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Dear Pennies,

I’m back!! Did you miss me? I certainly missed you, although I did enjoy Labor Day weekend.  But onto today’s post,  I interviewed actress, writer, and activist Tigist Selam to talk to her about her personal style.  Tigist is the first interviewee on de la Pen and I’m very excited to be posting this.  Most of the fashion press focuses on the style of celebrities but the personal style of the average woman goes unnoticed.

In my opinion this is ridiculous because most celebrities have stylists who pick out their outfits, also, celebrities receive or borrow merchandise so that the fashion line worn receives press free press and recognition. In essence, I decided to interview someone who has great style and is classy, someone who doesn’t need a stylist, someone who doesn’t follow trends.  Tigist Selam is of Ethiopian and German descent and she recently appeared in Nelson George’s “Left Unsaid”,  she has also done readings with Q-Tip for “My Funny Valentine”.  With no further adieu, please check out the interview below with Tigist.

Tigist Selam

DLP (de la Pen):  What is your current title or occupation?

TS: (Tigist Selam): I am an actor, writer and activist.

DLP: What projects are you currently working on?

TS: After the premier of ‘Left Unsaid’, directed by Nelson George, at the American Black Film Festival in late June, I’ve been doing a lot of press and interviews for the film. I’ve received unbelievable support from the Ethiopian and African community. I’ve been truly blessed, receiving positive responses from all over the globe. Varies directors have approached me based on my performance in Left Unsaid and I have been reading scripts non-stop for upcoming shoots in the fall. I’ve also been busy doing various readings, including ‘My Funny Valentine’ with Q-tip. Now that the fall is here, I am getting ready to audition again for various film and television roles. In terms of writing, I’ve been venturing out to write a multi-lingual piece that depicts the immigrant experience in New York City. It’s been fun writing again and I hope to see my stories on the screen in the near future. Moreover, I am in the process of incorporating my own non-profit organization. It’s called the Ethiopian Educational Project (EEP) and aids the Ethiopian youth with school supplies. Even though, I have been in the philanthropy sector all of my life, I hope to officially launch it in the next spring.

DLP: Where do you like to shop?

TS: I stick to small boutiques downtown and vintage stores all over the city mainly. If I don’t have time, because of rehearsals and auditions, I’ll pop in to Bergdorf or Ralph Lauren, but that happens rarely. In the summer I go to different flea markets, especially on the Upper West Side, since no one else seems to notice all the good finds! I love going upstate for vintage jewelry. Yet, the best really is to get stuff from overseas. No one ever will have your stuff and it is easier to find hand made, high quality and unique pieces.

DLP: Describe your personal (fashion) style in three words?

TS: Simple. Effortless. Chic.

DLP:  How does your style reflect who you are?

TS: I always try to simplify everything in every aspect of my life. It is just natural that this need translates into my style. I never want to look like I’ve tried too hard to look a certain way. I don’t like anything that is false or not a true representation of who I am.

DLP: How do you dress for work or work related activities?

TS: My work is my life. I do try my very best to put my best foot forward, whatever the occasion is. Nevertheless, I always try to stay true to myself. You won’t see me at an event or doing an interview with clothes I would not wear in my personal life.

DLP: Is your style of dress different or similar to other women within your industry?

TS: Well, it depends. Not a lot of black actors wear their hair in a funky haircut like the one that I have right now, nor do they wear chunky Ethiopian crosses or Italian custom-made leather bags. In that sense, I am a bit different.

DLP: Who is your style/fashion icon? (The person whose style you admire)

TS:  My mother. I grew up in Nigeria, Argentina and mainly Germany. Moreover we traveled extensively. So, my mother collected clothes and accessories from all over the world. Therefore, she had stuff that no one ever had and therefore always stood out. She never followed trends, made her own jewelry and even sew her own clothes.

DLP: Do you wear trends? Why or why not?

TS: I try to shy away from trends. I simply have less interest in following any trends in every way. Fashion or trends come and go, but I am more interested in carefully selected pieces that are timeless.

DLP: What magazines (if any) do you read?

TS: I religiously skim through the French vogue and a few other magazines at bookstores every month, but I haven’t bought a magazine in ages. Since everything is online right now, I rather follow blogs such as Garance Dore` for inspiration.

DLP: Does your style come from art, fashion, or is it purely a way for you to express yourself?

TS:  My style is definitely influenced by my cultural heritage as well as the places that I have visited. Many years ago, I have read somewhere that style is the combination of creativity and courage. I try to dress accordingly.

And there it is. The Fashion and Style of the Pen…de la Pen.