Maybe she’s born with it; maybe they both are. Meet Natalie and Dylana Suarez, two insanely talented sisters who take the idea of style to a level all their own. We got the chance to chat with one-half of the dream sister duo, Natalie, and learned about her 'off-duty' modeling lifestyle. Read on as she shares about what it took to create Natalie Off Duty and what the day-to-day looks like with her sister, collaborator, and best friend, Dylana.
What drew you to creating Natalie Off Duty?
In high school, I began my modeling career. At the time, I was really into vintage and shopping at Estate Sales and I would show up to castings in my wacky outfits. Dylana introduced me to the blog world back in 2009 and I started "Natalie Off Duty" soon afterwards. I loved the idea of storytelling through the eyes of real women. I also loved the "model off duty" style. Effortless. Easy. It's about being on the go. As a model, I was always traveling. I was always vintage shopping. My style was pretty unique, and I loved taking photos behind the scenes on shoots or when I was overseas. My blog was the perfect platform to take my daily life and my work, and make it a story, and my own visual editorial. My site soon started to grow a cult following. Now, I work on projects both in front of the camera, or behind the lens every day. It's amazing getting to have that complete creative freedom that I didn't have just as a new model. I get to be the photographer, the stylist, the model, the director to every shoot or collaboration I work on. Sometimes I'll even write the song to some of our campaign videos. The ideas are endless and it is basically 'go with the flow'. I never get bored and I'm always coming up with new ideas with Dylana. Modeling and blogging... music and style... they all go so hand-in-hand. I love that we've had the opportunity to make use of all of our talents in one inspiring place. The blogging community really opened a lot of doors, and working with Dylana is my favorite part.
You’re originally from Santa Clarita, California. What prompted you to make the east coast jump?
Santa Clarita is super suburban, yet close enough to LA for all of my modeling work. So as a teenager, I was still figuring out where I was headed. NYC seemed so far away, but it was always my goal. My parents always wanted me to take my career to NYC, especially since my focus was fashion. Luckily, I was in NYC for an event I was hosting for NATALIE OFF DUTY when an NYC modeling agency called me to work there for the summer. I immediately said yes and tried it out. Dylana had already moved to Philadelphia for a job a month before, so it was perfect. It meant I could be closer to her while I was in NYC! I ended up working so much and I never really left. It's been 6 years living in NYC already! The city inspired me a ton...with my style, with my blog. I feel so much more myself in New York City. The city keeps me driven and motivated to wake up, and do something epic each day. The city keeps me on my toes and in tune with everything that's not even just fashion related, but just world related. It so much like the center of the world because of its diversity. I meet so many different people from different backgrounds every day. All that inspires what I do and keeps me going.
Walk us through an average (or not so average) day in the life of a Suarez sis.
An average day for me begins at 8 am answering emails and starting my day. The day always is different. We could be taking a flight, or we could be on a set of a shoot. But with every big project comes a ton of preparation. Conference calls, pitching ideas, meeting with brands face-to-face. Sometimes our readers don't really know what happens behind the scenes of a photo– but trust me, it's a lot! Every afternoon is different. We could be shooting content for our websites...or running around town for meetings. Emails never really seem to end for us, but I always find a balance between personal life and work. Because really, it never seems to end!
When do you know an outfit is “complete”?
I know my outfit is complete when I feel really good and confident. I love flattering shapes and classic designs but with a little something unexpected. That's what makes a look feel unique and different to me. It could be a pop of color in my bag or it could be a unique pair of sunglasses. I like a pop to complete a look.
What’s it like working with your sister?
It's so amazing. It's like we can read each other's minds sometimes! We just completely get and understand one another. We also share a very similar eye for style, photography, and creative direction. I trust Dylana in "getting the shot." Our visions always align, and I feel we're so on the same page. We're also just so different too. It's nice bouncing ideas off one another because we're coming from 2 different perspectives. Dylana always encourages me to be very thoughtful with everything we put out there or write about. We're always pushing each other to further improve ourselves or think outside the box. We can also just totally be goofy and unfiltered when we're together.
You each have such an eclectic, cool style – what would you say are your style staples for this year?
Last year we saw a ton of minimal style, and I think things are shifting a bit. I notice a lot more people wearing colors, cool patterns, and mixing and matching prints. I feel Dylana and I always enjoy mixing and matching color to create our style. I guess my stapes are accessories. A good designer handbag to wear for years. A really awesome belt. An amazing skinny scarf. These are items that I wear nearly everyday. I'm all about transitioning pieces to last all year long.
How would you say your personal style relates to Sonix?
I love that Sonix is vibrant and fun! And I love lots of colors and things that are a bit cheeky. Sonix totally represents the cool, confident girl who has something to say. Like my phone cases literally start conversations for me on the subway, or between my friends. My favorite part of the spring collection is the eyewear. It's hard finding statement eyewear that's still wearable. You guys totally nailed the transitional eyewear for spring.
What’s next for each of you? Do you have any exciting projects on the horizon?
Dylana and I will be traveling a ton this month, which is always a lot of fun. We're in Tulum for a project now before Dylana heads to London and I head to Paris. Though we still do a lot of our individual work, It's exciting how we get to collaborate together more and more as sisters throughout the years. Those are always our favorite! So lots more #SuarezSisters projects of course on the horizon.