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  • Carolina Gonzalez-Bunster
  • Carolina Gonzalez-Bunster
  • Carolina Gonzalez-Bunster
  • Carolina Gonzalez-Bunster
  • Carolina Gonzalez-Bunster
  • Carolina Gonzalez-Bunster
  • Carolina Gonzalez-Bunster
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Who in life has completely changed the way they live: following one’s dreams is the most exciting adventure that can happen, but it’s also the most difficult choice to make.

Here is the story of Carolina, the founder of Walkabout Foundation and a great fan of Tod's since she was just eleven years old.

Tell me about your first encounter with Tod’s?
I can distinctly remember my first encounter with Tod’s when I was about 11 years old and my mother and aunt bought matching beige D-Bags. It reminds me of when I was a young adolescent, walking down the streets with my mom, going for lunch, shopping together. She still has the bag and every time I see it, I’m reminded of those special times.

When you think of the brand Tod’s what thoughts and associations come to mind?
Timeless, iconic, elegant, beautiful, sophisticated, fresh, classic, simplicity at its finest.

As a person with a chic and modern personal style, which you are, how do you define style?
In my opinion, style is not about wearing or following all the latest trends, but about knowing how to put and piece items together and expressing your personality through your appearance.

How would you describe your style?
I like to combine different elements of different styles into the same one look. I’m quite eclectic in that sense; I like to combine preppy chic with an edgy twist, like a pair of Tod’s loafers with a leather jacket for example. I like to add twists, slightly daring I’d say.

Tell me about Walkabout Foundation. How did it start? Which are the most important objectives for 2013?
I used to work in finance and in 2008 I decided to take a massive leap of faith, to risk everything and quit my stable, secure job to pursue a lifelong passion. I quit to start a charity called Walkabout Foundation, which focuses on funding research to find a cure for paralysis and donating wheelchairs to people in need all over the world (www.walkaboutfoundation.org) because I was inspired and motivated to help the millions of people in the world who are paralyzed, like my older brother Luis who suffered a spinal cord injury when I was 12 years old and became paralyzed from the chest down. In 3 short years, Walkabout has funded millions of pounds in paralysis research, helped enable the first paralyzed man stand and step again, and has donated over 3,000 wheelchairs, wheelchairs called RoughRiders which are made completely of bicycle parts, to adults and kids in need in developing countries while being endorsed and supported by Bill Clinton, Donna Karan, Martin Sheen. The most important objective for the foundation for 2013 is helping even more individuals than we helped last year, and helping to fund even more groundbreaking research through Dr. Reggie Edgerton’s lab at UCLA, the Christopher Reeve Foundation, and the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis.

You already changed your life once (banker turned founder of a charity). Any other special project for the future?
Life is long and the possibilities are endless. There is so much I could do with Walkabout, pursuing a more creative or entrepreneurial side. I’ve always wanted to start a profitable business component to what Walkabout already does, either by starting a wheelchair factory that employs people with disabilities or by starting a co-op of women in wheelchairs who manufacture or make a certain trendy item, whether it’s jewelry or a bag!

What does it mean for you to be a Tod’s Ambassador?
To me, being a Tod’s Ambassador means embodying the philosophy of the Tod’s “family” and the brand, which not only stands for iconic, timeless elegance, but also a humble caring and empathy for the world at large. It is one of the biggest honors ever bestowed on me.

You wore several pieces of Tod’s Autumn - Winter Collection. Could you please tell us your must have of the season?
I was obsessed with the black suede wedge boots that came in both a knee and ankle-high length. I got both! I wear the ankle-high booties with skirts and the knee-length boot over jeans. Without a doubt, the python Micky bag was a must have; it goes with everything and you can wear it all year long.

You were in Milan and Paris at Tod’s Women’s Collection and Tod’s Signature presentations. Could you please tell me your must haves for the next season?
I am a huge fan of the ballerina wedge with an ankle strap. I have them in beige and wear them with skirts, dresses and even jeans, tucking the ankle strap inside my jeans. I also love the striped loafers, which come in red, black, and blue. I think pairing them with white jeans is a must for this summer. Lastly, I love the croc penny loafers with neon soles, they’re amazing! And I’m obsessed with the D.D. python bag, a timeless piece you can wear for the rest of your life.

When were you last in New York and what do you like to do when you’re there?
I was last in New York 3 days ago, this past Monday. New York is one of my favorite cities in the world, if not my favorite city. When I’m there, I love to walk down Madison Avenue, have breakfast at the Greek diner Viand, and spend time with my parents and brothers and cousins who all live there. I never visit NYC without having a burger at Shake Shack, my all-time favorite eatery, and I can’t resist a visit to FAO Schwartz’s candy shop. I stock up on Swedish Fish and Laffy Taffy! It’s a great stop because the Tod’s store is right next door, so I always pop in and see what’s on display. I’m a Tods-aholic!

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