Denim For Every Body
One family, many faces. One truth, many paths.
A pair of jeans, many memories.
One Life, One Love.
Princess Yasmyn is a talented musician with her roots stretching to the Dominican Republic and Estonia. Steve Vanoni is a skilled artist and trumpet player based in Tallinn but born in California. Stylist Liisa-Chrislin Saleh is half Yemeni-half Estonian and she also runs a vintage store. The enchantingly beautiful Jhenn is a mother of three who moved to the cold North from the Philippines. She’s also the founder of Saas platform. We met the light-worker Arthur Ervin, an elvish looking adventurer, and environmentalist in a forest protest some years ago. Few days before the shoot we streetcasted Deabeas, an aspiring football player born in the Netherlands in a Ghanaian family. The rebellious eye-catcher Sonya Tomson works as a make-up artist, model and stylist. Benjamin Olisah is of Swedish-Nigerian-Estonian descent, he’s also the only one who unfortunately couldn’t join our interview as he’s currently recruited by the army.
We all have moments in our lives that in a way, have created us who we are today. Would you share some of your most precious turning points and moments of realization – that have brought you where you are now?
Steve: One pivotal experience in my life was from an experience when I was twelve years old. There was a family/cultural tradition during my childhood that the kids; my sister, brother, and I would attend the cinema on Saturday afternoons to catch the newest movies, whatever was playing… The year was 1968 and the folks dropped us off at the theatre. ”2001, A Space Odyssey” was just released and was featured for this matinee. The cinematic experience of this film on a fairly young and impressionable mind was beyond words… The amazing abstract colorful sequence along with the Ligeti soundtrack along with the rest of the fairly straight-ahead / eschewed sci-fi narrative was mind-blowing / opening for me. I left the theatre with the thought; ”There are many things that I don’t understand in this world, that I want to know.”
Carina: The moments in my countryside when I was little, and alone meant to me the most. I didn’t have sisters or brothers nor big family so I had lots of time to think about life… and also death. I remember realising that I am such a marginal part of the Universe and that we have no control over nature. I felt the same when I was experiencing an earthquake for the very first time. It was a great feeling – the feeling of being so insignificant and at the same time, it was so damn powerful! It was then when I decided I truly want to enjoy the time I’ve been given. I don’t know if there’s an afterlife so I can’t count on that. Even if life is hard, it’s precious and I’m thankful for everyone and everything! I want to enjoy the path, trust the journey, and take responsibility. Everything happens at the right time!
Liisa: There have been many small but significant moments that have carved out the person I am today. One of the moments that had a huge impact on me was seeing the local street-dance crew ProDance on television as a child. I was blown away by their style, music, and movement. I instantly knew it was exactly what I wanted to do! This is how I met the community who became my best friends. Music and people connected to music are my main source of inspiration. Dance has given me so much freedom and confidence – getting lost in the music is the best spiritual practice for me.
Deabeas: To be a professional football player is a real blessing in my life – many kids dream to be a pro football player but not everyone will make it. I haven’t achieved my goals yet but I am on the way and I do believe I will get there! To play football in different countries is a very big thing for me and this too has made me the man I am today.
Arthur: My most precious turning points are related to swapping schools in my high school period and my backpacking trip through Southeast Asia and Australia. I realized how in new environments you can thrive without having any shackles from past conditions or relationships. You’re like a blank canvas and it is up to you how the painting will turn out!
What’s the moto that has carried you through life?
Sonya: “Have a heart that never hardens, a temper that never tires, and a touch that never hurts.”
Yasmyn: “Call yourself a Princess, they’ll crown you eventually”. This is something I told myself when I started making music. It’s like a “Fake it till you make it” mentality my mother always motivated me to believe in. To me, it doesn’t necessarily mean faking anything, it means acting like the person you wanna be and through that bringing your dreams into existence.
Jhenn: “If you are going to try, go all the way. Otherwise, don’t even start. If you are going to try, GO ALL THE WAY. DO IT. DO IT. DO IT.”
Deabeas: As I am a Christian, I get a lot of strength out of my religion – without praying or believing in God I couldn’t do anything that I am doing today. My faith in God has carried me through life.
Carina: Well, good things are within you!
Liisa: Just try! If you don’t try to go after what you want in life there is a 0% chance of getting what you want. Also, try to be a decent person – as the old but gold Confucius saying goes: “Don’t do unto others what you don’t want done unto you.”
What are your thoughts about what’s currently going on in the world?
Yasmyn: My thoughts are as blurry as every other person’s. I’d be lying if I said I’m not worried about what is going to happen, but I’m trying to utilize this situation to my benefit – make more music, push myself harder to work as much as I can, get to know myself through getting out of difficult situations, etc. At the end of the day, everything happens for a reason and we just need to keep a healthy and positive mindset.
Liisa: It a tricky question… When we are talking about Covid then there is so much information going around – I feel like there are so many people who think and act like they have the answers and to be honest I feel like no one does. I am living my life pretty much the way I used to – I don’t restrict myself too much, but I’m not gonna condemn or ridicule people who are taking this super seriously either. When we are talking about the fight for social equality then I’m 110% in and I love that the new generation is so passionate about it. It truly restores my faith in human beings!
Deabeas: It’s a mentally difficult time for everybody but it all makes us stronger! Finally, everyone is starting to realize the importance of family, health, and freedom.
Carina: I think there are too many people in the world.
Arthur: We’ve been dwelling in the darkness for a long time, tearing out the roots of our ancestors and nature. This has given space to greed and hatred and can spiral out of control, especially if we decide to stay passive. But I’ve also witnessed the other part of human nature which gives birth to love and nurtures life, and that side is WAY more powerful. So I do have hope in humanity – that we can overcome this dystopian reality by coming together as brothers and sisters and sharing the positive vibrations.
Steve: This evolutionary thread of human consciousness has brought us to now… We continually live on the precipice of earth tilting towards a fearful and questionable future. The main philosophy of the old ones was to leave the place better for the next generation. Let’s get through this pandemic and return to trying to improve a system of taking care of the people and planet. Much work needs to be done!
If you could have a magic wand, what would you change in the world?
Carina: Hah, I would probably abuse it! I would strip naked the people of having power. I might also make evil people disappear – people who hurt animals and others.
Arthur: I would re-wild the world and halt the consumerism! Why don’t we give the best artist in the world – Mother Earth – some time so she can restore what gave us life in the first place?! We should respect this high-level engineering and come together as a Whole to swap ideas, knowledge, art, and love.
Liisa: There is no magic wand to fix it all. There are little steps and acts of kindness we can all do. And we can’t get too depressed about how fucked up everything is and it’s also necessary to change the thought patterns a la “it doesn’t matter if I do something because it won’t make a difference anyway”.
Yasmyn: I’m not sure either a magic wand could change anything. But I do believe it could enhance many things. I would use it to enhance my motivation to pursue my dreams.
Steve: I would stop the suffering in the world
Jhenn: No borders. No religion.
Sonya: A peaceful world, without greed, hate, and wars. I would make people live together without the thought of some being better than others. I would make everybody care more about our planet so we could keep nature beautiful, the air fresh and all animals could live in their desired environment without getting brutally killed. There are more things in my head but this would be a great start, wouldn’t it?!
What about superpowers – if you could choose one, what would that be?
Jhenn: I love traveling so – Teleportation!
Sonya: I would choose the ability to fly because I’ve always enjoyed going where my heart desires to find inner happiness… I could go wherever “my wings” take me whenever I want!
Arthur: I was about to say flying or teleportation, but in correlation with the previous question I realize the most “super” thing to do would be the ability to make wildlife appear again with a brief gesture and intention. Imagine all the forests we could grow back that have been clear-cut in recent years!
Liisa: I think we already have superpowers – and nature, too. Just being in the wild or to experience the magnificent things humans are capable of creating makes me believe in superpowers. There is a lot of sh** that humans have caused and we all know that. But it is equally important not to forget the beauty of human potential. But if I really should choose one then I would love to be more organized.
Yasmyn: I’m the biggest superhero fan, so it’s very hard for me to choose between different powers. I guess my biggest superpower dream is to create energy with my hands because energy can be transformed into anything you want. This is a highly possible power to achieve in real life through witchcraft as well, and I am practicing this for fun. So who knows, maybe I’ll be a superhero-witch soon!
If every person in the world could hear this one sentence from you – what would it be?
Carina: What if the time disappears with a snap of a finger?
Arthur: Keep your head up and don’t lose your inner light – it’s a miracle to be here and we still have time to restore the equilibrium.
Jhenn: If you can see it in your mind, you can hold it in your hand!
Deabeas: Everything happens for a reason!
Steve: Practice kindness and help to stop the suffering every day whenever you can.