An unique and colorful talent, this one of a kind personality has touched so many fields that it's almost impossible to list all of her achievements. Be prepared to learn more...
1) What can you tell us about your childhood? Is it true that you come from a family of artists?
I could say that, like most kids, I was lucky and unlucky too. I come from a very "artistic" family, or -at least- from a family with a strong sense of taste in music and arts. My father is the best and most famous journalist on music events, articles, reviews, radio shows and record critics. Only by a Google-search anyone can find thousands of results. He cooperated with the most popular radio stations and music magazines in Greece. He is very often asked as a guest to radio shows and concerts on a daily basis. As for interviews, there is no site or publication of the highest music standards which has not a reference to his work. My mother is a talented make-up artist and aesthetician. This combination of the "oh so extremely developed music taste" and educational level of my father with my motherís great taste on styling and beauty had me as a result. I never followed exactly their rules or advice. I always formed my own opinion out of what they were teaching me. Besides, I always wanted to be original, as much as possible. Creativity is my must.
My childhood was not as easy as most people might think. At school I was a good student but, I could not make easily friends and be understood. I always regarded the majority of my schoolmates as very shallow. I made some significant friendships though and I still keep them. Most of them remember me as a typical goth, though I was not typical at all. My modern parents were showing off their extravagance on occasion. But in our privacy they were very strict and severe. Their divorce was not peaceful at all. However, they knew the high cost of dignity and they never became a target for the media. They also showed me very early that we are all alone in everything we do. I took my life in my hands. I faced many difficulties. Sometimes I wish I had one more "helping hand" from them but I donít accuse them as they gave me the independence I was always fighting for. I owe them my meaningful education and my ethic as well. In fact, I owe them a lot, because they taught me how to become a moral person without being a "moral freak", judging others for their choices or preferences.
2) What where (and still are) the main artists that inspire you in your activities?
Art appears in numerous forms and artists as well. I am inspired by almost everything: music and musicians, books and writers, paintings and painters, design and designers, styling and stylists. I am attracted more by really special, extreme, weird and/or atrocious works. Actually, I should give you a huge list of names and works and I really donít know from where to start or which category fulfils better the answer to this question. I will give you just five names, the ones which come to my mind right now. But donít regard them as my standard ones because my list is extremely long: Salvador DalŪ, Oscar Wilde, HR Giger, Madonna, David Bowie.
3) At which point the character of Zirconia Starfighter began to take life? How would you best describe her evolution?
When I first thought about creating a nickname for me I didnít analyze it so much. One day, at the age of seventeen, I had to start dealing with computers. My country was one of the last ones in the world which got into the Internet thing. I had decided to become a graphic designer and a PC became a prime need for me. Later Internet, for all the necessary information I had to get on a daily basis to do my work. Apart from getting the info I needed for my studies, I started surfing online, chilling out in sites, music reviews, forums and profile maker pages as well. When it came up that I had to "subscribe somewhere to view insights" the necessity of a nick was urgent. So, I though in a very quick way, which is my favorite gem? Zirconium. Later I wanted something more as a surname close to the year 2002. So, I chose the word "Starfighter" which comes from a song I love "Starfighter F104-G" from Welle:Erdball, one of my favorite bands.
The other thing that passed through my mind very quickly was that I always loved manga & anime movies, series and characters, especially Sailor Moon. However, I hated the fact that all the anime I was watching became a fashion much later and all girls were choosing names of main characters of such series and movies, or heroes, heroines, super-heroes and mostly the "good guys". It turned to be the next stereotype so I thought what if I make the difference and donít choose the beautiful, sweet, noble, good and blessed super-heroine and go for the cursed enemy and bad monster? Zirconia was a monster at the Sailor Moon series for example, ugly, fat, with a sick purple skin colour. Apparently her name suited very well with my favourite gem and my selection was completed.
My motto is to explore beauty and ugliness at the same time in all their aspects. And then who knows, we may find something we didnít even expect. I never judged a book by its cover and sometimes beautiful or ugly cases are fooling us very easily. Besides, who can really judge what is pretty or not this is so subjective. The evolution of Zirconia, in my case is that I managed through my works to show somehow that beauty exists in many things and ugliness as well. The outside and inside play games with the human mind. A person can be turned into anything he/she likes and astonish us also without being the beautiful stereotype. Zirconia changes a lot, on a daily basis. She can be everything and nothing. I know how to stand out in a huge crowd and attract everyoneís eyes. And I know how to walk in the streets without even being understood.
4) What was the most challenging outfit that you ever wore for an event or photo shoot?
I donít think I can distinguish any of them, I loved them all. They all had their beauty, difficulty and specialty. I love anything that has to do with shiny latex, PCV, leather and metal wear. The most challenging photo shooting I ever had was one with a body painting sea theme. Two hours dying my hair turquoise and then putting so many shells on them. Seven hours of body & face painting. One or two hours of photo shooting for a calendar (month: August). That was really tiring and exciting for me at the same time. Body painting includes nudity and colours, which is something I donít do but, the result was like a whole suit.
5) How would you describe the fetish scene in Greece? Are there a lot of gatherings and events? And how does this is all perceived in the public eye?
If anyone mentions anything about a fetish scene, he would combine it with many countries in the world. Greece though, is regarded as a country of a complete absence in that interesting stuff. Big mistake. Most Greeks know a lot and they have nothing to be jealous of anymore from other countries. The truth is that there are not so many venues to provide an original fetish show or event. There are clubs which invite people from UK, France, Germany etc. and organize some good events. Greeks fetish performers are really few and I talk about the original ones. Nowadays, many people pretend to be something in that stuff in order to attract the attention or some money and fame to satisfy their vanity. Many declare themselves as performers or fetish models via a MySpace or Facebook profile and very few are the true ones who have some serious, important references and originality.
It is difficult to understand that of course but, it becomes easier if a) they have their own site and not just a model profile page, b) if they have spent a whole fortune to have some unique outfits, latex suits, gadgets and stuff that you donít meet so often on clubbers and simple fans, c) if they really have a unique special show to provide and they are not the usual copycats who just watched some videos of famous fetish performers on YouTube (like Lucifire, Rubberdoll, Kumi Monster etc.) and they just copy & paste some elements of them on their miserable so called "works". The venues were so few but this whole topic is perceived in the public eye in a very positive way. Nowadays, the clubs are more open to such event suggestions and I hope they become more selective in the near future. In fact, some people donít know the rules of domination and submission. BDSM is a whole subject to analyze and this is so new here, although it existed for some others from a long time ago, only in their privacy.
6) Is there anything left in the artistic field that you have yet to learn and still desire to?
I was taking vocals lessons in the past and I left them for other activities, mainly to fulfil my educational duties (school, Bachelor & Master on Graphic Design and three foreign languages). I am sad that I lost my beautiful voice and I hope sometimes to find the courage to practice it and sing again. Thatís something I didnít admit for a long time. I would like to continue dancing and get even better as a dancer, not to limit myself in the freestyle thing I do. No matter how extravagant and special I am on my appearances, no matter how big are the names I cooperated with on stages, I would like to improve my dancing skills and this never ends, no matter what. Art never ends in general. There are many things I would love to explore and do. And I will always be a learner and creator.
7) What can you tell us about your other alter-ego, Tanya Treed?
Tanya Treed is another nick I had from my childhood, yes. It came up after I watched the movie Preaching to the Perverted (between 1999-2000) which is one of my favourite movies. I could say that names donít matter that much or that I am the person with thousands of names and faces. Tanya Treed corresponds to my "more dominant" persona (mind the capital and small letters) and to my latex fetishism. I prefer Zirconia. Tanya Treed was something I used more in forums and I never get confused if they call me Tanya Treed, Zirckie or Irene. I reply to any of them.
8) How do you see your career going in, letís say, five years from now?
My life is very confusing and working hard every day doesnít make the things easier, I donít even have the time to think or relax sometimes. I have no idea and I donít make any future plans, this is stressing me. I like to seize the day and live for today. I just wish for the best and thatís all about it.
9) Have you done any film work? What would be an ideal part for you in a feature-length movie, for example?
No film works for me yet, just some film extras. I recently participated on a videoclip which will be on Greek TV after Christmas 2009-2010. And, I am not sure at all but, probably I would like to have a big role or to be the main actress like most girls like to be one day. Who knowsÖ
10) Can you claim that thereís a thin line between your private life and your modeling activities? Is it difficult to handle being either Irene, Zirconia or Tanya?
In the past it was. I was hiding all activities from both my parents and I knew where I should limit myself. After the age of nineteen I managed to get freedom and independence so, I didnít hide myself from my closest people. However, I always separated my lessons, school and later main office job as a graphic designer, shop assistant and secretary from my public appearances. That was a reason for the disguise. I should be a casual private employee in the mornings and an extravagant persona during weekends and some few other nights. It was not easy at all to run a double life. For a year now I cooperate with a company whose manager is a party organizer as well for some big and important events. When I learnt that I challenged myself to get a position there and nowadays I have no reason to hide from any managers and workmates anymore. That is a bit more relaxing. I entered Erotica Expo and many other venues throughout Greece by co-operating with 4-showgirls store and Megadance and I am thankful to them.
11) Do you actually find time to relax? What are your favorite things to do when youíre not on any assignments?
I still love creating and listening to music. I have lost a bit my contact with my pencils and paintbrushes after I got into my PC & MAC world but I still sculpt sometimes and add more to my mini-sculpture collections. You will mostly find me in concerts and clubs but I am very selective. Leisure time is something I miss. Greeks love to go out at cafťs, bars and clubs. I love clubbing and I am regarded as a party animal too, but I donít have too much time for it. And to be honest, I love going to the cinema or watching DVDís at home. These moments of relaxation are great whenever I have them, if I have them.
12) Any chance of making a trip to Canada soon? We are ready to be amazed ;)
Soon not as I havenít received an invitation yet but I would love it, be sure about that. Traveling is awesome and meeting new people and cultures. I would love to meet you and be amazed as well. :)