Friday, July 12, 2013
The weather is extremely hot; I am travelling with the tube from Oval to Wood Green to meet Maria, thinking of a concept for our photo shoot but my brain refuses to cooperate. It will reveal itself to me, I think and continue to swing the tube map in front of my face in a desperate attempt to get some cool air. When we talked earlier on the phone Maria told me to meet up at her flat near the station and then we would drive to the nearby, Alexandra Park. It would be my first time to visit the place; I have heard of its outstanding views of London and of Alexandra Palace, the venue that holds many of the concerts I would like to go to (but did not had the time to book).
In the car, Maria talks to me about her busy schedule and how she manages to juggle multiple jobs. She is a radio producer for LGR, that is the London Greek Radio and she is also involved in the station's events promotion. She sometimes does the warm up DJ for the club nights she organises and you might spot her at the local gym as the Zumba instructor. Add to this being a school teacher two days a week and you have a very active lifestyle and a strange mix of careers. But for Maria this is her natural state of being.
"I am quite busy most of the day but I enjoy having a variety of things to do. Music has always been my passion, therefore I look forward to my DJ nights but I can equally have a nice time when managing an event or presenting for the radio. In order to keep up with my hectic lifestyle I realised I have to take care of my self. I try to eat and sleep well and I will wear mostly comfortable outfits."
So what is a comfortable outfit according to Maria?
"I think comfortable for me is an outfit that is not restricting me. I will still try to be in fashion but I will not sacrifice my comfort for anything. For example, you will see me wearing a loose top combined with a pencil skirt or cropped jumpers with high waisted skinny jeans and ballet flat shoes. I love cropped jumpers; I combine them with almost everything. Generally, I like to show off my curves but without being revealing and this loose and body-fitting clothes' combination is my thing now. My everyday outfit is a rock and 90s inspired combination, ripped jeans and spikes, but for a night out I will prefer a more sexy look. And I guess when I am DJ-ing I kind of tend to dress according to the music I play, which is mostly mainstream greek and english hits. So I will wear a mini dress with extreme accessories, such as gold waistbelts or gold extra size earrings and necklaces. I mainly buy my clothes from topshop and Asos but I have also bought many items from the Guess brand, which I find very contemporary and the clothes match my body style. "
We are now at the Alexandra Palace parking space and walking towards the sunny west-facing entrance. The view is truly stunning; you can see almost all of London. Maria is posing for me in her eye-catching, patterned dress and black wedges. Her ginger hair and her overall colour choices match that of the building.
"I usually look on fashion websites to get inspired. When I spot something I like, I try to think of ways to combine it with items I already have. I will also, look at what celebrities are wearing. I like Rihanna, I find her style unique. Just love her way of combining a military jacket with a maxi dress and her hair, hence my ginger hair. But the truth is that when I decided to dye my hair red I went to my hairdresser with a Lana del Rey photo. I adore Lana del Rey, her music and her sophisticated and sexy, at the same time, look.
The sun is setting and we decide to take some last photos at the park.
The weather is more chilled now and we take a break, lying on the grass and admiring the city panorama. I ask her one last question.
"So how do you see yourself in five years from now?"
"I wish to be a successful professional in my industry" Maria answers immediately. "That covers whatever it has to do with radio production, event organising and promoting or my DJ-ing. I have no plans of getting married; having a partner, that is fine, but I am not focusing on that. My idea is to improve myself, advance in all sectors and continue experimenting."
It was a joy to meet Maria and hopefully I will be seeing her soon. While travelling back home I was thinking of all the women I have photographed the last weeks and how amazed I was by their strength of character and the way they combine their feminine/delicate side with their strong ambition to fulfil their dreams. And there is only one thought coming to my mind: "Go girls, I am proud of you!"
Wednesday, July 3, 2013
Beatrice combines beauty, charm and a strong personality. She has a youthful innocence and playfulness, traits that can turn a plain day out with her into an adventure. At the same time she will participate in any conversation and hold her opinions at heart. As a result her style is a mixture of elements that bring together all the different sides of her.
This time we met at Liverpool Street Station. Beatrice was wearing a colourful dress with patterns from the african continent and a short denim jacket; a proper summer outfit in contrast to the winterish military parka and opaque tights she was wearing the previous week, when I last show her. She asked me to take her photo in front of the Love Sculpture, the London's reproduction of Robert Indiana's iconic pop art image and then outside Spitalfield's Market, on the busy road with the imposing facade of Hawksmoor's church on the background, one of these spots that reflect the beauty of old times London.
Thinking about her style, I would say that Beatrice manages to combine the latest trends in fashion with a personal touch. "I don't have a role model or a celebrity that I particularly follow at the moment." she replies when I ask her where she gets her inspiration from. "I get inspired by anyone that I see that looks good and is rocking her outfit. Whether its someone pictured on a magazine or just on the street doesn't really matter. I like to pick new trends and try them on, but I'll never wear something that doesn't look good on me just because its trendy. If I really like a trend, I'll find a way to twist it or combine it with other items so it looks good on me."
I notice a snake-shaped double ring that unites her index and middle finger. "This ring belongs to my mother and she was wearing it in the 70s. I used to play with it when I was a child and I rediscovered it in a recent trip back to my parents' home. Rings and necklaces are my favourite accessories; and loads of headbands that I buy but never wear! Generally, I find all fashion eras from victorian to the modern time are fascinating but the ones I would choose for me are 20s and 90s, I guess. I was a kid in the 90s, and back then we were not updated with fashion as kids nowadays. When I was growing up I was feeling a lot of peer pressure. We were all dressed the same at school. There was a time when i was influenced by the music, I was into indie rock, so I used to wear skinny jeans and flat shoes (although now it's normal, it wasn't that common in early 2000 when 70s fashion was mainstream). Now I have my style but I also like to dare a little sometimes so I may change it again. The one thing I keep and will keep forever is a little Chanel bag my dad got me one Xmas;I think I was 9.... I know, crazy? Wise man looking at the future! I didn't want to wear it back then but now I do and will always look after it!"
A man passes by while we talk and we comment on his outfit. I ask her opinion on men's fashion. "I like the classic style. He can obviously wear jeans or converse. But I like a casual or elegant style. I can't stand men wearing rings or deep V necks. I couldn't stand dating a man that has a top with a V neck deeper than mine, showing his chest. God forbid necklaces too!"
Before we stop for a drink at the White Hart pub I take some more pictures of Beatrice at the nearby area. Every time I photograph her, she looks back at my shots and requests new ones, with a specific background and angle, making any changes that will bring the picture closer to what she has in her mind. And this is another side of Beatrice I have just discovered and like; her being an enthusiastic perfectionist.
And as evidence to how unpredictable the weather in England is, I add this last picture of Beatrice, from just a week ago, during the biggest day of summer, when I photographed her on the windy millennium bridge, looking cool despite the bad weather.