As Alexander McQueen proved to us with his signature skull creations, creepy is quite cool. Vera Meat, an East Village jewelry boutique store owned by Ukrainian-born Vera Balyura, is the place where one can find such delightfully-eerie trinkets as, say, a ring shaped like two small fingers or a bracelet made to look like a human spine replica.
But Vera, being a woman of many talents (fun fact: she originally moved to New York at age 14 to be a high fashion model), also has accessories for animal lovers, vampire-philes, and people who enjoy prehistoric animals eating modern-day junk food (like Zach Galifianakis, one of Vera’s celeb customers.)
Name: Vera Balyura
Location: New York, NY
Profession: Jewelry Designer
Twitter Handle: @verameat
1. What are you wearing?
A tank dress I designed years ago with a hand-drawn body builder, also shark jaw & crown slippers from Stubbs & Wootten, wearing my dog Fred on my lap (sometimes I wear her as a scarf), wearing my own seahorse kissing ring and OMG ring with ruby I designed.
2. What do you do in a typical day?
Wake up to the warm watchful eyes of my puppy Fred licking my face & struggling, then meet with VeraMeat’s chief executive Megan on our way to our East Village jewelry store on 315 E 9th St. We buy chai plus ham and cheese croissants. Then after work I turn into a unicorn come into your dreams & burst into a million stars before you wake.
3. What book/movie/TV show are you really into right now?
Girls on HBO is pretty much the best show ever & I love everyone in it. My secret dream is for them to film in one of my stores. Think they’d love my new Williamsburg store on North 5th & Bedford Ave! Books: The Four Loves by C.S. Lewis, movie: Dumb & Dumber (Jim meets David Letterman plus Giant = my dream man.)
4. What’s a trend you wish would die?
Being mean and judgmental to people you don’t know. I would love everyone to Mr. Rogers each other!
5. What do you order for brunch?
Fried Chicken at Peels or Sea Vegetable Salad sub sea for black beans plus extra house dressing at Caravan of Dreams!
6. Who should we follow on Twitter that we’re (probably) not?
7. What song or band has most affected or influenced you?
Neil Young-everything, Bon Iver- Skinny Love, Neutral Milk Hotel, Patti Smith-Pissing in a River, Hot Chip, Nirvana, Grimes, all my music friends Sharon Van Etten, TV on the Radio & classic Janet Jackson! I love successful people coming out with music (Robert Pattinson’s secret house show was great.)
8. What project are you obsessed with right now?
I’m actually recording my first 4 singles. The record comes out soon, so sign up for our newsletter on verameat.com for more info, or like us on Facebook. It’s a new thing for me even though I’ve been playing music my whole life (my mom was a concert pianist.)
9. What do you think is the best reality show?
Watching interviews on youtube with Oliver Sacks or going to one of his talks about his beautifully-written science-meets-art.
10. What’s your hangover cure?
Mint water, fresh coconut juice, my friends.
11. What fictional character do you most identify with?
Matlock the TV lawyer for sure. Also, Funshine or Love-a-Lot Care Bears or a Gremlin.
12. What was the best vacation meal you’ve ever had?
My mom and I went to Tabacon Spa in Costa Rica where we sat inside the pool while being served large shrimp. Swimming in warm volcano water while balancing a beverage is right up my alley.
13. What’s your favorite solo outing?
A Manhattan stroll, I usually will go to the St. Marks Bookshop then the Saint Alps Teahouse for bubble tea and just walk around and try to make some new friends. I like to pretend like NY is actually Mr. Rogers’s neighborhood–you know, I’ve met some of my best
friends in front of a library or at a museum randomly.
14. What’s your favorite bar in another city?
Let’s just pretend Brooklyn is another city as I’m usually in Manhattan but love to venture there just to hit up Fette Sau BBQ.
15. What luxury do you think should be included in plane travel to
make it more fun?
A foot massage by someone with a fetish
16. What’s your biggest vice?
Hm, so many; coffee eclairs, bubble tea, movies, red meat, cool old real pipes.
17. What movie will you always watch to the end when it’s on TV?
Edward Scissorhands, Death Becomes Her, Beau Travail
18. Who’s your Spirit Animal?
My puppydog Fred, who’s also my company mascot.