PANDORA AMORATIS

WELCOME TO FEARLESS WOMEN WEDNESDAY!!! Today will be the first of many interviews that I @christinajeandurante will be hosting, featuring incredible women including stylists, creative directors, celebrities and women who are just KILLING IT in their industries….OH! and they love FSP too. Through their stories, I hope that you will become not only EMPOWERED but INSPIRED! After all, Femmes Sans Peur translates to all things Fearless Women! SO, please join me in welcoming my first guest, STYLE DIRECTOR of the Daily Mail, @pandoraamoratis

Q & A

C    You have worked for a number of well-known publications including, Cosmopolitan, SELF, OK! Magazine and now the Daily Mail. Did you always want to be in fashion and how do you feel your previous roles have shaped who you are today as the Style Director for the Daily Mail?

P    Um, ok so to answer the first part, YES, I've always wanted to be in fashion. Ever since I was a little girl that was the only thing that interest me. Um, and I never thought to do anything other than fashion. Um, and then the second part of your question, yea, for me ever since job built on to the next one. Um, it was kind of crazy how that happened. So kinda my career turned into something that I never expected it would be, um because... everything it was like building blocks....like my first job I focused on the clothing, and then the next job it was like model booking, then the next job it was like I was pulling all of the clothing, I was booking all the models and then I was ya know... photo scouting and doing all that and then the next job I was doing all of those things and producing and writing the copy. So it was literally like yea...

C    That's definitely a lot to take on, but I'm sure you learned a lot along the way.

P    And I think now, it kind of like all of that led me to the Daily Mail because it was like ok now twenty plus years of experience has brought me to this place, ya know. 

C    For sure. Alright, so how would you describe your personal aesthetic?

P    Ok, so that's like such a hard question for me to answer because I feel like I have multiple personalities when it comes to that, um which is why I have way to many things, like my closet is full to the brim with like different fashions. Um but I would say my top 3, agh I like to look like I'm going on vacation (laughs) it could be like 40 degrees, I don't care whatever winter in Manhattan and I'm wearing like a floral kimono, ya know. Um so I like to look like I'm on vacation, but then I also really like um like band tees with like jeans and a motorcycle jacket. I also really like the whole like lingerie as outwear. Um like the picture that you have of me... that wasn't just me lounging in my house, I was about to go to work (laughing). So those are I would say my top 3 aesthetics and then I would say the one thread thats consistent is that I like to do it in some kind of a sexy way, whether it's like an off the shoulder, a plunging neck a backless thing...yeah. Like girly I guess, feminine. 

C    If I had to describe you I would have said feminine, bohemian, rocker chic.

P    Ok, yes, yes. (Laughing)

C    But always glamorous (laughing). 

C    Ok, so do you have a fashion mantra and if so what is it?

P     I don't necessarily have a mantra, I mean maybe this is a mantra but I guess like "Dress to impress". Um for me I feel there is a lot of power in clothing and what you choose to put on your body says so much. Ya know, it says a lot about who you are before you even open up your mouth, ya know? Especially with people that you're just meeting for the first time. Um and I feel like you know you walk out your front door, you don't know who you're going to bump in to, what's gonna happen, ya know. So I feel like you always have to kind of look your best. One time I was at one of my girlfriends apartments, she was taking forever to get ready and I'm like we're just going downstairs, like what are you doing? And she was like, "I mean life might happen. Life might happen". (Laughs) I feel like, you know what, you're absolutely right! Like you never know what's gonna happen when you walk out your door, so I feel like you should be ready with it and looking your best, feeling your best, to be able to like face it. 

C    Wow, especially in New York City this is so true. I couldn't agree with you more!

C    Alright, so is there a particular moment in your career that has stayed with you?

P    Um, yea there's I mean a lot of course. I'll say one from the beginning and one from now. Um, so very beginning it was like my second week into my first job, and my first job was at Cosmopolitan. Um and it truly was like the second week and the Editor in Chief was Bonnie Fuller at the time and she had brought everyone into the conference room, um to announce that she was leaving the magazine and she was going to Glamour and everyone went crazy but me. (Laughs). Like I was too green to know what that meant. I didn't know that that meant that a lot of people were going to lose their jobs. I didn't know that that meant she was going to take half the people with her. I didn't know that that mean there was going to be some major changes. Um, and because of that I was the only one that didn't freak out. And I kind of just continued doing my job. And then, when the new Editor in Chief came which was Kate White I felt like I kinda just welcomed her with open arms and I was eager to see what she was going to do, what changes she was going to make. And that in turn opened up new opportunities for me. Um and I think the fact that I just rolled with it because I didn't know any better really, um helped me.  And it's weird because I ended up having to deal with this so many times throughout my career.. like it's really common in publishing for a you know editor in chief some kind of top-tier person to leave and then that causes big changes and truly throughout my entire career that has never really shook me because it happened the second week of my first job, you know (laughs) and I learned, I definitely like learned a lesson from that and then so… when it did happen multiple times afterwards, I just knew how to handle it and roll with it and not to be afraid of it because it could open up different doors and more opportunities. Um and then I would say more recently I mean Daily Mail also has Daily Mail TV it's on on channel 11 in New York at 3 o’clock and 3:30pm and I think it was two seasons ago…um we won an Emmy. (Laughs) C: Oh my God! P: It was like the 2nd season I think, I don’t know I mean I’m bad with time, but I mean it was a HUGE big deal that we won an Emmy… um yeah, so I have an Emmy. (Laughs). Yeah, it’s at my parents house and they have it in their living room and it’s like when people come over they’re like, look at our daughters Emmy! (Laughter). C: I love that!

C    We all know the Little Black Dress, but what in your mind are the staples every woman should have in her wardrobe?

P    Um, yes. There’ more than three. (Laughs). Number one I would say which isn’t an obvious for most women I would say the caftan. I have a lot of them. I love them because there’s so much that you can do with them, you can of course wear it over a bathing suit and take it on vacation or I’ve been wearing them like throughout the pandemic when I was working from home I went through a phase where I was just wearing kaftans because I felt more glamorous in them… like you can wear them with jeans, you can tuck them in, I feel like there’s something about a kaftan that like right when you put it on you feel amazing. I have a friend, her name is Asa and she has a line called Asa Kaftans and she says that um you know you’re a goddess like everyone looks like a goddess in a kaftan and she’s absolutely right. Like you put it on and you just feel… better. Like I don’t know. C: They’re flattering. P: Yeah and they’re flattering exactly like for all body types, body shapes like they’re always like a fun color or print so they just make you happy. Um, so that I would say number one. Number two, a motorcycle or some kind of leather jacket for sure, um obviously a killer pair of heels, but I would say killer pair of heels, but then also like your go to pair that’s comfortable that you know you can wear all night but that also look really good. And then I would also say a dress that you know like you kill in you know no matter what. Let’s say you have a last-minute date or like something, you know you can throw on this dress and it’s gonna WOW and I would say that maybe it shouldn’t be black you know. Maybe it should be white, maybe it should be red like some kind of other color, cause you know everybody has a black dress you know. C: You want something that you wear, not let the dress wearing you. P: Yeah, for sure, fore sure.

C    Where does inspiration often strike for you?

P    Ugh, God I would say in the weirdest places. I feel like a lot of my best ideas happen kind of when I’m sleeping. Like you know when you wake up in the morning and your kind of still asleep but you’re awake like that in between I don’t even know how many minutes it is…um that’s the time where like I’m figuring out all of this stuff, I’m remembering things and thinking of things. I think it’s like when I least expect it that’s when I, I get creative and I think of something good. You know, when I’m not trying.

C    It’s kind of like when my head hits the pillow, my brain is like going going, going and I have all of these ideas coming to me and I’m like NOOOOO… I’m suppose to be sleeping now. (Laughs).

C    Alright, what has been the most noteworthy interview in your career to date?

P    That’s a really really hard question, um because I feel like I have interviewed so many people at this point, um you know whether it’s an athlete, a rockstar, an actress. At some point these people have all come out with a fashion or beauty line. (Laughs). It doesn’t matter what their profession is…at some point they're gonna have an awesome like dress collection. So that's giving me a lot of opportunities to interview like J. Lo, Rihanna… like you name it, I've probably interviewed them. Off the top of my head I would say… well ok, so another thing is, so say like a J. Lo you come around her and you’re like, oh my God it’s J. Lo! But you kind of get past that really quickly and you kind of forget what you talked about or whatever you know. But for me the best interviews have been ones that I left being like oh my God like that person really moved me or that person just said something thing that like I’m gonna remember for the rest of my life and oddly enough actually so you know like on Instagram where are you got like a reminder like what happened last year whatever? So this morning the one that I got was a reminder from four years ago and it was Betsey Johnson and she select for me you know I think I want to say I wore a Betsey Johnson. C: (Gasps) And she, like for me I want to say I wore a Betsey Johnson dress to like my eighth grade dance. I literally still have the dress (laughter) I wore it as an adult to a wedding one time, um it’s like an epic dress but that’s kind of who she was for me, like someone that I grew up with… I didn’t really know her this is the first time I have met her and it was four years ago. I really, I guess because I didn’t know anything personal about her I didn’t know how it was going to go and she was incredible. It’s like she’s been in this business so long, she could’ve just been like over it and mean and like you know, instead she was the kindest, nicest person and like I felt like with everything that I asked her she kind of brought it back to a human emotion and it was like yeah she’s been so successful but then she talk about something that meant more than that… like something about, she was like, “ You always have to be nice, like be nice to people.” And like everything was very heartfelt and I walked away from it being like I am obsessed with Betsey Johnson. (Laughs) We were like hugging, she was like inviting me to her home in Mexico… So it really for me it like explained even more so her longevity in the business, it was like ok um she’s a really creative person and all that stuff, but she’s also like a joy of a human being and I feel like that has really served her throughout her entire career you know.

C    SO, first of all growing up Betsey Johnson was like my fashion icon. I had so many of her things and I always went to her samples sales and at my 21st birthday dinner with my parents, my Uncle and his partner in the West Village, she walked by our dinner table ( P: Yeah) and she had her dreadlock and I was like, “Is that Betsey Johnson!? Oh my God!” At the time I was hand painting vintage shoes and selling them at boutiques around the city and I was like “I have to go introduce myself, this could be my only opportunity. I’d love to go intern for her or work for her when I get out of FIT (P: Yeah) So I had a card with me that was from one of the boutiques featuring my shoe and I wrote on it with my information and I walked up to her, it was like a table of 20 people.. it was probably their Christmas Party. She was in a conversation with some woman and I tapped them both on the shoulder and I’m like, “Excuse me ladies, I’m so sorry to interrupt you. Betsey, I absolutely love you. You’re my fashion icon. This is my information. I really want to intern for you next semester.” And she, I mean like, if somebody interrupted me (P: Laughs) I probably would have been a little cold to them and be like this is kind of rude… again she was so sweet and heartfelt. She gave me the persons email to contact. We both were like Merry Christmas, Happy Birthday (laughs)… (P:Yeah) It was amazing! 

P    And like, those are the things that you remember. When I was speaking to her, she just really had this warmth about her that I just like, I just fell in love with her and those are the kind of interviews that mean the most to me you know.

C   OK, moving on. You're 5 Ways To… series on Instagram has been filled with super fun and  informative style tips. What inspired you to create that  series?

P   Thank you so much. Honestly, I just had the time. Those are the things I feel like I’ve always wanted to do on my Instagram but my job has kept me just so busy all of the time. I guess so one of the things that has been the biggest change in my job since the pandemic has been no events… like my normal day to day would be like going to the office, maybe going to some previews, like designer previews and then hitting up multiple events each night. So I’ve been literally doing that for years. So this was the first time I was like sitting home without anything to do, you know after a workday or on a weekend. I definitely for me the pandemic, like working from home and not being do you anything has been nice in the sense that like on the weekends I’m not exhausted. So I could actually use the weekends to do something productive or yeah. But yeah, I liked doing the videos a lot I need to figure out what I’m gonna do because I’ve also since moved and my new apartment is completely different than the old one and the light isn’t as goo, so I haven’t figured out how I’m gonna do the videos.

C    Well I hope so because I definitely took away some cool style tips too.

P    Thank you!

C    What has been your greatest form of escapism during the pandemic? Would you say it was that series or is it something else?

P    I would say so, I don't know how this is going to sound so… I took up meditating during the pandemic which is something that I've been wanting to do since like college, um but never really embraced because I can’t turn my brain off which I feel like is what most people say, um but I felt like during the pandemic, well actually prior to that I read a book by Dan Harris who works for Good Morning America, and he wrote a book called 10% Happier. I don’t even think I knew what the book was about, I just liked the title. (Laughs) I’ll read it. 10% happier? Yes, I’m in. It was all about his discovery of meditation I said I was kind of the first thing that I am read and like he’s laugh out loud funny and so it made the idea of meditating at a little bit more within my reach like something that I could do, but I still didn’t do. During the pandemic I was reading on Alicia Keys’s most recent book. She talks about kundalini meditation and yoga and so that’s when I was like she, she sold it. She sold me on it and I was like OK this I think I could do because it’s a little bit more like physical and it’s not just like sitting there and thinking or trying not to think, you know. So that has been like a surprising thing for me. I didn’t think I could actually do it, but it really is like a good form of escapism and like, I’ve really enjoyed it and now I am back in the office like on rotation and even on the days where I am going in to the office I still do it in the morning… C: And do you feel like lighter, have more clarity are your moods better? Yeah all of the above. You know what… it kind of calms you a little bit… like if something happens instead of being like I'm gonna react right away it like, I don't know how (laughs) but it actually makes you like stop and like think for a minute and like it's definitely something that betters is your life… C: It definitely makes you more mindful about everything that’s going on… P: Yeah, I’m only doing it for 10 minutes a day I’m not like, you know…

C    I definitely have to try that (laughs).

C    Ok, so how do you usually unwind?

P    The TV. Yeah. Like I’d love to say that it’s like reading (laughs), but it’s not. I need my 90 day fiancé, I need like all my reality shows and stuff but yeah, I feel like when I come home that’s the first thing I do is I just put on the TV and like veg. 

C    Are you a beer, wine or cocktail gal? What’s your go to?

P    Um, all of the above. I would say if I were to rate it, it would be wine first, cocktail, than beer.

C    Alright, what are 3 things you can’t live without?

P    Like physical things? (laughs) I don’t know not much, other than like my phone, I feel like if I don’t have my phone I’m completely lost. I would say coffee I need coffee like each day to really start the day. Dry shampoo. (laughs) I also have, um I can’t show it to you because we’re on my phone right now, but the case is my phone I have like a mirror and it’s like a stick on thing we can take it off and put it on another phone or whatever and seriously it’s yeah, it’s a game changer because it’s like whatever you’re doing, wherever you’re going like it’s on your phone you can just like check your lipstick, check your eyeliner check your eye I don’t know like why more people don’t have them?

C    I need that because I always have something in my eye so Josh bought me like a little mirror compact in Paris, I think it has like Donald Duck on it or something… (laughs) I’m like where did you go the Disney Store to get his (laughs)

P    You need a new one (laughs)

C    What’s your #1 style hack?

P    Oh. Um OK, so I, I love hats and I love when I travel I love to bring hats like no matter where I go. You know traveling with a hat sucks. You either have to wear it or you’re gonna squish it in your luggage and wearing it, you know like it you’re in Manhattan in the middle of the winter, like I don’t know I don’t really want to put a straw hat on my head when I’m going to the airport or whatever you know. So actually there is something on the market that I thought was so genius and the girl who created it, I’m pretty sure she used to be a stylist, her name is Lindsay Albanese and it’s basically just like, it looks like a keychain and it hooks onto your luggage and your hat essentially. So I saw it and I’m like I have to have this thing but of course it like sold out like right away you know and I was like BUT I NEED IT! So I think I was going to California to visit one of my girlfriends who has a baby. Um the baby had one of those things that I don’t know what it’s called, but it hooks onto the pacifier and like their outfit. And I was looking at it and I was like, OK this part has like a clamp and this part has like a loop and I was like..wait a second here. So, since that day which was like I don’t even know a year or two ago I’ve been doing this. So basically it’s the baby pacifier. So you take the hook part and that’s the part that you hook onto your luggage. I’m not describing it well, but when you see it you’ll know what I mean. So you hook that onto the handle of your luggage and then the part that’s clipped to the babies clothes, that fits perfectly on a hat and so like, the hat just like lays on the outside of like your carry-on luggage and like it works. It works like a charm.

C    That’s amazing! I’ve had times where I’m wearing my big straw hat and I’m like it’s taking up space, it’s gonna get squished if I put it in my carry on.

P     Yeah, I actually… you know what the first time I ever did this I was like, I think this is my first video ever. I was like I have to do a video on this because people need to know that they can do this. So it’s on my Instagram, it’s probably like a year ago on my Instagram if you want to scroll down. (Laughs) I was in Mexico and I was like, before I went to the airport.

C    You have so many picturesque places you have traveled. We are like, take us with you! Which has been your favorite and why?

P     I would say two places really close to my heart, one would be a come out in Italy. It was absolutely breathtaking, it was just so picturesque. I was with such a beautiful group of people, the food was amazing. It really was like a pinch me kind of trip, um AND to prove that… it rained every day and it still was like… one of the most incredible experiences I’ve ever had. So I think that says a lot. So that would be one and then another would be… I’ve done a lot of cross-country trips and in my early 20’s and I had done a trip and while I was on the trip I, I noticed so in all like the state parks and all that stuff throughout the country, most of the employees they’re there for the summer and they’re from like all over the world, I mean maybe not now but and pre-Covid. Um, and I was like wait, that’s the coolest thing, like I want to work at one of these parks and they all had these name tags that said like their name and where they were from…and I was I want a name tag that says Pandora New Jersey on it! I think I’m gonna do that and I want to say I was at Mesa Verde at the time, um and so I literally did that like maybe… maybe like six months later I quit, I was 25, I was in my career, I was working at Self magazine, I left (C: Gasps) and I went and moved to Yellowstone National Park and I lived there for like a full season and like it was all because I just went on his cross country trip and was like I need more of this. I need to do this. (Laughs).

C    That’s incredible! Josh and I were for supposed to go to Yellowstone um in May for our wedding anniversary in May. We were going to go to Monterray, Big Sur and Yellowstone. P: Well you still, you have to do it. C: Yes, I have to do it. It was like a dream of mine to go up the California coast and see all of the animals and the beauty, ya know.

P     It really is life-changing especially because I feel like most Americans it’s like we travel all around the world we go to all these other places and then there’s so many beautiful things to see like here in our own country, ya know?

C    Do you have a back up career?

P    (Laughs). No. I don't. (Laughs). I mean other than I am very like crafty I like to make things I've always been that way. So I would say either I would want to collaborate with brands. I’ve done that before I’ve designed a jewelry line for a brand or something like that or like making seashell necklaces on the beach (laughs). C: I love that! I can totally see you doing that. You have some of the most fabulous jewelry I’ve ever seen! P: Awe, Thank you! Thank you.

C    As you know, here at FSP we dress from the ground up letting our shoes of choice dictate our outfit for the day. How long does it take you to choose your outfit in the morning (on a somewhat normal day) or do you choose it the night before? Are your shoes chosen first or last when putting together a look?

P   Um, I do it the night before. If I don’t I feel like I get into trouble that morning and I freak out and then my apartment is a disaster because there’s clothes everywhere. Um, how long does it take.. that depends it depends on what I'm doing that day like you know what I'm getting dressed for. Um, but the thing that’s so annoying is I feel like the best outfits are always the ones that you like put together in like three seconds and then the ones that you think so hard about are the ones that you’re like, ugh, I want to go home and change.

C    I feel like that’s like with most things in life, the outfit that you just grab you wear all the time and the ones that you really think about you wear like 2 times.

P    Yeah, yeah, yeah. And what was it the shoes? So I usually choose then after, unless if it’s like a statement shoe that I’m like alright today I’m wearing these shoes, I have to wear these shoes, then I’ll of course do that first. C: And you’re going to celebrate them. Yeah.

C    You own our Sadira crystal hummingbird mules in champagne mesh. Do they boost your mood when wearing them?

P    They totally do. I literally… when I look down I smile at these shoes. They’re the prettiest flats that I have like ever seen. Um, I love that they’re like a slipper… they’re not casual. They’re like a formal slipper (laughs) C: That’s what I call them..P: What do you call them? C: Elevated casuals. P: Yeah, I totally love that. C: A slipper that you can where anywhere and dress it up or dress it down kind of thing… P: Yeah. You know what I would say, that literally the only thing that makes me sad about them and it's a good thing, is that I love them so much and I am such a heel person… I definitely wear more heels than I do flats, that sometimes when I look down I'm like I really need these in heels too (laughs) ya know? C: Well we have a version in heels… the Alika mules.. P: Like I think I have to get them because they’re just so good and I think that part of the reason I really at the time wanted a beautiful flat because I wasn’t wearing flats as often as I should, so I’m so happy that I have them. I often look at them and think to myself, “Oh my God, these in a heel?” (laughs)

 C   Alright, our last question. Do you have any advice for young women or persons who are dreaming of being in fashion or the fashion editorial world?

P    Yes. Um, My first one would be that you obviously have to work really hard at it. I think it’s the type of profession that like a lot of girls wanna do that , ya know? Um for me because I knew it was something I always wanted to do, I was interning back since my freshman year in college I was interning at magazines. I think I interned every single summer, so I feel like it takes like that kind of dedication and that kind of focus. I feel like cause especially in the beginning it’s so so hard, that it’s easy to give up and the only way that you wont is if you just like want it so bad, you know? So like, you really have to want it, you really have to work hard at it and then I would say once you’re there, to quote Betsey Johnson (laughs), I would say you know, be nice, you have to be nice. I think one thing that I’ve really learned throughout my career is that and this extends to all businesses… you know people want to work with people they like to have around you know they don’t wanna work with someone who is mean or you know, difficult or… I think it goes along way if you’re pleasant you know and if your asked to do something, I would love to do that, yes, ya know ? (laughs). I’m not saying being a push over or anything like that ya know, but like I think kindness goes a long way in life and definitely in the work force. I would say that the industry has changed so much when I started.. I mean I started in 1998, so like you know we didn’t even have computers… it’s changed so much, but I would say that the advice that I just shared is timeless, you know what I mean?

C    Like you, I interned every semester in college as well because I wasn’t sure what I wanted to go into and I think that hard work definitely pays off and kindness too, because I don’t want to work with anybody who is not pleasant.

P    And to you’re point, that’s such a good way to like figure it out if you don’t know. So were any of those places at shoe companies?

C   Agh, for internships? Yes. Kenneth Cole was one of them. I was working for Kenneth Cole Reaction at the time, which wasn’t very formal, but it was awesome. The team all worked around a wooden dining table set in the back corner in a room that was supposed to be a conference room. I think Kenneth didn’t want them working in there all of the time.. and they kind of just did what they wanted because they made the most money for the company. (Laughs). Yeah, I mean I had a number of internships, also NYLON magazine was one of them and a ya know, they culminated to where I am today.

P    Right, right. I know it’s kind of crazy how that happens, ya know.

C    It really is. Well, thank you so much for being a part of our Fearless Women Wednesday. We were so happy to have you.

P    Thank you so much! It’s cool to see people’s comments too. It’s just I couldn’t read them and talk at the same time (laughs).

C   Alright Chica, I’ll catch up with you soon!

 

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