A look into our members based in Expat Georgetown —

Music Trademark #1

Alfredo Pla, an aspiring Spanish DJ, discovered his passion in music in his early teenage years, as he began exploring the night life of his native Madrid. Contrarily, Andrew DeRouen cannot remember his introduction to music. Both his mother and aunt were Opera singers, and his familial propensity to music finally pushed him to explore his potential in High School. Alfredo and Andrew are two of Expat Society x Georgetown’s most talented musicians.

What is love?
AP: A feeling that is necessary to truly connect with other people.
AD: It is manifested through music. Love for me is when I can describe what I am feeling through music.

If you could turn back time…
AP: I would want to experience life without technology.
AD: I would’ve gone to this High School in Dallas that focused on arts and music. I applied, I got in but my parents did not let me go. Anyways, we’re here now, we’re still doing it.

Best Midnight City?
AP: Madrid.
AD: Edinburgh, Scotland. I was 16, figuring out my independence, and staying in a hotel with my parents near the Golden Mile during the Tattoo Festival. I escaped the hotel at midnight and explored a city for the first time by myself. As I walked, I listened to music, PartyNextDoor’s second album, I listened to it all night.

Song to get Sexual to?
AP: Fanatica Sensual - Plan B.
AD: Or Nah - The Weeknd Remix.

Musical inspiration?
AP: Michael Jackson. The first person that made me feel something different with music.
AD: Otis Redding, Amos Lee… I like a lot of old Rag-Time Jazz... Cab Calloway.

Song/Soundtrack to your life?
AP: Faster you Fall - Eli.
AD: Every single time I’ve done something important I’ve listened to one particular song, Underground Kings by Drake. Through different stages of my life, I’ve listening to certain songs. The songs I listened to during my Freshmen Fall now give me so much anxiety, it’s terrible (laughter).

If you left on a jet plane, where would you go?
AP: Australia.
AD: Tokyo.

Best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
AP: Doesn’t matter if you fuck up.
AD: It’s cliché but, Be Yourself. I’ve tried to keep that in my mind for the past five years. Don’t let anybody change you.

Describe yourself in three words.
AP: Happy, Open to Change, Relaxed.
AD: Anxious, Optimistic, Determined.

Dream yet to be fulfilled?
AP: To travel to all continents.
AD: Dropping out of school to be a musician (laughter).

Greatest Fear?
AP: (Struggles to come up with one). Not having a chance to do what I love for the rest of my life. Not to fulfill myself.
AD: Failure.

Ideal first date?
AP: A beach dinner.
AD: Going shopping for clothes. Ikea could be a second or third date.

Fashion Trademark #1

Jelani Williamson, a trend-setter of Jamaican origin, found his calling in fashion as a way to deal with the difficulties of life as a teenager. On the other hand, Rayo Adenuga, a blooming fashionista from Lagos, Nigeria, believes her passion was sparked and influenced by the style of her parents and older brother. What the two have in common? They stand out as some of the best dressed members of Expat Society x Georgetown.

How do you define style?
JW: It is how you exist in the world.
RA: I don’t want to be cliche, but Coco Chanel once said: fashion fades, only style remains the same. I believe style is a transcendent expression of yourself that precedes your individual person.

Greatest fashion Icon?
JW: Noah Schnapp, the little kid from Stranger things. He dresses amazingly. I’m also a big fan of Mos Def. He’s a rapper and he wears a suit everywhere he goes.
RA: I can’t choose just one. ASAP Rocky, I love the vision. Rihanna, I love the vision. Slick Woods, I love her. Grace Jones, oh my goodness yes. I could name so many (laughter).

If you could only wear one brand for the rest of your life?
JW: John Elliott. At least I’d be comfortable.
RA: Adidas Fashion Wear. I’m going to tell you why. There is always the question of Beyonce or Rihanna, Adidas or Nike? Everytime Rihanna. Everytime Adidas. I like athletic wear that is not supposed to be used for athletics.

An item of clothing that everyone should have in their closets?
JW: A pair of perfect fitting jeans.
RA: An oversized denim jacket. Pretty critical statement for both men and women.

A trend you wish will never come back?
JW: Super long and baggy t-shirts.
RA: Fringe. Cowboy stuff. Terrible.

Is there such a thing as being overdressed?
JW: Yes. What you wear says something and if you’re going somewhere casual and you wear too much, you’re going to be seen a certain light.
RA: I do believe so, however, it depends on how. And I know that did not answer anything (laughter), let me explain why. You can never be too bold, but yes you can be overdressed. People often say they hate brands, but your brand is everything. Gaudy can definitely be a look. You can rock furs and logos and you won’t be overdressed, just stunty. It’s very different to wearing a ballgown to class. But even if you wear a ballgown to class and you rock it, then I don’t question it.

Tattoos? If so, where?
JW: I don’t have any tattoos.
RA: I have one currently, on my underbust and plan or at least hope to get two more, one in my inner thigh and one on my inner arm. One of a quote by Grace Jones for her gender bending and pushing the boundaries of masculinity and femininity. And another of a distorted renaissance statue.

For you, Fashion is…?
JW: An Escape.
RA: A lifestyle. You can’t take breaks from fashion.

Best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
JW: You don’t have to be noticed to be the best dressed.
RA: I guess I give myself this advice. You gotta gas yourself because nobody else is gonna gas you. If someone doesn’t like your wave, its not their wave. How is it relevant? it really isn’t.

Describe yourself in three words.
JW: Never Stop Going.
RA: My instagram bio says I’m an Asstronaut (double s intended), a Visionary and a Lover. I guess those are my three words.

A dream yet to be fulfilled?
JA: Being six foot tall.
RA: I would love to go to outer space.

Greatest fear?
JW: Dying without love.
RA: Disappointing my investors. I call anyone who has invested their resources, energy, time and love in me an investor. To not fulfill their expectations would be tragic.

Ideal first date?
JW: Ice Cream. I love ice cream. Rainbow sprinkles.
RA: Something dope. I’m super low maintenance. If you bring McDonald’s to my room, I’ll think you just gave me the world. Or maybe an amusement park.

Art Trademark #1

Marina Gelardin comes from a long line of artists, including her mother who was the head of Valentino’s design studio in the 80’s and her aunt who was a street photographer in Rome and Madrid. Their creativity have inspired her to find her own style, and is using social media as a platform to diffuse her art. Tristan MacHale is also using social media to disseminate his pieces. MacHale has taken a more holistic approach to art, studying everything from Art History to the basics of art-making. The two share a profound artistic passion that they’re sharing today with Expat Society x Georgetown.

Artist to look out for?
MG: Revolving Style. It’s a collage instagram account and they are what inspired me to do my own collages. They do theirs by hand instead of digitally, though.
TM: Otto Dix.

Favorite work of art?
MG: Monet’s Water Lily Pond. He did a version of it before he got eye surgery, and another one afterwards and it is interesting to see how his mood affected his painting.
TM: Laocoön and his Sons which is at the Vatican Museum.

Museum you’ll never get tired of?
MG: El Prado in Madrid.
TM: National Gallery of Art, East Building.

Overpriced Artist?
MG: I’m really bad with money so I couldn’t tell you what’s overpriced. I am the worst budgeter (laughter).
TM: Damien Hirst.

Who is your muse?
MG: All the woman that I am surrounded by every day. I base all my projects around them.
TM: Jackson Pollock. I like the idea that he’s a badass, walking around his canvas smoking cigarettes. He lived a simple life in NY, he did his own thing, and if it went big it went big, and if it flopped it flopped. Regardless, he was still going to do it.

Is fashion an art?
MG: Yes, definitely. It incorporates so much, art, architecture…
TM: I would say it is. It is important for people to recognize what they are interested in. I think food is art, I think fashion is art, but I don’t care much for either. People can turn anything into an art.

Best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
MG: If you think you’ve made something artistic that is shit, just throw it out, stop thinking about it and start from scratch instead of trying to fix what you’ve made.
TM: Not everyone needs to be the best at something. I think perfectionism deters a lot of people away from doing what they’re interest in. You do not always need to set out to be the best.

Describe yourself in three words.
MG: I feel like a narcissist (laughter). Thoughtful, Happy, Disorganized.
TM: Introverted, Independent... Those two encompass it.

A dream yet to be fulfilled?
MG: To be so successful as an artist that I can be financially independent and that I can pay my dad back for college. That’s the goal.
TM: A certain level of confidence to know I have made it to where I want to be. Everyone is insecure they’re not good enough, that they’re not gonna make it. Once I feel that first inkling of comfort, then I’ll push it from there. That would be a nice feeling.

What % of art is talent and what % is hard work?
MG: Wow. I don’t think it is any amount of talent or hard work as long as you consider yourself an artist and dedicate your life to making art.
TM: I think talent is BS. Talent or genius, is often used as an excuse to not have to work. I think it should be 20% to 80%, hard work to talent. Nothing comes easy to anyone.

Artist everyone should follow on Social Media?
MG: VillanaArt on Instagram. She takes famous photographs, prints them and then threads them.
TM: Ai Weiwei. He has the weirdest Instagram. 

Ideal first date?
MG: Going to one of those really dingy bars that has great Jazz music and a pool table. That’s the dream.
TM: I think you can make anything work with a person you vibe with. You could just be sitting in Midnight Mug and hit it off, or be in a beautiful beach and have nothing to talk about.

Middle East Trademark

Faisal Al Sulaiman grew up between Saudi Arabia and Switzerland, and is originally of Saudi, Egyptian and Lebanese descent. On the other hand, Tamara Masri grew up in London, but has Armenian, Palestinian and Lebanese roots. Both Faisal and Tamara are passionate advocates for the Middle East, and represent the vibrant culture of their region in Expat Society x Georgetown.

Best city in the Middle East?
FA: Beirut, simply because it’s both traditional and modern at the same time. Despite the disorganization, it has a lot of life, and people are cultural, modern and happy.
TM: Haifa in modern day Israel. It is one of my favorite cities because it has been kept intact since the renovations in the 30’s. All the street signs are still there from the British mandate. And it is by the beach with a beautiful view to the Mediterranean Sea. There I feel in total peace between Palestinians and Israelis.

Biggest problem confronting the Middle East today?
FA: Religious issues. The fight against extremism and the fights between Shia and Sunni groups in Islam. We should be focusing on the things that make us the same instead of those that make us different.
TM: Lack of unity.

Middle East Stereotype you want to clear up?
FA: The Abbayas, or in English, the veil. I would like to clear up that it has nothing to do with the person under that veil. She is simply wearing a cloth, and it’s her own choice. Women do it to feel more comfortable and more respected. Here people look at the veil as oppressive, but people wear it as a matter of choice and because of their own religion, and at the end of the day, that cannot be judged.
TM: So many (laughter). That Muslim and Christian Arabs are radically different. We are all very similar.

You’re most proud of being from the Middle East because…
FA: Not only does it have an incredible history, full of discoveries that many ignore today, but simply because I am excited to be in a place so full of opportunity. There are so many difficulties, but that provides the possibility of going back and effectuating change.
TM: It gives me a cause to fight for.

Describe the Middle East in three words.
FA: Chaotic, Opportunistic, Young.
TM: Chaotic, Inspiring, Enduring.

Describe yourself in three words
FA: Optimistic, Serious and Humorous.
TM: Passionate, Gregarious, Curious.

Best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
FA: Don’t take everything by face value.
TM: Don’t try to cross the river before you get to the bridge.

You’re most thankful for?
FA: The life that I have. As simple as that.
TM: My parents for keeping me connected to my roots.

A dream yet to be fulfilled?
FA: Having a large impact in my community.
TM: To stop giving a F***.

Greatest fear?
FA: Losing track of what’s important in life.
TM: Not finding what I am looking for.

Best Middle Eastern Dish?
FA: Molokhia. It looks very bad but it is something I could eat everyday. It is this type of spinach that they put in a soup and you have it with rice and chicken. Its 100% healthy.
TM: Knafeh which is a dessert with melted sugar cheese, semolina dough, pistachios and rose water.

Ideal first date?
FA: A nice, simple romantic 1 on 1 dinner with that one special girl.
TM: A roadtrip or drive to somewhere I’ve never been before.

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