On a rather cloudy Saturday morning I rang Katerina Esslin’s bell and stepped into her dreamy world. A talented writer, a dreamer at heart and the most stylish apartment I have yet seen, really made this photoshoot special. But not only. It was her kindness, openness and generous personality that made me enjoy myself and my imatioθiki session with her. If you haven’t already red her book, O μισός βέσπα, I totally recommend it, it will make you laugh, think, cry and all this in 20 one-minute novels. Well, 19 to be exact. The 20th is a wink. Which is what Esslin is really all about. The wink. The light at the end of the tunnel. The keep on keeping on. The smile and the being positive. I hope what I saw and who I met, comes out of these pictures and her interview, which involves fashion beyond clothes and trends.
Esslin is a very strange last name. Is it Greek?
No, my family originally comes from Bavaria. The Esslins, called Von Esslin back then, were found on the King’s court. But time went by, and they took out the Von and now most people call me Esslin, instead of Katerina.
When did you start writing?
It was back in Grammar school. I used to say I wanted to be either a writer or an actress. And when all the kids would draw small houses and clouds and birds, I would be drawing letters. Literally. I think my teacher found me really weird. I would write the most strange essays!
So, professionally, when did you commit yourself to writing?
For approximately ten years I was in advertising, as a writer and a creative director. But after all those years, I came to understand that this was not as creative for me as I wanted it to be. I fell in love, and took a Sabbatical, which lasted for two and a half years. It was then, during a month’s time, that I wrote my book Ο Μισός Βέσπα. At the same time I started my blog, which consists of writings and poems and the last years deals with the idea of unfulfilled love and my second blog, called σελίδα 57. The name of that blog, actually comes from my book. On σελίδα 57. I have written down the word: wink. Just to give a heads up to whoever is reading my book, whatever they are going through. In 2009, I got back to advertising, only for a couple of years. After it became clear to me that I had to follow my dream to become a writer, I started looking for someone to publish Ο Μισός Βέσπα, which didn’t take that long and now I have my first book published and my second on the way!
How long did it take you to write your second book of one-minute novels? Tell me more about the process of getting something on paper.
Like my first one, it took me a month. For some reason I feel like I have all the stories inside of me. When I sit and type away on my computer, it is as though someone is whispering the words in my ear and I am just writing down whatever they are telling me. The strange thing is that I never think about a story twice, and it never takes me more than a day to write one. My second book will be called Woody was a woman. This time the stories are more connected with each other and all deal with the idea of randomness in life. When I wrote this book I was heartbroken, so I started contemplating the idea of possible and random in life – one minute you can feel someone is the love of your life and the next all these feelings can vanish into thin air.
What happens after you have finished writing a book?
Oh, I get depressed. It is definitely postpartum depression.
What do you love doing?
Travelling. I love to travel. In 2008 I took a long trip to the States. I spent a lot of time on the West Coast and found it fascinating. I say: my favorite book of all times is my passport!
So, your favorite city in the world would be?
New York. There is something about this city that makes you feel so important when walking on the streets. I feel like it is the capital of the planet, a gift to people! And I love the buildings there so much. Especially the Chrysler Building. I love walking on Brooklyn Bridge when the sun sets, I love all the good food you can find there, I love the fact that you can choose to be whoever you want to be in New York.
And what about Athens?
I love Athens. Especially its city center. Athens is my birthplace and I think of it as my mother. You want to get away and spread your wings towards other places, but in the end you are always around.
Name some of your favorite places in Athens.
A Liar Man / Omirou Street: tea in Petite Fleur is marvelous / Hoxton / Μπρίκι / Aneton, which is the best reaurant in town / Walking around the old city of Athens / Taking my car and driving up Imitos mountain, just to watch the sun set / I love hotels’ roof gardens, like the one at President / But the greatest places to hang out would be my friends’ houses.
What music sweeps you away?
Lately, I have been listening to Florence and the Machine a lot. I am more into the alternative music scene. I grew up listening to Nirvana, Sonic Youth etc, so I am still a big fan of that kind of music. I also listen to my friend’s bands. Small groups, more independent music. But I listen to Greek music as well. Foivos Delivorias is one of my favorite artists.
Some additional information about the things pictured above.
The paintings in Esslin’s apartment are made by her brother, Konstantinos Esslin, who is an artist. / The green light in the dining room belonged to three singers from Paris, who went on tour with a very popular singer, whose name Esslin forgets. She found the lamp at a garage, and it was so dusty, you couldn’t see the green crystals. She is happy she bought it. / Most of her jewelry comes from her grandmothers, both of which are her fashion inspiration. / The blue lace dress belonged to her grandmother Maria, who used to wear high heels all day long – and we are pretty sure she also slept in them. / The velvet chairs in her living room and most of her china also belong to her grandmothers.