“My only criteria was that fake wood paneling. I absolutely love that in cars.”
- The Ride
- The Driver: Sal
- Vehicle in Question: 2010 Toyota Venza
- Spotted at:Mario Russo, 9 Newbury St, Boston, MA 02216
Q: Hi Sal, what are you doing here on Newbury Street?
A: I have spent the majority of the last 14 years on the first block of Newbury Street working for Mario Russo.
Q: Nice. What can you tell us about your awesome ride?
A: It’s a 2010 gray Toyota Venza. I know that as a 39-year-old gay guy with no kids, I really need to defend why I drive a Toyota Venza, but the car is extremely helpful in my line of work. I’m constantly doing fashion shoots, fashion shows and teaching classes, so I need something where I can toss all of my stuff quickly into the back.
Q: Was there some reason you picked this car over others?
A: Before this car, I had lived in the city for 13 years without a car. Darren, my partner, has always had a car, so when we got together, I left the car buying up to him. He did all the research because he is a crazy car guy who knows everything about every car. My only criteria when buying the car was that fake wood paneling that I absolutely love in cars, and an ipod docking station. I got both of them and I didn’t care about the rest.
Q: Do people ever make comments about the car?
A: No, just Darren. He just thinks that we drive an old people car. I think it’s cool. He does not. Toyota started this marketing campaign with the Venza towards empty nesters. Once he saw that, he started to hate the car. Now, he wants to get something new.
Q: What would you say the main use for the car is?
A: The main use for the car is just getting around the city, grocery shopping and doing errands. We also use the car for going to see my family in Rhode Island, Darren’s family in New Hampshire, and getting down to our house in Provincetown on the weekends. I didn’t think we were going to use the car as much as we do, but we use it all the time.
Q: What is the strangest thing that you’ve put in that car?
A: Probably the mannequin heads that I use to teach classes. For work, I usually have to pack mannequin heads, all my tools, sometimes other stylists’ tools, and that is everything from hairpins, bobby pins, brushes, blow dryers and product. Everything we need to get the job done!
Q: What’s the craziest place you have ever driven the car?
A: Probably to the Miss Massachusetts USA pageant. I had a friend who was in the pageant, so we had evening gowns, shoes, fake eyelashes, fake boobs, fake hair and all of my tools in the car to help her get ready for the day. She was third runner up.
Photos and interview by Melissa Ostrow
View previous Defend Your Ride features as well as other great stories for people who love cars at boston.cbslocal.com/Autos.