Pamela Racine

October 2014, TribeCa


Where are you from?


What was your first job ever?
“I worked at a bakery when I was 15. I’d get up at 4am, it was still dark out, and work a couple hours before going to school.  It was brutal; I am not a morning person!   The customers were 18-wheeler drivers and 70 year olds.  I memorized how each one took their coffee.  I wore a uniform; a pink piqué polo shirt, white jeans and my hair had to be pulled back in a ponytail… I can still decorate a damn good cake.”

And what was your first job in New York?
“It was a photo shoot for German Vogue. I had to dress Daniela Pestova in swimsuits. She posed in a shower.  I had just moved here, I was 19, and I was like, ‘Damn, New York jobs are sexy’.”

What do you do now?
“Art and music and model… I have a company, RACINE, that supports the endeavors of other artists, musicians and models.”

You may need to “dig deep” on this one, do you recall who taught you right from wrong? Or an example of that decision making process?
“I go with my intuition.  It keeps me on track with what’s right.  I don’t know if that was taught to me by anyone, I guess it has a way of rising to the surface when you need it.  You gotta do you, as long as you’re not damaging anyone else, I think that’s a pretty good way to be.”

Do you believe in magic?
“Oh, yes.”

When did you first fall in love?
“I was probably 7 years old and I adored my next door neighbor who was 20.  He was tall with brown hair and blue eyes and I just had the biggest crush…  My family stills makes fun of me for that.”

Did you go to college?
“No.  And then dad suggested I go into the military.  I was like, “Hell, no.”
My friends went off to college, and I decided to go to Thailand alone.  I met my grandmother for the first time.  And it was her first time meeting one of her American grandchildren. I didn’t speak Thai and she didn’t speak English.  I came back to the US, and shortly thereafter, packed my bags and moved to New York City.”

Five favorite things to do!?
- Building things!
- Beach & sun & cocktails
- Travel. I’ve been to over 30 countries.  Although, coming back home can feel just as good!
- Performing.  I was painfully shy as a little girl, then in high school, I played a role in the Odyssey where I had to perform this grandiose death on stage.  I loved it and never looked back!
- Being with my dog and friends in nature, like Vermont where you can drive a truck, breathe fresh air and tire swing into a reservoir!

THE STARPamela has lived a few lives – not at all like a cat but like a modern day fairytale of a real-life woman. In other words, she’s found success by trusting her instincts, and melding ambitions with experience and ingenuity.

On the far west side of Manhattan, you’ll find her and Renard (the pup) living in a fresh and beautiful apartment. Fancy guitar relics, personal wood carvings, antique furniture, and thoughtfully dressed walls make up her space. The living room exudes ease and comfort – a mirror to the friendship she offers and gives.

Modeling is Pamela’s primary gig – but this year she launched her production company Racine Industries, working with musicians, models, and artists to achieve their aspirations. In other years, Pamela was the drummer in the band Gogol Bordello, a professional dancer, an actor, and in the 90′s, a fashion editor. Boom. Oh, the 90′s. To experience business and success before either became so mobile is a treasure.

You might be wondering, why is Pamela in the tub? This was my idea. A rather frank representation of color meets water meets blue blocker sunglasses (worn to protect Pam’s eyes post lasik surgery). So go with me on this one.

The day we shot her polaroid a flood of water came rushing into her apartment. Yes, she was in the tub, but it wasn’t her tub causing the tiny river, it was the neighbor who also started a bath and forgot about it. Three hours later Pam’s floor was a slip-and-slide. Quickly, we called maintenance and started to alleviate the situation with mop buckets and a water vacuum. In this moment, I understood something about Pam I hadn’t before…

Here’s my question, ‘How do you move through potentially dramatic moments, when important things are at risk of being damaged or lost?’ Metaphorically,  figuratively and actually. Our reactions to challenging scenarios build our lives. Not the happenings.

Pam had her shit together in that moment. She handled the situation, it didn’t handle her. As the water mess became clean we started laughing how ridiculousness the morning had become. Her floor had to be completely replaced, and most everything dry cleaned. Pam is interesting and humble and she has built her life by using optimism as currency.

- Jen