Celia San Miguel blogs about all the things that you want—from giraffe-printed DC sneakers to psychedelic stationery—before you even know you want them on her addictive style site, sickathanaverage.com. Born and raised in Puerto Rico, Celia was educated at Phillips Exeter Academy, the best boarding school in the U.S., and went on to work at major magazines such as InStyle and Vibe. Latina.com linked up with the fascinating 29-year-old roving reporter to find out how she stays up on all things edgy and urban.
What inspired you to start your blog?
At InStyle, we always used to look at Daily Candy, back before it was huge. It was kind of like an industry secret at that point. And I liked it a lot. But I felt that over the years—I'm not trying to diss Daily Candy at all—but it was definitely very white. The tone was very white. The products were very white. It wasn't necessarily urban enough. It didn't talk about things that I cared about. There are all these magazines that do women's fashion and women's beauty, such as Elle or Vogue—magazines that I absolutely adore—but they featured items that were kind of aspirational. The price points were out of reach, like $900 Prada heels.
I wanted to do something that had a range of price points. I wanted something that would be entirely product driven, because I'm irritated by the fact that there aren't many models of color in any of the magazines and most of them don't look like real women. I don't want my website to be filled with models and celebrities who all wear size two. I want to focus on the garment. If people are interested they can check it out. But I don't want to perpetuate the cult of celebrity.
And I'm a big sneakerhead. There isn't that much for women's sneakers. It's just recently that sneaker boutiques started popping up catering to women.
So who is the Sickathanaverage woman?
A woman with broad ranging tastes—a woman who will pick up Vogue and Elle, who's also trying to find the next indie designer, who's also into LRG and Married to the Mob and all these different streetwear lines. The whole concept was to have all those sprinkles of influence in there and have it be more about the products. I wanted it to be somewhat personal and witty without being too smart. I make fun of myself a lot in the posts. I don't take myself that seriously. If I'm writing about ashy legs, then I'll say, "Yo, I have ashy legs and this product works for me!"
What are some surprising victories that have happened since you launched the blog?
So many! Just recently, I blogged about Richard Chai's line for Target. And I actually got a personal email from Richard Chai thanking me for the post. It was really exciting to see that he read it, liked it and took the initiative to write to me.
When you were little, how were you exposed to fashion, style and beauty? Why did you fall in love with it?
When I was little growing up in Puerto Rico, my grandmother was of course the big matriarch. She was a sassy thing, always. She was always into her beauty regimen. Every night she would use Pond's cream on her face. She also had really nice gowns and slips. We would wear all that and put on fashion shows and wear her heels. And there was this woman named Myrta who did infomercials on TV. She would sell a line of shampoos, creams and conditioners. On the little informercial, she would always do somebody's hair. And then it would be like, "Voila! The makeover!" My cousins and I would play around and pretend to be Myrta or the woman who was getting the makeover.
What brought you to the U.S. at age 15?
I went to Phillips Exeter Academy. I was a boarding school kid! Obviously, there was a crazy culture clash and everything. But it gave me another way of looking at style, because for the first time I had access to all these different people from different places and what their swag was like. I always stood out in boarding school, because in Puerto Rico especially if you live in a metropolitan area—not to emphasize existing stereotypes, but there is some truth to the fact that we like our bright colors. I remember at school, people used to tease me because I always had the bright orange, the bright pink, the bright red. And I wore some skimpy stuff, too. I thought it was fine in P.R. I was like, "What's the big deal?"
How did you get into Philips?
My school counselor told me I could go to summer school abroad. And I was kind of a nerd, so I was like, "Oh cool!" She said, "You'll learn all these things! It will be fun! You'll get scholarships." She gave me all these pamphlets. And one was for Choate Rosemary Hall in Connecticut. My parents weren't too keen on me going away but they were actually having all kinds of marital problems. They figured that it would be a good idea to send me away for the summer so they could deal with their issues and not have me be in the middle of it. Everything worked out. I got a nice little scholarship and went to summer school.
So what did you think of Choate?
For the first time, I felt really challenged at school whereas before I was just breezing through everything. I was learning things that I hadn't before. Now I'm in a school where I'm meeting people from Tokyo and Saudi Arabia. I loved the autonomy of it. After that, I was like, now I'm going to boarding school. Of course being a precocious little thing, I said, I'm going to the best boarding school. So I ended up applying and I was accepted to Exeter. That's the one I wanted to go to. I was ecstatic. My parents weren't too sure, but once my grandmother the oracle spoke, it was like, she's going. End of story.