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!"