Interview by Nina Sever
It’s nice to talk to you again after all these years. You remember our first conversation? Much changed since then and I’d like to talk about that evolution. What perception did you have of yourself then?Hello Nina, yes I remember our chat. I’d say that not much of me has changed if not a natural growth brought by personal life experience. The base is solid, but I can tell only now in hindsight.
Back in the days the perception of myself was surely different from now, I would say less defined.
And how do you see yourself now? How does that influence your modelling work?
Now I have a clearer idea of my persona and I think it depends on the fact that I stopped fighting myself. Sometimes, growing means forgiving yourself, acknowledge your weaknesses, make peace with them and overcome them. I don’t know how much this influenced my modelling career, but on a practical level, you get to know your body better and you gain a different awareness in posing; although I learned to separate my persona from my work. What I do in life, as much as I can be passionate about it, is not me. It’s limiting to think of myself as “Deborah, the model”, or any other profession.
I remember you keeping your distance from nude photography, now you seem to integrate that more in your fashion works. What made you want to give it a go?
It all happened naturally. I’ve never wanted to hide my body, otherwise I would have never chosen this job and for so long! But at the same time my restraint to “get naked” pushed me to choose carefully the right occasions. Even now it’s something that I do rarely and the choice is always on me and doesn’t depend on the others. I don’t see it as a taboo, I just believe that the freedom of choice and to feel at ease in a certain moment is sacred.
Your partner works in photography too and you collaborate quite often. How does that feel? Is it easy because you know each other well or is it hard because, well, working together or loving each other has an ocean of differences in between?
I’ll start with saying that there is nothing easy about relationships! As I said before, it’s all about choices. Every day you choose to be with that person and you choose to experience them in every shade. And this is hard on its own, regardless of your passions and careers! The fact that we collaborate often binds as on the level of interests and motivations, but it also makes us hyper critical about our jobs. It’s a double edged weapon, you come to hate and love it, even if the intention is never to harm the other.
What is your favourite work so far of all the editorials and campaigns you’ve modelled for?
It’s a question I’ve been asked many times, but the answer is always the same: I can’t choose. When I was thinking of a job that would represent me fully, another one presented itself and I found it way more stimulating. In general, the works that I consider more interesting are the ones that test my abilities, something interpretational, a different role. I like to change, do new things, surprise myself. I think it’s the beauty of the fashion photography, which I stopped conceiving too personally and started to interpret more. This doesn’t make it less “true”; it’s like a good acting.
It’s for me always really interesting to see how models and photographers see themselves. What do you thing is your best skill? If you had to identify one thing you’re great at, what would it be?
I don’t know! Maybe for the reason above I wouldn’t even want for there to be something too identifying… Obviously it’s inevitable, because there is my image, but at this point I think that my capacity is the approach I have to photography, I try to shape myself in order to embody as best what I want to achieve.
What else did modelling bring in your life? I know you write, and art direct projects too.
I’ve always loved writing, even though I basically abandoned this passion, unfortunately. I shifted myself to the visual arts in general, so things like making mood boards, organising photo shoots and graphic modifications that describe a brand, a client or a project as best as possible. I’ve been working as Social Media Manager for few years now, but the part I prefer in this job is without any doubt the creation of contents and art directing, always in the advertising field. It would be ideal to concentrate only on this creative side one day.
That’s really inspiring. Thank you for sharing!
To conclude, what advice would you give to your younger self?
One of the most: the noblest job you can do is the one on yourself. Be honest with yourself and when you’re not, forgive yourself this insecurity. Most of all, forgive. Be always nice to everyone. Forget. Love.
Photographs by Andrea Maino, FJM, Giorgia Fagà, Guido Stazzoni, Valentina Vallone
December 30, 2017