All Things Photography, Friendship Circles and Good Karma with Dani K. Monteiro
by Nova / Marianna Mukhametzyanova·
From the outset you’ll be able to tell that Dani K. Monteiro (@danikm) is a big ball of creativity. Big smiles, wild and wonderful colours, bikes hitting snow, hills, and all sorts of terrain, and a lot of wicked photography - that’s what her Instagram tells you about her. And she’s confident, intimidatingly confident.
If you click on Dani’s website you’ll learn that she’s a Portuguese and Russian photographer based in London. Dani’s upbringing and close relationship with her mother slash mentor slash muse taught her about importance of work ethic and positivity, and growing up in Portugal means that she has a wider appreciation of culture. Me and Dani bonded over what it means to have an Eastern European mum sitting at the helm too.
And when it comes to work and professional experience, she’s done a hefty amount. Dani’s worked for some of the most influential fashion and sportswear brands in the world, has photographed some of the biggest names in music and is also a true creative craftsman at heart, creating, doodling and inspiring herself as if it’s second nature.
I met Dani at her studio in South London. She opened the door beaming and gave me a big hug, the embodiment of ‘good vibes’ or ‘good energy’, whichever slang phrase you prefer. We hashed it out over a few hours and spoke about her love for her friends, her obsession with slapping on a headset and chugging a few Fortnite slurp juices, her process when it comes to working with clients and mucho more. Read on to learn more about the mysterious Dani K.
Hey! What’s your name? What do you do? How would you explain yourself?
I'm Dani, I am a photographer, but I'd consider myself a hyperactive hobbyist. I just do a lot of things. But mainly I’m a photographer. That’s my job.
Okay, cool. How did your creative career begin? When did you realise that you wanted to be creative or take photos?
Well, I didn't really think that it was a job but then my mom introduced me to this photographer because she thought that I’d be really inspired by his work. He gave me some tips and recommended a camera. So my mUm then got me a camera. That was how it began.
And how old were you then?
I was like 12.
So what happened after that? Did you just start snapping pics?
Yeah, I started taking my camera to school every day, which wasn't allowed, but I was just photographing my friends all the time. And in the nighttime I would turn my room into a studio and take macro photos, like very artistic photos of paint. This would just go on for weeks, just me sleeping during the day and being awake at night doing all these light experiments and experiments with water and ink. I was very into experimental photography for a while and I was taking photos of all these different textures and I was like ‘this looks like Mars!’.
Do you think you had something to achieve at that point? Were you trying to get to a certain image?
Not really, I was just having fun. But now that I think about it, there was this national photography competition where all the best photographers in Portugal would compete. And every year I'd make a sick book. My mom would spend her own money on making this book, which now when I look back at it it’s so shit. And the photos are insane. But the effort was there.
I wanted to win a photo competition when I was 12 which I thought was cool. My mom was so supportive. She helped so much.
Jaimus told me that your mum is an interior designer?
Yeah she's a textile designer. She's like this crazy, creative technical lady.
Do you think you maybe wouldn’t be as inspired or have as much support if she didn't understand what it was like?
Yeah, for sure. For sure.
So how would you describe your photography style now?
I would say textured, and fun and fast and friendly.
What was the photography scene like in Portugal, if there was a scene?
Well for ages I was taking photographs at the skatepark of my friends skating and jumping with their BMXs. That was really fun because now I feel like I'm going back to it with the bikes and the movement stuff in a sports aspect. But from then I went into a scene of shooting live music, and I feel like there I realised how competitive everyone was. That was a few years into me starting to shoot.
I was scared of the competitiveness and there weren't a lot of young people doing it. It was mostly older and established people with loads of credentials. Nowadays, there are a lot of young people which is just so great.
Nowadays it seems like if you’ve got a camera, a vision, mates, are nice to people, you can take wicked photos and start a career from that.
You know, it's good to have technical knowledge and stuff but nowadays, as long as it looks cool, I don't think people care anymore. At least the younger people don't care. There's always elitists and stuff like that. Who cares?
And you mentioned technical knowledge. Are you constantly trying to improve your photography skills?
Yeah, I studied photography, film and sound for six years. My grades from a technical standpoint we're pretty good. I love everything that connects with the physics of light and physics of colour, physics of sound. I love it. I feel like once you get to the point where your photography - from a technical standpoint - is correct and within the box, then it’s easier to try and manipulate those things a little bit and make them a bit more dragged or a bit more like, insane looking, you know. You don't have to do that. That’s just how I did it.
Because once everything is super perfect in a photo and focused and perfected, then it gets kind of boring - at least to me it got kind of boring. That's why now most of my photography is super out of focus or there's a lot of movement. When I shoot I always try to go with the movement a bit and not just stay static.
That's what I thought when I was looking at your work, I thought it was a little bit crazy. It's really not energetic.
That's definitely what I'm trying to do now.
And so when did it become more crazy? What was it?
Before I just wanted to get everything perfect and everything focused and the right composition. I feel like there were so many projects of me just trying to make it right. Once I stopped working so much for other people and started working on my own stuff, I thought, okay, I'm going to build a style. Big photographers, like, I don't know, like Tim Walker, for example. He's got his own style. It takes years to develop a style so I was like, I’m going to start now.
So what were some of the first projects that you worked on? Where did it begin?
In the beginning I was working a lot shooting live stuff. I worked for like a year or two for Ninja Tune taking live photos. And after that I was doing photography at Kyra for a couple years. That was like the main hub for networking and getting to know people. It was quite good with getting me involved with stuff. I feel like it was there that I learned the basics of fashion photography. And then from there, I was like, okay, fuck this, I hate shooting like this, those Instagram, fit pic type things, you know? I’m so grateful for those experiences but it also made me realise what I wanted to do.
Nah I get it. Places like that are really good for connections. Okay cool so I know what you don’t like shooting, so what's your favourite kind of brief? What excites you?
Sometimes I like to see briefs where there are already a lot of references to stuff that I've done. A lot of times I can open a brief and see a lot of pictures that are really unrelated to my work. I'm like, why are you asking me to do this? This is not my kind of stuff. But I feel like now more and more people are referencing my previous projects which is such a compliment. More and more people are wanting me to recreate or bring back something that I've done.
Or I love seeing new ideas that I haven't seen before. I'm like, oh, I want to try that. There's always this thing between briefs and photographers. Sometimes I'll see another photographer’s photos in a brief and I'll send it to them if they’re a friend of mine like “haha look, your photos are in my brief”. And then they'd be like, “why didn't they ask me?” And that happens the other way around. Like why don’t people just ask the photographer who they’re referencing to do the shoot? Then there’s the other thing of people's works starting to get confusing and very similar to other people because instead of going directly to the photographer they’re asking someone else to imitate the style.
I’ve seen a lot of photos circulated on Instagram across loads of archive channels, and especially with outdoor brands now. So do you ever feel like brands come to you because they also want to be like, as cool as say, ACG or Salomon? And they want to recreate that because they also want to be a part of that, like movement right now?
Interesting! Maybe? That'd be funny. There are definitely brands that have come to me with references from ACG and the like but their stuff is kind of lame. It just doesn’t coincide. It happens when brands that aren't related to the outdoors or have that aesthetic come to me and are referencing that kind of stuff. It makes me giggle a little bit because like, I see what you’re trying to do!
They haven’t put in the work to actually change their brand to then be in the position to have that kind of photography.
Yeah it’s funny when their products don't match the aesthetic but are just trying to make it work.
So on the topic of ACG and GOMA. So how did that relationship start off, you working with GOMA and shooting those ACG campaigns?
I met Mikey in Margate. We were both there because I was working with a good friend of mine. She was playing a show there because we were touring together. And we were playing in Margate on the beach and literally nobody was there. It was such a beautiful day. And Mikey came to tag along and he kind of came up to me was like, “you’re Dani right?” and I'm like, “yeah,” and he's like, “I know Diogo and I’ve seen your work!”. And then we got talking about what both of us do and before we said bye we said “yeah we definitely have to work together at some point”.
Then one day, I think he texted me. He came here and pitched me this idea for ACG. I was like “amazing, I am down, let's come up with something”. So yeah, we sat here for a couple hours, coming up with ideas of things that we wanted to do. A lot of these ideas happened. Then we took a trip to the Peak District in Sheffield and it was just the best. The team was amazing. It was just perfect and the vibes were right. We became really good friends and it was pretty organic. It’s not like we just found each other on Instagram, you know, we met in person first, which is so rare nowadays.
What's it been like creating a visual style for ACG, such an important part of the Nike line?
I don't know. I don't know. People always compliment me for that but honestly, I just had so much fun. I'm not really proud of my work in general. But that shoot I’m like, damn, this is kind of cool. I think the team was just so good. And my friend who was assisting me and doing light is a genius and he was so on it. Without him the photos wouldn't look as great as they do.
I just wanted to do more of that. There's always such an important element to having the right people and a good environment. It can't just be like, the client needs photos. It’s hard sometimes to set up a team who's very friendly and very natural. Yeah, it was just perfect. It was just perfect. If someone had sent us to do that with a different mentality it wouldn't have come out like that.
Yeah aligns with what you said before about it being organic. Now on Instagram things, and especially branded things, can look too polished.
That’s so true. People can't relate.
So after doing some digging around you, I can see that you’ve got a pretty tight knit group of creative friends, everyone’s doing their own thing. How do you think your relationship with these creative people has affected your own creativity?
I feel like when I moved to London and until I got to Kyra, I didn't really have any friends for like 2 to 3 years. It was just really hard for me to make friends here. I didn't go out and I just wasn't interested in socialising with people. This sounds so horrible but it's just true. I didn't know where to start, you know?
It took me the time to get to Kyra and leave Kyra to find my group of friends. And that's when I realised I'm going to build my own style. I feel like it was because I saw all of my new friends doing their own thing and doing it in their way. Everyone else had their own style and that inspired me. My friends are my biggest source of inspiration. They definitely inspired me to have a more DIY approach and not to be too clinical with my photos or too polished. They weren't polished at all. And they were succeeding in their own way and their work is so incredible. So I just wanted to be more like them, in a creative and free kind of way.
Okay so what advice would you give to someone who wants to be a creative with as much freedom as you? How did you find these friends and inspirations?
I feel like it's a privilege for someone to be surrounded by people who are also artists to begin with. So if you come from a place where you don't have that and don’t have those people surrounding you, I feel like a good step would be to either find those people online or go to a gallery and speak to the people who are there, speak to the artists? I don't know, it's such a hard question.
I know, I guess there’s no formula to it.
There is no formula but like - and this is so cliche - literally just be yourself and keep doing what you're doing. If you're persistent and stay true to yourself, that consistency will be quite attractive for people.
Yeah, if you’re not false people will see that.
For sure and you see a lot of people switching their style, changing their career etc., not because they want to, but to cater to something or someone. I feel like all good artists have been consistent and stayed true to themselves since the beginning, you know?
And it doesn't matter how good you are. I've heard of stories of the most incredible photographers just being the most difficult people to work with and just being overall not great people, not people that others want to surround themselves with. When you’re on set you want to feel respected by your photographer. You want to feel comfortable. If you fuck up in a shoot or you're rude and were disrespectful for whatever reason, the next day everyone's going to know.
And someone else is always going to be able to do your job. There’s going to be another kid who will come in and shoot these sick images.
And even if they’re not as good, if they're kinder than you, they're gonna be working with them, not with the shit person. I’ve heard a few examples of that recently - people should be kinder.
Why do you think people aren’t kinder? Is it ego, pride or something else?
I think it's insecurity a lot of times. It's so hard because you can't really blame people for being insecure. Ego also, God complex. People just need to get over it and stop caring so much. Caring about things a lot is stressful. It makes you go bald.
Especially when people care for the wrong reasons.
Yeah, it's funny, it makes me laugh sometimes.
You know those photographers who shoot events and get a few snaps on Skepta or another big rapper…
Yeah I’ve done that, not going to lie. It was so much fun. But it's funny when those photographers that shoot rappers then go to post those pictures and put ‘Blessed’ in the caption. That’s funny. You’re not blessed hah. You just have a camera. People care a lot about their image which I understand. I care about my image but not really.
Comes natural to you I guess whereas for some, they worry too much what they should be like or perceived as, or the type of shots they need to take. There’s so much competition out there. It’s so intense.
For sure. I feel like I get competitive in the sense of like, if someone messages me for a job and I’m like, umm I don’t know if it’s my vibe. But then I think that if I don't do it, someone else is going to do it. So then I want to do it because I don't want them to do it. It gets a bit conflicting.
But still, there are definitely moments now where I am able to refuse jobs because either I don't like the person I'm working with for whatever reason because I've had a bad experience with them or because I just don't like the style or because I just don't relate to it.
I feel like for a couple of years as a photographer you have to accept those jobs because it's income and you just have to do it. If you don't do it, someone else is gonna do it for you. Nowadays I'm happy sometimes to be like no, I can’t do it but my friend can do it. I feel like all this competitiveness and rudeness can come from a place of mental or economic instability.
I read on your website that your work represents collaboration with friends, and the outdoors. What is collaboration with friends? I just found that quite interesting.
If I had the chance to hire people to assist me or work with me, I always put my friends first. Or if I need to cast someone, I don't go cast models. I cast my friends. Every time that I get the opportunity to get them involved, I get them involved. I work a lot with my friends because it's easier and I feel like it's cooler. It's more authentic.
And then with the outdoors. When did you start shooting outdoors?
I feel like it was mostly over lockdown. It was pretty outdoorsy. During lockdown, the outdoors just felt like the new cool. We were cycling everyday and I remember thinking that this should just be a thing. I got so inspired by that time. And I remember me and my friends would park the bikes up near a tree to swim in the river and there would be like 15 bikes. I remember thinking, ‘this would be such a cool photo, just loads of bikes leaning against each other’. It was this cool chaos.
Did you have your camera with you?
No, but I took them on my phone. But yeah, I was inspired by lockdown. It was a good time.
What else would you say inspires you? Do you ever look for inspiration? Or would you say because you're surrounded by so many incredible creatives, and maybe your network, that you're constantly inspired anyway?
I definitely always tried to think like, what's the next thing that I'm going to be into or that everyone's gonna be into. But I don't know. Sometimes I go on Pinterest. And I just scroll. I have a Pinterest board of things that I want to try one day.
I feel like inspiration is something that just comes from travelling and lived experience. A lot of times I've been inspired to shoot something because I've seen an old man cross a weird place and I’m like, we should actually recreate that in another shoot. I think I am inspired by everyday life.
Do you think that even when you’re not working and shooting, you’re always looking?
For sure. For sure. For sure. I feel like as a photographer, you just automatically have that eye. You're always noticing small things - what looks good where - even if you’re not taking a photo. I'm always aware of the colour of everything and the light and composition. Sometimes I'll be cycling, and I'm like, ‘Oh my God, that looks crazy,’ and then I'll take a picture. That can inspire for months.
That ties in with the thing you were talking about, about lived experience.
It reminds me of when musicians are assigned to a label and they have to make two albums in two years. They have to release lots of music in a small period of time. I'm sure they can do that but in order for you to write music, you need to live, you need to write about your experiences. But if you're in a studio and don't have experiences, you need to let them go and not write music for a month and let them do whatever for a month so that they have something to write about.
So you've also modelled in a few campaigns, been the face of a few things. Do you enjoy being in front of the camera, and also, how does it feel to be in front of the camera?
Being in front of a camera is fun, because it's easy. Behind the camera is hard, because your brain is racing and there's a lot of pressure on you. I like being in front of the camera but I feel like it's probably helped with my confidence maybe? I used to be very self conscious. I feel like I'm still to a certain degree but I feel like the older you get the less super self conscious you are about yourself, you know, because you’re not a teenager anymore.
Not looking at Instagram also helps a lot with that.
Trust me. There are days where I feel so good and then I go on Instagram and I’m like, damn, I want that too. How can I be that? I can’t, but I want to. It's quite complicated.
I’m sure people also think that about you. I think it’s natural. People can look at your success and the experiences that you've had on your Instagram and be like, ‘she's so cool. I want what she has’.
Yeah. It’s important to remember that there’s a difference between real life and Instagram and bring yourself back to that whenever you forget.
But the other thing is, if you want to reach some of those people on Instagram, they’re pretty reachable. If you want to work with them, nowadays you're like three or four people away. If you really want to get there, give it some time. Do some work. Put some effort in.
Whenever you get briefs that maybe aren’t your style as much, do you sometimes go like, cool I’ll do what you want me to do in the way that you want me to do it, or do you suggest something different that better fits your style?
I'll be upfront with them. I'll be like, I can put my own twist to it. You know? I've tried to work things out sometimes and then I'm like, actually, I can't like, I can't. I feel like I'm in a position where I can be selective, and I’m very grateful to be in that position. When things come through that aren’t right, I just don’t do it. sorry. It’s a privileged position to be in.
You’ve also worked very hard to be where you are right now.
Dude, bless my mom. When I was in un, I didn't know that there was a living loan. I didn't know, my mom didn't know. I don't know how she did it but she was helping me pay my rent. I remember thinking, how was everyone affording all these things? And then when I graduated, I realised that everyone had a living loan.
I felt like it was a prank. How did I make it? My mom - she wasn't doing well at all. She must have struggled so much on her own. Now she's doing amazing. She’s fucking turned her world upside down with her busines but that period back then was really hard. It was three years of me living in the most fucked up places, with these crazy guys, the cheapest place possible to rent. I feel like now I'm seeing the fruits of all of that. When I look back now I feel so bad for myself. Yeah, it was fucking horrible.
Did you come here by yourself, for uni?
Yeah. I graduated here but I also wanted to come to London. I just knew that I would never be able to be a photographer in Portugal. It was just impossible. I tried for a couple of years but it just wasn't going anywhere. And prior to moving here, I took a gap year and when I was 17, I moved to Germany for a couple months. Just being away from Portugal made me realise that I liked being away from home. Even though I love my mom - she's like my best friend, we're always talking - I kind of liked being away and being a bit separate. I feel like you have a different appreciation for home if you're not home.
But yeah, she's everything. Yeah, she's the best. Such an inspiration. She’s my fucking number one.
Yeah that’s clearly a lot of respect. It’s great you have that North Star. So my next question is back to the outdoors. A lot more people are wearing ACG, Patagonia etc. What difference have you seen in the industry when it comes to photography, or how collectives on IG or people you’ve worked with have come up over the past few years?
I find it funny because there’s this uneven balance of people that talk about the outdoors and people that go into the outdoors. It’s good to see people talk about the outdoors and make an effort to leave the city and bring more people into nature. I love seeing that. I just find it funny when people don’t go outdoors but make big claims about it all the time and have this aesthetic. It doesn’t really come from anywhere.
Do you think the people that were going outdoors before the trend blew up are still going outdoors?
Hmm, sometimes I shoot city people or people that are not very outdoorsy, and you know, we go to a forest for a day and then they're like, ‘damn, this is actually nice! I’m going to do it more now.’ I feel like that's what we should be focusing on - people that are wearing all these outdoor techie techie things, give them a chance to experience the outdoors for real and actually find they're calling for nature.
That’s true, that’s beautiful! So what are some of your favourite brands?
I like Loutre. I like This Uniform. Greater Goods, Brain Dead, Uniqlo. Yeah, that’s a good selection.
How would you describe your fashion style?
Fun. Stupid. And Lil Wayne. Sometimes it gets a bit Lil Wayne!
Hah cool! So did you do graphic design at some point?
So how are you good at it?
I’m not. I just think that all my life I was always doodling. My mom was always buying me coloured markers and always getting me notebooks. Every time I'd be on the computer, I'd be doodling. I would have nights and nights where I'd put a song on, take a quote from the song, and draw it. I would have notebooks of this.
My mom is insane at drawing - she’s so technical - and she's always like drawing something. That also rubbed off on me I guess.
And so why have you combined it with photography?
Because… I don’t know. I tried it once and really liked it. I tried it because my printer was out of colour. And this was what came out. And then I just filled it in with a pen marker and was like that actually looks cool.
So you did an undergrad degree in film and TV. Why?
So in Portugal, from the point that you're like 15, you can focus your studies onto a field super specific. For example, I was going to do photography so what that means is you go to this professional school and everything that you learn is applied to photography. Physics, all about lenses in light and colours. Chemistry is all about developing photos and how the chemicals react. It's all applied to the specialism. And when I was looking at the programme for photography, I was like, damn, it's kind of boring.
At the time I liked sound and I liked video, so I went down that route. It’s not that I don’t like music, it’s just that I like working with sound rather than music. So yeah, by the time I went to uni I had already done three years of film school basically, which was a lot.
Do you like films?
I'm not like a huge film person but I do like them.
And have you created any films yourself?
I've directed quite a few things, and produced a couple of films too.
I'd much rather do photography because with photography, I can do most things myself and it's quite instantaneous which is fun. With film, I just hate editing. It’s laborious and then you send it to people and they don’t like it, and you go around in circles. If I'm doing something for myself, I love it, but when I have to send something to a client and they're like, "we don't like this", it's like, "damn, that's my favourite part. I have to change it for you!" If they’ve hired me on the job, they should just let me do it!
Do you not think that so much has changed with how brands are working with people? There used to be so many creatives in-house whereas now it's all about the freelancers. Brands feel like they constantly need to reinvent themselves and go to different photographers, but at the same time, they never give them the creative freedom because they're so scared to experiment.
True. I love it when I don't have a brief. It’s the best! Because that means you're just doing whatever you want. And they trust you as well, they’ve seen your work and want you to do your thing. I’m like fuck yeah. I like that.
Have you travelled much?
Yeah, yeah. So recently, there was a point where in two and a half weeks, I had been to 11 countries. I was dying. It was for work.
I've lived in a couple different random places when I was young because of my parents and yeah, I've just always travelled a lot.
And how do you feel like that's impacted how creative you are? Or how you create work or how open minded you are?
I feel like it's the biggest thing. Yeah, I definitely get so inspired when I’m travelling, meet so many people, observe so much, and yeah, just get inspired by people on the street.
And in terms of collaborating, has that happened very often that you’ve met some creatives whilst travelling and worked with them?
Yeah, I feel like I got on the internet quite young. I was fully on the internet in like 2008. I was making so many friends online and a lot of those friends were scattered all over the world. And at some point in my life, I managed to cross paths with them. That inspired me so much. You know, the fact that I was always online talking to all these people from all over the world, and then we would send each other photos of our day to day and theirs would be so different from what I was experiencing.
I've always wanted to see what other people see. I wanted to see where other people get inspiration from. One day I realised that this is where I was getting ideas from, from other people. Travelling and having friends in lots of different places is just so awesome.
I feel like going out there and talking to people and meeting loads of different people makes you depend less on other people's ways of talking to you. So you know how people sometimes are like, oh I used to fuck with him but he left me unread so fuck him. And it's like, he probably left you on read because he's opened your text and had something else to do. He's probably so busy with other people. It's not personal. I feel like if you know that people know lots of other people and have so many things going on, you don't really take those things personally when that happens. It makes you get out of your own head more. It just makes you get over things a little bit more and not take things personally, because there's so much out there, so many people out there.
Yeah, if you depend on a certain group of people then you can’t do something if someone or your group isn’t there.
I feel like if you have the privilege to go out there and experience other things, go and do it because it's gonna change your life.
What places have you travelled to that have been some of your favourite?
I love going to Iceland because it's just so magical and unique. You reflect a lot there because you just feel like you're on your own because it's so vast. I like going to LA because it's so hectic and the opposite of Iceland - so congested and busy and loud and dirty and so many friends are there. LA’s gross but it's got this weird thing to it, it’s so eventful and everyone’s there.
Portugal is the best place on earth. I think it's cheap, hot. Great food. Great people. Yeah and then anywhere on the mountains that snows?
Sweet! What do you like to do in your spare time?
I like to play video games. I love playing Fortnite, I play it every day. Make fun of me if you want. Me and my boyfriend bought the Masterchief outfit. It's insane. They've got such wicked skins. Star Wars, Chewbacca, Wu Tang Clan.
I love Fortnite too. Surprised by that.
I love Call of Duty too but I haven’t played that in a while. Hmm, what else. I like to climb. I think that’s the two things I like doing the most right now, playing Fortnite and climbing.
And then what are your hobbies and interests when it comes to creativity? Jaimus said that you made a lamp?
Hahah so basically when I get really excited about an idea, I get super fixated and have to get all of the materials that I need to make it. And then I make it and I'm like, okay, there it is. I love woodworking and building furniture.
Reckon you might start selling your stuff?
Hmm, I couldn't make a business out of this. I don’t think anyone would buy this stuff. I also kind of like keeping things to myself. I usually make something, use it, and then once I’ve used it or made it I just throw it away. I’ve always been like that. Drawing as I was growing up, I’d do them and then just rip them up. People tell me I should keep that kind of stuff, but I don’t know, I just don’t.
Why do you think you don’t keep it?
Because my mom always told me that I have to get rid of things to make space for new things. She's always manifesting what she wants and she gets them, I’ve seen it.
Manifesting in general is really interesting. I think a lot of people don't believe in it but generally I think having good energy, especially when it comes to your work and what you’re creating, helps so much.
Yeah, and if you have good karma, and that gives you good karma. You know about the book ‘The Secret’?
My mum read ‘The Secret’ when I was a teenager and it changed her life. The way that she started thinking because of that book made me change the way that I think, because I remember she would always be like, “Daniela, I need a parking spot in front of the bank. Imagine a parking spot. And then when we get there there would be a parking spot. And I'd be like, well, ‘mum what the fuck?” and she’d be like, “I told you”. And then I started doing that with everything.
And sometimes it won't work out but that’s like everything in life, but at least you're positive. It's all about perspective.
When I was younger my mum was like, “you see this wall in your room?... okay, everything that you want to happen, write on this wall, put a picture of it on here”. So I just started writing on this wall. And I remember I saved money to buy an ID magazine once and then I cut so many things out of it and put it on my wall. I would also print out photos of things that I liked and put on the wall.
And then when I came to London, like a couple years after, I was like, “mum, do you remember that thing that I wrote on the wall that happened?” or “remember that person that I had on the wall? I just worked with them!” That happened over a dozen times. And she'd be like, “see? I told you, you just need to put your mind to it”.
Another crazy example. My mom was driving me to the airport and I put on Frank Ocean. I was like, ‘mum, do you know who this is?’ and she's like, ‘yeah, Frank Ocean’. She knew because I speak so much about Frank Ocean to my mum. She was like, ‘ you're gonna work with him one day,’ and I was like ‘yeah I hope I get to meet him one day,’ and then we just spoke about him during this drive to the airport whilst listening to his music.
So I get on my aeroplane and guess who I see. Frank fucking Ocean. I texted my mum like ‘what the fuck, what the fuck, we were just talking about him!’. My mum was like, ‘I’m not even impressed, this has happened so many times. I’m used to it now.’ It’s like living in London and always bumping into people, but you don’t always see Frank Ocean on the plane, you know?
That’s insane. Wow. Okay final few questions. You do a lot of different things. You’re a maker of things. How do you think you've gotten so good at everything, so many formats?
I think sometimes I look back and think, where did I get from? And then I think it comes frm my parents. My dad just makes things all the time; he's always building things and changing things around. I'm the exact same - I love change. It’s also the discipline to finish things that you’ve started which has come from my mum. And, you know, just having the positive mentality that my mom has about everything, her mindset of just living in the moment and spending all her money.
Final question. What is something that you think people who read this interview should even check out online or an Instagram account that they should follow or YouTube account or a documentary they should check out?
They should watch the show ‘Alone’. It’s a survival show on National Geographic. Basically 10 survival experts can pick 10 tools, and then they drop them in the middle of a forest in Canada, and they just have to survive. They're specialists so they know what they're doing. It’s the best.
Then they should listen to Mac W’s music, who’s my boyfriend. It’s awesome. They should go mountain biking or even learn how to ride a bike.
Wicked. Thank you Dani!