We got to #spendtime with Sarita Alami

November 05 2018

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We're taking it South to Atlanta, GA by introducing our good friend, Sarita Alami. You may have seen her around on a casual stroll wherever it is you're located, but she's also behind highlighting local artists of ATL using billboards to display their work. Besides technology marketing, she's an avid photographer, ex-academic of African American history, lover of travel, and is a board member of Empowering Refugees, Community Farmers Markets, and Generation Green (the young professionals arm of the Georgia Conservancy.) She's a true wonder woman -- who just so happens to be Gal Gadot's doppelgänger. 
Where are you from?
I claim Atlanta because it feels like home, but I was born abroad and came here via Qatar and rural Appalachia. My mom's Latina and my dad's Arab, so I have a built-in allegiances to a lot of different soccer teams.
What do you do?
My day job is in marketing, but I spend my spare time reading, visiting with people over warm beverages, and wandering around at a glacial pace. Essentially I have the habits of a well-rounded grandmother.
What drives you?
There was a time where I would've said being as successful as possible, or wanting to improve the world in some big way. But today I try to be kind, prioritize my health, and cultivate the energy to show up for the people I care most about. 
What projects are you currently working on?
I'm in the middle of restoring a huge 100-year-old house that my husband and I bought last year. We're both pretty right-brained, and instead of asking "It this a sound decision?" it was more like "Can we see ourselves growing old here?" It's been a delight and a total disaster, depending on the day. But I wouldn't necessarily recommend choosing a house entirely based on vibe.
What's the biggest risk you've ever taken?
When I was 14, I traveled to San Francisco without my parents. I lied and told them I was going on a guided tour, but I didn't know a single person there. Luckily I found a biker gang who took me under their wing for a few days, but I had to leave when they got in a knife fight. Looking back it was probably not an ideal situation to put myself in.
Best advice ever received?
Just try and do the next right thing. It un-complicates a lot of situations.
Where do you get your inspiration?
My mom is one of my main sources of inspiration. She's such a neat combination of creative, practical, and open-minded. She made a lot of our clothes growing up, and her sense of style is unapologetic and fabulous. She once told me that fuschia is the best neutral. 
How would you describe your style?
Flamboyant minimalist. I prefer clothes that feel effortless and easy, but I love loud colors and happy prints. 
Do you have any style secrets or tips?
Get it all tailored, or learn how to do it yourself. Tailoring can make a dress from the thrift store (or pants from TJ Maxx) look killer.
How do you accessorize?
Minimally. I occasionally wear one simple piece, but that's about it. 
What do you like about watches?
I've been making an effort to un-attach myself from my phone, and by wearing a watch I don't feel the need to pull out my phone nearly as often. 
What's your favorite place?
Wherever I land. Every time I take a trip I'm pretty sure that's where I'm destined to live. But then I forget all about it when I get to the next place.
What is your favorite thing about Atlanta?
The food. You can eat locally pretty much year-round here, and there are great local and ethnic food scenes. I also love how scrappy it is—if you want to do a thing, you just do the thing! Intown Atlanta is still quite diverse, which is a huge gift—and something a lot of amazing people here are trying to protect. The art and music scenes are incredible if you're looking in the right places. And I love how easy it is to leave Atlanta. You can hop on a plane and go most anywhere relatively quickly and inexpensively. So that's more than one thing. But I really, really like Atlanta. 
What's your favorite book?
Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison. I think it might be the great American novel, if there is such a thing.
What is currently on repeat on your music playlist? 
"I'll Be That Friend" by a singer from the UK called Jodie Abacus. It's a happy little song that makes me think of Stevie Wonder, and of Phil Collins at his best. And anything by Nidia Gongora—she's an amazing Afro-Colombian singer who's done some really cool and counterintuitive collaborations.


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