Do you remember You’ve Got No Reason Not to Fight? I started this column in 2011 as an attempt to see how women I admire cope with their life in a society that can sometimes be confusing and still discriminating. Endless is the number of women who haven’t accepted to speak their minds here, but all the frustration coming from their refusal has been repaid by those who have enthusiastically embraced my invitation. Among these, there’s one of the fashion bloggers I admire the most, the beautiful mind behind One Style at a Time, Maria Cartagena.
She’s a native New Yorker with a unique eye for anything creative, who loves sharing her passion for fashion and art. We’re very different in many aspects, but I’ve realized the importance of self-acceptance thanks to her. I “met” her on Twitter thanks to a mutual friend and I was immediately surprised by her competence about fashion and by her writing style; later, I learnt how rewarding and comforting accepting yourself could be, because sometimes you just need to tell yourself you’re tired of letting people tell you what you must do/how you should be, sit back and enjoy the fullness of your own world. For all these reasons I am so happy to have her adding a new chapter to my column. Enjoy her questionary!
What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
The death of a loved one.
What is your idea of earthly happiness?
Quality time with my loved ones, enjoying what I love to do longterm and the joy of travel.
Who are your favorite heroines of fiction?
Who are your favorite heroines in real life?
What is your most vivid memory of the 90s (from music, fashion, politics, culture)?
Alanis Morisette, Nirvana, baggy clothes, plaid, young Kate Moss, Jewel, Shania Twain.
What does “feminism” mean to you?
It’s means freedom, individuality, strength and a privilege.
Have you ever given an active contribution to the feminist cause?
Have you ever experienced sexism?
Yes, especially in the corporate working environment.
What are the most important rights women still have to fight for?
We still need to fight for more roles in the working environment especially in male dominated industries.
The quality you most admire in a man?
The quality you most admire in a woman?
What is your motto?
Be yourself, even if it means being a little different.
What is the object that represents you most?
Who would you have liked to be?
Never really thought of being anyone other than myself.
Could you put your identity into a few key words?
Loving, imaginitive & enthusiastic.
How do you imagine your identity changing in ten years? Or twenty?
Loving and very blunt.
Her motto very much reinforces the lesson I’ve learnt from her, a lesson which seems to be unattainable for most of us, especially young ones. I see that every day in my girl students, who try to conform to some aesthetic or behaviour rules not to be pointed at as the “strange” ones. On the other hand, some of them are proud of their personality and don’t care of what is considered acceptable or not. I look at them and I see a tiny hope for the future and for my own daughter, whose generation – I hope – will finally grasp the full meaning of what loving their own selves means.
A heart-felt thank you to Maria for taking part into a project she defined as “terrific” (yay!). Stay tuned for new great questionaries to come!
 The title is a quote from For Women in America, Equality Is Still An Illusion, an interesting article by Jessica Valenti published on the Washington Post in February 2011.