Samantha Angelo is one influencer to keep your eye on in 2017. The blogger behind The Eye Travels has been making waves in the blogosphere since launching her site almost three years ago, documenting her unique personal style and editorialist viewpoints on trends and beyond. We talked to Angelo to get her backstory, which makes her one of the most interesting fashion mavens we’ve encountered lately. Read on…it’s a goodie!
Samantha, what sparked the idea to create The Eye Travels?
It was a series of events in 2013 that inspired me to create The Eye Travels, beginning with planning and designing every detail of my wedding. I took a leap of faith and designed my own wedding gown, with no prior experience, and fell in love with the process of making my vision come to life. The year ended in the Serengeti with the safari of a lifetime. These events represented a microcosm of creativity, adventure and transforming fantasy to reality, which ignited my passion to continue this vision through the blog.
When did you start it?
I made the blog public the day I discharged from the Marine Corps, which was also the same day I moved to Manhattan in March 2014. After arriving in New York, I immediately started putting together my first fashion shoot, and have continued since then, with the shoots becoming more elaborate. I find it gratifying to bring these fashion meanderings of the mind into a visually tangible existence. Most recently I traveled to Iceland for a week of what I call “guerilla editorial”—having a defined plan with locations, creative direction, styling, hair/makeup by a small and agile crew of four, which encouraged improvisation, creativity, and adventure. I mean, we had drones and drove snowmobiles onto a glacier! It was epic.
Back to your time in the Marine Corps—tell us more!
Before I launched the blog I was a professional classical musician and staff sergeant in the President’s Own United States Marine Band for eight years. When I was 12 years old I was handed down my grandfather’s clarinet, and became infatuated to the point that I taught myself the basics of the instrument. From there it was 10 dedicated years of practice, lessons, music festivals (yes, band camp!) and a performance degree from The Eastman School of Music, which led me to fulfilling a dream when I won the position with The President’s Own in 2006.
What were some highlights of this experience?
Some memorable moments during my time with the President’s Own include traveling on five national concert tours, performing in two inaugurations, playing several solos with the band on the National Mall, escorting Nancy Pelosi’s husband to the First Ladies’ Luncheon and meeting Michelle and Barrack Obama during a White House holiday reception. One of my musical highlights was meeting and performing under legendary composer/conductor John Williams at The Kennedy Center. I also had the pleasure of playing with the Washington National Opera on a regular basis. This is my motivation every day, knowing that putting the work and effort in for a sustained period of time pays off with opportunities to show your passion to the world.
Has fashion always been an interest of yours?
Always. From before I could understand which limb goes through which hole I was dressing myself, as seen on my parents VHS home videos! I had a strong independent point of view from the start and a vivid imagination.
How do you describe your personal style?
Unpredictable. I love nothing more than the element of surprise.
What designers are you loving these days?
Joseph Font of Delpozo, Simon Jacquemus, and Jonathan Anderson of Loewe are standouts—these are designers that make me dream. When it comes to dressing the New York woman, Sally LaPointe slays with her luxuriously chic and fresh designs. I’m excited to follow her career.
Do you plan to pick up your instrument again?
I recently picked up my clarinet after a long break. At some point I want to get back to a professional level, and perform again on my own terms. With new life experiences to bring to my playing, I’m interested to see how that will influence my musical style.
What’s on your holiday wish list this year?
Turtle Dove Yeezys and peace on Earth.
Tip for holiday dressing?
Velvet, satin and sparkle. If you really want to stand out, try wearing winter florals! I see holiday dressing as a perfect opportunity to do something that you might not normally do with your style. Like changing up your makeup with a golden eye shadow or deep plum lipstick. Treat yourself to an accessory like a velvet pump, fur clutch or dramatic dangling earring. Wear a satin slip dress or sparkling pleated skirt! If that’s outside your comfort zone, at a minimum change up your fragrance for the season—never underestimate the power of scent.
Any trips that are on your bucket list?
Next week I’ll be checking a big one off the list: I’m heading to Cape Town for Christmas and the New Year. Aside from that I must get to Japan! Cuba and Easter Island made my list too.
Do you have a New Year’s resolution?
Like most New Yorkers, to be less stressed in 2017. Just 20 percent less would be great! I have a plan for how to accomplish this, which involves a home in Sag Harbor that we recently purchased at the end of August that we’re renovating to start use next year.
PLUS! Samantha’s 5 Tips for Aspiring Bloggers:
- Know Yourself, Be Yourself. Carve your own path and find your true talent. What are you the best at? With the industry so saturated it’s difficult to stand out from the crowd. Analyze your peers, know what is out there, and do something all your own.
- Do The Dirty Work. Someone’s got to do it You know what I’m talking about…the ground-level efforts that all people who work for themselves must have the discipline to do. I came to New York and didn’t know a single soul in the fashion industry. Reach out all day, every day if you have to. Be kind, appreciative, and persistent.
- Go to Fashion Week. You must be seen, photographed, and meet everyone on the street. Strive to get posted or re-posted on Instagram accounts with over a million followers—this will be helpful in growing your own following.
- Have a Sense of Urgency. “No” does not exist. Act accordingly. Seek genuine relationships and surround yourself with like-minded people
- Recite a Mantra. Repeat after me: It’s not what you wear, it’s how you wear it.