Photos by Enrique Abed.
Tell us about yourself
I primarily manage my family’s retail shop of Raffetto’s Fresh Pasta, which also includes wearing many hats and such as cooking, social media and many other tasks. When my father retires I will hopefully assume his role, while also looking forward to my siblings and cousins showing interest in working together.
I was also able to resurrect our partnership with City Harvest where we regularly donate pasta.
I recently co founded Petite Pasta Joint- ongoing, public pop-up dinners and private events company with my partner and front of house team. It has been a long time dream and this year it finally fell into place with the help of many people I love! Through PPJ I would love to work with organizations in the future that are NYC/food, plastic reduction/sustainability, or anything that would include mental illness related charities because these topics are what matter most to me.
How old are you?
Where do you live?
I have lived in my family’s building in Greenwich Village for the past 11 years and currently live with my friend from high school.
Are you single, married, divorced, in a relationship?
I am in a committed relationship with my boyfriend of roughly a year and a half.
What was your relationship to sex like growing up?
I remember exploring my body somewhere around 5/6 years old- a sensual connection when pressing on myself in the morning released a very unique feeling. I didn’t not feel very confident sexually growing up because I was very shy when it came to sexual acts but as I got older and understood what made me feel good or what my strengths were in giving to a partner things quickly shifted- definitely in college where I was able to experiment more sexually and become aware of my strengths, let go of my fears or discomfort and enjoy the freedom of sexual expression (which also got far better feedback from partners.) I’m not sure when I discovered my sexuality but I remember being 13 and longing for more than just a peck on the cheek from my first boyfriend (ha).
What were the events in your life that have made you the woman you are today?
- Being a product of divorced parents has shaped my identity throughout my life (and forgiving my mother for all of her shortcomings).
As a result I was extremely close with my grandmother throughout my life because she helped raise me. I lived with her again as an adult for nearly 10 years (18-28) and all of the experiences we shared during those very formative years shaped the woman I am.
- My father remarrying and my best friend becoming my stepsister, then going from being an only child to 1 of 5. I definitely have a dual complex being the only child with my biological parents and somewhat ‘forgotten’ at times with the other family.
- When my father remarried, we moved out of New York and to New Jersey. I adapted, almost too much because I quickly became vulnerable to the material objects that showed validity in a very wealthy, white community. I started to care about things I didn’t even know existed until moving there and craved all of these status symbols and roles of popularity to feel cool and accepted. Spending so many years there was interesting because I made some wonderful and lasting friendships but I missed New York desperately and it made me very closed minded in choosing colleges. I was so eager to move back that I didn’t include any other options and I regret that very much because with the family business it was my only opportunity to really live in a different city/state long term.
With that said my dad was very kind in encouraging me to study abroad as much as I could, see everything I wanted and know for certain that I wanted to work for the business, not be forced into it. This allowed me to feed my love for travel, have so many wonderful experiences in Brazil, Spain and Australia, while learning that I truly want to work for the business.
- Choosing to work for my family business and the perspective that has given me (ranging from immense gratitude and pressure to succeed).
- The romantic relationships I’ve had with men and how I can learned to leave difficult situations or the growth in learning how to cope with being broken up with. It’s incredible to look back on the darkest moments of depression from a break up that with enough time can have no emotional attachment or meaning. Time truly heals all and even when its the hardest breakup it will always get better with enough time.
So many of my biggest choices have gotten me exactly what I want by taking the least conventional route and that’s become my way of life :)
What are the things you are still excited to explore in your sexual life?
Having sex in more exciting/less comfortable places, using more toys.
Do you have any sexual insecurities or hangups? How do you cope with these?
I'm still very self conscious of my small breasts at times but have learned to love them through my love of plunging neck line outfits that wouldn’t look as chic or beautiful if they weren’t small!
How do you connect with your sensuality?
Soft fabrics and music- generally latin and island genres.
How do you manage your schedule to make time for yourself? How often do you have self-care alone time?
Listening to my body when I’m tired and knowing when to take a break, working out and spending time watching tv alone with my cats.
What are the ways you’re continuing to explore and learn about sensuality?
Generally just reading articles that come my way or are about a topic I’m interested in, and my boyfriend and I love to occasionally go sex toy shopping together.
Who inspires you and teaches you about sensuality? Who do you look up to as a sensual role model?
Candice Swanepoel, she embodies so much of how I identify myself and I continue to be inspired by her sexual confidence, being true to yourself, fashion and style and philanthropic work caring about sustainability and the environmental issues we don’t address enough.
What are some of your favorite products you use to connect with self?
Perfume and crystals. The crystals I have accumulated over time and I have 5 for the amount of siblings in my family, all amethyst because of its properties and it being my birth stone. I have collected perfume over time also and experiment less with them lately because I have found one that I absolutely love and no one else that I know uses.
What do you look for in products for self-care/sensuality?
Nothing in particular, just need to feel drawn to it. Same goes for men!
What are some new products you want to try in the future?
More products that emphasize self care because I don’t make it enough of a priority, meditation practices, new sex toys and taking more baths/with applicable products before bedtime to help me sleep better.
How do you see the relationship between sensuality and sexuality existing?
I think their coexistence is in great part what helped me come out of my ‘sexual shy shell.’ By giving yourself the time to feel good about and in your own body, and your desires in an organic and positive way, you build up the excitement and confidence needed to maximize sexual experiences.
This isn’t exclusive to sexual experiences with a partner, because as someone who for years felt ‘too uncomfortable’ to masturbate I can say that once I started to understand my body better and be open to using sensuality as a platform to dive deeper into solo sexual experiences it really doesn’t feel weird anymore! Its not something I still do regularly because I generally prefer my partner, but after years wasted feeling weird about it I am so relieved that I know it is there for me to embrace happily when I want it.