I discovered Maya Albanese through her work, watching her film on the website, PopSugar, about a day in the life of celebrity fashion stylist, Anita Patrickson. I enjoyed it so much that I shared it on TFIO. It did not take me long to see that there was much to admire about Maya – her talents and her passion for justice guide her in a most positive way. Maya is a multimedia reporter, producer, and film director, who covers music, social justice, sustainability, Latin America, and innovation in food, fashion, and technology. But there is something bigger, something that enables her to delve deeper into the world: her warm and inclusive heart. Here is Maya …
MKG: Tell me a bit about how/where you grew up?
MAYA: I always say “I grew up in the world”…I was born in Vermont, but I have lived in 5 states (Vermont, Michigan, Ohio, New York, and California) and 5 countries up until today.
MKG: Your passions are far-reaching. What do you consider the important issues that guide you?
MAYA: I wake up every morning concerned about how the world can be a better place for people, and that involves maintaining a healthy planet and environment. The connection between people and nature, and how we can resolve dissonance occurring between the two right now – that is just one of the issues that drives me.
MKG: What inspires you?
MAYA: Art. Film. Music. I’m inspired by anyone who speaks through his/her creative self, whether that’s painting walls or singing from the heart, or producing media that is outside-of-the-box, making people think in new and different ways.
MKG: What is your relationship with fashion?
MAYA: I grew up loving style and excited to get dressed every morning. My mom will never stop telling the story of how I used to wear fancy dresses and patent leather heels, even when we hiked up to the top of the Pompeii ruins in Italy. Today, collecting vintage and putting together outfits from unique, found items is one of my favorite hobbies. I find that it’s just one more way in which my artist-self gets to experiment each and every day.
MKG: What should we all know about the importance of sustainability? The fashion world and sustainability?
MAYA: In general, fashion is a dirty and wasteful industry, and consumers do not care as much as they should. In turn, retailers and producers feel no need to either. People focus on food sustainability a lot right now, because what we we eat is so obviously connected to our personal health. But the toxic effluent from textile factories and the pesticides from cotton farming, etc.- these things trickle down into the soil and oceans and poison us just as much. So, we need more awareness and more consumer demand for sustainable fashion producers, and we need it NOW. Wearing second-hand and vintage is really the best way to go whenever possible.
MKG: What drives you to empower young women?
MAYA: What doesn’t drive me to do that?? I am a woman, and I can always relate to all other women. I feel the pains of centuries of other women who suffered and fought for equal rights or freedom or creative expression. I owe it to my ancestors, and to my children and their children, to do work that supports and empowers other women. I can’t imagine doing anything else.
MKG: Do you feel that there is a relationship between fashion and self esteem?
MAYA: Absolutely. I consider fashion one of the highest forms of self expression. It doesn’t matter how much things cost or what brand names are on them, but it does matter if you can put together an outfit that makes YOU feel great. You can communicate something about your inner self through your style. And everyone should be able to express oneself this way. Wear what makes you feel comfortable, sexy, smart, or hip – I don’t care – as long as you love yourself and let fashion be a way you can further express that love letter to yourself.