‘‘A Great Perfomer is always going to need a stage to perform.’’ /Stephen Gan/
Editor’s Letter Some time ago following my instincts I found myself curiously indulging in the deep oceans of knowledge about the inner growth eager to reach the culmination of self-discovery. It was a true calling of mine at the time that I was hella dedicated to unpeel of its layers. It has and still is a pleasantely bumpy journey and why wouldn’t it be with hefty amount of realisations that I have confronted and even more perspectives to adopt which, who knows, once I will somewhat fully gain might even make Dr. Phil run for his money. You know what is the recipe that helps in reaching the state of truly knowing yourself as a being? The most special thing a person can do is to have a profoundly developed relationship with himself or herself. You have to feel so dedicated and so comfortable with your body and rawness of your thoughts like you would when being in close relationship with that special person you love oh so deeply. We have to be outspoken about how we experience oursleves and what’s around us because world is our jungle and we all are primates who ought to follow our instincts in order to prevent our emotional dicharge. Like primates we should feel enouraged to follow our gut instincts. Sometimes we have to be coragous enough within ourselves to be crude in all our exellence as only then we will see how unlimited is our potential and how sweet tastes the life once we open ourselves to its unconsored pleasures. That is what I wish to inspire you to do. No filter, no mask-just you.
re a v a a G Elin
CONTENTS What Affair is thinking Inspiration of the issue-interview
with Amuna Davis Editorial: Under Surveillance
What Affair visited this month
Thank you notes
VERSATILITY IS A DANCE OF THE CHARACTER As an open person and a supporter of everything that has a purpose I visited the Pride in London for the first time two years ago. This stimulating street parade formed of members of LGBTQ community was exposing a never-ending stream of true happiness. Happiness that very obviously comes from the feeling of freedom and the strong sense of community. However, I could not help but to be torn between joy and a slight sadness.
It was extraordinary to see and feel how truly free everyone around me felt.
by Elina Gavare
‘‘Acceptance towards oneself as well as towards others should not be impacted by the social culture’’ Pride is a place of genuine expression of individuality that is so clearly bursting over the top because arguably it has been indirectly discouraged to be exposed on a regular day. As I was searching for a confirmation of my idea as I imagined my perspective possibly being unnecessarily overly exaggerated, I asked this question to a newly-met representative of Drag Community. His response was that the Drag attire is certainly not what he would want to be wearing daily, firstly, because the makeup is quite a bit too heavy for a bright daylight and the outfit is not of the comfort to be running your errands in, however, he did confirm that having only this one day where one finally ‘’is allowed’’ to officially ‘’be himself’’ feels fairly restrictive. Now, not just focusing on the event discussed above considering there are various occasions that include more and different representatives of society coming together, I am going to raise my question again - who then are we trying to be for the rest of the year?
It was an explosion of glitter with color mixes I did not know existed and possibly some even shouldn’t. Everyone was smiling, flirting and taking pictures with one another which to an observer from the side lanes could have created an image of 1960s utopia. For me that was what created a chain of thoughts in my mind. If anyone who is a part of the community or is just a supporter for this one amazing day is genuinely being in the most raw form of self, taking advantage of the freedom that has been temporarily served, wearing their hot pink leotards with yellow boas, high-as-a-tower pleaser heels, cover bodies in glitter, wearing their whole Drag Queen attire in the streets and most importantly having the most lighthearted smiles on their faces, if these are the true identities coming out, who then are we trying to
be for the rest of the year?
In a way it might be compared to Halloween where everyone is dressing up pretending to be someone they admire, are following on Instagram or feel an artistic or emotional bond with, however,pride is coming from an entirely different place.
I believe that we are all playing an act up until the day we say our goodbyes to this Earth.
solely has this feisty personality that she up keeps all day every day. The moment she enters her home, I believe, she is a kind and warm mother to her children and to her partner. Her daughter Bee Shaffer states: “But she is the most generous person you will ever meet-she puts everyone before herself, always - I know who she is.” day. Who from the other side of the fence could have guessed? I denote, the reason largely is not just because she finds the rest of the people that are a part of her day unbearable but because she believes that as an editor-in-chief she has to be sharp, persistent and seen in a certain way in order to manage the empire of her publication. We are our own brand that we are selling and we are keeping up with it each day. Nonetheless, at the same time we like to think of ourselves as open-minded and accepting considering the versatile global community we are living in thinking that nothing can really be considered surprising anymore which is the reason why nobody is nor should be hiding behind any agendas of their identity. Frankly as much as there is nothing wrong with these two perspectives, being open-minded yet not really opening up ourselves, isn’t it somewhat misleading to be living in such contradiction with ourselves?
None of us are truly ourselves.
One might care to argue this but the journey of artifice starts once we open the doors to step outside our living space which, in a way, already means stepping outside of our comfort zone. I myself believe that if my thoughts could be read by inserting some sort of chip in my brains I could be easily diagnosed with bipolar disorder, depression, ADHD, panic disorder and OCD and it is not me stating this solely for an unnecessary sarcastic emphasis. I am saying this from the perspective of an observer and analyst that I consider myself to be. Our minds wander and quite often to some very unordinary locations but why then I am not in a mental institution yet? It is due to the fact that somehow being the organic, true self at all times in this day and age is something that is technically encouraged yet practically unaccepted. One simply wouldn’t dare exposing the depths of ones mind. That is why I am still considered ‘’ņormal’’. I believe that same as me there are people with the side of them that they see nothing wrong about yet are fighting to discourage its presence because of the term ‘’social norms’’. We have jobs to do, people to socialize with and reputations to maintain in the social groups we have worked ourselves into. In order to keep it stabile we accordingly put some if not most of the parts of ourselves in our internal mind box that we keep locked for most of the time. You are allowed not to agree but I don’t think that Anna Wintour
‘‘Sacrifice essentially is the biggest sign of courage’’
Richard Jenkins brings up a concern - does the identity, in itself, actually influences and causes a certain behavior? Identification with oneself and an apposite behavior is something that appears to be associated with each other, he states. A vague identification of someone arguably could be enough to decide how to treat him or her and this particular perspective might also suggest that the process of identifying someone is relatively a superficial act that is limiting an individual to be seen as something possibly much more. I must add that I am blaming it on the quite impractical ‘’small talk’’ that infamously entails ‘’Where did you get those pants?’’, ‘’What do you do for living?’’, ‘‘Which area do you live in?’’. Guilty as charged.
Acceptance towards oneself as well as towards others should not be impacted by the social culture that chang-
es its stands as periodically as wide-leg pants are seen on and off the style pages of Vanity Fair. On our day-to-day lives we do not seem to appreciate the idea of identity. We assume we know who we are, we have established the grounds of knowing who are the people in our lives, however, there comes a point where identity becomes an issue. I would like to comment on why the diversity in individualism is so mandatory in our social experiences. Firstly, just think about how predominantly botched and tedious would seem a world where everyone is with the same financial capabilities, with the same solutions to everyday mishaps, have the same ways of expressing love towards others or have the same propensity in presenting thyself to the world? One word-purposeless! That is why as I am writing this I am basing the following fact on website www.worldometers.info that there currently are approximately 7.6 billion unique individuals living on this planet and each of us is with an exceptionally unique way of experiencing 7
life which is fascinating if giving it a respectful amountof time letting the idea to set in and develop deeper realizing how inaccurate it is to want everyone to accept our beliefs and our ideas when there are approximately 7.6 billion other ideas that each want the same amount of respect and acknowledgment. Very interestingly, Karl Lagerfeld, who I see as a well-crafted, marble marionette that glides in her own pace with feather-weight, was answering a question in an interview with Katya Foreman for BBC about the topic. She asked if anyone actually knows the real him. To that Lagerfeld responded saying,
“It’s a difficult question, as I have played so much on constructing a certain image of myself that I think it’s pretty much impossible, and that is my wish–even for those that I love deeply, I want it to remain impossible. I do not want to be a reality in the lives of others, I want to be like an apparition, that appears and then disappears.”
Nonetheless, one thing that I can
state undoubtedly is that whatever the community we are born in, whatever the body we are currently living in or whatever forces of beliefs are pushing us forward each day, exactly that is what is truly authentic to each of us individually and it has been delivered to us in just the right shape and form we were meant to receive it. Either we want to eventually expose all of it, all of us or we rather keep it as a greatly intimate part of us that we share with no other soul, it is applaudable in any case because both of those acts to some extent mean sacrifice and sacrifice essentially is the biggest sign of courage.
muna Davis, a sassy explosion of
candy-canes that she is ironically, born and raised in one of the small-scale, nauturesque countries where being bold isnâ€™t quite on the manual. The country that unwillingly is crossing borders with conservative Russia. Hairdresser by day and a deliciously devilish Drag Queen by night is one of the best known must-watch characters in the social scene in Riga, Latvia. Few years ago, in 2014, Davis changed his moved from Latvia to Spain pursuing his career as a hairdresser and make-up artist. This initially what was supposed to be a learning experience having a change of scenery as a bonus resulted in an honor of Davis becoming the face of the gay pride right there in the exotic Spain. Today he is known as the person of inspiration behind one of Lady Gagaâ€™s hairstyles. No big deal. Returning to Latvia having absorbed a more open menatlity that people of Spain exuded, Davis came back more confident about exploring his persona and sexuality on a deeper level which gradually manifested in Amuna - his alter ego Drag Queen.
<Interview by Elina Gavare>
In few words, personally, how would you describe the process of getting ready (for drag) and how does it make you feel? Ohhh, getting ready is the best part, it’s like going out of this world and creating something fantastic using my imagination, it’s like a relaxing session because during that time I am not thinking about anything! It’s fantastic to see the step-by-step process of how you change with makeup, hair and clothes . I feel like a different person. What is your spirit animal before (as Davis) and after (as Amuna)? FOR DAVIS spirit animal would be a DOG and FOR AMUNA it would be a PEACOCK
When you are getting ready as Amuna, do you feel more like you are putting on a character of entertainment for yourself and others OR it is more as a moment when you are finally releasing your true persona? GOOD QUESTION- all my life I have had two personalities so I would have to say that when I am Davis, I am this shy guy who works every day in hair-salon, who loves to spend time with his friends and family. Davis is not so much about going out or loving being in crowded places or being amongst a lot of people. Davis is more of a relationship, love, romance-loving person, who like to dream and believes in movies :D Ehhe but when I am Amuna it’s a totally different person. A lot of sex appeal, she is overly-confident, outgoing, loves parties, kind of a bitch, loves attention and when people are admiring her. So yes, I would say they 2 are really different personalities.
What do you need in order to feel most like yourself? This is hard to answer, because I don’t think that I know what I need to feel like myself. Like I sad, Amuna and Davis are really different so each of them need different things to make them feel good and comfortable but mostly I need my friends tho :D When are the moments when you feel like you are performing/being as someone you are not - as Davis (if yes, explain when and why) or as Amuna (if yes, explain when and why)? Mmm, I would say never, because I am keeping myself in-check. When I am Davis, I am Davis, when I am Amuna - I am Amuna. But they are overlapping only when I am with my 2 best friends - Stef and Calypso (also Drag Queens), because I feel the most free with them and we are also doing everything together. What has been the experience that has made you feel the most nervous? Why? When I am Amuna the most nervous i feel if i am in a heterosexual company. In those moments I think that I don’t look so good as Amuna. I am paranoid that they will know that I am a BOY, AND WHAT THEY WILL DO. It’s the most stressful thing for me. What was the last push you needed to go public with your drag character? My friends saying -Do it !
Who is you Drag Queen icon? I have many, when i was in Hollywood I met many of my Idols, and now we are in contact which is amazing, - Patric Star, Alysa Edwards, Jeffree Star, Aja, Katya, Trixie Mattel and many others. What is something that you are always thinking when delivering Amuna to the world? Be fierce Bitch and don’t fuck it Up! Be who YOU want to be and stay safe. What Amuna has that Davis doesn’t? Confiednce What is the hardest part of being a drag? Getting ready and taking that all off. If there was a young boy who is struggling with finding a way how to come out of his ‘’drag closet’’ scared of what his parents and friends would say, what would be your words to him? BE WHO YOU WANT TO BE AND STAY SAFE. Time is the answer :) /AmunaDavis/.
Give a follow on: Instagram: @amunadavis YouTube: Amuna Davis
*Images in the interview are from Amuna Davis own file. 13
Under Surveillance Photography: Elina Gavare Styling: Elina Gavare Creative Direction: Elina Gavare Model: Matthew Jon Perry MU: Harriet Walsh
Don’t they say that you should dress as what or who you want to see yourself to become? Well, to be unnecessarily dramatic in painting the picture, I definitely am not trying to become a retired football coach who is drowning in his misery because his sports career didn’t play out as he and his supporting family were expecting. Putting an outfit together is merely a way of speaking without using words, we know that. It is allowing you to role play and who doesn’t enjoy a little exploration of his or her alter ego that undoubtedly has been waiting to come out and you know, play a little? Letting it free means untightening your own chains and who knows who will come out when that happens? At the end of the day confidence and belief in self is what helps in bringing that out. 15
What an evening in The Cellar Door has to offer?
by Elina Gavare
I have always wanted but weirdly never ever
Whether you had a question about my hesitation or not I am going to give an answer anyway. There it goes... I just didn’t feel cool enough. If you also are one of the millenials who had a period of gushing over the glam and drama on the TV show franchise 90210 you might remember the episode where Naomi’s frenemy told her to make an effort in dressing up for one of the college parties which Naomi went out of the way to make sure that she and her posse
even dared to go to that something of a confetti explosion of sass and rainbows that Drag events are rather known for being as. You probably are asking why (but maybe you’re not and I am just failing at pretending that I know my reader so well) because London is a city where everyone is creating their own unique experiences and environments where everyone are welcome, right? 23
are making an entrance in their feathery delicate roman togas looking like goddesses in reincarnation. They arrived just to realize that they had been deluded when after getting out of their limo realised they have arrived to a very casual beach party where everyone was wearing well, whatever it is you wear to a beach party. Of course side-eyes and giggles followed right after.In this scenario I feel I would be Naomi who even though was overdressd (no such thing btw) and looked fabulous, did not quite blend in with the crowd who’s attire very conveniently was beach-party appropriate. In comparison, I have always had this presumption that if finally giving into experiencing the nightlife as the drags do I would let them down by coming across as the lazy Betty who just doesn’t respect the community enough to get at least a little bit out of her comfort zone with her appearance.
That gave me enough anxiety not to even consider going which lead to putting the idea to bed. Long story short, I eventually went to something that I felt would be a safe option for a first-timer with a paranoia based on everything mentiod above. Key words in the description of the event that encouraged me to actually choose the venue and the event that was held there were ‘‘an intimate cocktail bar’’ and ‘‘space just big enugh for cats’’. 24
I thought if the place was safe for cats to go to it, it should be safe enough for me too. When walking downstairs which meant going under the street level into a place which I later learnt used to be a public toilet I had reached the ‘‘intimate cocktail bar’’. In that moment word ‘‘intimate’’ gained a whole new meaning because the place was TINY. I was confident that I will get intimate with everyone there whether I wanted to or not (no
I looked around and excluding myself there were nine(!!!) poeple in the venue. That made me immediately question my instincts. I thought that all the great impressions about the rousingly inspiring and exciting community and lifestyle of a drag will be done and dusted for me. I did not want my great perception of it to end that way, I still wanted to love it. With that, since I was there, I wanted to give the situation the
pun intended) because at that point there will be no other choice whatsoever. The lighting and the interior was encouraging the aesthetic of something of a high-class strip club which I totally was not against to.
benefit of the doubt and give it a chance to prove that the first impression was simply a mistake.
Air was filled with a romantic and erotic sent that came from the incent burning on the bar. That, however, made the moment feel much more inviting and pleasant to be in which made me plan for my next visit here possiby during earlier hours of the day to enjoy the cosy surroundings on the red velvet sofas that were set in one line against the wall.
Once I got the gist of the vibe of the venue I turned my attention to people that had arrived. Everyone were confidently dressed in smart casual attire which made me think that either they all are the regulars here and know how it all goes down or smart casual is simly the safest way how to go about any event not bringing any suspicion upon self. The crowd seemed very layed-back and easy to be around with, like friends coming together to watch their other friend having his debut performance. Once the show starring fabulous Queen, Cookie Monstar, begun, my initial doubts faded in an instant. It was an evening of quality humor, improv and wit. To add, I have
never seen a person freestyling a song that somehow even makes sense basing on the word that has been just shouted out from the audience. Of course, references about the venue being a former public toilet were not excluded. Quite quickly venue started to fill up and in moments it was packed which is when I realised how smart it was to come thirty minutes before the show while minutes before being there with only nine other strangers I thought we are going to be the only audience for the evening. My thoughts about the entertaining life of the Drags was restored and now I feel ready for my next event. Plus, at The Cellar Door you get free popocorn. Whatâ€™s not to like?
Self-published zine - Affair Produced & Directed by Elina Gavare Location: London
I am a self-proclaimed storymaker and content creator for visual and written. My mind is my playground which is where I like to dive in, wander around and ultimately bring the vision thatâ€™s there to the surface. I want to say thank you for looking through my first zine and what I hope you got after reading it or looking through the images is at least a dash of inspiration for your own wonderful life. Hope youâ€™ll hang around my socials to be kept up to date about other upcoming ideas that are in the process of manifestation. See you on the flipside! ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Contact: Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
For entertainment and inspiration- Self Performance