The city girl Mademoisellie supports
the project “City as its people”
Elitsa Behar, better known as Mademoisellie on Instagram, is one of the fresh faces in the online space. In her account you can find information about fashion, travelling and lifestyle shared through her colorful and creative point of view. Besides being a source of inspiration, Ellie is also one of the ambassadors of the recent social project of DSK Bank - "City as its people". You can read more about the project from Mademoisellie herself.
1) Hello, Ellie. We are glad that we can discuss such a nice topic as the ennobling of the urban environment. Please, tell us more about the “City as the people” initiative.
Е.B: „The initiative "City as its people" to me is more than a project that I share through my social media accounts. This is an initiative extremely close to my heart. I grew up in the heart of Sofia, in an old fairy-tale like building. Despite the efforts of my parents and neighbors, the building was always sprayed with drawings that did not belong on its façade. This is my experience and I know that it isn’t the worst. I don't even understand why people destroy the beautiful things. However, speaking about “City as its people” - this is a project based entirely on the ideas of the communications team of DSK Bank, a team that doesn’t understand how impactful and powerful it is. The transformation even of only one location gives us hope that maybe there is a way. There is a way to renovate our city so that it can be a more beautiful place, as long as we all participate in the challenge. I am delighted to see large companies investing time and energy in meaningful projects. Today a fairy tale picture, in which each of us is implemented as a collective image, adorns the beginning and end of the day of the thousands of people passing daily through Blvd. Bulgaria and Blvd. Geshov. I sincerely hope that the project will not end only with this graffiti, but that this will become a regular initiative. It would be better if the Municipality helped, of course.
2) What was your reason behind becoming an ambassador of the initiative?
E.B: As I already mentioned, the fact that I have witnessed the destruction of cultural monuments, our homes and everything which was built with soul, hard work and resources. hope this graphite becomes a benchmark of what our city might look like, as long as we all contribute to the cause. We should think less about ourselves and more about the common good. I'm one of those annoying people who always believes we can become better version of ourselves. I identify with the campaign on a personal level. I excitedly tell all my acquaintances about "City as its people”. I hope that together we can show the world that it always makes sense to fight windmills.
3) Have you ever heard anything about the street art of mural before becoming an ambassador for the project?
E.B: Honestly, yes and no. Yes, because I currently live in the central part of Sofia where on every corner lies a similar "graffiti with history", as I like to call it, and not – because I did not know what it is called. When I met the boys from the 140 ideas we immediately started talking about murals and it turned out that I was very familiar with their art. But again, I did not know who specifically was the artist behind these meaningful and beautiful paintings on the buildings. After the new story told in the graffiti from "City as its people", my favorite is the candle painted on the tower in the Fire House. It is worth looking at their creativity, it is simply an endless topic of reflection.
4. 4) What is your view on the vandalism and hate speech problem in Sofia and not only here?
E.B: It's definitely not just in Sofia. I remember when I set foot in Berlin for the first time years ago – I was astonished. If we think that there are a lot of scribbles here, in other big cities there are no less. That is why I believe it's a global problem and it should be talked about more. DSK Bank has lent a hand, so let's not stop here or at least I personally will continue supporting this cause. To enlighten only one person of the idea is enough for me, because they will enlighten somebody else and so along the chain – there will be a lot of people who will participate in supporting the initiative. I am of the opinion that there should stricter precaution for such vandalism. Unfortunately, most often the buildings that have been sprayed with hateful comments are someone’s homes and the owners have invested time, resources and labor in building them. If the owners aren’t able to seek justice, I believe that the government should intervene. Otherwise, I hope that hate speech can be turned over by kindness.
5) Do you think that more attention should be paid to the problem (vandalism) that the project “City as its people” is struggling with?
E.B: Without a doubt. One more time, I would be extremely happy if this project turns into an annual initiative which will involve more people.
6) Please, tell us more about working with the artists from 140 ideas, authors of the beautiful Muriel the result of the campaign.
E.B:As I have already mentioned, it was a very exciting acquaintance for me and I definitely can't wait for their new projects. I've never met people like them, who are so dedicated to their own cause. They worked tirelessly day and night in order to complete the project as quickly as possible. At the same time, they didn’t look tired at all, because you could see the love with which they transformed what was an otherwise truly ugly location in Sofia. We also talked about the idea behind the mural. As you can see the people are painted faceless for which there's a very meaningful reason - the diverse characters depicted are actually ourselves, the people who live the city. The people who can make the change. Personally, I believe that the message is clear - it is up to us whether we live in harmony with our surroundings or we prefer hatred, gloomy, gray to surround us.
7) What is your personal contribution to the daily basis for the protection of the urban environment?
E.B: I try to improve my habits step by step, as long as I have the desire - we all have to do it. Better small steps forward than no improvement at all. Everyone should contribute to conservation of their city and I have definitely accepted Sofia and its preservation as a wonderful cause and a great place to live.
8. 8) What would you say to those who damage or vandalize our city?
E.B: What goes around, comes back around. Or in other words, if you do harm to something or to somebody, the same thing may happen to you. I sincerely plead everyone not to do things that they would not want to be done to them. It's really simple. And if you don't like something - think of different ways to improve it instead of further impairing it.
9) And what would you say to the people who are actively trying to better our city?
E.B: You should be more confident in what you are doing. You should also share and discuss it with others, even if no one else is interested in this topic – it always has an impact. Even one person with a positive attitude towards the transformation of our city means success. In the end, together we all build the environment that we live in.
10) What did you gain from your participation in the "City as its people" project?
E.B: I gained lots of positive emotions, happiness that I feel every time I go through the transformed location. I am proud that I was able to change the people’s perspective - in the beginning there was no interest, and after I stopped talking about the topic and giving examples, people were convinced that the cause is worth it, they even thanked me for showing similar projects in my lifestyle blog. We should all be concerned about in what environment and how we live. What can we contribute, albeit at first glance minimally. If everyone makes any effort, the end result will be astonishing. So, let's strive for this astonishing effect and contribute to the development of the project in new realms. Let's transform many more places in Sofia and other cities in Bulgaria that are waiting for their beauty to be revealed.