Thursday, January 19, 2017

How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria Koutsogiannis?

Photo Courtesy Of Maria Koutsogiannis

“I was born and raised in small town Swift Current, Saskatchewan, Canada. That city shaped my childhood and I have so many heart warming memories in that place. Although I live and have lived away from home for 9 years I still miss and think about my roots everyday. I currently live in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. I went to University here and after graduating I moved to London for two years. My British boyfriend and I now live back in Canada. Calgary is located near the Canadian Rocky Mountains, within a one hour drive you find yourself in the middle of paradise. The air is fresher, the skies are more magical and for something reason your worries just seem to disappear. There are loads of best things in Calgary, including the diversity and business focused downtown area but The Rockies are certainly the best.

Oh dear, you’re going to make me cry. Growing up I wanted to be a doctor but not any kind of doctor, I dreamt of being a pediatrician. Since I can remember I have always been the type of person that wanted to help people. That, mixed with my larger than life love for children it just made sense to want to help kids. I got into food when I was very, very young. My family is Greek so I learnt how to cook and create recipes at a very young age. My mother taught me a lot and I have her to thank for my creativeness. As for fitness, I have been an active soul since I was born. I started getting much, much more into fitness in 2014. The year I decided I was going to change my life around. Around a year before I had beat the most challenging obstacle I had ever been faced with. I conquered bulimia. I turned to fitness and proper nourishment to make sure I never went down that path again.

The day I decided I was going to make a big change is the best day of my life and I have not looked back since. I typically choose different body parts to work out. I do gluten, back, legs, shoulders, bum, arms. On a Monday I will walk into the gym, do a quick stretch and warm up then head straight for the weights. I love lifting heavy, heavy weights. I typically do five to six exercises (all super sets), three to four sets and around 12-16 reps depending on the exercise. They make me feel great, help me think clearly, have a better outlook on life and allow me to blow off some steam. I finish off my work out with 10-30 minutes of cardio on either the treadmill or stair master. Because I have worked so hard to gain this booty of mine I don'tt do much cardio as I wanna keep this bum poppin’.

I've been 90% plant based for around one and a half years now, because of my past I do not call myself vegan. I can’t restrict my diet or shame myself for craving feta cheese. Every day I eat a lot of veggies and fruits and truly really never eat meat, but I would be lying if I said I haven’t had an egg, some honey or the odd bite of fish. I would love to one day say I am 100% plant based but until my body completely adjusts to digesting foods I will keep it as I am. To get this year started right, in my opinion, you should be eating loads of veggies and fruits Make sure you are getting very hydrated when you wake up, drink a smoothie, have some matcha and pack a nutritious lunch. I love things like Mediterranean quinoa salads, stuff spaghetti squash and easy treats like energy bites (filled with nuts and seeds) and avocado on toast. My favourite types of recipes are currys and soups. They are simple to follow and even better for the soul, body and mind. All the spices and herbs that can be added to these dishes help detox your body and help sweat out unnecessary toxins.

I don’t really wear specific sports gear to help boost performance. If I had an opinion about this topic I would say choose clothing that is comfy and breathable. Protect your boobies and wear gear that make you feel sexy and confident. The better you feel the harder you will work, I promise!

I swear by Neal’s Yard Remedies. I rarely wear makeup, when I do I use it it’s cruelty free and light. I really enjoy making my own masks and exfoliating with ingredients like honey and sea salt. I am always very gentle with my skin and try not to over cleanse or care for that matter. I believe less is more, so use good products and take your vitamins (D, is so important).

I love photography. I had no idea I was any good at taking pictures until I started, Food by Maria. I stay mindful by being very grounded when it comes to my health, my life and my blessings. Growing up I was very lucky and this made me realize that I should give to those in need and never take for granted my two feet, my voice and my ability to get up every day and chase a dream. It is important to me to do things for my community. I love visiting the homeless, making meals for them and giving them clothing in the cold months. I believe that I cannot control every detail in life but I can control my future because I am the one creating it. Some are not so lucky. I’m blessed to not be struck with disease or mental illness. Just remember, the simple actions have the largest impact. Shine on you diamonds.”

- As told to MBF, January 18, 2017

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The Patched Jeans And Bustier

  Image Courtesy Of Warner Bros, Records

Oh, so 90s!

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Elaine Hersby

Photo Courtesy Of Elaine Hersby

WHERE ARE YOU PRESENTLY LOCATED?
We are based in Copenhagen.

 WHAT’S THE BEST THING ABOUT YOUR CITY?
The four different seasons, and you are able to ride a bike everywhere.

WHERE WERE YOU BORN AND RAISED?
I was born in Sweden and grew up in Denmark, Copenhagen.

WHAT WERE YOUR CHILDHOOD ASPIRATIONS?
I was an elite gymnast as a kid, which was my dream to be one of the best in Denmark if I couldn’t be a designer.

WHAT SPARKED YOUR INTEREST IN FASHION AND WHEN WAS YOUR LABEL FOUNDED?
 My dad was a big fashionista and inspiration in my childhood. My mom went to the same design school as me, so she thought me how to sew when I was six. I’ve always had a passion for fashion and a weakness for good handcraft.

WHAT IS YOUR BACKGROUND TRAINING?
I received my educated from the Danish design school, Margrethe-Skolen, and I’ve been trained by Henrik Vibskov.

WHAT IS YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS?
It varies each season. Inspiration, sketches and sourcing is one big mix in my creative process. There are ofcourse always changes in the last minute.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR BRAND’S AESTHETICS?
Wearable. Minimalistic. High quality clothes with a sporty twist.

WHO OR WHAT ARE YOUR GREATEST INFLUENCES?
To be honest, a very powerful and strong woman called Coco Chanel.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR PERSONAL STYLE AND TASTE?
Sporty with feminine details and comfort with high quality. ANY HOBBIES? Well my business started as a hobby that I suddenly do every day. Other than that, I dance, surf and love skiing.

HOW DO YOU UNWIND? 
With a huge five o’clock cocktail.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

The Bandana Is The New Choker

Illustration By Rob-Mcilwain

OK, so instead of keeping a blue flag hanging out your backside or perfecting the mammy look, how about ornamenting your precious neck?

Check, Seko Shamte.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Seko Shamte

Photo Courtesy Of Seko Shamte

WHERE ARE YOU RIGHT NOW AND HAVE YOU ALWAYS LIVED THERE?
I am currently based in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and I have always lived here save for the years I lived in the U.S. for college, and as a kid.

WHAT’S THE BEST THING ABOUT YOUR CITY?
Definitely the food and the people. Tanzanians are very warm and peaceful people. We have something called uungwana where we really help each other out and look after one another.

WHERE WERE YOU BORN AND RAISED?
I was mostly raised in Dar es Salaam but we had years where we moved to Massachusetts in the U.S as well as Asia when I was kid. I moved back to New York City for college.

WHAT WERE YOUR CHILDHOOD ASPIRATIONS?
I always wanted to be in the arts. Music. Design. Those things were always my jam and thankfully I found a way to incorporate all of that into the work I do. I always say film is the perfect intersection of the things I like.

HOW AND WHY DID YOU BECOME ALL THE THINGS THAT YOU ARE: PRODUCER, WRITER, DIRECTOR, DJ. . .?
DJing was a natural extension of my love for music. I played instruments as a kid, was president of the music club in middle school, performed all over the place, and eventually landed a job in radio when I was 17. Media was always going to be my path. The writing and everything else was always a part of me as well. I always had a huge imagination and lived in my own head creating characters and such. It was all destined for me.

WHAT IS YOUR EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND?
I moved around a lot but I got my BSc. in Finance with a minor in Media from Marymount Manhattan College.

WHAT IS YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS?
Most of the stuff I work on starts as an obsession either with the topic or the person. I really love history and I’m particularly fascinated with Tanzanian history and I always look for these parallels between the “then" and the “now" so there will always be a historical link in my work. Sometimes I’ll see something during my day and I’ll think to myself, “That would make a really good scene or this conversation would be interesting to pursue on the screen”. They say never be friends with a writer because you will be written about. From there I’ll probably jot it down and it could turn into a short story or just a synopsis. My mind doesn’t really rest, I’ll dream about it, think about it, talk about it until it morphs into something.

WHAT OR WHO INSPIRES YOU ON A DAY TO DAY?
 So many people and things. My husband inspires my day to day, just his energy of invincibility and curiosity about the world. My parents are the biggest influences in my life. My dad is an engineer with this amazing, analytical mind that is a joy to behold and my mom has levels of emotional intelligence that are unparalleled. She really taught me how to harness my intuition and I live a very intuitive life. She’s also an amazing writer who made sure I went to writing camp in the summer and offers the most insightful critiques of my work. I’m also inspired by Tanzanian and African kids who really make it on a large scale within their industries like, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Lupita Nyong’o they represent us in the best way. I love to see people living out their dreams.

HOW DID THE MOVIE “HOMECOMING” COME ABOUT AND WHAT THEMES ARE YOU PURSUING?
“Homecoming” started out as a short story after observing how we, “returnees”, flounder the first couple of years when we got back home. How we kind of exist between two worlds and don’t fully fit in either one. I then used that experience to attempt to analyze corruption and how it perpetuates itself, generation after generation. Everyone has a solution for corruption in Tanzania but I was interested in how it takes hold in us. Are we doomed to repeat our parent’s mistakes? The concept is a bit abstract but I worked hard to make it simple and thoughtful at the same time.

WHAT IS THE FUTURE OF AFRICAN CINEMA?
Very, very bright. We are natural storytellers and all we needed was the equipment and technical know-how and we are finally getting that. I foresee us completely dominating film in the next couple of decades.

HOW CAN WOMEN’S PARTICIPATION IN CINEMATOGROPHY BE INCREASED?
This is a huge question and I doubt I could really do it justice; I will say that for many years women have been socialized to avert more technical vocations. There is a deep scarcity of women in STEM and other technical professions but I think that is slowly changing. We need to conquer that fear that society attempts to instill in us from an early age of mathematics or science based subjects. That self-doubt that makes us not even bother for fear of being unworthy. There is also a lack of access to cameras and such from an early age. Cinematographers live and breath their cameras and lenses, it becomes an extension of themselves and that usually needs to start at an early age. Like I said it is a broad conversation that has many different angles.

WHAT HAS BEEN A PIVOTAL MOMENT?
When I completed my first feature documentary, “Mkwawa” in 2011. To see a long form project through from conception to completion requires a tenacity that I realized I had. My confidence grew 10-fold and I became more confident in my film making skills.

HOW DOES YOUR AESTHETICS APPLY IN YOUR OWN LIFE?
I live for the arts. I surround myself with artists and imaginative people. I love to dress up, go out and meet people. My music selection is pretty eclectic, I grew up on classical (since I played the violin) music and hip hop (Born in the 80s) and everything in between. If it’s good, I’ll listen to it. I love Asian food. Thai, Indian, Japanese - the mixture of flavors and textures and also the freshness of the ingredients not to mention that array of fruits. It is my absolute favorite though I do make a mean coq au vin. My style is pretty straight forward. I love the avant-garde designers, McQueen, Rei Kawakubo, Galliano etc, the masters, though in my own wardrobe I wear a lot of clean lines. I barely wear patterns. My comfort zone is black and jeans. Yes, even in this tropical heat! I love the masters but definitely central African art has a special place in my heart. I also really love Takashi Murakami, he is definitely an inspiration. As en extension of the clean lines I like in my wardrobe, I also love clean lines in my furniture so Scandinavian design is my favorite with splashes of African art thrown in.

HOW DO YOU SPENT TIME AWAY FROM WORK?
I feel like I’m always working since my mind doesn’t shut off too easily but I work hard on meditation and presence so I can gain some stillness. I read a lot, I work out, do yoga and my favorite, I DJ or go out and dance with my friends. I’ve got a lot going on, a riddle wrapped in an enigma. I’m ever changing and always the same all at once.

HOW DO YOU STAY CENTERED?
Meditation is the lifeline to presence and to the higher power. God is the absolute center of my life, best friend and constant companion. I try to be mindful and aware at all times and practice gratitude the first thing when I wake up and before I go to bed and as many times as I can in between.