IMPERFECTLY PERFECT // Kelly Framel
As we all know the internet has had some major changes over the last 10 years. What once seemed like an innocent place for inspiration and information has now turned into a complete overhaul of our world, and the way we interact with people. Of course I still find a lot of great things online, but it has lost the innocence that it once had - and definitely a lot of the fun.
Kelly Framel takes me back to a time when everything felt a lot more fresh.
I found Kelly online many years back when she was The Glamourai - a super successful fashion blog that landed her as one of the original big time bloggers. She inspired me with her mix of high-low fashion, and it all felt very creative and accessible. Her career morphed over the years, and through the online window I could see that she was a true lifestyle artist and creative.
It was her recent life overhaul and move to Oaxaca, Mexico that stirred my interest again. The idea of stepping away from it all to move and "rewild" has probably at times touched us all, but very few people actually do it.
Her answers below left me feeling full of life and possibility. Witness a true living and breathing beauty.
Thank you Kelly!
3 Word Bio?
A powerful sorceress.
What is your one physical characteristic that you’ve had to grow to love, but at times would have changed?
I have a large birthmark over my right eye that I hated for most of my life; now it is my favorite thing about my face.
In the 4th grade, a mean boy told me it was disgusting and I should to shave it off, so I spent the next 25 years covering it with makeup, begging dermatologists to remove it, and photoshopping it out of existence. About a year and a half ago, deep in the Mexican jungle, surrounded by hundreds of butterflies, I realized that it’s not a ‘defect’ (and by the way, there’s no such thing); it’s an ocellus — a magical eyespot that connects me to blue morpho butterflies, peacocks and wildcats. From that moment on I have highlighted rather than hidden it. I call it my ‘first eye’, and I’m immensely proud to have it.
What would anyone you’ve ever lived with say is your least appealing quality?
“You have never washed a dish in your life, and yet you are never not eating.”
(That’s a direct quote from my former boyfriend, who I FaceTimed to answer this one on my behalf.)
As one of the first, and most successful fashion bloggers you have been at forefront of social media for a long time - what has been the hardest part of having an online based career? And how have you found balance within the space?
I haven’t had an online career for several years now; it was never a super comfortable place for me. In the early Internet days it was fun — it was such a small but creatively expansive space, and I was inspired to propel it forward — producing elaborate fashion editorials and magazine-quality content that no one else was doing at the time.
But the world has changed a lot since 2008, and so too have the mediums through which I feel most honest expressing myself. We are in an age of aching urgency. There’s no option but to live your bravest truth.
What is liberating and what is terrifying about giving up your life in pursuit of creative inspiration?
Shutting down my site, cancelling all my consulting contracts, and committing to making art was monumentally liberating — but it was coupled with a very deep experience of identity loss that I didn’t anticipate. Overnight, I gave up the income and social cache to which I was accustomed and lost a hundred thousand Instagram followers. I had to prove to myself that I was committed, to look in the mirror and redefine myself on my own terms. It took me a long time to be able to declare, “I am an artist” without crying — crying because it was the thing my heart had been wanting to say since the day I was born and yet never quite could.
What is the hardest thing about living in Mexico? (And the best too ;-)
I’ve had to learn how to cook for myself, because there are literally no restaurants where I live. Being in the kitchen makes me itch (see above re: dishes). But the best thing is freedom. And there’s nothing in the world that is better than freedom. I am free. Free to be me.
Does your creativity come naturally or do you need to work at it?
Creativity is my only honest impulse, the only language I have ever really known. Making stuff together has always been the way I hang out with people. If we’re friends, we’re gonna make masks. Or poems. Or drawings of each other. Or shoot a roll of film. Or build a cardboard castle. What else do people do?!
With 30 minutes of free time, what would you do?
Take a bath.
If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be?
The culture of fear.
Best and worst part about a pixie?
It’s been said that the ultimate medium of art is freedom, and that’s what I’m after. A pixie gets me closer. I don’t own any hair products. I have it cut on the back porch by my neighbor every 5 weeks. I do wish those could be less frequent, but other than that, I don’t think about it.
Honestly, packrat or minimalist?
My natural instinct is unabashed packrat; fortunately, my mom is a ruthlessly unsentimental organizer, so I was militantly trained in the importance of editing, deleting, discarding. Thus I have become an immensely meticulous maximalist. It may look like chaos, but it’s immaculately and constantly curated.
What keeps you up at night?
When you are living your dreams while awake, it’s super annoying to have to sleep.