As I sit here drafting this note to you, cool Summer breezes, brought in after a seasonal storm, are caressing my arms and cooling my face. Agitated from marathon packing ahead of six weeks on the road for work and some much needed personal adventure, the soft breeze and scent of freshly brewed coffee seem like the welcome call I dreamed of all of my life. Pardon me for the tinge of drama, but arriving to this day has been intense and it is literally a bittersweet moment.
Especially flavourful are the conversations I shared with this month’s guests Niki Wu Jie and Sasha Payton. For Tamu’s Cafe, Niki with whom I have developed a strong friendship over the past five years, and I prepare a classic favorite dish of Shrimp Chow Mein and discuss her background and journey from to Milan and how she’s navigated adapting to life in this Italian city. If you’ve been following All the Pretty Birds for a long time, you will know that I simply adore my fellow women and possess an awe-inspired respect for strong-willed, direct women whose personalities contrast my softer approach. Niki, who studied set design, is a gracious, charming, confident and determined force within Milan’s fashion circle, and beyond. Through her creative background and keen eye for aesthetics, she has in a short time garnered the attention of brands who value finely curated streams of communication. During the course of our budding friendship, we’ve had the opportunity to travel and experience dream adventures. Have you checked out our Seoul Food guide? In addition to these adventures, we’ve been blessed with chances to push and support each other to be the best version of ourselves. As time passes and the years go by with society evolving in such a concerning way, the importance of this type of positive human interaction has never been greater.
Fashion renaissance woman Sasha Payton offers the same level of connection with the members of her community. As a producer who is accustomed to running the show, she is a natural problem solver and should probably run for mayor some day. Sasha and I share a Caribbean heritage and immediately clicked after meeting at Paris fashion week lunch before the pandemic. I don’t know if it’s our West Indian point of reference, but Sasha feels like family, and is someone who I always feel the need to check in with over a meal or date. A devoutly spiritual being Sasha commands her journey via her unwavering faith. Through her experience of working as a model and evolving along the way to satisfying the roles of stylist and hair stylist, she has witnessed the frigid backstage environment black models are forced to transverse. For this issue of Our, Don’t Care, she recounts stories of tokenism, boundary crossing physical contact backstage, and a general lack of interest in fulfilling the beauty needs of black models across mediums in the fashion industry. In addition, she shares her personal hair journey and how it ultimately led her to defining her self worth on her own terms.
Finally, for our style story, I’m sending you a vibrant breeze noted with the scent of jasmine and Mediterranean sea salt. With this postcard from Porto Venire, I wish you a Summer filled with style that is bold, colorful, textured and most importantly, which helps you to be your most resplendent self.
Baci e abbracci (Kisses and hugs),