Capturing Emotions – Interview With Milenna Saraiva

Without a doubt, Art, especially portraiture channels, a better understanding of ourselves and others. It nudges us towards empathy, appreciation of diversity, and the grasp of emotions. From documentation to speculation, the category of portrait art is fascinating as it gives insights to the interior self. As Lucian Freud stated: ‘I think a great portrait has to do with the way it is approached … it is to do with the feeling of individuality, and the intensity of the regard and the focus on the specific’.

Dynamic and vibrant, Milenna Saraiva captures the spirit and the expressions of her sitter with a strong brush of paint in her portraits. Her strength in depicting the likeness inspired by the individual’s narrative and conviction is passionate. She pushes the age-old genre in new directions where the feelings are revealed, and the appearance utters the individual’s true essence.

Princess Diana – Artwork by Milenna Saraiva – Brazilian Visual Artist

Here is my interview with Milenna Saraiva

Jupilings: Your story- 

Milenna:  I was born in SÃO Paulo, Brazil. I grew up surrounded by musicians and Art in my family circle, so I was always stimulated to be creative. I recollect always drawing since I was very young. I was a shy child, so drawing helped me to communicate and protected me from the world. I ended up getting into dancing and then gymnastics and became an athlete at 12 years old. I used to practice for 8 hours a day, after school, and travel around the country competing with my teammates. Even then, I continued drawing on the side. When I was 17, I injured myself and decide to stop training. At 18, I decided to go to the US to study Fine Arts, and there I lived for the next 14 and a half years. Los Angeles was an excellent teacher and mother to me, but I missed my real base in Brazil and moved back to my country. I continued my education here with a post-grad degree in contemporary painting. I started to make my way into the art world here, doing all kinds of arts-related activities. One of them was live painting. Once I observed and connected with the visual performance, it changed the way I paint and my approach. It has also given me the confidence I need to loosen up and let my emotions come out with way less restrained. Today I have an art studio that I go to every day and spend at least 8 hours working. I spend my time discovering new ways to express myself through my work, painting commissions, murals, and performing live painting in all kinds of events.

Milenna Saraiva Artwork

Jupilings: What inner force shapes your artistic concepts-

Milenna: Art is the language of my thoughts. I find it easier to paint than to use words. The lights, the darks, and the layers of depth that come from playing with textures and colors give me a freedom that I cannot find in Portuguese or English. Painting is my quiet way of expressing my heritage and questioning social values. My work has become a tool for me to narrate my life experiences in parables. The paintings I make reflect my personal mythology.

Jupilings: As a portrait artist, you capture aspects of a person’s identity, likeness, and emotions. In your artwork, do you aim to portray the individuals as to how they see themselves, or how they perceive them-

Milenna: I want my portraits to give clues about the portraited people’s energy and essence. I do want them to identify with the works too. For that, I rely on trying to perfect my technique. Portraits are tricky, though, people want their portraits made still, in most cases are surprised when they see the final product. Their expectation is to see themselves as they see themselves and not how the artist sees them. The way we see ourselves is unique to ourselves. There are many versions of us, one to each different person that we meet, so it’s impossible to fulfill that desire unless you are a photo-realistic artist. And that will never interest me. In my opinion, an artwork will always have the artist’s perceptions engraved all over it.

Andre – Artwork by Milenna Saraiva

Jupilings: What are your thoughts on “portraits” to create a visual dialogue to explore social justice, sexuality, race, and many other controversial subjects-

Milenna:  I’m attracted to controversial subjects, clearly, lol. I think portraits have always been fantastic tools to create dialogues, subtle dialogues with those paying attention. Many artists have and are using imagery and symbols to tell stories, to convey hidden or explicit messages. At this moment, I’m not taking advantage of the allegories that painting offers in all its possibilities; instead, I’m investing in the emotions and expressions of the markings, brush strokes and the colors to do all the ‘talking.’ For instance, the portrait of Marielle Franco, a prominent Brazilian human rights activist, and politician, murdered in mysterious circumstances by the militia, I used a very warm color pallet, with red drips, splashes, a well-defined box behind it, and name it “Seed.” I narrated her story in an observable manner, and those paying attention will hopefully understand it. That means my Art allows me to say what I want to say, but only to those who want to hear it. If Art is a form of communication, my paintings are a language.

Marielle Franco – Artwork by Milenna Saraiva

Jupilings: What is your life motto-

Milenna: It changes a lot from time to time, depending on what’s going on. But there’s a good one I always go back to that says “Live whimsically. Love extravagantly. Dream boldly. Create daily.” 

Jupilings: How do you dial down the negative thoughts & self-doubt- 

Milenna: It’s a constant struggle to balance everything that happens in my mind. But I think I usually sort it all out by painting. Negativity and positivity are only opposite sides of the coin. As well as self-doubt and confidence. I believe that self-doubt is essential for improvement. When I’m questioning myself if something is as good as I could make it, I will keep working on it until self-doubt is gone.

Julian Assange Artwork by Milenna Saraiva

Jupilings: How do you minimize distractions when you are working-

Milenna: I don’t think I manage distractions that well. I could be way more productive If I actually do away with it. I’ve gotten used to doing many things at the same time. Working on several projects at the same time. The distraction is also an opportunity, or maybe a window, to take a moment and then return to something I was very focused on. And sometimes, this little break could give me the answer that I need to finish a piece. So, I guess I embrace them.

Jupilings: How do you deal with criticism-

Milenna: I will only accept criticism from people I respect and have more knowledge than I do. Otherwise, I ignore them completely. Sometimes you need to protect yourself from opinions since every person has a different one, you have to believe in what you believe in. There are many reasons you do what you do and how you do it, that precisely is what makes you unique.

Malala YousafzaiArtwork by Milenna Saraiva

Jupilings: Advice for aspiring artists-

Milenna: If you want to be an artist, study to be one, like a doctor studies to be a doctor. Learn every technique, learn how to draw and produce as much as you can. Only the practice of your craft will allow you to discover your true gift and unique style. Also, be organized with your works, photograph everything, and have an online portfolio since the beginning. It’s important to network, to be part of a group of people who think alike and have the same goals that you do.

Most importantly, what you love. Find out what inspires you and create based on what you love. When you do that, you will want to do it all the time, and you will never feel like you’re working. Know that not everyone will like what you do, and you’ll get many ‘no’s,’ but keep going until you get the ‘yes.’

Artwork by Milenna Saraiva

Jupilings: What is the role of Art today-

Milenna: Art has many roles, in my opinion: To entertain, to express and provoke thinking and emotions, tell a story, shock, and sometimes to simply beautify the world. To me, it’s all of it.

Artwork by Milenna Saraiva
Artwork by Milenna Saraiva

Jupiligns: What’s the best advice you’ve ever heard- 

Milenna: At Santa Monica College, my painting teacher once told me I needed to work harder if I wanted to be an artist and said that “talent isn’t enough.” When I was younger, I was reckless. I used to go out at night and was always come late to painting classes. After that day, something changed in me.







Interview With R.A. Leslie – Transformational Coach and Speaker

Maybe all you need right now is to help yourself. Perhaps you need to work on quieting the noise in your head, listen to the voice of your unconscious, and connect with your dreams and desires. Maybe the gap is so wide, and you are hanging on the edges of two cliffs while gravity pulls you down. You look up, scared to death, not knowing which edge to let go. The dreams, the desires, or the shadows? Maybe while you were expanding your horizons, striving to be the image of myths and protagonists in novels, you lost your voice. And now, you have no idea how to calm the chaos, how to heal your wounds, or how to re-connect with your true aspirations. Maybe you need to learn about your meta-narratives. Perhaps you need someone that cares, makes you comfortable, takes your hand, and sheds light on the gap so that you can rationally see where you are and what you need to know about your life purpose. Maybe it is time to reshape and “discover your dreams.”

Maybe you need a coach to find clarity. A coach that motivates you to move forward. A coach that guides you to a place that echoes “live up to your potential and never give up.”

R.A. Leslie, a transformational coach, and speaker believe that “Our lives begin with stories and dreams inside of us, waiting to be discovered and brought into the world.” Her creative coaching unveils your internal battles and shows you “how to change your message, your feelings, and your habits.”

Image courtesy of R.A. Leslie

Jupilings: How did you become a coach and why-

R.A.: I think of myself more as a lifestyle architect. Someone to reflect back to the client the answers they already have deep within and then help them design, shape, build and structure a life that defines who they truly are.

I started out quite simply and organically by doing workshops for children on believing in their dreams, which led to having healthy self-esteem. Then I went through a divorce and people began asking me to help them with their relationships and careers.

Jupilings: What are the most common challenges people face-

R.A.: People are challenged by love because oftentimes they have been raised with contradictory messages of what love is and is not from their caregivers. Often the romantic relationship is not necessarily love but a form of attachment and painful dysfunction. The other challenge they face is being happy in a career choice. The two themes are often linked to similar emotions and triggers. People struggle with both, often simultaneously.

Jupilings: When things get chaotic and complexity swirls in your life, how can you take back control of your life-

R.A.: The first step is to notice what is causing chaos. Typically it is a slow-building up of past choices. Then insulate yourself for a period of a few days. A long weekend away or even a few personal days away from work. Slowing yourself down is a short cut to resolutions. It always good to reflect on your life so you can see where the chaos has stemmed from and how to halt it. Turn off technology and sit with yourself in meditation. Make a list of what is not working in your life and see if you can ask yourself “why” and what you can do about it. Reach out to a good friend or your coach.

Jupilings: How to overcome the feeling of “I m not good enough or I don’t know enough” when you want to embark on a venture-

R.A.: To overcome the feeling of “I am not good enough, or I don’t know enough” it is best not to compare yourself with others. Realize that there really is no competition when you are original because you have your own unique way of self-expression. Your passion is your own and so are your dreams. They might look like the ideas and dreams of others but you are the only one who can express your vision of who you are and what you want to accomplish.

Sometimes we don’t know enough for a field we are interested in and we can always learn more. However, the experience is a wonderful teacher and provides us with knowledge so we can start from the point of experience and just know that we can always learn more about any given topic. It is “ok” to not know things sometimes. If we have stories to tell and life experiences to share—our insight into those experiences will carry us through any feelings of “not being good enough or not knowing enough.” Sometimes we just don’t need more information. (You are here because you are here you are already more than enough.)

Jupilings: Practical tips on how to switch off the negative thoughts-

R.A: This is not easy, but to be aware of the thought is the first tip. Then don’t give the negative thoughts energy and feeling. Dismiss it. Catch yourself when a negative thought comes and don’t invite them to loop into a cycle of more negative thoughts. Move on to a better feeling thought. This takes practice but it works!

Jupilings: Finding meaning versus happiness, what are your thoughts-

R.A.: When our lives have meaning it becomes a life of happiness. A life of happiness is a feeling of internal joy despite circumstances and outside influences and events. Meaning brings joy, does it not? Often times people associate happiness with externals, labels, images, and things, but that is not true happiness. When we look closely at meaning—it lasts. It is the kind of happiness that is mature. It is not ephemeral. There is deep joy in meaning. Definitely worth the quest.

Jupilings: How do you deal with setbacks-

R.A.: It depends on what the setback is. Sometimes we just need to pause, accept what we are presented with, in each moment and allow the setback to be there. It will pass with the right action and in time. Setbacks will teach us something about ourselves and others and then we need to do whatever we can to keep a positive, forward momentum going so we can continue to move in the right direction. Setbacks are a part of life. As we mature we understand that setbacks do not have to paralyze us. They are invitations that ask us important questions about where we are in our lives; what we are doing and why and how we will respond to challenges and crisis.

Jupilings: What is your life motto-

R.A.: My life motto? I have a few. One of my favorite ones is: be prepared. We may not get that opportunity of a lifetime but it is still better to be prepared just in case we do. Every day is an opportunity to succeed, to accomplish a goal, to begin something. Finish what you begin or don’t start it. My favorite motto is: Time is irrelevant but timing is everything. (I believe this is true.)

How To Develop A Growth Mindset? Talk with Krista Roesler M.A. RP

Do you feel misunderstood, go through bitter self-recrimination, be confused about how you feel, cope with life challenges, or be distracted? Occasionally, we feel sad and display a lack of energy or vigor; however, gaining a deep understanding of the reasons behind the distress enables us to regulate our mood. The awareness allows us to remedy our feelings either through finding a solution or adopting a restorative method.

The problem arises when unknown anxiety, procrastination, fear, or an undigested disturbing experience pushes us to nihilism. When we cannot identify an accurate reason for the lingering inner conflicts, we tend to gravitate towards the negative path. This complication prevents us from gaining insight into what has triggered our despair, anxiety, or other impaired emotions. This is when self-help stops working, and you need a confidante, someone who patiently and supportively listens.

When your efforts and resources are ineffective and blindly steering the wheel, it’s time to establish a personal interaction that acts as a catalyst—a professional who can improve your wellbeing and resolve your worrisome behaviors and thoughts.

On this account, to learn more about how to deal with self-criticism, not to take offense, and develop a growth mindset, I had the opportunity to interview Krista Roesler M.A. RP, a registered psychotherapist and a professionally trained life coach at Psych Company located in Toronto:

Screen Shot 2019-07-08 at 12.59.36 AM
Courtesy of Psych Company

Jupilings: Please tell us about your background and areas of expertise- 

KW: I am a registered psychotherapist and a life coach. I have a masters degree in psychology and life coaching training from the Adler Institute/the University of Toronto. I work with individuals and couples on a wide range of issues from finding purpose in life and achieving dreams and goals to dealing with more severe mental health issues such as addiction, trauma, depression, etc. Please see the website for a more detailed list:

Jupilings: In the context of living a meaningful & a mindful life, how can we distinguish between who we should be and whom we want to be- 

KR: In the context of living a meaningful & a mindful life you can distinguish between who we should be and who we want to be by getting familiar with our values or what is really important us. Start by writing a list of all the things you feel like you should do, have to do, feel obligated to do or others told you to do. Now cross off everything you don’t want to do. Now start a 2nd list and of the things you actually want to do and try to get more of that in your life. 

Jupilings: How to deal with self-criticism- 

KR: One way to deal with self-criticism is to first become really aware of it by writing it down. Next, separate your self-criticism from your own voice. Tell your self that just because you are thinking these thoughts it doesn’t mean any of them are true. Explore and think about where the thoughts originated. Did you have a critical parent? Next, think about what you really need to hear to feel empowered? Do you need to hear that you can do it? Do you need to hear that you are smart enough or good enough? 

Jupilings: How to become braver in life- 

KR: You can become braver in life by trying and doing things that are out of your comfort zone or that you didn’t think you could. This will help build your confidence.

Jupilings: How not to take things personally- 

KR: You can stop taking things personally by recognizing that it’s usually about someone else’s issues and not you. These issues might be that someone might have a bad day or be under stress for example. 

Ask yourself if they are like this with everyone? If they are like this with others than it is not personal.

Be curious and wonder why that person might behave that way? If it’s a bully. Were they bullied at some point in their life and now bully others? Is it someone who is shy and that’s why they have trouble with eye contact, responding, talking? When you can try to understand why someone behaves a certain way you can free yourself from taking it personally.

Jupilings: What are your 5 golden tips to help us develop a growth mindset-


  1. View all obstacles/challenges/criticism as a learning opportunity
  2. Embrace imperfection, mistakes and failure
  3. Enjoy the process of getting there and don’t hyper-focus on the end result
  4. Learn from the mistakes of others
  5. If you haven’t mastered something yet, allow time to practice and improvement.

Jupilings: We do negotiate with ourselves and others each and every day, what are the necessary traits that need to be nurtured to help us negotiate from a position of strength- 

KR: Non-judging is one of the attitudinal foundations of mindfulness. Any tips or practice that will support our efforts to adopt a non-judgemental attitude.

A tip that will support our efforts to adopt a non-judgement attitude is to be more compassionate with yourself and others. A good way to do this is to think of someone you deeply care about and want to protect such as your child or best friend. Now ask yourself if you would ever say those thoughts to your best friend or child. If you wouldn’t think about what you would say to them instead and say that to yourself. 

Jupilings: “If one does not understand a person, one tends to regard him as a fool”. What are your tips to deal with our lack of understanding and to stay calm in unpleasant situations or being annoyed by people’s behaviours-

KR: A tip is to try to have empathy and to try to put yourself into that person’s shoes. Become curious about what made that person act or think that way. Remember we are all doing the best we can with where we are. Remind yourself of all the times in the past that you didn’t know any better and also acted like a “fool.”

Jupilings: How do you deal with setbacks-

KR: Setbacks are a normal part of life. I expect setbacks to happen. I factor the expectation that setbacks will occur into everything I do. It means whatever I want to do will just take a little longer and little more work to get there and that’s okay. That’s part of life. 

Jupilings: What is your life motto-

KR: Action leads to success. Every little step forward will get me closer to where I want to be. 

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Interview​ with Antonio Mora – Surreal & Lucid Artist

Imagine walking to the deep end of your subconscious and learn about your true desires.  Imagine reaching your highest level of awareness. Imagine an extraordinary experience that explores your resilience which flows through the self-imposed boundaries of the intellect. Feel the sensation of the current of your own agency to revive your strength and the superhero within you. Skillfully, this journey is depicted by Antonio Mora. He leads you to discover your absurd, somber, or brave emotions through self-reflective imagery which captures your cognitive clarity to get closer to yourself.

Jungle - Antonio Mora
Jungle – Antonio Mora

Antonio Mora, a surreal creative and art director, frames the mystery of our pursuit in life and the endless possibilities of our being in an uncompromising artistic narrative. Patching emotions of cultural impressions to the advent of modern life and crushing the overprotective surrogate inner-self to the extent that fantasy becomes a tangible reality is what Antonio Mora offers.

young caribdis
Young Caribdis, Antonio Mora 

He studied psychology and philology, later completing his training with a Master of Art in Graphic Design and creatively continues to encourage self-reflection and deliberation to summon up the courage to connect with oneself. I had the opportunity to interview him, one of the most expressive artists of the present time, to learn about him and his spirit:

sevilla in red
Sevilla in Red – Antonio Mora

Jupilings: Tell us about yourself and how you got into art-

AM: I have always been a creative person. For more than 25 years I have worked as a graphic designer and art director in my own design studio.

In 2011, after a serious physical crisis, I decided to give free rein to my own creative desires and to leave the work commissioned by clients. I had no options after that long and hard process, so I decided to put all the meat in the grill, overcome my fears and trust in my vision. That’s how I came to this.

Jupilings: Who are your protagonists- 

AM: I want to believe that my protagonists are the hybrid beings that appear in our dreams, inhabitants of a parallel world that we only access either during deep sleep or through the use of psychotropic substances, and that nevertheless, we perceive them as coming, like a déjà vu that reminds us that there is more to reality than what we perceive with our physical senses.

déjà vu
Déjà vu – Antonio Mora

Jupilings: What inner force shapes your artistic concepts-

AM: I think that throughout my work emerges a certain mystical, mythological sense in the classical sense, where the forces of nature take on a human form. Many titles are The Young Zeus, the Cyclops, Nymph, Persephone, Caribdis, Aquarida.

Nature as a soul-endowed force that, when transmuted in person, brings us closer to it. My portraits are often portraits of gods or heroes that we could have been.

Jupilings: As an artist, what role and social responsibility you shoulder-

AM: Although there are innumerable ways of understanding it, I conceive art in the classical sense, the search for intrinsic truth for beauty. In a society like the current one where through social networks we see tons of ugliness, trash, and injustice, my modest contribution is to create beauty that inspires others and that raises a wall against the mediocrity and vulgarity that invades us. I think that is my duty as an artist.

Jupilings: “Creative people are an idealist and live a colourful and chaotic life”, what do you think of this statement-

AM: It is a generality and as such susceptible to be interpreted in different ways but in my case, it is correct, although the colour is sometimes of a rather dark hue, and indeed the chaos is a constant in my life, I am messy, often imprecise and erratic. I wrote a long time ago that the artist feels himself with stupor as if he should not be there, as if he were not part of the reality in which the whole world lives. I thought it was a gift and it turned out to be a condemnation, once said an artist friend, my mentor, who died, unfortunately. Someone like him, chaotic by nature, knew how to inspire in me, and in many others (he was an art teacher) that life and therefore beauty arise from chaos.

into the wall
Into the wall, Antonio Mora

Jupilings: As a creative individual, you have a reflective nature, hence you are inclined to dive deeper into your fears, insecurities, or setbacks, where do you draw a line to stop and regain your sense of motivation and meaning in life to keep charging ahead? What is your coping mechanism, a routine, a friend, ….?-

AM: My mechanism is the constant creation, the progressive approach through creative work to the idea that I intend to bring to light. This, which often produces a feeling of ecstasy, also in many cases generates enormous anguish. To shake it off, fortunately, is my wife, my children, my dogs, who walk daily through the palm groves that surround my atelier in Elche (Spain).

It relaxes me to cook, to drink wine with my friends. Fortunately, very close to where I live, is the sea and a small and beautiful island where I go very often. As soon as I reach her, my anguish dissipates. In short, my life is the life of a normal person, or at least as normal as my nature allows me to be.

sea girl
Sea Girl, Antonio Mora

Jupilings: What is one undisclosed or mysterious piece of information about yourself, you would bravely share with your audience:

AM: Hahaha, that question could put me in a compromise. When I was 18 years old I tried LSD, since then my perspective on the world changed. I perceived that there were parallel worlds. No, of course, I did not take it for a long time, it scares me. However, I do allow myself to smoke some marijuana when I am faced with a creative process. It is the key through which I can reopen that door that opened in my youth.

red wind
Red wind, Antonio Mora

Jupilings: What does women empowerment mean to you-

AM: It jumps to the sight that I am an admirer of the woman, of the power of the woman, of its beauty. More than 90% of my portraits have women as protagonists. As a creator of life and a source of inspiration. I wrote once that the passion of the woman is the force that moves the world, I continue to subscribe. I am sure that the world would work much better if it were the women who governed it.

Mother, Antonio Mora

Jupilings: When you start a creative project, how do you overcome self-doubt –

AM: Fortunately, I have a lot of experience and many years of preparation that allow me to save the initial doubts with a certain ease. However, that doubt always lurks, especially if I will be able to generate something really new and not copy myself.

I receive many custom orders. There yes, the doubts begin, since not only I have to satisfy myself but to manage to transmit my satisfaction to the client and that is not an easy task.

Ruins, Antonio Mora

Jupilings: What superpower you would like to have ? and why-

AM: I would be Lucidman. Always able to have immediately the creative response at hand that would allow me to disturb the conscience of others.

Jupilings: Which movie you would have liked to be the leading actor- 

AM: I would have liked to be George Baines (Harvey Keitel), in The Piano. A tormented and unforgettable character.

Jupilings: What is your life motto-

AM: Live and let live.


To learn more and for commissioned artwork please refer to


Canadian Connection to Tequila – Interview with Eric Brass, Co-Founder of Tequila Tromba

Eric Brass, Co-Founder of Tequila Tromba
Eric Brass, Co-Founder of Tequila Tromba

Ever since the Nahua tribe tasted the sweet nectar of the blue agave blessed by the goddess Mayahuel, and in time, the spirit became part of Rolling Stones’ hedonistic ways tequila embodies joy and pleasure. Fast forward, this drink has become a refined sipping spirit as consumed in Mexico, and thanks to enterprising individuals such as Eric Brass, indulging in supreme quality has become affordable for everyone.

Eric Brass, the co-founder of Tequila Tromba, partnered with one of the world’s most respected master distillers, Marco Cedano, has created a brand representing formidable pedigree and authenticity, producing boutique crafted batches of high-end tequila. Launched in 2012, Tromba has grown to the #2 premium Tequila in Canada and number #1 in Toronto and has expanded in the prominent tequila and cocktail scene in the US and other parts of the world. A favorite of cocktail sippers and knowledgeable bartenders with a creative mind, Tequila Tromba has a balance of substance and smooth taste.

Eric Brass shares his insights on Tromba’s story, his determination, and how to savor the spirit.

Tequila Tromba - Blanco

Tequila Tromba – BlancoJupilings: How would you describe yourself-

EB:  I’m someone who loves to take the path least followed. I think people too often lean on the conventional paths with the least amount of resistance. These paths offer a lot of comfort and stability, but they also can offer the least amount of reward. I prefer to take an unconventional approach and be involved in the process. More often than not, I’m actively working on growing the business, so you’ll rarely find me sitting for too long.

Jupilings: How did Tequila Tromba start-

EB: I went down to Mexico on exchange with school and fell in love with Tequila. I always had the misconception of Tequila being that terrible shot at that horrible bar at the seedy hour of the night. I tried good tequila for the first time and was amazed.

When I returned to Toronto, I’d preach my new love for Tequila but found no products that spoke to me and my demographic. Most brands were either “cheap and low quality” or were too expensive and personified a bottle service, chest beating, look how much money I’m spending type attitude. There was nothing that spoke to my demographic and me nothing that was authentic and craft with a real story and pedigree behind it that had both substance and style.

Thus the idea of Tromba was born. A product that is authentic, ultra-premium and inclusive.

I had “no business” starting Tromba. I had zero experience in the nightlife, bar or alcohol world, no valuable relationships and no money. I started Tromba on a dream: against all the odds, with a couple of bottles, $10,000 and a backpack.

Tequila Tromba Blanco
Tequila Tromba Blanco

Jupilings: What makes Tequila Tromba different from other Tequila brands-

EB: There isn’t one specific element that makes Tromba different. It’s the complete process. Tromba’s distilling team are Marco and Rodrigo Cedano – father and son duo who have been making tequila their entire lives. Marco was the original master distiller of Don Julio, and Rodrigo was effectively born on the agave fields. Tromba is distiller owned, so it’s really unique that these guys are not only making Tromba but are owning Tromba. We have a rule at Tromba – no gringos in the kitchen which mean every single step of the production process is overseen by Rodrigo and Marco, from the harvesting of the agave, cooking, fermentation and distillation. Marco invokes the old traditional methods of how things have been done while Rodrigo, the younger asks why can’t we do it a new way, adding innovation.  We call it modern craft, and it works.

Tequila Tromba Blue Agave Field
Tequila Tromba Blue Agave Field

Jupilings: What makes the perfect tequila-

EB: Much like great wine, Tequila has a strong terroir element, which means that the taste of the final product has a lot to do with the soil, climate and terrain that imparts flavour into the blue agave plants.

The craft of production is also a really important element when it comes to creating a great tequila. We age our tequila in Jack Daniels Barrels, which help to create the golden hue of a Reposado and Anejo. Marco and Rodrigo overseeing every step of the production process, and that attention to the small details is what makes Tromba such a great tequila.

In all, there is no such thing as perfect tequila. It’s truly dependent on people’s tastes and personal preference. Tromba’s taste profile is sweet, soft and citrusy which may be perfect to some but not for someone that prefers a more vegetal earthy taste.

Tequila Tromba Distillery
Tequila Tromba Distillery

Jupilings: What are the top tequila myths that need to be debunked-

EB: The idea that you need Salt and Lime to take shots of tequila. The combination is less a pairing and more a tactic to mask the taste of bad quality Tequila.

Another myth is about the worm or scorpion in the bottom of the bottle. The worm is not a mark of quality. Instead, it’s a cheap marketing gimmick for Mezcal, a product similar to tequila, but not made in the Jalisco Highlands, the only area that can legally produce tequila.

Jupilings: What makes tequila a good spirit-

EB: Tequila is one of the healthiest spirits you can consume. Aside from its low calories (69 calories per ounce), there are no refined sugars in tequila. It’s also gluten-free and vegan. To top off the amazing help benefits of tequila, it’s also the only spirit that actually increases endorphins. It’s an upper that increases your mood, rather than making you sleepy.

 Jupilings: What cocktail trends with tequila have impressed you-

EB: I love putting tequila into traditional non Tequila drinks – subbing out gin, vodka etc. for Tequila.  Tromboni (Tequila Negroni), Mexican Mule and Tromba soda are three of my favourites.

Jupilings: What are the most important qualities that are required to be a master distiller-

EB: Being a master distiller is both an art and a science. To make a quality spirit, a master distiller understands the fine balance of patience, the best balance of ingredients and possesses a palate that can discern the good from the exceptional.

Tequila TROMBA - Anejo
Tequila TROMBA – Anejo

Jupilings: Do you have advice for aspiring entrepreneurs to get ahead in your industry-

EB: Passion and persistence are paramount.

Tequila Tromba Blue Agave Field
Tequila Tromba Blue Agave Field

Jupilings: What’s one branding lesson you’ve learned in your career-

EB: Everything has to revolve around a reason for being and a why you exist.  Once you stray from that and take shortcuts – you are asking for problems.

Jupilings: What are your favourite bars in the world-

EB: Would be like picking my favourite child.

Jupilings: Best piece of advice you’ve been given-

EB: Energy and persistence can conquer almost anything.

Tequila Tromba Agave Field
Tequila Tromba Agave Field

Jupilings: How do you deal with setbacks-

EB: Like our motto, you take life by storm. You need to be adaptable to the situation, no matter its highs and lows. Take a moment to step back, evaluate and make a choice based on informed reasons.

Jupilings: What is your life motto-

EB: Take life by storm!

Tequila Trombone Anejo
Tequila Trombone Anejo

The Book of RUMI, Interview with Maryam Mafi

If you — wandering Sufi — are looking for the supreme treasure, do not look outside. Look within, and seek that.”

We climb the mountains, dive deep into the oceans, fly high as an eagle, paint a moment in time, dance to the rhythms to stretch our mental and physical capabilities. We strive to overcome our demons, speak through our soul, pushing past our ego, and keep our spirits full of generosity and compassion. We develop our social interactions, doing our best to be noble and reach oneness with divine reality. Still, it happens that we stumble, and our mind creates illusions, wanders in the den of inequities, and searches externally for peace. As our brain is wired to cause and effect, just then, we look for anchor stories from the most excellent sage to rise above the stagnation.

Delving in the Book of Rumi, translated by Maryam Mafi, is a new collection of 105 Stories and Fables that Illuminate, delight, and information from the six-volume spiritual epic, The Masnavi. Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Balkhī, known as Rumi, was a 13th Century Iranian poet, juristIslamic scholartheologian, and Sufi mystic originally from Greater Khorasan. The book is an invariably transcendental gift that tames the ego, explores understanding, heals the brokenhearted, gives hope, and inspires unity and unconditional love.

Maryam Mafi, an Iranian author, translator, and expert on Rumi, dazzles with didactic and entertaining well-known stories of Rumi that capture his mystic wisdom. She has skillfully preserved the exciting and dramatic integrity of Masnavi, which, still in the 21st century, resonates with our personal experiences and evokes courage to reach agape love. Maryam Mafi, a graduate of Tufts, American and Georgetown Universities, is tirelessly on the mission to acquaint the west with Eastern literature.


Interview with Maryam Mafi

Jupilings: What attracted you to Rumi, to begin with-

MM: I came across a book on Rumi by an English scholar called, The Way of Passion; and I was set on fire! I felt as if all my questions about spirituality and life, in general, were finally explained to me in the simplest, most eloquent manner.

Jupilings: Rumi’s masterwork “Masnavi”, how does it impact our modern lives-

MM: The Masnavi is often referred to as the Persian Quran. We can learn unrivalled guidance from Rumi in his Masnavi, ageless insights into how to live our lives more honestly and with integrity, even in these times of extreme conflict and mistrust.

Jupilings: What was the biggest challenge when translating “Masnavi”-

MM: Comprehending the original Sufi concepts.

Jupilings: What does Rumi celebrate

MM: Beyond all- Love.

Jupilings: What are Rumi’s views on women-

MM: He has great respect for women and considers them no less than men.

Jupilings: What does spirituality mean to you

MM: Love.

Jupilings: Please walk us through the process of literary translation, (how do you choose a book,…)- 

MM: Well, I’ve been translating Rumi for the past 20 years so I can tell you about how I choose a poem or a story. Generally, I pick the pieces instinctively, or they’re all-time favourites; like the stories in my latest book, “The Book of Rumi”, which I’ve translated into prose and will be available on Amazon in December. If I need to organise the works under various headings or chapters, I sort them out afterwards not before I translate them. Other translators probably do it the other way round; the rational way! I go with my heart!

Jupilings: Three tips to work with publishers-

MM: I feel blessed that so far my publishers have always come to me. I used to work for a publisher when I finished university so I’m familiar with the other side of the spectrum and it can be quite daunting for writers. You could begin by writing to every single publisher who publishes books like the one you have written and hope one of them replies. It’s a similar process for finding a job. These days though, self-publishing is very popular and often great books are picked from amongst them and published later by publishing companies.

Jupilings: Do you have a daily ritual when you are working on a book-

MM: Yes, I start work first thing in the morning; often after a yoga and meditation practice. I don’t like to break my day, so I work straight through often missing lunch. I might go for a long walk if I feel stuck or just to get some movement in my body. I don’t work late at night anymore because my eyes get too tired from the screen.

Jupilings: Tips on personal branding as a literary translator-

MM: I’m the worst person to answer this question, I only work on material I like and have been dedicated to translating my spiritual master, Rumi; and hopefully other Sufi masters in the future. So I wouldn’t call that commercially branding myself successfully!

Jupilings: What does women empowerment mean to you- 

MM:  Trusting our instincts and our intellects; but above all, trusting our hearts.

Jupilings: What do you do to conquer fear or self-doubt:

MM: I think fear and self-doubt are two playful little monkeys who love to play with our egos because they’re cut from the same cloth. As long as we know who they are and what they represent we can negotiate with them. I like to think that they’ll eventually leave us alone at one point in our lives and find better entertainment.

Jupilings: What is your life motto-

MM:  I like to say: ‘This too shall pass,’ and adhere to it every time I come across a difficulty. However, I think it’s more complicated than that. I tend to think the old fashion way, that we have a moral obligation to do our absolute best physically, emotionally, intellectually and spiritually, to help another human being, in whatever capacity, when we are in a position to do so.
Also, I do sincerely believe that when you do good, eventually at some point good shall be done to you. The cliché of what goes around comes around may sound simple, but it’s one of the most valuable basic truths of life.

Maryam Mafi’s collection of Rumi translations are available on Amazon

Elegant Interior Design​ & Luxury Experience at Don Alfonso 1890 – Interview with Nadia Di Donato, Vice President & Creative Director, Liberty Entertainment Group

Nadia Di Donato, Vice President & Creative Director- Liberty Entertainment Group
Nadia Di Donato, Vice President & Creative DirectorLiberty Entertainment Group

Love and passion are the foundations of southern Italy. The jewel-toned sea, the mighty Mount Vesuvius, the whisper of a rushing wind carries you to this fiery landscape where a halo of calmness cuffs your soul. A place where the rich aroma of local cuisine redolent of legends and traditions is the jet-setters’ playground. Don Alfonso 1890, run by the Iaccarino family, in the heart of Sant’Agata in Amalfi Coast, is that charming place for nobility, food connoisseurs, and lovers.

Commercial photograpy
Don Alfonso 1890 Toronto
Commercial photograpy
Don Alfonso 1890 Toronto

Thanks to Nick Di Donato, President, and CEO of Liberty Entertainment Group, and Nadia Di Donato, Vice President & Creative Director, the Michelin star awarded Don Alfonso 1890 has enriched Toronto’s fine dining experience. A match made in heaven, the culinary romance, and the upscale sophistication of Amalfi Coast merged with the expertise of Liberty Entertainment Group is brought to the hip and sparkling Toronto. The narrative, the Mediterranean flavors, the phenomenal culinary, the creativity, the exceptional service, the remarkable art unleashes the Proustian effect. A revival of an impression from our past life, a lost memory, a heartwarming movie, a desire, or merely living a splendid lifestyle has been introduced in our modern and booming metropolis. The elegant restaurant is an oasis for titans of the financial district, visionary moguls, charming clans, or driven patrons.

Commercial photograpy
Don Alfonso 1890 Toronto
Commercial photograpy
Don Alfonso 1890 Toronto

The exclusive interview with the Nadia Di Donato sheds lights from the concept to execution of the Don Alfonso’s 1890 interior design process.

Jupilings: What are the branding principles in entertainment/lifestyle that you want to manifest in your creative designs-

NDD: For individual venue: Firstly, I want to establish the intended perceived image of the restaurant in the first 30 seconds of entering and then the subsequent emotional response to the entire experience. My design is not limited to space itself; it extends through the many layers from artwork; to furniture; to tableware; to the menu and collateral design; to wardrobe. The details create the “design magic” that is at the essence of customer experience.

Commercial photograpy
Don Alfonso 1890 Toronto

By design, These establishments are either located in historically designated properties or in signature neighbourhoods throughout the city. These classic shells provide a particular opportunity to juxtapose traditional elements with a new modern design which has now somewhat become signature to Liberty Group.

Today, with an impressive collection of uniquely designed venues ranging from casual eateries, nightclubs, elegant restaurants, large banquet facilities and its crowning jewel Casa Loma, under my creative direction, the Liberty Entertainment Group has gained recognition as one of North America’s top hospitality companies.

Jupilings: What are the elements you consider when it comes to design and to conceptualise an entertainment venue-

NDD: One of the most interesting projects that a designer can take on is designing a restaurant. It can be daunting and stressful to come up with concepts. At times I find myself stumbling upon some “design magic” through the exploratory process. Narrowing it down to a final design concept and then seeing it through the build process to customer enjoyment which is a very rewarding experience.

Conceptualisation: All design components revolve around clearly defining my target market. Every detail departs from that one notion…”How do I want the customer to feel.”

Once I have that clear understanding in mind, I establish the identity of the restaurant by pairing a design style palette (ie, furnishing, coloring, lighting, construction materials) with a visual components package (ie: tableware, uniforms, signage, logo, menus, marketing collateral, etc) which I use as my framework to ensure the overall image of the restaurant is cohesive and consistent. This phase is the most crucial part of the overall process. It results in a design vision that guides the entire project.

Don Alfonso 1890 Toronto
Don Alfonso 1890 Toronto

Personal design style: I see interior spaces more through the eyes of an artist rather than as a technical interior designer. I’m always thinking out of the box and very hands-on working closely with my construction team (whom I’ve been working with for over 25 years. When I walk into a raw space, I always consider the existing elements that can be utilised in my design. Since most of my design projects are located in historically designated buildings, I have an immense appreciation and respect for the intricate details of historic design and always juxtapose original with new.

Personally, I am an art lover and a believer that fine art is like an accent piece of jewellery. Signature to my design is my inclusion of individually curated or commissioned art pieces tailored to reflect the personality of the space, elevating the dining experience by adding originality and intrigue.

Jupilings: Regarding your latest venue Don Alfonso 1890 Toronto, what influenced Liberty Group to introduce Mediterranean fine dining experience-

NDD: Firstly our roots are Italian; therefore it was a natural fit to partner with Chefs Alfonso and Ernesto in this special restaurant. It is the first restaurant of its kind in Toronto to showcase father and son world-class Michelin star chefs. A display of incredible talent in a beautiful space unlike any other in the city. (If I’m allowed to say so myself 🙂

Commercial photograpy
Don Alfonso 1890 Toronto 

The intention was to elevate the bar in the local hospitality industry in hopes of establishing a new standard of dining and capture the attention of critics on a global scale including the recognition of soon to be Michelin rating in Canada (Michelin to date has not published in Canada). (Word has it that they will be doing so as of November this year. We like to think that perhaps with Don Alfonso in Toronto; we were partially responsible for this finally happening.)

Commercial photograpy
Don Alfonso 1890 Toronto 
Commercial photograpy
Don Alfonso 1890 Toronto

Jupilings: What sentiments you want to capture in Don Alfonso 1890 ’s ambience-

NDD: When I experienced Don Alfonso 1890 in the Amalfi Coast, the concept that resonated with me the most was the simplistic yet intricate contrast in the food. The contrast between classic ingredients prepared with a fresh, clean, organic, sophisticated approach. That is what I wanted to capture in the space.  The contrast between the historical setting of this original mid-19th-century building provided the perfect backdrop to juxtapose a fresh, clean, sophisticated modern approach to the interior space. Everything in the restaurant from art installations, furniture, upholstery, lighting, linens, uniforms, menus, dishware, glassware, silverware and accessories are custom designed to reflect the above.

Commercial photograpy
Don Alfonso 1890 Toronto
Commercial photograpy
Don Alfonso 1890 

A few design details listed below:


I chose a Desk rather than hostess stand for a more inviting Concierge-style reception.

Commercial photograpy
Don Alfonso 1890 Toronto

A newly designed 30’ waterfall feature with intricate Italian porcelain inlay adorns the bar area to give the sense of water of the Amalfi coast.

Temperature controlled champagne room featuring our extensive inventory of fine champagne.

Original wine cellar built in the mid 19th century houses our broad range of wines.

Commercial photograpy
Don Alfonso 1890 Toronto 

Open concept Kitchen designed for transparency and guest interaction takes up 50% of the restaurant floor plate. Guests are walked through the kitchen at the end of their dining experience.

Design: 38” counter heights for clearer sight line from the dining room into the kitchen

Material: sleek Carrera laminate in 5’ x 10’ porcelain sheets used for counters ideal for cleanliness and durability.

The main dining room is designed to showcase our chef eight-course tasting classic and contemporary menus. Round tables and fine linen were intentionally used to facilitate fluid formal dining service. Custom Cartier style chairs ergonomically designed for maximum comfort.

The mezzanine area is designed in contrast to the main dining room. The custom furniture and design exudes a more casual atmosphere conducive to the al-a-carte menu and molecular drink program. Fabrics and furniture styling is an eclectic combination of cowhide, leather, and linen sofas and chairs custom designed to dining height. The extensive 38’ kitchen/bar showcases food and drinks preparation at all times.

Commercial photograpy
Don Alfonso 1890 Toronto
Commercial photograpy
Don Alfonso 1890 Toronto

Jupilings: What kind of experience your audience will gain at Don Alfonso 1890-

NDD: Don Alfonso 1890 is the first restaurant in North America from Michelin Star Chefs Alfonso and Ernesto Iaccarino exposing our audience to a menu of Amalfi coast flavours in an interior accented by priceless art.

Housed in the historical Consumer’s Gas Building the interior design offers a sense of glamour and opulence yet comfort and relaxation. Not only is the experience captured through the surroundings, but it is also about the artistry in food design, custom designed plating, the finest linens, every last detail is intended to transport guests on an extraordinary gastronomical experience unparalleled to any other in the city.

Commercial photograpy
Commercial photograpy

Jupilings: What does intelligent and elegant design mean to you-

NDD: Intelligent design is an interpretation of the function of space and successfully transforming that space into a showcase. Since my background is in graphic design, each project is an art piece. Design should be timeless, sophisticated, clever and primarily relevant to the intention of the restaurant. The most important element is using colours and materials that translate to the intended feel of the space rather than those latest trending palettes.

Jupilings: Best piece of advice you’ve been given-

NDD: Interior design is like fashion, it changes. Stay away from anything that might date itself or will be so flashy or interesting that it’s going to take away from the intended experience. It is best when you feel it, but it doesn’t get in the way. Also, not really specific to design, I was once told not to take my work too seriously as I’d miss all the fun. 🙂

Jupilings: As a female entrepreneur and creative individual, can you please share five tips to tap into one’s potential to achieve one’s career or entrepreneurial aspirations-

NDD: Find a career to which you are adapted by nature, and then work hard at it. That is about as near to a formula for success as one will ever get.

When creating and innovating, work is play. Never take yourself too seriously. Don’t be afraid of thinking out of the box. Never accept the notion that it can’t be done.

Never be afraid of taking risks. If it doesn’t go well. It will be your most valuable lesson.

There is really never a right or wrong to a design style. Whatever your approach, hone it and own it.

Be blind to the difference between a male or female entrepreneur. There is no difference:) I never believed there were obstacles because I am a woman.

80% of my work is construction. I am always surrounded by men. And I’ve never been phased by it one bit 🙂

Commercial photograpy
Don Alfonso 1890 Toronto 

Jupilings: What’s one branding lesson you’ve learned in your career and ventures-

NDD: In hospitality, You can’t be all things to all people. The most important and expensive lesson I learned was not to ever waiver. Research, focus, execute from A to Z and stay true to what you set off to do. This has been the tried and true formula for the success of the Liberty Group. Although a diverse portfolio, each venue is expert in and very specific to its particular concept.

Jupilings: How do you deal with setbacks-

NDD: In any situation, I will always see the cup half full. There is no problem that doesn’t have a solution. I never sweat the small stuff. Moreover, I never dwell on a problem.

No one is immune to setbacks. Trust me I have had many. Whether personal or professional it always made me a little wiser, stronger, and better for it.

Trust that you are capable of doing amazing things—and even more so if you have to work through tough challenges.

I never blame. Exploring the way forward is much healthier than trying to blame someone or something. Stay focused on the bigger picture, commit to it and no matter what, see it through from start to finish.

Jupilings: Who inspires you and why-

NDD: On a personal level, my husband and my two sons truly inspire me every day. Their ambition, perseverance, focus and accomplishments constantly give me the drive to accomplish slightly more than I did yesterday.

As a designer and businesswomen, I draw inspiration from the experiences I’ve acquired through extensive travel. The privilege of interacting with the diversities of various cultures has defined my creative style. My designs are often an infusion of elements inspired from all corners of the world.

Jupilings: What does it mean to be a woman today-

NDD: I have been extremely fortunate to come from a pedigree of very strong independent, accomplished women. Also, am grateful to have been provided opportunities denied to many previous generations of women, being able to spend time with my children and travel, while working and creating a successful business.

I have always felt that no matter the gender, there are no limits to what someone can accomplish through determination, hard work and focus.

Today, the sky’s the limit for women across the world. Being a woman in 2018 means being a warrior for constant change. I stand on the shoulders of the brilliant women before me. Every day I try always to be aware of what they have afforded me, and I am grateful for the tools I was given.

Today women are empowered to find out where the struggles for equality still lie, and have a responsibility to reach out to those who need support, and speak out about the areas of inequality that persist.

Commercial photograpy
Don Alfonso 1890 Toronto

Jupilings: What is your life motto-

NDD: If you can see it in your mind, you will hold it in your hands. Keep working. Stay persistent. One day you will wake up exactly where you want to be.

Commercial photograpy
Don Alfonso 1890 Toronto

Stone Paris Fine Jewellery-Interview with Marie Poniatowski

French designers have long created the most stylistically elegant and innovative brands. This outstanding reputation has been originated by the 17th-century French monarch Louis XIV and his shrewd minister of finance, Jean-Baptiste Colbert. The Sun King had an eye for fashion and, with the help of Colbert, as the latter famously indicated: “fashions were to France what the mines of Peru were to Spain;  Louis XIV established France as the leading luxury and chic fashion capital of the world.

The French way of luxury attire, accessories, and living has evolved from the elaborate fashion of the 17th-century to cool and effortlessly elegant style. Defined by “I woke up like this” attitude, the French design allows the individual to shine with a hint of playfulness. The Stone Paris fine jewelry has this quality ingrained in its DNA. Founded by Marie Poniatowski, a Parisian from a high nobility family whose origins go back to the 15th century admiringly creates sensual and modern jewelry adorned with romanticism.

Marie Poniatowski - Stone Paris Jewellery
Marie Poniatowski – Stone Paris Jewellery

Her collection is for the brave who is not afraid of the stigma of being emotionally tender, but the one that graciously asserts, ” I am the beloved who chooses to abide or break the rules. The wearer is attentive to detail, gentle in nature, and connoisseur of timeless elegance. As for the androgynous pieces of Stone Paris’s fine jewelry, a touch of royal rebellion that screams rocker-chic will transform your style delicately.


Romeo et Juliette montage chaine - Stone Paris Jewellery
Romeo et Juliette montage chaine – Stone Paris Jewellery

Interview with Marie Poniatowski:

Jupilings: How do you describe yourself-

MP: I’m an entrepreneur; I design fine jewelry for Stone Paris, the brand I founded 14 years ago. I live in Paris with my husband and daughter. I’m very straightforward, so I always tell it like it is! Moreover, while I create luxurious accessories, I’m very casual, and my favorite thing is to be with my family and friends in my country house outside of the city.

Décor boutique Stone Paris Jewellery
Décor boutique Stone Paris Jewellery

Jupilings: What set you on this path of designing jewelry- 

MP: I used to work in the movie industry, but when I had my daughter, I wanted to make a career change to have a more “conventional” schedule. Entirely by chance, after a trip to New York City, I realized there were no fine jewelry designers in France apart from Place Vendôme… So in 2004, I decided to create an accessible, yet precious jewelry line that a woman could afford to buy herself and wear every day.

Jupilings: What are the principles in lifestyle that you want to manifest in your brand 

MP: Be yourself and be comfortable in your skin. That’s why I try to design pieces for everyday wear, the thinnest and lightest possible, so you don’t even feel them.

Yasmine bagues - Stone Paris Jewellery
Yasmine bagues – Stone Paris Jewellery

Jupilings: What does elegant design mean to you

MP: I think elegance is very subjective, fortunately not everyone has the same taste! However, to me, it is about sobriety and subtlety. I will not be the most elegant wearing heels and a gown because I won’t be comfortable. I would feel more elegant with a white shirt and a pair of jeans. Maybe it’s because I’m French… Less is more!

Cry Me A River Collier Or rose et diamants - Stone Paris Jewellery
Cry Me A River Collier Or rose et diamants – Stone Paris Jewellery

Jupilings: What does luxury mean to you

MP: In my opinion, Luxury has nothing to do with materialistic things. It’s being able to do something I love for a living, enjoying going to the office every day, working with an amazing team, it’s priceless…

Stone Paris Jewellery
Blood Diamonds – Stone Paris Jewellery

Jupilings: What is the favorite aspect of your business

MP: My favorite part is the design, especially after sending out the drawings when we receive the first sample and I get to see my creation take shape. Sometimes it surpasses my expectations; sometimes it’s disappointing, so I have to rethink the whole thing, anyway it’s always exhilarating.

Stone Paris Jewellery
Stone Paris Jewellery

Jupilings: What is the hardest part of your business

MP: The hardest is probably the administrative part, just because I don’t really like numbers and paperwork, so I have to be twice as serious about it.

Jupilings: What kind of creative patterns, routines, or rituals do you have

MP: My only ritual is to gather the whole team for a big brainstorm before starting a new collection. I like having their feedback on the previous one, and their feeling of what customers want, or what they think the brand is lacking. I work very closely with my team, and I like taking the time to discuss it with them, it’s good to make some distance to look at the big picture.

Stone Paris Jewellery
Stone Paris Jewellery

Jupilings: The best piece of advice you’ve been given

MP: It’s not really advice, but how my parents taught me to be humble, respectful and hard-working, that’s what I try to pass on to my daughter.

Jupilings: What’s one branding lesson you’ve learned in your career and ventures

MP: Social media… It’s vital for a brand now, but it’s challenging for me because as a designer brand, people are interested in me and my life while I am not particularly eager to put myself forward. I try to get better at it, and I’m lucky to have great people helping me with that.

Jupilings: How do you deal with setbacks

MP: I used to be very stressed out and spend sleepless nights when there was a problem. Now I have grown, I deal with setbacks more peacefully. It’s better to avoid panic, stay calm, and positive to find the best solution for the business.

Jupilings: Who inspires you and why

MP: I’m very inspired by women like Simone Veil who fight for women’s rights. I am so thankful for women like her who are willing to be pioneers and set an example for generations to come.

Jupilings: What does it mean to be a woman today

MP: Women have to multi-task today; we have to be wives, mothers, businesswomen all at the same time. I think it can be challenging to juggle with everything, more than it is for men. Today I feel we are more aware of that and how important it is to support each other as women.

Bague Tess - Stone Paris Jewellery
Bague Tess – Stone Paris Jewellery

Jupilings: Which movie you would have liked to be the leading actor

MP: Karen Blixen in Out of Africa. It’s one of my favorite movies, and I have so much admiration for her. Living such an adventurous life in such freedom is amazing to me.

Jupilings: What is your life motto

MP: Living in the moment, not being too nostalgic about the past, and not worrying too much about the future.