Arcane Meets: Isold. “I don’t consider myself as an influencer, I’m just trying to do what’s right.”

For the first interview of the year, OA had the privilege of connecting with Icelandic beauty, Ísold Halldórudóttir. The body-positive artist and model, who gained traction in 2017 as a model for LOVE Magazine, has used her platform to spread inclusivity since the very beginning. In today’s interview, we had the privilege of discussing the importance of diversity in the fashion world, defying beauty standards, and much more…

Enjoy the interview!

 


 

Q: Before we begin, would you like to introduce yourself?

A: Hi, my name is Ísold. I’m a model, artist and activist from Reykjavik, Iceland.

 

 

Q: Let’s start from the beginning; your origin is in Iceland correct? Iceland has been described as one of the most progressive countries in the world as well as one of the best countries for women equality. How do you think growing up in this type of environment influenced you?

A: Well, I didn’t. Me and my mom moved to Copenhagen when I was around 7 or 8 and I didn’t move back to Iceland till I was 16. My mom has always been very vocal about the importance of equality.

Being a feminist from the moment she was born, she raised me to believe that I could do anything I wanted to, regardless of my gender; and while Iceland has progressed a lot further than many others, I feel that we still have a long way to go.  

 

 

Q: You’ve used your platforms as model, artist, and activist to push the idea of showcasing diversity and inclusivity. Growing up, is this a subject you were always vocal about, or did it gradually happen the more you got into the industry?

A: From an early age I knew I didn’t fit in, literally.I was too different because I was too fat.  It wasn’t until after I started modelling that I realised how much of a voice I had, or could have.

I’m not doing this JUST for me, I’m representing everyone that’s ever been made to feel that they’re ugly because of their size, or that they don’t belong in this society because they’re “different”.

 

Q: In an interview with i-D, you explained that there were certain standards that made you feel that you weren’t beautiful; I’m curious as to how you got yourself out of that mindset?

A: We have to accept our insecurities so that we can let go of them. Only then will you realise that your “flaws” aren’t real.  

Ask yourself who’s profiting from these emotions? Ask yourself why you think your cellulite defines how beautiful you are, or why you feel it is almost a necessity to have a flat stomach. It’s not you, it’s them. We’ve been manipulated to think everything is wrong with us. There’s nothing wrong with you, you’re perfect.

 

 

Q: You’ve used social media as a way to push your movement of body positivity. I’m curious, are there any influencers that you look up to/are inspired by?

A: Oh of course! I would have to give a huge shout out to La’shaunae.  She’s so fucking inspiring and honest about everything that she does. I truly admire her, she’s gonna change the world.

I recently discovered Lotte Vaneijk on Instagram, she’s a plus size model ( even though I hate using that word because I find it so degrading ) and while fighting for diversity in the industry, she does it in a way without attacking anyone, and I find that really important, and so pure.

Also, Lucinda Graham. She’s so inspiring to how she presents herself and the way she raises awareness to mental health. There should be no shame about taking care of yourself and she truly makes sure to let her everyone know that.

LOVEME Campaign

Q: Social media is actually the reason I discovered you! In 2017, you were photographed by Kendall Jenner for the #LOVEME17 Campaign – what was that experience like; especially with it being your first modeling experience?

A: That was such a surreal moment, yet I still can’t believe it happened. I never considered being a model.  It seemed like such a unrealistic dream. Not because I didn’t find myself beautiful, but because I was fat.

So to get that opportunity, was so overwhelming and empowering at the same time. I had no idea what I was doing, and I was super uncomfortable, but it opened my eyes to something so much bigger than just me.

 

 

Q: How do you think you’ve grown as a person/model since that shoot? Are you now more/less comfortable in front of the camera? What are some tips you could give aspiring models?

A: Definitely more…

My mom being a photographer was always taking pictures of me when I was little, but after graduating from high school I had to completely start from scratch. I didn’t know who I was anymore, so I really found myself when I started modelling, and remembered the comfort and the normality of being in front of the camera.

You have to be uncontrollably ruthless to be able to survive in this industry. That’s what everyone tells me. I call bullshit. Be whoever you want to be. In today’s world there are no rules, there’s no “how to” book, all you have to do to succeed, is believe in yourself. That’s it.

 

 

Q: In being so open and honest about your journey of self love & raising awareness about the lack of diversity in the industry (specifically fashion), you have become a source of light for those who feel underappreciated/valued, at least when it comes to society’s beauty standards. What is the overall mission?

A:  I don’t consider myself as an influencer, I’m just trying to do what’s right. No one should ever feel that they’re ugly.  All of us are so special because of our individuality, we all deserve to feel that we belong, and that’s the mission.

To whisper, no to shout, to all those little girls that are out there right now comparing themselves to each other, arguing, crying, fighting about who’s prettier, who’s fatter, who’s the “it girl” that it doesn’t matter. That there is no such thing as ugly. There is no such thing as flaws or imperfections.

 

Q: Lastly, is there anything you would like to tell your supporters?

A: I love you. Really.  And to anyone that’s fighting for their dreams, their sexuality, their identity, I support you and I believe in you.


 

If you would like to stay updated on Isold’s journey as an activist and model, feel free to follow her on Instagram 🙂

Make sure to follow OA on social media platforms: Instagram, Twitter, and Soundcloud to stay updated.

Meet Atlanta Based Photographer: Donte Maurice. “…We all should appreciate and support each other.”

As regular OA readers know, this had gradually become a platform for upcoming creatives worldwide – reaching as far as Asia and Europe. Since the start, I knew my musical background might hinder my choices in interviews, and from the site’s history … you can see that it did.

Regardless, I’ve slowly been broadening my horizons, and that is ultimately what connected me to today’s interviewee. In today’s interview, I got the chance to speak with Atlanta based photographer, Donte Maurice. With around 5 years of experience, the fashion and portrait photographer has already gained the respect of celebrities and brands alike, working with names like 6lack and Sprite.

In this interview, we had the opportunity to discuss the start of his career, qualities of a good photographer, and future projects!
Enjoy the interview.

*all photos are taken by him, unless stated otherwise*


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Donte Maurice for Puma; Photographed by Ahmad Barber.

Q: Before we begin, would you like to introduce yourself?

A: Yes Definitely! My name is Donte’ Maurice and I am a portrait and fashion photographer based in Atlanta, Ga.

 

 

Q: Is photography something you saw yourself pursuing as a career, or was it more of a hobby that blossomed into something more?

A: I’ve been doing photography for about 5 years, but started taking it seriously about 3 years ago; That’s when I knew that this is apart of what I’m meant to do. It definitely started off as a hobby, a quick way to express myself once I got tired of doing graphic design.

 

 

Q: Have you always been interested in the arts (or any form of self expression) or was it something that developed over time? Do you think your family noticed your attraction towards the arts? If so, were they supportive of it?

A: YES! I used to sing and act a lot before I started doing photography. My family supported me in every artistic change I wanted to make in my life. When I was into music, they bought me microphones, pianos, drums, and etc… The moment I changed to photography they purchased my first camera, lens, and laptop.

 

 

Q: You’ve said that some of your favorite influences include: Harley Weir, and Frank Ocean – what about their artistry inspires you?

A: OH MAN! I love both of them so much. Their story telling ability blows me away. I take so much from Frank Ocean’s music that inspires the shoots I take. I love the tones from Harley Weir, once I found out that she shot film that made me want to take the steps into doing that as well. I just love them!

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Q: You started your career in 2015 & by the end of the year you had worked with brands like Moschino and Sprite. Can you explain to us exactly … how that happened; especially while working towards your degree?

A: I honestly can’t even explain what happened. There’s never really a way to plan for something you didn’t think was possible. I was learning as I went, and it took a lot of time management and sacrifices. Around that time I didn’t have a car and Marta doesn’t go out really far either so I was spending money and time left and right to make sure I did my thing. It was a lot, especially managing school, a part time job, homework, and then shooting as well.

 

 

Q: Did you know (or think) that your career would take off that quickly? Was it somewhat overwhelming? Out off all the projects you completed that year, which one was the most gratifying/rewarding?

A: I don’t know, I still don’t think it has taken off. I feel like it was more of a mental change in me once I decided to make it an actual career. In 2015 it would’ve definitely have to be Sprite!

 

 

Q: Earlier this year you photographed Big Boi (of Outkast); As someone based in Atlanta, was that experience sort of surreal?

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A: YES! That was crazy. To be able photograph a hip hop icon for my first print publication. I got hired by Billboard Magazine to do that during my finals week of college. I was literally floating in heaven wh

en I received that email. The amount of trust they had in me was incredible.

 

 

Q: Is there anywhere you would like to travel for photography… or even just to travel?

A: YES! I would love to travel to London and Santorini (Greece). I don’t want to box myself in though, I want to go everywhere!

 

 

Q: You’ve managed to collaborate with a handful of celebrities/influencers since your start; At this point, is there anyone you think you would be starstruck by while having a shoot?

A: It would have to be Beyonce, Rihanna, and Frank Ocean. I would be incredibly nervous! Shooting them with tears in my eyes!

 

 

Q: As someone whose job duties include things like: capturing moments & helping visions come to life – when do you personally know/feel that a shoot has been successful? And what do you think has been the most motivating aspect for you?

A: You just FEEL when a shoot is successful. It’s really hard to describe it. It’s like you know in your heart if you created your best work. The most motivating factor has been knowing that anything can happen any given time.

 

 

Q: What qualities do you (personally) feel makes a good photographer and who are some upcoming photographers you think have these qualities?

A: The qualities that makes a good photographer is relatability, creative, and just love for the people and/or brands they work with. Photographers who I’ve seen and feel have that are Ahmad Barber, Micaiah Carter, Renell Medrano, and many more!

 

 

Q: Before I ask the next question, I want to commend you for your newest project: The Way Up – where you will be “highlighting artists of color”; May I ask what inspired you to start this project?

A: I just love creatives and I feel like we all should appreciate and support each other. Even though I took a break on it for a little bit, I’ll be starting it back up pretty soon!

 

 

 

Q: I’ve noticed the recent influx of creators (specifically of color) beginning to get recognition from their work – people like Bree Holt (The Exquisite Eye), Elizabeth Wirija, and of course – you. Do you, feel it’s important that people of all cultures have the ability to influence society? Who are some up and coming creators (doesn’t have to be a photographer)  you’ve recently noticed?

A: YES! It’s so important. We see things from a different perspective and now a lot of brands are beginning to appreciate it. I’ve been paying a lot of attention to Adrienne Raquel, Joshua Woods, Joshua Kissi, Campbell Addy,  Santiago & Mauricio and Valheria Rocha.

 

 

Q: When you look back at your career in 50+ years, what are some things you would like your legacy to include? What do you think your impact has been so far?

A: I would love to be considered one of the pioneers that help propel the creative scene in Atlanta. I want to go down as a legend in my city like Zach Wolfe, Big Boi, Andre 3000, and many more so I have a lot of work to do! I honestly don’t know what my impact has been so far.

 

 

Q: I’m sure you’ve grown a lot as a photographer, and as an individual as well since starting this journey – is there and advice or words of wisdom you can pass down to aspiring creators?

A: Never give up! Please don’t. If you’re meant to do this then you have to stay in for the long haul. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and a lot of great careers weren’t either.

 

 

Q: What are some goals you hope to accomplish next year – as far as, with your photography/brand?

A: My goals for 2019 is to get more print work. I want to be able to work with Vogue, Interview, Fader, W, Vanity Fair and many more. I also would love to hop on a tour some time next year. I think that would be so fun!

 

 

Q: Lastly, is there anything you would like to say to your supporters?

A: THANK YOU SO MUCH! You guys keep me going and keep me motivated. If it wasn’t for the people that support I have no idea where I would be honestly.


To learn more about Donte, make sure to visit his website, as well as following him on:

The Eenah x Sahar Collaboration

Although I’ve never had an exquisite taste in fashion, I will say this is the year I paid more attention to it. For whatever reason, 2018 is the year my interest in fashion, especially my interest in fashion brands developed by those of color.

I’ve always been someone who wanted to spend to spend money in my own community and with brands like MATTE BRAND by Briana Shanee & Adriana Sahar Shop by Adriana Sahar, thankfully more people are starting to think that way as well.

 

 

I give these two spotlight, because these two real life friends have been able to take the industry by storm getting attention from outlets like the Fader (Matte Brand) and Galore Mag (Adriana Sahar) and today they are collaborating for their first ever runway show tonight!

In the midst of New York Fashion Week, this is an amazing opportunity and collaboration for both designers. Whereas I view Briana’s Matte, as clothing I would want to wear when I’m feeling soft and vibrant, I look as Adriana’s as the type I would want when I’m feeling edgy and spontaneous. Regardless, I’m excited to see how it will look on the runway!


If you’re interested in looking at their clothing lines, as well as a couple others I have found through the year continue scrolling:

  • Matte by Briana Shanee (Apparel, Swimwear)
  • Adriana Sahar by Adriana Sahar (Accessories, Apparel)
  • Pink Plastic Babez by Aurum Amare (Accessories, Apparel, Swimwear, Outerwear)
  • LacebyTanaya by Tanaya Henry (Jewelry, Skincare)
  • Mars by Lyjerria (Accessories, Apparel, Swimwear)
  • Vidakush by Rhianna Cooper (Jewelry, Accessories)