Hello, ladies and gents! I just wanted to stop by and share with you, that yes, I am opening my own online store! It's called Mary's Spell Shop! IT LAUNCHES TOMORROW - MAY 1ST!
Here you will find many adorable and chic boutique items of clothing, but eventually (very soon), there will also be handmade and mood-based candles, original artwork, literary works and the like!
So why is it called Mary's Spell Shop? Well, beside my (healthy) interest (or obsession) with the idea of witchcraft (the history and apothecary side), my shop is called this because it's very much in line with the mission of Vagabond et Virtuosa - which in turn suggests creating a sisterhood. A coven if you will.
"A Pinch of Fashion, Passion, and Creation."
With that being said, the idea of both platforms is to bring women from all around the world together in terms of creating our art. With myself being a photographer, writer, and filmmaker, as well as a singer, painter, etc., I thought tying in my love of fashion and clothing with my photography, and a possible avenue to create an income source to support my art while supporting others' as well, was an excellent opportunity. The idea of creating together would be like us "casting" our "spell," on the world and making an impact by doing what we loved.
**Also, I was originally going to make just candles, and brewing them felt like making a potion to me (queue the witchy-ness)**
Our main desire is to create content freely, while showcasing our talents and who we truly are compared to being under a microscope and having to follow the demands of others within the industry. This practice allows us to create material, whether it be for our reels (actors, dancers, singers), content for ourselves, and/or to show the world what we can do with the gifts we've been given, no matter where we may be at that point in time. This is truly the whole driving point behind what I do with Vagabond et Virtuosa and hope to continue to do for the rest of my life.
We've already been collaborating for last month with lady artists throughout Los Angeles, and with the coming weeks, have scheduled several shoots from around the area and in New York City, with many different and talented artists. These artists range from dancers, singers, painters, yogis, models, actresses, photographers, fashion enthusiasts, aerial artists, poets, spoken word poets, authors, truly anything found to the individual as an art form, captivating, or a form of expression and accessing the highest self.
In fact, we've already released our first collaboration with Stefanie Byndloss last Tuesday! She danced to and choreographed to Francis Novonty's "Hit n' Run." It was a concept dance video that we shot together, and man, she is absolutely stellar! It was also a blast to shoot! If you haven't gotten a chance to watch, the video is below. In these videos, the artists wear the clothing from Mary's Spell Shop, and in turn, we get to create some cool stuff together!
With this, it would mean the world to me if any of my lady artists from all around the world reached out so we can create some INCREDIBLE and UNIQUE stuff together. There are no limits nor boundaries! Let's do this!
Words could not express how excited I am that this is all happening, and it wouldn't be possible if it weren't for everyone who supports me, and supports my fellow artists. If you want to check out the shop tomorrow, the link is available via the button below, and also if you'd like to follow on instagram, Youtube, or Facebook, those links will be available via the social icons below as well!
Thank you all for taking the chance to read this and continuing on with me on my journey with Vagabond et Virtuosa and now Mary's Spell Shop. You are everything to me! I love you all. I don't know what I'd do without you.
Mary Gabrielle Strause
And I can't forget....
On August 12th, 2011, I was given a gift that could never be replaced.
My family was looking for a change. Something to bring a little bit more light to our lives, and we got that with you, Miss Joana Villar (or Rock [or loser] as we like to call you). You were coming to the tiny town of Rio, Wisconsin from Pinhal Novo, Portugal as an exchange student for a year. I would be a junior in high school, and you would be entering your senior year. The moment we were able to read your profile through AFS, we knew we had to meet you. When everything was settled, and we knew you were coming to stay with us, we talked through Facebook over the course of those weeks before you came. I couldn't wait to have you as a part of my life, and a part of the family.
Little did I know, that having you here would mean I would have the absolute best year I could have ever imagined to date, and at the end of it all (it was actually more towards the beginning when I knew) I would have gained a sister - who taught me about life, how beautiful it is, what truly matters, and really the meaning of it all.
When I think of the word "friendship," I think back at all of the memories we've made throughout the years. I think of you calling clouds, "shadows," and your big toes, "thumbs," within your first few weeks here ( I know, when I went to visit you, I was a fool in every way in trying to speak any form of Portuguese ). I picture us dressed up for homecoming week and Halloween and you and I are making whatever weird face that comes to mind followed by whatever jokingly violent act we could force towards one another. I also think back to the time where you wiped glitter on my arm, then soon after, painted lipstick on my face on the car ride home from school one day - probably falling asleep a few minutes later over the span of a ten minute drive, because you're weird and that's what you do.
It's also difficult to forget the many times like Florida where we wrestled, and I'm pretty sure one of us farted on each other's face, you absolutely hating my "baby cry," your hilarious "obsession" with Justin Bieber, you breaking your pinky after Dominic tripped us during a running piggy back ride, or honestly, every day we were together. I feel like there were never any dull ones.
One thing though, was during senior night for volleyball, when I was able to talk about you (which I know you hate and I'm sure loving this blog so far), I remember hugging you and crying because even though the school year had just really begun, you were already that much closer to leaving. With that, I know many of our teammates were feeling the same.
You were the life of the party, and the light through any dark situation. No matter what kind of drama was going on around us, no matter how boring any situation may have been, if anyone had been really having a tough time, or if someone needed to be told something to keep them on the right track, you were always there to pull things through.
You're one of a kind, Rock. You really know what it's all about, and you've taught so many people that, especially myself. You don't let any sort of drama get in your way. You recognize what's going on, deal with it in your own way, but lord knows you would never do anything to hurt anyone or waste your energy or time on trivial matters. You've taught me and so many that there's nothing better to be than yourself, and that straying from who you are for anyone or anything is not worth the time or effort. You put your heart and soul in to the things you love, and know that taking your time is a part of the process. You're the definition of loyalty and epitome ingenuity. You know how to laugh and not take everything too seriously. You've understood that relationships and spending time with the ones you love truly is truly what this life is all about, along with just going with the flow and the meaning of it all is to be happy. You've continued to teach me the importance of all of these things throughout the years.
You're also the most incredibly talented, hard-working, determined, adventurous soul who is absolutely, stunningly, beautiful on the inside and out. You seriously kick butt at everything you do, and if you want to get better, you work harder than everyone else around you to get there. Not to mention, you excel in too many things to count. Also, you are open minded to every new situation and are willing to try and listen to anything new. You're a wandering soul, always willing to learn and experience new things. You're unbelievably humble and kind, and give love to everyone you cross paths with in your own way. That's why you have made such an impact on everyone you have met. That's why you mean so much to everyone in Rio - Why you so much to anyone who is blessed to know you. Especially me.
You give everyone you meet perspective and a warmth they never see or experience. You don't put up barriers for the sake of making people comfortable. You listen and converse genuinely. Most of all, you make them smile every moment you're around. Not everyone can do that, no one can do it like you, and no one will ever be able to.
With that, I don't know if you'll ever truly understand how much you are loved here and everywhere. You are family in every way, and man it sucks not being able to see you more often.
August 12th, 2011 was the beginning of our house becoming a home because you were in it. We gained an incredible force to our family who could never be replaced, and I a sister who I couldn't possibly love more or be more grateful for. You've taught me too many things in life to count. You've been there for me when times have been terrible, and helped me see clearly, you've also put me in my place when I was being a cruddy person, and showed me the way to getting better by just being you. You've shown me what true friendship is and with the times we've had, I know there are thousands more to be had.
Your nickname is Rock not only because of your Arnold-like strength and beast-like qualities, it's also because you are my rock in life, and nothing could really begin to explain what you mean to me, except for the fact that I'm one lucky and blessed girl to have you in my life. To the best sister and friend in the world, I love you times infinity and beyond.
I'll see you soon. <3
Ninja (AKA - the coolest person on the planet) (P.S. - Noodles or Culvers first, Loser?) ;)
With The Festival De Cannes coming up for its 72nd year next month (May 14th - 25th) I thought it would be suiting that I share with you an experience that changed my life in exponential ways within the entertainment industry and discovering myself. In 2016, I applied for and was accepted to intern at the Cannes Film Festival with the Creative Mind Group. To me then, as a soon to be junior in college, this opportunity meant absolutely everything to me. I was placed within an International Film Sales and Production company, Bloom at the time and as of a few months ago, and my duties really included being a hostess - but man, it really was a dream come true. I was excited for the opportunity to ask questions about the film world and how it worked, to be within the race of the industry that was Cannes, and most of all, to experience the true magic and appreciation of filmmaking and to meet the wonderful people who would change my life forever.
I Got To Experience the Industry Glamour
Walking along the French Riviera in the morning to pass the countless yachts, luxurious hotels, the Palais, the high-end fashion boutiques, and at night, the cameras lining the red carpet leading into the Palais Premiere Theater - capturing Hollywood Stars like Elle Fanning, Kristen Stewart, Woody Allen, Shane Black, Ryan Gosling, and Geena Davis in their flowing gowns and suits and ties was something I thought I'd only be able to experience in a dream. On the "Boulevard de la Croisette" is where the ultimate magic of the entertainment industry is made, and the true appreciate for the luxurious art form takes place. Here, everyone involved and those who admire the craft truly celebrate those in front of and behind the camera and the process of it all. Being in the middle of it all allowed me to see the possibility of my future in the industry, and wow, what I imagined was SO bright.
I Was ABle to Work with An Amazing Company That I worked for After Graduation
As I said above, I was placed with the International Film Sales and Production Company - Bloom. In 2016, they did the sales for and helped to produce "The Nice Guys," with Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling. When I met everyone there, it was an extremely intimate experience. Bloom launched at Cannes in 2014 and was a relatively new company. That being said, the team was pretty small - yet mighty. Not only had they worked sales on many well-known films, but they did it with a team of seven people - and rocked it all of the way. With that, I worked my butt off every chance I got, going the extra mile in every small way to make the slightest but most wonderful difference each day.
While most other companies were housed in those lavish hotels for their meetings while in Cannes, Bloom was in a three-story villa a little off of the croisette. That being said, each morning I climbed up and down those stairs hundreds of times to get the offices set up, taking guests to their meetings, and prior to, having in depth conversations with them and making them their drinks - showing them material, making sure they were happy and well-cared for, as well as picked up after guest lunches in the courtyard of the villa, attending to any needs that weren't yet known to be met, running to the other end of the croisette to the Palais to grab tickets to any screening the company needed, and any other thing I couldn't possibly think of right now.
Those in the company took note and saw the effort I was putting forth. While they were waiting for the morning or afternoon pot of coffee to be made, they stood with me in the kitchen. We had conversations about how they ended up in the industry, along with their dreams and my own, and I asked them countless questions about what they did and how it was done - as well as many other things regarding the industry. It was the best two and a half weeks of my life at the time, and I met life-long friends at that company that I cherish beyond belief.
I Networked And Learned - to put myself ahead
The Cannes Film Festival is not only a film festival, but one of the largest markets for film in the world. It certainly is the most prestigious. This means that everyone who was anyone, whether they were producers, directors, actors and actresses, singers, and the like were in Cannes during the festival. This being said, I made conversation with any and everyone I could and asked as many questions about themselves, the industry, and what they'd advise about getting into it. I wanted to be at the top, so I asked those who were already there, how to get there. Also - being a good person along the way, along with being yourself, is key. Don't listen to that "fake it until you make it," business. It's for amateurs.
I got to Attend Huge Movie Premieres on the Red Carpet
Okay. I'm going to fan girl here, because...WOW. Being able to get premiere tickets to the "Nice Guys," "Neon Demon," "Cafe Society," and this last Cannes when I went again, to "Blackkklansman," was absolutely out of this world, a dream come true. Walking the red carpet in a gown of my own, past the photographers, up the stairs, into the Palais, and to my seat made me feel like I was living my own Hollywood magix fairytale. Looking down to the orchestra section to see Ryan Gosling or Spike Lee a matter of feet away from me was mind blowing. To experience the appreciation for a film the way they're meant to be celebrated with applause and possibly a standing ovation for the talent and director of the film taking it in presently. To see all of the smiling faces, possibly tear stained cheeks, or breathlessness of the thousands surrounding them and myself is a feeling a couldn't possibly describe. Being in that theater inspired me and made me fall even more deeply in love with filmmaking.
I got to Experience The Luxurious City of Cannes
Whether it had been strolling through the historic streets taking in the architecture that had a thousand stories to tell, passing the high-end boutiques and stores, laying out on the beach drinking cocktails, attended world-class clubs, eating at the most exquisite restaurants that all serve food so delicious you could easily cry over, or drinking wine from decades to a hundred years ago - it felt like I had been the star in my own personal movie - and boy, I was loving it. Being immersed in the French culture, language, the prestigious film festival, the lights, the camera, the glory - was a life I was living beyond my wildest dreams. Also - not to mention the film after parties where you could congratulate the actors and directors first hand.
I met life-Long Friends
Whether it had been through my three roommates from the Creative Mind Group, the other friends in the group that we made from around the condo we were staying at, from networking around the festival, or simply through those from Bloom I made from working my internship. I made so many memories, lived through so many amazing lessons, and made life long friends along the way.
I Found Out Who I was and WHo I wanted to Be
Through my experience interning at Cannes, and really having that traveling experience be all on my own, I realized myself making choices and asking questions, that I'm not sure I would have done otherwise. I grew infinitely by being surrounded by the industry I dreamt of being in, and deciding to go after everything that I knew I needed and wanted while there without thinking. While experiencing life with friends and enjoying it through dancing, making up stories to get into extravagant parties, and not having reservations about how I would be seen, I learned to live in the moment and go with it with the most positive and opportunistic attitude. Most of all though, I allowed myself the chance to live the life I never knew I wanted, and to put myself into a position to achieve at the first moment of every day. I learned so much and worked so hard, that In fact, I got a job at Bloom before I graduated in 2018, and got to go back to Cannes for the festival right after I walked across that stage in my cap and gown.
This experience has impacted my life forever, and if your'e at all interested in the entertainment industry, the film business, or are just curious and wanting to grow in every way you can - please check out The Creative Mind Group to see what other programs they have in Berlin, Hollywood, Toronto, Cannes, and the Cannes Lion Festival (that's also in Cannes). You won't regret it.
Check out this link to find more about The Creative Mind Group.
Mary Gabrielle Strause