Hey Leanne! So for those who haven't had the pleasure, why don't we introduce you first?
Hi there! My name's Leanne Citrone, and I was a professional hair stylist and salon owner – now turned lifestyle website founder and recipe developer – based in Los Angeles.
So, you grew up in the UK and ended up in Los Angeles – did you always want to move?
I can't say I planned it, it was more like a series of events that I just did my best to go along with! I grew up in Northern England, and when my parents divorced, I ended up living with my dad in Florida as a teenager. I had wanted to move to New York, but happened to end up with a guy who preferred Los Angeles. Around the same time, I was absolutely captivated by Laurent Dufourg, the stylist at Privé Salon who did Gwyneth Paltrow's look in Sliding Doors, and decided I'd head to LA and try to work for him! Turns out he needed an assistant, loved animal prints as much as I did, and I've been in LA ever since.
We know styling hair is a family tradition for you at this point – but when did you discover the food blogger inside you?
My mom was always cooking, always, and it was absolutely the thing that brought our family together. Christmas was huge for us, and to this day, my mother's holiday chocolate cake is the one recipe I won't share! (I actually recently shared it with my brother, and when he started asking me about substitutions I almost hung up on him. Do it properly, or don't do it at all!).
Anyway, as the salon world was getting more and more demanding, I felt like I didn't have the time or energy to be posting about hair on Instagram too, so I turned to my love of cooking and tried to celebrate that side of my personality in my off hours.
Do you have to "switch gears" from Stylist-Leanne to Foodie-Leanne?
Well, they had to coexist for many years – Stylist Leanne was everything, and Foodie Leanne only got to come out for special occasions. At the beginning of the pandemic, I really started to work on myself and try to find the things that made me feel happiest and most productive, and I realized that cooking, baking, and sharing recipes had always been something I loved, even when I was working all day at the salon.
It grew organically from there, but I was still so hesitant to leave the salon – it felt like giving up. A phone call with a friend convinced me; "If this wasn't the time to make a change, what would it take?". I walked away during the pandemic and have been cooking crazy ever since.
How do you define the power of community?
Community for me is all about mutual trust, mutual support, and coming together to lift each other up. So that can take a lot of different forms! I started to get involved with WellSoul a few years ago and found such an incredible community on those retreats. That's when I really came to appreciate the ability to exist in a space without judgement, where I knew I could find an endless amount of communal support.
How did you discover the Parker Clay community?
A friend just sent me the link one day and I instantly fell in love! The products of course, but more importantly, the mission of empowering women and celebrating the artisans behind what we buy. I think that's such an important piece of the puzzle for a better future – not pretending that the things we shop for just appear at your door. Someone brought that item to life, and that person deserves not only to be paid fairly and treated well, but to be celebrated for the beauty they create, wherever they may be! The fact that Parker Clay doesn't shy away from sharing those stories is really beautiful to me.
What are some of your favorite P.C. products so far?
I absolutely LOVE my Mulu Catchall pouch. I have it in black, I take it with me everywhere, every day, it's the perfect size for my essentials. I also love my Valley wine tote, which I always take to dinner parties, especially if I'm bringing one of my dishes with a wine pairing (or two).
What's one way, big or small, that you work to affect positive change each day?
There's a lot to unpack there! On a small, personal level, I try to meditate and practice self-kindness in the hope that I can reflect that kindness onto others – sort of a domino effect of positivity and love for the people around me. Then I try to manifest that into actions, big or small – whether it's as small as stopping to buy flowers from the lady on the corner, volunteering with charities like Baby2Baby, or working with schools on nutrition and fitness. Something I was challenged to do recently was to come up with recipes and guidance for healthy eating on $10 per day, and that has been extremely eye-opening. I think being open and allowing your perspective to be challenged is something we all should incorporate into our lives.
What's one hope you have for the future?
Again, so many I can hardly focus on one! I think the concept of waste, and the state of waste and consumption in our world today is something that's been on my mind a lot recently. Trying to shift my personal mindset to one of minimal consumption, whether it's in beauty or fashion or food, has been a challenge but very worthwhile. I've made an emphasis on considering where the things I buy come from, who they impact at every stage, and ultimately where they go when I'm "done" with them. And of course, trying to never be "done" with items in the first place – how can you reuse, repurpose, and regenerate the things you need as much as possible?
Leanne – the floor is yours! What's coming up in your world?
SO many exciting things. After leaving the salon, I felt so elated… then so guilty for feeling that happy! I'm working on letting myself enjoy the things I love and I think that positivity is starting to shine through in the projects I have coming up. It's all top secret for now, but keep up with me on Instagram (@leannecitrone) or on my website, leannecitrone.com – big things coming soon!