Modeling since the age of 15, Natalie Lim Suarez has been a notable figure in the fashion industry for years. Based in NYC, she is 1/2 Chinese, 1/4 Spanish, and 1/4 Mexican. With her passion for photography, creative direction, design, music, writing, modeling, and style, NATALIE OFF DUTY was born. Completely inspired by the "model off duty" on-the-go lifestyle. Sharing her stories, inspirations, and projects through her own photography and writing. Already noted for her winning fans in Harper's Bazaar UK, featured editorials in ELLE, and WWD for her "Good Taste." Along with campaigns and ambassadorships to top fashion and beauty brands from around the world. Some including COACH, DKNY, L'oreal Paris, Saks 5th Avenue, Sunglass Hut, Levis, and Nordstrom. Her eclectic, unique style has launched many successful design collaborations sold in top retailers around the world. Next to fashion, Natalie's other passion is music. Singing along with piano/guitar continue to pop up in her upcoming fashion campaigns.
Bonnaroo has always been my favorite music festival. It’s gritty. It’s dirty. It’s hot. Everyone’s dripping in sweat on the dance floor. And it’s all about being an individual. Wearing all the colors of the rainbow. Dancing barefoot. Making friends with absolute strangers. High-fiving every single person you pass with a simple “Happy Roo!” You just feel everyone’s freedom and positivity. You immediately feel like you’ve left the real world and landed in a peaceful, wacky place that has literally no cares in the world. The only thing you have to worry about is what band is playing next and when you can hit your tent for a quick cat nap.
The Reefcrew and I definitely know how to escape and adventure in our own crazy alternate universes. Making our mark and stamping each city with our footprint. Documenting our own stories. You could definitely say Bonnaroo is like an alternate universe. Out in the middle of Manchester, Tennessee! The festival is a grassy campground of smiling, dancing hippies, with one thing in common: the love for music. And you know us at Reef LOVE music. It inspires us to keep going if we’re somewhere out in the ocean crushing a new wave, or traveling to exotic locations for our next shoot, or simply taking on the New York City streets. Right now, I’m currently listening to “American Money” by BORNS and “Jimmy Franco” by Lolawolf. I love leaving a new city with a new tune to add to my forever growing playlist. Each song a reminder to live in the moment and feel the freedom we all felt in the crowds, dancing under the stars.
We counted all of our steps over the weekend, and we crushed miles and miles. We had an early morning to hike the Tennesse Old Stone trail. We walked across the famous John Seigenthaler Bridge to the Riverfront. We dancing for hours with our headphones on in the silent disco. Those long days on our feet are normally the best. Our Reef Rovers kept us company every step of the way.
Korea was an incredible experience. The colorful town of Itaewan in Seoul, South Korea inspired this video. It was our very last day in Korea. I had been living in my Reef “Rover” sneakers, as I always do when I’m traveling. Because I love to explore. They’re made for hiking, running, sitting front row at Seoul Fashion Week, and still then wearing out to the local bar with my favorite pair of jeans. I wore the grey suede Rover sneaker nearly everyday. They go with just about everything.
With my job, I’m always traveling. And on the last day of every single trip, I get a bit emotional, which in turn inspires me to write music. It’s that in-between feeling. The feeling of sadness knowing that the excitement of your travels are soon to come to an end, yet a craving for what is to come next. I keep a little leather journal in my bag to write down melodies that go through my head. Which eventually turns into a sort of free style writing. Soon after, the notes come to me naturally when I’m on my keyboard. Like this song, which I recorded once I got back home in NYC after a good long week away from home in Seoul.
This song, Heavy, is a little bittersweet song about constantly being on the go. As a Reef ambassador, we’re always #JustPassingThrough. We’re always moving. Whether it be digging our feet in the sand of an untouched island, or discovering the culture and food in a foreign country. Though it’s exciting and exhilarating, traveling can be a bit emotional. Missing home and familiar faces. Getting lost in your own head when you are walking down new streets alone. That heaviness in your heart when something new takes your breath away from you. I went to Bukhansan National Park on my last day in Korea to see the beautiful fall leaves, and feel the crisp air. With this trip, I pushed myself a little harder to discover more unknown places. I came across this stunning temple. It was quiet and all I wanted to do was close my eyes. It’s nearing the holidays and the new year. A time that I’m always reflecting, and thinking of what I want to do next. Where do I want to go? This song is a little bit of a moody, breathy note to end this beautiful, fortunate year. Though when I’m traveling, I wonder if this will be the last time I see this beautiful place…I remember that when I’m just passing through, I’m still savoring every single moment. Every single breath. #JustPassingThrough is just part of the journey. Leaving your mark. The ability to be unforgettable wherever you go. There’s so much more that comes with it. Recognizing your roots and where you belong. But also recognizing all the different places you can go to or someday belong to, as well.
As you know, I’m a total festival go-er. I love getting down and dirty, traveling with just a tote, and a great pair of sneakers. Reefjust launched the Reef Rover Slip-Ons, making the trek to through airport security to long days at the festival grounds a complete breeze. What’s coming up this weekend? Outside Lands in San Francisco. This music festival is definitely on my bucket list for next year. Man, I really do miss my West Coast family, but my Reef babes have me covered and I’ll be following along from home in NYC. You know I’m such a Rover girl. They’re like walking on a foamy cloud. That may be the best way to describe them. They call it Swellular Technology. Something that truly allows you to slip even wet feet after a day at the beach, to dancing at the bar at night. I like these best with bare legs, an indigo tie-dye romper, and a good hat to shade me from the sun. San Francisco is calling my name.