Liz Lee on Being Independent, yet Family-Oriented


I did a 100-hour teacher training with Liz this past year. That translates to about an hour of actual conversation, thanks to breaks and partnering. When I asked her to do this interview, all I could really remember about her is that she’s open, easy-going and has a crazy good purvottanasana.

You’re from SD, went to college at Barnard in NYC, and now live in SD again. Where else did you live before moving back home?

I lived in LA for a short time, working for a production company that managed Rupaul back in 1997. I was the production assistant and just gophered errands around LA. It was nothing glamorous. My job mainly consisted of reorganizing a whole room full of VHS tapes, watching Rupaul in VHS and writing down what she was wearing, answering calls and running errands through the traffic.

But I was young and enjoyed living in LA. We did have a Christmas company dinner, maybe only 7 company people, plus Rupaul and his boyfriend. I was a bit starstruck ‘cuz he was so popular at the time. But he was very kind. He talked to me about how he was from San Diego but ever since he left, he had never gone back. I call him “he” because he was dressed as a man for the dinner party.

LizTravelingI also lived in Honolulu for a year in 2005, going to community college. I was looking at the school employment board [and wound up] working as a notetaker for deaf students and volunteering with autistic kids aged 5-7. I thought it was very cool that deaf students had a lot of assistance through the school. Each deaf student not only was assigned a signer to interpret for them, but also someone like me to jot down notes for each of their classes.

Now you’re in the business of selling store fixtures (mannequins, racks, display cases.) How did that come about? What other fields did you consider?

I fell into Farkas Store Fixtures because it’s a family gig. When I was a sophomore in college, we found out my dad had to undergo a quadruple bypass. I left school to help him recover while my mom worked at the store. After his recovery, I helped out at the store. There were no computers- we did handwritten invoices! So I set up a network system and incorporated the company.

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about whether or not to continue the family biz after my parents retire. If all things work out, I’d like to venture onto something new. I’ve been at it for so long; I think it’s time to find something that I’m more passionate about. My next move will definitely be working with children.

I noticed you have a burn on shoulder/neck area. What’s the story behind that?LizScars

I have a large 3rd degree burn from my left neck down towards just under my left boob. When I was around 3 years old, I was running around the house chasing after my older cousin. My mom was cooking stew in a crock pot and I jumped over the cord and the pot fell on me. I remember all of that pretty clearly but don’t remember anything after the ride to the hospital. I had a skin graft. The doctors took skin from my thighs and grafted it onto my chest. So I also have some scarring on my inner and outer thighs but they are hardly visible now. I was never self conscious about my scars. My mother was the one who tried to protect me from others seeing my burn. She always encouraged me to wear high neck shirts. But after high school I stopped listening to her (laughs.)

Your Facebook Relationship Status says “Ask.” So, what’s your status?

(laughs) I’ve got me a guy. His name is Paul. He moved out here from Philadelphia last December for me. We actually met in Denver through mutual friends. I was there visiting friends and to see some music. He was there with a friend of mine for the Cannabis Cup.

What’s the Cannabis Cup?

It’s an event where growers from all over the world bring their best crops and judges award the Cannabis Cup to the best weed. It’s held every year, usually in Amsterdam, but since Colorado recently changed their laws, it was held there in 2013. It’s like a large convention for enthusiasts, but also displays new strains that work well for people and children with chronic conditions like epilepsy or cancer. And it displays new forms of cannabis like shatter, wax, glycerin oil and candy. And with the dispensary business booming, all kinds of new packaging was shown.

How often do you smoke pot?LizSleepingBagJumpsuit

Currently I’m only smoking maybe once a month or once every two months. I like edibles and that’s also about once or twice a month. I prefer edibles to smoking. I was a daily smoker for many years. I still enjoy it, but just don’t crave it as much and save it for special occasions.

Are you secretive about smoking?

I was secretive about it with my parents, but they caught me a few times. At my work, most of my employees know that I don’t care if they smoke pot, just not on the job. They know I’m pretty liberal on that issue. So they can think what they wish of that. And actually I do have my medical card. Even though I don’t use it very often, it sure is convenient. Especially with a run-in with the law. They are so much more lax if you have a card. I’ve never fought hard for legalization but I do believe it should be legalized.

Why do say “ask” about your relationship on Facebook?LizModeling

I should change it to “in a relationship” but I’ve been pretty lazy on Facebook.  I used to be on it every day, multiple times a day. Now I may check it once a week. I don’t like the idea of Facebook owning everything I post. I’m a little paranoid of them knowing what I do, where I’m going, who my friends are.

What are your hobbies?

I love to dance, especially to minimal techno or jam bands like Phish or The Disco Biscuits. I have a weakness for fantasy fiction, especially the young adult kind, but I’ll read just about anything. I could literally read a whole week away. Yoga, of course, and Badminton. There’s a free badminton court a bike ride away and my cousins and boyfriend are all very competitive about it (not that we are any good.) I also enjoy camping and traveling.

You’ve been to many countries. What’s your travel style?

In 2002, I traveled to Japan where my cousin was living at the time and stayed for a few days. Then on to Korea where my mom met me (she hadn’t been in over 25 years) and we visited relatives. I had a 24 hour layover in Thailand and took the first bus out and just walked around until I had to take a tuk tuk back to the airport. From there, I flew to Sweden where my girlfriend from Sweden lived. We saw the midnight sun on the summLizTraveling2er solstice, then took a train to Prague and Germany. I left her in Frankurt and flew to England to visit my good friend in Oxford. I spent a few days there before flying home. That, all in all, was about 24 days. I was very lucky at the time to find airfare for under $2,000. No such deals like that anymore.

Most of my other trips have been staying a few days here, checking everything out and moving on to a different region. So yeah, I like to wander. But I also think it would be cool to stick it out in one place for a couple of weeks (like Spain, Italy or France) and to live like a local. Most of the places I’ve been to have been to see the buildings there- Gaudi’s masterpieces, Angkor Wat. There was one time I went to Mexico just for a music festival. I prefer traveling alone or with one other person, not in groups.


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