The Vixen Q&A: Vashtie Kola

Va$htie Kola is the perfect balance between girly and tomboy chic. This 29-year-old director, photographer, and fashion designer has been dabbling in the arts since her childhood in Albany, NY, but now as the bossy entrepreneur of her own fashion label VIOLETTE and recently designing her own AirJordan 2, downtown's Trini and Indian sweetheart has become a role model for young females striving to play with the major male execs. VIBE got a chance to speak with the industry's number one girl and chat about must-haves, don't-haves, and what it takes to be respected in the game. —Niki McGloster

Vixen: You clearly have an interesting name. Is there a special meaning behind it?
Vashtie: Well I found it in a couple different places. It's found in the Bible— in the book of Esther. There was a queen named Vashtie who was married to the king of Persia who later left her thrown. As the story goes, it depends on your translation, she was very well known for her beauty and as legend goes, the king and all of his like king bros are kicking it and he beckons for his wife, Queen Vashtie, and she basically was like, 'No, I'm not going,' He wanted her to come do a strip show or something, and she was not having it. And eventually, he's like, 'Okay, I'm good on you. I'm done,' and he replaces her with Queen Esther. Then there's also—my mother has told me that's it's the name of an Indian goddess and then in the Hebrew language it means "thread" and in the Persian language it means "beautiful." Long story short [laughs].

And in short it's a pretty cool name [laughs]. Recently you became the first female to ever design a Jordan sneaker— the Air jordan 2. How does that feel?
Oh my God, it has been a complete dream come true. It's still surreal. To collaborate with such a legendary and iconic brand as Jordan, to work with such a great team, it was probably the easiest and most fun collaboration thus far in my career. And it's just been a pleasure. I've been glowing about and gushing about it ever since. I'm just excited to be able to share it finally.

What are the five pairs of sneakers you can't live without?
Definitely my new Jordans. I would have to say my Jordan 3's which I've been known for and I've wore into the ground; It looks like I play hockey in them. I also have these Supreme Blazers in this luscious red color. I don't know if you've seen them, but they're gorgeous. They're quilted red leather, they have a gold linked chain on the back. Almost kind of like a Gucci tab on it, so it gives this flair of Gucci meets Supreme meets Nike. I love them.

I haven't seen them but they sound hot.
They're amazing and then another pair is— I made a pair of custom Air Force 1's when I was working at Nike 255, so they're one-of-a-kind, custom made pair of black-on-black Air Force 1's patent leather. And I got a 5-inch platform, so I have a pair of these crazy looking platform Air Force, patent leather 1's. And my other pair would be Keds. I didn't grow up on Keds. I think that's what I thought suburban girls only wore and I couldn't afford them. Now, I have a friend who works for Keds. They're the most comfortable shoe I've ever worn. I don't care how nerdy they might look or boring. They're just so comfortable and I love them.

What sparked the idea for your fashion line, VIOLETTE?

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