Catalina Staheli, the creator and owner of [ Aleutia ] has been a part of the Faire for many years as a blogger, DJ, member of the Pinterest Team, photographer of the Why Do You Relay project and now this year also as a store owner and a sponsor. She shares her reasons to Relay, her growth as a creator and provides sneak peeks to her Faire-wares!
This is your first year sponsoring Fantasy Faire. What made you decide to become a sponsor?
This is my ninth year in Second Life and many of those years were spent exploring the fantasy and role play worlds. Though I didn’t hear about Fantasy Faire until about my sixth year in, once I knew, I wanted to absolutely be a part of it in any way I could. Three years ago, I started out as a blogger and Fantasy Faire literally was where I first began my career as an SL Blogger. Two years ago, I gave DJ’ing a try and had such a blast! Last year I came back as a DJ, Blogger, and now a part of the Pinterest team that helps put the catalog together. Every year Fantasy Faire has been a part of my life in one amazing capacity or another.
This year I began learning how to design in June and I knew early on I would absolutely love to take part as a designer for this year’s Fantasy Faire. I’ve been blessed to be given a chance to participate in the quarterly Enchantment rounds as a designer and also in The Secret Affair, so while my brand could be seen as mainly contemporary, we do delve into the realms of fantasy at least once a month.
You might be saying to yourself “Sure, sure, but just because you wanted to participate didn’t mean you had to go out and be a sponsor. There are plenty of levels and options.” And you’d absolutely be right!
However, this year I lost my dad to cancer, after a 3 year battle. He had been a big supporter of my learning to design, as well as all I have done over the past several years for Relay For Life and his advice last year had been to do what makes me happy. Combining my love of designing with the ability to give back seemed like the perfect way of honoring his memory and Fantasy Faire is without a doubt the best part of Relay For Life of Second Life for me.
When my dad was having surgery this past summer, they removed one of his kidneys in the hopes it would remove the most scarred and damaged areas from the radiation and he might have a chance of healing up better. While he lived right outside of Hattiesburg, MS, his doctor was 2 1/2 hours away, in New Orleans. During that surgery, I was looking at that long drive twice a day, just to get back to his house and get some sleep.
However, I remembered someone saying something during my involvement in RFL about a ‘Hope Lodge’ and with the right questions to ask, we found out there was a Hope Lodge, a place that families and patients could stay close to the hospital when they lived a long distance away….only 3 blocks from the hospital in New Orleans he was at. Every night a patient or family stays there, it costs the American Cancer Society around 100 dollars and all of that comes from the fundraising we do for Relay For Life. Our family never saw a bill and I was able to be there for him from early in the morning until far into the night every night before going the three blocks and falling exhausted into a warm, clean bed.
While 35,000L may seem like a lot, in reality it pays for 1 1/2 nights of someone’s stay at the Hope Lodge. Perhaps it might be the final amount needed to find the cure so no one else has to watch their loved one leave us. But in my rose-colored world, filled with my hopes and dreams, I’m imagining that donation is going to help another daughter have the same opportunity I had to be there with her father during his battle in the hospital.
How did you begin building in Second Life? What inspires you to create?
Designing is a very new thrill for me! I began learning in May of last year and we’re just coming up on the 1 year anniversary of [ Aleutia ] this summer! I have been a blogger and a model for several years and the opportunity arose to learn from a wonderful designer and that led to all of this! What inspires me in designing is the opportunity to create, the process of learning and trying, taking what I imagine and bringing it to reality. It’s a wonderful adventure!
What are you bringing to the Faire this year? Give us some sneak peeks or teasers!
I’ve got an insane goal of nine brand new releases and we’ll see if I’m able to meet that goal, but here’s a sneak peek of what’s coming!
What calls you to fantasy? When was the first time you encountered the genre and realized you enjoyed it?
I’ve always been a huge fan of Fantasy, reading voraciously from a very young age. Authors like Mercedes Lackey, Raymond E. Feist, Terry Goodkind, Anne McCaffrey, Tamora Pierce, and so many more have inspired me to always push my own creativity and to believe that anything is possible! Work is what pulled me into Second Life almost ten years ago, but it wasn’t long before I discovered the role play worlds and I have enjoyed flitting through the realms within SL ever since!
Do you have a favourite Faire memory? What are you looking forward to most this year?
I think my favorite Faire moment to date was last year, when I was working on the Pinterest team to get all of the exclusives up and into the catalog for everyone. And as I was flitting around on my cloud, we turned on the stream and played music and had fun, running from one sim to the next as the restarts chased us all over. And it was just a lot of fun because rather than be aggravated, we made the best of it and just had a giant party that traveled from sim to sim that night.
This year I’m excited to just wander the sims, exploring and enjoying myself. I look forward to seeing all of the amazing designs everyone has done and I am super excited to just get lost in the fantasy of the faire.
Thank you, Catalina, for taking the time to talk with us. Thank you for everything you bring to the Fairelands!