We are Women, We are International, we are Today and every Tomorrow. On this day the world is celebrating our unique contributions to it.
All I wanted was to pay tribute to those women who surround me; and that’s how this little project was born. A project about a few special young women, whose life paths crossed with mine. Somewhere within our frantic, digital, social-media infused lives, I wanted to take a seemingly unimportant moment, that would otherwise be lost between selfies and screenshots, and convert it into a moment of individual glory. For what these women are, and what they inspire me to be.
I always love taking photos of them at these random moments, when they are not watching and, then, in the immediate seconds after they realise, and adopt some type of pose. I digged within my files and found lots of these micro-moments. I chose those moments that seemed beautiful to me, captions that in a sense, immortalise their beauty to my eyes and memories, and uniquely tap into their individual contributions in my life. They are all spontaneous, in one way or another; whether unintentional or the result of sudden impulses to keep a visual trace in time. They are all shot on iPhone, some incidental day of our daily lives. They are minimally edited, purely reflecting the grace of each one of them, unrefined, as it spreads and shines within our routines. Probably, it’s not the photo that would pay justice to their looks, or better put it’s not the photo they would necessarily choose to showcase their beauty. No, they are not ‘perfect’, professionally-shot, high resolution captions. Simply, because they don’t have to; the way we cannot always represent the polished, glamorous, shiny version of our female selves. My aim was to show their imperfectly perfect moments, as they happen.
I am very grateful that they accepted to be part of this, in the very last moment I informed them about my idea. I am indeed more grateful they have been part of my life. And I truly thank them for being an irreplaceable piece of this international, diverse, female puzzle.
Cheers to Women and our International (outer and inner) interconnected worlds ? ?
Edie-Ismene in Vintage Emporium, London, Shoreditch. Born in Greece, living somewhere between the US, the UK & Israel. We met in high-school, when we were still dressed in high-waisted 90s jeans and our only worry was how to curate our Tumblr! She is the most beautiful geek, occasionally serving as a search engine on science, psychology, current affairs and StumbleUpon-style fun facts. I am telling her she is my most intelligent friend but she doesn’t admit it. She is the most vivid proof that women are made for the digital era! For her: ‘A woman’s place is wherever she wants to be.’
Eva in Fundació Joan Miró, Barcelona. Born in Finland. We met during our exchange semester and engaged on some philosophical deep stuff on top of tapas and chupitos. She is vegetarian and seriously committed on sustainability issues. She is also the loudest Nordic you ‘ll ever meet. We both claim to be Economists, while we agree on the ‘Rules of Cohabitation’ with a woman (including splitting the rent according to one’s income level!)
Akriti, in Greenwich, London. Currently living in London but her heart always reminiscing of India. We met in Tokyo during a Harvard conference but life had it to reunite us when we (unknowingly to each other) made the same Masters choice. She is my idol of kindness, warming me up with her actions and unquestioned devotion to make the world around her a better place. When she is not figuring out ways to assist, teach and empower little kids in need, she is an avid Bollywood dancer and occasionally, wedding planner! She loves Greek coffee, she has the longest Rapunzel hair I’ve seen and indeed she should be proud to be the inspiration of this project!
Masha by the shadows of Barri Gotic. Born somewhere close to Siberia (we all find this super exotic), living in St. Petersburg. We met in Barcelona and I was totally stunned by her wild Russian beauty and flawless Spanish. She offered me a plentiful laughing attack when I learnt that she thought ‘Sangria juice can be drunk for breakfast’. She is tall, beautiful, dynamic and true latina when it comes to salsa and reggeaton. We proudly take selfies with hashtag #SlavicGirls. For her: ‘A woman’s place is wherever she feels happy and enjoys her life!’
Vendela on a Sunday brunch in Eixample. Born in Sweden, living in Australia, with some long stops in Spain. We met in Barcelona at the same Intensive Spanish Class I met Soyoon, and we henceforth formed our little Sex And the City girls group! Imagine how perfect a woman can be; well, that’s her. Gorgeous inside out, attractive in appearance, mind and soul, and surprisingly down to earth and humble. We bonded over a silly presentation on Cheap Monday, soon realising that she can easily read my thoughts and offer the wisest of advice… on top of Tempura-ya of course!
Ilgaz in Southbank Centre. Born in Izmir, living in London. We met right at the start of our Masters and couldn’t help but bond, laugh and cry, on the pretext of our ‘common roots’ and certainly culturally aligned sense of humour! She is miraculously more intelligent and determined than what she would claim to be, a true perfectionist, with a strong sense of the moral contribution a woman should offer to society. For her: ‘A woman’s place is where she can make a difference for good.’
Sofia at the Louis Vuitton, Series 3 Exhibition, in London. Born in Finland, living in the UK for the past few years. Our paths crossed for our Masters. A true Legally Blonde, whose spontaneity reaches crazy heights. Genuine, tender and sentimentally touched by little gestures of care and appreciation. I will always remember her brushing her blonde shiny hair in the middle of the class and asking me ‘How is Mama Bear?’ just before our finals! For her: ‘A woman’s place is wherever her heart desires.’
Alexia, ready to buy a yacht for my Marketing class video, in famous Sala(mykonos), Saronic Gulf, Greece. Born, raised, studied and worked in Piraeus, taking the expression ‘kid of the port’ to a whole new level of bon chic bon genre. We met in late middle-school and I frankly think it’s time to admit that our friendship was born, as a result of bullying, by those who certainly could not appreciate our weirdness! She pretends to be a nihilist, akin to Camus’ Mersault, but life indeed refined her to a stunningly sweet and seductive creature, akin to Nabokov’s Lolita! We witness each other growing up, we ‘ve seen each other in the good, the bad and the ugly and in recent years distance has transformed our friendship into a digital daily conspiracy. For her: ‘A woman’s place is in the border of art and chaos.’
Annie in Costa Navarino, Pilos, Greece. Born in Athens, living in Athens, after a few exotic stops in Costa Rica and Abu Dhabi. Oxymoronically my mum’s masters classmate and eventually my own precious friend. Dazzling in appearance, disciplined in goal-accomplishment and relentless in appetite for self-improvement. Member of a lovely family with a one-of-a-kind dad ‘calling the family in Symposiums’ and a super talented photographer brother. She sees my success as her success and vice versa, a rare instance of between-female empowerment!
Asli, studying at ESADE Creapolis. Born in Istanbul, living in Switzerland. We met in Barcelona, confirming once again that Greeks and Turks are naturally attracted to each other! She is the only person I can study with in the same room, as we both cherish the unwritten rules of ‘leave me alone’ moments. When we talk, a puzzle of geopolitics topped with Socratic interpretations unfolds. I love her determinism and will never stop believing in the potential of her rhetoric abilities. She sees herself in Einsten’s words: ‘The woman who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd. The woman who walks alone is likely to find herself in places no one has ever been before.’
Agnese in Biblioteca, Universitat de Barcelona, in Raval. Born near Venice, living between Milan and Barcelona, while somehow found in Copenhagen at the moment. Vera Italiana, loud, expressive and sharp. We met late during my exchange term but she offered me tons of laughing-out-loud moments with her spontaneous reactions. For her: ‘A woman’s place is wherever her ambition takes her.’
Fan in the St. Cugat suburb of Barcelona. Born in China, currently living in Norway. We met in Barcelona, during our studies. She is one of the most interesting cultural hybrids I’ve met, wonderfully strange, beautifully controversial and always fun (as the name screams). I mean really, who else would invite me on a Zombie Walk? I’ll never get enough of her accent when trying to speak Spanish (and the fact that she can’t say perrrrro!) We are both obsessed for Almodovar and made a cool presentation in class about La Movida Madrileña, Women & Transgender in his movies.
Payal in Google’s Summer Party 2016. Born in Nottingham, currently living and studying in Durham. We met during our internship at Google and celebrated tons of TGIFs together! She is dynamic and vibrant, underpinned by a rare for her age acute spirit. For her: ‘A woman’s place is where ever she desires, may that be traveling the world or being a CEO.’ PS: thumbs up for the coolest home decor present choice: a paper pineapple!
Melu in downtown Barcelona. Born in Buenos Aires, living in Sao Paolo. We met in the lucky 2011 edition of South American Business Forum and reunited in BsAs during my gap year. Bright and brilliant, with a lovably sarcastic sense of humour and self-critique. One of my favourite Googlers, SABFers, WBDers, female empowerment idols and favourite guests anywhere I am on the planet.
Samantha, during our class break, at LSE, dressed as flamenco dancer! She claims she is Indian, but I keep telling her that her parents fooled her and in reality, she is Mexican. We met in London, but we both secretly obsess about our love for Latin America. We reciprocally comment on each other’s outfit choices, while we can shift from pointless to totally serious discussions in seconds. For her: ‘A woman’s place can never be certain. She can be wherever and whoever she chooses to be.’
Maria in Somerset House. Born in Switzerland, living in London. We met at LSE, reciprocally admiring each other’s work ethic and valuing each other’s advice. She greatly represents the ‘pragmatist’ shade of myself, straightforward, direct, serious and chilled, as circumstances demand. She is a great (brownie) cook, a great speaker and even greater listener. For her: ‘A woman’s place is at the helm of change.’
Soyoon in Sitges International Fantastic Film Festival. Born in South Korea, raised in Guatemala. We met during during my first day in Barcelona, during our Intensive Spanish Class. I treat her as my baby sister, although I probably shouldn’t as she is already backpacking in the whole of Europe, while she cooks as good as my grandma! She is the perfect sleepover companion, admirably independent and charmingly polite. She finds it totally weird that in Europe, we are into nudism but other than this she is a constant reminder in my life that with some people, there is simply zero cultural gap!
Soyoon visiting me in London, lost between North & South. Night tube, Tottenham Court Road.
Pinelopi, by the North bank of London. Born at a village town a few kilometres away from Athens but living in her own universe of Dance & Drama, apparently since her childhood. Currently in London, kickstarting her choreographer career and who knows what else her ingenuity is about to give birth. We met through our common star friend, Stelios and can’t stop rejoicing in each other’s flamboyant personalities.
Irene in Sevilla. Born and raised in Andalucía. I met her during my Fresher undergrad year in London. We bonded over cheap wine outside of Crosslands, in the South Quad of Royal Holloway, listening to The Smiths and speaking Spanglish. I will never forget her burgundy Dr.Martens, followed by the depression I felt into after losing my Erasmus group of friends. She is surrounded by a group of equally crazy and cool as hell Andalucians, who consider 4 am ‘the start of the night’, all living a life I pretty much envy by the south of the Mediterranean.
Dimitra in Rethymno, Crete (aka my beloved friend, at my beloved place). Born in Markopoulo, lived and studied in London. We met in the Monkey’s Forehead, somewhere between the cemetery of Englefield Green and the busy life of Egham. Our first discussion was about our prom dress (how lame!). Little did we know how many nights we would eventually spend in insomnia, figuring out our sense of self and identity, while dancing to Shakira. She is this blonde head speaking my ginger mind, my mental alter ego, my co-pilot, my imaginary mermaid best friend. I always alter her nickname from ‘famous model’ to ‘stavropoula’ and ‘russian friend’ but I’ll never be able enough to find something describing her sincerity, frankness and devotion, to friendship, family and all those seeking their true selves. For her: ‘A woman’s place is her own fairytale.’
And that’s me, in one of my favourite captions symbolising female power, elegance and creativity. Posing as an alternate ‘Portrait of a Young Woman’ (Meredith Frampton, 1935), in Tate Modern, London.