Beth: I spoke to your husband Geoffrey (also known as Mo Stark) already and I mentioned to him that one of the things that was so inspiring to me and the whole team is how free you are. Particularly when you perform, you are so free. Have you always been that way or is it something you had to cultivate?
Liza: First, thank you what a huge compliment! I try to honor the privilege of performing by being as raw, transparent and selfless on stage as possible. The stage is my place to let go. I love exploring every corner of that feeling. Have I always been this way?? I suppose so, I am not easily wrangled, which is a blessing and a curse. And I'll gladly wear the title of being a free and wild woman.
Beth: When did you start singing? How did you recognize that you had a gift ?
Liza: I can't remember a time where I wasn't singing. I learned to talk and sing around the same time. My parents are musicians. Music was all around, all the time. It wasn't until I was older that I realized how special it was. Singing came naturally but it took time to develop my instrument and the relationship that I have with my voice. Honestly, it was crazy to become aware that I had the ability to hold a person or a room's attention with a song, and even more wild to have someone come up and thank me for it. That was the moment I recognized the gift.
Beth: I know recently your parents sold your childhood home and that was really emotional for you. Did you take any objects or heirlooms from it that carry the soul of your house or the memories of your childhood?
Liza: This was a big life event. Moving is heavy. My parents were there for 31 years. There are so many memories. So much life was lived there. A few weeks ago I went "home" to CT for the last time with Geoff.
Liza: It was surreal to walk into the house being packed, all the boxes, empty rooms, and things for sale. I did get two of my mom's jewelry boxes. One is a gorgeous cloisonné container that housed my grandmother’s bangles. The other is more of an abstract baby blue, milk glass, and silver rectangular box. Right before I went to bed I was walking around one last time alone and I saw the two jewelry boxes in the sun room amongst a bunch of other little things for sale. I loved seeing those two pieces on her dresser next to her glass bottle of Somali Rose perfume. It has always been something that I was drawn to in my parents’ bedroom. I didn’t know how meaningful they were to me until I saw them.
The other was my Father's couch in his recording studio. It's a beautiful piece, he built it, it's older than I am. I think that piece is a great example of something that carries the soul of that home. It is synonymous with music and the place in our home that was dedicated to that. Countless naps were taken on that couch. I can see my Dad sleeping on it with our pet cat Houdini on his chest. All the talks that were had between my father and the rest of the family together and alone…All the musicians that played on it, wrote songs on it, and slept there. The memories are endless. I loved it so much that I asked my father to make matching one as our engagement gift. Anyway, I didn't want to get crazy over material things but when I went down to pack up his record collection I noticed that his couch had a price tag on it. Selling that couch didn't feel right. Long story long we called my brother who now has it in his apartment and all is right in the world.
Beth: If you were going to describe your life as a book, how many chapters would it be?
Liza: Maybe fourteen, cause it's my lucky number. I have spent enough time here to have a good idea who I am but still have plenty to learn about myself and what this universe has to offer.
Beth: I often describe our tenets and symbols as a way to represent a deep value that you hold or to inspire the next chapter, which one resonates the most with you?
Liza: Dream. You have to dream. Dreaming is magic. Dreaming is psychedelic. You could almost say the order is dream it, set the goal, and make a plan to make your dream a reality. Some of my dreams are exactly what I wished for. Some experiences pale even my wildest dreams. And others are mixed and muddled up with things that aren't so pleasant. There certainly have been serious ups and downs. That is life. Here is where the gratitude part comes in and I am actively working on that everyday. Having the gratitude to be here now and experience it all.
Beth: Laura, I enjoyed our trip to Asheville and the Folk Art school so much; What made you decide to choose the blacksmith course?
Laura: It was such a special trip. I chose the blacksmith course because I like to work on large scale projects and then segway into the finer details. I knew I wanted to get my hands dirty and try something that was really outside of my comfort zone.
Beth: You also had a chance to dabble a bit with glass. Would you be interested in spending more time on glass?
Laura: Yes, definitely. It was intimidating working with fire at first but became meditative and empowering once I got comfortable with the heat and flames. The entire weekend taught me to try new things. Working with your hands is one of the best ways to get outside of your head and be present. I need to do more of that.
Beth: Since you are yourself creator, how you do you think that informs your assortment for Broken English?
Laura: I’m always impressed with people who throw caution to the wind and put their creativity out in the world; whether it is song, art, jewelry, furniture. I know how hard it is to tap into that source and be confident enough to take the risk.
There is a vulnerability in exposing your creativity. Over the years ive been blessed with working with so many designers. For me, it’s like being a kid in a candy shop. There is an endless amount of talent - It’s not easy to choose.
Beth: You are very familiar with our tenets. Which tenet resonates the most with you?
Laura: That is the beauty in Foundrae. All of the tenets resonate at one point or another. It’s the balance of all of them where you find true peace and happiness. I look at them all and it’s like my legacy. The moments and milestones I’ve experienced. It’s impossible to choose just one.
Beth: Do you know your elements? Do you relate to them?
Laura: Yes, my Chinese element is earth and my western astrology elements are all earth and water. It nice because they balance each other out. Both earth and water are ruled by the moon which is femine.
Laura: On one hand the earth in me is very practical, patient, stable, loyal and hard working. The water is intuitive, sensitive, deep, and artistic. I can relate to both.
Beth: If you were going to describe your entire life as a book, which chapter would you be on right now?
Laura: I think I’m at the halfway mark. Things are just starting to get interesting. The beauty in getting older is you start to grow into yourself. I’ve been through some peaks and valleys. It’s all about the journey. Once you know better you can do better.
Beth: One of the things that I immediately noticed about you and Liza is that you are both so free. It’s striking. Were you always like that or is it something you cultivated?
Mo: It happened later in life. I don’t worry about how I’m being seen. I’m sick of people in their 40’s trying to be “cool”. Sincerity is the last frontier of being punk. So when it comes to what I like, I’m sincere about it. Like, so I love my wife & I’m going to stand right up front when she performs, and I’m just going to dance. I don’t care what anyone else thinks.
I’m resigned to live the way I live. Since I walked away (from making decisions solely based on financial reasons) and went more towards my art, I feel much more relaxed & happy.
There was always this underlying thing. I grew up with fear. I knew what it was like not to have something. So then art felt like something that was reserved for children of the middle-upper class & upper class, but I’ve decided I’m just going to claim a spot. I’ve tripped uphill through life & I’m lucky despite myself.
Something in me likes the light & I go towards it.
Beth: Clearly, you’re in love. When we talk about True Love, we talk about the 7 types of love from classical philosophy. So I know you’ve got Eros, romantic love, wrapped up. What other types of love do you feed?
Mo: There is not a finite amount of love. Love begets love. It’s always letting go. When I have faith & trust in humanity, that’s love. That faith & trust will make me suffer. I know that. But the suffering I get from that will be less than what I would suffer if I didn’t have that.
I want to make Liza feel safe, but I don’t own her. That’s also love.
When I say I want Liza to feel safe it’s not just physically. I want her to feel safe emotionally, safe to choose her own path. And safe in regard to the choices I make for myself as well; (that I will choose paths that don’t disrespect her). I don’t want to disrespect myself by disrespecting her.
I used to have no boundaries. I grew up with no boundaries. Until I acquired boundaries I found life to be very painful. I have huge appetites.
Beth: If you were going to divide your life into a book, how many chapters would it be so far?
Mo: (softly counting to himself) Seven. I’m on the 7th which is amazing. B/c your entire body’s cells change every 7 years, you’re completely remade. A completely new you. So, yeah, wow. That’s where I’m at.
Beth: Do you know anything about your elements? Are you interested in that?
Mo: I know I’m a scorpio.
Beth: That’s a water element.
Mo: Young people can speak astrology. For me, when I was growing up, it was a subculture that I wasn’t part of.
Beth: Well, for example, if you have a lot of water element, you’re intuitive emotional, operate from your heart and feeling more from your head...
Mo: Yah. Definitely, . (emphatically)
I have something else to say. I want to say that it all starts with Gratitude. Find something in your life to be happy about now. You can’t think, “later, when I’ve got that” then I’ll have gratitude. It has to be now because you can’t move forward without gratitude. If you can’t find Gratitude now, then it will always be in front of you and out of reach.
CARTER & LILI BURCH
Beth: What brought you to New York?
Carter: We were raised in Philadelphia. After school I moved to LA, but it wasn’t the place for me, so then I packed up my car and drove back home. My older sister called me in route back home to say that she was getting a 3 bedroom in the East Village, so here I am. And I think it’s for good this time.
Lily: I’ve been in Philly and it was time for a change.
Beth: If you were going to describe your life as a book, how many chapters would it be so far?
Lily: Oh my God, 20. But that’s just my first book.
Beth: How did you know your last chapter was closed?
Lily: I think it closed pretty recently, and the ending wasn’t so defined. But at this point I feel things have wrapped up and new things have started.
Beth: Which tenets or symbols speak to you the most?
Carter: Wholeness. I love the imagery. My second favorites are Resilience, the thorn, and the flower. I like the metaphor. And I like both parts; the highs and the lows.
Beth: I agree. You learn from both.
Lily: And you can’t have one without the other.
Beth: What about your elements?
Beth: that’s so interesting. You’re both water signs. But Carter’s water is deep and can be dark, like an ocean’s depths. Where Lily is more like a warm bath. More nurturing.
Carter: That’s exactly Lily.
Beth: During our recent photo shoot, one of the things that was noteworthy for the whole team was how kind and grounded you are. Considering how you are very much a “legend’ of the male modeling world, what has kept you so real?
Alex: Thank you that’s a huge compliment. When I booked my first big campaign for Versace with Helena Christensen shot by Bruce Weber, my booker told me:
“Alex things will change after this, stay who you are” and it made me think of how people changing with fame is something that I did not want to experience and made me very aware of staying true to myself. And treat everyone how I’d like to get treated.
Beth: You mentioned to me that you could never leave New York. What is it about this city that attracts you so much? What do you love about it?
Alex: he mixture of people from all over the world, their energy and hunger to follow their dreams.
No matter where you are from, religion, culture, sexuality or ethnicity. Anyone can become a New Yorker. And the fact that people from the same countries that are bombing each other out in the world are living here in peace.
It’s a melting pot of the whole world, and I think it makes you grounded to walk on NYC streets in close proximity to all types of people.
Beth: We often describe the tenets and symbols of Foundrae as tools of self-discovery and self-expression. When choosing pieces, people often select a tenet that either reflects a deep value that they hold dear, kind of like commemorating it or proclaiming it, but other times people select something that feels more like a “work in progress” for them to help to inspire personal growth and moving forward. Which tenet resonates with you and why?
Alex: I like them all but if I have to pick would be True Love.
For me it’s the foundation to everything. And the feeling of love for my family and friends is what brings me happiness.
And on the flip side I believe that most evil in the world comes from the lack of love.
Beth: What do you love most about New York?
Leeora: There’s so much I love. Definitely the mix of all the natonalities. I love the energies. I feel like it’s the center of the world. So much starts from here. It’s such a fusion of creative souls from around the world. Everything is here.
I feel like New york is the place that attracts people who were maybe different where they grew up, then they come here and find kinship. They find themselves and feel free.
Beth: Do you feel free?
Leeora: Maybe not as much as I used to be. It’s different now, with kids, as a parent, but I’ve always seen myself as free, free minded.
Beth: oh I think you are free. In fact, you give other people permission to be free.
Leeora: Oh yeah, that’s important to me. I like to empower people. I like to help them find the strength to express themselves. I feel that. It’s legit.
I’m genuinely happy when other people do well. I’m not jealous or resentful. I really do get great joy from other people’s happiness and I think that’s what gives me freedom.
Beth: Leeora, You started Foundrae with me from the beginning. What has surprised you the most?
Leeora: Not much. You know honestly, I always knew. I saw this. I saw this & more. I totally had the vision of you and Foundrae and growing this with you.
I always knew you had pent up creative energy from the years that you weren’t using it but the intensity of the creative energy has gotten stronger.
Beth: If you were to describe your life as a book, then what chapter are you in now?
Leeora: Oh my. I would say 6 out of 10. I’m over mid-life, but then I still feel I have a lot to go. A lot in front of me.
Beth: You know your elements. How do you think they affect your interpersonal relationships?
Leeora: We are one. They all intertwine. I used to be more secluded and think, oh that person’s a _________, and form opinions but now, maybe I’m older, maybe it’s experience… We are all one.