Julia Kravets might have the coolest job on the planet. She makes desserts. Mostly chocolate desserts. Her treat company, Little Choc Apothecary serves up goodies like fudge brownies, biscotti and coffee cheesecake, and lemon verbena and cacao nib cookies (droooool), along with fresh juice, magical herbal teas, and fancy crepes -- all vegan with fair-trade, organic ingredients -- at NYC venues like Brooklyn Pop Up Market and Vegan Shop Up. Julia is also in the process of finding her first permanent storefront, with the goal of opening in Brooklyn by November 2014.
"After the first location is running smoothly, I want to open a Little Choc Truc; it’ll serve vegan crepes, sweets, and tea all over the city," she said.
In addition to her culinary talents, Julia also happens to be a model with impeccable style. Whether she's in sleek black skinny jeans or one of her ladylike vintage A-line dresses, her look is cute, classic and natural with a rebellious twist. Sweet but edgy -- just Little Choc Apothecary's desserts.
We chatted with the fashionable foodie about her favorite things to wear, cruelty-free eating, and getting naked.
Putting down roots:
Originally I’m from Ukraine. My family won the green-card lottery in 1999, and we made the move here on my birthday, October 30, of that year. Been here ever since, so I’m pretty much a native New Yorker now.
I always had a knack for homemaking, and baking just seemed a natural part of that. It got really interesting when I began modeling, and staying in shape became an important part of my career. I started learning more and more about nutrition and adapting recipes to make them healthier... It was so much fun learning, playing around with recipes, and making my own, that it truly became a passion of mine… I love that baking is as much of an art as it is science. Not only do you have to have the right combination of ingredients for a perfectly structured, and textured product, but the flavors have to be right, and nutritional value high. All these variables considered, the nearly unlimited selection of flavors gives me the chance to get creative.
After watching Earthlings, a documentary about animal cruelty, daily routines of factory farms, I knew I had to stop using animal products for ethical reasons. My decision was solidified after watching a series of other documentaries about food and nutrition -- Forks Over Knives, Food Inc., Vegucated, Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead, Food Matters -- reading The China Study, Whole, and The World According to Monsanto, and completing the Plant Based Nutrition Certification Program at eCornell. All this information, plus countless hours on nutritionfacts.org, and other nutrition classes, I am convinced that a plant-based diet is the best for our bodies, as well as the environment. I can’t wait to be old and still look fabulous.
Treat of choice:
That’s tough. It’s like picking your favorite child. But I like the B12 Brownie… It is packed with nutrients: tons of protein, iron, fiber, and essential fatty acids from the hemp seeds and pecans; delicious flavor, sweetness, and vitamins from the coconut, dates, and oranges; and, of course, the B12. It’s fortified with vitamin B12, so instead of popping a pill, you can eat a brownie. I eat this stuff for breakfast all the time.
Eclectic. I like a lot of timeless, vintage pieces, as well as some of the crap that goes in and out of style in a month. It’s all about mixing it up. The most consistent part about my style is probably combining feminine items of clothing with masculine. Something draws me to the androgynous aesthetic. I love big blazers, boyfriend jeans, loose T-shirts, and crude boots, but at the same time flowy dresses, flowery patterns, hats, [and] delicate jewelry.
A vintage Dior blazer that I bought for $8 at the Brooklyn Pop Up Market a few weeks ago. I was the happiest camper when I scored that baby.
I’m not a huge brand loyalist. I buy most of my clothing at thrift stores. However, ASOS is a great place to find wonderful new things of decent quality when I need them, and they’ve committed to not selling fur.
I’m on the hunt for a perfect sweater. It needs to be single tone, loose, with unique ribbing. Oh, and not expensive. It’s like finding Prince Charming -- I know it’s out there somewhere.
A bob and bangs. It was a decision from boredom. Terrible decision.
Best-ever beauty product:
I usually make my own moisturizers, cleansers, body wash, etc., but when I’m traveling, and run out, I go for the Yes To Carrots brand. They have great, skin-friendly, cruelty-free products that I trust.
Most awesome way to relax:
Reading my Kindle, naked, on a hammock on my roof. I need nothing else.
Sam Smith -- I have In The Lonely Hour on repeat. So good. Die A Happy Man by Tuka, Tom Waits’ Bad As Me album, and all of Fever Ray.
Best recent movie:
Boyhood. Holy moly, what an amazing film. It was filmed over 12 years, with the same cast, and told a story of a 7-year-old boy growing up, and going off to college. Not only do you see the actor go through adolescence, and blossom into an adult, but you also experience a congruent, relatable story, told by consistently talented actors. The movie is just under three hours long, and I didn’t want it to end.
Every summer, about 10 of my friends and I rent out a house in Cape Cod. Madness ensues. My immensely talented filmmaker friend Nadia Bedzhanova documented it last year. This year’s trip was a slight variation to last year, and [it happened] just a few weeks ago. We’re still reminiscing about it and waiting for the video to be finished.