Hey Sara, how’re you doing? How about we start with a quick intro?
Sara: I’m an Artist living on the road. I’m a Photographer, I write and I’m the founder of the project Quest for Beauty.
Growing up in a city in North of Italy, what are your fondest childhood memories?
Sara: I had a great childhood indeed. I spent a lot of time with nature in the mountains where my Grandma lives, that was always nice.
You moved to LA right after your high school and pursued a career in contemporary dance. What made you make this move?
Sara: I felt constantly oppressed in Italy, it’s a country that has a lot of art, but doesn’t encourage artists (or people in general) to believe in their dreams and pursue them. So, I left as soon as I could to go chase my dreams somewhere else.
How did you teach yourself to take professional photos and what were your early days like in fashion photography?
Sara: I taught myself just by watching a ton of tutorials on YouTube, reading a few books and catching up with online workshops on CreativeLive.
In my early days as a Photographer, I just shot as much as I could, whenever I could and built a large portfolio in a very short period of time. That allowed me to show my work to magazines and probable clients and soon enough I started landing gigs.
You’re very vocal and don’t hesitate expressing yourself. People usually tend to question such personalities and throw in a lot of hate along their way, how do you cope up with them?
Sara: To be honest, I just don’t care anymore. The only certainty I’ve in life is that I’m going to die one day so I’m not going to waste even a single minute of my time over the bullshit.
I’m not here to please people, I’m here to create the things my soul asks me to create and as long as I’m nice to people and don’t hurt anyone, I’m just going to do it while being myself.
We’re surrounded by so much fakness today, people acting all the time instead of being themselves, they do it to look cool or to grab more likes, I’m not going to play that game, I’m going to be me and let the haters hate.
Your story about dark patterns and so-called Instagram fame exposed many truths of influencer marketing and created a lot of buzz. What made you share it with the world and how has the response been so far?
Sara: I was just very sick and disgusted of being a part of such unfair and dishonest system that I couldn’t keep up anymore.
I write to heal and that’s mainly why I wrote it, because I was not okay. I thought around a few hundreds would read it, I had never imagined that it would end up being shared by 100K+ people.
Beside the media talking about it all around the world, the craziest thing that happened after I published it was that I received thousands of messages from people that thanked me for making them understand that there was nothing wrong with them or their work.
Some thanked me for making them believe in themselves again, some for giving them the courage to start making their art again. Countless people wrote me long messages telling me how sick and depressed they feel because of social media. I think I opened up a wound we didn’t even know existed. I think there’s a huge underlying issue behind all of this.
Photography, writing, making videos, you do all of it that too while being on the road. How do you keep up with work and fun?
Sara: There’s very little fun, unfortunately. I’m working most of the time. But, I get to see some incredible things and that’s enough for now, one day, hopefully I’ll be able to not have to work so much and sit back and enjoy fully the places I visit.
Always meeting new people sounds a lot of fun, but it often tends to help with just temporary connections. During times when you feel lonely, what do you do to keep yourself happy and sane?
Sara: I don’t feel lonely very often. I’m working most of the time, but I also have friends scattered all around the world and I constantly meet people, so the actual alone time is not much.
I’m actually quite a lone wolf and I really enjoy my alone time, I use that time to work on my art (especially writing) and when I do feel lonely, it’s like I’m not even here, I go somewhere else, I’m with my muse.
What’s the story behind Quest for Beauty?
Sara: After working as a Fashion Photographer for years, I realised my work was hurting women, contributing to creating unrealistic standards of beauty that makes us feel like shit, like we aren’t good enough.
I din’t wanted to be a part of a self esteem killer machine anymore, so I quit and created the project as an attempt to bring these issues to the surface and challenge and hopefully change those unrealistic beauty standards.
Having spent considerable amount of time in South-East Asia, what did you like the most about this part of the world?
Sara: I don’t know what it is exactly, like a combination of the way I feel there. The gorgeous landscapes, the amazing food and the smiles of the people. It gets straight to my heart.
Dancing, taking pictures, creating visual stories, travelling the world, what would Sara be seen doing next?
Sara: I hope to finish my project – Quest for Beauty by the end of 2018 and make a photo book and have a few exhibitions and speak around the world about what came out of it.
I’m also writing a book called “Fuck you, I’m an Artist”, which is a memoir, but also talks about the importance of following our dreams and not giving in into conformity.
And I just started a YouTube channel, where I’m planning on posting videos about travel, photography and ‘real life’ to shed some more light on what’s real and what’s not in today’s social media-ruled society.
One thing is clear after talking to you, whatever you do, you do with great passion and absolute humbleness. What advice would you like to give to those starting out in their life?
Be kind to others; Be true to yourself (always); Trust your instincts and don’t listen to anyone but your soul; Cut off negative and toxic things (or people) from your life and use your time and energy towards something you love and makes you feel good.
Don’t chase money and success, but follow your heart and chase your dreams to the end of the world and back.
Rapid Fire Round
Favorite leisure getaway?
One thing you like the most about meeting new people?
The possibility of getting inspired.
India could be _____ if _______.
India could be even more awesome if people wouldn’t honk so much in the streets (LOL).
Best places to find inspiration?
Anywhere into the nature (but Paris do has its own perks!).
If Sara isn’t travelling or taking photos, she can be found _______.
Probably reading or eating or most likely answering emails on my Mac. Haha!
World could be a better place if ______.
People would love and respect each other and the planet of course.
One word to describe Instagram?
Bullshit (Today! Used to be fun and inspiring in the past).
Japanese and Vietnamese.
Idea of a perfect date?
A day trip somewhere beautiful.
Darshan is _____.
Awesome of course!
Sara’s absolutely candid and eye-opening post about Instagram fame is how I discovered her in the first place. I was in absolute awe, and have been following her work since then.
What stand out for me is that Sara isn’t your regular Instagram influencer with fake photos, but a candid one. She has stories to tell and makes every post personal. Don’t we all love reading real-life stories?
Sara shares her personal and travel stories on her blog called Behind the Quest and her recently launched YouTube channel. All her stories are in both English and Italian.
You can know more about Sara on her website saramelotti.com and through her breathtaking Instagram pictures.
Be sure to follow Sara on Twitter and Facebook for regular updates from her.
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