F.E. Castleberry has been a longtime friend. We met years ago in a cramped photographer’s pit of the first fashion show I ever photographed on my very first trip to New York City–almost a decade ago. Back then we were both visitors of the great city of New York, enchanted by the energy and hustle, and left with big dreams of making things happen one day in The Big Apple. Fred is now creative director and designer of his own menswear collection, and is one of my all-time favorite photographers. Everything he does is with the utmost attention to detail. So when he asked me to be apart of his Women We Love series I was honored.
You can see the interview on his site, and see some highlights of the feature below.
When and where were you happiest? It was a slow day in Rome years ago with my girlfriends. Flat broke and tired from traveling, we wandered slowly, ate gelato, and ducked into a cafe on a side street and sat outside. We sipped espresso, wrote in our journals, and talked when we wanted to talk but didn’t feel pressure to fill the air with noise. Later we found ourselves at the Spanish Steps and drank cheap red wine out of the bottle as the sun sank.
What do you most value in your friends? An openness to love others.
What is your favorite virtue? Generosity.
What is your greatest fear? To, at the end of my life, realize I’ve lived selfishly and didn’t do anything that really mattered.
Which living person do you most despise? Spongebob. Does that count? He’s the worst.
Which quality do you most desire in a man? Humility.
Which quality do you most desire in a woman? Authentic confidence.
Which quality do you most desire in a pair of jeans? Fit.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? Wanting to know how and when everything is going to work out to a T, beforehand.
What is your greatest extravagance? Nice lingerie.
What is your most marked characteristic? My go-getter-ness (not my spelling capabilities).
In which season do you feel most beautiful? Summer.
What do you dislike most about your appearance? The wrinkles on my forehead. I am trying to love them more.
Which talent would you most like to have? Hip-hop dance talent.
On what occasion do you lie?
Man: So are you hungry?
Me: Hmmm…what’s that? Food?…haven’t really thought about it.
What is your current state of mind? Open.
If you could change one thing about your family, what would it be? The geographic distance between us.
What do you consider your greatest achievement? Building a life in New York City.
Where would you like to live? Paris.
What is your favorite journey? Life, truly, is the greatest journey. Each step I take, each moment that unfolds is different than I could have anticipated or dreamt up for myself. New and unexpected door opens—and sometimes doors that were wide open slam shut. But all of it is guiding me into adventures that I would’ve never stumbled upon if unfolded the way I planned.
Who was the last person that gave you flowers? My dad.
What is your most treasured possession? My photo albums and a box of letters from family and friends I’ve received over the years.
Who are your favorite writers? Madeleine L’Engle, John Steinbeck, and C.S. Lewis.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse? “Clearly” and “literally.”
What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? Being alone in your heartbreak.
Who is your favorite fictional hero? Aslan.
Who is your favorite hero in real life? My Gaw-Gaw. She just turned 86 years old, and has always been fiercely independent and full of life. Her mother—my great grandmother—named Kitty Kendall was one of the first female journalists in Texas. She blew through glass ceilings. Gaw-Gaw is no different. She’s started and succeeded at running many different businesses in her life. Growing up there would always be a random person at family holidays because she’d meet someone who didn’t have anywhere to go and without hesitation invite them over. She is adventurous, wears her heart on her sleeve, and is one of the most generous people I know. She is a humble and feisty leader, and I hope I can be like her one day.
Which historical figure do you most identify with? Elizabeth Bennett.
How would you like to die? In my sleep after a long life well lived.
If you could choose what to come back as, what would it be? A mermaid.
What is your motto? You are enough.