Gladys Ferro

6 Nov 2020
Life & Culture

From Empowerment to Going Worldwide: A Chat With Raia Maria-Laura

Three years ago, this editor was meeting up with Raia Maria-Laura in New York City. The Belgian-Italian photographer was just signed as a curvy model at Dominique Models and was in the middle of a portfolio shoot. So yours truly pulled up with pizza and a couple of questions. I typed out that interview in 2017 stating the following: Barely 21 years old, but ready for the world: meet Raia Maria-Laura. A self-taught photographer who recently made the transition to modeling herself.

And ready for the world she is. The pre-order of her first photo book ‘Worldwide by Raia’ just went live. So this was the perfect time to catch up with Mrs. Worldwide herself.

From pizza

The last time we spoke, Raia just signed as a model and made the switch from fashion photography to music and concert photography. We ate pizza and she told me about her goals and dreams. From getting the next gig to being the face of a big campaign.

A month after our interview, she met the American rapper and superstar Russ and became his tour photographer. When she wasn’t on tour, she graced campaigns for Zalando, Samsung, and Eastpak. In between shoots, she continued to develop her craft and directed her first music videos. And now she has a photo book ready to add to that already impressive resumé.

To empowerment

“I was living my dream: going on tour, sharing my art, and then the entire world was forced to stop. It made me realize that this life we live is so temporary. You never know what tomorrow will bring, and what you know now can become a memory real fast. So while being confined at home, I slowed down and went through the archive. Hard drives filled with memories. And it hit home, I was doing everything I ever set myself out to do … and then some. And if there’s one message I would like to share with the world is that anyone can do it too. So the idea of a photo book has always been there, but I wanted it to be more. I want my readers to relive those memories, those stories with me. And to be inspired. Inspired to go after their wildest dreams or at least to start planning for it.”

To going worldwide

Sitting on a porch, socially distanced, in Belgium, I realized how far this girl has come. From being a girl with a dream in New York City to seeing the whole wide world with a camera in her hand. As an editor turned friend, I’m looking forward to our next interview three years from now. Who knows where, but one thing’s for sure… Raia Maria-Laura is the definition of going worldwide and being able to witness this journey both online and offline has been a blessing.

You can pre-order ‘Worldwide by Raia’ on her website Worldwide by Raia.

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