Fifth in my series of my interesting and interested friends and their quarantine experience………….meet my friend Whitley Hamlin.
What can I say about one of my very best friends Whitley, a woman of many facets, she’s a single mum of 2 energetic boys, stylist to the hard-working, smart and well-mannered people of Charlotte, a magazine fashion contributor, a creative director, and producer. She can drive a tractor, run a 10k all before lunch, and pull wardrobe for an editorial fashion shoot in the afternoon. Whitley is truly worthy of the adjective amazing.
Where are you right now?
At my desk in my dressing room emailing you!
Who are you with?
Cutie Pie, (the dog), is next to me on her hind legs smelling the smells out the window listening to the children playing and laughing the birds chirping. My boys are being homeschooled by my boyfriend, Jay, today at his house, so or else the sounds might be a little different :).
What are you reading?
Seriously? What is reading? Ugh I miss reading every morning and evening on the subway to and from work while living in NYC. Nothing at the moment, but my Bible is always on my bedside table atop my collection of latest home design, fashion magazines, and local publications I enjoy. (SouthPark at the top of that stack, of course!)
What are you listening to?
Whatever my boys play when they grab my phone to change the music I thought I was going to be listening to.
What’s your daily exercise of choice?
Duh! Running! But during quarantine, I have enjoyed running even more trails and mountain biking with my kids. Jay and I have been driving as far as Roanoke, Va to hit a new set of trails. Also walking the dog more, which makes her much happier too. I am LOVING all this outdoors time.
What’s your favourite board game?
Ooooohhh… my Mom just gave us a whole bunch of board games. We have been mainly playing a lot of cards and the kids are really into dominoes. But if you have to have a board game, it’s still Candy Land!
What’s the best thing you’ve cooked?
During Quaratine? I’ve cooked a few dishes I really love. One is an almond encrusted tilapia served over cheesey stone-ground grits with a side of baked asparagus. The other, pan-seared peppercorn tuna topped off with an artichoke, capers and cherry tomato relish served alongside olive spiked cous cous is also quite yummy! And as our dear friend Pam Stowe reminds, when you cook during cocktail hour, the proper term for a prepared meal is now drooked!
Are you still able to work at all?
Yes, but clearly since the majority of the population has no reason to get dressed up beyond blue jeans and a t-shirt, my definition of work as a stylist has changed dramatically. Magazine photo shoots have moved from me styling to producing and coordinating stories that involve the subjects using their fancy new i-phones to supply their own photography! Unsurprisingly, I have managed to create plenty of projects for myself which makes me a little annoyed with myself but helps me feel productive!
What small, unexpected thing do you miss the most?
Gosh, I’m thinking, but I’m not sure. Honestly, I feel like I’ve gained so much.
Which three people, living or dead, would you most like to be quarantined with?
This is not an easy answer. In no particular order God, Jesus, My Grandmother who was/is my style icon and greatest influence for my work. My two boys, Hank and Worth, boyfriend, Jay. My friends. My family. Can we have like a revolving door cocktail party situation so there are only 3 people at a time and 6 feet apart for safety purposes? Oh, and you take pictures of all the fun.
Have you had any ‘light bulb’ moments since this all started?
Yes! I have SO much for which I am grateful! This has been the most ever-present feeling from the beginning.
Have you taken up a new hobby?
Well, I did purchase PhotoShop; something I’ve always wanted to learn, but then I started creating all these projects for myself, so I haven’t gotten there yet. My patio garden is ready for cocktails with guests!
What projects have you got coming up?
We’ll see. The big one I’ve been working on for the last week is Fashion Forward, which is a coalition to support and preserve the retail fashion industry in Charlotte, NC. The group is comprised of local stores, designers, and stylists uniting “together for the greater good” supporting one another and giving back to those with an even greater need.
What are the biggest positives we can take from all this?
Too many to list.
How will you celebrate once this is all over?
I feel like I’ve been celebrating family and loved ones this entire time. I mean, I have a Zoom gathering with my childhood best friends since elementary school every other week! We only see each other as a group once a summer at the beach. Now we see each other twice a month! But seriously, health aside, I think there will be lots of us wishing we could go back to the slower-paced, closer-knit days of quarantine.
Thanks so much for having me, and let’s celebrate with some photo shooting fun! :) You’re the best.