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Podcast host and fashion designer Mara Girone: My Best Life in 10 answers

I am Mara Girone, artist, fashion designer, podcast host, Mum to two children, passionate traveller and feminist advocate

1. What has been your Best Life Project to date?

I am not sure that I could choose just one! I have travelled and lived in some amazing countries, I have been blessed with a fantastic family, and have set up some incredible, enriching businesses.

I believe that my experiences in life have enabled me to grow and become the person I am today. If I think back only a couple of years I can hardly recognise my initial business and the woman who started it. I have grown enormously and I have achieved many of what were only dreams. I remember, when working with a coach and ‘dreaming wild’, some of my targets seemed impossible and now they are reality. Therefore I feel that my greatest success has been the ability to believe in myself again because I found renewed energy to not only chase my dreams but also to grab them and make them come true.

2. The unknown … what challenges did you have to overcome?

I had to restart my whole life at the age of 30, when I finally allowed myself to break away from the life that was expected of me. I was born and raised in a traditional part of Italy, and it was anticipated that I would become a primary school teacher before I married and had children. My early passions for travel and art were seen as rebellious.

I was working in unsatisfying jobs and travelling once a year as my escape. After years of this, I hit rock bottom, I gave up everything and went to London with the plan to stay for six months.

That was a whole other challenge in itself, and it would have been very easy to give up and go home where it was stifling, but safe. However I never went back to live in Italy and the choice to live was just the start of my new life.

Mara Girone

Some years later, I founded and directed a successful publishing house while living in Mexico. I then had my first baby and we moved to Portugal. It proved impossible to keep the business going over the distance, time-zones, and while parenting a young child with very little family support. I felt a bit lost, with big dreams intended to never become reality. I coped by returning to art and creativity. I then started attending several art courses that I never had the time to attend in the past. The same happened when I had my second child, and we moved to Greece.

I started my hand embroidery as a form of meditation that helped me to navigate the not always calm water of motherhood when I felt I lost my identity.

I decided to take all of my experiences around the world, my passion for the beauty of different cultures, my wish to support women and their mindset, and convey them in what I do today. I overcame the challenge of being lost and have created a thriving business that empowers women in the way I hoped it to.

Along the way I also started my own video show and podcast with the aim to empower women through storytelling.

3. In hindsight…..what would you do differently?

In hindsight there isn’t anything that I can say I would have done differently because otherwise I would not be the woman I am today. I would not have my wonderful family, my thriving business or have the honour of being able to meet and speak with all of the amazing women that I do and hear their stories. The smallest choice you perform in your life can have huge repercussions or changes and I believe the beauty of life is exactly there, in the unexpected moments that added together make this amazing adventure called life worth it.

(C) Blake Ezra Photography Ltd. 2021 Unapologetically Me T-shirt £65.

4. Next steps?

I am a multipassionate person so I always have several new ideas to which I want to give life.

My plan is to grow my fashion brand having my pieces securely stocked in retailers around the world. It is then when I will finally publish the book that I kept in the draw for far too long.

At the same time I want to give more content, support and growth to my video show and podcast partnering with charities working to help women to be safe and independent.

5. What lifestyle changes has lockdown made you consider?

Especially when homeschooling started, I had to force myself to let go of my perfectionism. I gained flexibility and the capacity to adapt to the events. I am now able to enjoy the moment and I realised that I have to be gentle to myself.

I still have high expectations (I am still a perfectionist on the path to recovery!) but I am more realistic as I can do anything, but I cannot do everything.

6. Kissing frogs …. is there an unexpected person who has helped you and, if so, how did they do it?

7. My Inspiration ….who or what inspires you?

People. Their stories. Their uniqueness. Their creative journey. They can be children, they can be random strangers I meet in the street and they can be amazing artists, writers, entrepreneurs.

I am also hugely creatively inspired by London itself. Its vibrant life made of theatre performances, museums, galleries, events is a constant gift.

8. How do you relax or do you struggle to relax?

Nature in any form is like a sanctuary for me where I nestle to recharge my energies.

Hand embroidery is my form of meditation and enables me to relax, as long as I give myself full permission to let the creativity flow. The freedom of creating without any specific outcome in mind, is what ignites the creative process in a virtuous circle that most of the time produces pieces I am very happy with.

9. Guilty secret pleasure?

I am an avid reader and my secret pleasure are children’s books especially if they have great illustrations.

History documentaries are another passion. In my list of dreams there is that of getting a PhD in history one day.

Finally walking without a destination, wandering around, looking at buildings and life happening is very inspiring.

10. Words of wisdom

I have learned the strength to never give up, the attitude to face life with a smile, the capacity to dream wild, and to not be afraid of giving it my all. Therefore my words of wisdom are the following; You will always be afraid of trying new things that life forces you to face, but be courageous and be determined. Jump, take the leap, amazing things are waiting for you on the other side. And no matter what, trust yourself in this adventure, the best is yet to come.

Check out Mara’s fashion website here and her Empowering Voices podcast here.

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