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20 SENSE: Elettra Wiedemann, Model & Entrepreneur

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In a fashion realm where high-maintenance and a wee bit inauthentic are the norm, Elettra Wiedemann has always seemed refreshingly laid-back and disarming. Hers is an attitude (jokey, genuine) that you immediately gravitate towards, first in the hopes of picking her LSE-educated brain, and, later, to raid her closet of quietly cool clothing. Initially discovered by the renowned Bruce Weber, and having successfully modeled for over ten years, she could have easily kept on that lucrative path and been A-okay. Instead, though, she’s chosen to tread in more unconventional territory, founding her own non-profit called One Frickin’ Day and the pop up restaurant GOODNESS. Her latest project, Impatient Foodie, is, in her own words, “a humorous and relatable online journal of my personal journey” figuring out “how to grow, cook, bake, make, and preserve my own food, all while living in NYC and navigating a severe lack of patience and goldfish attention span.” It’s like a lighthearted, more-realistic version of Goop, and so I’m definitely in. Wiedemann’s career umbrella thus far serves as some serious inspiration for the rest of us hungry and passionate ladies out there, a fact that’s not entirely surprising as she counts the trailblazing dames Bergman and Rossellini as relatives. Lucky for me (us), she let me in on her surviving her rollercoaster twenties and what motivates her to keep pushing life’s envelope.

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How old are you? I just turned 31!

Describe your trajectory since turning 20 up until now. My twenties went a little like this: dropped out of college, worked as a fashion model between Milan and Paris, finished college at The New School in NYC, studied as a graduate student at the London School of Economics, became a pop-up restaurant/business owner, and, finally, a married woman. So, I would say twenties were very fun, totally exhausting, and definitely unpredictable. 

What surprised you most about your twenties? What went exactly as expected? Everything about my twenties surprised me, but I’ll probably be very sad the day life stops surprising me. I can’t say anything went as expected, because I never set out with a “life plan.” Instead, I kind of just said yes to stuff as it came up and went along for the ride. I have no regrets about that–it led me down a wonderful and rewarding rabbit hole.
 
Do you feel like you’ve found your niche or are you still searching? I think I will always be searching. I wish I was less of a restless person, but that seems alien to my character. 
 
What excites you more about life: the enigmatic experiences or those with extreme clarity?Hmm, I’m not entirely sure! I love a little mystery, but if every day was complicated, I would likely go nuts. Can I say that my ideal is to have a bit of both?
 
What did your twenties teach you about romantic love? Friendship? My twenties taught me that REALLY clicking with someone–whether romantically, as a friend, or professionally–is something INCREDIBLY rare, so hold onto it and nurture those relationships.
 
What motivates you? I feel like I have so little time on this planet, I want to make it great while I am here.
 
Where do you get the most inspiration? How do you snap out of a creative rut? I get most inspired when I am well rested, well fed, near beautiful nature, and surrounded by the people I love who make me laugh and feel connected.
 
If you had to create a twenties survival kit what would it include? My friends from the LSE and London at large, a Clueless DVD, Sex & The City DVDs, Grazia UK, and my student hummus bowls. I wish I had more highbrow answers, but right now with my jet lagged brain, that’s all I’ve got and am currently craving.
 
Did you always know you wanted to work in the fashion sphere? Or was it more serendipitous? Totally serendipitous. 
 
Though you juggle numerous roles today, your first gig was as a model. What would you say are the upsides and downsides of that specific career? The upside is that you travel the world and get to see incredible places, the downside is that you are usually alone (and often lonely) when you travel the world and see these incredible places.
 
This summer you launched your blog, Impatient Foodie. What inspired you to start this? And what do you hope to achieve with the project down the line? Impatient Foodie is my food blog that navigates a conundrum I face on a daily basis: My desire to make good & responsible food choices while balancing my goldfish attention span & very busy, unpredictable schedule. I find that a lot of people I know are in the same boat, so I started Impatient Foodie as a conversation about that and a place to share the recipes I have managed to cook using seasonal and local ingredients. I am not sure what it will become, but right now I am just enjoying the process of having a blog (which, again, is something I never expected to have/do). We’ll see where it goes! I think businesses are like babies: You give birth to them, they need your 24/7 attention and care, and then suddenly one day they’re walking and talking and have all sorts of opinions. Impatient Foodie is still in its infant stages, but I think it has legs…
 
What is the best advice you could give someone just starting out who wants to follow a similar career path? Get ready to go down a long and winding road, but keep your eyes on reality and grounding forces like your friends, family, and education. The fashion world can be fickle, so build something solid in parallel and enjoy it while it lasts! 
 
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