Tama Leia politely suppresses a yawn while nibbling on her blueberry pancakes. We are sitting at one of the tables by the pool at The Château Mormont in Los Angeles. She graciously apologizes and tells me she was up almost all night studying.
During our two hour discussion she tells me how she decided to take on another project – classes at Harvard Business School.
She hadn’t thought that she would ever wind up going to classes at an Ivy League school, but she came across an article with an interview about professor William Sahlman she quickly became intrigued by the topics in his classes, for they were exactly what she had been looking for in the process of building her company. She liked the fact that Professor Sahlman had students of all ages attending and that the classes and that the program was especially designed for ambitious entrepreneurs.
Leia considers herself an eternal student and makes it a point to learn and improve herself every day, which has made quite a positive impact on her company.
As she chatters away I can’t help but to be captivated by her beauty. With her long glossy hair and penetrating blue eyes. It is easy to see why she is such an object of fascination with her beautiful fashion line and her upcoming novel.
She is very direct but also has a wide eyed innocence that sometimes reminds me of Marilyn Monroe. I can’t help but to be curious about her life and her upbringing. In talking to her I sometimes feel somehow as if I’ve been transported back into the glamorous1960’s. Her hair is in a 60’s updo, reminiscent of the French actress Bridget Bardot.
Funny enough, Leia tells me that she almost named her sweater collection after Bardot, but since they turned out to be unisex she settled naming them, “The Boyfriend Sweaters” or “Les Pulls de Petit Ami”.
“I was inspired by wearing one of my boyfriend’s favorite sweaters. It was so comfortable I never wanted to take it off. I like the feeling of warmth and closeness it creates.”
The more I talk to Leia and learn about what it took to build her brand the more I realize just how clever and business-savvy she is. She knows what she’s talking about. Going to Harvard Business school seems to have been the icing on the cake to help push her company to the next level.
She tells me about the things she is busily learning in her classes. They focus on strategies, markets, funding and her favorite thing to do which is to build things.
“It feels like I am building my own castle. With each brick I lay I become even more encouraged to continue my masterpiece.”
She has been learning and building piece by piece for years now. In mid 2019 when she was still in the formative stages of her company she attended A Brighter Future For Children Gala where she met a French Beauty editor who told her stories of how she created own brand from scratch. The business mogul inspired Leia to continue her journey and encouraged her to focus exclusively on what she loves and told her almost prophetically that by doing so she would create her own world and an empire so big that she would be able to help as many children as she wanted to.
The Brighter Future for Children Gala was a night that Leia would never forget, for something changed in her when she realized that it was her duty to be successful. She knew with her own success all the ways she could help others and a magical bond with her company was formed. She has been steadily building and growing her company ever since.
But not all was perfect along the way. Leia tells me about the challenges she ran into when Covid hit. She had to pause her company for a year.
In March 2020 she had been in the full swing creating her brand when the world came to a startling and astonishing halt. Leia completely stopped everything she was doing. At that point she had been creating jewelry with sculptors and designing sweaters with poetic French lettering, but it didn’t feel like enough. Even then she was yearning to expand and evolve.
So during the year the Earth stood still Leia took the time to re-evaluate her plans. She spent most of the year studying and researching. It dawned on her how easy it would be to create a brand that would focus mostly on giving back to others. It is important to her to give back (even in some small way,) every step of the way.
So, bundled up in a pink cashmere sweater on this rainy Los Angeles morning sitting by the Château Mormont’s pool she resumes to tell me how happy it makes her to finally be building something of her very own.
She shows me beautiful pictures of the shot lists she’s creating for her upcoming campaigns. The images are stunning. She’s drawn to oceans, skies and beaches, (having lived in Malibu for many years) she says she will always think of that beach town as one of her forever homes.
She also has an affinity for greek statues, floral elements, sophisticated architecture, beautiful swimming pools, lush greenery, …. She has amazing style and knows quite a lot about filming and editing and has been creating little films on her old 8mm since she was in her teens. She’s always been drawn to beautiful images and storytelling.
“I love to do all the editing myself as much as possible because that can be a big part of the storytelling.”
I can see by the clips that she has impeccable taste, with every shot, every piece of fabric, every scene she captivates and her voice as a narrater is classic. She has a familiarity of a very famous actress. The camera loves her face and voice.
She metaphorically likens creating her brand to a love story.
“I think it’s similar to being in love.The more I create and build my company the more I fall in love with it.”
“I go over every detail in my mind. I have long lists and I rely heavily on my Org Board which keeps everything very orderly. Without it I wouldn’t be where I am today. It’s truly a godsend.”
She tells me how grateful she is that a such tool exists and that she learned how to use an Org Board (Organizing Board) through The Hubbard College in Los Angeles.
“It’s a business school too and it’s absolutely wonderful. I highly recommend it.” She gushes.
It’s plain to see what a hard working and passionate person she is and her love for learning is endearing and inspiring. Her optimism is refreshing.
After a few more bites of pancakes Leia seems satisfied and the pushes the plate away. And now for the moment I have been waiting for. She reads me the first chapter from her novel:
Wow! From the very start I can tell La Femme de Troy is a tour de force. She has a lovely gift for writing intimate, intoxicating stories.
I’m drawn into her world. I want to know more but we are running out of time. Before we end our interview I see her jot some notes down. She smiles and shows me what she wrote: it’s all in French. She laughs and translates it to me:
“At the touch of love everyone becomes a poet.” —Plato
La Femme De Troy will be available in 2022
You can visit Tama Leia’s website to see keep an eye on new designs as the pop up:
Photo Credit: Tim Sabatino & Starlion
Wardrobe Credits: Tama Leia Luxe
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