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TOP MODEL Solange Smith

Fashion is a way of expressing yourself, and art creates progressive world that we are able to see, so they come hand in hand.

– You started modelling so that you could afford to paint and look where it got you, you are one of the hottest faces in the industry right now and a BVLGARI Allegra Ambassador. Is modelling still a necessity for you or has it become a hobby that you don't want to quit?

– I think work is a necessity, but I’ve been very lucky with all the chances that I’ve been given and it became part of my life now. It makes me happy working with incredible teams. So, actually for now, I guess it is not a necessity, it is something that I really enjoy doing.

– What heights do you want to reach in art and in modelling?

– I have never put a height for myself, actually. I feel incredibly grateful for all the jobs that I’ve done already and I am shocked each time when I get a new and a better one. So, I think that as long as I’m enjoying what I’m doing, and I like to do everything that I do to my maximum, it pushes me forward and it’s great. When I was young my goals were very small, but I always dreamt big. I’ve never expected to be what I am today. Every single time I get a new job, I feel incredibly grateful for it, because I never expect much. When I’m doing something I do it properly, putting all my attention to it. I don’t think about what is coming next. Sometimes we lose the idea of living in the moment and this really concerns me, we shouldn’t think about what is next all the time. Last year was definitely a dream and working with Bvlgari for their new fragrance made it come true. Although it was a year ago, I’m still living it.

– What does it mean for you to be the Ambassador of the BVLGARI perfume Allegra? Is it a certain height or achievement for you?

– It is truly a dream come true and definitely the highlight of my career to be a part of such an incredibly beautiful, powerful and historic brand. Especially to be an ambassador for a perfume that I truly identify myself with.

– Do you find resemblance between the aesthetic, vibe and smell of the BVLGARI Allegra perfume, yourself and your art?

– I do, it’s funny I was talking to my friends about that the other day. I feel very close to each one of the perfumes. I love creating my own experience within whatever moment I’m feeling, I’m always dreaming and creating worlds in my mind which I translate to my art and that’s very similar to the whole concept of BVLGARI Allegra. If you want to be transported to another world of emotions you can pick and decide which one you want to be. Then the beautiful scents, each one takes me to a place of comfort and a feeling of home. I’ve always travelled around my entire life so home was never a country, it was a scent, a person or a feeling and they emulate that perfectly. Last but not least the packaging, they come in these beautiful boxes that look like books with the most stunning illustrations on top of them. It’s definitely the finishing touch to all the things I love. The attention to detail in every part of BVLGARI Allegra, from picking the scent to the way it has been packaged feels like my life's journey in a bottle.

– What do you think, can fashion live without art?

– No, since they are so connected to each other. Art is a cultural movement and fashion creates parts of this movement. Fashion is a way of expressing yourself and art creates progressive world that we are able to see, so they come hand in hand.

– Would you say parfumerie is an art? Or just specific perfumes like the BVLGARI Allegra and not others?

– Of course, parfumerie is an art. Art stimulates an emotion, thought and reaction. The craftsmanship of a perfumer is to create a new scent which creates a certain emotional state and experience that stays in your memory your entire life. Just like art is subjective, so is a scent. Which is why a perfume is so valuable, because it’s an emotion that is forever stored in your memory.

– Have you studied to be an artist? Does education in the art sphere help talented people nowadays, or has the industry become more into marketing – you have to be good at selling your product and have to have popularity in social media?

– I think that it is important to master all the crafts that you are doing and if you can learn more about them through education or self-teaching, it is better for you. Whether you need education or not, it depends on what kind of person you are. For some, education is perceived more seriously, for others, self-study is more productive. I am self-taught, my mom used to paint, so I have it in my blood. I loved art, because we moved frequently, had to learn different languages and the language of art was the easiest for me. My mom used to say, you can never make mistakes with art. Whatever you do and even if you think that you’ve made a mistake, you can still create it into something beautiful. Sometimes you could think of something in the beginning and in the end you end up creating something that you didn't even plan. That is all about my life too, I create with my heart, I’m doing it because I love it and yes, I have no special education. (laughs)

– What do you make of artists, whose success

depends on hype?

– I honestly think that we all do whatever we can in the world to survive and to make a living for ourselves. For me, how you get there is not as important as to enjoy the things that you do. One media or another, whether it is spoken or social, I believe both are incredible platforms. So, you should show your art by any means. Art is a self-expression that you can apply everywhere. In design, for example creating a design of a perfume bottle. In painting, decorating a wall or a canvas. Creating something that goes into social media or graphic design... I am convinced that as long as you express what you want to express, it is art in itself, whether people like it or not. That's why art is so incredible, because it's subjective, which is a nice thing, because somewhere out there, there is always something for everybody. After all, if I might not like something, you might love it. I think that's the beauty of art, it's very personal.

– What defines success for an artist?

– I think it is truly loving what you’ve done. It is very hard to do. If you created something, being able to look at it and to be proud of it – that is success for me. You may not be known by many people, but if you have done something and are happy about the fact that you are a part of it, that is success. Although this feeling is always very different. It can last a long time but sometimes disappears after a few seconds. Of course, it sometimes happens that you look at your creation and you are sick of it, but when you enjoy it for a long time, this is success in my understanding.

– Can you give your opinion on the statement that nowadays creatives need to be able to switch between spheres in order to succeed in any industry?

– The first thing is to be able to master your craft, it is incredible. If someone has a lot of talents that he wants to explore or improve, that's beautiful. I think it depends on the person you are, whether you have one craft and you enjoy it, or a versatile person, and you want to use a lot of your talents, it's incredible. So, you don’t have to be one or the other.

– What does it take for an artist to stay demanded for a long time and not just be a passing trend?

– If you truly love what you do and you keep going with it through different situations, if you stick with your craft and keep learning from and about it, keep putting yourself out there, that's how you stay in demand.

– Don’t you think that the audience and customers can get bored after a while, if an artist keeps doing the same thing over and over again?

– I don't think that if you do what you're good at, people will get bored. Yes, it happens sometimes that this has already been seen, but why are the classics so classic? Because they are original. People still love these things because they are classics. I think changes are good and you need to move forward and improve your art, it's incredible. On the other hand, if you are good at something, don't change it for other people and the audience. If you change something that you are good at just because of the fear of losing demand, it will lose all its beauty. It's like if an artist suddenly changes the whole sound, and you wonder why, because you wanted to hear what you loved.

– This issue’s theme is ETHICS. When it comes to art, ethics here is a little vague. What do you think are the main points that an artist has to check, so that he/she is considered ethical by colleagues?

– First of all, be respectful to your peers, treat everyone as well as you want to be treated. Because if you are respectful, you concentrate on your art rather than focus on others’. For example, at the end of the day everything has been done. I won’t say copying, but the inspiration comes from it. If you are respectful to other people's work, you won’t be trying to imitate it completely, you will take inspiration from it and create something of your own. I don’t usually think too much about what I am doing at the moment. If I have an inspiration I do it, if I don’t I don’t like to force it. Everybody has moments when they are more creative and moments when they are not. I think both times are very important for an artist, to take time off and time to create.