Renata Zandonadi


i. Your self-portrait reminds me of a Brancusi sculpture in its poise and purity of line. There’s also a sense of joy emanating from your every pore. Is that an accurate depiction of how you see yourself?

Brancusi is my favorite artist! That is the best and most sophisticated compliment I have ever heard, thank you.

His sculptures are so sublime, that is not exactly how I see myself but I’ll definitely take the joy part. I’m Brazilian after all and joy is part of our identity.

ii. What things do you find most integral to maintaining your centre of gravity?

Being connected to my faith and to my family in the first place. Exercising and being surrounded by nature (preferably both together) also contributes massively into keeping me grounded and focused on the right things.

iii. You previously mentioned you are taking a Yale course in American History to be able to gain a better understanding of racial problems in America. And that it is expanding your universe in ways previously unimagined. Please tell us a little bit more about that.

The Yale course on African American history I’m taking (which is free by the way) is lectured by a very passionate and extremely eloquent professor called Jonathan Holloway. I decided to enroll in order to better understand the racism problem in the country I chose to call home, which has a quite particular form of prejudice. As a privileged white woman, I’ll probably never fully comprehend it but I can certainly expand my knowledge and therefore my empathy and compassion to the next level. Knowledge is freedom, we all have to do our part and fight together for equality.

iv. Could you please share about whatever it is you feel passionate about at the moment?

I’m very passionate about fashion but I confess quarantine has shifted my perspective quite a bit. I’ve always loved doing things with my hands and I recently fell in love with watercolor painting. I've been painting pretty much every day whilst listening to podcasts or audio books - usually the happiest hour of my day. I also feel very passionate about cooking healthy recipes at the moment and am constantly day dreaming about having my very own vegetable garden in Malibu one day.

v. How do you keep inspired?

Usually attending art exhibitions is the one thing that inspires me the most. While museums and galleries are still closed in the US, I’ve been researching about female artists such as Anni Albers, Otti Berger, Loïs Mailou Jones, Kara Walker and Varnette Honeywood. They’re all so cool in their own world and aesthetic. Learning about talented women in general or anything that somehow leads me to women empowerment inspires me. We have to value and praise each other more often.

vi. Your thoughts on what makes women beautiful.

Confidence and easiness, or as confusing as it sounds, refinement and simplicity.

Name-Throwing:

Artists: Constantin Brancusi, Salvador Dali, Sheila Hicks, Josef Albers, Frank Stella, Cindy Sherman

Books: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, Educated by Tara Westover, Helmut Newton Autobiography, The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann, Dom Casmurro by Machado de Assis, Creative

Visualization by Shakti Gawain

Music: Pela Luz dos Olhos Teus by Tom Jobim, Samba da benção by Vinicius de Moraes, Cavaquinho by Maria

Toledo, Under Pressure by David Bowie and Queen

Movies/TV Series: Lion, The Meyerowitz Stories, The Artist, Perfume, Breaking Bad, Sex and the City, Homeland

NYC spots: Pietro NoLita, Indochine, Miss Lilys, Lucien, ABCv, Sant Ambroeus, West Bourne, Kura, Decoy

Muses: There are so many and for different reasons too. Here’re a few: my mom, Cindy Crawford, Grace Jones, Françoise Hardy, Giovanna Engelbert, Michelle Obama, Ruth Bader Ginsburg