We had the good fortune of connecting with Caroline Zelder and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Caroline, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
I think I’ve always had the spirit of an entrepreneur, ever since I was a kid, that feeling that drives you to take chances and do what feels right in your gut, so with this new business venture, Air Force One Z – our antimicrobial jumpsuits, the same process occurred – a, what if thought… Wouldn’t this be fun and fashionable if we created a lightweight jumpsuit that gave people an extra layer of protection during this pandemic.  A win, win, especially given the fact that my mom is a heart transplant patient and I wanted to come up with something comfortable that she could wear while out grocery shopping, exercising, or traveling, something that would make her feel a little more protected.

A fantastic side note; our jumpsuits are now being used as exercise sweatsuits. We’ve had people email and text us photos and stories about how they wear their AF1Z to the gym, biking, hiking, running and that they are sweating more and losing weight! I love it when something happens naturally and expands beyond the initial idea.

Our AF1Z jumpsuits are not only lightweight and antimicrobial, they are also made 100% out of recycled plastic bottles. It’s always important to me to find a way to take care of our planet in the process, so using the excess plastic we have polluted our oceans and waterways with at least allows us not to add to the problem. In the end, there is no success if it means harming the environment, animal life or humans.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?

My professional career is that of a filmmaker. I wrote, produced and directed my first feature film back in 2008 starring Henry Winkler, Billy Baldwin, Jeff Daniels (our narrator) and a great cast of talented kids, the film is called A Plumm Summer, and I’m thrilled to say we won lots of awards and got wonderful reviews, especially by the families who went to see our film, that was the best part, knowing we made a movie that everyone could enjoy as a family.

As a writer I have written for most of the major studios and amazing filmmakers and actors including, Ridley Scott, Mel Gibson, Hugh Jackman to name a few. I am now directing my first animated film, called Hawkins & Silver, with a truly gifted co-director, Dean Semler, who also happens to have won an Academy Award as the cinematographer of Dance with Wolves.

The challenges I have had to overcome and still work on overcoming each day, is to be true to my choices. We always hear that life is short, and when I look back one day I want to feel like I led a life that I cannot only be proud of, but one that I really enjoyed. There will always be struggles, ups and downs in all fields, so my best advice and one that I live by, is to find joy in whatever it is that you do and if it can bring joy to others or provide a good service at the same time, well, how wonderful is that!

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?

I love Los Angeles, it’s still one of my favorite cities after all these years, and quite often I have friends and family in town, so I get to play tour guide.

1. Restaurants – well I’m vegan, so my absolute favorite restaurants, that everyone else loves too are: Gracias Madre (best Mexican food) in West Hollywood, O’cado (everything on the menu is excellent) in Sherman Oaks, The Vegan Joint (delicious) in West L.A, Plant Food + Wine (great atmosphere and food) in Venice and for the best cupcakes Erin Mckenna’s Bakery on Larchmont and best vegan donuts Donut Friend -downtown.

2. Favorite beach – El Matador (my dad introduced me to this great beach) – JUST past Pepperdine University – beautiful cliffs and a lovely strand and more private than most LA beaches.

3. Hikes – Escondido Falls – in Santa Monica and there is actually a waterfall.

4. Hollywood Blvd and Rodeo Drive – a must see for the walk of fame, Chinese theatre and shops.

5. Boutique Hotel – The Garland – near Universal Studios, a real gem with pool, jacuzzi, restaurant, bar and nice modern, updated rooms and very reasonably priced.

6. Abbot Kinney in Venice for wonderful shops, coffee and restaurants.

7. Downtown – Grand Central Market – a feast for the eyes and downtown is pretty cool these days, lots to see and do.

8. The Getty Museums, both the one in Malibu and the Santa Monica Mountains.

9. The Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens – a lovely way to spend an afternoon.

10. A concert at Disney Hall or the Hollywood Bowl – they are truly special, the visuals and sound are exquisite.

11. The Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills or the Historic Biltmore downtown – if you’re like me and enjoy a good english afternoon tea with sandwiches, scones and cake, those are two of my favorite tea spots!

12. My Perfect Day – an early morning latte at the Griffith Observatory (they provide the view, you bring the coffee) , an afternoon drive up the PCH to lunch at Neptune’s Net, and back to DTLA for an evening cocktail at the highest rooftop bar west of the Mississippi, Spire 73 at the InterContinental.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?

Life is definitely about sharing the Shoutouts with the mentors and caring people who deserve them… my mentors mostly came in the shape of books, (BUT my mom is one of the strongest people I know; when she puts her mind to something she gets it done no matter the obstacles and always with grace, that determination has always stayed with me. As for the books, I was lucky at a young age to have discovered Dr. Wayne Dyer and Louise Hay, their books and outlooks on life really resonated with me. They were people who lived by their words, taking the positive actions necessary to achieve their goals, and we are so lucky that they left us so many WONDERFUL books to help us navigate our personal journey. And a big shoutout goes to the amazing girl who recommend me for this interview, Maya and Kalli of Viva Global Rescue. These two girls truly inspire me everyday with their compassionate hearts and unwavering dedication to saving and rehabilitating abused and neglected horses and farm animals, not an easy commitment by any stretch, but when you see all the happy animal faces at their sanctuary, it all makes sense and it makes you smile.

Last but not least, I believe to succeed in life it’s all about the actions we take, and hopefully it’s done with heart, mind and spirit connected and it’s most wonderful when we get to share those experiences with someone special – so here’s a huge Shoutout to my someone special, Frank, who is always supporting my creative and sometimes nutty endeavors and whom I’m lucky enough to have by my side sharing this great adventure called life!

Website: www.af1z.com

Instagram: @wearairforceonez

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