InterSTELLA Interview Dusk Devi, Photos Jordan Kwan
JULIET ENID WESTERLUND is a renaissance woman: a qualified pilot, a self-taught designer, a farmer, writer, poet and founder of The Samoa Sinnet Fashion Show (SSFS), Samoa’s first big fashion platform.
Samoan born and based, Enid is also a self-proclaimed “fruit salad” and “aerosexual” (lover of all things aviation especially planes). She has a Bachelor of Aviation Management (NZ), Grad Diploma in Aviation Management (Singapore) after which she received a scholarship to study a Masters of Science in Air Transport Planning and Management in the UK, being the first Pacific Islander to do so.
However, aviation wasn’t meant to be her calling. Fashion had planted a seed. ‘Enara’ (a combination of Enid and her niece’s name) was borne from a collaboration making lava lavas, a project Enid started back in 2012 with the youth from her church.
Back then was when SSFS’s roots were planted. The “sinnet” (cordage) was chosen as a symbol because of its interwoven strong bonds, symbolic because Enid is very much about the bonds that “hold the fabric of ‘We’ together”. Everything she does, she does for the bigger picture for Samoa and the Pacific.
“I founded and directed this show to provide a platform for emerging designers to showcase their art, designers who've not had a chance to shine or showcase at other fashion shows. Samoa Sinnet Fashion Show is a coming together of not just the fashion industry in Samoa but the creative industry. I am honoured to serve Samoa this way.”
‘Enara’ - a boutique selling locally designed and made products, opened in 2016. Located in the heart of town, Samoa, Fugalei.
1. Is what you’re doing now what you always wanted to do growing up?
I wanted to be a Scientist growing up, and I’ve been many things. I’ve been an aviator, a business consultant, a writer, a poet, and a farmer. I’m constantly learning more about myself and glued into what I really want to do. As of now, I’m a businesswoman enjoying designing and turning art into products people enjoy. We don’t have to be one thing or be identiﬁed by one job. We are multitalented multi faceted souls!
2. Time travel: when, where and why?
I’d go to the future in Samoa, the year 2517; 500 years from now. I’m interested in the kind of leadership that will exist then.
3. What are you most grateful for?
I’m grateful for life, the people in it, and colour.
4. What are your best traits?
Best traits…I hope to be known as a ﬁercely loyal friend, a fair leader, and a spirit that stands up for others; otherwise, my legs are pretty sturdy and carry me through life.
5. What colour would you use to describe yourself?
I’m deﬁnitely a purple girl - combination of both red energy and blue tones.
6. Do you read? If so, 3 favourites and why.
1. God of Small Things because it took a few reads to really get it.
2. Shopify articles & real business stories.
3. Fashion magazines to keep up with the trends.
7. What’s the first place you go online? Your 3 best sites?
Usually “Enara” Facebook page as that’s my place of business. Best 3 websites would be: Etsy, Instagram, pinterest.
8. How do you deal with stress?
I’m a foodie, so deﬁnitely enjoying a meal with a friend or create something new.
9. What is the craziest thing you have ever done (so far)?
Craziest thing? Can’t name one as I’ve done a few crazy things and [there’s] more to come I’m sure. I’ve travelled to a few interesting places, parasailed in what looked like an anaconda infested river/sea in Indonesia, ﬂew small planes throughout New Zealand, ﬂoated on a rubber boat with complete strangers in Thailand thinking it was a 40 minute trip that took more than 8 hours, riding roller coasters in Japan and a dirt bike throughout the farm much to the dismay of my mother.
The last crazy thing I did was leaving the aviation industry and diving into the fashion industry, starting my own business and ending up directing the Samoa Sinnet Fashion Show, the ﬁrst of its kind in Samoa. Before that I knew nothing about fashion shows and what it takes to get one off the ground successfully.
10. What’s your idea of a perfect holiday?
My perfect holiday would involve good food, beach days, lazy shopping, and one or two roller coaster rides.
11. Would you rather fly the plane or be flown?
Flying a plane is always fun! I have close to a 100 hours ﬂying time. Taking off is always the best part as you push that throttle for maximum power and feel the engine lift you off the ground.
12. Do you have tattoos? Do they mean anything?
Yes. I travelled to Japan on a mission trip when I was in the last year of university. I spent many weeks teaching children and volunteering for a few churches with close friends; a very important time of my life.
My Japanese tattoo is on my rib cage and has two characters meaning ‘eternal grace’, as we are saved by grace and not by status or anything we’ve done.
13. What’s your biggest indulgence?
Deﬁnitely a great cup of organic coffee and travelling.
14. If you could eat only one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Japanese food. You can never go wrong there.
15. What is fashion to you?
Fashion is a powerful tool of communication. Like music, it’s a universal language. Style is how you make it your own.
16. Do you have a signature outfit?
Depending on the event, you’ll usually ﬁnd me in an Enara tunic and ﬂats. I live on a hot island.
17. What do you believe in?
I believe in God and hard work.
18. What do you want to be remembered for?
I’d like to be remembered as someone who stayed true to herself and someone who blessed others through her work.
19. What’s the one thing that people misunderstand about you?
That I’m rich and don’t need to work. Doing nothing for life would be meaningless.
20. What do you wish someone would ask you?
How can we help each other?
Photos © Jordan Kwan