This interview confirms the overall awesomeness of Summer Bellessa — the red-headed half of The Girls With Glasses. Instead of being intimidated by this model/actress/fashion blogger, I’d really like to take a road trip with her and her boys, Rockwell (age 4) and Phoenix (age 2). She’s incredibly down-to-earth and refreshingly funny. Summer, thank you! You’re the real deal and an inspiration.
Did you travel much with your family before your modeling career took you to cities all over the world?
I would say we were average, middle-class travelers growing up. My most memorable trips were to Disneyland, Disney World, and to my grandpa’s lakeside Minnesota cabin.
What was one of your favorite memories from an early trip you took with your family?
I remember my grandpa teaching me how to fish, hanging with my cousins, getting lice, shooting cans, driving fast over hills, and generally just running wild.
As you began to travel the world, what city made the biggest impression and why?
Either Paris or Tokyo or New York or LA. I was 17 when I took my first trip to Japan, and it felt like another planet. I loved seeing all the fractions of street style, and picking pieces from each one to take with me. New York was the first place I felt an energy rising from the sidewalks. The history and future seemed to crash together and electrify the air. Paris was exactly how I thought it would be — a deep love affair with the people, the chić and simple non-fashion, the art, every corner, every building, every piece of food — I just couldn’t get enough. And lastly, Los Angeles is the place that I felt the most at home. Driving through the palm trees, feeling the sun, swimming in the ocean, singing along to the radio while sitting in traffic, I couldn’t find anything wrong with it.
How do you think travel shaped your creative future?
Seeing so many different people and how they live their lives, helped me realize how many different choices we have when we decide what kind of life we want.
How did you think your travel experiences would change when you became a mom?
I entered motherhood with caution. I was prepared to never have fun again, and have to do dumb/boring things for the rest of my life. Luckily, that wasn’t the case.
Tell us a little bit about the personalities of your filmmaker husband and sons.
My husband is a creative himself and huge supporter of my crazy, random, unorthodox ideas. Kerry and the boys, are easy going and enjoy the ride of life. Together we think of creating a life that is interesting to us, and we don’t put any stock in what other people are doing or think is normal.
You make traveling with kids look fun and effortless. Tell us about a time when it pretty much sucked.
Behind each day of picturesque Instagrams, is a moment or two where my patience didn’t quite hold up to the pressure of the day. It usually manifests itself by me being short on the five hundredth time my two year old asks “what does that say?” Or when I grab my four year old and have to drag him to the car for a time out after some typical toddler shenanigans. The trick is to remember that a perfect trip doesn’t mean everything went perfectly. To me, it means we did something, we saw something, we made memories, and we’re trying our best to be nice to each other.
You travel a lot for The Girls With Glasses and other creative endeavors. Sometimes your kids get to come and sometimes not. Which do you prefer?
Because my hubby works freelance, and my schedule is fairly flexible, we travel as a family unit 95% of the time. I love having them close, and experiencing things together. That being said, when Brooke and I travel every once in awhile solo, it’s nice too. I sleep way more, even when I have a 5 am call time. And it’s good to recharge and build friendships.
Finish the sentence. I would travel more if only…
I had more money. We stretch a dollar, like nobodies business, and we squeeze travel in wherever possible, but if we had more money, we would definitely use it to travel more.
Be honest, because fashion is kind of a big thing in your world, how much stuff do you pack when you’re traveling?
I’m a very practical and efficient packer. I only bring what I need, and use accessories, and classic pieces to stretch my looks over a few days.
Specifically, how many pairs of glasses will you bring on a typical vacation?
My last trip I brought 2, and 4 sunglasses. Accessories are where I load up, but to my defense, they don’t take up as much space!
By comparison, how much do you pack for your kids?
WAY too much. I bring double what they need, but to my defense, their clothes are small! And they spill a lot… I like to be prepared in case of emergencies.
And how much do you tip per bag?
If I’m solo, I usually carry my own bags, but if I’m traveling with the whole crew o try to be generous, because they have to put up with a lot, like the boys turning the cart into a pirate ship.
Tell us about your dream vacation.
I would love to go to Hong Kong, or Cuba, or India. My dream vacation is trying somewhere new.
What advice would you give to moms of young children who want to travel, but don’t?
The more you do it, the more they can roll with it. Just hold tight and get over that initial bump.
What do you hope your kids will remember from the trips you take?
I hope they will remember to try new things, not to be scared of cultural differences, and to embrace life.
Thanks again, Summer. Click here to view the full photo gallery of their most recent travels.