From Love and Sequins to the Frankenstorm
When you read Gala Darling's blog, you normally expect to experience a surge of "radical self-love," as she calls it. This New Zealander turned New Yorker thrives upon fun, positivity, fashion, beauty, and life's many indulgences, from the humble to the pricey. A typical blog post may cover a shopping trip or encourage female entrepreneurs to use their passion, creativity, and smarts to chase after their dreams. Gala Darling does not normally cover current events outside of consumer/pop culture. Her news tends to study trends, whether ones related to style or business.
Thanks to Hurricane Sandy, however, several of Gala Darling's recent posts have veered in the direction of citizen journalism as they chronicle New Yorkers' adventures in the aftermath of the disaster. Quail Bell emailed the alternative beauty queen five questions about the infamous Frankenstorm and what it's meant for her, her friends, and her neighbors in the Lower East Side. Here's how she responded to our queries:
If you're lucky enough to have a Clarisonic, good news: the battery holds a charge for ages! When you can't do anything else, it's nice to be able to exfoliate! Haha. After a day without power, I thought about writing a tongue-in-cheek article about staying beautiful during the hurricane, but that was before I had access to the news and saw just how badly some people were affected. I was so lucky to be a couple of floors up in the East Village; so many people lost everything. There isn't much time for "hurricane chic" when your entire house is underwater.
How have you seen Sandy inconvenience or even devastate other members of NYC's 'creative class'? How do you think people working in the creative industry are uniquely affected by natural disasters?
Thankfully, none of my friends were badly affected by Sandy, probably because the vast majority of them live in Brooklyn. But of course, people in the creative industries are often self-employed and when your power is knocked out or your supplies are destroyed, that has major repercussions.
As great as NYC is, one of the downsides is that most apartments don't have a lot of closets. To remedy this, I rent a 5"x10" space where I stash clothes, odds & ends, weird things, you know. The basement of the storage facility was completely flooded during Sandy, and dozens of units--with any number of valuable belongings inside--were wiped out. Again, I was lucky and my storage unit wasn't affected. But who knows what was in that space? It's terrible to think about. And I don't think any of those people had insurance!
How has Sandy affected your day-to-day as blogger and creator of digital products? What advice do you have for other folks whose livelihood depends upon a great Internet connection?
People joke about that concept of "going off the grid" all the time--all of us in the East Village really were off the grid for a week! It sucked, but it wasn't life-threatening. The worst thing about it was the feeling of disconnection: the cellphone towers had been knocked out, so even if your phone had power, you really weren't able to do much with it. You'd hear the news from your neighbors, and it mostly consisted of rumors and half-truths. So weird. Really, we just had to wait it out. Also, being winter, it was dark by 5.30 p.m., and other than romantic notions (all that candlelight, oh my), there really wasn't much to do!
How has Sandy changed your Eccentric Pop shopping habits lately? How long do you see these changes persisting?
I think one of the major things Sandy has done is reignite my love for small businesses! Even though power has been restored to Manhattan, there are still massive swathes of businesses in Alphabet City and the East Village that don't have their credit card machines running. There are signs everywhere that say "Cash Only :(" That may seem like a small thing, but it can really hurt a business, especially these days when everyone is so swipe-happy! I'm doing my best to visit those businesses and give them my money. Hopefully we can all get each other through.
How do you think Sandy will be remembered throughout history?
One of the most beautiful things about it--if there can ever be anything beautiful about a disaster--is the way it brought New Yorkers together. People really pitched in, donated goods, volunteered their time, did whatever they could, and it was so incredible to see. It made me feel immensely proud to be part of this crazy, wonderful city.