Natalia Anja is a freelance photographer based out of beautiful Vancouver, BC, Canada. Natalia was born in Poland and moved to Greece, eventually settling down in Vancouver, her father documented their family’s adventure with a film and video camera. She’s followed in her dad’s footsteps by capturing and cherishing memories through a lens.
While working for a company called ‘The Buried Life’ (A project that encourages people to check off their bucket list items.) ‘The Buried Life’ inspired Natalia to pursue her passion as a Professional Photographer.
The love she has for photography stems from the incredible feeling of capturing unforgettable moments. She takes pride in connecting with people in a genuine caring way, allowing them to feel comfortable and at ease in front of the camera. “Always smiling and hoping I can bring a smile to the faces of everyone I meet.”
Eager to learn more and strongly believing that images are very powerful; Natalia’s goal is to capture life-changing photographs! Helping others that are less fortunate has always been Natalia’s greatest passion and she would love to use her camera and experiences to make a positive difference in society.
I have known Natalia for some time and could not be happier for this incredible opportunity she is about to take on. It takes a lot of courage to just drop everything, pack your bag, take a risk and go outside your comfort zone. See, Natalia is a “Gypsy Soul” and the travel-bug flutters inside her. She has this free spirit and her heart has always longed for beautiful adventure. I have had the opportunity to shoot with Natalia and she has some mad talent, she has this way of making you feel so comfortable in front of the lens. From knowing Natalia, I can honestly say that the Global Degree guys have landed the jackpot on having this beauty come on board. Not only is she super funny and gorgeous, she is down-to-earth, gold hearted and truly loves connecting and seeing the good in people. This little gem is going to be missed here at home (by so many I’m sure), but what’s in store for this “Wild Child” is only the beginning to amazing things. What I love most about interviewing is showcasing people who just want to do good, make a difference in this world, and this girl represents all that and so much more. I am grateful to call Natalia a friend and it warms my heart to share this interview with you………….
BB411~ When did you know you wanted to become a photographer, how did it come to be?
NA~ When I lived in Italy and I couldn’t find a job because of the language barrier, I spent a lot of time alone…exploring with my camera and fell in love with photography. I took a correspondence course through the New York Institute of Photography. I was always quite fearful of pursuing it and one day two years ago I threw myself into it and I’m so happy I did.
BB411~ What do you love most about photography?
NA~ The connection. You can look at a photo and there’s so much more than just an image. It’s a connection between people, a place, or a feeling and there’s always a story. Whether it is as simple as comfort or discomfort, happiness or vulnerability.
BB411~ First off, Congrats on the new adventure you are about to embark on with Global Degree. What inspired you to apply for the contest?
NA~ Thank you! As soon as I heard about the contest, I didn’t think twice about applying. I called my friend Dan Rizzuto, told him I needed to make a short video and without skipping a beat he said “when are we shooting it?” I’ve always loved traveling, exploring and stepping outside of my comfort zone. Global Degree is that in a nut shell.
BB411~ Tell us what it means to get your “Global Degree”?
NA~ Each country is a ‘course’ and once you complete every course – step foot into every country (193 UN Nations) you achieve your Global Degree.
BB411~ What are you most excited about and what do you hope to gain from this experience?
NA~ I’m most excited about the unknown, to me there’s something thrilling about that. I don’t know what to expect, I’m excited to see the world with fresh eyes, meet new people, experience different cultures and grow as a person. I’m excited to photograph every country and make a series of photo books each year. The book will highlight each country I explore. I will showcase a landscape, a portrait of a local, fashion, food and animals of each country. Proceeds of each book will go to a charity of choice.
BB411~ Do you have any fears surrounding your upcoming travels?
NA~ Managing packing 7 months of my life into 1 backpack. Other than that, no. For some reason a lot of people feel inclined to only tell me travel horror stories but I’m going in with an open and optimistic mind.
BB411~ What do you love most about your brothers from Global Degree Michael and Alex?
NA~ Since my initial meeting with both of them there was a natural, comfortable connection. They’re complete goofballs which I love. Since day one they have treated me like a little sister. They make me laugh a lot, make fun of me like siblings do, but are very protective and caring as well.
BB411~ Out of all the places you will visit, which is the one you are most looking forward to and why?
NA~ After researching the Asian countries we’re about to visit, it’s so hard to pick one. There were quite a few I have never even heard of. I think I’m most excited for India, Sri Lanka and Papua New Guinea.
BB411~ What has photography taught you as a person?
NA~ That having a ‘job’ that you’re passionate about will make you a very happy, fulfilled person.
BB411~ Which photographer inspires you and what do u love most about their work?
NA~ There are so many that are amazing but two that stand out are Rob Daly and Kharen Hill. Rob is an absolute genius! I think he creates pure magic. Every photo of his takes my breath away. All of his work is so original and creative. He really inspires me to start doing more passion projects and to step outside of the box. Kharen’s work also speaks for itself, it’s incredible and she’s one of the loveliest people I have ever met. Kharen was super helpful when I was first stepping into photography, I really admire her.
BB411~ Is there someone you haven’t photographed that you would love to work with?
NA~ Shia Labeouf, I admire his outlook towards his art. I think a shoot with him would be incredible! I love how he bares his soul on film.
BB411~ Who did you look up to growing up or inspire to be?
NA~ Definitely My parents. They created this ‘get up and go’ mentality of mine. They were so young when they moved from Poland to Greece and then decided to come to Canada without ever previously visiting…Talk about spontaneous. I admire that a lot about them, and they did it all with smiles on their faces.
BB411~ How did your parents influence the person you are today? They are my hero’s. They’ll never understand how much I admire them for accomplishing so much at such a young age with two kids. They made me realize that anything is possible. I came from a very loving and supportive home and I hope I exude the love they have unconditionally provided me and each other with.
BB411~ Your sister Trish is your best friend, you share a very special bond. What do you love most about her?
NA~ I could go on forever about her amazing qualities. She truly has a selfless heart of gold, she gets that from my mom…they’re very similar. She’s the sweetest person I know that has the softest heart. She’s also a little bit of a weirdo like me, which makes for good laughs.
BB411~ Top 3 things every woman should have in her wardrobe?
NA~ Something she’s very comfortable in, something she feels sexy in and whatever makes her happy.
BB411~ Bare feet, socks, flip-flops or stilettos?
NA~ Stilettos, there’s something about heels that bring out confidence.
BB411~ Describe your style?
NA~ Confused. haha. My style varies from looking like a little boy going to play basketball or dressing up like a girly girl. It all depends on my mood.
BB411~ What does the word “beauty” mean to you?
NA~ “Beauty” to me shines within a person and radiates with energy on the exterior. Everyone is beautiful and confidence and a kind soul exude that.
BB411~ What inspires you personally and professionally?
NA~ I feel most inspired when I’m alone with my thoughts in nature. I get inspired by good conversation, seeing people in my life working towards and achieving their goals and being a part of a community.
BB411~ What does it mean to you to give back?
NA~ I believe we’re all extremely fortunate. To me ‘giving back’ is providing a smile on someone’s face whether it be a small nice gesture, monetary contribution or physically helping someone. It means to be selfless. I think smiles are contagious and once they start spreading, the world becomes a happier place. I love the quote “Don’t give to get, give to inspire others to give’
BB411~ Are you involved with any charities that are close to your heart?
NA~ Project Solution Jamaica has become very close to my heart. It’s an organization my friend co-founded. I’m a HUGE fan of it. The breakfast program provides over 500 kids in Trelawny, Jamaica with a meal a day. Most of these kid’s families can’t afford to feed them so they don’t know when they will receive their next meal. This program allows them to receive at least one meal a day and 100% of the proceeds go directly to the breakfast program. I can’t wait till I get the opportunity to go to Jamaica to visit the kids and the school.
BB411~ What is your skin care regime?
BB411~ What are your go to hair products?
NA~ Dry Shampoo and hair spray! ..and delicious smelling Coconut Conditioner.
BB411~ #1 beauty product you could not live without?
NA~ Toothpaste? Blistex chapstick.
BB411~ What are your thoughts on animal testing? Do you support companies that are cruelty free?
NA~ I love animals so I don’t agree with or support animal testing. It’s a topic I’m not very educated about but would like to be. I know some of my go-to products from The Body Shop are cruelty free which makes me more inclined to support their brand.
BB411~ Do any certain scents remind you of your childhood?
NA~ The babydoll perfume, reminds me of my mom. Smells like grapefruit.
BB411~ What is your favorite fragrance?
NA~ I love Escada – Pacific Paradise, Hypnotic poison, lolita lampecka or the Vanilla Oil from the Body Shop. On men…Jean Paul Gautier get’s me every time.
BB411~ 3 words that best describe you?
NA~ Weird, smart ass, genuine
BB411~ If you could tell your younger self something you have learned and know now what would it be?
NA~ “Nothing is un realistic. Don’t be scared or too embarrassed to speak openly about your dreams and passions.”
BB411~ Describe your perfect day (when you have down time)?
NA~ Wake up early, grab a coffee, putting the phone away for the day, go on a hike and play the day by ear. Exploring places I’ve never been to and not be on a time constraint.
BB411~ Favorite quote?
NA~ “Wherever you go, there you are.”
BB411~ Favorite food?
NA~ Domino’s ham & pineapple pizzzza with banana peppers and franks hot sauce.
BB411~ Fun fact that people may not know about you?
NA~ My phobia, fear: I’m terrified of being in front of the camera. I get extremely awkward, my lips start to shake and I can’t be myself.
BB411~ What are the key points to being a good role model?
NA~ Being genuine, respectful and having a kind heart.
BB411~#1 thing you want to cross off your bucket list?
NA~ To take my family on an epic family vacation.
BB411~ What do you do to stay fit and healthy?
NA~ I’ve been slacking lately but I try my best to eat healthy, I love spinning, running, hiking, playing sports and anything active and outdoors.
BB411~ What advice would you give entrepreneurs starting out that are following their dreams?
NA~ If you’re extremely passionate about something and you’re willing to put all your time and effort into it you’ll do anything in your power to make it happen. You just need to set fear aside and do it!
BB411~ Where do you see yourself in 1 year, 5 years and 10 years?
NA~ I like to go with the flow. I have a lot of goals but my life is nothing like what I thought it would be even in the last year. In 1 year I hope to have seen all of Asia and have made an amazing photography book. Host my first Gallery event. I’ll have to see where my heart takes me in 5 and 10 years. I hope that in 5 years I would have achieved my Global Degree and have published work with National Geographic and have made 5 books.
BB411~ When I say the word #lovethis, what is the first thing that comes to mind?
NA~ Cheesy dad jokes & puns
BB411~ When you look back at the life you lived, what do u want to be remembered for?
NA~ I would hope that I have added an element of positivity in people’s lives, making them smile and feel good about themselves.
From the bottom of my heart I am so incredibly proud of this girl and can’t wait to follow this amazing journey she’s about to embark on.
To keep up to date with Natalia: Follow her on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and make sure to check out her Site where she will be posting on her Global Degree Adventure.
You will be able to catch Season 2 on the Discovery Digital Network too!
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