Before Twilight sagas and weird vampire television series, Holly Penikas was defining “fairytale sexy”. With her sharp platinum blonde locks, nymph-like features, and whimsy modern style, Holly is easy to spot. Recently, her enthusiasm for personal style brought her to join forces with the online fashion startup, Zoora (pronounced zoh-rah). Founded by ex-financier Aubrie Pagano, Holly is a brand strategist on their small team. The website is an opportunity for people like you and I who obsess over fit and quality of clothing to partner with a local designer, fabricating a custom piece. With designers like Emily Muller, Adolfo Sanchez, K. Hendrix, or Nirva, the list is impressive even in its infancy. Holly also works full time at Mass General Hospital in communications and patient relations. Not to forget, she hosts her popular blog covetouscreatures.com. Her full agenda starts every morning with a 5:30am alarm clock call and a can of Red Bull.
“I grew up in a small town in southern Ohio, Dayton surrounded by cornfields”, she informed me, “ after checking out Boston College for school I vowed I would return”. In order to hear her words over Third Eye Blind in the background I pushed myself awkwardly close. Holly has her own signature accent, gentle with near perfect annunciation—it’s an arpeggio of a whisper. ‘Twilight’ certainly missed her at casting. After a two- year stint at Miami of Ohio University, she finished at Emerson College in writing, literature, and publishing. Post graduation she worked at the famed James Joseph salon. Still dabbling at salons she can be found at Bradley and Diegel, where her boyfriend Greg also works.
The two are their own creative fuels. Greg’s style is stamped as post-apocalyptic Gothic, he listens to ‘Witch Haus’, and most always has a camera with him (a hobby he developed from photographing Holly so much for the blog). Taking her fake lip ring out, she explains how the two met at a party where his collection of children’s book illustrations, records, and a large plastic light-up Dracula statue of Bela Lugosi immediately caught her attention. Since, they’ve been dating for six years. I expected him even at the interview, as the two are inseparable.
Holly’s style comes from an original place, as she merely plays a part with each ensemble. “I used to show up to class one day in head to toe pink, with ruffles, lace, the next day I’d show up in camo pants and knock-off Manolo Blahnik Timberlands”. Yes, I googled the shoes. Her peers at school were baffled but after the move to Boston the freedom presented itself as she found a balance and definition to it all.
As she most eloquently put it, “[My style is] for my self, a lot of it.”
"Everyone has body image issues. I’d love to be tall and skinny but there are other things about my look that I don’t have control over. I used to get hung up on those things. It is easier to look at it, like, what can I do with this? How can I make this interesting to look at? Interesting gets the same reactions as beautiful. For a lot of people it’s the same thing."
It’s hard to hear her words when clearly she is a stunning woman yet, her thoughts relate with all of us. She tweaks the “born this way” philosophy to her genius liking.
It is obvious that Zoora.com is her custom fit of a career. Allowing each of us to express our fashion affections to our own perfections and imperfections alike, the service connects us to designers who will embrace each of our qualities. Holly plans on staying in Boston, “I have more time here, more to do”, she explains. As style is her muse, so is her custom fit of a future.