All photography by Eden Weinberg.
If you have met Boston University sophomore Helen Daniela Pena, it should come as no surprise her awe inspiring fashion blog is entitled “Creative Thirst.” The spirited Miami-based advertising major is arguably the epitome of a creative person, between her love not only for fashion blogging but also for the artistic outlets of things like paining, drawing and graphic design. Pena has been recognized in The Boston Globe, CollegeFashionista (twice) and ASOS, the global online fashion retailer, which she serves as a BU campus representative for. Pena brings her creative talents to life not only through her blog, but also through Off the Cuff, BU’s avant-garde fashion, culture and art magazine, as Creative Director. I had a chance to sit down with the “student, blogger and starry eyed dreamer,” as she describes herself in her Instagram bio, this week:
When and why did you start blogging?
I actually started a blog in eighth grade. That was around the time when blogging first became popular—I read about it in Teen Vogue and was inspired by Sea of Shoes and other famous bloggers. So I started one, but I was young and didn’t have anyone to take pictures of me, so I stopped. I knew I could put together cool outfits, but I would always second guess myself, thinking, “How can I keep this consistent?” and “I don’t have enough money to be spending on clothes all the time–I don’t have an endless bank account.” But last summer, I thought, “I can do this.” I met a few of the semi-famous Miami bloggers and I thought, “Yeah, their outfits are really cool, but I can totally do that, and maybe even better,” so I decided I was going to try. I started it as a summer project to see if I could keep it up, and I have. I love it–it’s the best decision I’ve made. I’m really happy.
You mentioned you met some well-known bloggers in Miami-that’s so cool! Who did you meet?
I met Daniela Ramirez from Nany’s Klozet last summer [and others] at Miami Mercedes Benz-Swim Week. I didn’t get into the actual Mercedes Benz swim week, but I did go to some of the events. They had a bloggers event in the meantime for people to hang out, cool off, mingle and have informal fashion shows in between the larger shows […] Daniela was really tiny and cute, and actually really nice.
“Creative Thirst”: seems fitting. What inspired the name?
Originally, my idea for the blog was for it not to be just style posts, for me to showcase anything I do creatively—so any graphic design work, painting, things like that. I had a tab for my artwork on my blog but then I didn’t like the way it flowed. […] So I changed it and made it strictly style diaries. The name still applies because, I think, especially on a college budget, all you really need is creativity to have a good sense of style and to keep things fresh. Even with the same pieces that you have, if you can’t afford to buy new things, you just have to push yourself more and get those creative juices flowing to be brave enough to mix certain things together and try new things. You just have to have an eye and a vision for it.
How would you describe your personal style?
This is always such a hard question. It’s obviously still evolving and changing and I take inspiration from so many different things, but I guess as far as other people have said, it is pretty polished but with an edgy twist. I really like to juxtapose women’s wear and men’s wear pieces. Right now I’m wearing men’s shoes—oxfords. I like to put a fresh spin on things so they’re not boring and expected.
You’ve said you really enjoy thrift store shopping and a lot of the pieces in your blog are thrifted, too. Can you speak that some?
Sure, every time I go home, I go thrifting. My uncle introduced it to me in sixth grade or so, and I’ve been going since then, so I’ve developed a skill for it. When I go home [to Miami], I go thrifting all over the place and I have a car so it’s easier. Here [in Boston], it’s a little bit more challenging but it’s still really fun. My favorite is a Goodwill off of one of the BU-Shuttle stops near the medical campus. Also, in Allston there’s Urban Renewals, which is really cool. My shoes are from the garment district which I recently discovered. What I really like about the garment district is that it’s organized really well. They have it separated into 70’s, 80’s, 90’s wear, pant suits. They have a vintage section that’s not too expensive–vintage is usually overpriced in my opinion. It’s a cool find.
How do Boston and the BU experience play into your love for fashion and fashion blogging?
In Miami—which is my home, it will always be my home—dressing is different, because there’s only so much you can do: it’s always 80 degrees or hotter outside. Coming here [to Boston] opened up so many new possibilities. Coming here, people don’t know you and you have the ability to be free from that–you can develop your own aesthetic and you’re not bound by expectations anymore. […] Also, being involved with Off the Cuff has been a really great way personally and see another side of fashion aside from just dressing. I get to put photo shoots and other elements together, which I’ve really never had the chance to do before.
What has been the highlight of your blogging career thus far?
Being featured in The Boston Globe was probably the highlight—probably the biggest thing that’s happened so far. It was actually through Instagram which I am forever grateful for. I posted a blog-post preview on Instagram and [style] writer [Christopher Muther] from the Globe commented on it, and asked to feature me. […] Also, that same blog post was on the ASOS Facebook page and Pinterest, so that was really exciting. […] It’s hard to pick one highlight because the whole process has been amazing—just being able to see how much my style has grown and changed. I keep surprising myself. […] So on a personal level, it means a lot to me.
What’s next for you—short term goals and long term aspirations?
I want to make the most of summer. I’m going back to Miami and interning for a fashion related company. And long term, if I could choose, I would be in a fashion brand, but in their marketing department, so in-house advertising. […] As long as I’m in the fashion industry and doing something creative, something visual, then I will be satisfied. I don’t have specific goals—I like to keep my options open. […] Long term objectives are really just always creating and growing creatively, taking on new projects and never ceasing to satisfy that area of my life.
Thank you, Helen!
Be sure to follow Helen’s blog “Creative Thirst,” here.