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Knowing that out in the world there’s still girls such as @esseregiulia, who love the ocean, have respect for the environment and, generally speaking, have a good head on their shoulders, makes us happy and proud of the new generations. We at TheCornerZine had the immense pleasure of meeting and chatting with Giulia about diving, sustainability and, of course, her passion for fashion.
Hi Giulia, can you tell us how your passion for the sea/water was born, and what prompted you to become a marine biologist? Was it a complex process?
I’d say this love was quite obvious since my childhood, but for every marine biologist it’s really like this. There has always been an affinity with the water element, also because I’m a scorpio even if I don't believe too much in astrology. So, for me, it’s completely natural to think of the sea and bring it into my daily life. I’d like to be able to see it every day, and that's what I hope for my future, but for the moment I live in Milan. The city has given me the opportunity to study and get to know it over the years. I hope my studies will help me do something concrete to protect the environment. The marine ecosystem is wonderful, but it’s fragile and severely damaged by human pressure, as I’ve learned during my studies. The university years were very beautiful and rewarding, even if with many hours of study and, obviously, the related anxiety. I started with a three-year background in Biological Sciences, which provided me with a solid base and an overview of biology in general, necessary to study my master's degree in Marine Sciences, which allowed me to approach the ocean and its wonders not only in theory. In fact, thanks to my university I had the opportunity to study the tropical corals of the Maldives and participate in various coral restoration workshops, finally touching the wonders I had only seen in books.
On your Instagram profile we can see some beautiful images and videos of your dives, some of which really frighten me. You, all by yourself in the blue of the ocean. What episode out of all your submersions were you most excited for? And what one were you most scared about?
The thrill of diving can’t be explained, whether it’s the Ligurian sea or the Indian ocean. The feeling of freedom and peace that you feel underwater is indescribable and, personally speaking, priceless. I’ve never been afraid to take the cylinders and dive into the blue, but it’s extremely important to always be lucid, prudent and, of course, to know your body, without going beyond limits. Scuba diving is a very beautiful discipline, but it must be taken seriously: it’s not a game. I don't remember an episode in which I was afraid, but I can say that practicing yoga and meditation helped me a lot at the beginning, breathing and calmness are two fundamental elements for a correct and peaceful immersion. On the other hand, there are many fascinating episodes, as each dive is wonderful and full of surprises. Certainly, I’ve experienced the most beautiful, so far, in the Maldives: I remember a dive in the atoll of Baa, among gray sharks, sea eagles, huge schools of tropical fish, green turtles, endless corals. In short, an explosion of biodiversity and colours I’ve never seen before and I’ll never forget.
At TheCorner.com, we’ve just launched a section on the website dedicated to 100% sustainable brands that care for the planet. Sustainability is a topic that’s particularly dear to you. In your opinion, what’re the three rules we should follow for respecting the planet?
I believe it’s very important to be constantly informed, the topic of sustainability is now on the agenda and covers practically all fields, from energy to food, fashion and beauty, and I’m very happy about this. That being said, we have to watch out for incorrect information and those who try to pass messages of being green and conscious, but which in reality are not true, see for example the phenomenon of greenwashing in the world of fashion. Furthermore, sustainability means not only caring for the environment, using natural ingredients or recycled packaging, but also respecting the rights of workers, who are often exploited beyond belief. In general, I believe that to start approaching an ethical and sustainable lifestyle, putting in practice the so-called ‘3R’s rule: reduce, reuse and recycle’ is a simple and effective way to do just that.
How can fashion be more sustainable today? What choices should be made to respect the planet?
As far as fashion goes, for more than a year now I’ve been trying to follow a more sustainable lifestyle, which in general is based on buying less but of quality. As I said before, getting informed is the first step in making informed choices, starting for example from knowing how to read a label. Fortunately, the web comes to our aid, this is a hot topic and you’ll find many tips on the internet. What I do, and what I try to convey to those who follow me on Instagram is: one, reduce purchases, especially in this pandemic situation. I’d say, in this case, it’s helped us, because really why do we need a thousand dresses? The solution is already in our closet, you just need to take some time to reset, target declutter and organise. Two would be to stop buying fast fashion, and start preferring sustainable and, why not, local realities over these companies. Even if it has a ‘Made in Italy’ label, it’s not always synonymous with sustainable, so be careful. Third would be to shop secondhand, vintage and pre-owned to give a second life to products that, in most cases, are more beautiful and of higher quality than others.
The new generations are sending very strong and decisive messages on the issue of sustainability and the protection of the environment. For example, Greta Thumber has created a real movement with her Friday Strike. Do you have a green icon? Was there a speech or event on the topic of sustainability that particularly caught your attention?
I think this change of direction of the new generations is really important, also thanks to Greta we now understand that we can no longer ignore it. We’re at a point of no return and something must be done, we can do something! I’ve had the opportunity to have a closer look to these topics, even if more focused on the ocean, but little changes. It’s certainly easier to adopt them into my daily life, but looking around, even trivially on Instagram, I see that people are starting to understand and commit to changing their habits. In my opinion, there’s still hope of being able to make a change and achieve great results.
I don’t necessarily have a real green icon, but I’m inspired by the people around me with whom I’ve had the pleasure of working, who study and carry out research and projects for the protection of the marine ecosystem and are truly committed to fighting for a more sustainable reality.
Even when traveling can be sustainable. When you have to face a journey, how do you prepare yourself for it?
Very interesting question, I try to limit the use of plastic and waste, making targeted choices and being aware of what I bring with me not to leave any trace, especially if I’m going to a place like the Maldives, where it waste disposal is really a problem. Everything that tourists bring, is thrown directly into the ocean, their natural landfill, or burned in the open air, causing the rise of pollution levels. For example, I choose products with recyclable packaging, natural and non-impacting ingredients. As I move around in my daily life, I try to avoid the car as much as possible: I prefer walking or taking the public transport and, recently, my boyfriend has invested in the purchase of an electric moped that’s perfect for the city, as well as being the choice of the future. Think about it!
2020 didn't allow us to travel a lot, but when we can finally return to travel, where would you like to go?
Definitely, to the ocean for diving. On my wishlist, there’s Raja Ampat, Galápagos, Indonesia, the Azores islands, the Red Sea and Sicily, my second home.
You have an Instagram profile with a following of 42K. How do you relate to your followers? Have you ever suffered from cyberbullying? What advice would you give to all the kids who are victims of it?
I must say that I have a good relationship with those who follow me, I know that many of my followers are silent, but they support me with pleasure, because they write it to me every now and then and, for me, it’s very nice and rewarding. Fortunately, I’ve never suffered from cyberbullying and, given what you see on social media every day, I feel very lucky. I can’t stress enough the importance of not giving a damn about those cyber bullies.
If you hadn't become a marine biologist, what would you be?
I think that I would’ve worked in fashion, which has always been my second passion, which I decided to pursue only as a hobby.
If you had the chance to send a message to the Giulia of the past, what advice would you give her?
To redo everything she did, but think a little more about herself, so as not to lose every moment that’s given to us.
MOTHER OF PEARL
Mylo cotton hoodie
Printed cotton T-shirt
Isoli cotton sweatshirt
Faux leather trousers
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