It’s no secret around here that we love women, men, humans, who bring something dynamic to the table. And the wonderful thing we keep disecovering, is that people who interest us are interesting. There is more often than not, more than meets the eye. Lera Pentelute proves our theory true by being not only a head-turning model but a creative magnet and visual powerhouse. We love the way she sees the world, and it’s the reason we’ve been following her blog for some time now. Lucky us, she’s re-envisioned, reinvested, and relaunched this incubator of inspiration under a new zeal. We spent some quality time getting to know the finer points of Pentelute – beyond the perfect pout, bossy brow line, and lagoon green eyes.
LF: Of Beauty and Ugly… How did you come up with the name of your personal blog?
Funny you ask. I have just taken that blog down and launched my new site: lerapen.com. Of Beauty and Ugly was my little platform for sharing outfits, nothing serious. It had a few really sweet followers, but I didn’t like the quality of content I was uploading, so I never kept up with it. Lerapen.com is something completely different: it’s all about the quality of content, something of a creative portfolio. I will still be sharing outfits, but they will mostly be framed by beautiful photo stories that I’ve put together with my favorite photographers. I will also be posting my illustrations and keeping up to date with current collaborations and creative work. It feels really amazing finally sharing the site with everyone! I’ve been conceptualizing and coding it for some time now.
But that name! I had always been fascinated by the duality of the beauty and ugly that you often find in fashion, in anything art really. Gapped teeth on pretty faces, chunky slide sandals, Jeremy Scott runway. I feel like it would take me forever to explain properly.
LF: There are some beautiful illustrations on your Tumblr. Have you always been an artist? How much energy are you putting into developing this skill these days?
LP: Thank you. Yes, I was drawing and painting even as a little girl, but it’s always been on-and-off. Recently, I’ve been much more directional with illustration, have a couple collaborations in the works that I’m really excited about. Oh, and my new site has replaced the old tumblr as well! I love those older sketches – they’re floating out around the internet somewhere – but I’m definitely excited to share more of my art in real time.
LF: What is modeling to you? Just a paycheck? Something you see yourself doing for a long time?
LP: I have a love/hate relationship with modeling. As much as I enjoy creating amazing imagery with talented artists, it’s difficult being the one on the team without a voice. Being a creative person and not having creative input drains my vital energy, and I sometimes have to call my agency and go into hideout. But more than anything, modeling has been an amazing opportunity, and hopefully a launchpad for something bigger.
LF: Who would be your favorite photographer to shoot with if you could pick anyone?
LP: Mert & Marcus.
LF: What inspires you? Do you have a favorite song/photo/painting that just brings you to tears and fills you with creativity?
LP: “My Girl” by Nirvana (Unplugged Version).
LF: When did you move from Ukraine – you were 12, right? I know you go back sometimes, do you have a lot of family still there? Do they want to follow you to LA? How does it feel when you go back? Could you imagine yourself ever moving back there?
LP: I still have some family there: my grandmother and uncle are who I miss most. But I moved out here with my mom – she’s really all I need. Going back feels very refreshing, very real. I go as often as I can. What’s really sad is, I was just in Europe, but my grandmother didn’t allow me to visit because of the unfolding violent political conflict.
LF: English is your second language – yet you are obsessed with correct grammar (something most Americans struggle with). What are some of your biggest language pet peeves?
LP: My biggest pet peeve is the usage of “I” in place of “me.” At some juncture, people started to think using “I” exclusively sounds smarter. But it just sounds funny, when the grammatically proper choice is “me!” The other way around doesn’t bother me much. “Me” has become colloquial verbiage, and I’m all for the evolution of language. Who’s to keep people tied to the rules when they’re trying to express themselves?
LF: What do you want to read online?
LP: I’d love to see more personal stories. Less “how to’s” and more “this was my experience…”
LF: Do you look into the future much?
LP: I don’t.
LF: What is your vision of a perfect life?
LP: Having comforts, but not excess. Having enough free time to enjoy the little things, but not enough to become idle. My family being happy. A beach.
LF: How FAST do you live?
LP: I take it easy.