FROM THE ARCHIVES: SONYA ESMAN
from the archives.
feature photo @maffewl
Certain types of jobs can lead to a number of things. Dazzling dinners, over 304k Instagram followers, wearing leopard slip-ons to work, taking the ultimate selflies, traveling… Blogger, model, actress, Sonya Esman of Class Is Internal does it. Her outfits are like little exhibitions, each piece unique, each detail a certain kind of pretty. Her style has eviscerating character. She’s a cool girl, and that’s all there is to it (except her personality rules too).
SHK: WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU SEE IN YOUR MIND WHEN YOU ARE DREAMING UP AN OUTFIT?
Sonya Esman: Probably just the overall feeling of it. For example, androgynous and sharp lines or girly and the way the dress will flow on camera, but then I immediately think of my vision for the shot and go location scouting! But generally I wouldn’t say shoes or bags are the determiner of my outfits, it’s definitely the clothes themselves that come first in the process.
WHO HAVE YOU LEARNED THE MOST FROM?
Everyone! Myself! Osho! I seriously absorb everything, even small things like if a well-known blogger takes an instagram shot with bad lighting or does something that turns me off, I make a mental note to “never.do.this.” You can also learn everything from YouTube, it’s almost intimidating how much knowledge you can have in 2014.
YOU’RE FAVORITE PICTURE YOU’VE EVER TAKEN (IT’S OK TO DIG YOURSELF SOMETIMES!)
I don’t even think my favorite pictures I’ve ever taken have been of me, I took some killer shots when I was at the Amalfi coast in Italy, and I take pretty awesome pictures of my friends and that always fills me with joy and pride. You can’t have full control of the lighting, exposure, and background when you’re taking a photo of yourself, so I think creatively speaking it’s more fulfilling to take photos of other people, especially those who you love.
WHICH CITY FUELS YOUR CREATIVITY MOST?
Well this is an easy one, New York City. Without a doubt, that city fills me with so much ambition and just gets my creativity flowing because everything is so damn beautiful you want to photograph and share it all. People like seeing creative accounts, so my instagram and blog following skyrocket when I’m in NYC.
WHEN YOU WERE A CHILD DID YOU ALWAYS DRESS UP?
I used to play dress up games online every day since I was 5 years old or so. I would have actually dressed up, if my allowance hadn’t been non-existent. I always used to say as a kid “Don’t judge me on what I wear. I swear this is not my taste in clothes, I just can’t buy clothes I like.” Oh how nice it is to be grown and independent.
LIFE CHANGING BOOK?
Any book by Osho, pick a book title that calls to you most, read it and let your mind explode. He makes you feel like an idiot in the best way possible because he breaks down society’s basic values and beliefs and you’re sitting there like.. “wow I can’t believe how much BS is in my life.” He instils this maturity in you that some wait 90 years to attain.
LIFE CHANGING FASHION ICON?
My fashion icons change all the time, and I actually have to be so careful as to not get too inspired because that can come off sometimes as “Sonya is copying so and so.” I think Tumblr has been a life changing source for iconic women in fashion, especially for street style. Paris fashion week street style is everything.
WHO COLORS YOUR HAIR?
I last got my hair colored at the Marie Robinson salon NYC in September, and it was the best because for once my hair didn’t get screwed up. It pays to go to a high end salon, especially if you have a past of salon horror stories and now live with trust issues.
WHAT’S THE TATTOO ON YOUR WRIST? IS IT A LITTLE SUN? WHAT DOES IT MEAN?
Yes it’s a (not so little) sun. The tattoo artist actually messed it up, he stenciled the sun way smaller and with less lines, and then he tattooed something totally different. It was devastating. It means “here comes the sun”- tomorrow is a new day, the sun will always come back up, there will be light again, nothing bad stays forever, if you feel down on yourself just go to sleep and it will be better in the morning.
WHAT DOES EVERY GIRL NEED?
A) A REALLY CLASSIC TRENCH COAT
B) A LITTLE BLACK DRESS
C) A STATEMENT PIECE OF JEWELRY
D) A PAIR OF CLASSIC PUMPS
Off with the little black dress, I don’t own a single black dress and plan to keep it that way. I’m all about the colour and interesting pieces! I’ll have to say comfortable pumps, especially if they have a pointed toe!
HOW DO YOU FIND THE FAME SIDE OF THINGS? DO PEOPLE OFTEN APPROACH YOU ON THE STREET?
I’m very very lucky to be able to connect to so many people around the world, but it’s definitely not a fame situation. This may sound silly but I’m quite thankful to not be famous. Some people see celebrities going crazy, overdosing on drugs, talking back to abusive paparazzi and they call them “ungrateful and stuck up”, but I couldn’t imagine being stalked by men with cameras and violated 24/7 by the media and having millions of people hate me without even knowing me. Fame, in some ways, seems like a total nightmare. I do get approached on the street quite often in Toronto, which is funny because not even ¼ of my audience is from Toronto. I couldn’t imagine going to Eastern Europe now since most of my followers are from there.
YOUR FAVORITE SHOPPING PARTNER?
Ugh, no one! Most of my friends guilt trip me when I go shopping with them, and I can’t even really concentrate on finding nice clothes when I’m with a friend. I just want to be with my friends, when I’m with them. Shopping requires concentration!
IF YOU COULD DESIGN A GRAPHIC TEE WHAT WOULD IT SAY?
First of all, I would love to do this! I would probably start with “here comes the sun”, but the focus of these shirts would probably be beyond their graphic, it would be the cut and “worn and torn” finish. I love ratty, torn t-shirts so this would be so fun!
WHICH SHOES ARE THE WORST?
The ones that make your feet bleed, and let’s be honest, that makes this answer equivalent to “all the nice ones”.
WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST “WHOA” MOMENT IN THE FASHION INDUSTRY?
I’d have to say my first huge, life changing “whoa” moment was when my friend Leila from the jewelry label LeiVanKash told me about how bloggers got to attend New York Fashion Week, and how much hustle and self-promotion was involved. I used to think the brands invited them everywhere, and they sat around being pretty, but there’s so much PR networking, hard work and late-night emails involved!
WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST OBSTACLES YOU’VE FACED IN PURSUING A MODELING CAREER?
The biggest obstacle is always your own mind. It’s hard to be in an industry where how much money you make depends on your appearance. It’s all that is valued. Sometimes you get stuck in that and start comparing yourself to other models, but it’s all trivial at the core.
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO START A YOUTUBE CHANNEL?
Other YouTube channels inspired me, and I also just really wanted to inspire other people and live a life of constant inspiration!
YOU’RE GONNA BE STRANDED ON AN ISLAND (I KNOW, WHEN WOULD THIS EVER HAPPEN?) YOU ARE THINKIN:
A) WHERE IS MY LAPTOP?
B) ARE THER GONNA BE GUARD DOGS TO PROTECT ME?
C) DOES THIS MEAN I SHOULDN’T WEAR A SKIRT?
Let’s be honest… I’d probably instinctively need my laptop. But logically, I doubt there would be power outlets on a desert island so I’d forget that need pretty much instantly. I’d just need a machete to cut open coconuts.
WHAT IS THE ONE DESIGNER/BRAND YOU CAN’T RESIST?
Oh there are so many. I love Christopher Kane and Chanel so much, so those are probably my top two.
THE DECADE THAT HAD THE COOLEST FASHION TRENDS WOULD BE…?
I think the 90’s and early 2000’s were actually pretty cool. Mom jeans, chokers, awkward quirky sandals, sparkly everything and high collars.
WHERE IS YOUR CAREER HEADED?
To Europe in the next couple of months for modeling! That’s all that is certain for now.. who knows what will happen?