“Be different. Be original. Nobody will remember a specific flower in a garden filled with thousands of the same yellow flower, but they will remember the one that managed to change its color to purple.”
— Suzy Kassem
We met on a rainy day opposite the legendary Soviet hotel Viru. Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival had brought her here and the moment we laid eyes on her we were enchanted by her extraordinary beauty. Based in Paris, our muse Tiger Lily is a fashion model and actress experiencing an autoimmune disorder known as vitiligo which affects one in every hundred people. And yet, she is standing tall, embracing herself and the choices of her soul and this is the force that makes flowers grow and bloom in beauty.
Tell us about your fascinating name
— Tiger Lily?
Tiger Lily is a flower that bears large, fiery orange blossoms covered with spots. Originally from Mongolia, it is found on the banks of fast running rivers heading across the Siberian steppes and was much coveted as a Silk Road traded bulb.
How has vitiligo affected your life so far? People may be pretty cruel – have you experienced a lot of bullying in life?
We are not always responsible for what happens to us but we do have the power to choose which directions to go – to live and create or to let ourselves be destroyed? Like any change in life, it takes time to adjust. When the first symptoms appeared it felt like I was born again and today I know that I am a work of art that may inspire the world through my story and artistic career. I do not let the negative spirits through!
So you have learned to embrace your confidence?
Yes, but it took me years. I practice meditation and personal development on a daily basis. I have all the love in my soul and I know – we are all unique in our own way.
We’re really fascinated by your beauty – what about your roots?
Any cool ancestor stories you happen to know?
I am of German and Ivorian origin which is West Africa Akan ethnicity – a matriarchal culture where women are considered to be goddesses.
You were one of the key characters of “Timeless Beauty” the movie
– how were you discovered? What did the experience give to you?
Carrying a message of love and tolerance this fashion documentary about the standards of beauty mirrored my views well. It was an honour to leave a trace in this judgmental world and to encourage people to be more tolerant with one another. We need more role models and courageous people who’re willing to speak up!
You’re also making the first steps in modelling
– how do you feel so far? What are the most interesting projects
you’ve been part of?
An artist lives for the passion of the art. For me, there is no project more important than the other. With each project, the magical creation is uniquely inspiring. Most of all I am committed to women, in growing acceptance and openness around the world. Right now I am travelling between Paris, London, Germany and New York – what a beautiful adventure it already is!
Working with us you were really excited about the light blue
denim set – why denim?
I love the street style so naturally, I loved this outfit right away. It wasn’t particularly about denim but rather that super cool vibe it carried. Models are often surrounded by rigid and tight outfits – this one was like a breath of fresh air between everything “conventional”.
We find you to be dashingly beautiful and fiercely believe you have a strong potential to smash some barriers and shape the future of fashion industry as it’s going to be all about diversity or it’s going to be boring. What are your next steps and where do you see yourself in 3 years?
Being somewhat an icon and kind of a spokesperson would be great personal satisfaction. Constantly moving forward and paving the way for generations to come. I would like to hope that in three years I have also released my first album as I’m a pretty good singer, too (laughs).
That’s wonderful, we can’t wait to hear that! You will definitely be an inspiration for many. But what inspires you?
I am fascinated by people who revolutionise the world through their struggle and who have imposed themselves. People who continue no matter what and who keep opening doors closed to them. Nothing is impossible and we all just have to discover the potential inside of us!