From riding vintage motorcycles in sunny LA to being the voice of some of the biggest brands in the fashion industry, copywriter Tiffany Lee, says she's found her home in New York. And she's not looking to leave anytime soon.
Do you remember your first week in New York?
I moved here for a job, and landed in New York the day before I started. I hit the ground running. My mom came with me and helped me set up my apartment; she made friends with everyone in the building.
In my mind New York is the end game as far as cities you can live in. It was a natural progression to come here from LA. My first week was mainly me trying not to freak out. [Laughs]
I told myself I wouldn’t move to New York unless I had a job waiting for me. I was working for Yahoo as a music editor in their entertainment department in LA. I was getting sick of being in the news cycle, having to wake up at some ungodly hour on a Saturday because a celebrity had died. At the time Yahoo was developing an online celebrity gossip app, and they asked me to come to New York to work on it.
It made moving here a lot easier, having something to look forward to every day. It was really fortunate how it worked out.
Was New York always a goal for you?
I was always a die-hard LA person; I knew all the ins and outs. I honestly never thought about moving to New York until the opportunity came up. It was becoming a bit static in LA; I was seeing the same people, going to the same places. I felt the need to evolve and this was the perfect way to do it.
I feel like I’ve found my home. I have no desire to go anywhere else. People have told me I have a New York vibe, I think mostly because I wear a lot of black. [Laughs] I feel independent here, truly in control of my destiny.
What are you working on now?
I’m a freelance copywriter for several brands. This is the first time I’ve been freelance, so it’s a different set of skills. I like being able to set my own hours. Every time I’m working, I’m really getting stuff done rather than spacing out on Facebook. Every minute has a purpose.
I love being able to work directly with brands I really like, and learning the inside ropes of the fashion industry because that’s so strong here. I’ve been learning a lot of behind the scenes stuff.
The most shocking being that outlet items are made specifically for outlet stores. I used to go crazy at the outlets, and thought I was getting all these crazy prices.
What does your work entail?
It’s writing every single word that appears on a website, in a catalogue, on a product description, in an email blast or social media. It’s developing the voice of the brand that’s conveyed to the customers, being able to translate how a brand is visually into something that’s textual.
Being freelance has given me a taste of real independence. I do miss doing my own creative work. I used to have a jewelry line back in the day that was fairly successful, considering I was running it out of my bedroom. I could work a full stressful day at work, and come back to work on the line and be totally reenergized.
While I’m being creative now to a certain extent, I miss being able to be visually creative, and to make things with my hands. I feel like I’m at another turning point, I want something I can put my stamp on, that’s completely mine.
On your website, it mentions you’ve been in music videos, and a shoot for Harley Davidson … is this a whole other life?
In my social circle in LA, every single person has been in at least one music video. Casting directors would go to clubs and look for the wildest dressed people, and that was usually us.
Harley Davidson came about because I was one of the few female vintage motorcycle riders back in LA, so they got in contact with me via a photographer who was doing a gig for them.
That’s crazy; do you have a motorcycle here?
That’s one of the things I left behind in LA. I was super into it. In LA you have the space to do it.
How did you get into vintage motorcycles?
I actually went on a date with a guy on the back of his Harley. It’s unbelievable, and a feeling I haven’t been able to match in other ways. The guy ended up being not so great, but I still wanted the motorcycles. [Laughs]
That became my identity for a long time. Riding in New York scares me a little bit, I do miss it. I felt invincible, like a badass, being able to keep up with the guys.
Your apartment is amazing, how do you like living in South Williamsburg?
It’s the chillest area, but it’s probably going to change pretty soon. It’s very similar to the areas I spent a lot of time in LA, so it’s a little piece of home I guess.
Any favorite bars and restaurants in the area?
My friends and I used to do a thing called Weird Ass Wednesdays, where we would try to go somewhere completely new each week. We would go to some random stoner hip-hop party, or a strange performance.
I went to a bar in the basement of a Japanese restaurant where you can have dinner and then also see an improv show, it was a spin off of Japanese game shows. People would be doing challenges while you’re eating dinner. I try to do new things all the time so I don’t have a set favorite place.
The place I’ve probably been to the most is The Meatball Shop on Bedford Ave.
What is the best piece of advice you could give?
This could be kind of intense but I feel like everyone should go to therapy. It has such a stigma to it. I’ve been going for 2 years now … since my dad passed away.
I’ve gotten to the point now where I have to go. It’s not just if you’re having a hard time, it’s like going to the gym for your mental and emotional state. I’ve been encouraging my friends to go; I think everyone could benefit from it. Living in New York, it helps to keep your head on straight.
What is your favorite place to take out of towners?
Whenever friends come to New York for the first time I always insist they see Sleep No More. It’s so good, I’ve been twice. I saw a bunch of boobs, and both penises. [Laughs]
I haven’t seen any penises and I’ve been twice!
Fuerza Bruta is also amazing. It’s mind blowing.
Do you have a favorite New York moment?
I’ve had a few going to random loft parties here. I went to one that had a DJ set up, and the empire state building was right there. I remember looking up and thinking, “This is it.”
In a way I kind of have that moment waking up and looking out the window.
What does New York mean to you?
It means progress, and being an adult and in control. It’s my independent life, and my best lived life.
Learn more about Tiffany at tiffanycanfly.com.