I’m a secret admirer of the classics, and wish I could look as striking as Wandie does in Marc Jacobs’s understated take on a sweatshirt-as-sweater, vintage Sonia Rykiel trousers and Bally loafers. It would take her extraordinary and exotic good looks to make “clean” so memorable– but how Wandie embodies her frocks and her life has as much to do with being an outsider early on (and learning, quickly, how to be her own person) as it does her bone structure. Born in Zambia only to find herself in Orange County at six years old was a huge culture shock, starting with packaged Lunchables and leading up to finding herself two years ahead of her peers in education – and, thus, two years behind the rest of the kids in her class in age. “Elementary school taught me how to deal with people and how to be my own person. It was hard being teased for being who you are, and for where you are from.”
Comfortable in herself — tailored but not uptight — in an American Apparel tanktop and Opening Ceremony trousers, Wandie finds being alone, even while traveling, a luxury. Autonomy is a constant theme in her life. She produced an independent feature film in the past year that was inspired by the work of British director Mike Leigh and his method of creating characters and a story from the ground up. Wandie’s mom, a great source of strength for her, brought individual fruit cups made up of watermelon, kiwi, and pomegranate to everyone on the set on the first day of filming. Behind her oversized Karen Walker sunglasses and glamorous, very “LA” vintage sundress, Wandie feels that breaking down every day helps her when she’s under extreme stress. Either that, or a trip to Laguna Beach and one of her favorite shops– The African Hut.