Lana Condor Wants to Go 'Literally Anywhere' in Italy — and She Just Designed the Perfect Bag to Take There
Best known for playing the loveable and relatable high schooler Lara Jean in the hit Netflix rom-com series To All the Boys, it's no surprise that Lana Condor is actually extremely relatable in real life.
"I have a deep devotion to pasta and pizza and I have never been to Italy. It's like, god, I want to go so bad," the multi-hyphenate actress-producer-singer told Travel + Leisure in a recent interview. She's not picky about where in Italy she wants to visit first: "Honestly anywhere, just anywhere, just literally anywhere and I'll be happy."
After a very difficult year, it's safe to say we're all dreaming of stuffing ourselves with pasta and pizza literally anywhere in Italy once Europe finally opens up for travel. And with the pandemic wearing on after 15 long months, we've all had to find ways to weather the proverbial storm, physically and mentally, whether it's ordering in pizza or daydreaming of cacio e pepe at a Roman cafe.
As May is both Mental Health Awareness month and Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, T+L got the chance to speak with Condor recently about how to better take care of ourselves, each other, and the planet, starting with her tips for self care while traveling.
Condor ascribes to the Naomi Campbell school of hygiene on flights. "I've always been a wet wipes girl, no matter what." Just as important, once you've cleaned potential germ-laden surfaces is "hydrating a ton," Condor added. Giving skin "all the moisture that you possibly can handle" is her travel mantra.
"I think there's absolutely no shame in doing your face masks and your sheet masks and your eye masks on a plane. I think we should just normalize that," she quipped. "I am that person who puts on the full sheet mask and gives myself a facial and I don't care what people think because ultimately the joke's on you now — my skin is hydrated and looking flawless." Judging from every photo we've ever seen of the actress, she has nailed the flawless skincare routine, so we're already taking notes for our next flight.
As for where to stow those in-flight facial essentials? Condor has the perfect carry-on bag for it. She recently partnered with bag brand Vera Bradley to help design the Lana Utility Backpack, a new functional silhouette featuring lots of interior and exterior zippered pockets, plus a drawstring and fold-over flap great for extra security while traveling.
Best of all, the backpack is part of Vera Bradley's new Recycled Cotton collection. Now, all of the brand's iconic cotton totes and duffles will be made from recycled cotton, which feels and functions just the same as the Signature Cotton the brand is known for. As a longtime fan of the company (one of Condor's very first bags was a Vera Bradley duffle that she used in her former life as a ballet dancer), she is especially excited to be part of this launch. "I'm excited for people to see that they can have the things that they love and that they have loved so much in the past, and see that they can have that while it also being very good for the planet."
Condor believes making decisions with our wallets that we feel good about is just another way that we can take care of ourselves. "I think that it's also going to make you feel good when you use products or invest in pieces that are good for the planet," Condor said, a philosophy that informs the way she shops as well. "I think you can really find very cool pieces that have been recycled and have been [previously] loved."
As things start to look promising with vaccine rollouts and we begin to travel again, Condor, a self-professed "very big food person," can't wait to get back to Japan to explore more of the country and, of course, eat some amazing food. "I think some of the best ways to connect to people or the best way to understand a person is to share a meal and the food that they grew up on... I always felt so enriched after sharing a meal or experiencing a new food that I've never had before."
Connecting with and understanding one another's cultures has been more important than ever this year, with the rise of anti-Asian violence and hate in the midst of growing civil rights movements. As an Asian-American actress in the public eye, Condor knows full well the responsibility and the privilege she has in helping to bring marginalized stories to light. "I wanted people to feel seen and not alone. I want people to feel represented," she said of the decision to pursue acting and be an entertainer. "So to me, it's a joy and an honor to be able to be a part of projects that make people feel less alone and make people feel seen, make people not feel weird or different in a bad way, but [just] people, you know."
Executive producing and starring in upcoming Netflix comedy series Boo, Bitch, Condor will continue to use her platform to give opportunities to those who have been traditionally under-represented. "We have actively been making sure that we're hiring and creating a really diverse writers room," she told T+L. "I feel like it starts with… making sure that people feel safe, just people feel safe to express themselves and to use their voices. And I think that's something I'm seeing more of. But again, we have a long way to go."
Editor's Note: This interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity.
Karen Chen is always planning her next great escape and loves the beach more than anyone else you know. See her prove it on Instagram @karenichen.