Interview with Creative and Designer of Prete, Jamie VeZolles

"There wasn’t a lot of emphasis on superficial beauty in my family. My parents are all about health and education, so I suppose that was 'beauty,' being healthy, learning, and exploring."

Photography by Benjamin Newman

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I love having roots in more than one culture. It makes me feel more human and has shown me that life doesn’t need to be all about race. I think race/culture should be celebrated of course, but I really dislike the us versus them narrative that is constantly harped upon. It should be "We!" We are all humans going through this weird thing that is life. To me, Beauty is more about love, kindness, creativity.

I grew up with 4 siblings, a family of 7, in North Carolina. We played outside a lot and weren’t really allowed to watch TV. The summer’s were sticky and humid. I played almost every sport; swimming, ballet, horseback riding, ice skating, running, basketball. I started learning French and piano when I was 4. Both became a big part of my childhood. I didn’t realize how valuable it would be until I got older.

My parents really let us be independent. As one of five, you’re not really under the microscope. There’s always a lot going on with also, a lot of personalities, ideas, criticisms. I think growing up in a large family gave me a pretty thick skin. I don’t get phased by a lot.

There wasn’t a lot of emphasis on superficial beauty in my family. My parents are all about health and education, so I suppose that was "beauty," being healthy, learning, and exploring. We traveled a lot and I fell in love with that, riding trains through the French countryside, biking to Chateaus, camping in the North. Once we even travelled down the Mississippi River on a houseboat. I appreciate those times so much.

I was very focused on experiencing and learning all I could. This gave me confidence in myself.
My view on beauty has always been pretty practical. I like things to be simple and not overly time consuming, but I’ve recently fallen in love with getting little pots and vials of beauty products (I probably don’t need). When it comes to self care I’ve found that the best thing I can do for myself is get away from the city every couple months even if it’s only for a few days.

When I first started working freelance, I would have a handful of days off sporadically throughout the months and would want to do something creative where I could build an aesthetic, take photos, videos, things like that. I was also really into using scarves as tops and I thought it would be a fun versatile item to create a brand around. Prête was very inspired by 50s/60s icons, Brigitte Bardot, Anna Karina, and Jane Birkin. The Prête woman is a woman who is independent, confident, an explorer.

I didn’t start wearing makeup frequently until college and it’s always been a bit foreign to me but I’ve been getting more into it. I keep it pretty simple and natural. I wear sunscreen everyday and a moisturizer by Ursa Major. I’ll use a brow pencil by Anastasia, a bit of Glossier cloud paint on my cheeks, a swipe of mascara, and a tinted lip balm. By the end of day it’s usually all worn off.

I don’t do much when it comes to my hair, I’ve found it’s so much easier to let it do it’s own thing than try to tame it. I’ll shampoo maybe once a week, usually something natural and mint scented. I use a hair mask called Shea Moisture Raw Shea Butter Deep Treatment Mask almost daily then let it air dry, tie it in a bun then, bam! done.

I love design with intention and detail. I have a lot of aesthetics that I love, but I’m really into the 60s, space age, modern. I love the stories and designs of A Clockwork Orange, Edward Scissorshands, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, The Lobster, Pierrot Le Fou. I also love a practical look for a set, not too fussy, a bit muted in look and color, but very real. I love the Eames architecture and design duo.

I’ve found a lot of commonalities among my favorite films, almost all are some kind of love story, not necessarily romantic though, many are future based or take place in altered worlds, but all of them have incredible visual styles. So I think I would make a film with those components

 - As told to TGH