by Fica Bălăncan & Ioan Dăescu
It`s enough to see a picture with Catrinel Menghia, looking at you over her shoulder, to understand what seduction without words means. No matter if she`s gracefully waving to photographers from the red carpet or if she`s stirring imagination from the cover of magazines as Sports Illustrated, she is proudly representing us worldwide and she`s not planning to stop anytime soon. There is modesty behind her successful story, there is discipline behind her ability to multitask. She is the living proof that “beauty and brains” can coexist and that makes us take a step back and wonder – Catrinel, what`s your secret?
We`ve seen you as the embodiment of sexy chic in spreads of the most important fashion magazines, as a femme fatale in countless TV commercials or on the big screen, but how would you describe yourself in a few words?
Curious, dynamic and eclectic – these are the first words that crossed my mind. It`s because of my endless curiosity that I got to live moving from an artistic field to another: from acting to design and fashion, from photography to painting. I always have to create something, get myself involved in projects that test my imagination and get to experience new things and various emotions.
You`re traveling all around the world and still find time to develop your career as actress and model, your own business and a relationship. How do you find time for all?
When you really want to do something you always find time for it. If not, you`ll find an excuse. Love, work and travels fill my life, it`s true, but the people close to my heart provide the energy and the motivation I need day by day. I know that my schedule is extremely busy, for example in a few days I am going to a casting for a English–Italian co-production, at whose helm is Frank Spotnitz, producer of the series X-Files, next are all kinds of meetings for the brand Catherinelle, but then I have planned a holiday with Massimiliano, my fiancé, and our dog, Jack – so, as you can see, I try to keep everything balanced and allow myself time to breathe.
Last year you launched the brand Catherinelle. Where does the passion for bags come from? Are you preparing a new collection?
I have acknowledged the importance of a handbag in a woman’s outfit since my early years of modeling. I remember that one time I have been told by a casting manager that the makeup or the outfit are not as important as the accessories chosen, especially the bag and the shoes. The idea of a handbag collection came during my studies at the Fashion and Costume Academy in Rome. For a fresh graduate, designing handbags was a good exercise and a good way to practice complex cuts, before the attempt to create evening dresses or ready-to-wear items.
In addition to that, since I was a little girl I liked handbags, but growing up in a modest family, I couldn`t afford one. And even after I began to get recognition as an international model, my main objective, for a good period of time, was to help my family. It was more important for me to help my grandmother to build a fountain in the countryside, rather than to impress random people I met, at whatever event, with a designer label handbag.
This summer, my handbags received a warm welcome at the Feeric Fashion Days Festival in Sibiu, where, along with you, we have announced the launch of Cockaigne on print and the fact that I will be the Creative Director of the magazine.
The brand Catherinelle started with a line of handbags, but in 2016 it will grow big and beautiful. The 2016 collection will feature three new models of handbags, a wide range of pants and jeans, t-shirts, shirts and glasses. I would like it very much if I could open the first Catherinelle store ever in Bucharest, because I feel that I owe Romania for who I am right now.
We found out that the linings of your bags are made with original silks that was used to create costumes for the great movies of the ‘70s and ‘80s. Is this a tribute?
Inspiration, research, design are the three concepts that have become the core of Catherinelle. It’s a fusion between cinema and fashion, two realities living side by side, sharing a common ground in the brand`s style. The strong point of Catherinelle is the contrast between the contemporary and avant-garde aesthetic and the return to past represented by the ‘70s and ‘80s. I used the linings to create a link with the history of the cinema. I would like to know that my bags appeal to those who feel an attraction for the beauty of the past decades and when they see and touch the linings – the mystery of those times unveils a little.
There is a lot of acting in modeling and you took things further planning to become a full time actress. The bags you design have a little piece of cinematography in them – it seems that you love cinema very much, because we see it in small details everywhere we look around you.
My relationship with the cinema began quite late. The first movie I saw was when I was 16 years old. As I began traveling and working in modeling, I began to discover the cinemas of the countries I visited. Of all, the Italians are the closest to my heart – Fellini, Vittorio De Sica and Pasolini. It was a time when I continuously watched over and over again three movies by Fellini starring Giulleta Masima – La Strada, Cabiria’s Nights and Giuleta and the Spirits. It rouse in me some very powerful feelings that haunted me for days and made me relentlessly dream at night of Giulleta.
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Read the complete interview, as well as other great stories in Cockaigne Magazine #6