionate about with your life. Time can be a very precious thing. Also, after this experience I have to say, I am probably the toughest version of myself that I have ever been and possibly will be.
HS: Tell us about a woman that has influenced you to be the person you are today.
NN: I'd like to think that there have been several women over the course of my life that have influenced me. When I think of strong women, I think of individuals like Amy Purdy who lost both of her lower legs to meningitis and went on to compete in the Paralympics' first ever snowboarding event and came in 2nd on Dancing with the Stars. She had less than a two percent chance of living. To see what she can do without legs is absolutely amazing. You'll never want to complain about anything a day in your life after you watch her. I also think of my mother who has been battling cancer for over a year now and continues to stay strong through treatments. Then there's Malala Yousafzai, a 16 year old Pakistani girl who has been an activist for education for girls in her country since she was 11. Talk about determination and passion. She was even shot at in 2012 for what she believed in and survived. All of these women, and many others, are the definition of strong and influential women. They are trailblazers and show that you should never give up, even if your chances of making it are extremely low.
HS: One of our favorite questions to ask each of our MUSES, What is the best advice that has kept you going & growing?
NN: Let go of the small things. There is no need to harp on something that is so little in the grand scheme of things.
HS: What would you say is the most difficult thing you have ever been through?
NN: Hands down, my mother's battle with cancer. I'm an only child with most of my family in Brazil. I have a great support system, but everyone is very busy with their own lives at the same time. I've been the one who has done the majority of the work that goes behind taking care of someone that is ill. Not only that, but it can become an emotional roller coaster sometimes and I have to constantly be strong and keep it together. Like I've said, this is definitely the toughest version of me.
HS: What’s your favorite thing in your closet?
NN: My pink Chloé crossbody bag.
HS: What is your idea of happiness?
NN: Finding success in something that you are passionate about.
HS: What upcoming projects & involvements can Haute Street viewers look forward to seeing?
NN: I like to be a part of projects that benefit cancer research. Two of the top events I involve myself in every year is the National Brain Tumor Society Walk and THON, Penn State's 46 hour dance marathon for kids with cancer.
HS: Which top 3 instagrams do you follow and why?
Haute Street - for the best pics on keeping up with #theMUSEdiaries, celeb fashion and fun
Betches - super funny
Babe Walker - this is the character in White Girl Problems, also super funny
HS: Tell us about your passion project and why you have chosen to put your time and efforts into this charity or cause.
NN: My passion project is The National Brain Tumor Society. After my mother was diagnosed with brain cancer, I became really involved with the organization. There is so much that needs to be done to treat brain tumors. For example there are only FOUR brain tumor treatments approved by the FDA. Currently the causes of brain tumors are unknown, there is no way to pinpoint why it happened. Also it is the #2 leading cause of cancer deaths among children and young adults. There is much more awareness that needs to be brought to light about this disease as well as much more funds for research. It's highly disappointing and frustrating to hear that our choices of treatment are limited when it comes to conquering this disease.
HS: Our MAY MUSE, Fuschia Kate Sumner asked, "if you could spend a day as anyone else - who would it be?"
NN: This is really hard because so many individuals and trailblazers that come to mind! I will go with Michelle Obama.
HS: What should we ask our next muse?
NN: What do you want to be remembered for?
HAUTE STREET asked Fuschia Kate Sumner - What's on your Playlist right now?
Erik Hassle- Pathetic
Erik Hassle- I don't want to talk about it
Haim - Forever
LIZ (feat. RiFF RAFF) - Underdogs
Iggy Azalea(feat. Charli XCX) - Fancy
James Blake - Life Round Here
Beyoncé - Superpower
Bettye Swan - Tell It Like It Is
Aaliyah - Back & Forth
Arctic Monkeys - One For The Road
MYPET - Tiger
Phil Collins - Against All Odds
Frank Ocean - Super Rich Kids
John Williams - End Credits E.T. The Extra Terrestrial
Dusty Springfield - You Don't Own Me
Errol Garner - I Cover the Waterfront
Michael Jackson - Dirty Diana
Plan B - ill Manors
N.E.R.D - Rockstar
Aaliyah - all songs(feeling nostalgic, she was the first artist I ever liked)
Tell us about Ámes Collective and how it came to life.
The business has evolved over a few wonderful years. I started out as an accessories label a few years ago and ran the company on the sidelines of a Resort marketing career. Up until about 18 months ago I felt as though the label lacked a bit of direction, and it was a solo trip to Morocco that really changed everything for me. I have had a personal experience from the exact places all the Ámes accessory treasures are now produced in. I know the feeling, the climate, the history and the people behind the places where my products are handmade, and that largely influences each range.
Ámes Collective is really an avenue for me to pour the heart and soul of different areas of the globe, into my designs and treasures. The 'Soul Decks' are something I hold very close to my heart as each custom cruiser skateboard I make is a direct reflection of me + my art. I wanted to create something for women (whether they skate or not) that looked awesome on the wall as art, or resonated with their soul when they looked down at their deck whilst skating. It started as a way to encourage women to embrace the BEAUTY of imperfection and what makes each of us happy in life.
Each piece is a piece of art, literally! Can you describe the design process for each deck?
I like to think of the as little pieces of art. I love the fact that you can style them throughout your abode, and then find that perfect piece of abandoned road to take it down to and slide around. I would love to say there is a uniformed process behind each Soul Deck, but they are as haphazard as me. For the custom pieces, I will usually have a few emails or phone calls back and forth with the “Soul Slider” (that’s what I affectionately call anyone who purchases a Soul Deck) just to ascertain their vibe and what they’re into. They will give me as much or as little direction as they like, and I run from there. I have to say the clients whose direction is ‘just do what you want’ are my favorites. The Soul Decks that I design as a part of my ranges have no direction prior to my pencil / paintbrush hitting the timber. I might have a general concept in my head, but once I start, who knows what will happen! It’s like I get possessed by the paintbrush.
We love that you do custom skate board decks! Do you have a favorite custom deck that you've made?
Oh that’s a tough one. I love the ones that come with a cute back story. For me, if I know the intention of the deck then I know what kind of emotion to put into it when I am doing the artwork. There is this couple that I follow on Instagram, who got each other Soul Decks as presents with ‘You Keep Me Wild, I’ll Keep you free’ in different styles on each deck. I love watching their journey and seeing how much that quote drives who they are together and apart. I also love the world map deck I did recently. I can’t choose – it’s like trying to pick a favorite child!
Describe the type of woman (or man) who rides a "Soul Deck" (& why is it called a soul deck).
She (or he) is a professional day dreamer and a life rider. A lover of the sun, the surf, & the street. An owner of permanently salty hair and a shaka, who leaves a trail of sand wherever they tread. That babe who has a permanent smile and a killer carve. Whoever is perfect in their imperfection and doesn’t apologize for who they are. They get up at the crack of dawn, wander down to the beach to do yoga or to surf. They might take a green tea and a rug to meditate. Hell they may even grab some chocolate and head down to lay straight on the sand and laugh - because stuff it - you only live once, right? I named them Soul Decks, purely because I wanted them to resonate with what makes your soul sing.
How much do the decks generally go for pre-designed vs. custom?
The cruisers are all AUD$200, the Fish are $220 and the Longboards are $250, whether I am custom designing or not. The reason the price doesn’t change is because I am going to be doing the artwork on the deck anyway. So I don’t feel the need to charge more for a particular vibe. Remind me of that answer when I am in my bed at 2am putting the final touches on a Mandala styled deck. They are so intricate and full of love and detail – they take a while to do.
At what moment did you realize that you could make the art of creating decks into a career?
Last year, whilst I was still working full-time, I did 91 decks in the year. The orders started coming in SO quickly that it started taking over my life. It was one of those serendipitous moments on New Year’s Day, that brought the right people, moments and decisions together to push me as much as I needed to be pushed. I had been preaching as part of the ámes ethos to ‘live the life you dream of’. Travelling the world with my full time was pretty damn awesome, but it was taxing on the soul and the spirit having to work such long hours and run a business on the side. I thought to myself, the dream would be to have a studio at home on the beach and be able to travel when I want. I am just lucky enough to say that I am now doing that!!
Any challenges of getting into this craft being a woman?
I think being a woman has helped me more! That’s part of the driving force behind my business – that women need to embrace who they are and allow that to drive them in every facet of life.
What's on the office playlist?
Oh so many things. I just love listening to Bob Dylan, Tallest Man on Earth, Mumford & Sons, Boy & Bear or James Vincent McMorrow. I just feel like their music as a collective is so emotive and it delves into the beautiful soulful side of life. While I’m in the studio I need music that inspires me and makes me want to create beauty. That’s always important to me. So folk music like the aforementioned legends or Soul Sisters like Aretha, Ella, Etta!
Favorite place for a business lunch?
There is this divine little place down the coast from my house that my best friends and I visit every Sunday. It’s called ‘Sheoak Shack’ and it is an adorable little café on the water in Fingal (North Coast of NSW, Australia) that has hammock chairs made from driftwood and vintage furniture under an outside shade. There are fairy lights and bits of plastic collected from the beach displayed all throughout the trees which speaks to my eco crusader ways. They let us come in barefoot and sit on the grass. We order Pina Coladas and Pinot Grigio. It is the perfect combination of style and bohemian living. Barefoot Babin’!!
What gets you up for work every day?
Oh I have to say the sunrise. I watch the sunrise over the ocean from my bed, then do yoga on the beach with my besties. Waking up is my favorite part of the day. The promise of something new, the potential for new opportunity and amazing moments. I am lucky enough to be able to walk, do yoga or surf out the front of my place, and then wander downstairs to my studio to start work. To me, it doesn’t feel like work, so each day when I wake up, I just couldn’t be more excited to start the day.
What's the best advice someone has given you that has kept you going and growing?
My parents are a constant source of inspiration and encouragement for me. They have always taught me to value the beauty of the sky so I know how high I can soar, and to have my feet firmly planted in the ground so I know just where I came from. Dad has always said ‘If you can’t be good, be good at it’. Since I was a little grom! They gave me the room to move and grow as a human, and to make my own decisions. So I feel like it helped me discover my wingspan, and encouraged me to make sure I always spread my wings and fly – wow – such a hippie of the heart!
Idea of happiness?
Dirty hands and a happy heart.
Favorite place that you ever traveled to & why?
- Morocco because it tantalizes every sense you can possibly imagine.
- Margaret River because it holds my heart.
- Qamea Island in the north of Fiji because quite simply the island hugs your soul as you jump off the boat into the azure turquoise waters off it’s shore.
- Woody Heads on the NSW coast, because it is one of the most beautiful places to watch the sunrise over the ocean whilst sleeping in your car in the camping ground.
Top 3 Instagram's that you follow:
- @veggie_moments – If you want to SMASH you’re cooking abilities and see some of the most insanely mouthwatering recipes this side of yum town!
- @rachelmagahy – A constant source of inspiration and motivation for me.
- @badrituals – Aesthetic perfection for the humble abode. Transports me to exactly where I wish I was
Do you have a MUSE that you'd love to rock & ride Ámes Collective?
I feel like muses are a bit fleeting, a bit impermanent. I love impermanence because it means we are always growing, always learning, always exploring. Right now the ideal sista Soul Slider would be Erin Wasson, and the ideal brother Soul Slider would be Nick Saxon @nicksax – Musician and National Geographic presenter in AUS – the perfect combo of soul ( I feel like I’m cheating a bit on that one because he already has a Soul Deck heading his way).
Tell us about some of the current collaborations with Ámes Collective right now.
We just finished up an awesome collab with the girls from First Base (www.thisisfirstbase.com). I am currently collaborating with the awesome team at Rhythm Livin’ (@rhythmgirls) and am in discussions with Lorna Jane (www.movenourishbelieve.com / www.lornajane.com.au) about some exciting new projects.
What are something’s our viewers can look forward to seeing with Ámes collective?
On the horizon right now is my trip around Europe and Morocco. The countdown is on (heading off in May) and it will be a trip rich with exploration, soul salutations, van life and inspiration. I am learning new ways to screen print on timber and how to work with leather. So there are lots of new techniques coming your way!! I cant wait to continually release new ranges of soul decks and let the riders know where they were designed. It could be anywhere from Biarritz to Essouira that the new decks were created – which is just so exotic. I want every board of the new range to have a beautiful, soulful, back story. Just like its rider.