Cool Girls with Tag: writer

Dani Vetere

Name: Dani Vetere
Age: 31
Location: Los Angeles and New York
Occupation: Writer

Writer Danielle Vetere has her name in bright lights burning up the outskirts of the Great White Way. With her full-length play Hadrian’s Wall opening after winning a slot in the highly-competitive Fringe Festival, she’s recognizing her dreams to become a denizen of dramaturgy.

Growing up in Staten Island, New York, Dani wanted to be an architect, but she shrugged off the idea around the same time that she figured out she preferred words to numbers. It didn’t take long for her passion to persuade her onto a path as a writer.

I was one of those weird, introverted, bookwormy kids living in their imagination.

“I was one of those weird, introverted, bookwormy kids living in their imagination. I remember two distinct moments in school that led me to think about writing. One was in the third grade when a teacher chose my short story to read out aloud, to my simultaneous pride and embarrassment. The other was in the eighth grade when my English teacher cited me while using the word “playwright” in a sentence as part of a spelling test: “Playwright. Danielle might someday be a playwright. Playwright.” I didn’t know what she was talking about. Years later, when it came time to choose college majors, it just made sense.”

After college, Dani dedicated herself to becoming a professional writer, obtaining a Master’s in the same illustrious NYU program where she’d attended undergrad. She also worked for several successful television shows that will remain unnamed as well as for a Broadway production. After a few years spent further honing her skills, she was hired by the Disney TV show Phineas & Ferb, and she moved to Los Angeles to truly live the proverbial dream.

But all the while, the siren song of the stage called to her.

Dani completed a full-length play and, on a lark, submitted it to the Fringe Festival, where it was accepted. In August, Hadrian’s Wall will make its Manhattan debut, and Dani will watch her words come to life in the city she misses fiercely.

The play is a pair love stories revolving around a reclusive archaeologist who is suspected of stealing an artifact from a dig fifteen years ago. “It’s really about the way we can hold onto the past, and base our identity on it, and feel protected by it, when really what we need to do is take risks to be safe and happy,” Dani explains. So is she nervous about opening night? And what’s it like to watch the process of a play coming to life?

“It’s trippy and fun and satisfying to see your work live – as opposed to on a screen – but it’s also very raw to sit there experiencing that at the same time everyone else is,” Dani explains. “Being in New York means it’s the most discerning audience possible and they’ll have an opinion about every single word that’s spoken. But it’s also all the more validating because of that,” she adds.

When asked about the future, Dani’s goals seem to be more simple than the drama she produces for stage and screen. “I want to keep being able to make a living writing, and to keep getting better at it. I’d like to always keep my priorities straight and not put money first. But I’d also like to be able to live in New York City without a roommate and still be able to buy something at Forever 21 once in awhile.”

For giving stories a shot and entertaining the masses, we think Danielle Vetere is a very Cool Girl! If you happen to be in the New York area in the month of August, check out Hadrian’s Wall at the Fringe Festival to see what all the fuss is about, or just take a peek at the play’s website or Facebook page.

Gayle Wheatley

Name: Gayle Wheatley
Age: That’s top secret!
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Occupation: Freelance artist and writer

At the age of five, Gayle Wheatley would paint in the studio next to her father. This early creative influence echoes across her paintings today. “My favorite subjects back then included purple unicorns with manes of fire, and underwater worlds. To this day if you look closely, fragments of those early obsessions are still present in much of my work, in updated form of course!”

Gayle also began journaling early, at roughly the age of seven, and it’s a practice that she has rigorously maintained since that point on. “I’ve got stacks of notebooks,” she says. “They definitely make for some entertaining reading when I get bored!”

She also writes poetry inspired by her voyages, blogs about art and travel at CultureVixen.com, and she’s in the process of compiling a book of her paintings, photography, and poems inspired by her time in Iceland.

Although she’s a California native, Gayle has lived in Florence, Italy and Osaka, Japan, and her wanderlust has taken her to five continents, thirty countries, and over three-hundred cities. This international exploration has had a tremendous impact on her art and writing, keeping her invigorated and challenged. Next stop: New Zealand and Australia, the sixth continent on her list, followed by an artist residency in one of her favorite countries, Iceland!

Perhaps the most distinctive thing about Gayle’s multinational quest for stimulation and fodder for her work is the variety of situations she’s found herself in while on the road. She’s driven her car into quicksand in Iceland – “Boy does a car sink fast!” – been stranded on a Greek Island, gotten scammed into taking a fake floating market tour by a monk in Thailand, and she was picked up by German police in Munich when she got lost at Oktoberfest. Her adventuring often has been mouth-first; while gallivanting across the globe she’s consumed poisonous pufferfish, skewered salamanders, “stinky tofu,” putrefied shark, and the still-beating heart of a snake tossed in a shot of vodka in Tapei!

When she’s not traveling, eating exotic delicacies, playing her pineapple ukulele, drawing space ninjas, or practicing the martial art of Jeet Kune Do, Gayle sets out on individual artistic missions. “I’ve pushed boundaries with my creative goals,” she says. “One year I challenged myself to paint 100 paintings in under a year. I reached my goal in just ten months and have been painting up a storm ever since.” She credits those months with spurring a ton of personal growth, as her ambitious painting schedule forced her to overcome many of her weaknesses and to explore her strengths as a painter.

Most days, Gayle rises early in order to begin work in the studio. “I make sure to get in time for painting and writing when my mind is the most fresh,” she says. After lunch she buckles down and starts what she refers to as “serious work time,” where she tends to various freelance projects, marketing, and the details of maintaining her business and brand. Although it’s grueling, the rewards are great. “I think the biggest challenge to being a freelance artist is facing rejection on a daily basis, maintaining a healthy ego, and mustering up the courage to continue to follow an unconventional course in life,” she says. “You just have to accept the fact that not everyone is going to understand the need to put everything aside in order to dedicate yourself to creating art.”

For her tenacious traveling and artistic endeavors, we think Gayle Wheatley is a Cool Girl! Check out her art and writing at GayleWheatley.com, and follow her on Twitter @gaylewheatley