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QUOI? (An explanation.)

I come from this era of kids who have the need to compulsively document & share everything. The old lolz catch-cry of “pics or it didn’t happen” has almost become a mantra. The more my life changes & the more exciting it gets, the more intense my urge to put it all on display becomes. This is exhibitionism taken to a whole new level.

xo GLD.

Cute.

July 4th, 2009

Who is Gala Darling? If you haven’t heard the name then you obviously don’t spend enough time online! In her own words she is “eccentric, electric, passionate, creative and !!!!!!”

Gala Lumière Darling (“Gala was Salvador Dali’s wife and the name means party, celebration, festival, joy. Lumière, means ‘light’ in French and Darling… well.”) has been a freelance writer since 2003. With work featured in heaps of magazines, newspapers and books and even a column in Cosmopolitan there is no guessing why this pink-haired whirlwind of a woman is my personal idol and why iCiNG is on my list of daily must-reads.

Gala has known forever that writing was her calling in life. “When I was a kid, I used to write long stories, staple them together & illustrate them. I gave them covers too, complete with a bar code. I also used to borrow stacks of books from the library with my father every Saturday, so I have always felt like writing was a worthwhile pursuit, just because I knew how much joy it could bring.”

The blog-mistress’s site, iCiNG started out as a fashion blog but she learned quickly that “clothing is nothing if you’re not happy on the inside.” So now the site is devoted to creating a supportive community for bright young things or ‘non pareils’ as she lovingly calls them, with help on anything from “how to get out of a bad relationship, how to find a career that you love to how to appreciate life”. The transition was easy, as Gala states “the possibility of not giving my readers what they wanted never even occurred to me.”

When asked to describe it herself Gala replies “iCiNG is about living your best life ever. It started off as a site about fashion & style, but the questions from readers started to get more & more interesting — about relationships, life & finding yourself — & so the site has evolved to include a bit of everything. I always see it as, well sure, you can put on a beautiful dress, but it doesn’t mean much if you’re not happy on the inside. So iCiNG is the place where I do my best to help people find that for themselves, with clothing, make-up & shoes as iCiNG on the cake! I started it in December 2006, because I didn’t want to work in an office ever again!”

The birth of iCiNG was not painless, but it was simple “My boyfriend & I lived on one income until iCiNG took off. Which took a little over a year. I think that especially in the beginning, (Simon) believed in me more than I believed in myself. It is largely due to him that iCiNG even exists at all- he always told me to persevere, & I cannot thank him enough for that. Not having any money was stressful & difficult — I was used to earning a regular pay-cheque & frittering it away on frivolous crap, so not having that freedom was really tough. It is hard to do something for free for a long time & not know if you’re ever going to be able to afford a nice meal out again. Not to mention that it was pretty ugly on the self-esteem side of things.” These days Gala is an independent, self-sustaining woman, which “makes life a whole lot easier.”

With her recent relocation to The Big Apple, Gala has found herself busier than ever, starting her day at 7.30am, as like Virginia Wolf, Gala does her best work first thing in the morning. She also likes to use travel and waiting time at airports and stations to whip out her laptop and get waxing lyrical about her favourite things, especially if it’s ‘Things I Love Thursday’. The rest of the day is hers to meet with friends, shop and share ideas with her fellow creatives such as graphic designer Nubby Twiglet. She finds herself travelling a lot, which, although upsetting her schedule, means no two days are ever the same and there is always something new and exciting for her to write about.

The girl behind the blog, tattoos and candy-hued hair is as confident and outgoing as she appears and has been ever since she was a girl growing up in New Zealand, demanding lead parts in musical theatre roles. She describes exploring new cities as “one of life’s great pleasures” and never misses anyone too much on the road as she is happiest in her own company. Her many varied projects mean she never gives herself the chance to become bored or lonely and she is not really “of the ‘getting lonely’ disposition”, plus Twitter won’t allow it.

As her website grows Gala finds she is becoming somewhat of a recognisable presence, especially on the streets of Melbourne and Wellington where she used to live. The amazing, if not a little mad dress sense and blinding ‘do mean she is easy to spot after all. She says the best fan encounter so far was meeting a Sewdish girl in New York who had previously joked to her boyfriend about the chance of seeing Gala in Manhatten. She can now no longer leave the house without meeting at least one non-pareil, and describes the phenomenon as “an incredibly weird, but amazing, thing, and I love meeting the people from the other side of the screen!”

Now, about that infamous style… Gala somehow, makes pink sparkles and glitter sophisticated and manages to mix Alexander McQueen, Balenciaga, Pierre Hardy, Christian Louboutin, Luella and Tarina Tarantino with thrift store finds and vintage numbers with a unique, inspiring and effortless panache, all the while by saving up for pricey pieces like the rest of us. She proves that throwing money at designers does not a fashionista make. “I’ve been developing (my style) since I first became aware of fashion, at I guess age 12 or so. I grew up in the back of my mother’s clothing boutique, so I have been surrounded by it my entire life. I think a lot of it I just absorbed — some people know a lot about cooking or cars or child rearing because of their parents. I learned about style and running businesses (from both of my parents). My look is always evolving, and I often decide on a personal style for a season. I don’t know if I really have any style icons — I certainly don’t have anyone I aspire to look like. I very much admire Patricia Field and Diana Vreeland.”

So how does the girl who has it all going on make everything work in harmony? It appears she doesn’t know the answer to that question herself, it just seems that her work and personal lives melange, as she loves what she does so much. She says “even when I’m making plans to travel or do things in the future, it almost always ties in with my work in some way or another” It just goes to show the old adage that “If you do what you love, you’ll never work another day in your life” is true, but of course Gala still has tough days where she doesn’t want to have to be “sparkly and on display” but would rather “sit around and eat and watch MTV!”

There must be a downside to the life of Darling surely? She explains “I don’t love how much email I get. It is flattering but kind of stressful, especially when it starts to build up. I think most people would have a heart attack if they saw my inbox first thing in the morning. Just thinking about it is giving me palpitations! I also sometimes wish I had a manager to kick my ass & get me to do things. But only sometimes!” The other toughie Gala deals with like a soldier is the pressure she is under. “I often feel like people have very high expectations of me & that can freak me out when I am feeling unbalanced. I am probably just projecting though, all that stuff comes from me.”

The heavy inbox is lightened by the fact she can sort it in her PJ’s and listen to really loud music all day between taking breaks to “dance like an imbecile”. The biggest perk has to be that Gala can “create & shape my future into anything I want & I love the opportunities that have come my way from running iCiNG” (as well as the freebies and meeting idols etc…) The only thing she misses about the droll 9-5 workday is the commute- because gave her a chance to write- but now she gets to do that all day! Many people would ponder how she manages to stay motivated and get work done but she finds it easy, purely because she loves what she does so much that it doesn’t feel like work. It just shows that taking a risk can really pay off.

Before she made the transition from full time employment to full time blogger, Gala gained some valuable experience “I think I had my first article published when I was working full-time at an ISP in Auckland. The job was insanely boring but there was downtime and I used to spend my time writing or reading weird people’s Livejournals. Anyway, for some reason I decided I wanted to start getting published, so I called the editor of Pulp magazine & asked if I could write for them. They said yes, I went in to meet them, the editor gave me a subject & I wrote him an article. Done. Published. Cheque in the hand. Easy.” If you want to be a writer as much as Gala did back then it seems that you just make the time to do it. “I fit the writing in anywhere I could because I loved doing it, which I think is the way with anything you really adore. You will always make time for it.”

So who inspires the woman who is an inspiration? “People who are creating, producing, building things. Creating their own empires, constructing delicious communities, connecting like-minded people, using the talents they have & the magic of the universe to make beautiful things happen! People who aren’t afraid of their own magnificence, & are contributing positively… living wild and being unashamedly true to themselves!”

Gala’s biggest lesson learnt so far is that “it’s really important to be positive. People pick up on your emotions & how you’re feeling much more than you might initially think.” And to anyone wanting to follow in her Steve Madden clad footsteps “Firstly, I’d encourage them to bring their own spirit to whatever they want to do. Passion and enthusiasm and touches of your personality will take you a really long way. Secondly, ignore whatever rules or limitations other people try to impose on you. Thirdly, be prepared to rip your personal belief system apart!”

So there you have it, a day in the life of my personal icon by an aspiring freelance writer. If you have taken nothing from this insight into what I consider to be a brilliant mind of our generation maybe you will heed this “Dress up, leave a false name, be legendary…” That’s what I plan to do anyway.

13 Comments to Cute.

brandon

August 22, 2014

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August 24, 2014

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Frank

August 26, 2014

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kelly

November 18, 2014

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November 18, 2014

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travis

November 18, 2014

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November 21, 2014

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gerald

November 26, 2014

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November 28, 2014

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November 30, 2014

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December 4, 2014

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scott

January 27, 2015

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kent

February 6, 2015

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