We sat down with one of our favorite bloggers Elisa Leonard of Brown Eyed Ella. She’s a total girl boss, has an amazing eye for cute coffee shops and decor, has a rad job with on of the best known designers, and also lives abroad. Definition of a cool girl. Read the whole interview below!
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
My name is Elisa (short for Elisabeth). I’m from long island, New York. I’m 26 years old and I have two younger sisters.
Can you tell us about your blog? (What inspired you to start it, the meaning behind the name, etc.)
Growing up my dad used to always sing brown eyed girl to me (because I have brown eyes) and it was always a special thing between us. He passed away when I was 12 years old and every time I hear that song, it brings back so many great memories.
As for the “Ella” part- my best friends call me Ella and have since high school. Ella also means “girl” in Spanish so it makes sense all around!
What’s your favorite part about blogging?
I love having a space to be creative and share that with others. I’ve always loved to write but never knew what to do with that passion until my boyfriend encouraged me to start blogging.
What do you find the most challenging about blogging?
One of the most challenging things about blogging for me is the pressure. It can be way too easy to compare yourself to others and I have to remind myself to focus on what I’m doing. I need to remind myself though that I can only do so much and I have to pick and choose what’s important to me.
Who are your favorite bloggers and what do you love about them?
There are so many inspiring bloggers out there who I love; you are one of them of course! I love your authenticity and creativity. I can relate to your posts in so many ways which I think it super important.
I also love Homey oh my. Her aesthetic is so chic and minimalistic; so many décor #goals! I go to her page a lot of holiday décor inspiration or entertaining inspo as well.
Now that we’ve covered the blogging basics, you mentioned that you live in Santiago, Chile? That sounds so cool! How did you end up moving there?
Yes, I currently live in Santiago, Chile! Long story short, my boyfriend and I met/started dating June 2015. And as cliché, as it sounds, we both agreed it felt like we had known each other forever. Fast forward a few months. My boyfriend and I came to a crossroads in our life in October of 2016; he was living in Santiago and I in NYC. We had to decide; are we going to make this work? Answer was YES. We made the decision to make it work, but not alone. We had the help of our friends, family and workplaces. And now I am living as an expat in Santiago, Chile and working from home.
What are some of the hardest obstacles you had to overcome when you moved to another country?
Many obstacles had to be overcome to get here. Sacrifices were made in both my personal and professional life. I had to adjust to working remotely, learn a new language, overcome the feeling of constant loneliness; it was tough in the beginning for sure. But when you reach obstacles in your life, there is never a right answer, but ultimately the choice is yours. When I embarked on this new adventure, I didn’t know what to expect; it was a real mind f**k. But here I am, on my third year living in chile, and I have grown in so many ways. I am so lucky to be where I am today and wouldn’t change a single thing. Sometimes you just need to let life take its own course, stop worrying and just live.
What are the best parts about living abroad?
There are so many amazing things about living abroad. And for someone like me who didn’t study abroad in college, had never been to another country before, moving to another country was scary but it was an opportunity of a lifetime. You get to meet so many new people, try new things, learn about other cultures, travel, and also grow as a person.
And the best parts about Chile?
Oh wow! Where do I begin!? Chile is a breathtakingly beautiful country, full of rich culture, natural diversity, friendly people and exciting adventure. There are very few places in the world as diverse as Chile. In the north you have deserts, the east is mountain ranges, the south there are oceanic climates, and in the center, you’ll find a Mediterranean climate. And then we have Santiago which is Chile’s capital and where I live. This city has become a part of me and it is a city I have come to love very much. Every morning I wake up and I can see the Andes Mountains from my window; it’s breathtaking. I must say I’m very lucky and happy to have had the chance to live in this city. And the best part is that there are so many things to do in the city and nearby. From vineyards to hiking, the options are endless.
Anything you miss about America and NYC?
There are plenty of things I miss! My family, friends, the English language ha! But living abroad has taught me so many things about the world, as well as about myself. So as much as I may miss certain things, I wouldn’t change this experience for anything.
You also mentioned you are Rebecca Minkoff’s assistant (again, so cool!). How did you land that job and is it hard to balance living abroad?
Yes, I’m her senior executive assistant! I’ve been with for 4, going on 5 years now and I’ve loved every minute of it. I actually started as the receptionist at the company, but Rebecca and I clicked immediately so after a short 3 months as the receptionist, I became her assistant! And from there I worked on the PR team as well which was amazing.
When I made the decision to move to Santiago, Rebecca was unbelievably supportive. We both had to adjust along the way and adapt to this new way of working, but we were determined to make it work. With so much technology we have nowadays, anything is possible! So living abroad and working really comes down to your own self discipline. If you can motivate yourself to get up and work every day, then that’s half the battle!
Any advice for people wanting to break into the fashion industry or aspiring bloggers?
Be yourself and be unique! It’s so important to take initiative and let your voice be heard. A wise woman (aka rebecca Minkoff 😊 ) once told me, “No is just the beginning of yes”. Remember that. Every negative experience you have or criticism you take, turn it into a positive; let that drive you to keep reaching for your goals.