November, 2019, is the Enlightenment month for the Creative Pois-On Podcast. “Let there be light. And there was light.” This infamous quote from the Genesis expresses in a poetic and very visual way, an essentially creative process – to bring something to the light, out of the darkness. This is true of all creations: when you birth an idea, when you bring to the light a child, when you light up the stage of a theater and you give light to your creation for everybody to see it, when you stand up under the spotlight to pitch your business idea that you’ve been working so hard on.
Guided by the voice and the enlightened mind of the host of the month of November, Award-Winning Writer, Author, Playwright and Novelist David James Parr – an exceptional creator of worlds – the Creative Directors Tommaso Cartia and Daniela Pavan try to go deep in the understanding of how important Light is in any creative process, but also how important and fundamental Darkness is, meaning everything that happens in the dark before an idea, a project is out in the light.
This is indeed a sparkling month for the Creative Pois-On Podcast, besides the upcoming Creative Bridge episode with Daniela and the Creative Being with Tommaso, we will be featuring two dazzling interviews with two surprising guests who navigate through the waves of light, striking their audience with their works.
The month of October for Creative Pois-On falls under the umbrella of the Transformation theme. And as the foliage on the trees shades their colors in a beautiful mixture of red, gold and brown, we had the honor to feature another beautiful mixture of people promoting diversity and self-love in and through fashion, the members of the Melange Project 2019. Among them, we have been graced by our host for the month Digital Strategist, Beauty & Fitness Model and Executive Producer of Melange 2019, Mara De Los Santos; here in conversation with Plus-Size Model and Executive Producer herself, Gina Lynn Pearson. A must-read interview, a must-listen story, a powerful voice of a generation that should be hungry for Plus-size role models with Plus-Size hearts.
By Mara De Los Santos, Tommaso Cartia & Daniela Pavan
As Nick Navarro, Executive Producer and Co-Founder of Melange said, “We started this fashion network in 2011. A unique catalyst for community building for people of diverse backgrounds.” The founders chose the French word “mélange,” which means “mix,” to celebrate diversity and the different art forms incorporated into Melange’s shows. Melange is currently transitioning into a nonprofit, and Navarro said that Friday’s show raised money for KEHF, an organization that provides schooling and health services to orphans in Uganda. Melange has held events in San Francisco, Rio de Janeiro, and New York City, but Navarro said there was something particularly meaningful about Friday’s show.“Melange having its first show during New York Fashion Weekis a significant milestone, as it shows our unstoppable growth and impact in terms of promoting more love in the art world.” Melange’s advisory board includes several people who have broken barriers in the fashion world, includingKatiti Kironde, the first African woman to appear on the cover of a fashion magazine, in the August 1968 issue of Glamour, andMadeline Stuart, the first model with Down syndrome to walk the runway during New York Fashion Week, in 2015.
A powerful and strikingly beautiful representation of this Melange’s spirit lives in Plus-size Model Gina Lynn Pearson, who actually had the honor to escort Madeline Stuart on the runway this year. As she likes to call herself, the social worker by day and social twerker by night spritzing girl, opens up her heart in this intimate conversation with Mara De Los Santos.
Mara – What inspired you to participate in the Melange Project?
Gina – Initially I found Melange on an App called Backstage; and I decided to do it because I was housing my biological brother and during that time he was very abusive and manipulative, and one of the things that he last said to me was: “you are a fat…” and then the B. word. I wanted to take that and turn that into something positive, I wanted to get out and model and then I found Melange which embodies diversity, love and inclusion, I just knew I had to jump on it.
M – Tell us about your audition.
G – I was very afraid, because it was my very first-time modeling. When I went in the room, everyone was so filled with love, the room had so much positive energy. And during it they asked if you had a talent, I didn’t know what I would do for the talent and then out of wham I decided that I would say a spoken-word piece about the time where I was in the foster care system and the children’s mental health system. After that I walked, and they absolutely loved the piece, and because of that I was able to get a costumed design piece for me.
M – Oh, I remember your spoken-word piece, it was chilling, I had goosebumps. So, you were saying about the foster care system, how long it lasted and how did that shape your life?
G – I was there for about 18 years I think that my time there definitely shaped me because I didn’t have the average experience that a lot of people in foster care have. First of a lot of them don’t stay in foster care for such a long time as I did. I moved in over 35 foster residential homes. So, it taught me to be strong, independent and resilient.
M – You do have some magic about you that I’m sure was formed by over the strength and perseverance you garnered as you were living through these experiences. What would you say that you personally bring Melange?
G – I think that my experiences taught me to become a much kinder person and that is just who the Melange team is, and so I was able to jump right on board. Everyone calls me Gina the ‘Hype Woman’, the ‘Beauty Guru’. Everything you need I’m just there, to have your back.
M – During our last show, which it was featured on the NBC news, you put everyone else before yourself. You were the absolute last person to get ready and I remember you changing backstage as quick as possible and literally spritzing upstairs to go and ended up walking with Madeline and you got an amazing shot. This attitude of yours really shows that Melange is not a typical environment. Is actually the antithesis of Fashion Week, we are not there to be snobby, but to make sure that everyone feels comfortable. But Melange is not everything that you are…
G – I’m a fulltime social worker and I help the ones who are in the foster care system. I was also in the children’s mental health system. I really felt like I want to give back and help the people who helped me.
M – And when you are not doing your 9 to 5?
G – I joke around and I say that I’m a social worker by day and a social twerker by night! Because I really love to have and fun and to be the life of the party, and that’s why I got into modeling as well. I’m a freelance Plus-Size model emboding positive, inclusive and diversity messages, that’s why I love Melange.
M – For Nick Navarro, our Melange founder, one of our goals is to provide a platform for people to thrive and find themselves and figure out what they should be doing, and I believe that for you this was the case. So, on the top of the theme of Tranformation, which is our topic of the month, how do you think that it applies to both your professional and personal life?
G – I think that throughout my life I needed to go through so many transitions. I had to find myself and who I am and stay firm in who I am. Going through all of those different changes it also taught me not just to get my own world’s perspective, but other people’s as well, understanding their transitions, their timing and how to be patient with them.
M – Can you share any criticism that you faced that kind of made you think of transforming yourself?
G – You know somebody told me once, that it was not other people stopping me from succeeding in life, but that it was really my mouth… and that was really transformative for a young person who wishes so quick to snap back at adults because of where I was coming from. And then I would say that the second big transformation of my life was two years ago. I was sexually assaulted by a police officer and during that time he called me fat,like my biological brother did, that didn’t transform myself in the way that I see my body, but it actually allowed me to love myself more. Because I said, you know what? That is not who I am, I’m more than that, that was the action of another person and not reflective of me, even though at times of course I had a difficult time compartmentalizing those different things.
M – Wow, what a powerful experience Gina, thank you so much for sharing. Going back to your work at Melange, how do you bring your own life’s struggle and beautiful lessons you have learned into the project?
G – I was working with all the models this year, I worked on them one on one, and each one of them came from their own background and they all have their fight to fight and show their resilience. Being in it as an Executive Producer, I had the chance to help the models when they didn’t feel they were at their best during make-up time and stuff like that, showing them that it is really not about make-up because it swipes away, it is not about hair because you take that down; is about everything that is found on the inside, it is about your personality and that’s why people choose you.
M – This is so important especially if we think of all the negative comments we read on social media and headlines, that refer to this imperialize view of fashion and beauty, that’s why I think that Melange is important for the times we are living in.
G – Absolutely, showcasing those people who are just comfortable wearing dresses that society would mark as not appropriate for them to wear, is a great message and service that Melange provides for the world of fashion. We are all beings, here to serve a purpose. Let us all just allow that, to just to be and to be ourselves and that is what Melange does against all of the nitpicking and monkeys scraping at the end of the barrel of the fashion scene. I saw our models even helping each other, sharing each other castings, and that is beautiful, they really wanted to see the best for each other.
M – Yeah, that was so beautiful. A few years ago we took Melange to Brazil for a very successful show and we are thinking of doing so again. We have done it in San Francisco and hope to do it in other states as well as maybe London or Paris, or Amsterdam in the future. This year for the first time Melange is partnering with a non-profit, Kironde Education and Health Fund to raise money to educate a nursing student in Uganda, East Africa. As we grow and expand our reach, we hope to do more of that kind of things. So, based on this, how would you say that it is next for Melange?
G – I would say that our work isn’t done. We are definitely looking to expand, bringing people on board to work as a team who share the same values that we do. We really see no limits.
M– Closing up, thank you so very much for having been the exquisite cherry on top of this October month of the Creative Pois-On Podcast! Before we leave, is there anything else you want to add or share?
G – I just want to thank Creative Pois-On for the opportunity, and thank Melange for being so creative and for the work that they do.
What is a Creative Being? And how does he/she interpret and embody the theme of transformation in this mass media culture we are living in? Artist Director of Creative Pois-On Tommaso Cartia and our host for the month of October, Digital Strategist, Beauty & Fitness Model and Executive Producer of Melange 2019, Mara De Los Santos, take us on a journey through the themes of creativity, imagination and transformation, starting from our childhood memories to making surprising connections with the so-called pop-pornographic aesthetic and phenomenon like Kim Kardashian, Lady Gaga, Miley Cyrus… in pure Creative Pois-On style.
“I’m very interested in
understanding the topic of Transformation in its vast cultural spectrum and try
to detect what kind of role does it play in today’s society. We are living in a
re-posting mode of the post-modern world, where everything is actually a bland
copy and a repetition of stalling iconographies, distortions and deformations of
our pop culture. I believe that we are not in a transformative time, but in an
involutive one, and that’s why we need to go back to the power of imagination
and creativity, now more than ever, to trigger a real shift.
What if I tell you that I think that Kim Kardashian is actually,
and aesthetic fact? Either you like it or not, it’s a statement of something
and actually one of the culminations of a cycle of pop culture transformation
that probably speaks volumes of the world we are living today…does the category
of Aesthetic Beauty still stands or are we at the mercy of an Aesthetic of
Cool, or of its subcategory, the Aesthetic of Trash? Are we living in the era
Our Artistic Director Daniela Pavan, discusses the topic of Transformation from her business and bridge-builder perspective; in conversation with our host of the month, Digital Strategist, Beauty & Fitness Model and Executive Producer of Melange 2019, Mara De Los Santos.
Every month we discuss the monthly topic with
Daniela by connecting the dots between the world of business and creativity,
and we will explore its potential and share insights. This month we are talking about
Transformation. How do you think
Transformation can be explored from a business and a creative perspective?
Let’s listen to what Daniela has to say.
“Transformation is a huge connector between the creative world and the business environment, more than I expected. But in order for it to be effective, it looks like transformation needs creativity, therefore it can generate innovation. However, there is another key ingredient we shouldn’t forget which is good leadership. Good leaders can activate the creative spark and nurture innovation by being inspiring people for their teams. Also, we need to remember that there is another important force in this transformation process: the customer, real people, while technology is just an enabler. Think about communication, we always say brands communicate to customers, but it’s always people talking to other people, independently on the platform they use. Right? That’s why for example what we call digital transformation is not only about technology; it is even more about people and how to connect with them, how they interact and use technology. The key word here is customer engagement which can become customer delight through an excellent digital transformation. Creativity is an act of courage… and change requires brands to be brave as well. Tom and David Kelley in their book Creative Confidence say: ‘The combination of thought and action defines creative confidence: the ability to come up with new ideas and the courage to try them out.” They interviewed also Stanford professor Albert Bandura who demonstrated that our belief systems affect our actions, goals, and perception. People who believe that they can effect change are more likely to accomplish what they set out to do. Professor Bandura calls this “self-efficacy.” According to his findings, people with self-efficacy set their bar higher, try harder and persevere longer, which brings them to show more resilience in the face of failure.
It is like that a
complete, new world of possibilities can emerge when people overcome the fears
that block their creativity. Rather than feeling paralyzed in front of
challenges, they are open to experience new opportunities and learn from them.”
Our host for the month of October, Digital Strategist, Beauty & Fitness Model and Executive Producer of Melange 2019, Mara De Los Santosintroduces the topic of the month – Transformation – discussing it with the Artistic Directors of Creative Pois-On, Daniela Pavan and Tommaso Cartia, in a creative briefing anticipating the upcoming episodes: The Creative Bridge with Daniela, exploring the business side of the topic; The Creative Being with Tommaso, and The Creative Interview featuring a special guest who strongly embodies the Transformation theme.
By Tommaso Cartia & Daniela Pavan
“Why transformation, you
may wonder. According to the dictionary, the meaning of the word transformation
is ‘a thorough or dramatic change in form or appearance. A metamorphosis during
the life cycle of an animal.’ We are in October, the quintessential month
of change and transformation… starting from the seasonal shift. We just ended
summer, days are getting shorter and shorter, we will start shivering, we will
have to change our wardrobe, the way we dress, technically if we were animals,
well we are, we should go to hibernation… so it is indeed a transformative
time. It’s a season full of changes, when crops and fruits are gathered and
leaves shade in to red, yellow and then fall, transforming completely the
landscape in front of our eyes…”
As the discussion unfolds, the theme of Transformation finds its incarnations in a vast spectrum of subjects: from the archaic roots of Halloween, the folklore of the Venetian Carnival, and the current shifting trends of New York Fashion Week 2019, where the Melange Movement was a protagonist; to the transformation we could experience through the dramatic arts, with an exclusive look on the Sea Wall / A Life Broadway show with Jake Gyllenhaal and Tom Sturridge.
Welcome to the Creative Pois-On Podcast. The very first creative impulse, the very first act of connection with our audience, the very first storyline cast out to interconnect the polka-dots of our creativity. The voice of our host for the month of October, Digital Strategist, Beauty & Fitness Model and Executive Producer of Melange 2019, Mara De Los Santos, breaks through the remote outer space of our world of ideas, to start reviving our thirst for creativity… relax, take a deep breath… ready, set, imagine…
By Daniela Pavan & Tommaso Cartia
Truth is we never met but we imagine you. We imagine that you wake up in the morning, have breakfast or have no time for breakfast, and then get ready to work. We imagine you leaving your place and kissing your partner, or desiring one or enjoying the empowerment of being independent. We imagine you running to your workplace or comfortably sitting at your freelance desk at a lively co-working space. We imagine you checking your to-do list, attending meetings, making calls, having projects to finish and deadlines to meet, bosses to please or just yourself to please in the most bossy-ble way. We imagine you having clients to deal with, colleagues to connect with, share work and life with, share nothing at all and disagree with. We imagine you having a drink after work with those colleagues you share work and life with or nothing at all, or if it’s your lucky day, with your best friend who you haven’t seen in ages, who lives just a few train stops away from you. We imagine you getting back home and having dinner while binge watching your new favorite shows, or possibly sharing time with your loved one, desired one, or simply employing your independent master chef skills. We imagine you getting ready to go to bed, brushing your teeth, reading a book… is your brain shutting down or it is suddenly awakening? The question now is: are you happy with the day you just had, loving it for what it is, or you are wondering about all the things that could have been? Are we imagining it, or are you? Why are you doing the things you do? Who gave to your life the shape it has now? We imagine it was you, your imagination, the output of what you dreamed for yourself.
Our name, Creative Pois-On, is inspired by the illustrious artist YaYoi Kusama, who once said: “A polka-dot has the form of the sun, which is a symbol of the energy of the whole world and our living life, and also the form of the moon, which is calm. Round, soft, colorful, senseless and unknowing. Polka-dots can’t stay alone; like the communicative life of people, two or three polka-dots become movement…! Polka-dots are a way to infinity.” So, we named ourselves after the concept of polka dots, because life is made by people who are somehow connected, and people get ideas… but what is a single idea if it cannot be connected creatively to other ideas?
Entrepreneur, Forbes Contributor, Design and Innovation Manager and Strategic Leader, Daniela was born and raised in Italy, and she is now based in NYC, that’s why she is blessed with both Italian artistic passion and NYC’s unique edge! Currently she covers the role of General Manager at The Ad Store NYC, creative agency part of an international network, and is also member of the M.A.C. Lab (Lab for Management of Arts and Culture) of Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, Italy. She is also Co-Founder of the Ca’ Foscari University Alumni– NYC Chapter and a collaborates with Ruler Art, Art Gallery based in NYC. A bridge builder between the world of Creatives and the Business environment, through her Forbes articles she explores creativity, innovation and storytelling.
Italian Communications and Media Specialist, Journalist and Writer based in New York Tommaso Cartia, has over a decade of experience in the media, publishing and the entertainment business field. He is currently an Editor of the American version of Red Carpet Magazine as well as the Founder of his own editorial project, The Digital Poet. Tommaso is also a well-known Copywriter and a PR executive specifically within the Italian and the Italian American community in New York City. He is also the writer of the lyrical memoir “Reincarnazione Sentimentale”, published in Italy in 2014, and he has been working extensively as a bilingual Italian/English – journalist for different publications. His articles span a variety of topics including art, entertainment, lifestyle and food. He has interviewed celebrities of the caliber of Gina Lollobrigida, Michael Cunningham, Erica Jong, Valeria Golino, to name a few. He also worked as a producer for movies and as a digital marketer and copywriter for film companies and festivals.
Creative Pois-On is going to be an unusual podcast, because Tommaso and Daniela will be not just creative directors but also guests… every month a different host, a different voice, will come to converse with them on a specific topic such as imagination, connection, transformation, enlightenment… to name a few. This is because Creative Pois-On strongly believes in the power of generating and sharing ideas to connect the dots and immerse ourselves in the multi-layered, multi-dimensional and overly digitalized world we live in.
Each topic will be discussed from a creative, cultural and even business perspective in order to explore how much creativity could be crucial and essential in anyfields, from the most corporate to the most artistic and independent ones.
After a brief introduction that we call The Creative Briefing, Daniela will discuss the monthly topic by connecting the dots between the world of business and creativity, exploring its potentials and providing insights and ideas with her “The Creative Bridge” episode. While Tommaso will give voice to a more humanistic talk with interpolations with the world of entertainment, iconography and Pop Culture: “The Creative Being”.
The final episode, The Creative Interview, will be graced by a special guest who embodies and successfully represents the treated topic.
New York will be Creative Pois-On’s solid ground, a kaleidoscopic platform that interconnects the entire world with its variety and complexity in terms of dimensions, groups, ethnicities, businesses and artistic venues.
We imagine you comfortably letting yourself go to the timeless power of your creativity.
Let’s get started… ready, set, imagine!
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