Lilliana Vazquez

@theLVguide

Current Location: Chelsea, Manhattan
Hometown: Fort Worth, Texas
Professional Position: Fashion Contributor, Today Show & Digital Content Curator, The LV Guide

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What do you do or create?

I do a lot of things. First, I’m a digital content curator. I curate fashion, beauty, and lifestyle finds for my website called TheLVGuide.com. On the other side, I am a contributor for the Today Show, and I cover fashion, lifestyle, and beauty there, as well.

You reference Philly all the time. What’s the connection there?

I started my NBC career in Philly. My husband is from Philadelphia and we got engaged when I moved there. I started working at WCAA — which is channel 10 and was the NBC affiliate in Philly. I was a general assignment reporter for them but I really just covered fashion.

How would you describe a New Yorker?

New Yorkers by definition are tenacious. They’re total self-starters. They’re passionate. And, I happen to think they’re very well dressed.

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What are the hardships of living in NYC and is it worth the rent?

Absolutely, I think that there is no bigger reward at the end of the day than coming home and feeling like you made a difference and that you kind of made your small impact on what is to me — the most important, most vibrant, most incredible city on the planet.

How do you contribute to your community?

I think fashion and broadcast are two really, really difficult industries to break into and I certainly didn’t have an in. I had to create my own ‘in.’ So, something that’s really important to me is giving an opportunity to people who maybe don’t have a direct connection to fashion or broadcast. The ones who don’t have an aunt or a cousin or a really rich uncle that donated and gave them an opportunity to get into this business. There are so many people who are super talented and super deserving that wouldn’t have another way. That’s the best thing that I can do. Create an opportunity for those who really deserve it.

What would you tell the little girl at home who aspires to be the next Lilliana Vazquez?

The most important thing taught to me growing up was never take no for an answer. I always see no as an opportunity to find a yes. I grew up with two first generation parents who were both immigrants and entrepreneurs. Nobody gave them anything. They had to demand what they wanted. Seeing my mom and dad do that set an example for me to know that no is not an option and that if you dare to dream, you should dare to dream bigger — not just average.

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What is this apartment to you? A home, landing pad, etc…

This is everything! Real estate in New York is very rare and this apartment serves a ton of functions. Obviously, it’s my home — my husband and I live here; but, it’s also an office for me and my team. We use every single room in this apartment. We have fittings and photo shoots here. We work at the kitchen, dining room table. This is a very multifunctional space. Rent is outrageous in New York, so the idea of having a space that’s mine and can serve all of those functions is something that makes me happy. I spend so much time outside of my apartment that I kind of like working from home. It gives me an excuse to go to work dressed down.

What’s the most sentimental piece in your home?

Two things: My grandmother passed away a year and a half ago. She was a devout Catholic, which is one of the things she taught me to love. So, when we were going through her Bible when she had passed away I found a birthday card I had given to her when I was 3 years old and I am now 36. She kept that card for 33 years in her Bible and it’s probably one of the most special things in my house and I have it framed in my office. I wouldn’t be here without her, so it’s a testament to her and how I grew up.

The other thing that’s important to me is the art piece that’s behind you. Patrick and I lived in Philadelphia and it was so foundational to establishing our relationship. We lived in Old City which happens to be a home to a lot of young emerging artist and there’s a lot of art galleries down there. What I loved and learned in Philly is that art is by the people and for the people. And, this is a piece that we purchased in South Philly on our third wedding anniversary and it’s something we’ll take with us no matter where we go. It’s home to me.

What’s the most important room?

My most important room is my bathroom. My husband and I have been married for nine years and the only reason we’ve made it this long is because we’ve always had separate bathrooms. The bathroom is the only room that I don’t share. In New York, you learn to have to share everything and the bathroom is the one room that is all mine. And, I also happen to be a complete beauty junky. If you open the cabinet it’s filled to the brim with beauty products. I like testing them out. I like playing with them. So, my bathroom is my most sacred space because I don’t have to share it with anybody.

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How does your home represent who you are?

This apartment is a really good blend of my style and my husband’s style. If it were left to me, it’d be a lot girlier. One of the rules when we moved into this apartment, was that I got one gold thing and my gold thing was my Jonathan Adler dining room table, and that was my husband’s hard and fast rule. But, if you count, there’s a lot more gold in here. This is a lesson to men, you’re never going to win when it comes to home decor because there are 4 pretty large gold pieces in the apartment now. It’s a good balance because if it were up to me there would be 30 gold things, so I think he keeps it more masculine because I would have skewed really, really feminine, really fast.

How do you design your apartment to maximize inspiration and high work output?

Trying to keep the apartment organized is very important. A lot of products come through here throughout the day. At the end of the day, we know it’s always important to reset back to minimal – clean surfaces that only have the things that they need on them. Keeping things organized gives me a bit of a break at the end of a hectic day and that’s also something really important to any entrepreneur that works from home. You need that break because when you get that break is when you normally have your best ideas. You need the open space to open up your mind.

How do you do that without breaking the bank?

2 things. I think a home is always a work in progress. I’m always looking for inspiration whether it’s on Pinterest or Instagram. I might add new pillows, which means I’ll have to change out a tablescape. You have to constantly update it. I also live at stores like HomeGoods because all the accessories are  super affordable. If you invest in core key pieces that’ll last for a long time like a beautiful console that’s handmade or a gorgeous couch, you can have fun with the accents and accessories and I think the accessories are what brings a room to life and give it personality. My style changes and evolves all the time, so I let my apartment do that with me too.

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How do you choose colors to represent your home?

I have a lot of colors in our apartment. I actually hate the color red, and shockingly, there is a red 10-foot longboard in the middle of the apartment. The reason for that is that it’s so big it had to come up the stairs. It never fit in the elevator. So, my husband had to actually carry it up the stairs and the idea of carrying it back down the stairs and then up to surf with it was something he didn’t want to do. We put it there temporarily just to house it and it grew on me and if anything it actually connects  the room in a really beautiful way. The more color the better. Although, in the bedroom I have a different approach. My bedroom is a little more serene and a little calmer which I think a bedroom should be.

What does Chelsea offer that no other part of the city does?

Chelsea has a ton of great street style inspiration. People wear what they want to wear and how they want to wear it. It’s also an incredible access point to the city. There’re so many subway lines that run within a block or two from here — not to mention, the PATH out to Jersey, then you can take the LIRR straight out to The Hamptons and Montauk. For me, it’s a great way to be connected to many different parts of the city.

What’s your favorite Chelsea gem?

I love Italian food so much. And, there is an Italian restaurant on 17th St called da Umberto. It’s old school Italian. White table cloths. Waiters in suit jackets. It’s one of my favorite places to eat dinner. I’ve only eaten at a table once or twice, we eat at the bar and we’re really friendly with the bartender so I get free wine. It’s not new and cool and hip. It’s just old school Italian and that’s one of the best things about living in New York. It’s having access to really good food.

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Written By

Ofo Ezeugwu (@ofoezeugwu) is the CEO & Chieftain of WhoseYourLandlord. He graduated from Temple University (shout out to N. Philly!), where he was the VP of the student body and also the university's youngest alumni convocation speaker ever. He's a Techstars'​ Risingstar, one of BET's #30Under30, a Black Enterprise: Modern Man, and his work has been featured in Newsweek, TechCrunch, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Philadelphia Inquirer, MSNBC, and more. Ofo is based in NYC/PHL and is also a professional actor and model who's walked in NYFW, been featured on the Today Show six times, and worked with Nike, ESPN, and Alfani. Ofo is also very actively plugged into the community and speaks with local high schools and middle schools on leadership, college planning, entrepreneurship, and life skills. He's a Big in the Big Brothers Big Sisters entrepreneurial program. And, he's also spoken on tech - entrepreneurship - and leadership at prestigious universities and institutions such as The White House, Harvard, Princeton, Columbia, Penn, Temple, Villanova, etc. He lives by the motto, "No steps backward; just forward progress."