The MNY Spotlight
Meet Kelly Talamas, Founder of LATINNESS
I’m Kelly Talamas, a journalist, creative consultant, mother of two toddlers and co-founder of a platform called LATINNESS.
Photographed by: Ivan Blasser. Kelly wears the Delilah Bow Sweater
When my partner Cristina and I began to imagine this project, we were coming out of our respective corporate jobs in fashion and realized there lacked a space that encompasses the entire region of Latin America while offering a very local look at what’s happening here. There’s so much interest in the region amongst Latins and foreigners alike. Working in the creative industry and surrounded by so much talent, we thought the best way to showcase the Latin America we know and love is through the stories of these creatives.
And thus, LATINNESS was born. Through our work in the industry, we both had the unique opportunity to travel throughout the region and develop relationships in different countries, so we found ourselves in an opportune situation to launch a project of this scale.
Vogue brought me to Latin America, literally, with a move from Miami to Mexico City. Twelve years later, I’ve now lived in three Latin American capitals: CDMX, Bogota and Panama City. While at the magazine, I loved discovering all the talent that exists in the region and sharing those individual stories, either through editorials or the initiatives we launched like Who’s On Next or Vogue Talents Corner. The Instagram era started during my time at Vogue, so that also became my angle on social media— highlighting the people, projects and places I was discovering in my day to day and on my travels. LATINNESS is a natural extension of that.
While we often get grouped into one, each country in Latin America is a world of its own, with its particular history, culture and traditions that shape it. Our mission with LATINNESS is to spotlight this diversity and show the many different versions and interpretations of what it means to be Latin. In our Cafecito section, we give voices to creatives with fascinating projects in a variety of fields. For example, Marisa Taha, a Bolivian chef, who is preserving her country’s culinary heritage through her foundation, or Mozhdeh Matin, a designer in Peru working with communities in the Amazon to find natural leather alternatives. Or Yaite Ramos, a Cuban rapper who cleverly uses her lyrics as a poetic weapon to speak out against the injustices in her country. The ingenuity and talent are infinite.
I recently saw a quote that said “El oro de Panama es verde” (The gold of Panama is green). While it’s difficult to compete with the cosmopolitan landscapes of my past homes CDMX and Bogota, what’s special about Panama is its wealth of nature. On weekends I’m embracing this by spending a lot of time outdoors, discovering parks or nearby beaches, and I’ve recently taken up tennis. That being said, I’m always in search of a cultural fix. I love walking around the old part of town, Casco Viejo, and connecting with the creative community here. It’s really exciting when I find cool spaces like this Panamanian artist, Ivan Blasser’s studio, that I recently visited.
Oh, there are too many! I’m constantly stumbling across new brands and talent. There are a few names that have become closet staples over the years, such as Hunting Season for timeless handbags, Nora Lozza for fun footwear, Leret Leret for cool and comfy knits or Very Feliz for my kids.
The colors and prints for sure. I also love its story of two female founders connecting over their shared culture.