Rachelle is quite the woman. I met her a while back because she wanted to interview me for her upcoming book. I was so flattered and ever since then I've been trying to return the compliment. I hope she will let me help plan the party for her book release. Read on to find out more about the dazzling intellect shoe connoisseur...
Rachelle left Kristen right,photo by Phillip C Kim
Freelance Writer/Aspiring Novelist/Vassar Grad Beauty/Luxury Shoe Enthusiast
-Are you a downtown girl or an uptown girl?
I'm so downtown, you have to go over a bridge to find me. What can I say: I grew up in North Jersey and now live in Brooklyn. I guess I’ll always have a little bridge and tunnel in me.
-Where do you live and why?
I live in Williamsburg, off
the Lorimer stop, and after six years here I’m not afraid to say that
it’s become home. Williamsburg certainly has its ridiculous
qualities, but to me it means terrific restaurants with seasonal, local,
and creative food at reasonable prices, affordable, carefully curated
vintage stores and boutiques, larger-than-Manhattan apartments, supper
clubs, inspiring (if at times over-the-top) personal style, and a 7
minute trip to the East Village, on a train that I’ve spent so much
of my life waiting for, I might as well go ahead enjoy the newish –
and semi-reliable - electronic system they’ve installed.
-Best place for brunch?
I love Dressler on Broadway, just under the Williamsburg bridge and across from neighborhood icon Peter Luger’s. When I moved to the area, Dumont off the Lorimer stop was one of the only restaurants on the south side to serve fresh, new American cuisine (in 2004 my best friend and I befriended a bartender there and camped out every Friday night). Anyway, Dumont’s brunch is fantastic but also wildly crowded, but their more upscale sister restaurant, Dressler, serves an amazing brunch at a similar price point. You can even make reservations, and to ogle the décor in the daylight is worth straying from the L train.
-Best place for a cocktail?
I have a few favorites. I’m a big fan of Huckleberry Bar, which happens to be a block away from my apartment. If you can find your way to the Whisk & Ladle, Nick Bennett there can pour a mean drink. For classic New York, I love the Algonquin Hotel. I was borderline obsessed with Dorothy Parker in high school so it’s a thrill to go sit at a round table. When I first moved to New York after college, I waited tables at Spice Market, and I still think about their ginger margarita every now and then.
-Tell us your vice?
Coffee, white wine, chocolate and anxiety.
-Tell us what you do?
I’m a freelance writer and book editor. Broadly, I say my main interests are fashion, fiction, food and feminism. I edit and contribute to an amateur cooking blog with seven girlfriends, called Saucy Little Dish (www.saucylittledish.com).
-Tell us about "The Search for Ruby Slippers".
It’s a social history of
women and shoes, which uses iconic American pairs in pop-culture as
the backbone of the narrative (i.e. Dorothy’s ruby slippers, Nancy
Sinatra’s boots, etc.) The book begins in 1939 with the debut
of The Wizard of Oz, and seeks to better define that connection
between women and their shoes by locating specific messages about footwear
that we as a culture have digested. What I’ve come to realize
is that via certain images and narratives, women have learned to connect
shoes with issues of power, social ascendancy, class and sexuality,
which is a potent mix! This book isn’t just for fashionistas:
it’s for everyone from the high-end shoe collector to those woman
who feel disenfranchised from the fashion world but love their shoes
from Payless, DSW, Target, etc.
-What can we expect from you in the future?
The Search for Ruby Slippers
is publishing with HarperStudio (www.theharperstudio.com), and it will
be available sometime in late 2011 or 2012. After that, I’d
like to continue writing social history. I’d love to keep a
foot in the fashion world, and I also hope to publish fiction one day.
I hope to keep writing as long as the publishing world will have me.
-Who and what inspires you?
Great fiction, travel, success stories, people who are passionate about what they do, amazing clothes, inimitable style, my friends. Style-wise, I often find myself going back to 1960s icons like Bridget Bardot, Anna Karina, Jane Birkin, and Audrey Hepburn (maybe it’s because I have big eyes and even bigger hair, so that look works for me). I love Jane Fonda (and Anita Pallenberg) in Barbarella and Barefoot in the Park, Sharon Tate in Valley of the Dolls, and Wynona Ryder in Heathers. David Bowie. Like many women of our generation, I’m inspired by Kate Moss. As far as writers go, the list is long, but all-time favorites include Nabokov, Philip Roth, Mary Gaitskill, Donna Tartt, Susan Sontag, Joan Didion, Ian McEwan, Zadie Smith, Jeanette Winterson, Jeffrey Eugenides (I could keep going).
-What’s the best place to go shoe gazing?
I’ve spent too much time
staring at the windows of the Walter Steiger boutique on Park Avenue.
The Saks selection is endless. Sometimes I scroll through the
shoes on Net-a-Porter just for fun. I write for a site called
Running With Heels (www.runningwithheels.com), which is essentially shoe porn.
-Why are you so pretty?
Ha! Thanks Kristen. My mother’s an ex beauty queen who, as far as I’m concerned, is the prettiest woman in the world, so…um, there’s that.
-Give us a beauty secret.
If you have thick, coarse hair
like I do, don’t wash it every day – figuring that out was
life-changing. I also drink tons of water, and I try (TRY) to
get plenty of sleep.
-Any advice on romance?
I’ve lived with my boyfriend
for 5 years, so we’ve settled into that intimate, everyday romance
that comes from really sharing our lives and living space. So
I guess my advice would be: don’t settle in too far! Everything
is more fun when we make a priority of making lots of plans, rather
than behaving like roommates.
-Best advice ever given?
I have four parents who are all very different, so I’ll combine their overall advice into one thought: Follow your gut instincts and keep at your goals if you can’t live without achieving them, but be patient when it doesn’t happen overnight.