Stage Name: Pandora
Real Name: Irene
Instagram: @ tandorene227
Tagline: "The greek goddess of burlesque"
Occupation: Actress and Burlesque Dancer
1.Bikini or One-Piece? Definitely I'm a bikini girl. I do like one piece, but if it’s a one piece, I have a lot of the vintage Jantzen swimwear. The 1950's ones or in the style of Rose Marie Reid. She was a famous swimsuit designer of one pieces from the 50's. I’ll wear those. Usually I'll go to a bikini because I want my stomach to tan. That's really a simple stupid reason. I'm drawn to the one peice, but if it is a one piece, it's definitely 1950's Jantzen or Rose Marie Reid style. I'm actually wearing them to walk through the small towns of Italy (with some pallazzo pants) probably not to swim in or to sunbathe because then I won't be evenly tan. So that’s my mindset between either a bikini or a one piece.
2. Mini or Maxi? I'm definitely a maxi dress kind of girl. Yeah definitely. I do like the mini, but I don't tend to wear those anymore. I like the maxi dress. I'm a taller person and I like the way they fit me. I'm a tall girl so I feel more comfortable in the maxi as opposed to a mini dress.
Do you think with your statuesque figure that you can pull them off?
Yeah pretty much. A lot of those maxi dresses are really long and require a taller person for the silhouette to look really nice. They can work for petite girls too, but I think a lot of petite girls think “No way that makes me look so much shorter.” So ya I love the silhouette definitely because I'm a taller person. I think it compliments my figure.
Solid or print?
I definitely like prints. I love leopard print or the one I took with me on my travels. You have a long beautiful maxi one that has a gorgeous print to it. Yes, the Stella. I love that kind of print. Those kinds of prints for me are really vibrant and I think they really represent me as a person because I totally have an eccentric personality. I'm not your run of the mill kind of girl. I don't really wanna pat myself of my back, but I'm an actress. I did this character named Edie from Grey Gardens and I did me as me and I definitely am drawn to a more vibrant type of print rather than a solid because it goes with my personality so to speak.
3.Beach or Poolside? Oh Beach 100%. I’m Greek. I'm a daughter of immigrant parents first generation. Oh god. The sea is in my blood. Bottom line. Yes beach all the way. Yes I’m very drawn to the beach probably because I am Mediterranean. I love it. I don't think I spent enough time at the beach this this summer. But yeah I’m 100% the beach. I'm a Pisces as well and the Pisces is the water sign.
4. Snail Mail or Text Message? Oh Snail mail!! Yes! Oh you’re asking the vintage queen here. Yes of course. My whole life is like I'm surrounded constantly by vintage fashion, vintage books, vintage everything! No doubt. Snail mail all the way. I think it's something discounted these days and it's not even used anymore. Like a postcard or letter saying thinking of you, remembering you, hoping you're well. Oh goodness yes. Even to send someone a birthday card. Those things are not done anymore and it really kind of sad and makes me nostalgic of the past.
Did you send any postcards from your trip? I did! When I was in New Orleans I bought these beautiful vintage postcards I sent to friends or beautiful vintage memorabilia that I could send to them.
5. Sunrise or Sunset? Sunset definitely. Possibly because I'm not usually awake at sunrise and if I am that’s because I’m running to go teach an early morning pilates class and I am not a happy camper so I would not say I’m a sunrise person. But sunset, oh yes absolutely. Especially if you’re at the beach it's such an amazing thing to see. Yeah, I think last week I was helping a friend because she was part of the fringe festival. I was helping her set up and we were on our way upstairs and they had this beautiful view. The sunset. It was pink and purple and sky was really vibrant and I was like “Stop Stop!” We just have to experience this for a moment because I feel like a lot of people don't. You get caught up in everything you do all day long. And you don't stop to enjoy the sunset really. I know that sounds corny, but it's true. People get so caught up that that dont stop to enjoy nature.
6. What do you live to do for fun? Well I definitely love going to the opera I definitely like going to the ballet, I’m a swing dancer so I love swing dancing, going out for jazz night were they play swing music so I can swing Lindy and Charleston. So that's exactly what I like to do. And take ballet classes. I love that.
7. I'll bet you love to travel. What destinations are lighting up your vision board this year?
Oh my god! What destinations I already did? Yes! I do love to travel. I’m actually a world traveler. So let me just tell you some destinations I went to this year because they were fascinating and amazing and it was a trip of a lifetime. I also lived in New Orleans for the earlier part of this year for five months which was a fantastic experience. There's nothing like New Orleans in the US and maybe not even in the world. The cuisine, the jazz music, and the culture. There's just nothing like it. That was an experience in of itself. Just living in another city besides NYC.. I was born and raised here. Also my friend helped along this trip. She has an apartment in Georgia. Georgia the country not the state. So I devised this whole tour around ending up in Georgia. So we started in Ischia which I went to last year and I went again and brought my beautiful Mersur Caftans to Ischia. We went on to stay in Naples. We stayed in this amazing castle that was actually on Air BnB believe it or not. Naples was very vibrant and kinda reminds me of New York City in the 80’s. It was a little more gritty which is great. Then we went to Istanbul, Turkey. We went to the grand bazaar. We did dinner out at night. Istanbul again is a fantastic city. I'm sad I didn't get to spend more time there. You need a lot of time in Istanbul. You can't just go for a couple days. You really need to stay a week or ten days because there's just so much to see and do, but either way that was a fantastic and a beautiful exotic destination. We went off to Felice, Georgia. We toured around the country of Georgia. We went to the vineyards in Kaheti. Then we also went to the Kazbegi Mountains and that's between Russia and Georgia so they speak both Russian and Georgian. These mountains were just insanely gorgeous. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. I was like “This is the most amazing destination I have ever seen. Probably the most amazing destination I've been to in my life so far because it was bordering Russia at this point. They had wild horses running around. You’re constantly around animals all the time. The sheep and the pigs were walking around just like everybody and the horses were running around. They did not keep them in stalls or anything they just had wild horses. Which is insane to think of. Can you imagine wild horses running around Manhattan? Probably not! But yeah! In these mountains the wild horses would just run right past you! I was like “What?!” And then a pig would walk down the mountain and then a sheep would come up right behind you and you’d be like “Huh?! Who do they belong to?” They're all just farmers’. It is a popular destination in Georgia. In Delibilician Capital we went to the Turkish bath houses. They're very famous in Georgia for the Turkish bath houses. We went to so many beautiful museums. We also did a kind of very renegade Soviet tour. So we went around to different parts were the Soviet Union had influenced parts of Georgia. That was pretty interesting as well. Yeah I love to travel. That's the extent of the destinations I've been to this past year alone.
Is there anywhere you desire to go in the near future? Yes! Mexico City. I think your caftans would go perfect in Mexico city. Those are so Frida Kahlo. She would have loved your Mersurs. That’d totally be here! Frida Kahlo is my idol. No I’m not her reincarnation, but I wish!
8. What is your favorite beach destination? Ischia, Italia. I do have one in the US oddly enough. In the US I’d have to go with Fort Tilden in Rockaways. It's very secluded and private. It's kind of off the beaten path. People know about it, but not really. Not too many people know about it. They skip it and go to Jacob Riis Park or go to the other side of Rockaways, but that little little section is so picturesque and so beautiful. So I love Fort Tilden in the Rockaways. I have many more beaches to see, but I’d definitely have to say Ischia and where my parents are from. Corfu Island, Greece has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world as well. It’s right by Italy. Corfu Island is insanely gorgeous and insanely beautiful. Their beaches are just very beautiful. So Corfu Island and Ischia I’d say.
9. Did you grow up in Astoria?
No. No my father would never do that. He was like “Why do I want to be around Greeks? I came to this country to escape them.” No he just wasn't into it. So I grew up in Gravesend, Brooklyn. bordering Bensonhurst. Nope my father was just not interested in Astoria, Queens.
10. What's a must have in your carry on bag? My beautiful bakelite bracelets. I feel very comfortable knowing they're there and I can slip them on with any outfit I wear. They (bakelite bracelets) top the outfit off perfectly. That's exactly what I do because yeah if Im not in the best of outfits but if I wear my bakelite bracelets it looks fine. It looks good. Like okay very nice. It’s ridiculous thing I do! Everyone is like “Oh moisturizer of course” and I'm like screw the moisturizer that's not going to help me. No, that doesn't help! What’s that going to do? That doesn't help me! Every time I do go I pack them (bakelite bracelets) and I wear them. I get off the plane and I put them back on and I'm like “I must be nuts!” Who thinks to do this? The last thing they want to do is put on bracelets!” I don't know…. It's a habit of mine. It's what I do all the time. I pack them because I’m like oh well you'll look polished even though you've been on a plane for ten hours. There you go. And everyone is like “No! You have to carry a spritzer to spritz your face to keep the dryness blah blah blah.” Whatever. I went to London as well. I was returning from London to New York I was wearing the bracelets I had bought at the Grand Bazaar in Turkey so that was really nice. So this time I switched it up and wore what I bought on my travels.
11. If you could take a course in something (without having to be good at it) what would you like to learn?
Oh of course yes. There's so many things I want to learn! I definitely want to do aerial hoop class. Like the aerial silks and the hoop. That's what I’m thinking to do.
12. What do you want to be said about you at your 75th birthday party?
Definitely “No apologies”. Never been apologetic for being me. For being eccentric and over the top, the loudest, they just appreciate me and enjoyed being around me and in whatever form that is because sometimes I can be a lot. It was okay to be unapologetic to be who I am. Also that I hope they enjoyed the ride. Not necessarily that life ends at 75, but you know. Probably wouldn't be the same at the age I am now.
OMGoddes thank you - More women need to hear that. Were always so apologetic about who we are. We’re always apologizing. I love that anwer.
It’s funny that you say that. I'm doing my own one woman show and the reason I chose to pick “The Ladies of Grey Gardens” is because she was so unapologetic and she was ridiculous! So over the top. She wore the craziest shit! And you know the Hamptons is very lacquered and polished and conservative. They looked at these two like a bunch of nut jobs, but they weren't apologetic. They did what they did best, and that's be themselves, not hinder anything or inhibit themselves from living their best life. So that's what I want people to say. Never swapping yourself for what others might think or how they’ll react. Or a lot of people fear that no one is going to talk to them and no one is going to want to be around them. I get that. It's a huge risk, but you stop yourself from being who you are naturally. And that would be sad.
13. What's your favorite guilty or not so guilty pleasure?I have a couple of those. I do love cookies. Do they have to be food? You're going to laugh at me! My guilty pleasure would have to be McDonalds Chicken nuggets. It's embarrassing even saying that, but it is! But you asked me so I’m going to tell you! The secret is out now! I do hide it, it’s embarrassing! It’s like a kid’s happy meal. Why would I be eating that? But yes I do love those things. I like the barbeque sauce. But you have control unlike me! I’m like “I’m going to go eat them and hopefully no one sees me!” So yeah I would say that and it pretty much sums it up.
14. If you received a gift from a secret admirer, what would you like to receive and from who? What I would love to receive is a beautiful 1930’s gown, because that’s what I’m in need of these days. They are rare to find and they usually go to shreds after the first time you've worn them or like usually you're not the first person that’s worn it, but they don't last that long and that would be a gift I would want.
15. What do you love about wearing your new Mersur? Oh I definitely love the one with the parrots is the one you have me. Oh it's so versatile. You can wear it at home, after you took a bath, just put it back on, put it on again and just lounge around in it. I love it. I mean I even went picking figs with it! So hey, you know me, I can do anything with it! I love that it’s versatile. You can go to the grocery story with it and still look really polished and go out with it and still look wonderful and make an evening look as well. Yeah you can do anything with it! Even pick figs with it! They should be my tagline! How would you turn that into a tagline? Oh! You could say “Mersur caftans are, so versatile, you can even pick figs in them!”
Yes! And you could even put my picture there.
Oh, I’ve got one “Have caftan, will travel!”
16. Do you have a question you want me to ask you? Yeah! “Would you wear your kaftan to one of your performances?” Because I am a performer.
And yes I would! Especially my one woman show has to do with little Edie. I could totally see her. Oh my god, yes! Frida and Grey Gardens! Little Edie would do your kaftan accurately.
Can you describe your custom made personal kaftan made especially for you?
Little Edie and I like to wear things over our heads like a little head scarf so oh my God I would love a beautiful long kaftan and it would have a hood, but beautiful long ties to it so you could wrap it around your head as well.
Would it be full length or a head scarf and neck scarf kind of thing?
It could be full length, but it would be attached to the top part of the kaftan. So like a cape almost? Like a cape! Yes! It would be all connected to one, but it would be the hood on top with your beautiful hair and like you could have longer ties around your neck so it could wrap around your head and the neck. Oh I would love that. I’d look so beautiful.
17.What makes you feel like a Mersur Muse?
You definitely appeal to my nostalgia for the past and so your brand and your designs are quite timeless and all the women that are my own muses I think would appreciate your kaftan and it goes with their personality as well. So it would be attractive to them. Like Frida Kahloor Little Edie those are all my muses. I could see all them in it as well so I think that's what is attractive to me as well.