Temporary Homeland

29 July 2016
Hearing a familiar voice can provide utter comfort. Seeing a recognisable face can cause a battered picture book kept fondly for years to be teared open. Bogdan Romanovic at Karin Models ponders upon these feelings of familiarity, but also realises that with new surroundings comes new opportunities. Mistakes of youth; living in the past, future and hardly in the present. Often we fixate on our past rather than spending time to look up and appreciate those in front of us at this exact moment. There is a raw beauty in change. Bogdan balances the building blocks of adolescence with the realms of his constant travel, waking up each day to new perspectives. Since we last caught up with him, world has taken him to Thailand, Paris and China. This time, in an intimate shoot with Daria Svertilova in Paris, he is captured through an analogue film camera, as he watches the world through his changing windows.

Have you ever spun an old, dusty globe and landed your finger on an arbitrary place? The luck of where your finger may lay decides your location. This good old game is fitting for the life of Bogdan. The Ukrainian model has wandered throughout a number of different locations dotted around the globe. Like many models, his placing is temporary, non-chronological and very often last minute. Spending time in three different countries the last few months, he has engraved himself into each culture - in return they have repaid him with fresh starts and inspiration. For him, these new experiences are door openers, and bring excitement and potential. In his interview below, he provides an insight into some of the experiences that have moulded him into a rejuvinated self.
People can change, just like the weather - it is all hypothetical. Allowing yourself to step back and view the beauty in change can shift your whole outlook. Bogdan's lesson of the moment is that nothing is set in stone. You can move settings, connect with unfamilar people and feel a new spark everyday. Everything shifts like plates in the ground below us, yet happiness can be found within the moving cracks.

Hey Bodgan, it’s been nearly two years since we last spoke, what have you been up to?
Yeah, it’s been a while. I really liked talking to you last time and a lot has happened since then. I feel like an absolutely different person now. My brother was called to war in Ukraine, which was a dark moment, but everything is alright now and he’s about to finish. We’re really happy about that. I went to Bangkok, and spent a lot of time there, which was amazing; I also went to Paris and China. I’ve been meeting new people and I'm feeling inspired, living my life and being happy. Different places, different people - it’s so dramatic sometimes to try and control those feelings when you are getting close to a new person in a new city. I often compare my life to a movie and I’m just really enjoying it at the moment; I’m happy.

You mentioned feelings, which is something I've been talking to a lot of boys about recently. What are your thoughts on this, do you think boys are comfortable sharing their emotions from your viewpoint?
There will always be gender stereotypes. I think when you’re from Ukraine like me, it definitely gets pushed more that guys should be strong and masculine and girls should be pretty and feminine. Yet, I don’t think you can generalise a whole generation of guys, because I meet guys all the time that are my age and are very different to me in their way of thinking. I think I have become more open, but there are still some things that I don’t talk about.

Would you talk to your friends about it if you are feeling sad about something?
That’s a hard one. I think my first reaction is closing up, I like to go somewhere alone and think about what’s actually happened. Your closest friend is yourself, you need to love and respect yourself, because friends are coming and going, same as lovers. You’re gonna have to live with yourself for the rest of your life. I tend to be by myself when I'm sad, but when I come down and realise what has happened then I go and talk to my friends, and if I feel like sharing maybe I will, but I normally keep it inside.

For someone that has been travelling so much, do you feel like you lack consistency?
Every one or two months I move, it’s crazy! There are some weird feelings with it; I look at my friends that live in one place and they have “best friends” or someone that they share things with, but for me it’s not like that. I’m used to going to a new place and choosing people that match you emotionally, and you try to be careful of not getting into trouble with them and your feelings. I think it’s a good thing to be open, but I don’t believe in having a “best friend forever" anymore. I still have my best friend, he still lives in China, but I haven’t seen him for two years. I still love him a lot, but life gets in the way and you have to be in the moment with the people that are around you. It might sound like a fast life, but I think it’s also quite beautiful, because you’re meeting all these people and you share something important and make memories that you keep as you move forward.

I can connect with that.
I really believe that we meet people that we can teach or they need to teach us something, and then it’s time to say goodbye and you keep them in your heart. The worst thing for me is Skype and Facebook chat and stuff, when people are like “hey, how you doing, I miss you” etc, but you know this person is living a completely different life at that moment with real people around them. It's weird, I prefer to live in the moment, not in the past and not in the future. I meditate and read a lot of books about attracting. It’s basically a system of your thinking and how you’re spending your time and energy for thoughts. Are you thinking about good or bad things? Are they important or not? It’s about understanding that and not wasting your energy.

What are your future plans?

I’m still modelling, and I love doing that. I enjoyed being in Bangkok, and stayed there for seven months. I had a really beautiful time meeting a lot of special people - learned a lot. Something really important happened there; I became more confident. It was almost like a crash you know? Suddenly all the shit from my head just went away and I was left with the basic feelings of who I am, what I want and how people deserve everything they want.

What made you change?
Just family situations, people that I met and advice that I heard. I felt stronger and I still feel this power. I love my body and my personality, and I no longer hold back from other people.

Tell us a bit about this shoot for Boys By Girls.
We shot in Paris. The photographer is really talented, shoots only on film and is from a small town in Ukraine. She uses an old-fashioned approach that is inspired from traditional sculptors; I’m really happy that I got to work with her. When she arrived, we met up and started to shoot in my model room in the centre of Paris and then we went outside to shoot. She asked me to think of something sad and then captured it - not every photographer makes it that real, it was raw. Shooting on film is also really nice, because you feel like an old actor, it brings a load of different colours and shapes into an image.

Do you still draw?
Yeah, there are some periods when I can’t draw as much as I used to, but I’m always sketching. When I’m with my friends, we might have some wine and I’ll start sketching something. I have applied for a young fashion illustrators competition and I’m going to a shoot that outside where I wear nothing, but then draw clothes from last season in Paris as an overlay. I don’t have money to buy Prada for a shoot, so I will draw the clothes instead. I don't have money, but I have hands to draw.

Do you think your recent experiences have changed you?
I’ve started to become more calm, I’m not talking as much anymore. Before I was trying to teach people around me, but right now I can clearly see that everyone is on their own personal journeys. Meditation has helped me become more calm. I’m controlling my emotions more. It’s really easy to get depressed: you start your day, you brush your teeth and you might have a load of garbage inside your head, but you just have to try and control it. It's not easy, but you have to concentrate on the good. Positivity is key. I feel I have found a new calm and am in a positive space after making new discoveries.
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