This weekend has been a good one. I’ve been productive in my academic work, my personal writing, and as a creative I was able to channel all my energy in one unique space, created by the art collective Celeste. Curated by Rose Toure, the collective focuses on art for and by women of color.
The current Rose is most passionate about is Post-Contemporary, an art movement that carries many significances. Given the focus and the specifics of the space Celeste aims to, this project defines the importance of representation in all forms of media. Visual art has a potential to reach out to the general audience and captivate it with its colors, shapes, and sizes. Through art it’s possible to portray social and diversity’s representation and make feminism vivid.
In addition to assist Rose in curating the whole event, I got the chance to be part of the panel, which allowed me to take space within a community made of women and men from different places and backgrounds. For me, this experience was important because not only was I talking for the time about my projects and intentions to a public in an off-campus setting, but I was also able to display my creativity and professionalism in one of the most significant neighborhoods of New York, where Italians and Latinos are a huge part of it: Brooklyn.
These are some of the questions I got asked during the panel. Writing down these answers contribute a great deal to define more and more what I want to do with the gift I was given, the passion and talent of expressing myself through words.
My name is Giulia, I go also by “the curly flower”. I’m a journalist, writer, fashion model, and student of life. In the specifics, I practice my job by voicing social matters and writing on fashion. I love my hair, my curls. I sleep with a teddy bear named John – I had him since I was 8 years old. I love drinking tea and eating blueberries.
How did you find your way into writing? did you always wanted to be a writer?
My first dream job was to become a ballerina at my prestigious local theatre and I remember to wish to be the first brown ballerina to dance on the stage. That dream job didn’t realize itself, but the goal is always there: my wish to see someone who looks like me on stage, on screens and on books, in the arts. I found out writing through reading, because the latter was my natural and most accessible escape I could afford, especially in the summer time. I started writing and thinking about writing as a career when I was 12 years old, when I was given my first personal notebook: a pink glittery one with a big “High School Musical” title written in capital letters – yes, like the Disney Channel movie.
Why do you write? Who do you write for? Do you have a message in your work?
I write to express myself but I like to see myself as a bridge between one ear and another, one eye and another, in whatever community I happen to be surrounded by. I write for the general audience because the goal I plan to achieve through my words is to represent the underrepresented.
Is writing who you are OR what you do?
Writing is who I am. It happens to something that I do too. My words and phrases are moved by love, the love to be present and give time to report and craft stories.
Inspiration: What influences your work the most?
Life. Literally anything I come across. Trips inspire me most because those are the times where I’m forced to rely and feel unapologetically me, with no filters. Being outside of a comfort zone or in a place I don’t know pushes me to pay attention to every single detail and to the people I interact with.
What are few writers that you admire?
I admire writers not only for their work but also for their personality and transparency, coming from a journalism background. I admire more the words and the story itself rather than just one person’s writing. However, in classical literature I admire Louisa May Alcott, Jane Austen, Manzoni, Foscolo and Dante Alighieri. Old folks, I know. I read them by taking into consideration their time and place in history. They challenge me in making me going forward within the world I live in. However, I consider part of my reading experience listening and reading music artists’ lyrics, which most of the times happen to be poets and writers themselves. Jhene Aiko, Lana Del Rey, Tupac, Joao Gilberto are some of the greats.
Your favorite books? Film?
I don’t have a favorite book because reading is a temporary activity with permanent consequences. If I would read a book twice or three times I will see that work with a different and more mature mindset. That happened with my favorite movie, “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” which I learned to view the good and the bad that is portrayed in that film. Every time I would notice something with which I both agree and disagree more.
What is an ideal place for you to exist in?
Anywhere close to the sun. Weather influences me a lot, I’m not gonna lie.
How does it feel being in a space like this today?
Honored and grateful. I’m motivated to go forward by enjoying the present moment.
Do you have any feminist ideals you would like to share with us?
Rihanna. She really sticks up to what feminism means. I relate and take a lot of my inspiration from the music world because its industry is more fluid in terms of expressions and art creation. There are still many stigmas and misconceptions around it, but it is an astonishing platform from which you can learn from.
Will you say that your work is feminist?
How do you feel about the notion of Post-contemporary Art?
It fits our world the one we live in. We’re focused on how to portray ourselves, how to create safe spaces for each and one type of artist. We do that by questioning art. We’re living the present with a desire to build a legacy. This is a post-contemporary movement.
Will you say that your work is representational and is that necessary?
Without doubt. I may sound repetitive in stating my goals but I put a lot of weight in my words. I try to make them sound light and easy to comprehend but always with a clear and meaningful message in them. Any work of art made out of words, images and forms are necessary or at least valid in their existence.
What is your relationship to your beauty? To your body? To your womanhood? To women?
I wouldn’t be honest if I said I’ve never struggled with my body or the concept of beauty. I’ve been very much influenced by the trends that the environment I was in had as standards. For example, in Italy I’ve always longed for thin legs, with less curves in my hips area. In Brazil I would be considered too athletic and “small”. When I arrived in the US I felt more at ease, because I could see a mixture of body types. When I entered in the fashion industry there was a time I thought I was too fat or sometimes too short, but that depended a lot in the kind of groups I was in, especially at the beginning. All these hard judgements on my body and views that I had were coming from a place of deep insecurity, which I got rid of once I started being focused on my mind rather than my body. The big chop I did was essential to enter in this journey of mine, where self appreciation and health were priorities. I saw an upgrade not only in my mind and physical body, but also in my writing. I’m able to say all of this also because I’ve decided to be surrounded by women who are my friends. I started valuing spaces where I felt welcomed and loved for who I am, and that was magical. That saved me, tons. I was able to see beautiful things and meet beautiful people through the power of the kindest words: there’s what beauty is, specifically in womanhood.
What do you struggle with as a women? As an artists?
Being a woman is a struggle because we’re supposed to craft and adapt our bodies and mentalities in every single situation. We’re also privileged because we’re the ones who are by nature able to bear life. In general we’re really empathetic and our hearts are usually very pure. That’s a struggle but also a blessing.
What are your sentiments toward the women artists here today?
If we got to be here together in a space that collects such a variety of art and heritages, it’s because our ancestors and inner spirits are aligned with the universe. And that’s on the universe.
I can’t wait to work again for this series at Celeste and to put out my words out there. It feels good when you’re heard and seen. It’s a lot of work that requires precise effort, but it pays off. May this be the first panel I was part of, as a writer and creative.
the curly flower