Living in the information age brings along a visual and behavioral pollution. It’s so hard to be yourself! Copy-and-paste characters are so embedded in our daily lives that every moment we don’t behave, dress or work like them, we may seem like going astray in a perfectly tuned machinery of gears. That’s where our story begins. Not with those that surrender to the rhythm of life but with those who bring their own. Not with what’s familiar but with what’s different. Not with the ordinary but with the original. We like to know about it all. That’s how we meet Berfin, Salih, Almila, Sercan and Eda who add reflect their soul to what they do. We’re sure that we’ll see them more and more in the future, and start getting to know them better.
Berfin Erdoğan, 23 Chef & Business Manager
Let’s go back to the times you discovered yourself. Everyone expected you to be an actress but you found yourself in the kitchen? What attracted you to this profession?
I’ve had the opportunity to travel the world with my family at a very young age. Trying new flavors led me to explore new cuisines. One day, I thought, “If I love eating so much, then I should learn how to cook.”
What’s the biggest sacrifice you’ve made for yourself?
Working away from my family for long years but choosing to make something for myself has possibly been the greatest step I’ve taken for myself.
Can you tell us about BKM Mutfak?
BKM Mutfak’s first branch started right next to BKM theater as a school. It was a comedy club where new actors take the stage to gain experience. The second branch was opened at Uniq Istanbul which aims to bring together a comedy club and food. In my father’s words, this is “the kitchen of art, and the art of cooking.” It’s a place you can both laugh and explore new delicacies.
Can you tell us something unique about this place?
What sets us apart from other comedy clubs in Turkey and around the world is that we’re also a high-quality restaurant. You can have a lovely dinner and have fun. Also, since we also have an experimental style, we also offer many recipes of our own discovery.
How far has your background affected your professional life?
I grew up in a family that believes success cannot come without hard work. They always wanted me to be happy and supported me to do what I love. Both my parents are very important parts of my life!
A life lesson you learned from social media?
It’s certain that social media takes human relations to another level. You create an avatar or an identity and you want to look your best. This can be deceptive sometimes.
What’s the first food you’ll recommend to someone who visits Istanbul as a tourist?
I’d begin with the street food – kokoreç, tantuni, künefe. I’d introduce them to flavors unique to our culture.
How do you spend your Sundays?
I usually have breakfast at home or at BKM Mutfak Uniq. Then the rest of the day depends o my mood and where I’ll have dinner. (laughs)
What’s the word you use the most?
Salih Topçuoğlu, 24 Model & Textile Design Student
Did people around you think being a model was a radical decision?
Everyone used to ask me why I wasn’t a model so I think I did what they expected of me. Everyone has a role model that inspires their professional choices.
Who is yours?
I can’t name someone in terms of modeling but for the department I’m studying, I can tell it’s my mother. She’s a tailor. Throughout my childhood, her customers would come and go for rehearsals. The place was littered with patterns, sketches and fabrics. Playing with those fabrics was the most fun thing for me. My mother would sing and I’d dance with the fabrics. I think that’s where my interest in modeling began. (laughs)
Do you think it’s hard to be yourself in this geography?
This place I was born and live in has made me who I am. Every living being in nature interacts with its surroundings. Complaining is the easiest way.
How do you react to trends?
There should be a formula of consumption. I wouldn’t want to eat the same thing, listen to the same music or wear the same style of clothes every day. Fashion what supports production. It’s also a statement to resist fashion. This cycle triggers production and I’m happy to be a part of it.
Fashion has so many meanings that we’d love to hear your description of it?
I’d describe “fashion” as a state of pursuit of the new.
What do you think when you think about 10 years from now?
I see myself painting in an illuminous, high-ceiling studio. I’ll soon head out to drink some coffee. I water the flowers, check my keys and my wallet and head out. It’s a lovely spring day. Everyone I love is alive. Everything is better, happier. Every dialogue about ballet is dominated by discipline.
Almila Ada, 23 Actress & Ballerina
How would you describe your ballet experience?
Ballet is a challenging art both physically and psychologically. You cannot wat the things other kids do, you can play or wander around in your free time, and are in a constant state of competition. This raises you as a disciplined person who’s aware of her responsibilities. My adventure of classical ballet began when my mother enrolled me in a ballet class when I was 2.5 years old and continued my study of Performing Arts in U.K., mainly ballet but also about other branches of art such as modern dance, musicals and drama. I danced in England and other European countries. Now I’m on hiatus and focus on my acting career. When I travel abroad, I visit the studios I worked at and practice there. It’s my dream to open my own dance studio where I’ll be dancing and teaching others. I’m just waiting for the right time (laughs)
How did you cross paths with acting?
When I was working as a dance, I also took small roles in two movies in London based on the recommendation of the manager I was working with for modeling jobs in London and Paris. I strengthened my belief in drama with camera acting and diction lessons. The combination of these led me to my acting career. You’ve always chosen professions that need a place at the center of your life.
Is it hard to be yourself in this fast-paced tempo?
Both ballet and acting take up too much of my time because they’re both performing arts. I work six days a week as a ballerina or an actress. The cruel work hours of series acting don’t help either. If I have to be on set, I find little time for anything else, including spending time with my family or watching a play. But I try to be optimistic since I love my job. I spend every free time I get to spend time with myself, to attend my favorite events and to see the people I love.
A question you’re tired of hearing?
“You have no time at all?”
Eda Dürüst, 27 Digital Artist
How would you define irony?
Mocking, joking, having fun and looking for seriousness in frivolity.
What led you to do pop-art?
I think I have a thing for colors. I don’t usually like them in daily life but somehow I found myself doing colorful works. Joking aside, pop-art better reflects the idea or feeling I want to convey. The work itself is the focus.
How would you describe your works to someone who’s never seen them before?
I’d say s/he’s in for a colorful and fun journey. I love having fun and make people have fun with my works.
Why do you think your works are successful – because you’re a good observer or a creator?
Both! I support being a good observer and then creating. When I’m aware of what’s going on around me, then my works are more influential. I’m usually inspired by daily events or criticize something in an ironic way. That’s why being a good observer is as good as being a good creator.
How would you define the effect of social media on your creative process?
I try to stay away from social media when I’m creating something. I usually think calmly and am alone. What we call inspiration is very strong. You can be inspired by something you see, do or talk about. I prefer to draw inspiration from the things around me.
What’s your latest discovery on Instagram?
@duhrivative because it has lovely portraits.
Sercan Badur, 27 Actor
Do you remember the first theater play you saw?
The first one I saw was a play by Eti Children’s Theater that my mother took us.
How would you describe being on stage?
There are a few experiences in life that offer the same excitement every time. And being on stage is one of them. I’m so lucky that this is what I do.
Can you tell us about a false fact about acting?
That acting is easy! Contrary to popular belief, it requires great time, effort and long work hours.
How do you spend time between sets?
It depends on our tempo. When it’s busy, we rehearse the scenes or even work for other projects.
Is there a tip you wish you knew when you began acting or you’d like to share with those who just began it?
Keep improving and feeding yourself at every age, in every condition, with every achievement and failure.
When does it become hard to be yourself?
It can depend on who you are. I think what’s important and beneficial is to
prefer staying away from places that keep you from being yourself!
Röportaj / Interview: DUYGU BENGİ
Fotoğraf / Photography : BURCU KARADEMİR
Styling: BEGÜM BAYOĞLU
Teşekkürler / Thankt to : BKM Mutfak Uniq, Zorlu PSM & Zuhal Müzik