HAUS OF TWELV #6: RAQUEL PAIVA
Brazilian Blogger based in New York, Raquel Paiva, is one of the new faces of the fashion scene right now. In less than 3 years her blog and social media platforms have grown with an incredible amount of followers. She has caught the attention of international magazines, brands, singers, and major photographers. Raquel was born and raised in a small town in the West Coast of Brazil and came to the US about 3 years ago, where she started a whole new life.
Shy and brave, as Raquel describes herself, the blogger has proved that she can overcome any kind of obstacle - language barriers, climate changes, as well as homesickness. The TWELV team talked to Raquel about all these challenges and also about fashion, her blog, and plans for the future.
------------- RAQUEL PAIVA's INTERVIEW ---------------
1. What was the biggest challenge for you as a blogger and as foreigner to make your career happen in NYC?
There were a lot of challenges and there are still more. There is the challenge of writing in English because I decided to write in English. That was hard for me because my English wasn’t perfect but I think the biggest challenge was not being here, but having a blog, putting yourself out there, because people judge you. No matter what you say, there’s always someone who’s going to say something bad. So you have to be very strong to put yourself out there, put up your pictures, and write what you want to say without caring if people are going to like it or not.
2. When did you decide to create your blog? And what motivated you?
I always liked the idea of having a blog and since [I was in] Brazil, I had a blog with my best friend. Then I moved here and I was like “I need to have a blog! I need to show everyone that I’m living here and going to the stores, having access to all these clothes”. At first, I started writing it in Portuguese. When I look back and it was awful (laughs) because I made the design and everything. Then I moved to Pennsylvania and it was a little harder [for me] because I didn’t have the same access to clothes and I was focusing more on learning English. When I moved back to New York, I started to study fashion and I was like “Now is the time!” and started taking it more seriously. I started posting things and outfits that I liked and some brands started reaching out to me and I was like “Wow, this can be kind of a job.”
3. Can you tell us more about your blog?
There are some things about my blog that I want to change because I keep having new ideas all the time and I really want to start writing more. [Right now] I really have a lot of personal style [post] and my outfits but I want to start writing more about different topics, like women - and helping them to be confident about themselves as well as styling tips to make them feel comfortable with their bodies. What I like about my blog is that I can inspire women, because sometimes you have stuff in your closet [that you can wear], most of the outfits I put together I use things that I already have in my closet, and people actually like it.
4. Do you think New York has influenced your personal style?
So much!! New York has changed me so much, since I moved from Brazil. Sometimes I look at my old pictures and I’m like “How could I wear that?” I’m from a small town in Brazil, from the coast. I come from a place where people wear flip-flops all the time because it’s so hot and they are always at the beach. So if you wear boots, people look at you like “what are you wearing?” I didn’t have the freedom to wear whatever I wanted. And then when I came to NYC, I could wear whatever. I see people on the streets wearing the craziest things. It’s nice to have the freedom to wake up and wear something like a red wig, knee-high boots and a crazy leather jacket. Here people won’t judge you; they’re not going to even look at you.
5. How can you compare fashion here and in Brazil?
A lot of things are similar. [Fashion in] Brazil is way more colorful, I would say, and it’s more tropical in general. I feel like people wear more prints, bold colors, and florals. I feel like it’s more girly too. My style is not too girly but I feel like people wear more dresses with flowers and lipstick and a certain kind of jewelry. I’d say New York is little bit cooler and Brazil is more girly.
6. In your blog you mention that coming to NY changed your eating habits a lot, but you also explain that eating clean has more to do with health than losing weight. Can you tell us more about it?
When I moved from Brazil to the US, I lost like 30lbs, mostly in the beginning. That had a lot to do with the change in what I was eating. In Brazil, I basically used to eat rice and beans everyday and here I didn’t have that. I’m not a big fan of pizza and junk food, so I started eating less because I didn’t like the food [here]. I was also going through a difficult time, I was missing my family and friends, I couldn’t speak the language well, and I just didn’t want to eat. On the top of that, I started suffering from a heartburn condition, which also made me lose weight. I started searching what kinds of food I should eat to not have the heartburn problem and I got really into eating clean. I could notice the difference it makes in your body, your health, and your whole life. I basically changed all my habits and now I feel much better. People think I barely eat, but I eat a lot, I’m a dragon (laughs). I just eat healthy.
7. How would you define your style?
It’s hard to define my style, because it’s mostly about how I feel when I wake up. Sometimes I’m super basic - wearing leggings the whole day, sometimes I feel like dressing like a rock star, and sometimes I just feel like being more girly. So it really depends on the day. That’s what I like about fashion and New York. You can be whoever you want to be through your outfits.
8. Where do you get your inspiration from?
It comes from different places. I love magazines, so I’m always reading magazines. Also blogs, fashion websites, the streets of New York City, and all the mix of cultures you have here. I live in Williamsburg. I think it’s pretty cool what people wear [there]. Sometimes I don’t know what to wear and if I walk around, I’m like “yeah, that would be cool. I could wear that.” It’s very inspiring to walk around my neighborhood.
9. Give me 5 words that can describe you.
Brave, shy, go-getter, loyal, and happy.
10. Who are your fashion icons?
There are many people I admire, for example Jessica Alba. I love her style, it’s simple, but I love it. Also Alexa Chung, Miroslava Duma and Leandra Medine. I admire a lot of other people too.
11. What is the one fashion rule you never break?
I never wear two different prints together, like animal print and floral. I’ve seen many people doing it but I don’t like mixing prints.
12. What message are you trying to send to your readers?
To be happy and be yourself, and to always be confident about who you are. I think you always have to feel comfortable with what you are wearing, because sometimes you can be wearing something amazing and new but if you don’t feel comfortable in it, you shouldn’t try to force it. I just want to show people that there are so many outfits you can put together and feel comfortable and confident about yourself.
13. What's your mission in the fashion industry?
I definitely want to still work in the fashion industry but I’m still trying to figure out my mission here.
14. How do you balance trends and classic style while building your wardrobe?
When I buy something, I try to think of it into an outfit. Usually, if I like something, I buy it.
15. Any exciting news that we can expect from you and from the blog?
I’ve been thinking about [creating] a Youtube channel. You’ll also see more fitness tips and I just collaborated my friend [fashion blogger Lynn Kim Do] in this video called Summer Breakers. You’ll see a lot of cool outfits, ice creams, and a lot of summer fun. You guys are going to love it.
WEBSITE: Raquel Paiva
LOOK BOOK: Raquel Paiva
INTERVIEWED & WRITTEN BY: CAMILA PONTES
PHOTOGRAPHY BY: LINDSEY THOENG, MOMOKO OYABU
PHOTO CREDIT: RAQUEL PAIVA