NATALIA BONIFACCI MEETS MARTA POZZAN IN LOS ANGELES. THEY MEET AT MARTA’S APARTMENT OFF BEACHWOOD CANYON, WHERE SHE RESIDES. SHE IS PACKING. SHE’S ABOUT TO LEAVE FOR A MONTH TO EUROPE FOR WORK, A LITTLE UNWILLINGLY, SHE SAYS, SHE LOVES L.A. SO VERY MUCH, EVEN TODAY THAT THE SKIES ARE UNUSUALLY GREY.
MARTA, THE ITALIAN BRED AND BORN L.A. BASED BLOGGER AND MULTITASKER IS MUCH MORE PETITE IN PERSON THAN WHAT YOU WOULD IMAGINE. HER ENERGY IS OPEN AND KIND. SHE FEELS SELF ASSURED. HER VOICE IS DEEP. HER ENGLISH IS IMPECCABLE. SHE JUST CHANGED HER TRADEMARK DARK HAIR FOR BLONDE LOCKS TO ‘FEEL A LITTLE SEXIER’ SHE EXPLAINS, A CONTRASTING IMAGE TO HER NATURAL LOOK IN THE LATEST KENZO PARFUM ‘FLOWER BY KENZO’ WORLDWIDE CAMPAIGN THAT SHE STARS IN AMONG OTHER CREATIVES.
WHILE SHE TAKES NATALIA FOR A WALK DOWN TO THE OAKS CAFE, A STAPLE OF HER L.A. NEIGHBORHOOD, SHE SHARES FOR REDMILK THE STORY OF HER CAREER, HER LOVE FOR LOS ANGELES, HER ASPIRATIONS FOR THE FUTURE, AND HER THOUGHTS ON A FEW OTHER LITTLE THINGS.
If you were to describe what you do for a living to a kid what would you say?
I would say that I take photos of me in clothes or with products and that I travel to promote brands and companies of different kinds. I do also a little bit of acting for videos, commercials and short films.
You studied acting.
I did! I went to acting school for a year, I attended The Lee Straasberg. It was an interesting experience because I realized that all those schools are overrated in a way. There are so many different ways of studying acting. I feel that someone will learn more about acting in their own journey than going to school and I think that that applies to many other things in life. To me the idea of going to school works only to a certain extend, depending on what you want to do, but there is so much more value to learn things through life.
Is that what you wanted to do be, an actor?
I wanted to explore that, so if something were to come up where I needed to use that skill for, I could do it and feel comfortable about it. I also think that that sort of working on yourself that every actor does in training can be beneficial for everyone.
It’s interesting, earlier you mentioned thinking that schools are overrated: it really makes sense for own your path, you sort of made up a job for yourself.
Are you a blogger?
Yeah, I guess. I am someone that people look up to for when they have to buy things or go places, the word ‘tastemaker’ could do it. I majored in journalism and creative writing in Milan, I originally wanted to be a writer for fashion magazines, that is how I started. I love writing. I love reading. I love clothes and fashion. So I thought that that job could be a great combo for me. Yet, I was only making $500 a month, the money was very little in that line of work. “This is insane” I thought. My boss was 40 and she was so frustrated. I told myself “No, no, no, this can’t be my life.” I saw my future so quickly and I thought “I have to shift direction.” I think right at that time was when social media started slowly started to become a thing, there was no Instagram, but there was Twitter, it was about seven years ago. I didn’t know what I could do exactly, but I realized there was the opportunity of doing something bigger. I couldn’t really get inspired in Milan, I was drained “I am good at what I do and school is great” but I felt I needed a change towards being more creative. I always wanted to move to LA since I was 15.
I don’t know why, I would watch these stupid tacky TV shows, like the Playboy Mansion one or that one about surgery (she laughs). I didn’t care about those things, but I just wanted to see the city and in those shows you could see the city so well in the background. I was so obsessed with Jared Leto too.
I saw a picture of him in your apartment. And a magazine with him on the cover.
Yeah, my friend took that picture and gifted it to me. I had a crazy obsession with him, I was dating a guy at 17, in Italy, he was in a pretty big band. Their manager knew Jared ’s manager “Guys I need to meet him!!” so I went to the meet and greet: I was surrounded by all these weird looking fans that were crying and what not. Jared Leto was super nice. You know, he came from nothing, he was living with his mom out of a car at one point as a kid. His mom always encouraged him to be in art and be creative. When he came to LA he found his creative path. So my obsessions were combined, I thought “Maybe LA is where you need to go to channel you creativity.” Long story short (she laughs) I finally moved here 7 years ago, at first through acting school, which gave me my first visa. I didn’t know what I was gonna do, but I had a call for LA: I wanted to come here and get inspired.
You are about to leave for a month.
I am traveling to Europe. My friend has a film festival (Rivera International Film Festival) and I am doing a little panel there about social media and movies: that should be fun. I am going then to Cannes: I am working on a couple brand partnerships over there. I am attending some of the premieres and what not. And then I have a few days off that I’ll be spending in Milan to do meetings and maybe seeing my family. But I love being in LA: when I go to Italy I miss everything about LA. I miss the food, the light when I wake up, the smell of my car, driving, I miss my friends. You know when you miss your boyfriend? I miss LA like that.
Do you miss Italy at all?
No (she pauses). Isn’t that crazy?
It is to me a little bit (we both laugh) I miss Italy, but then again I haven’t been back for a year and a half.
I don’t miss it, I always felt I belonged here. Ok, I miss maybe summers there, my parents have a house in Sardinia, so I loved doing that. I don’t really go there anymore, but it’s ok, that was a different life.
What are your plans for this summer?
I’ll be in Paris for a week in July, I am going for the Dior show. I’ll be back in LA for a month and a half and then I go to Italy for my birthday in August.
What’s up with Dior?
I just wrapped an editorial shoot with them. I am doing a partnership with their beauty stuff and I attend their shows through out the year.
Do you still attend fashion weeks?
A little bit, I’ll collaborate with one designer or two each season, but I don’t attend all the shows.
What’s the best quality about you and what is your biggest flaw?
Best quality about me is that I am very loyal. If I say something I’ll do it, I’ll show up for my friends. Making people happy makes me happy. My flaw? I worry a lot, but that it’s so typical for girls, that is every girl, I think. Sometimes I am very insecure, I hate that. I don’t think highly enough of myself at times.
It’s funny because I get that answer from a lot of women, a lot of self doubt floating around, it seems to be a common thread between women. There is either not as much of it in men, or maybe men just don’t voice insecurities as much. What do you think?
They don’t voice a lot of things that they feel (she pauses) well, they definitely don’t voice, that I’ve realized. They don’t only don’t voice insecurities, they dismiss them so much, that they even forget they felt that way. They don’t hold on to certain feelings or emotions as much as we do. That’s an easier way to live. That would be easier for us too. Yet deep down they also get insecure.
You seem like someone that overcomes your own insecurities pretty well. You are from a small little town in Italy and you were able to pursue your dreams: look at where you are now!
Same with you, no? (she smiles) The funniest thing is that as a kid I had the craziest panic attacks, social anxiety issues. I was a very introverted child, a very scared and worried kid. I remember thinking to myself, I was 12 or 13 “I have to get better, I can’t be so fearful.” So when I moved to Milan I realized that I needed a job that could challenge me to overcome those social insecurities. I was also very fat as a kid, but I lost it all as a teenager during my growing spurt naturally. I feel that the job I have now has helped me to overcome my fears.
Were you made fun of?
As a kid? Absolutely. Kids would match my name with the word belly.
Funny thing: the guy who first started calling me names in school, once we got to high-school, and I became a little prettier or whatever, well, he started hitting on me. “You ruined my childhood” I told him at one point, but he didn’t even remember.
Some people that used to make fun of you don’t remember it years later…
It’s true, they don’t, but because it’s more convenient that way. It’s interesting as an experience to look at other girls thinking “They are pretty, I am not.” And then become this person that does shoots and is sort of pretty and is at the polar opposite of how I felt growing up. I guess it helps because you live both worlds and you know how it feels at both sides of the coin. I have the humbleness of feeling fat and made fun of, and also the confidence of being a little bit out there now.
I know exactly how you feel. I wore a back brace for a few years in school at one point because I have scoliosis, and as much as I hated it at the time, looking back, it was a gift because of the way it shaped my personality. Sometimes I feel that growing up as the center of attention all the time can be quite damaging later in life.
That’s exactly what I am saying.
Do you ever experience cyberbullying?
I don’t ever get mean comments on my social media, personally, but I notice that sometimes followers will do that to others. I wish people shared more the nice things and not bad things unless is teaching something like ‘Hey, you are doing something wrong” or whatever, constructive criticism, you know? But I find body shaming people so wrong.
What is something you really like in others?
I like when people are aware of who they are and they let other people in and they are able to understand others. When people are good at knowing you and at getting you: it’s beautiful, because it’s so rare.
What can be a little bit of a turn off?
Thinking that you can buy people and things just with money. I never thought that money matters too much, to me it matters to pay the bills and having a decent lifestyle, that’s for sure, but when I see some people use the power that comes from making a lot of money to manipulate people, I can’t stand that.
I read that you were helping Jamie King on her first blog and that is how you got the idea of starting your own blog?
I was assisting Jamie King, she is an actress and a model. I had met her husband on set for a commercial, he is a director. He thought I was cool and told me “You should meet my wife.” And they invited me over to a game night that they used to do at their house. We became friends that way. She had a column for The Huffington Post and eventually I was helping her out with that and other things. That’s when I realized I wanted to do that myself. She was cool with it, she encouraged me actually. I reached out to different brands to do my own spin of that. I started my own blog. I got signed with Next and it all developed from there. Now though, I want to do my own clothing line. I am lunching a collaboration with Antonio Marras’ son, Efisio Marras, he is a dear friend. It’s gonna be a capsule collection called I’M MP- it’s a joint effort between I’M Isola Marras and myself. For the first time I will design some pieces. It’s very exciting. Basically I have wanted to do my own line for a long time, and although I have played with fashion for years, this is a whole different world. I felt I could use someone guiding me and I thought “Maybe I could start with a design collaboration first. And see how the process is like!” and then from do my own line eventually. Efisio Marras actually approached me about it first, I was so excited! I said yes immediately.
And you write as well, right?
I am in the process of writing a document series on young females, where I am gonna feature different talents that will talk about raw and meaningful topics.
What do your parents think about you living in LA?
Oh god (she laughs) at first they didn’t like it, especially my mom, but now they see that it works. My mom is very pragmatical, so if something works she won’t say anything about it, but if it doesn’t, she will. So far so good because is going well.
When you were little, what did you want to be?
I wanted to be a hairdresser growing up.
Describe yourself in three words.
Passionate, kind and stubborn.
What scares you?
Because they have been painful. Because I mistrust people, because people are really good at revealing themselves as one thing and the moment things get serious they back up. It’s just really hard to find people that are real and honest all the way through.
What’s the best piece of advice that someone has given you?
That when you speak your mind, you are taking care of yourself. No matter what the outcome is, when you say what you want and you express it, you are always gonna win. It takes courage sometimes to say what you really want.
What makes you happy?
Ice cream. Working. Seeing my friends. Getting my hair done.
That little hairdresser in you.
Yes! I love getting my hair done (she laughs).
Photos credit Shelby Goldstein – Instagram @shelbygoldstein
This interview has been edited and condensed.