Picture perfect

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Featured in Capital #70
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The life of an influencer looks perfect – that’s the point. Larissa Carlson’s got the hook ups, the hot husband (a la Celeste Barber), and the fashion and make up know-how. She also has a photographer’s eye and a genuine enthusiasm for the things she promotes.

Describing herself as a “visual storyteller”, Larissa Carlson’s brand is The Leo Style. It’s an online diary where she talks about motherhood, lifestyle, travel, beauty and fashion. Her photos are lush and the people in them – namely, her family – are beautiful. She explains that it started as a way to connect with people who had similar artistic interests. “Then when I became a mother my platforms became family-centred. We are now proud resident bloggers of the Wairarapa, we share how to support local in our region, family-friendly experiences and accommodation, and how whānau can reconnect as a family outdoors.”

Larissa has been approached by tourism vendors from all over New Zealand wanting her help to “showcase Aotearoa and all our unique experiences and destinations.” She says it’s naturally tied in with her aim of using her platforms for a good cause while also ticking off her kiwi travel bucket-list. “We have brands such as Interislander who we have been travelling with for years notice us and in 2020 we landed a dream partnership with them that kicked off one of our favourite whānau road trips to-date in the South Island.”

Larissa’s website and instagram (16K followers) star herself and her family. Her husband Isaac is “an extremely thoughtful and loving family man. Passionate about men’s health, our Māori culture, and being in nature.” Isaac does the corporate thing Monday to Friday and then devotes himself to family time at the weekends, which are usually spent off-grid, with a focus on relaxation and being outdoors. “Our parenting style encourages optimal access to outdoor environments, we see it as their classroom, learning through play. I also whakapapa Māori so naturally I feel a strong bond and sense of happiness being off the grid.” Trips will often see Isaac diving for seafood and gathering herbs from the forest, or they’ll take locally grown produce and meats from the farmers markets or local business. Their Jeep is set-up with a fridge and burner so they can “cook up a storm outdoors. Isaac is a bit of a pitmaster so where fire is allowed we cook that way too.” Their two boys are Ryder-Leo and August-Grace, aged nine and five respectively.

The whole family got to jump on board Interislander late last year for what Larissa describes as “a journey to remember” across the Cook Strait. While she spent a lot of her journey out on the viewing decks taking in the sights, Larissa and her family did take advantage of everything else the ship had to offer – “there are plenty of onboard happenings for every member of the whānau.” She lists the two restaurants, a sports bar, shop, several lounges, the onboard cinema, and “mums and dads BRACE YOURSELF… there’s even a deck dedicated to children, can I get an āmene.” The family has travelled between the North and South islands many times on their preferred mode of transport, “In my humble opinion and after several experiences on board as family, there’s no better way to travel the Cook Strait than on Interislander,” she says. “It’s as much about the journey as the destination. We experienced the best of both worlds on our arrival and return journey. Sailing through showering skies and moody waters, to departing with a sunny-blue hurrah!”

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