Pirate: Sayyida al-Hurra
Embodied by: Esra Önsöz (dancer, yoga teacher & massage therapist)
I am a warrior. I have been one for as long as I remember. I work hard for my goals, no shortcuts or distractions. Even though I did gymnastics for years, I didn’t start dancing till I was 15. One day, during an audition, I was told I was ‘a typical gymnast and would never be a dancer’. “Okay,” I said to myself, “it’s ON!”. Because if you tell me I can’t do something, those are fighting words to me! Only a few years later, I received a college degree in dance performance and teaching. I have been dancing and teaching professionally ever since.
I loved channeling Sayyida Al Hurra’s warrior spirit for the shoot. Being half Turkish, I also really appreciated the Arab references in the styling, hair and make up. When a joint creative effort comes together like this and you play a part in it, it’s pure magic! Some people say pirates were nothing but criminals. But when someone fights a system that’s corrupt, who exactly is the criminal here? You see similar situations in our current climate of social unrest. I function within the system, but I write my own rules and live by them as much as I can. Like a modern-day pirate, yes.
Last year, during an Ayahuasca ceremony in the Amazon rainforest in Peru, I had a wonderful insight. Looking at my own body, I realized that it carries an incredibly powerful warrior soul, and I felt such love and appreciation for it! Being proud of my body’s strength and resilience, I was happy to pose in lingerie for Marlies, whom I respect tremendously. As a matter of fact, I have a tattoo on my back of a gorgeous pin-up in lingerie; a symbol of feminine power. She’s got my back, quite literally!
Follow Esra on Instagram.
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