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By Martyn• 13 Oct 2016
If you're a coffee enthusiast, you might have met Twyla Gillan when she was working at Flight Coffee's The Hangar coffee shop on the corner of Dixon and Willis Street. These days however, Twyla can be found supervising the sale of vapes, Himalayan rock salt lamps, novelty sunglasses and all manner of weird and wonderful items at Cosmic on Cuba Street, where they call her Twylord leader supreme. When she isn't working at Cosmic, Twyla moonlights as an alt-model and burlesque dancer under the stage name Twyla Deville. She's modeled for Mortal Gods Collection, Black Leather Blue Suede Collection, Kitty Gang, Broke Girls Club and Mavis & Osborn, and regularly collaborates with local artists and photographers like Xoë Hall and Dinosaurtost. Twyla's always up for some good banter and a cup of coffee or three, so I asked her to give me the lowdown on some of her favourite things to see and do around town.
I'm a three coffees in the morning kind of girl
Word On The Street: When you need a strong cup of coffee to wake up in the morning, where do you go?
Twyla Gillan: I'm a three coffee in the morning kind of girl, so my first one is always at home, generally some sort of delicious African single origin from Flight Coffee. Then if I'm starting at a reasonable hour I head down to Customs where hopefully the squad is, so I can get some early morning banter in before a day of customer service; important stuff!
If you had a friend visiting town who wanted to go shopping, where would you take them?
Always Cuba Street: there are so many smaller locally owned spots on and just off Cuba St. My personal favourites for clothes would be Hunters & Collectors, they have an AMAZING window display in there right now from my gals Xoë Hall and Ashley Church (Dinosaurtoast Photography), Emporium, and of course my work, Cosmic! There is something in there for everyone.
It's Friday night, and you need to take a few friends out for drinks and dinner, where do you go?
I'm a huge fan of the burger, Burger Liquor is the spot for a shot and a beer, and tasty treats. You'll most likely see me sitting at the bar with a few different drinks lined up, and always a burger. I've also been frequenting Ram's for those chili oil dumplings and guilty pleasure orange beef!
You're feeling a bit flat and looking for a sweet treat, where do you go?
The doughnut shop... I mean Customs! I'm not much of a sweet treat eater but if I can get a coffee/doughnut combo I'm a pretty happy gal.
We are so lucky to be in a city with a beautiful waterfront
Best public park or outdoor area to hang out in on a sunny day?
Waterfront! We are so lucky to be in a city with a beautiful waterfront, Oriental Bay, where you can people watch, jump in the water and still walk home.
You're short on cash and want to do something fun in Wellington, best free activities?
If you're from out of town, hit up all the amazing views! Both Mt Vic lookout and the Botanic gardens are beautiful spots. If it's raining, lets face it, it probably is, Te Papa always has something sweet on.
You're taking friends out for a cheap and cheerful lunch, where do you go?
Capital Market! There are some great stalls in there, if you're short on time grab a pork bun or a banh mi. If you've got some time to spare Miss Kangsta has a fusion Korean Mexican situation going on and the burritos are huge!
You want to take some friends out to see some live music or DJs, where do you go?
I always love being at shows at San Fran. The service is always great in there, and wherever you are in the bar there is a view of the stage. Have had some very excellent nights both on and off stage in that bar.
Having worked on Cuba for so many years the really zany place is Courtenay Place
What's your favourite bookshop? And what's your favourite section of the public library?
Unity Books! I can't go past the cooking section, I'm a sucker for any new cook books. Also of course Graphic on Cuba, comics are books yes? I think I have a pile I need to go in and collect. I am terrible at making it down to the library! However with the reinstated record selection I can definitely see myself making it back down there soon!
What's the best street to hang out on in Wellington if you wanna see something zany (and what zany things have you seen there?)
Always Cuba, although having worked on Cuba for so many years the really zany place is Courtenay Place. It's kind of terrifying walking down there at night. Cosmic overlooks the bucket fountain and the amount of people I see actually in the fountain is ridiculous. In a day there will be people washing in there first thing in the morning, to publicly urinating (saw a strangers bits a week ago) to kids and stag parties jumping in there. I would never set foot in that water.