How cool is this? Leyla Safai (http://www.heartschallenger.com/) drives a pink truck around Los Angeles, selling ice cream, candy, and toys from all around the world. Very cool, indeed.
I called Leyla after reading about her in Paper Magazine and got the scoop on her life story. Here's what I learned: Leyla was born in LA. As a young person, she thought that ice cream trucks looked like jail cells. Their tiny windows with big metal bars did not cut the mustard. One day, Leyla saw a mint green ice cream truck drive by and thought it was beautiful. Why, she wondered, did she never see that truck again? What happened to the old man who was driving it?
As a teenager, Leyla was at a rave in the desert. Again, she wondered why there couldn't be a beautiful ice cream truck filled with all kinds of treats. Wanting to create something that would give hope to both herself and to other people, Leyla started to more actively entertain the idea that she could make her dream a reality.
As luck would have it, Leyla met Ben, a calm man who loved to make music. He would become her partner in the creation of the pink ice cream truck and the recorded music which would be part of their appearances about town.
Leyla drives her truck on a regular route around the city so people know where and when they can stop by for a treat. She also makes appearances at parties and concerts. Her treats come from countries such as Mexico, Jamaica, Iran, China, and Italy. She even carries a Kosher version of Bazooka Joe.
Some other interesting bits about Leyla: As a teenager, she dropped out of school. It was hard for her to sit still for long periods of time. So she spent her hours in used book stores and thrift stores. "My education came from The Salvation Army," shares Leyla. "I read a lot of books and was always figuring out how different objects from the store were made." She also took the bus to different parts of Los Angeles, making friends of all different nationalities.
When she was in school, Leyla was known as The Candy Lady. Her mom took her to warehouses to buy sweets in bulk. She's take the candy to school and make $40 to $50 a day in quarters from selling the goodies to her friends.
Leyla went on to become an in-house designer at The Standard Hotel. Fortunately for the folks in LA, she left that job to launch her mobile mecca of magic, Heartschallenger. She and Ben are currently working full-time on their music group, Heartsrevolution, which is part of that magic. They spend much of their time in the studio recording a full-lenth album of dance tracks and, in Leyla's own words, "neverending storyish-type songs."
Glad you followed your heart, Leyla!