Meet Team Vilda: Style Writer Stephanie Villano

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This week, our Closet Columnist Stephanie answers 15 questions. Author of inspiring posts such as Style Resolutions for 2015, Stephanie is the newest addition to Team Vilda. She blogs about cruelty-free style at My Kind Closet.

1.Where in the world are you based?

I’m in Newport, RI, USA, which is located on a lovely little island called Aquidneck, Island, just off the coast of Rhode Island (that’s a lot of “island” in one sentence). It’s quite the popular tourist destination in the summer time, in part because it’s obviously a beach town and a huge yachting community, but also because it’s home to the stunning, Cliffside mansions that were once the summer homes of super wealthy American family’s of the early 1900’s including the Vanderbilt’s and Doris Duke. Tourists come from all over the world to tour them. I prefer Newport in the early fall when all the tourists have gone home and I have the beach to myself!

2. What do you love about being on Team Vilda?

I love that I’ve been able to connect with talented, like-minded women from different parts of the world. Being a vegan and having such strong convictions that are essentially at odds with the status quo can feel a bit lonely sometimes. Being part of team Vilda has helped me to find my voice and realize that we really can make a difference in terms of showing others it’s easy to live in a kind way.

 3.What’s your favourite piece that you’ve done for Vilda?

Well, I’m the new kid on the block so I’ve only contributed two pieces. I really enjoyed working on my most recent column, The Journey of The Vegan Leather Bag, as it allowed me to engage with a designer and was also fun to research. I’m excited about my next piece, too!

4. Describe your personal style in three words.

Comfortable. Classic. Casual.

5. Who are your style icons?

I don’t suppose that I have any style icons in the traditional sense, but I do admire style of certain eras. I think if I was a guy I’d want to emulate the style of James Dean. Everything about him is just cool and effortless. Then there’s Audrey Hepburn… I’m not talking about the Breakfast at Tiffany’s Audrey. Her everyday style is something I gravitate towards: cruising around on a bicycle with a little basket wearing nautical stripes, relaxed yet-tailored silhouettes, and cute hats.  Brigitte Bardot is another obvious one for me, too (except that she would wear fur from time-to-time! That’s a definite no-no!). She’s another one who had such a classic style for her time, but could at the same time mix it up and embrace more of a relaxed, free-spirited 70s look with flowing floral dresses and floppy hats. Right now, though, I love Alexa Chung.

6. What’s your favourite food? 

I really love making great big comforting bowls of beans and vegetables, usually cooked with lots of spices like cumin, curry, and coriander and with coconut milk and generous squeezes of lime.   Since it’s the winter-time I’m eating a lot of sweet potato and cauliflower. But, if I’m treating myself, a delicious pile of vegan pumpkin pancakes hits the spot!

7. What’s the last song you listened to?

Maybellene by Chuck Berry

8.What are some places that you dream of visiting?

I definitely caught the travel bug at a young age, and if I could spend my entire life traveling around the world, I would.   I’d love to visit Brazil, that’s definitely high on my list, in addition to Peru. I have an attachment to Southeast Asia. I’d say it’s my favorite part of the world. I just feel connected to it. I’ve been to Indonesia a few times, but there are other areas in Indonesia I’d really love to explore and I would LOVE to visit the International Animal Rescues’ Organgutan Rescue there. I also dream of visiting the orphaned elephants at the David Sheldrick Wildlife trust in Africa.

9. What would you do if you won £10million in the lottery tomorrow?

Pay of my student loans! Then pay of my sisters’ student loans. I’d essentially go on a “debt relief” spree for all of my family members. After that I’d retire my parents and let them do their thing and then spread some of the love to the rest of our immediate family. I’d obviously devote a lot of time to travel and probably buy some land or homes in parts of the world I love visiting. Then I’d invest a good chunk of it.

I’ve always said that if I was independently wealthy I’d devote my time to volunteering for causes I am passionate about – mostly related to animals. So, that’s probably how I would spend the rest of my days: Advocating for animal rights and contributing to organizations who have that mission or who care for them directly.

10. If you were reincarnated as an animal, what would you be?

An elephant, duh! Or a dog.

11. What’s your favourite colour?

I gravitate towards greens. Lighter , calming greens. And also coral.

12. What’s the scariest thing you’ve ever done?

Leaving to study abroad in Australia. It doesn’t seem scary to me now, and it doesn’t sound very scary, but, at the time, I had never traveled too far from home all by myself. The prospect of traveling to the other side of the world without knowing a single soul was very scary for me and part of me wanted to back out at the last minute.

13. Would you do it again?

Absolutely! . It was a great coming-of-age experience for me in so many ways.

14. Who would play you in a movie about your life?

I wish it could be Tina Fey (despite zero resemblance). She’s magically awkward just like me (although I’m a bit less magical).

15. What’s your favourite quote?

This might be a bit cliché in the vegan world , but this quote has always resonated with me:  “When you feel the suffering of every living thing in your own heart, that is consciousness” I believe it’s from the Bhagvad Gita.

See more from Stephanie here.

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Sascha Camilli

Founder and Editor

A passionate changemaker, Sascha Camilli is the founder and editor-in-chief of Vilda Magazine. Born in Moscow and raised in Stockholm, she has also lived in Los Angeles, London, Milan and Florence, before landing in her current hometown of Brighton, UK. She was selected as one of GLAMOUR UK's Most Empowering Nu-Gen Activists and is a frequent public speaker on the topic of vegan fashion and material innovation. Her book Vegan Style is out now on Murdoch Books.

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