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San Juan with Andrea Devoto

STORY BY RACHEL SCHWARTZMANN –FOLLOW Andrea– PHOTOS BY Eimy Figueroa FOR THE STYLE LINE

“People in Puerto Rico are never simple when it comes

to style, and they actually get all dressed up even if they are just going to the supermarket,” Andrea Devoto explained in our interview below. “Like some of us say ‘antes muerta que sencilla’, which means that we’d rather be dead than simple-looking.” To Andrea’s point, there is truly no better way to live (or dress!) than to do so boldly and unapologetically. Coupling these sentiments with Andrea’s eclectic personal style, creative acumen, and inspiring story, we’re excited to share more from our morning with the budding style maven who kindly took us to a few of her favorite local spots within the vibrant city of San Juan.

During our time together we chatted with Andrea about harnessing one’s personal style, Puerto Rico’s emerging creative community and the importance of travel – especially as it relates to the current political climate. As you’ll discover more of in our interview below, Andrea originally hails from Lima, Peru and moved to Puerto Rico with her family as a child. Her experiences thus far have helped shape her wise outlook on travel, and as she mentioned in our interview below, “Life taught us to start again whenever we failed at something and to never give up on what we really want. When you travel, you see things in the perspective of an outsider which allows you to be more open to discovering or absorbing something new every day.”

From cultivating opportunity to her advice for the next generation of creatives, discover our full story with Andrea below featuring exclusive and beautifully captured moments from our day by Eimy Figueroa for The Style Line.

“People don’t leave their country because they prefer another, but because they are looking for better opportunities.”

My name is Andrea Devoto.

I’m originally from Lima, Peru, but I’ve lived in Puerto Rico since I was 5 years old. I’m a full-time student and part-time Social Media Manager at Merodea, an online fashion and lifestyle community-based in Puerto Rico. I also create content for their website and do styling for their monthly fashion editorials. Outside of that, I live a very mundane life where my hobbies include scrolling through Instagram feeds, reading magazines –and sometimes books–, eating, and cuddling with my furry, four-legged friend. In between these activities, I like taking pictures with my phone or camera, edit them a little bit and post them on my Instagram account, where I document such hobbies. I don’t like to force things; I post what is really happening but from my perspective. I’m a very visual person, which is why I got interested in fashion and everything that influences style.

Talk to us about the role travel has played in your life. How did you end up in Puerto Rico and with the current political climate in mind why do you believe it’s important to travel and immerse yourself in new cultures?

Traveling definitely made me value the things that I already have but never being afraid of letting them go, always having in mind that the future is up to me and that I ultimately control how successful I can be at any given thing. I learned that from my parents, who decided to give me and my brother a better future by giving up their lives to move to Puerto Rico and work really hard to stay here. Life taught us to start again whenever we failed at something and to never give up on what we really want.

When you travel, you see things in the perspective of an outsider which allows you to be more open to discovering or absorbing something new every day. It also makes you value cultures in a more genuine way instead of being judgmental, because you connect with them through their history and that makes you understand things from their own point of view. With our current political climate that is the most important thing to do: connecting with each other and being understanding. People don’t leave their country because they prefer another, but because they are looking for better opportunities.

What is one question you wish people asked you more often?

“How did you end up where you are now?” I really like to know about people’s trajectories and how they ended up doing what they love. We sometimes think that success is a straight line that we have to follow, but in reality –and especially in this day and age– there isn’t necessarily a step by step guide to get where you want to be. So when I feel like everyone is succeeding and I’m still stuck in the same place, I like to read about other people’s stories on how they started their own business or how they found their dream job.

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Lote 23

Address: 1552-1558 Avenida Juan Ponce de León, San Juan, 00923, Puerto Rico

“Lote 23 is a new gastronomic project created and organized by a young entrepreneur who gathered some of the best chefs in Puerto Rico to create their own interpretation of elevated street food. As a foodie, this place is like heaven for me. One of my favorite kiosks there is Café Regina & Dó which is a collaboration between two gals who serve some delicious local coffee and homemade donuts.”

Shop Andrea’s Look: H&M denim shirt $24.99, Urban Outfitters jeans (Similar, $79) Adidas shoes $80, Moni & Coli earrings and sunglasses

“Traveling definitely made me value the things that I already have but never being afraid of letting them go…”

Would you say the community has a position on sustainability and ethics? What are a few creative resources that are unique to Puerto Rico and wouldn’t be found elsewhere?

Sustainability and ethics are not something Puerto Ricans are very familiar with. People are not educated in that aspect, that is why consumerism –unfortunately– is still a big problem here. However, the community in Santurce, which is where I live right now, are changing the way people think about what it is to shop local in a more modern approach. They are bringing business concepts from outside of the Island and molding them to fit in our culture by supporting the local creatives. These types of initiatives are educating the consumer in the importance of knowing where the products that they are buying come from. But we’re not quite there yet, there’s still a long way to go.

I think what is particular about Puerto Rico is that it’s a Latin country but it also has a strong influence that comes from the United States, which inserts some type of uniqueness when it comes to their contemporary culture. That serves as a resource for local artists to explore their identity through art.

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Love Is You and Me

Address: Calle Del Parque 110 Suite GB Santurce 00911, San Juan, Puerto Rico

“This store is like scrolling through my Instagram feed but in real life. Carolina Leonidas, the owner, curates the store with the coolest brands by local and international up and coming designers. All of the pieces she sells have a minimalistic design, which differences it from the others.”

Shop Andrea’s Look: Zara shirt (Similar, $35.90) and pants (Similar, $39.99) and Mango shoes (Similar, $99)

“People in Puerto Rico are never simple when it comes to style and they actually get all dressed up even if they are just going to the supermarket.”

How would you describe the collective personal style of fellow city dwellers and how has being here inspired your approach to personal style?

People in Puerto Rico are never simple when it comes to style and they actually get all dressed up even if they are just going to the supermarket. Like some of us say “antes muerta que sencilla”, which means that we’d rather be dead than simple-looking. Right now, the blogging scene and the arrival of stores like H&M and Urban Outfitters have had a tremendous influence on people’s approach to trends. But my personal style is mostly inspired by what I see on Tumblr and Instagram and my own lifestyle –which is always running from college to work and vice versa.

Who are a few local style mavens or small businesses that we should have our eye on?

Just to mention a few… stylish people: Carla Fernandez (@odaalamoda), Daniela Paola Nutz (@supakid), Stephanie Segarra (@stephisadork), Kathia Lynne (@kathialynne). For food follow CocobanaBerlingeri Cocina Artesanal, Acapulco Taquería, Punto Medio, Café con Cé, and Lote 23. For shopping I like Moni & Coli, Love Is You & Me, Len.T.Juela, and Santurce Pop.

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Botanical Garden, Museum of Art of Puerto Rico

Address: 299 Av. José de Diego, San Juan, 00909, Puerto Rico

“This is –besides the beach– a place to go when you need to get out of the city madness. Even though the city is quite relaxed compared to New York, sometimes it is just necessary to surround yourself with nature and relax before going back to your day-to-day. It also has the perfect photogenic little corners to take your Instagram game to the next level.”

Shop Andrea’s Look: Zara top 15.90, H&M earrings (Similar, $4.99) ASOS pants $46 and Mango shoes (Similar, $69.99)

“Life taught us to start again whenever we failed at something, and to never give up on what we really want.”

How would you advise the next generation of writers, style mavens, and creatives to leave an imprint in the world simply by doing what they love?

I always tell my friends to be consistent on what they do best, never doubt their ability to succeed and be true to themselves, because that is going to make their work unique.

Also, collaborating is crucial to growing in your respective field. When you work with people, you not only get inspired but you learn from each other and make connections – you also build a community that supports one another.