Leila: I was born in Tehran, Iran, am part Danish/part Iranian, was raised between Spain and the US and live in San Francisco, the only place I’ve ever felt I truly belong.
Leila: Oh my goodness! First and foremost, you are too, too sweet with the love and the compliments. Thank you! But if Chris is lucky to have me then I am even luckier to have her! In my view, Chris is the heart and soul of ABOW and loving her is so easy that being a sincere cheerleader for ABOW just follows organically, you know?
As for how we met, well, I used to be an avid reader of her husband, Phil Bronstein’s, column. I admired his ROAR and was especially taken by a series of scathing, brilliantly written pieces that spoke to me and, well, good writing with an edge is a high for me so, of course, I just HAD to friend Phil on Facebook. He accepted my friend request and within a week of becoming online friends he’d posted a link to ABOW, asking his FB friends to check out this site his wife had created.
I was intrigued, checked it out, joined, was invited by Chris to vend my jewelry at the very first ABOW event ever, met her, was struck by her warmth and amazing spirit and that was it, I was hooked!
As for being ABOW’s Chief Community Wife? What can I say? You KNOW you have a very unique thing going when business calls with your friend/wife/boss end with “I love you”! It’s a wild and beautiful job to have! I get to play online, plan fun events, meet amazing women from ALL walks of life, hang out with Chris (who is simply beyond a friend. She’s family to me), and this is work? NO complaints here.
I am truly blessed and grateful beyond words. I think I have a hard time with compliments as to my “work” for ABOW because it doesn’t feel like work. If there’s a certain energy I put out there that speaks to wives it’s based on a love for the very concept of ABOW, which Chris lives and breathes, and so it follows that it’s rooted in my love for Chris, for the amazing friend she’s been to me and founded on a belief in her and what she’s created. I see my involvement and my work as an act of gratitude for getting to be a part of the inner sanctum of what, to me, is now a movement where women seek more for each other. We’re not joking when we say we want a new kind of sisterhood!
becoming an actress and a model? And a jewelry designer?!
Leila: Hmm. I’m still working on taking myself seriously as any of those things. I tend to stumble on things in life. I’m not a model. I’m too short and old for that and I know that. But I sometimes play at being a model for talented designer friends and photographer friends. I have a passion for acting but it’s mostly been unfulfilled, which is why I play at being a model every once in a while. I started making jewelry when I had two children, instead of just one, to sit down and do homework with. I go stir crazy if I have to sit and have nothing to do. I feel restless. I needed to stay busy. My hands needed to do something. So I made jewelry.
Leila: With my secret weapon, my husband! From day one he’s been SO hands on with the kids and a true partner in raising them. I don’t even cook now. At all. Which is fine because he is an amazing chef and he’s fully taken over. He practices acupuncture here in SF and we work our schedules around each other to make it work. For the most part, he drops the kids off at school in the morning and I pick them up in the afternoons. If I have ABOW events to go to we plan ahead and make it work. I’m an emotional Pisces so it behooves him to keep his “quirky” (crazy might be more appropriate a term) wife happy lest the emotions spill over into full fledged Piscean drama which, more often than not, will end up being aimed at him! He’s a wise man!
We are also lucky that the children’s schools have extended care programs that allow them to stay on until 6pm. That gives me plenty of time to squeeze all my meetups, auditions, general play time and the like into my day and be able to be on homework and mom duty at night, when they’re home from school. We make it work.
Leila: I am an ashtanga yoga teacher and though I no longer teach, I practice daily. Ashtanga is my sanity. Even if I’m sick I need to make it onto my mat, if only for 5 or 10 minutes (though I practice, as a general rule, for an hour daily as my minimum). It is essential for me to connect to my breath and to ground myself via my practice. I also jog daily, at home, on an urban rebounder. I don’t like jogging on pavement and don’t always have the time to leave the house for exercise as it would be an extra element to factor into the day. So I jog for an hour, at home, whilst watching HGTV (I am HOOKED!) or Sex and the City and barking orders at the kids, should they be home and in need of bossing around. *wink, wink*
Leila: No, not at all but I do realize that it’s because I am SO very blessed to be sheltered in this utopia that is our Bay Area bubble. In my head I am just me… a nutty San Franciscan called Leila of Iranian-Danish-Icelandic blood but with an Iranian-Danish-Spanish-American base. I can’t pick any one part of me as being an overall representative of who or what I am and I fit in in San Francisco, a city I call a perfect home to “fuzzy people” because I am fuzzy. I don’t need a definition. I get to just be.
I’ve had moments where I was probably discriminated against but it didn’t really hit me that it might be because I was a woman of color. I’d chuck it up to whomever was being an ass to their simply being, well, an asshole! I am NOT the sit-there-and-take-it kinda chick so I’d dish it right back and then some. I think the day that it really hit me that I may be seen as “different” by others was when I had an audition down in LA for “Curb Your Enthusiasm”. Before I was told what the role I was auditioning for was, the sky was the limit. I wondered what kind of quirky woman I’d be auditioning for. And then my agent told me. An anti-semitic Palestinian. Huh. It added a bittersweet element to the whole experience. It was thrilling and yet, not.
Leila: I wrote this in 2006. I think it gives you an idea as to how I feel! No?
Leila: Free. The first hurdle was freeing myself from my mother and her influence on me. The next chapter lies in freeing myself from my hold on myself.
Leila: Hmmm… well, it definitely WILL be juicy and it’s a show that MUST be! One thing we CAN guarantee is that it’ll be full of wifey goodness… rawness… authenticity… and something you will not only want to tune in to but HAVE to tune in to! There! Made SO much sense, didn’t it? *wink, wink*
Leila: MILK!!!! I see SO many answer dark to this question. I tried, I really did, to like dark chocolate. I HATE it! I LOATHE dark chocolate! It has no soul, no sin! I want me some sin! I want my chocolate creamy, balanced just so, so that when I bite into it I surrender to it and KNOW that I can never quit it, like I vow I will. But I am picky. I don’t like the cheap crap. Don’t get me wrong though. I am NO connoisseur but I won’t do Milky Ways or Mars Bars or any such crap.
I’ve become addicted to See’s Candies. It started with needing to buy a box of chocolates to gift someone. I was given a chocolate sample when I first stepped foot into the local See’s Candies store. I thought it was a fluke. I went back one more time, testing the waters, and lo and behold, another sample came my way! Ooh! So like a good Pavlovian dog I now shirk giftig people wine and opt for See’s Candies instead because, ahem, they give me treats. Oy! And today I got myself another sinful indulgence I LOVE: Toffee & Almonds in Milk Chocolate by Chocolove. I only know the name because I have it here with me. Otherwise it’d be “the yummy chocolate with the crunchy goodies in the yellow packaging from Whole Foods”. I’m just a bitch to chocolate. My kids bemoan this fact. I tend to eat theirs too. If you run into us in the chocolate aisle you’ll hear them say, “If we buy this we HAVE to hide it from Mami or else she will eat it all!” I need help.
Leila: I’m a 20-year vegetarian offended by the fact that a cow once charged at me in Maui. Bastard cow! Also, I don’t like my eyebrows touched, want SO BADLY to smack people who don’t chew properly, feel naked if I don’t wear my ostentatious jewelry and have a slight addiction to Jeffrey Campbell shoes. Slight. *chokes on her words*