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Friday, August 9th 2013

She’s the Bop: Laura Zapata

For me, multitasking is watching Pitch Perfect while trying to drink kale. For Laura Zapata, not so much. The Texas native (and former competitive cheerleader) is Cosmo Latina's new style editor, and the creator of The Future of Fashion, a monthly mega-event in downtown Manhattan that connects designers and stylists with technology companies and emerging digital platforms. She's done projects with Calvin Klein and Jill Stuart, and sometimes, she picks out clothes for celebs like Christina Milian and—shh!—a pop star who rhymes with Wiley.

After bribing Laura with the classic overachiever cocktail—a double iced espresso, no milk—I finally lured her into The Shopbop Inquisition. I think you'll agree, it was worth it...

FARAN KRENTCIL: We all have to start somewhere. What was your first official job in fashion?
LAURA ZAPATA: After college, I was working in the fashion closet of Latina magazine.

FK: For those who only have The Devil Wears Prada for reference, what do fashion assistants actually wear?
LZ: It was in the middle of an incredibly hot summer, so I opted for plaid shorts (not too short, of course), a striped collared shirt, and a mini cardigan to fight off the office's blasting AC. I finished my look with some suede booties, an updo, and cute jewelry.

FK: You're an Austin native. What's your favorite part of the city?
LZ: One thing that I miss the MOST is the live music scene. It's literally live music all day, every day. You could be having brunch with friends, shopping on South Congress, grabbing a low-key cocktail, and there will always be a live performance—and we're talking quality music, I might add! When I moved to New York, it was all about big shows and big venues. I really miss the intimacy and spontaneity of Austin.

FK: Humble brag: Once, you introduced me to Chace Crawford at a Calvin Klein party. After I ran away squealing, you told me he was a Texas native too, and that he had "a quarterback name."
LZ: He does!

FK: For those of us not raised in the Friday Night Lights region, what is "a quarterback name"? 
LZ: Football is LIFE in Texas. That said, many parents consciously name their children with these superheroic names, in hopes that they will one day be hugely successful football stars—or the ultimate goal—the star quarterback of their football team! I call it a nature AND nurture strategy. Here are some hints you have a quarterback name: Everyone refers to you by both your first and last name, no one else in the world has your name, either your first or last name is an adjective or a verb. To drive the point on home, here are some examples: Colt McCoy, Vince Young, Major Applewhite, Lance Harbor, Reggie Bush, Tim Riggins.

FK: Tim Riggins. Sigh. So, you were a competitive cheerleader, and now you're something of a workout connoisseur—with clothes to match.
LZ: True. I'm proud to say I've built an activewear wardrobe that's ready for any trendy fitness phenomenon that New York can throw at me. I wouldn't necessarily call my workout clothes cute, but it's definitely my platform for experimenting with neons.

FK: What if you're not going to Scuba Soul Cycle?
LZ: That's a thing?

FK: I don't think so. Maybe. Probably. Anyway. What if you're just going to the gym?  
LZ: The trick to dressing for the gym is balancing equal parts of fashion, function, and flash. The fashion could consist of the trendy fitness brand everyone's wearing or a bold color or print. For the function, it's important to wear clothing that follows the fitness dress code. And for the flash, give everyone a peek at that body part you're the most proud of—show it off!

FK: Cosmopolitan for Latinas just launched, but it's already getting a lot of buzz. What makes it different from the "regular" Cosmo?  
LZ: It follows the same fun and fearless attitude as Cosmo, although our content is geared toward a Latina reader, with a tailored focus on culture, beauty, and fashion. It's an English-language publication, but you'll catch the occasional "Spanglish" phrases. CFL also loves to feature emerging Latin designers, so I'm always on the hunt for promising new talent. And one of the best things about my job: styling fashion pages that embrace the sensuality and beauty of a woman—it's just so natural to Latinas.

FK: Please describe your personal style in one sentence. This sentence must include the word "sorbet."  
LZ: My personal style is colorful and sweet, just like raspberry sorbet!

FK: Now I'm hungry.
LZ: Me too...

--Faran

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