Meet Natalie Lim Suarez, KITRI girl, model, and founder of fashion and lifestyle blog Natalie Off Duty. Having modelled professionally since the age of 15, Natalie set up her blog in 2009 to create a platform that would give her a voice and allow her to express her style and creativity. A natural-born storyteller, Natalie has collaborated with some of the world’s biggest brands and is known for her eclectic ‘model-off-duty’ style.
To celebrate KITRI’s launch in the US, we asked Natalie - a long-time New Yorker - to recommend her favourite spots as well as our quick fire questions about her style and what inspires her.
Hi Natalie, what are you up to right now?
I just finished a week of campaign shooting. I feel like I've been on set every day this week, so I’m ready for a nap! I do have a weekend of some exciting events coming up. Summer in NYC is pretty magical, there is so much to do!
Where are you based?
New York City
Why did you start your blog Natalie Off Duty?
I have been modelling since I was 15, and with that, I have always been really involved with every photoshoot and every project I've been on. I learned so much "behind the scenes" that I really refined my own taste in style and my own vision. I began documenting my travels, my style, my work through my very own editorial lens.
My older sister Dylana began her blog in college (www.dylanasuarez.com). She would photograph me for her website, which was and still is her very own personal diary, and it really introduced me to the whole blogging community. I was so inspired that I started my own. As a model, I wanted to have a voice, that freedom of expression! I grew up in theatre, dance, and the performing arts and I always knew that somehow my work would involve story-telling.
Beginning my own website was the best thing I've ever done. It has helped me grow and perfect my craft in photography, writing, style, and creative direction. Having a platform where you can express your talents and passions all in one place is pretty incredible.
We have 24 hours in New York! Where should we go?
Breakfast at Vinegar Hill House in DUMBO, Brooklyn. The pancakes are incredible. Plus, you'll be in my neighbourhood! Dumbo was once only factories where artists lived, and has since become one of the most desired, sophisticated places in all of NYC. It has the most beautiful park and waterfront views of Manhattan. Although Dumbo is changing every single day, it still stays true to its quirky, artistic roots. Or you could grab a coffee at Banter in West Soho. This little Australian cafe sits on a quiet little street; it's my go-to spot to meet up with friends.
(Vinegar Hill House, Banter, West Soho)
Staying downtown? Take a walk through Nolita's adorable boutiques, and down to Chinatown. Be sure to stop by Canal Street Market for a bubble tea and shop the local vendors.
Staying in Brooklyn? Head to Williamsburg and go to my favourite vintage spot, Stella Dallas. It's a really fun place to dig! Plus, Williamsburg has a lot of delicious food. Go to Dokebi for Korean tacos.
Staying uptown? Go to the MET and take a walk through Central Park. There is nothing more classic than that. You will be amazed at the architecture on the Upper East Side, and swoon. Always end the night walking the city. I recommend taking that golden hour walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. Just soak in all of this city's energy.
Describe your style in three words…
Eclectic, daring, adventurous!
What’s your favourite item of clothing in your wardrobe?
A vintage Chanel backpack.
Who should we be following on Instagram?
@EvaChen212 from Instagram HQ, @annstreetstudio for unique travel and still-life photography and my sister @dylanasuarez for more #SUAREZSISTERS in-action!
I love women like Erin Wasson and The Olsen Twins. They do their own thing, they own what they wear, and they always surprise me!
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
My mother always encouraged me to be fearless in everything that I do. She always advised me to be strong, no matter what.
What’s your party trick?
Statement earrings. They always help me get in the party mood!
What are your four favourite KITRI pieces?
(From left) 1. Athena Smocked Dress: I absolutely love the shape of this dress. To me, it's the ideal silhouette: a cinched waist, a midi skirt, and puffed sleeve. I love wearing it on its own with a classic block heel, an oversized pair of sunglasses, and carpet tote bag.
2. Sarah Arm Sash Dress: This gorgeous dress can be worn day or night. Day with a cool sneaker, or night with a fantastic pointy toed block heel. It's so versatile and the perfect pop of pink! The arm sash makes it immediately feel elegant.
3. Dominique Linen Blazer and 4. Carlotta Linen Trousers: This is a classic spring pantsuit. The lavender shade makes this masculine set a lot more feminine. I would wear it with a mule stiletto heel, statement earring, and little clutch for a night out.