Sara Melotti started a personal project called "Quest for Beauty" where she challenges the traditional portrayal of beauty in the media by sharing moving portraits of beautiful women around the world. She photographs each woman and asks them all 5 questions including "What is Beauty?" and "Do you feel beautiful?" The answers are so wonderful and a must-read: here are her interviews. She was a fashion photographer for 3 years until she realized that her photos were contributing to current unrealistic standards of beauty. That's when she started her journey to chase beauty around the world and show that "beauty can be found in every woman, no matter the age, size, bone structure, skin tone or background." Do you agree? Share what you believe beauty is in the comments below!
1. What do you think people think of when they think of women travelers?
It depends how open-minded the person is. An open-minded person thinks it's a very normal (and cool) thing to do, while a not so open minded person automatically thinks it's “an eat pray love thing" (I get it all the time)!
2. What type of traveler are you?
I am an artist and a photographer and I always travel and work at the same time (mainly taking portraits for an ongoing personal project so my approach to travel is different from most people. I travel alone, I do very little planning, I spend time with the locals, I learn as much as I can about the country and its culture and I let the journey bring me where I'm meant to go.
3. How does being a woman effect your travel experience?
It depends from country to country but definitely it effects my safety. As women we always have be extra cautious. In most places there is very little to worry about but I think always keeping an eye open is something ingrained in our minds, even for me at home in NYC.
4. What is the craziest thing you’ve done/experienced while traveling?
I cruised around Halong Bay's islands (Vietnam) in the middle of the dark night on a tiny dodgy old boat, it was surreal! It felt like being inside of an episode of Lost and the smoke monster could show up at any time!
5. When were you most scared traveling/felt unsafe?
In October I was shooting a portrait of a woman in an alley in Marrakech, I had my camera hanging on my shoulder while I was talking to the woman and two guys on a scooter tried to snitch it away, I didn't even think, I turned around and hit one of the guys in the face with a book I had in my hand. Luckily they didn't react and they just moved along! That was pretty scary but besides that I never really felt that unsafe in Morocco or any other country I've been to so far.
6. When did you feel safest?
I feel safest every time I'm in Italy.
7. Where was your favorite trip? Why?
I think my last trip to Vietnam last month was the best I had so far. It stole my heart! The country itself is gorgeous and the people are so beautiful, so happy and kind. I got to travel from north to south and really understood the culture. I met so many interesting people and lived some experiences I'll never forget!
8. If you won the lottery where would you choose to live?
Nowhere and anywhere! I'm serious! I am quite a gypsy as it is and if money wasn't a problem I would just move from place to place whenever I'd feel like it.
9. How do the people you travel with impact your trip?
The people I travel with immensely impact my trip. I'm quite sensitive to energy so if I have negative energy around me my whole trip is impacted by it...that's why I travel alone! On the other side if I have people with good energy around me my trips gets better and better. I prefer to travel by myself. I am very free spirited and independent. When I travel I'm most likely working, always on the go and ready to go wherever the camera brings me and not everyone can handle that so I prefer to travel solo.
10. How do the people you meet impact your trip?
Immensely. I am a social loner and I talk to a lot of people on my trips, which also helps me getter better shots. My favorite part of traveling is the connection I make with some of these people (other travelers or locals), an honest deep human connection that I rarely find in NYC.
11. Why is travel important?
Because it feeds my eyes and my soul. It makes me grow. It teaches me to be more human, more humble. Nothing can give me as much as travel does.
12. When did you start traveling?
I was lucky enough to start traveling when I was a child, my mom always thought traveling was necessary to grow so by the time I was 12 I had already been to Asia, Africa and around Europe. I'll be forever thankful to her for that!
13. Why write about travel?
I like to write about things I love or care about and travel is on top of the list!
14. What is your favorite souvenir?
Notebooks. On very trip I always try to find a very unique notebook to bring home with me. I usually use it as a journal on the following trip, so it reminds me of the previous adventure!