Glorious Broad #6: Patrice Wynne

Photos by Sarah Kjelleren

Photos by Sarah Kjelleren

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GLORIOUS PROFESSION: Social Entrepreneur. Owner/Creator at Abrazos. Writer.


GLORIOUS PERSONA: A Free, Gutsy, Jubilant Glorious Broad


GLORIOUS QUALITIES: Wise, Sensuous, Exuberant, Delicious  


GLORIOUS FACT: At 60, Patrice created a list called “104 Qualities I Want in a Partner.”  She was told, "The chances of finding a man with these qualities are the same as finding a unicorn."  Two months later, she met that “Unicorn.” Six days later, he proposed. Yeah, she knows what she wants – and then she makes it happen…

GLORIOUS PHILOSOPHY: “I have an internal message system now: I’m running out of decades, I’m running out of decades. I am running out of days in this mysterious thing called Life. It’s pushing me to create more, dare more. My next adventure: to design clothes using refashioned materials, of which I have mountains in my home. The Scissors Muse is calling…” 

GB: I got to know Patrice – theoretically – over cafecito with her fiancée, Ernesto, in San Miguel while she was traveling to New York. He rhapsodized about her – but in a very funny way – and all the stories he shared were glorious ones. The way he respected her, loved her, protected her, delighted in her – but understood that she needed her freedom and knew enough to let her fly. They shared a grown up sexy love – inspiration to me as I majored in dating boys – practically. I needed to meet this lady for more than a moment. I met her briefly at a café in San Miguel, and she was like a bolt of lightning aimed at – it seemed me – her force, style and energy were palpable. I then visited her boutique. I am not a shopper, yet I walked out of there with aprons, shirts and – well – stuff for everyone I didn’t know I “needed.” The woman has talent. We stayed in touch – and she starting coming to NYC more regularly. We became friends. She loves New York as she loves so many things in life… with exuberance, curiosity and an urge to MAKE STUFF HAPPEN. Contagious curiosity, contagious joy, contagious FUN. A dinner date with the Glorious Broad Patrice Wynne – with a lot of guffawing between delectable mouthfuls at an outdoor café in the West Village …

A BON VIVANT – MEXICAN STYLE...

DID YOU DREAM AS A GIRL THAT YOU WOULD GROW UP TO BE THE GLORIOUS BROAD THAT YOU ARE TODAY?

All I wanted as a girl was to be OUT of Pennsylvania. I thought I would live in New York; instead, I live in Mexico. Life’s taught me a lot of lessons. And one thing I am good at is making choices based on what I have learned. I have good instincts – always have – about self-preservation, having goals and following my heart. Which is WHY I live in Mexico.

YOU'VE ALWAYS BEEN MOVING, MOVING, MOVING – AND CREATING...

I moved to California when I was 19 – and to Mexico when I was 50. I’ve lived in three geographies – east coast, west coast, south of the border. So, the movement takes place mostly inside me to go where I can create. And the inspiration to create in Mexico is alive everywhere. The very essence of this culture is entrepreneurial. 

HAS THE DEFINITION “HAPPINESS” CHANGED FOR YOU FROM WHEN YOU WERE A YOUNGER WOMAN? YOU'RE SUCH A JUBILANT CREATURE!

You know, I think it has been the same for me. I think of myself as naturally joyous – quick to feel joy and ecstasy. I love spending time alone, even though I am hugely social. When I was growing up, my happiest, happiest moments of childhood were being alone in my bedroom – drawing, copying words out of magazines and making my own journals, clipping fashion photographs, reading biographies of women. I like to be in my own creative space. Then, making it real in the world!  That brings me great joy. 

HULLOOOO! You owned a well known bookstore in Berkeley, California called GAIA in the 80s and 90s. You moved to San Miguel, Mexico at age 50, where you started Abrazos, a retail shop that’s all about festive fashion, exuberant fabrics, celebrating women you adore – (Frida Kahlo please) – talk about visualizing!!! Sorry, I know that word is embarrassingly trendy but… you visualized it girlfriend! 

Well, yeah, I guess I did...I did. I did. I did.

I have always been exuberant in my clothing. Always. You know, I have never had an accessory that matched since I was 17.

SO, WHY MEXICO?

Moving to Mexico was the biggest risk I have ever taken. Saying goodbye to the community that I had loved in California. But I had to after I closed my bookstore in Berkeley. I didn’t have something that structured every moment of my day from meeting with employees to buying books to lunching with publisher’s reps to going out to dinner with the authors, to having nightly author readings. But it was time to move on.  I could not infuse my life with a new dream until I restructured the setting I was in. It had to be radical because I was getting depressed, feeling stuck in the past. When I came to San Miguel it was all about reinvention, it was about experiencing a different culture and having a totally different experience. 

WAS IT AN EPIPHANY?

It was. When I arrived in San Miguel I thought, I want this and I will do whatever it takes to live this big new dream: sell the house, get rid of accumulated stuff, put what I treasure into a van and cross the border, inner and outer, never to return again. 

TALK ABOUT A RESTART BUTTON! DO YOU FEEL A FREEDOM AS YOU GET OLDER?

There’s a freedom to now having that balance between giving to others, giving to ourselves, telling ourselves the truth, telling others the truth. Managing your time more wisely. Not giving it away… And what happens when you do that is – suddenly your body is more energized. You’re a happier person. You are doing the things that naturally you are wanting to do with your life, and you are having a more creative life.

HAVE YOU EVER BOUGHT INTO THAT IDEA OF AN EXPIRATION DATE ON YOUR CAREER, ON YOUR LOOKS, ON YOUR VITALITY, ANY OF THAT?

I would say on career, no. Because I am an entrepreneur at heart. If I had one penny, I would start my own business, no matter what age I was. However, before I met Ernesto, my fiancée, I was really aware that the odds were growing out of favor as a woman in my 60s. All this stuff – energy, looks, hair, body –  it’s all becoming something of its own at this age. Of course we have negative thoughts and scary thoughts. But you can’t cling to them. That’s a cancer of the brain. My wiser self knows: I am surprised about how my legs look today – but they’ll look worse in 10 years – so you better enjoy them today.

(Lots of chuckles between bites)

BRING IT ON...

Bring it on!

AND IT'S ACCEPTING...

Yeah, and it’s not looking back. You gotta look reality in the face, and you have got to look towards the future. 

IT'S TRUE. BUT YOU'RE IN MEXICO. IT'S A VERY DIFFERENT CULTURE THERE, ISN'T IT? ABOUT BEING OLDER AND BEING...

Well, it’s a different culture with age, there is courtesy and kindness extended towards elder people in the Mexican culture. In San Miguel there are a lot of older people so you are not being compared to younger people all of the time. Just the opposite. When I say to friends: “I am turning 64 – now that’s a marker” – and they say” “you’re a baby…come on…” I really have to say, it gives you a different perspective on your own age! 

SO WHAT DOES AGING GLORIOUSLY MEAN TO YOU?

A playfulness, an ease, more joy and sensuality – a spirited pleasure.  Being fearless and free – I do love my F words. It’s a fact. I love them. Fearless. Friendship. Freedom. Flaneur. Fashionista. Fiesta. Fun. Food.

Did I mention Patrice was joyful? Oh, yeah. She travels all over Mexico, writes, runs her fabulous boutique, Abrazos, and will soon be unveiling a blog about her zest for life as an ex pat in Mexico called, “A Mexican Love Story.” We feel quite sure she will be showing up in NYC next time with her own brand of clothing – cause she’s that kinda girl. Check her out at http://sanmigueldesigns.com/  or on Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/sanmiguelpatrice