Jóna Gudmundsdottir - Alloys of an ongoing journey

As the fresh island nights began manifesting their annual night-long golden hour in my peaceful hometown, Southern Iceland in late spring of 1999, mom and dad started noticing my early morning routine visits to their bedroom. It is not tempting to sleep in when the sun is always up. I would merrily greet them ,,góðan daginn“ then breeze straight into an old wardrobe and choose a pair of my mother’s high heels to match my get-up. After that, I would dip my curious red head into what in my lexicon was listed as The Treasure Chest, but my mother called ,,skartgripaskrín“. It kept different generations of these most wonderfully shaped objects to decorate myself with! Loaded carouselling rings on little fingers, old clip-on earrings in yet unpierced ears and different chains dancing around a shorter neck; I would stride into the TV room, put on a pre-recorded VHS and erratically mimic the banging moves Selma Björnsdóttir carried out to the catchy pop hit ‚All Out of Luck’.  We mustn’t forget that it can be two separate things to know techniques to deliver choreography and having the pure lust to dance. 

 

To this moment I still love dancing and playing dress-up as dearly as my eccentric three-year-old self did. So much so in fact, that now I do it for a living. That occupational adventure began in the audience of a Christmas drag-show and led to a resignation from a secure job as a cocktail bar-waitress in Reykjavík. It was probably the most intriguing plot twist I had ever faced, hence it felt like the next right step. Little did I know about the nature of the modelling industry, or even life in big cities for that matter. But I was never skilled at balancing mixology stacked trays anyway. I had always intended on traveling and hoped to further expand my understanding of the world. To feel its inexhaustibly diverse rhythms on my own skin. Explore. So, soon after stroking a pen to paper at a modelling agency in Hamburg, Germany on an early autumn evening in 2017, my escapade began. Step by step, this time on my own fitting heels. 

 

Tonight, I am sitting on a train by myself, travelling from one city to another for work, as oftentimes in the past almost four years. Recollecting memories from a road trip to the young woman I am growing to be and hoping I can gather some pit stop echoes into words. Having grown up in a village of around 800 inhabitants, right by the Arctic Circle, it seemed an enormous leap to move abroad to integrate into the fast-paced metropolitan lifestyle, and start working in teams with new individuals every week. People from all around the world, everyone with their own background. Each holding a unique story of what led them to the moment we would meet and share ideas, opinions, humour and inspiration. The job has directly and indirectly led me to meet so many souls who have had an influence on my world view and offered fresh perspectives to consider. Getting to know a diverse range of other humans has to be the biggest treasure one can come across. As well as exploring other parts of the world, to get an idea of how different cultures, and perhaps ideals are shaped. Dressing and expressing were initially my attractions to this job, but the people and the places have become the main reasons for why I choose to continue the modelling experience.  

 

Once I spent close to two months in Santiago de Chile for job purposes, living in the welcoming arms of a loving local family. The young Nordic girl neither knew much Spanish, nor South American street etiquettes, but somehow ended up figuring it out. Later she found herself in an oh-so incense scented airport in Bali one January evening after a long day of delayed flights, being told that her luggage had been lost somewhere on the way. After a lively car ride following narrow, sinuous roads for two hours; her first fresh coconut and two hours of sleep awaited at a detailed hotel before she would get ready to stand barefoot in a rice field at sunrise, feeling the Monsoon breeze on her own skin. To dress up. One late summer night in Paris she touched the inside walls of Le Grand Palais, where fully equipped guards would lay some of the world’s most valuable diamonds and pearls on and around her.   The team asked me if I would cry in one of the shots, I could most certainly reach tears. Life had turned out to be so overwhelmingly unbelievable!

 

After wiping makeup and dry tears and having the Chanel jewellery removed from my body, I put my own piece on, a silver cuff bracelet my big sister gave me a few Christmases ago, engraved: DREAM. A reminder I try to always keep close. I consider wearing jewellery that carries a personal meaning as an attentive way towards mindfulness. A manifesto, if you will. It is a purposeful extra touch when getting ready in the morning, wherever in the world I may wake up. Whatever the day ahead may have in store. Self-decorating as self-acknowledging, a somewhat ritualistic greeting to my body. Just as much as taking an extra moment to give the body a little stretch to invite a healthy circulation or pull a few wild dance moves to a catchy tune, to spark some good vibes. I see any extra steps to celebrate life, beyond what is essential, as luxury. Whether those steps are carefully choreographed or joyfully intuitive, the most important thing when exploring rhythm is to avoid shoving other dancers around in our own excitement or hurried sway.  

 

I was interested right away when I heard about a young business woman in Berlin who was launching a slow paced, fair sourced jewellery brand. Offering precious pieces made from recycled gold and conflict free diamonds and gemstones. Stating an ethical vision that aligns with my own direction. I will always hold on dearly to my foremothers’ jewels, as they feel like bits of my intrinsic history. Yet I aim to make more modern choices, when collecting my own treasures through life. I am happy to share some of my story with April Studios and look forward to seeing them prosper in the future. 

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