New York social staple, Tinsley Mortimer, considered by many to be one of the most photographed socialites in New York, has a long list of accomplishments under her belt. In 2008, Harper’s Bazaar documented the immaculate New York City Upper East Side apartment Tinsley Mortimer shared with her former husband Topper. After splitting, she later starred in the reality TV show “High Society” and took the world by the horns with her numerous entrepreneurial pursuits. Mortimer penned “Southern Charm,” which was described by The New York Times as a “pink Ladurée macaron of a novel.” Her handbag line, Samantha Thavasa by Tinsley Mortimer, launched with its first American flagship store located on Madison Avenue in the famed Upper East Side of Manhattan.
The multi-talented Tinsley graciously opened the doors to her chic abode on the Upper East Side of Manhattan to sit down with BELLA NYC to talk about what she has been up to, her favorite New York City spots and what we can expect to see from her next…
Tell us about who you were before you hit New York City socialite status.
Tinsley: I grew up in Richmond, Virginia, and was a nationally ranked junior tennis player before leaving for boarding school at the Lawrenceville School in New Jersey. Afterwards, I played tennis for Columbia University, from which I graduated with an art history degree. After graduation, I worked as a beauty assistant at Vogue and later worked at the PR firm Harrison and Shriftman as an events planner.
What advice would you tell your younger self?
Tinsley: I would not change a thing about my choice of major or all the time I spent with tennis, as I believed these choices helped prepare me for the design work I do now and the work ethic needed to accomplish my goals.
We have always loved your style and fashion sense. Tell us your style secrets and your favorite Manhattan shops that are under the radar?
Tinsley: I think that each person should be true to his/her own fashion sense. For me, this fashion sense translated to a feminine, girly-girl look, for which I have always been known. I have always been true to what makes me feel most comfortable. Never, ever, follow trends if they do not suit your own sense of self. I believe that how a garment fits is so very important in what one wears, but I also believe it is very important to accessorize properly. For me, this means wearing fabulous shoes and carrying great handbags. You can get away with a lot if you have the right accessories.
I also think it is important to always present yourself properly, make certain your hair is styled and always have a little makeup on when you leave home (you never know who you are going to see in the streets of New York City!). I always feel best when I am totally put together.
Speaking of fashion, what are your top three style rules to live by?
Tinsley: My three tips would be to be true to your own sense of style and your own interpretation of fashion, do not follow trends and always be aware that how you present yourself to the world is how you will be perceived.
That last tip is a great thing to remember … always! In your free time, where can we find you? What are your favorite New York City weekend activities?
Tinsley: In my free time, I love to go to street fairs when I can find them and walk my dogs in the park. I also love the Meatpacking District, Soho and running on the West Side Highway. The view alongside the West Side Highway is magnificent.
What about restaurants? Any must-visit haunts?
Tinsley: My favorite restaurants are Le Bilboquet, Swifty’s, J.G. Melon, Buvette, The Standard Grill, and for special events, the classic – La Grenouille.
You live on the Upper East Side, but what is your favorite neighborhood?
Tinsley: Although, I live on the Upper East Side (because it is more convenient), I really love the West Village and the energy there. It is electric while still having a quaint feeling.
Let’s talk business. What is your advice to New York City women trying to launch an entrepreneurial endeavor?
Tinsley: If you want to start a business, you must have a passion for what you are doing. Do not listen to naysayers. Be focused and committed. Sometimes you just have to put one foot in front
of the other until you achieve your goal.
Speaking of which, do you have any new launches on the horizon for you? Where can we see you next?
Tinsley: I have several new business opportunities that should come to fruition soon, but I am not able to talk about them yet. Let’s just say that I am excited about them and look forward to these new challenges in my life.
Find out what Tinsley’s doing next at TinsleyMortimer.com.