As I gushed in my short post on Friday, Nina invited me to be her guest at the Project Runway Finale Fashion Show at Bryant Park ... which was an amazing experience in its own right. Because the Project Runway show was a frantic and chaotic melee of insanity, I was unable to gain access to Nina after the show was over. I did get a call from her right after the PR show was finished and I was able to thank her for giving me such a fun experience ... it was then that we made plans to get together yesterday to chat for a bit over coffee. We originally planned to meet up at The Lounge at the Four Seasons Hotel (her favorite place for tea) yesterday morning but had to push back our meeting due to time constraints in her schedule. To be honest, I'm glad we had to push back because I am sure I wouldn't have been able to spend as much time with her as I did yesterday afternoon (after her work day was finished). I anticipated I'd prolly get at least 15-20 mins. with her ... I hoped to get a full half-hour ... but we ended up spending almost 2 full hours just talking about pretty much everything and just really getting to know one another. It was really more than I was expecting so, as you might imagine, I was just over the moon the entire time. I wasn't sure if Nina would be up for a "formal" interview but I came prepared with a bunch of questions nonetheless. Here is the full audio of my interview questions for Nina Garcia:
I must apologize for the awful feedback noise that pops up at various points in the interview. My BlackBerry was too close to my digital recorder and the noise you hear is the feedback that is caused when my BB received an email. Also, the interview appears to end a bit abruptly but all of my questions were answered and the last 2 mins. or so was extra stuff ... Nina had to take a call on her phone and I just switched off the recorder then.
While this 20 minute interview consists of our "formal" little Q&A, I think the hour we spent eating scones (did I mention they were sugar-baked ... with orange marmalade!!!) and drinking tea (she likes Earl Grey with lots of lemon) and coffee (I prefer au lait with lots of sugar) before the actual interview was my favorite part of our time together. We talked heritage and how she fears her son will grow up not wanting to speak Spanish (I revealed to her that I rejected learning Spanish from my parents at a young age because I wanted to fit in with my friends), we talked at length about my blog and how I got into blogging in the first place (she was very inquisitive about the whole subject of blogging ... and she said some very complimentary things to me that most probably had me blushing) and we also talked about some behind the scenes stuff on Project Runway (it was really hard for me to not ask her to clue me in as to who the final 3 designers are ... even tho 5 designers showed collections on Friday, she did confirm that only 3 of them are left in competition for the top prize) and about her book, The Little Black Book of Style:
I must confess, I really do love her book and I made sure to tell her so. It was reading the surprisingly simple yet enlightening advice that Nina offers in this book that inspired me to pay more attention to the way I dress. Without getting into gory details, one of my New Year resolutions is to try and dress better, to try and think more about my personal style (and ease up on the jeans and t-shirt look I love so much) ... which will come more naturally once I learn how to edit my closet ... which is something I learned from her book ... yada, yada, yada. The point here is that, I really wanted to let her know that I found some great information in her book (even tho it's geared towards women, the basic principles she discusses can be applied to anyone).
In our off the record convo, Nina revealed to me that she is headed for Detroit, MI today so I hope that if any of my Detroit peeps run into her you will do your best to take care of her for me ;) Here is one of the pictures that we took together before we parted ways:
I know ... we look really cute, huh? Nina was on her way to see the Spice Girls Reunion Tour concert in NJ with a girlfriend (she hadn't seen the show yet) and that was our afternoon. I had such a nice time with her ... she was incredibly gracious, very, very sweet and a delight to sit and chat with.
Much love goes out to Erin and Jade at ELLE for helping orchestrate my meeting with Nina ... I really appreciate y'alls help with organizing everything for us.