This week we're joined by the gorgeous Sandrina aka Fete Vone Di (on instagram). We met Sandrina in her home town of Cascais just 30 minutes outside of Lisbon, Portugal. We strolled through town discussing life, love, womanhood, and what it's like growing up within a vibrant migrant family. We shot in front of the Casa das Historias Paula Rega, an intriguing brutalist structure housing the works of surrealist artist Paula Rega. Our day with Sandrina was full of positive vibes and fascinating anecdotes. It's days like these that truly inspire our collections and encourages us to meet more creative and inspirational women from all over the world.
What was it like growing up in Portugal after your family came here from Guinea Bissau? I was born here in Portugal, and most of my childhood was here, but as a baby I went to Guinea Bissau to visit my father a lot. At first I lived with just my mom, my older brother Divaldo and my sisters Ivanilda and Elisa. Around the late 90s my other two brothers Fernando and Ricardo also came from Guinea Bissau to live with us. It wasn’t easy in the beginning because we only had a 3-bedroom house, so it was crowded. My mom converted a bathroom into a bedroom, leaving us with only one bathroom and 7 people! We had our struggles especially after my sister was born in 2000. For me, privacy was the main issue, but looking back I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Having a full house is fun because it’s a super lively atmosphere and you get the chance to learn a lot from an early age. My mom was mostly a single mom but she made sure we were provided with everything we needed including being children.
What are your hopes and dreams for your career? I work part-time in a contact centre and I also manage a drag queen named Lowla. In October I’m going to start studying Event Production, in the hopes to work in that field. I enjoy working with people and networking, especially music and performing arts. My ultimate dream is to launch a “house show” or festival where I can celebrate the hip hop / R&B culture. I feel it’s something Portugal lacks and I'd love to help support the LGBTQ + community here in Portugal and make Lowla a household name.
What do you consider your biggest achievement thus far, personal or career wise? I'd have to say finishing university. There were times that I really doubted myself, but with perseverance I managed to get through it. My biggest personal achievement has to be dancing for Blaya. I never thought of being a dancer, but when I saw a Facebook status looking for a dancer 'with a big ass!' I knew I had to audition. She soon offered me the role as official dancer for her solo project. It was an amazing experience as I travelled all over Portugal and met amazing people who I still have good relationships with today.
Is there any social issue you wish was more talked about? In an ideal world, how would you change it? The stigma behind mental health issues specially among the POC community. The PALOP community in some cases come from traumatic backgrounds (for example my brothers came to Portugal as refugees). This trauma can sometimes leave people with a heavy weight on their shoulder and I believe we need to be more attentive to these situations. I also believe physical and psychological violence towards women is still a mainstream issues that needs to be addressed.
What do you feel is the best thing about being a woman? Being underestimated by men, but also the fact we bring beauty to this world with all of our seduction and grace. I truly believe we are lights and an extension of the universe, women are the closest representation of that. If we go way back to the beginning of History we can see growth, resilience, resistance and will to survive among the beasts just like mother nature does.
What is your day-to-day routine? I always start my days with music, it’s important to have music included in your life. It’s such a beautiful language and art form and can lift up your spirits for the rest of the day. I generally wake up early and have a shower, do my makeup, apply body oil and sunscreen, pick my outfit and have breakfast. And I always pack a bottle of water in my bag to keep hydrated
How do you treat yourself after a rough day? I turn off all of my devices and exclude myself from the world. I only have weekends off work, so I use this time to sit by the pool or the beach reading, listening to music or sunbathing (I absolutely love being under the sun). I also love a good face mask and pedicure and spending the day with my dog Sakura, watching TV and eating not so healthy food.
What do you wish to see happen in the next 5 years? (in your life, your country, or the world). In the next 5 years I hope I’m settled in my relationship and career, with my own place and maybe a baby! Regarding Portugal I hope the exploitation of the real estate market slows down. We also need a better health system and more job opportunities in all fields especially creative ones.
Can you tell us your current favourite song and book? My favourite book is The Tao of Wu by RZA from the Wu Tang Clan, it’s not only a book, but also a life guide for me! My current favourite song is Te Amo Disgraça by Baco Exu do Blues
What is your favourite thing about working within the Drag industry? I find the creativity of their transformations to be the most interesting part. They are so creative with their makeup and outfits, not to mention they give a killer performance on heels! There are some perks working with them, free makeup and learning new vocabulary - for instance “okurrrr” belongs to Drag Race not Cardi B!
What do you feel the best wearing? I am very simple regarding my style. For me, having a pair of jeans that fit perfectly is a god send! That plus a cool t-shirt and flat sandals or sneakers and I’m good to go!
S A N D R I N E W E A R S . . .