Sissy Sainte-Marie is a Los Angeles based stylist and consultant, and a long-time collaborator of ours. A perpetual style muse, we catch up with Sissy about creamy curves, headache cures, and garments of personal significance while sharing behind the scenes images of Sissy at work throughout our 7 (!) year partnership.
What shapes, textures, and palettes encompass the sensory details of your present self?
Creamy curvy things. I really like to surround myself with shapes, textures, and palettes which bring a sense of serenity to my otherwise chaotic tendencies.
What is something you have loved for a long time?
I have really loved creating my own recipes or adapting recipes to suit whichever health kick I’m on at the moment. When I was young, one of my intentions was to be a chef. I thought it would bring people joy. Now the idea of cooking for other people intimidates me so I only cook for myself and my husband. But when I look back at the meandering path of my life, it wouldn’t surprise me if I one day end up in the field of food and nutrition somehow.
What is something you have recently rediscovered?
Since cardio keeps my endorphins firing, I had gotten into the habit of only listening to music while I work out and that music tends to be thumping, fast tempo and with all the lyrical bravado of toxic masculinity. I recently rediscovered my love for more tender and gentle artists Daniel Johnston and Karen Dalton. I can be a raw nerve sometimes, so I was cutting myself off from music and songwriting that cuts right through and makes me feel something, but recently I decided it’s okay - it’s more than okay - its healthy and what makes me human - to let those feelings wash over me. Not on the treadmill though - mostly in the kitchen.
Please share the story behind a modern “talisman” you own — an object in your possession that you consider either a token of good luck or energy.
Well I try not to give objects that kind of power over me. The best example is sometimes I’ll wear my mom’s wedding ring from when she married my dad. They’re two people who no longer even know each other, who came together 40 something years ago, made me, and then split within a year. So that ring reminds me that since I’m here alive on this earth in this body with these circumstances then maybe I’m meant to be. That makes me not beat myself up so much.
At what moments are you the truest version of yourself?
When I fall out laughing. If something or someone can tickle my funny bone that means I’m in a place where I’m relaxed enough to be myself.
What landscapes or places in nature are most resonant? Where do you feel the deepest connection with the outdoors?
Oh I would like to say a deep, damp, verdant forest but honestly I’ve become such a wuss when it comes to nature. At the moment, I like road trips where I can gaze at miles of rolling golden hills.
I felt a deep connection to nature when I visited Mono Lake at golden hour in 2017. My husband and I are certain we saw our cat Beaudry, a Russian Blue who had died a couple of months before, reincarnated as a jackrabbit there. This grey jackrabbit kept hopping all around us with his perky ears and bugged-out eyes. He was real persistent and trying to engage, which was very much Beaudry’s way. Beaudry had lost strength in his back legs when he got old and now it was like he was trying to show us what a great new life he had with really powerful new hind legs. Also The Beauj always had a thing for ginger cats. His whole life he would make friends with gingers - at the cat hotel, at my mom’s house, he adopted our ginger cat D’jango when came to the backdoor as a stray. Well, we were standing there saying, “could it be?” and then this jackrabbit hops behind a rock and comes back with a rusty red cottontail rabbit friend by his side! It was all the proof we needed. An absolute miracle. We sat at the edge of Mono Lake an bawled our eyes out until the sun went down.
Can you share the story behind a meaningful garment you own — perhaps an heirloom, or something that feels weighted with a special significance?
I kept a nightgown I wore to spend the night at my grandparents’ house the last time before my grandpa died. I was 12. I kept it in a ziplock bag in a toy box because I thought it smelled like him and my grandparents house and I wanted to preserve that sensory memory forever. I think it is still in storage at my mom’s. I never in all my life had the courage to open the bag and take a whiff for fear it would break my heart to pieces.
Can you share more details on one act of “wellness” that brings you joy in its ritual — maybe a special tea, or a favorite walk, or another ritual that you use to come back to yourself?
I have a headache cure based on some Kundalini moves from Gurmukh. I plant my feet wide and firmly on the ground , then I stretch my arms out to the sides as straight as possible, curl my fingers but not into a fist, stick my thumb out 90 degrees and then do a snow angel move as fast as possible. I do it until I think I can’t do anymore, and then I do five more. Then I position my arms like goal posts and twist twist twist back and forth, again and again until I think I can’t do any more, and then I do a few more twists. I don’t know how or why but 90 percent of the time it cures a pounding headache.
Can you share a recipe or idea for a simple, healing meal that you make for yourself often?
Yes, it’s a really simple soup that makes me feel like everything is going to be okay.
A pound of carrots
A half bundle green onions - just the green parts
Water or broth to cover
Ginger - 1” fresh
Turmeric - 1” fresh or 1 tsp powder
Smoked paprika - 1 tablespoon
(you can also add celery and parsnips but I like to keep it simple and easy)
Boil this for about 20 minutes on the stove or 10 minutes in a pressure cooker
Blend until smooth
Stir in a little coconut milk
Top with any combo of the following : fresh cilantro, jalapeno oil, black sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, lime juice or if you can top with activated-turmeric-coconut-lime-pepitas from Moon Juice, you won't be sorry.
What books are you reading right now (or have read recently)?
I love to read biographies and autobiographies. I like stories of people who have achieved success despite their humble beginnings. In the last year I read 4 biographies - You’re on an Airplane by Parker Posey, Hillbilly Elegy, Becoming by Michelle Obama, Born a Crime by Trevor Noah. When I was having a difficult time and did an overshare on social media , the book The Four Agreements was recommended to me so I read that. And now I’m half way through On Photography by Susan Sontag. When I’d read her Rolling Stone interview I found her to be such an off-puttingly grumpy contrarian but I’m really enjoying this one. So much of what she was saying about photography then applies to social media today.
What book(s) do you always recommend to friends?
Well now I’m recommending The Four Agreements because it can really put one’s mind at ease. Even though it is really simple advice, it is difficult advice to follow because it requires constant work and reprogramming and overcoming a lot of habits and conditioning. I still recommend it.
What music is in rotation for you this month?
Tyler the Creator’s new album IGOR