Name: Gabriela Herstik
Current City: Los Angeles
Occupation: Writer, Author, Alien & Witch
I’m first generation American, with a father from Israel and a mother from Mexico City (who grew up in the cities Jewish community.) My dad’s a rabbi and I grew up in Atlanta, although I was born in San Diego and lived in LA until I was 6. I decided I wanted to be a fashion writer when I was 14, and went to college for fashion writing, and earned a BS in fashion merchandising with a minor in print journalism from the University of South Carolina. When I was in school I interned with a few different magazines like Deux Hommes and MOD, studied abroad and went to London College of Fashion, went to London Fashion Week as press, interned for Rick Owens and started to freelance for different sites. After graduating in May 2016, I moved back to LA for a PR internship with Vivienne Westwood (my favorite designer/ icon/ queen) at their US Corporate Office. I started working at HelloGiggles full time about five months later, as their Latinx Culture Writer (and part-time astro/ witch kween.) I freelance for publications like i-D, NYLON, Sabat Magazine, Fashionista and more, and I have a monthly column on NYLON called “Ask A Witch” which is exactly what it sounds like. I’ve been a practicing witch for twelve years, and have managed to merge it into my love for writing and fashion. My first book “Craft: How To Be A Modern Witch” will be released in March 2018, with Ebury Random House.
At what age did you discover your passion for writing?
Probably around the second grade, when I realized I really liked my class’s monthly writing challenges.
Who are some of your favorite authors/writers/poets?
I’m a John Steinbeck fan. He’s my favorite author; he speaks to my California soul. He’s a Pisces Sun and Scorpio Moon (and I’m also a Scorpio Moon)! I love the depth in which he creates characters; they’re always so wise and represent such an insightful lesson. I think he’s secretly a witch! I love Starhawk, Sylvia Plath, Walt Whitman, George Orwell, Ray Bradbury…
I understand you're in the works of publishing your first book, can you tell us a little bit about it and the process involved?
Yes I am! It’s been an interesting process. I was approached to write this book by my editor at Ebury, so then I found an agent, and we negotiated the contract. I’ve been writing this baby since June, and I work on the weekends and after work during the week. It’s been long and laborious and scary and exciting and terrifying and exhilarating. I am very honored to be able to share this practice, and I wouldn’t be here without all the wo/men before me who have allowed me to speak freely about being a witch. Writing this book is in honor of them.
How does it feel to be the Witch Carrie Bradshaw of LA and when did your interest for magick, style and glamour begin?
Well that’s a self-proclaimed title, haha. But I feel like it fits. I’ve been interested in spirituality since I was little, thanks to my mom and her crystals/ energy/ yoga..etc. I’ve been into fashion since I was 14, but these worlds didn’t collide until college. I started writing about how the Death Card (in the tarot deck) inspired my style and I did a series of looks on my blog based around tarot cards. I come from seamstresses and weavers on both side, and my grandma survived three years of concentration camps because she had the same name as the seamstress’s niece, and could actually sew. Now I write about all fashion, glamour and witchcraft and incorporate them into my own magical work.
What are some challenges you’ve hit at this point in your career and how do you navigate through each?
Being scared of using my voice has been a big one. Going to therapy, journaling, my spiritual practice, art and my family and friends have helped me. Learning to have confidence in my voice has been vital.
Let's dive into the future, describe your best life?
Creating art, practicing deep rituals and ceremony, supporting other women and femmes, writing and sharing my witchy heart, leading people to a deeper part of themselves through ritual, magick, glamour and adornment. Wearing Vivienne Westwood, having a freshly shaved head, falling madly in love, and having enough abundance to help others, traveling the world and creating magick every day.
What does women empowerment mean to you?
It means everything. It means love, support, community, sharing, and encouraging. More than anything it means supporting other women.
Discuss the importance of female friendships in your life.
All my closest friends have always been women. The women in my life are my sister's friends, my coven, my healers, my mirrors, my life. They are why I do what I do and why I find such joy in living. Female friendships that truly support and empower one another are life-changing, and they’re the only friendships I’m a part of.
If you could have dinner with any woman in history, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
Vivienne Westwood. She’s my icon, a legend and an inspiration. She uses fashion to send a message and make a difference, which has been my goal since I was 14. I love her and her clothing and I can’t wait to meet her one day.
What/who are you grateful for?
My family and friends, the universe, the abundance of love I have, the opportunities I have. I’m thankful for all the good parts of this country, and for all the bad parts can teach me and push me to be a better person. I’m grateful for the moon, for flowers, for my therapist, for plaid, for coffee, for my darkness, for love, for sex, for the sun, for swimming naked, for long baths, for crystals, for magick, for a healthy and loving body, for words…
Quote to live by?
“The universe is working in my highest favor” and “All of them were caught in something larger than themselves” from The Grapes of Wrath.