Welcome to Teddy Quinlivan's TED Talk: "I'm Very Unapologetically the Way I Am"

There was a time when Art Deco charm was synonymous with South Beach’s kitschy appeal. That time has passed. Wander down the Miami strip today and you’ll be greeted by rows of sleek, shiny hotels enticing vacationers with stark-white rooms, resplendent lobbies, and the low, ever-present hum of thumping bass reverberating throughout the halls (and your body, and soul). Which might explain why, as I walk into Teddy Quinlivan’s suite at the decidedly modern Hotel Delano in South Beach, I have to blink twice. Perched on a window seat and swathed only in a pristine, fluffy white robe, ribbons of mid-afternoon sun reflecting off the tops of her shoulders, Quinlivan looks like an ethereal statue; or perhaps a hologram projected from another era—a Grecian cast of Athena that’s been misplaced in the Modern Art wing.

The only giveaway that she’s definitely of our current world is her e-cigarette—a Juul, obviously—which she twirls in her hand as she unfurls to greet me.  At 5’11”, with amber pools for eyes and magnificent cheekbones, Teddy Quinlivan makes for an imposing figure. She was discovered at age 21 by Nicolas Ghesquière himself, after all, and has already walked for the likes of Louis Vuitton, Chloé, and more in the three years since. Regardless of what her intimidating bone structure might convey, I realize very quickly that Quinlivan is not one for airs or false pretenses. In the one minute it takes for me to sit down across from her in the window nook, she’s already filled me in about her (mis)adventures from the night before that involved running into an old NYC flame, generously offered me one of her Juul pods when I mention I’ve run out, and explained why she prefers 3% Virginia Tobacco-flavored Juul pods over 5% (a reason she’ll have tell you if you ever meet her, but, trust me, will make you laugh).