You’re the founder of the inspiring project Quest for Beauty. Can you tell us a little bit about it and what inspired you to start it?
Quest for Beauty, is a project for social change. An actual quest around the world to find out what beauty means for women, giving them a voice, with the mission to change the unrealistic beauty standards we are forced upon everyday.
After 3 years working as a fashion photographer I started to feel torn inside when I realized that the work I was producing was helping creating unrealistic beauty standards that made many women suffer, making them feel they aren’t good enough. My conscience crisis came when I started noticing that more and more of my girlfriends were constantly saying horrible things about their appearances and their body, yet they were gorgeous to my eyes. Then one day it hit me: it was my fault!
We live in a world where we are constantly bombarded with images of flawless “perfect looking” women and we now think that’s what we should aspire to look like. But those images aren’t real nor achievable . It takes hours of work, a model with physical traits that belong to below 2% of the population, a whole team of professionals and tons of photo shop and post production to achieve the look we see in those images. What we see in advertisements and magazines are unreachable standards, but not many people know that!
So I felt the need to change that! I didn’t want to be part of a self esteem killer machine anymore, I wanted to make women feel good about themselves with my work as I strongly believe that every woman deserves to feel Beautiful and comfortable in her own skin. I started asking myself “what is Beauty?”, and in October 2015 I began to travel, photographing an interviewing women to find out!
Where is one place you feel most like yourself?
Kind of everywhere now but I have 3 places where I feel more in tune with myself: South East Asia, London & NYC (quite opposite places!) I am both very zen and spiritual, and very artsy, driven and workaholic so weather I’m meditating overlooking green rise paddies in Vietnam or typing away on my laptop in a griddy coffee shop in the East village or listening to music on the Piccadilly line during rush hour I feel completely myself and in tune!
Who or what inspires you?
Everything! Seriously! Nature, Art, Music, People, words.
When it comes to photography I try to look for inspiration outside of my own field.
As far as people go I’m a sucker for Neil Gaiman and Anthony Bourdain!
What growth experiences have you learned from travel?
Travel is such a humbling and self discovering process, it shrank my ego so much and it taught me to learn to trust my instinct at all time!
The more I travel the more I realize that I really don’t know shit! How little I am in this world, how much there is to learn from other cultures, from nature and from life itself. And lastly I’m learning that no one is better than anyone else and we are all so similar despite our differences.
You often ask this question yourself but what do YOU believe makes a woman most beautiful? And what is beauty to you?
Self esteem, a kind and loving heart and an open mind! Beauty to me is a feeling, an emotion. It’s a little spark in your heart that makes you eel something.
What makes you come alive?
Creating and traveling. Weather I’m writing, dancing, photographing there’s something in the process of creating that I can’t live without. Same goes for traveling, seeing new places , new cultures and new realities fuels my veins with new life!
What is your creative process like?
A mess!! I’m quite mystical about it actually. I have my rituals to make inspiration come faster (scented candles and music always help me writing!) then when I finally get in the zone, as crazy as it sounds, I feel like ideas don’t really come from me, I’m more like an antenna that catches them from somewhere else and brings them here to turn them into something we can see and touch. To turn them into that I then sit down and do the work!
Your most rewarding accomplishments to date?
Finding the courage to leave the life I knew and loved for pursuing my project full time. Having articles about QFB on publications like the Huffington Post and Teen Vogue is incredible for me but having women from across the world writing me telling me the project is helping them to feel good about the way they look is the biggest reward.
Aisle or window seat?
Always window! Watching the sky is always a beautiful show.
What’s your best advice for aspiring travelers and dreamers?
Don’t take life too seriously, have fun, don’t ever fully grow up, be kind, trust your instinct, persevere, don’t listen to anyone and believe everything is possible! Something within you—call it your subconscious, your soul, your inner voice or whatever you prefer— already knows what’s best for you, trust that gut feeling! People will always tell you something is impossible, or too hard or not likely, don’t listen to them and keep going! Whether you want to visit every country on earth, climb Mount Everest or simply quit a job that is not making you happy, you can make it happen; thing are impossible only if we believe they are, the only real obstacles between you and your dreams is you!