Photography by Zoe Weber

Chelsea Leyland

DJ | Model | Actress

| Williamsburg

There’s something about irreverent British babes like Kate Moss, Suki Waterhouse and the Delevingne sisters. Equal parts charm and spunk, they’re just as hilarious and fun as they are beautiful and talented. Likewise, the London-born Chelsea Leyland is no different. With long, golden hair and a sexy, but tough sense of style (think a smattering of leather, lace, studs and denim), Leyland is the girl behind some of the hottest playlists in town. Nicknamed “fashion’s DJ,” she got her start when she scored a coveted gig for Valentino’s Fashion’s Night Out party in 2010 and since, she’s spun for industry giants like Fendi, Missoni, Armani and Vogue. So, next time you find yourself at a fashion party with the uncontrollable urge to “just dance,” take a look around for the DJ booth. If you see those blonde wavy tresses, it’s likely you’ll have Leyland to thank. Here, she sits down with CITIPHILE to reveal her little black book on NYC.

NEIGHBORHOOD STANDBY: Café Mogador (MAP IT, x) or 1 or 8 (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x). The chicken grill at Mogador is incredibly hearty and delicious, but also healthy and quite simple— just chicken, rice, grilled vegetables and salad. I also love the restaurant’s Moroccan and Mediterranean flair.

COFFEE OR TEA: Tea obviously as I’m a Brit. The best cup in the city is at home because I know just how I like it. My go-to right now is Matcha.

ALL-TIME FAVORITE RESTAURANT: Franny’s (*Location now closed). I recommend the clam pie because it’s unusual and totally off the charts. This place is a must—  a farm-to-table dream that is consistently good!!

BEST BRUNCH: Brooklyn Flea (MAP IT, x). It’s great because you can eat from a million different stands and walk around as you eat.

BEST PEOPLE WATCHING:  The bench outside my apartment. I also live next to a skate shop so if you like cute skater boys… 😉 The subway is always a good spot to people watch too.

GIRLS NIGHT OUT:  Due to my busy schedule, I don’t get a lot of opportunities to do many of these, but we like to either stay at home with wine and catch up or go to Hotel Delmano (MAP IT, x) for a drink.

MUSIC PICK: I listen to a million, trillion genres, ha! Hip hop, house, electro, rock, punk, reggae… I can go on and on! Best place to listen to live or recorded music would be Output (MAP IT, x). They have great DJs and the top sound system in the U.S.

COCKTAIL DE LA NUIT: I’m boring: I only drink red wine. My favorite place to go for a glass and to take a mate for a cocktail is Maison Premiere (MAP IT, x). Another favorite bar of mine is Hotel Delmano (mentioned above).

HEALTHY STAPLE: Juice Press (MAP IT, x) for their Pink Punk and/or Love At First Sight juice.

GUILTY PLEASURE: My guilty pleasure is almond buttercups and I indulge anywhere I see them!

DATE NIGHT STANDBY: Nitehawk in Williamsburg (MAP IT, x). It’s a cinema where you can also dine and have a drink at. What makes it great is that it makes you feel quite decadent!

DELIVERY GO-TO: A good curry in the winter or the pineapple rice from Wild Ginger (MAP IT, x) if I’m feeling healthy.

NY’S BEST-KEPT SECRET:  There are so many, but the fruit you can find in Chinatown always seems like one to me.

REGULAR AT: Gotham Gym (MAP IT, x). I try to go as often as I can. My trainer Rob Piela keeps me coming back because he’s the man and is one of the naughtiest people I know. I’m also at Bakeri (MAP IT, x) quite often. Their mini chocolate baguettes keep me coming back!


CLOSET CHECK: My closet is a bit bipolar. My style changes daily and it all depends on my mood. One day, I might feel like an alien and the next, I’ll feel like a glammed up DJ. I love Le Grand Strip (MAP IT, x) for vintage one-of-a-kinds. The one item that I found in NYC and can’t live without is my snakeskin Doc Martens though. They belonged to my friend/artist Sky Farrell who sadly passed away. They are one-of-a-kind and whenever I see them in my closet, they not only remind me of her, but of how crazy colorful of a person she was all around.

BEST HOME DÉCOR: It’s quite masculine to be honest— perhaps industrial meets anatomical. I like to look for things at the Brooklyn Flea, Ebay, and ABC Carpet and Home (MAP IT, x). Most things I own come from antique shops, junk stores, Ebay or flea markets. I love to buy anatomical prints off Ebay.

BEST HOST/HOSTESS GIFTS: It depends on whom the gift is for. Space NK (MAP IT, x) is great for things that smell yummy. Often, I like to buy people crystals as a “thank you,” especially if they’re special 🙂

BEAUTY BLACK BOOK: Janelle Chaplin at O& in the West Village (MAP IT, x). She’s the best hair colorist out there and she’s also an amazing person.

FIT PICK: Running or boxing at Gotham Gym. I’m currently extremely out of shape, but when I’m on a roll, I’m on a roll. I also love a good hike upstate or in Runyon Canyon in LA— that’s my absolute favorite!

Times Square at 5 in the morning. At 4:30 am, people are still coming home from the clubs and bars and at 5:30 am, people are going into work and the day is starting, but at 5:00 am, it’s as if time has stopped. It’s one of the most magical experiences and it can only be experienced in NYC. CP

Chelsea’s New York

From L to R: First Row: Inside Hotel Delmano; Bread from Bakeri; Flowers at Brooklyn Flea; Bites at 1 or 8. Second Row: Spread at Café Mogador; Vintage turntable; Décor by ABC Carpet & Home; Garden at Maison Premiere. 


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