Maria Ines Gul on why femininity is a strength

All this week’s we’ve been celebrating International Women’s Day by inviting some of the most innovative, creative and convention-defying women around to tell us how they’re bold for change. These interviews have been brought to life through a series of stunning portraits, so it’s only right that we finish the week off be hearing from the artist responsible for them, Maria Ines Gul...

Which women do you admire for being bold?

I have been reading lots of interviews with Joanna Newsom recently. She is a super talented musician and songwriter. Her lyrics are filled with symbols and metaphors like a beautiful woven tapestry. Many of her songs are about being a woman and its consequences. Joanna has to deal with a lot of sexism in the industry, people call her a nymph or say her voice is childish and annoying. She inspires me as an artist, showing that feminine can be strong and we don't have to compromise on our creative path.

How do you get a confidence boost when you need one?

My MA thesis was about narratives in textiles, so I definitely believe in power outfits. There are a couple of sets in my closet that always work. My all-time favourites are black dungarees (I own three pairs). For this year's Women's March I assembled a head to toe pink outfit. I also like wearing red lipstick and shoes that make noise as I walk, they make me feel more confident.

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When have you been proud of yourself for being bold?

Being a freelance illustrator is not always easy. You have to be your own boss, manager, agent and at the same time stay creative and playful. I really enjoy working within constraints, I find limits inspiring but sometimes find myself trapped with too little time on my hands and not enough space to breathe. One of the most empowering transformations was when I started turning down projects that just did not feel right.

Who in your life do you respect for being bold?

I have a lot of bold and inspiring people around me. I am especially proud of my entire Rookie family. Having been part of the magazine (ROOKIE) for many years I have noticed a change where feminism has become more and more popular and positive. Tavi Gevinson is doing an excellent job empowering a young generation of girls around the world and I'm really proud to call her a friend.

What one think would you like to see change to improve gender equality?

Gender inequality is like this old stinky onion. With age I started to notice more and more layers, it can be really sad. What's really frustrating is that quite often we forget that men are not the only one to blame. Feminism to me is not about a gender war, it's about equality and freedom. Labelling, name calling, and body shaming other women just doesn't help. What we need is a strong sisterhood, solidarity, kindness and empathy.

Follow us on Instagram to see more of our International Women's Day portraits and let us know which amazing women you're celebrating this week.

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