[By Irma Heuven]
As Founder, Creative Director, and Curator of the concept store Stare Vie in Guatemala, Iliana Betancourt has had a key role in supporting and promoting local fashion and Latin American designers securing access to the most sought-after brands in the region.
Born and raised in Quetzaltenango (Xela), the home of culture and music in Guatemala. In September 2017, she opened Stare Vie, the very first boutique in her country merchandising emerging talent. Iliana’s entrepreneurial spirit has led Stare Vie to become the most important local platform of fashion, art, culture, and lifestyle. Stare Vie has been offering a wide array of products that has now branched into homeware. Her vision has also provided customers a space of warmth and personality raising the store’s prominence as a renowned local destination. Its carefully curated edit of designers has defined the spirit of Stare Vie providing consumers access to trends and styling tips. Among the success stories of Iliana and Stare Vie is creating exclusive partnerships and capsule collections and positioning national talent for international success and creating a shopping experience with a unique point of view.
For Iliana, being an entrepreneur is both a dream come true and a special mission. Being visionary, passionate, and disciplined is a set of values that Iliana presents in her daily life and work. She was named brand ambassador for She’s Mercedes by Mercedes Benz, a global initiative dedicated to inspiring, connecting, and empowering women, highlighting their unique success, and creating a dialogue that transcends cultures, industries, and experiences. Having studied Law and Fashion Design, Iliana has been invited on several occasions to speak about entrepreneurship at numerous schools and universities.
Among her initiatives at Stare Vie is the creation of an award to all the accredited universities in Guatemala that currently play a prominent role in fostering fashion designers in the country by offering the best student, selected by the educational institution, the opportunity to present and sell their work in the store for a period of three months. Her love of her family, the hometown of Xela, and fashion as well as her passion for traveling, meeting new people and places are at the core of who she is. Currently, she lives in Guatemala City, and in her free time she can be found gardening, embroidering, painting, and spending time with her husband and two children.
How do you feel about being 50 plus?
I honestly love being 50 plus. The way I see it is that this is the Golden Age; is the age you step strong and firm in the path of life, glowing and looking gorgeous and having so much knowledge and experience that you don´t have when you are younger.
At which age did you enjoy life most? Would you like to go back?
I have felt good, happy, and confident at every age and would not go back to any past time. I live the present happily and aware. Also, do I cherish every moment and really think every age of our lives is wonderful, and living each of them to the fullest allows us not to feel nostalgic about past times.
From which experience did you learn, what made you stronger?
My first job in an important Law Firm and maternity are definitely the two most enriching experiences in my life. Seeing my sons grow and learning so much from them in the process has been wonderful.
Also, from the time I was a little girl, I keep many teachings and wise advice from my dear great grandmother. And also I can say, my work every day, I learn a lot from people I work with.
What changes have you experienced after your 50th?
Well, gray hair! Which I don´t allow to show just yet, so I cover them with hair color. Also, I recently started using permanent prescription glasses to be able to see and read better. Personally, in my 50´s I walk towards a life with more confidence and a stronger, well-built personality.
What made you stronger in life?
Every accomplished goal and overcome challenges make me stronger. Also, the little experiences that have turned out different from what was expected, always leave great learning lessons for me.
What is your favorite quote?
Live the moment, intensely! and with passion.
Who should we follow on Instagram?
- @sissiottostyle I love how easy she makes it look that we can all look great.
- @pilivillamizard Such a mature beauty, a dear friend whom I admire for so many reasons.
- @cori.betancourt She´s so natural and beautiful at the same time, her IG account shows her unique lifestyle.
- @pino_montesdeoca Such a mature beauty, gray hair, model, just beautiful!
What’s your favorite destination/hotel/museum/restaurant in the world?
- Destination: Prague, Ch Republic
- Hotel: Coquí Coquí, Merida Yucatan. Santo Cielo, Guatemala. Notre Dame Hotel, Paris
- Museum: Museo Soumaya, Mexico City. Pompidou, Paris. Victoria and Albert, London
- Restaurant : Bellini, Miami. Baltazar NYC.
What’s your signature dish?
The one that makes your friends demand a seat at your dinner table.
I love making salads and it´s kind of my specialty dish. Every time I´m invited to friends´ houses or to a family gathering, they ask “bring the salad”.
Which childhood dish represents best the time and place of your youth?
Roasted chicken, for picnic days.
Trivia time, make a choice, and share your favorite brand:
- Nail polish or lipstick? Lipstick, 07 Stunner by Tom Ford, my all-time favorite.
- Heels or flats? Heels, definitively.
- Dress or trousers? Dress, always!
- Coffee or tea? Both, depending on the moment and time of the day. Swimsuit or bikini? Swimsuit. I´m not much of a pool or beach person, but swimsuit, if required.
Follow Iliana Betancourt on Instagram
For more interviews of inspiring fifty-somethings, see our Portraits series.
Want to share your life and style in this series or recommend an inspiring friend in her fifties? We love to hear from you. Please send us an email.