Meet Rey Vakili, a Sydney born globe trotter, graduate of Yale with a Masters in Political Science along with an MBA from the Standford Business School.
Not one to do things by halves, Rey sits down with Belinda and shares her career stories with one infamous boss (ahem, Anna Wintour), going to Kanye West concerts with Kim Kardashian, meeting President Obama to Oscar de la Renta. Her life in New York to travels to St Moritz and her new found love of cooking, we go on an adventure with this impressive force.
How did you come to work at US Vogue?
I was in the right place at the right time as my role was not one that was advertised. I had just graduated from Yale and was about to move home to Sydney. A fellow alumni approached me and asked if I'd be interested in working at Vogue as the assistant to the Editor-in-Chief. How could I say no?!
What was your favourite moment working for Anna Wintour?
There are too many to count! Working for Anna gave unprecedented access the city had to offer, from concerts to broadway shows, art exhibitions to the ballet. I had been working with Kanye West's PR to organise Anna's tickets to his concert. As a thank you they extended some tickets to myself and my friends, I had assumed they would be just regular tickets and was so grateful to be going along. Little did I know it would be in a VIP section seated right next to the fabulous Kim Kardashian. It was a pinch me moment!
The Met Gala was another unforgettable experience. The evening itself was beyond glamorous, but some of my favourite memories were actually in the lead up. The early Monday morning meetings when the museum was completely empty, its such a magical place, especially when there's not a soul in sight.
What wisdom was imparted on you and what life lessons have you taken away from the experience?
My time at Vogue was remarkable, both for the lessons I learnt and the incredible people I met along the way (everyone from President Obama to Amal Clooney to Oscar de la Renta himself).
I got to shadow an industry leader day in, day out and take part in power politics of the highest form. I was taught that discipline is waking up at 5am every morning and starting the day with routine habits that grow the body and mind. Strong work ethic is everything. I learnt that the little things matter and regardless of who you are or how important your job may be, thank you notes and birthdays count! Anna really is an incredible force and I feel so honoured to have had the opportunity to work for her.
What are your go to travel destinations?
St Moritz in the winter and Taormina in the summer. Unfortunately those destinations may be off the cards for a while yet, but I am very excited to explore Queenstown this year.
We noticed you enjoy your time in the kitchen, where does your love of cooking stem from?
My mum! She is an AMAZING cook. Weekly family dinners have always been a sacred tradition in our household. I've been raised to believe that good food has the power to bring people together. It creates love, warmth, memories and definitely good times!
Who are your style icons and favourite designers?
My ultimate style icon is Audrey Hepburn. Princess Diana was flawless. As for modern day muses I admire different figures for different reasons...the Duchess of Cambridge is always impeccably dressed and so elegant. I love Zendaya as she is edgy and cool. Giovanna Engelbert is at the forefront of fashion yet has a classically chic approach.
My favourite designers are Brock Collection, Alessandra Rich, Emilia Wickstead, Johanna Ortiz and Carolina Herrera.
What do you love about Belinda?
I love that Belinda sources designers with a point of difference. The curation is impeccable and there is something for all ages and tastes. If you buy something from Belinda you can take solace in knowing that no one else will be wearing your outfit on a night out and you'll probably be the best dressed person there! It's a slice of overseas heaven right here in Sydney.