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INTERVIEW: Colette Lettieri On "The Moment" Returning To Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center

Nicole Barylski

Seri Kertzner, Little Miss Party Founder, will be featured in the return of in person The Moment. (Photo: Courtesy of Little Miss Party)

After months of hosting virtual The Moment sessions via Zoom, Colette Lettieri is ready to bring the popular Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center (WHBPAC) education program back to its home, WHBPAC. That will happen on Tuesday, June 23 with The Moment: Little Miss Party Planner

We recently spoke with Lettieri to learn more about The Moment:

Could you please speak about The Moment's mission?

CL: Really, for me, The Moment initially started out as a focus group for moms, it was initially titled The Mom Moment. It generated from me dropping my two girls off at the Theater for camp and having idle time. I'm a perpetual student and I truly believe education is power, whether it's a cooking course, a long semester course or even a whole new degree. But it was this moment that I just sort of seized and said to the director at the time, "I'd love an opportunity to do some networking or have a forum for which women come together and I can organize guest speakers. What was a really casual thought turned into this more prescribed dialogue that we now have. We have anywhere from five to six speakers a season. That could be the summer season or the offseason. That's sort of how we generate it. This year, during the pandemic, it was really something that I held on to. It was an opportunity to get dressed. And I always kind of joked around with whoever was on the Zoom like, okay, everyone stand up, I want to make sure you're dressed not just from the top up. Last week, we had great turnout on the call with Dr. Sachin Shridharani. We had almost 50 women. It was an opportunity to just stay engaged and stay connected.

The one that I have coming up with Seri [Kertzner] from Little Miss Party, first of all, we worked together on an event that she hosted here [WHBPAC]. We initially just became friends. We couldn't be more similar and dissimilar. I joke around that the two things we have in common are we're the same height and we have the same color hair. But she came in with a bag of Doritos and I was drinking a green juice at the time. It's the perfect yin and yang, if you will, but we've come together in that we love to party, we love to entertain, and we just vibe in it. We're all about people's energy and how do you create a space that's full of positive energy?

We're going to be focusing on, which I think is key, is how to entertain while being socially distant. For someone like my mom, who is immunosuppressed, I still have to be very careful. It's an awkward position of, oh, let me eat with regular silverware while you eat with plastic. How do we go from fancy summers in the Hamptons to suddenly plastic cutlery? But the whole point of it, again, is to get people out, to get people to connect again, and to be in the same space that's really respectful of everyone. So if you don't want to join, you can still Zoom, if you do want to come everyone's wearing masks -but it's just a great kickoff to the summer.

After Seri, do you have any other special guests lined up?

CL: We have Palmer & Purchase, which has a couple of locations. We are going to actually do an in store shopping event. It will be socially distanced, masks required, but just to see what's trending for the summer and really being mindful of what we're coming out of, how to maybe take one or two pieces and turn them into five or six different looks. For many of these women, who I know personally have used this opportunity to go on to really work on self-care, because that was the theme of the winter/spring Moments while we were in quarantine was just self-care. Many of these women have said to me, I'm down anywhere from 15 pounds, to one person who said they lost 30 pounds. People are looking for an opportunity to get back into wearing some colors, to get out of their sweatpants.

What I love about Palmer & Purchase is they are really conscious of price and the pieces are timeless. It's not something that you wear one season and can't again. She's really done a great job. The initial mission of these moments was to create these moments of a movement of empowerment, honoring startup businesses, what they've gone through to perseverance. How they've maintained during these times, especially, and just a little moment of info and insight and really of encouragement. That's who I am, as an empowerment coach, that's what I love to do. We're not always going to hit a home run, but how do we at least get on a base and then go from there.

So is that what you look for when deciding what topic to focus on or which guest speakers to welcome?

CL: Yes, for the month of June, I thought both Seri and Abby represent women in business who have been very supportive of the local community, and who also really want people to feel good about themselves. Entertaining and socializing is an aspect of that, that connection and then your appearance is part of the armor that you present with. We're kind of hanging on July, only because we don't really know where we're going to be. We're going to keep plowing ahead. I'm thinking I might want to incorporate group fitness and outdoor workout activities.

The Moment with Little Miss Party marks the return of in person talks. What are you most looking forward to?

CL: Seeing her [Seri], seeing people other than my immediate family and I'm calling them "my core safe friends" - meaning they've been vetted. I love the opportunity. It's always filled with new faces. It's a great way to bring recognition to the Theater, which was the first to close in all of this and will sadly be the last to reopen. So just reminding people of the importance of the arts and, to me, the arts isn't just what we consider the norm of art, but really, it's education. What Seri does, for example, is completely creative and artistic and, in my opinion, it's an art. Gathering people back at the Theater, we will be outside, but just that opportunity to talk in front of people, meet some new faces, network a bit and get some great ideas for how to pull off this summer.

Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center is located at 76 Main Street in Westhampton Beach. For more information, call 631-288-1500 or visit whbpac.org.

Nicole is the Editor-in-Chief of Hamptons.com where she focuses on lifestyle, nightlife, and mixology. She grew up in the Hamptons and currently resides in Water Mill. www.hamptons.com NicoleBarylski NicoleBarylski

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