Meet Leslie Durso, vegan chef, former actress, former assistant to Bill Nye the Science Guy (AKA Leslie the lab girl), entrepreneur, animal lover and all round superstar. Leslie makes vegan food so delicious that even the most die-hard meat lovers cant quite believe it. She’s also a passionate animal activist and recently auctioned off a private dinner party co-hosted with Moby for $150,000. Yes, that’s right $150,000 all for the Humane Society. Leslie’s new venture Little Shirties takes land-fill bound fabrics and turns them into beautiful toy whales. And she’s selling her breakup baggage to help fund her Little Shirties empire! Check out her gorgeous stuff – some of it’s still for sale – this Tous Bracelet, this Rebecca Taylor dress and this Nanette Lepore Suit.
Why did you choose to sell your things?
I believe all items hold memories of the past. Some memories are too painful to keep around. I need to clear space for new memories.
Was it a difficult decision to make?
Yes, but I feel blessed to have difficult decisions. They usually come when you move forward and who doesn’t want to move forward?
What’s the best gift you ever got from anyone?
It’s a draw! My Grandmothers recipe box and My great Aunt Rose’s hat collection.
What’s the worst?
I try to appreciate all gifts given from the heart.
What’s your advice for all things love, sex and dating?
Love yourself. If you don’t, you’ll never be happy. When you meet someone, love them for who they are, not who you want them to be. Be honest, love can only grow from honesty.
What’s your go to pick me up?
Making a meal for people I care about.
Tell us about Little Shirties….
Little Shirties was born from the necessity to help combat the atrocious amount of fabric that ends up in U.S. Landfills every year, 12 million pounds to be exact. Our stuffed animals are made from 100% up-cycled fabrics that have been triple washed and hand sewn in the great state of Texas. Each one is completely unique in pattern! I picked the whale because on the morning I was thinking about what to make, I was walking on the beach and saw a humpback whale off the shore! It was a sign! So now a portion of all profits go towards beach clean up.
Tell us about your first heartbreak…
It was circumstantial. It was a long distance relationship and neither of us could make the move. I was young. I bounced back fast.
Tell us about a time you Bounced Back better than ever….
Probably from my divorce. I had a completely different career before my marriage. The relationship ended, I was devastated, and I was left with no job. I just knew that I wanted to help make the world a healthier and happier place. Becoming a chef and helping other people achieve this is really what got me through the emotions of that part of my life. Now, I’ve never been happier (or busier!)