Angeles Almuna Weil
Welcome to the new Joie Muse Series, a simple evolution of the feature which we previously called “Sunday Girl”. Each month, we will continue to profile women who inspire us with their stories, and encourage others to approach life’s opportunities and challenges with confidence, creativity, hope and positivity – any day of the week. For the month of October, we sat down with artist, fashion stylist, creator and breast cancer survivor, Angeles Almuna Weil. Read along to learn more about Angeles’ colorful life journey and how it has not only shaped her style, but motivated her to spread awareness and give back to her community.
On your career…
You have an artistic background and currently work at a museum – can you tell us a little about what it is you do, day-to-day?
I am working at the Lowe Art Museum, at the University of Miami - the oldest Museum in South Florida with more than 20 thousand pieces of Art. I work as a receptionist some days, helping the special events team and also the finance department. Every day is different and I really never know how busy each day is going to be.
Seems like you wear quite a few hats! What was the journey like getting to where you are now?
Well, it has been quite a life journey. I studied the Arts in Santiago, Chile - everything from dance to painting. My Mother was a Spanish pianist and my father is a Chilean doctor, aspiring to be an actor. I was raised in both countries and my education was not conventional at all. I had the opportunity to study abroad in Cambridge, England, Geneva, Switzerland and Seville, Spain; where I studied Flamenco Dance. During one of my moves back to Chile, I got married… and, at some point during this time I also realized I was bored and wanted to work on my career. At that same moment, my then-husband received an offer to work in Miami, and voila – an opportunity! I came to Miami in 2003 for a new adventure, to pursue dance and explore Magic City’s art environment. It wasn’t exactly magic the first year, but eventually became more interesting and I discovered the real charm of Miami. I worked in the dance industry for many years while also working on my fashion accessories line and promoting my blog.
Are your fashion choices ever inspired by art?
Oh yes definitely, from Degas to Toulouse - Lautrec to Klimt. Colors from Rothko and the beautiful chaos of Pollock. And I have to say Films and Films Noir too.
You have previously worked as a stylist, dancer, photographer, artist, and more – which one do you feel most closely connected to?
I think I consider myself as an all-around artist, looking to do creative things in fashion, photography or anything else I find passion in.
With so many talents, we don’t know how you focus on just one! How do they all coexist in your life?
That is a good question because I have no idea! I feel that I am a mess because if I focused on just one thing I would probably be more successful and making more money hahaha! But I am who I am – living in a closet, full of fabulous clothing from vintage to couture, along with shoes, art books, fashion books, magazines and more......I am grateful that I had the opportunity to study all arts and pursue them throughout my life, giving me the ingredients to become who I am now, me, Angeles.
On your experience with breast cancer…
Can you tell us a little about your fight with cancer?
I was diagnosed with breast cancer on Friday, June 26 2015, the day before my birthday. They called and said, “Maria (because my name is Maria de los Angeles), we are afraid it is cancer; the three biopsies came back positive and your life is going to change.” My life did change, and breast cancer sucks. F*** cancer! I have had three surgeries, 16 chemo-therapies, 36 radiations, and many, many complications. At times I felt that I was "nothing", like an Alien – so fragile, no taste in my month, wounds in my chest from the consequences of radiation. In total, I have eight wounds, more than one where I can see a black hole. I was depressed and tired. But I asked for help and I found a good group of friends and professionals that cared about me – even Uber drivers were praying with me when I would go to treatments. It was quite an experience that changed my life completely.
You have thankfully won your battle with breast cancer and have become a survivor. How did you cope with the initial diagnosis?
At first, very bad. I was so afraid and anxious because I didn’t know how my body would react to this poison called Chemotherapy. It took many days to find some peace and become balanced enough to battle the illness. I was terrified.
How did having a mastectomy influence your personal style, if at all?
When you have breast cancer you think about all the stereotypes about your body changing, from losing your hair, the pain in the bones and joints, and of course the mastectomy & scars. When I found myself in front of the mirror as a new person, I had to push myself to find happiness in the way that I looked in this difficult journey. I wanted my confidence back. My personal style changed by finding the right bra because I have my right breast and the left is completely flat. Also without hair, I found a long piece of fabric to create my own turban that I added pins and brooches to add that chic style back into my life, and I discovered the bigger the better, hahahaha! And still today, I embrace my style with confidence.
Through such a traumatic experience, you’ve managed to stay gracefully positive. What keeps you inspired?
“Passion” for life and love - my family, my friends, art and fashion, and of course the simplest things in life...good conversations, enjoying a glass of wine with people that I love, watching a good movie, feeling the air in my face, dancing, and even just the simple act of smiling to someone who needs that positive act. I am generous with my time and communicate my own experience.
What piece of advice would you give someone that is newly diagnosed?
You are not alone and if you need to scream, do it! If you need help, ask for it. Breast cancer is brutal for your body as well as your mind, so lean on your companions, and don't be ashamed to ask for professional help. Focus on what you love in life and what you’re passionate about - a hobby, your work, anything – don’t stop doing what you love because at the end of a day of treatment you have no energy. That thing you love is going to be your BEST MEDICINE. Be patient and respectful with the hospital's team and the other patients. Drink a lot of water to help push out the poison of "chemotherapy" from your body. Don't give up. I won this battle and you can too, because I am not better than you. I am a human being like you, I am not perfect but we are stronger than we think.
This month you’re hosting Miami Design Districts’s fourth annual Fashion Strikes Cancer benefit – an event that you founded! Can you tell our readers about the night and how it gives back to your community?
Well, Fashion Strikes Cancer is an event that benefits the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. It’s an event that I founded in 2016 to say thank you to my art and fashion community for all the support that I received in my worst days with breast cancer. It has been a great success and the Miami Design District now added the event to their annual calendar while this is our 4th year! I am so excited and also very nervous about the responsibility to offer knowledge and awareness around the illness. I made a mistake by not checking my breast for almost two years, so I want to make sure the community doesn’t make the same mistake.
Can you tell us a little about your affiliation with BCRF?
BCRF is a very serious organization that does direct research on how to end breast cancer. Many doctors are working with them, offering real information about new medicines and less aggressive treatments. Some of my good friends are part of this organization and we are "sisters from the same illness". We are survivors that are working in the fashion industry and we love to communicate the right research as much as we can to end the fight with breast cancer.
How would you describe your personal style?
It is my style hahah! Chic and sophisticated with a touch of creativity.
You do a beautiful job of mixing many colors and textures together that offer a style that is uniquely your own - where do you find fashion inspiration?
I find inspiration from films, art, books, people, fabrics, textures. I like to put together pieces that are don’t exactly match - I am always trying to mix one thing with something else, completely opposite.
You have a passion for vintage clothing – which piece is your most prized possession?
A big pink tulle dress with black polka dots. It is a fabulous, voluminous, Lanvin Dress from the 70's.
What is your favorite fashion moment, you’ve ever had?
Uffff… so many! But probably when I was working as an in-house Photographer for Zac Posen at New York Fashion Week SS14 and Whoopi Goldberg said to me,
"Who are you? You look like an angel!" and I responded with "Wow, you are talking to me?!” She asked my name and I said, "I am Angeles" and she said, “Wow!” and laughed.
What is your favorite accessory, to elevate an outfit?
Brooches and a fabulous pair of shoes
What do you love from Joie’s Fall Collection?
A fabulous black dress, an exquisite sequined skirt, leather trousers, and the feminine sweaters and blouses. And of course the shoes – the boot and high heels sandals that I can wear with socks, to play in a versatile way.
How would you describe the style scene in Miami?
It's getting better. In a way it is very colorful, tropical, shiny and sexy all at the same time.
On Miami and travel…
You’re originally from Chile, spending a lot of time between there and Spain throughout your life, and now residing in Miami. Which is your favorite and why?
I love all of the countries I’ve lived, a lot; all of the culture and mixes in flavors, colors, and weather. Something that I really love is the landscape of Chile - we have the driest desert in the world and the magnitude of the Los Andes Mountains; along with the cold weather in the south, with lakes, and the Pacific Ocean. In Spain, it’s definitely about the culture; the rich music from Andalucia to Galicia, along with all of the food and great architecture influenced by Morocco, Jewish heritage, gypsies, etc.
What’s your favorite characteristic of Miami?
The fabulous lights of the city and diversity of people. You can find all countries in one place living in one city.
What is Miami’s best-kept secret?
The local bars and underground music scene… here you can find so many talented people.
Best places to shop?
Upper Buena Vista, the House of Findings, Vibe Consignment, The Beach Boutique, Enavance, the Webster, the and Miami Design District for luxury.
Mandolin and Michael Genuine.
What is your favorite time of year in Miami?
From November to March is the best time for weather in Miami, and Art Basel!
Shop Her Picks
Aleck Turtleneck Sweater$328.00 $196.80
Trula Leather Pants$998.00
Alinie Suede Mule$298.00 $178.80
Alfrie Top$228.00 $136.80
Odeum Python Print Sandal$298.00 $178.80
Alby Suede Bootie$348.00 $208.80
Pealle Silk Skirt$298.00 $119.20
Founders of Modern Fertility
For this month’s Joie Muse Series, we met with Afton Vechery and Carly Leahy – entrepreneurs, modern-day feminists, and game-changers in women’s health (not to mention, members of Forbes and Inc’s “30 Under 30” list!). Founders of Modern Fertility, an at-home fertility test, Afton and Carly are helping to move the fertility conversation from infertility-resolution to fertility-proactivity to empower women about their bodies and their futures. Read along to learn about their ground-breaking work and shop their favorite #Joie picks.
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Journalist / Author
Egyptian born and London bred, Alya Mooro has earned her successes as a self-employed journalist, presenting unique approaches to social commentary, fashion and lifestyle. With her first book on the way to shelves, we met with Alya to learn more about the passion and voice she provides for multi-cultural women everywhere.
Co-Founder of Sophie James Winery
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Owners of destination floral design studio – Studio Mondine
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CEO of Erth Jewelry / Model
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Founder & Creative Director at Cander Paris
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Founder of Erin Off Duty
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Director of Brand Development at Stitch Fix
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Fashion & Lifestyle Blogger
Stephanie Liu Hjelemeseth started her creative digital journal, Honey & Silk, nearly eight years ago, which has naturally evolved to speak to fashion, travel, beauty, and the most rewarding addition yet: motherhood. We caught up with the new mama to talk all things career, style and how she plans to spend baby’s first holiday!
Small Space Lifestyle Blogger & Consultant
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DJ & Painter
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Lifestyle Blogger + Content Creator
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Street-style star and fashion tastemaker Monica Ainley de La Villardière juggles keeping traditional media alive while relishing in the new-found convenience of a digital age. We caught up with the Parisian-by-way-of-London Canadian and chatted all things career, style, Paris and podcast ‘Fashion: No Filter’.
Fashion Director, HarpersBAZAAR.com
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Actress & Lifestyle Blogger
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Co-Founder of Summer Fridays and Creator of You & Lu
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Fashion Bloggers & Photographers
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Founder, Ropes of Holland
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Fashion Blogger + Globe Trotter
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Founder of Chillhouse & Taste the Style
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Co-Founders of The Hive
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Owner/Designer of EF Collection
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BPCM PR Team
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Founder of Guest of a Guest & Lingua Franca
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Shop Owner of Milly & Grace Boutique
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Skai Jackson & Kiya Cole Mother-Daughter Goals
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Emma Henderson & Victoria Beattie: Founders of The Beach People
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Founder of CamilleStyles.com
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Social Editor at L’Officiel
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Creative Director & Owner of Blooms by Drea Floral and Event Design
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Fashion Director and Editor
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TV Host and Fashion Journalist
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Founder of Mara Carrizo Scalise Jewelry
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Founder and Partner of GOGOLUXE
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SVP, Fashion Director at Saks Fifth Avenue
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Founder & Creative Director of Simone LeBlanc
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Founder of Crowell Lane Creative
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Co-founder of Vainité
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Founder of Max-Bone Boutique
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Inspired, passionate, and accomplished are all attributes that can be used to describe our May Sunday Girls. We've tapped ten stunning women who are breaking barriers in their respective industries while doing an incredible job as parents. With today's working mothers prioritizing their careers and simultaneously dedicating time to raising their children, work-life balance has become an integral part of the everyday routine and each of our Sunday Girls go above and beyond just that. Even though Mother's Day only comes once a year, we believe that honoring great moms should happen year-round. Happy Mother’s Day to our Sunday Girls around the world.
Owner of Camelback Flower Shop
Now that spring has officially arrived and flowers are on all of our minds, we take a moment to chat with Scottsdale’s Camelback Flowershop owner Teresa Wilson about her Sunday routine, florals vs. fronds, and the inspiration behind her recently launched candle collection.
Founder of Jennifer Zeuner Jewelry
In celebration of the launch of Jennifer Zeuner's delicate jewelry line in Joie stores, we've tapped the Southern-based designer to talk all things Sunday, her secret formula for layering necklaces, and the unexpected muse that inspired her line.
With Valentine’s Day upon us, it would seem only natural to catch up with Rosie O’Neill, the sugar-loving co-founder of luxury candy boutique, Sugarfina—and chat Sundays, champagne gummies, and the love story that started it all…
This month, we sit down with Kassia Meador—the free-spirited pro-surfer, wetsuit designer, and photographer from Los Angeles—and talk life growing up in Southern California, inspiration and what’s in store for 2016…
The Trio Behind STRIIIKE
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PARTNERS AT SWEET LAUREL BAKERY
Friends-turned-business partners Claire Thomas and Laurel Gallucci are the duo behind whole foods focused baking company, Sweet Laurel Bakery.