Bianca Venerayan is the ultimate cool-girl. She’s unabashedly real, focuses on important social issues, and has killer style -- which is also ethically sourced. From launching womenswear brand Kastor & Pollux with Dani Roche, to writing integral content most others aren’t willing to discuss, the Toronto-based blogger and content creator does it all and executes everything with that witty self-deprecating sense of humor we’re all secretly trying to achieve.
At the age of 18, Bianca was sitting front row at Fashion Week interviewing designers for blogTO. By the end of her first year of university, she and Dani had created Kastor & Pollux. She’s since made the decision to leave the fashion industry, driven by her discomfort with the negative impact the industry has on its laborers. “The truth is, I'm an awfully sensitive being. Discovering the sheer gravity of fashion-related issues dislodged my comfortable (Western) ignorance that fashion is all fun and games and pretty dresses,” she explains. Having lived both in Canada and the Philippines, her observations of poorly treated workers added to her growing unease. “I could no longer separate the third-world workers struggling to make ends meet and the pollution that blanketed overpopulated towns from my privileged life as a clothing designer.”
Since high school, Bianca has made the choice to purchase clothing from thrift stores. Initially, it was a style choice. Since learning the ins and outs of the fashion industry, however, it's also an ethical one. "It's become a conscious choice to purchase vintage and secondhand as a way to express myself aesthetically, yet ethically," she tells us.
After leaving the fashion industry, Bianca began writing, something which has always come second nature to her. “As it turns out, everybody has different gifts and paths that lead them — something I learned when I finally left my administrative role at Kastor & Pollux. My gift is taking all of my jarring experiences and putting them on paper, adding color to others' perspectives. Plus, I have a lot to say, so I know I can't possibly run out of content anytime soon,” she says. Luckily for her readers, Bianca’s content is thoughtful, educational, and her choice of subject matter is typically uncommon, so writing and encouraging discussions about these topics is nothing short of imperative.
“My best, most all-encompassing advice is simply to be gentle with yourself. I know nobody's ever been more cruel and detrimental to my growth than myself."
The decision to purchase clothing with ethics in mind isn’t the only unpopular topic Bianca has broached in her writing. In February, she began writing sex blog posts about a variety of topics that don’t garner nearly enough attention; female masturbation, the concept of virginity, birth control, LGBTQ issues, and more. Since sex is undeniably a significant part of most peoples’ existence, yet still not openly discussed, Bianca found herself motivated to make opinionated, but well-informed and educational content about sex. “Preferences, drive, and direction in all aspects of an individual's life are deeply rooted in sexuality whether consciously or unconsciously."
Therefore, she says, “It's absolutely ridiculous that sex isn't openly discussed from all perspectives, and sex education in schools is so awful. I think a refined understanding of sex is key to alleviating many social issues and paving the way for a future of open-mindedness and respect.”
Clearly, Bianca has numerous admirable qualities. But easily one of the things I love most about this MISSBISH is the emphasis she puts on being okay with not knowing everything all of the time. She even wrote an article about it, that I, as someone in their early twenties with not a lot figured out, found insurmountably comforting. In an age where we’re all comparing ourselves and our progress 24/7, the importance of being alright with where we are can’t be stressed enough. In Bianca’s words, “My best, most all-encompassing advice is simply to be gentle with yourself. I know nobody's ever been more cruel and detrimental to my growth than myself.”
Lastly, I asked Bianca to name some of her fave Toronto shops and give us a little insight into her personal take on the MISSBISH lifestyle:
“I really love Public Butter and Black Market for affordable, handpicked vintage and secondhand clothing. The Queen West Antique Centre and GUFF are killer antique furniture stores. Other than those, I tend to spend most of my money on food and books. As for what it means to be a MISSBISH, MISSBISHes are unapologetically themselves, yet continuously working to improve. My MISSBISHes are Elizabeth Gilbert and Erika Lust — I have permanent heart eyes for those ladies.”
Photographer: Nathalia Allen