The Cool Girl
21 november mmxi
An interview with Maya Villiger of Turned Out
I serendipitously came across Maya Villiger’s blog, Turned Out, in late 2008. In that instant, I knew it would easily become my favorite style blog of all time. Maya photographs girls who evoke quiet beauty, underlying strength, and an unobtrusive je ne sais quoi. It’s almost as if her images are subliminal. I can linger on one of her photos and at first, I’ll notice the obvious—amazing shot, stunning lady, and smart clothes. I take a second look and spy a knowing smirk, the contrasting locale, or a mutual joy shared by the lenswoman and her subject. There’s a story in every picture. The one thing that all of these women have in common is that they’re undeniably cool. Recently, Maya’s once crisp imagery has taken on a soft, dream-like quality. She has perfected the art of capturing striking images while simultaneously conjuring nostalgia and beauty in everyday life.
Maya often finds herself in front of the camera, as well. Her inimitable outfits which usually involve a ubiquitous pair of jeans and flats are atypical of the sartorial standbys for most who are “in” fashion. Her genuine, underived insouciance sets her apart from the rest of the pack. Can you imagine looking that good in a pair of blue jeans? Holler.
As a very exciting bonus, Maya has put together an awesome collage for DOMAHOKA, inspired by red—one of my favorite hues and the longest wavelength of light discernible by the human eye.
An interview with the artist below. Thank you for your tranquil genius and endless inspiration, Maya!
Doris: A little background, please.
Maya: I’m from New Zealand, my background is in advertising. I moved to America five years ago—to be with my now husband and we ended up staying. My photography has moved slowly from a personal thing into work, which I like. I look forward to developing my work over many years—it helps me see things in new ways.
D: Your blog is not the typical street fashion site. You primarily feature subjects who are not editors or It girls, but rather everyday girls. Well, everyday gorgeous girls! How do you decide who to shoot?
M: I just photograph people I can relate to in a way. Girls that have something that interest me visually or emotionally and now boys—all of a sudden I want to photograph boys.
D: What led you to photography and blogging?
M: When I moved to New York, I was interested in trying to capture what I was seeing on the street—I loved looking at all the people. My boyfriend suggested I put these pictures on a blog.
D: What has been the most incredible experience of your career so far?
M: Hmmm, having people wanting to publish my work.
D: Who are your favorite designers?
D: What is the one magical piece in your closet that you will wear even when you’re the vibrant age of 90?
M: Don’t know. Everything I own seems super practical. I hope I still wear blue jeans at 90 and cashmere, I’m sure. Actually, I’d like to keep my Tom Ford cats eye sunglasses—they will look better when I’m 90.
D: What are your sartorial dream purchases for this Fall/Winter?
M: I went to buy this outfit in Italy, but MY GOD the prix. I hope it’s on sale soon, I love it. :)
D: What are you currently loving, eating, reading, and listening to?
M: Making lots of nice hearty meals and wanting so much chocolate. I recently discovered the picture collection at the New York Public Library—such a good resource. Plus, I’m in the mood to watch movies. Just saw Beginners which really got me.
D: If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you choose to settle down?
M: I would like to stay in New York and spend lots of time at home in New Zealand.
D: Describe the perfect late Autumn, cold weather meal.
M: Dark chocolate and some kind of stew with polenta, brussels sprouts.
D: What is your spirit animal?
D: Where do you find inspiration?
M: People, forests, travel, walking the streets wherever I am.
D: Who/what are the five most important people/places/things in your life?
M: My family, my husband, New York, New Zealand, taking pictures, the feeling of being uninhibited, which happens on good days.
words Doris Ho-Kane
image Maya by Tommy Ton
image Penny by Maya, Beginners illustration by Mike Mills
image Celine Pre-Fall 2011 plaid outfit via Style.com, vintage illustration of brussels sprouts by Artemis Ward, 1911
image Stevie and boat shoes by Maya