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Kat Graham: La Vie En Rose

Američka glumica, pevačica, producent, pisac i humanitarni radnik, otkriva tajnu uspeha u intervjuu za srpsko izdanje magazina Harper's BAZAAR.

Haljina: Georges Hobeika Couture @georgeshobeika

Američka glumica, pevačica, plesačica, producent, a odnedavno i pisac, Kat Graham, najispunjenija je dok se bavi humanitarnim radom. Iako tvrdi da ništa ne bi postigla da nije okružena ljudima koji razumeju njene poslovne ambicije i sve njene strasti, ova lepotica zapravo ume da pronađe balans u životu – kad stvara bitove, onda radi samo to, dok glumi, stoprocentno je posvećena tome, kada piše – bavi se samo time i ne dopušta spoljne distrakcije.

O poslovnim uspesima, planovima za budućnost i šta je sve čini srećnom, čitajte u intervjuu koji je dala za srpsko izdanje magazina Harper’s BAZAAR.

Imate izvanrednu karijeru. Radite u filmskoj industriji, na televiziji, pravite muziku, producirate fimove, plešete. Kako vam je pošlo za rukom da se istaknete u svim tim oblastima?  

Imam veliku podršku i trudim se da razdvojim različite delove svog života. Dakle, ako se spremam za turneju i bavljenje muzikom, fokusiram se na to. Ako se fokusiram na produkciju ili prodaju emisija ili vođenje filmskih projekata ili čak glavnu ulogu u njima, trudim se da napravim ravnotežu. Takođe, vodim računa o sebi, kako ne bih bila rastrzana na sve strane. 

Kao glumica, zapaženi ste u seriji Vampirski dnevnici. Kako je to iskustvo oblikovalo vašu karijeru i otvorilo vam vrata u industriji?

To iskustvo jeste oblikovalo moju karijeru, u smislu da mi je pokazalo koliko je važna publika i koliko je važno da je slušate. Takođe, tu sam shvatila da biti jedini pripadnik manjine u glumačkoj ekipi nosi drugačiju vrstu odgovornosti. Sve što sam radila od tog trenutka postalo je odraz sveta u kojem živim, kao i iskustava različitih zajednica koje predstavljam, i počela sam da se brinem o tome da ih predstavljam dobro. To mi je definitivno otvorilo vrata u industriji. Serija se završila pre šest ili sedam godina, ali i dalje se emituje i dostupna je na striminzima, tako da ljudi mogu videti moj rad i rad moje desne ruke, trenera glume Ivana Posebno sa svojom desnom rukom, svojim trenerom glume Ivana Chubbucka, i videti sve ono što smo zajedno stvorili tokom osam godina, koliko sam bila u seriji. Trening glume je važan deo mog puta, ali i saznanje da ću uvek dati sve od sebe, da ću ostati posvećena nečemu od početka do kraja, i mislim da je vrlo važno da to ljudi iz filmske industrije prepoznaju kod nekog glumca. 

Haljina: Stella McCartney @stellamccartney  Torba: Georges Hobeika Couture @georgeshobeik

Kao nezavisni umetnik, uspeli ste da se probijete među deset najboljih na muzičkim listama, na kojima se nalaze najveći od najvećih, Babyfacea i Princea. Možete li nam reći nešto više o vašem muzičkom putovanju i uticaju na vas kao muzičkog stvaraoca?

Dakle, nisam uvek bila nezavisni umetnik. Prvobitno sam imala ugovor sa Interscope a&m Octone Records kada sam objavila pesmu Put Your Graffiti on Me. Interesantno je da u to vreme zapravo nisam smela da pišem, snimam ili produciram svoju muziku, danas nemam čak ni autorska prava na te pesme. Nikada nisam zaradila ni cent od njih. Ranije sam se bavila sertifikovanim inženjeringom snimanja i pravljenjem bitova, sa 14-15 godina pravila sam bitove. To je privuklo pažnju Williama nakon što sam radila sa njim. Završili smo album Black & Blue u Juti. Nisam se toliko bavila muzikom kao umetnik u to vreme, više sam bila posvećena glumi. Glumačke uloge su mi pomagale finansijski – mogla sam da nabavim mnogo muzičke opreme, pa sam počela bitove da pravim kao nezavisni umetnik. Onda sam dobila ulogu u seriji Vampirski dnevnici i putovala sam svakodnevno na relaciji Los Anđeles – Atlanta (u Džordžiji), kako bih imala nastupe u gej klubovima i slično. Tek nakon Vampirskih dnevnika sam potpisala ugovor sa Interscope Records, a nakon što sam napustila Interscope, želela sam da radim stvari koje su bliže onome ko sam ja zaista, a to su pravljenje bitova i inženjering, kao i pravljenje sopstvene muzike i povratak osnovama, što je za mene R&B devedesetih. Upoznala sam Babyfacea. Pozvala sam ga da dođe na nekoliko proba, i ostalo je istorija. Tokom promocije albuma Roxbury Drive, koji sam napisala zajedno sa Kenny Babyface Edmondsom, upoznala sam Princea i počela raditi na funk albumu koji je kasnije postao album Love, Music, Funk, Magic.

Do tridesete godine snimili ste preko sto filmskih i televizijskih uloga. Kako ih birate i šta vas privlači kod određenog projekta?

Definitivno se trudim da budem glas za one koji nemaju glas. Zvuči malo isklišeizirano, ali trudim se da pronalazim uloge koje možda ne dobijaju pažnju, poštovanje ili platformu koju zaslužuju, ali se fokusiraju na ljude ili zajednice koje često bivaju zanemarene ili nedovoljno pažljivo posmatrane.

Haljina: Stella McCartney @stellamccartney Tašna: Georges Hobeika Couture @georgeshobeik

Jasno je da gajite strast prema modi. Kada je ta ljubav počela, kako se razvijala tokom vremena i kako biste opisali svoj trenutni stil?

Što se tiče moje strasti prema modi, ona je počela kada sam imala 13 godina. Mama bi me vodila na nedeljno sniženje u prodavnici Jet Rag u Los Anđelesu, na Melrose aveniji, gde sam kupovala odeću za jedan dolar, to je sve što smo mogli da priuštimo. Morala sam biti kreativna. Kada sam prvi put počela da zarađujem novac, kupila sam arhivske Gaultier stvari u radnji svog prijatelja, Decades, Camerona Silve. Zapravo, on mi je pomogao da razvijem stil koji danas nazivam svojim late 80s, early 90s chic-om.

Vaši humanitarni napori, posebno u vezi sa izbegličkom krizom i ljudskim pravima, široko su priznati. Šta vas je inspirisalo da se uključite u to i kako usklađujete umetničku karijeru sa aktivizmom?

Rekala bih da je većina mog trenutnog posla usmerena na UNHCR, Međunarodnu organizaciju za izbeglice, čiji sam ambasador dobre volje. Jednostavno je, samo želim da učinim sve što je u mojoj moći da pomognem najugroženijim ljudima na svetu, a dodatno sam inspirisana jer potičem iz porodice izbeglica – moji baka i deka su bežali iz različitih ratova. Moj deda je pobegao iz Liberije tokom režima Charlesa Taylora. Moja baka je pobegla iz Evrope zbog Holokausta. Da je moj deda bio ubijen dok je bežao u želji da sačuva svoj život ili da je moja baka bila odvedena u koncentracioni logor, ja danas ne bih bila ovde. I danas se mnogo ljudi širom sveta suočava sa istim izazovima sa kojima su se moji preci suočavali, a ja osećam ogromnu odgovornost prema tome, dok koristim svoju platformu da napravim razliku. Rad sa UNHCR, Međunarodnom organizacijom za izbeglice, izuzetno je ispunjavajuć, plus mi je otkro mnogo toga. Zajedničkim naporima neumorno radimo na podizanju svesti, pružanju podrške i težimo promenama politika koje mogu napraviti stvarnu razliku u životima izbeglica i raseljenih osoba širom sveta. Ljubav koju osećam prema ljudima kojima pomažemo nije samo sažaljenje, već duboko lična veza. Moja umetnička karijera i humanitarni rad su duboko isprepleteni. Moja umetnost često izražava ono što osećam i verujem, a moj humanitarni rad odražava moje osnovne vrednosti. Prioritetno planiram, osiguravajući da čak i kada se bavim glumačkim ili muzičkim projektima, ostanem povezana sa humanitarnim radom. Ključno u svemu tome je okružiti se ljudima koji razumeju moje obaveze i moju strast. Takođe, verujem da je kao umetnik ključno iskoristiti platformu i uticaj koji imam za opšte dobro, tako da integrisanje poruka i vrednosti u moju umetnost čini ravnotežu prirodnijom.

Haljina: Ermanno Scervino @ermannoscervino

Vaši nedavni filmski projekti poput Cutthroat City i Emperor su dobili pohvale kritičara. Šta vas je privuklo ovim ulogama? 

Pa, želela sam da igram likove koji žele da pobede, želela sam da igram likove koji su predstavnici afro – američkog iskustva kroz vreme. Znala sam da ću da, ako igram nekoga ko je na milosti onoga što se događa u Devetom kvartu u filmu Cutthroat City, ili nekoga ko je bio rob – u filmu Emperor, to neće biti tipična priča. 

Vaši albumi su postigli uspeh na listama i čak su napravili istoriju objavljivanjem Total God kao NFTa. Možete li nam reći više o svom kreativnom procesu kao muzičaru i vašem iskustvu korišćenja inovativnih platformi poput NFTa?

Moj kreativni proces kao muzičara obično proizilazi iz melodije ili ritma. Obično počne s tim. Sada sviram bas gitaru. Tako da se fokusiram na bas, sintove i ritam prvo, i krećem odatle. Slušam mnogo muzike iz svih krajeva sveta, pa se kreativno kao muzičar sve više inspirišem muzikom koju mnogi ljudi možda nisu čuli, ali koja je vrlo popularna u određenoj zemlji ili regionu. Što se tiče načina na koji objavljujem muziku, i tu moram biti veoma kreativna. NFT mi je oduvek bio zanimljiv, i tu mogu da ponudim nešto što više liči na muzejsko delo, za razliku od tradicionalnog objavljivanja na svim striminzima. Deluje zanimljivije, posebno u vezi sa albumom El Gato, koji je vizuelni album.

Kao glumica, pevačica, plesačica i producent, s kojim izazovima ste se suočavali u industriji zabave i kako ste ih prevazilazili?

Najveći izazovi s kojima sam se suočavala u industriji zabave bili su tretiranje mene kao “simboličnog predstavnika” neke grupe. U muzici, bilo je izazovno da zaradim za život od svoje muzike, posebno kada se sve prebacilo na strimovanje. Dobro je to što sam mogla da koristim novac od glume za podršku velikog dela svoje muzičke karijere. Kao plesačica, suočavala sam se s tim da mi govore da sam suviše mlada da radim i idem na turneje, i to onda kada sam zaista bila dostupna za to. Kao producent, najteže je dobiti finansiranje za projekte. Kako sve to prevazilazim? Jednostavno, nastavljam da idem dalje. Ne stajem. 

Haljina: Ermanno Scervino @ermannoscervino

Kada govorimo o budućnosti, imate dokumentarac pod nazivom Witness koji se fokusira na međunarodnu izbegličku krizu. Koju poruku želite da prenesete njime?

Konkretno, fokus dokumentarca je na migrantskoj krizi, jer postoje različiti parametri za to kako neko postaje izbeglica – postoje i ljudi koji su raseljeni unutar zemlje, ljudi koji se sele zbog rata, ljudi koji se sele zbog klimatskih promena, ekonomske krize, postoje toliko različiti razlozi zbog kojih neko mora napustiti svoj dom. Ono što me je inspirisalo da istražim ovu temu je moja najveća strast. To je moj najveći izvor humanitarne energije. Poruke koje želim da prenesem kroz dokumentarac su da svi žele da se vrate kući i da smo svi povezani. Svako može postati migrant, unutrašnje raseljeno lice ili izbeglica. Takođe smo povezani i to se može desiti bilo kome.

Možete li nam reći nešto više o vođenom dnevniku Seasons of You – šta vas je inspirisalo da ga stvorite? Šta čitaoci mogu od nje?

Potpuna iskrenost, nisam želela da pišem Seasons of You, bila sam zadovoljna samo organizacionim dnevnikom, fokusirajući se na postizanje organizacije i ostvarivanje ciljeva. Rachel Kim, koja je tada bila moj književni agent, rekla je da bismo trebali uraditi nešto malo ličnije, što me inače nije interesovalo, jer sam vrlo zaštitnički nastrojena prema svojoj porodici i odnosima. Bilo je mnogo uspona i padova u mom ličnom životu. Ali shvatila sam da ako to može pomoći drugim ljudima i ako im mogu dati alate koje sam lično koristila da prevaziđem ljubavna razočaranja i gubitke, kao i da se osnažim, ako sam ja to sve mogla, onda bilo ko može. Nadam se da će čitaoci, radeći na sebi uz pomoć vođenog dnevnika, dobiti bolji osećaj u vezi sa sobom i osnažiti se. 

English below:

Haljina: Lena Erziak @lena_erziak

American actress, singer, dancer, producer, and recently writer, Kat Graham, is most fulfilled when she is engaged in humanitarian work. Although she claims that she wouldn’t achieve anything if she wasn’t surrounded by people who understand her business ambitions and all her passions, this beauty actually knows how to find balance in life – when she creates beats, she does only that, while she’s acting, she’s 100% dedicated to it, when she writes – deals only with that and does not allow external distractions.

Read about her business successes, plans for the future and what makes her happy in the interview she gave for the Serbian edition of Harper’s BAZAAR magazine.

You’ve had a remarkable career, working across film, television, music, and even producing. How do you manage to excel in such diverse creative fields?

My answer to that is that I have a lot of support, I make sure to compartmentalize different parts of my life. So if I’m getting ready to tour and do music, I focus on that. If I’m focusing on producing or selling shows or shepherding film projects along or even starring in them, I make sure that I carve out that time to create balance. And I also make sure that I take care of myself, so I don’t spread myself too thin.

Your breakout role was on the hit TV show “The Vampire Diaries.” How did that experience shape your career and open doors for you in the industry?

My answer to that is that that experience shaped my career, because it showed me how important your audience can be, and how important it is to listen to them. It also showed me that being the one minority in a cast creates a different kind of level of responsibility, and to make sure that everything that I did from that point on was reflective of the world that I live in, and also the experiences of the different communities that I represent, and make sure that I’m representing them. Well. It’s definitely opened doors for me in the industry. I mean, the show ended, I think, gosh, like six, seven years ago, but it’s still playing and it’s still on streaming channels, so people are able to see the work that I did. Specifically with my right hand, my acting coach Ivana Chubbuck and seeing the kinds of different things that we had created over the eight years that I was on the show. So focusing and making sure that training is a part of my journey. And knowing that I will always give my all I think, and stay from something from the beginning to the end, I think is really important for the industry to see within an actor.

Haljina: Lena Erziak @lena_erziak

As an independent artist, you achieved the impressive feat of breaking into the top 10 on the charts with iconic musicians like Babyface and Prince. Can you tell us about your journey as a musician and the impact they had on your music?

So I wasn’t always an independent artist. I was originally signed to Interscope a&m Octone Records when I released put your graffiti on Me. And the interesting moment during that time was that I wasn’t actually allowed to write, record or produce my own music. So I don’t even have publishing on those records. I’ve still never seen a dime from them. I had come from become a certified recording engineer and a beat maker. So when I was 1415, I was making beats. And that’s what got the attention of Will-i-am after I was working with Will-i-am. And we had finished the black-blue in Utah. I wasn’t working as a music artist as much and I got back into my acting roles. So the acting roles were helping pay for more music equipment, and I started making my own beats independently. Then I booked Vampire Diaries and I would go back and forth between Los Angeles and Atlanta, Georgia where we were filming to do shows to perform in gay clubs and things like that. It was only after Vampire Diaries that I signed to Interscope Records after I left Interscope. I wanted to do things that felt a bit more closer to who I really was, which was a beat maker and an engineer, and make my own music and to get back to the basics, which for me was 90s r&b. I’d met Babyface. I invited him to come to a couple of rehearsals and the rest is history. Midway through promoting the Roxbury Drive album which I co-wrote with Kenny babyface Edmonds. I met Prince and began working on a funk record which would later turn out to be the love music funk magic album.

You have an extensive filmography with over 100 film and television credits by age 30. How do you choose your roles and what draws you to a particular project?

I definitely try and be the voice for the voiceless. It sounds a little corny, but I try and find roles where they might not get the attention or the respect or the platform that they deserve. So I look for roles that focus on people or communities that are often overlooked or not looked at closely Enough.

It’s clear that you have a passion for fashion. When did this love affair begin, how has it evolved over time, and how would you define your current (sense of) style?

In regards to my passion for fashion, it started at around age 13. My mom would take me to $1 jet rag Sundays in Los Angeles on Melrose Avenue and I would buy clothes for $1 and that was all we could afford. So I had to get creative. When I first started making money, I bought archives John Paul go to a samples through my friends store, decades owned by Cameron Silva. And he actually helped me develop what is now I call my 90s, late 80s, early 90s chic style. Yeah, late 80s chic.

Haljina: Georges Hobeika Couture @georgeshobeika Ogrlica i minđuše: Versace @versace

Your humanitarian efforts, particularly in relation to the refugee crisis and human rights, have been widely recognized. What inspired you to become involved in these causes, and how do you balance your artistic career with your activism?

I would say that most of my work right now is for the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR, in which I’m a goodwill ambassador for I am inspired because I come from refugees, both of my grandparents had fled different wars and I had felt the closest to their causes and their need to survive. And just want to make sure that I’m doing everything in my power to help the world’s most vulnerable. My deep-rooted connection with the refugee crisis stems from my own family history. My grandfather fled Liberia during the Charles Taylor regime. My grandmother fled Europe because of the Holocaust. It’s not lost on me that if my grandfather had been killed while fleeing for his life, or my grandmother was taken to a concentration camp, I would not be here today. Recognizing that so many individuals around the world are facing the same challenges that my grandparents faced, I felt an immense responsibility to leverage my platform to make a difference. My involvement with UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, has been an incredibly fulfilling and eye-opening experience. Through our collaborative efforts, we work tirelessly to raise awareness, provide support, and strive for policy changes that can make a real difference in the lives of refugees and displaced individuals globally. The love I feel for the people we serve is not just sympathy but a deeply personal connection. My artistic career and humanitarian work are deeply interwoven. My art is often an expression of what I feel and believe, and my humanitarian work is a reflection of my core values. I prioritize and plan meticulously, ensuring that even when I am engaged in my acting or music projects, I remain connected with my humanitarian work. Surrounding myself with a supportive team who understands my commitments and passion has been key. I also believe that as an artist, it’s crucial to use the platform and influence I have for the greater good, so integrating messages and values into my art makes the balance more seamless.

Your recent film projects such as cutthroat city and Emperor have garnered critical acclaim. What attracted you to these roles? And how did you approach character development in your performances?

Well, I wanted to play characters that want to win, I want to play characters that are representative of the black American experience throughout time, I knew that if I was going to play somebody that was at the mercy of what was happening in the Ninth Ward, in cutthroat city, or somebody that had been a slave in the deep south and emperor, that it wouldn’t be a typical story, but they would have to find ways to find their voice and find their power.

Total Look: Fendi @fendi

Your album releases have achieved success on the charts and even made history by releasing total God to us an NFT can you tell us more about your creative process as a musician in your experience using innovative platforms like NFTs?

My creative process as a musician usually stems from a melody or a beat. And it usually just starts with that. I now play the bass. So I and I started as a beat maker like literally beats. So I usually focus on bass, synths and beats first, and go from there. I listen to a lot of music from all over the world so creatively, as a musician, I’m finding myself becoming more and more inspired by music that a lot of people maybe haven’t heard, but within a certain country or certain region is very popular. In regards to how I release the music, that’s when I have to get really creative. NFT’s have always been really interesting to me and being able to offer something that felt more like a museum piece versus a traditional just release it on all streaming platforms. It felt more interesting specifically around to El Gato, which was a visual album

As an actress, singer, dancer and producer, what challenges have you faced in the entertainment industry and how have you overcome them?

The challenges that I faced in the entertainment industry has been most noticeably tokenism as a singer, the challenges that I felt in the entertainment industry is actually making a living with my music since everything shifted to streaming and being able to financially support myself and, and build my shows. So I’ve been able to use money from acting and, and other avenues to support a lot of my music career as a dancer, the challenges that I face in the entertainment industry was just being too young to work and tour when I was actually available to do it. And as a producer for film, The hardest thing is actually getting financing for projects. And so that’s how have I overcome them? I just kept going. I just didn’t stop.

Haljina: Lena Erziak @lena_erziak

Looking ahead, you have a documentary called witness focusing on the international refugee crisis. What motivated you to explore this topic? And what message do you hope to convey through the documentary?

Specifically, our focus is actually the migration crisis, as there are different parameters to how somebody becomes a refugee there are internationally displaced people, there are people that move because of war, and there are people that move because of climate change. There are people that move because of economic crises. There are so many different reasons that somebody has to leave their home. What motivated me to explore this topic is it’s my greatest passion. It’s, it’s my biggest source of, of where I put my humanitarian energies. And the messages that I hope to convey through the documentary is that everyone wants to go home. And we are all connected, and you can become a migrant and IDP or refugee, just like anyone else. We’re also connected and it can happen to anyone.

Can you tell us more about your upcoming guided journal seasons? Have you what inspired you to create this book? And what can readers expect to gain from it?

Full transparency, I didn’t want to write seasons of you, I was happy to just do an organizational journal, focusing on becoming more organized and attacking your goals. Rachel Kim, who was my lit manager at the time, said well, we should do something a bit more personal, which was not something I was necessarily interested in is because I’m I’m very guarded about my, my family and my relationships. And, you know, there’s been a lot of ups and downs in my personal life. But I realized that if it can help more people and I can use the tools, I can give the tools that I have personally used to triumph over heartbreak and loss and also step into my power if I can do it, anyone can. So I hope that what readers can gain from this is a better sense of self and a more empowered state of being. 

Behind the scenes video: 

Team Credits: 

Model: Kat Graham @katgraham

Talent Executive Director: Alessio Filippelli @ale_ssiofilippelli

Photographer: Carly Dame @carlydame

1st Assistant: Taylor Scragg @taylorscragg

Styling: Victor Danilov @danilov.viktor_

Hair & Make up: Elisa Rampi @elisarampi

Production: Danilo Venturi @ridaniloventu, Anna la Germaine x Fashion Politique @anna_lagermaine_private  @fashionpolitique

Production Assistant: Ava Lahijani @avalahijani

Postproduction: Iryna Dix @iradix

Coordinator: Gili Biegun @joysworld_

Styling assistant: Flavio Volgare @flavio_volgare

Location: Villa Olmi @villaolmi

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