Leslie dela Vega was born in the chill and chilly, peace-and-love city of Saint Francis: San Francisco. At least that’s what we’re told, though — sans the flowers in her hair — we suspect otherwise, given her attitude to life and living.
Leslie shares a surname, a passion for adventure and (probably) an expertise in swordsmanship with Zorro. In any number of not-so-random moments, you might find her tandem skydiving right after watching another skydiver jump from a plane without his parachute opening. Or jumping into the middle of an ocean without knowing how to swim and living to tell the tale (she’s now teaching herself freestyle and proudly reports that she’s able to turn her head to take a breath between strokes). And then there’s her dream to get back on a motorcycle and relive that scene from Mission Impossible …
Though she got a head start with a Kodak at the ripe old age of 6, it wasn’t until after she graduated from San Francisco State University on the leisurely 10-year program that she landed her first real job in photography. She then made the trip across the country to the city of dreams that is New York, where she landed gigs at Time, Rolling Stone and The New York Times, three jobs she’d been dreaming of since high school, she says (OZY didn’t exist yet, so we’re not too offended). Her New York love affair was interrupted only by a hot 12 months in Mountain View as one of OZY’s original dream team members in 2013 — five years later, she’s back for round two.
And outside of OZY? A wonderful wife, an angelic pooch, an OZY-fanatic brother and being surrounded by the dearest friends and family — these are the tentpoles with which the picture-perfect Leslie dela Vega keeps it all aloft.