Our ninety fifth interview in this series of intimate interviews is with talented mobile photographer and founder Camilla Crescini from the @girlsinmuseums Instagram account as well as mobile photographer and co-founder Francesca Malagoli. @girlsinmuseums is a digital hub for posts, pics and comments regarding the role of women in the arts and culture via the hashtag #girlsinmuseums. @girlsinmuseums started in early 2015 and its aim is to collect photographs of women and girls in museums, galleries and cultural venues. The photographs are tracked through the use of the hashtag #girlsinmuseums via social networks. #girlsinmuseums’ daily activity is mainly focused on pointing out the gender gap that is still to be found in every field of human activities but that is especially highlighted in the art world, where women artists, curators, art advisors, gallery owners and professionals struggle to achieve high-responsability positions. Since the very beginning, @girlsinsmueums has collaborated with museums, art fairs and brands, organizing offline and online events in public and private art galleries, museums, art institutions & art fairs and creating tailor-made contents and strategies for various brands in different industries: from arts to music, from fashion to food and beverage, from artists to cosmetics. Enjoy!
To read the other published interviews in this series including artists, Adria Ellis, Rino Rossi, Mehmet Duyulmus, Alexis Rotella, Lou Ann Sanford Donahue, Irene Oleksiuk, Kerry Mitchell, Filiz Ak, Dale Botha, M. Cecilia Sao Thiago, Deborah McMillion, Rita Colantonio, Amy Ecenbarger, Jane Schultz, Anca Balaj, Joyce Harkin, Armineh Hovanesian, Kate Zari Roberts, Vicki Cooper, Peter Wilkin, Barbara Braman, Becky Menzies, Sukru Mehmet Omur, Sarah Bichachi, Michel Pretterklieber, Alon Goldsmith, Judy Lurie Wahlberg, Andrea Bigiarini, Sean Hayes, Oola Cristina, Kathleen Magner-Rios Linda Toki, Deb Field, Emilo Nadales, Lydia Cassatt, David Hayes, Jean Hutter, Frederic Deschênes, Mark Schnidman, Fatma Korkut, Fleur Schim, Rob Pearson-Wright, Dieter Gaebel, James Ellis, Marco P Prado, Jeronimo Sanz, Manuela Matos Monteiro, Bleu Chemiko, Manuela Basaldella, Stefania Piccioni, Luis Rodríguez, Marilisa Andriani(@mitrydate) Mayte Balcells (@artofmayte), Nicole Christophe, Jennifer Graham, Cathrine HalsørPaul Toussaint, Carol Wiebe, Julie Denning, Kim Clayton (@berleyart), Karen Messick, Serap Utaş, MaryJane Rosenfeld, Paul Suciu, Susan Latty (@pause.and.breathe),John Nieto, Phyllis Shenny, Joy Barry, Max Lies Derdonk, Rita Tipunina, Violet Martins, Nizzar Ben Chekroune, Lynette Sheppard, Paul-Andre Hamel, Rejane Rubino, Susan Detroy, Rosalie Heller, Wayman Stairs, Cintia Malhotra, Anita Elle, Juta Jazz, Cheryl Tarrant, Hanni König Kaoru Shintaku David Gilbert Jana Curcio, Mary Lorincz Amado Ergana, Francesco Sambati, Philip Parsons, Kathryn Garkut Massimo Bortolini and myself, go here.
What was your earliest childhood ambition?
Camilla Crescini: As a child, I was always fascinated with leaders who made a difference and positions of power, so I thought that I should also try to make a difference in this world. Of course I had many different “simple” dreams, so many that I can’t even remember this clearly: archeologist, teacher, classical ballet dancer were just some of them. But as I grew up and switched from teenage to adulthood, I started to recognize that back in my childhood I had one big role model and one big ambition: to be good and perfect at everything like my mother was.
Francesca Malagoli: As a child I wanted to be a champion of rhythmic gymnastics. I wanted to be part of the Italian team, also known as “Le Farfalle” (Butterflies) for their elegance and lightness movements. Growing I understood that rhythmic gymnastics wasn’t my future but I can say that this dream made me work so hard that taught me what means discipline, the sacrifice and the dedication towards something you care of or you want to reach. Regarding the research of grace and elegance, I will work on it for ever.
Camilla Crescini: I am and have always been a very ambitious and determined person and I never start anything if I realize that I will not be able to excel. In terms of @girlsinmuseums, the first recognition came very early, in just a couple of days follower started growing organically and expanded so much, journalists started to get in touch with us for interviews and museums started tagging us in their pics and getting in touch to collaborate together! The one moment in which I truly realize I was getting recognized and @girlsinmuseums was really becoming a global movement was when top universities asked me to be guest lecturer in Post graduated & MA courses: the recognition was not only about the impact of @girlsinmuseums but also on my professionalism and my knowhow. All the hard work I did so far started to make much more sense!
Francesca Malagoli: When I was 9 I won my first medal after a competition of rhythmic gymnastics. I was very proud of myself. Speaking of @girlsinmuseums, first of all I remember to be surprised seeing all the people that were following the account. But I was even more surprised when important and international museums started to ask us to collaborate with them and universities invited us to present @girlsinmuseums and give lectures to MA degrees.
Camilla Crescini: Gallery Assistant for a Photography Art Fair, which led me to my very first work contract: Project Manager and Curator for a small and fine art gallery in the heart of Basel, a city that I will eternally love.
Francesca Malagoli: I worked for a short period in an auction house. This experience introduced me to the secondary art market and it’s dynamics.
Private or State school?
Camilla Crescini: Public school until University: I grew up in a very small village on the peak of a mountain In the Dolomites and I didn’t have much choice. I have to say that Italy has a solid and excellent school system and I was lucky enough to always find passionate and really capable teachers, especially in middle school and early years of high school. I then chose a private university because it was the only one that offered the course that interested me 100%.
Francesca Malagoli: Apart from elementary school I always went to private schools. When I had to decide where to enroll, I chose the school that suits me best rather than choose between public or private. However, I’m dyslexic and at the time just few schools knew what it really meant so..
University or Work?
Camilla Crescini: Absolutely both! I have always worked during my university years and I believe that this has always been my competitive advantage both during my studies and afterwards in my work: I chose to support my studies with jobs that were completely inherent to what I was studying and that would give me the opportunity to explore all my areas of: I’ve worked in private and public art funds, in private art galleries to know more about the market and the art of selling, in museums and big art fairs, I worked for artist and for big marketing and communication agencies… At 23 years old I had already clear what I liked and disliked, I had already a lot of experience and this allowed me to be able to say no to the “internship slavery” which characterises the labour market in Italy and to start a great job few moths before graduating.
Francesca Malagoli: I went to university straight after high school but I always worked when I could during my studies. During this period I’ve tried so many different field in the art world that I had a general overview of what it was and I learned its dynamics and shades.
Who was or is still your mentor?
Camilla Crescini: I don’t have a real mentor, I would say that more than anything else I am influenced by the things I read, the exhibitions I see, the artists I like, the people I attend, my affections and the music I listen to. All things that I choose very carefully.
Francesca Malagoli: My mentors have always been and always will be my parents. They are constantly and so naturally teaching me “new lessons” everyday and I’m always impressed from that. However, during my life/work path I met few people who became very close to me, and believing in confront, I always ask them for an advice or an opinion.
How physically fit are you?
Camilla Crescini: I love to take care of my body but I prefer to nourish my mind. I am not a very sporty person, I go to the gym to exercise a bit, I used to go for a run twice a week and I love pilates and swimming. Unfortunately I cannot be very constant at the moment for reasons of time and because I travel a lot for work… but I must admit that sometimes after an hectic day I prefer an aperitivo with a friend and relax to a gym class!
Francesca Malagoli: I am totally not fit at the moment. In the last 2 years I forgot about myself because of my work. This attitude is in contrast with me because I have always been a sporty person. The good intention for the new year will be absolutely to take care of myself and find a balance between work and life.
Ambition or talent: What matters more to success?
Camilla Crescini: To me, ambition is more important than talent. An ambitious attitude can lead anyone to triumph and satisfaction, regardless of what is put in front of them. To have the will, the dream and the courage to be on top of the world will get you a lot farther in life than any skill you can possibly possess. Having talent means nothing if you have no ambition behind it. Ambitious people understand that there are no short cuts and it is only their persistence that will get them what they want. They put it all on the line, not letting any instance of drive go ignored because they know this is what they must use to make sure most of their time is dedicated to getting closer and closer to their dream. For example, speaking about me, I have to set my goals on something before I go ahead and achieve them. I imagine life as a race, and that winning is equivalent to achieving success. If at the starting point I do not have the mindset to win the race, it is obvious that I will not give my best and yield when everything seems all but lost. Compare that to be ambitious and to have a strong motivation to win. My chances of winning are so much greater simply because I will do whatever I can to surpass my own limits, never quitting and always thinking of different ways to win.
Ambition is what leads to success in your respective industry, but success isn’t dreaming of what you are going to spend you money on or how much you think you are going to party once you attain. Success is found in a life lived not dreamed, one that is propelled by action not a desire to act, a life filled with fears faced, limits pushed, and relationships cultivated. A successful life is one filled with experience and action, not wishes. And ambition leads you to this.
Francesca Malagoli: Absolutely Ambition! No doubt. To be ambitious can let you reach peaks way more higher than just be talented. The ambition is a strong desire to do or achieve something: that means that an ambitious person will do anything to achieve the goals. So, be ambitious means also hard work, dedication, patience, all important ingredient to achieve the own goals.
What would you like to own that you don’t currently possess?
Camilla Crescini: My own company and my own house.
Francesca Malagoli: I would say something mine as a company and a long list of artworks.
What’s your biggest extravagance?
Camilla Crescini: Shoes and jewelry, of any kind! Oh and I really love fur and leather items.
Francesca Malagoli: I have some pretty fancy and beautiful shoes, but I also collect crazy and artsy art invitations.
In what places are you happiest?
Camilla Crescini: I think it’s not a matter of where I am but rather of who I am with. If I am with the right person and with people who make me happy, I will be happy everywhere. As for the past, probably the place where I felt happiest and serene was Basel.
Francesca Malagoli: HOME. Well, I don’t feel to have just one home so, I would say Modena because of my family and friends; Rome for my boyfriend and Sardegna because is my second home.
What ambitions do you still have?
Camilla Crescini: So many I should make a list! But as I am 27 years old… I think I have still a little time to tick every item.
Francesca Malagoli: Many, but in particular: have a family, have my own house, create something mine work-wise.. and many other ambitions yet to come! Speaking of @girlsinmuseums we obviously still have many ambitions and projects but we can’t tell them for the moment.
What drives you on?
Camilla Crescini: Desire to do my best, always.
Francesca Malagoli: I am driven by will to be the best I can and to achieve the best result I can. One of my mantra is “the best is enemy of good”
What is the greatest achievement in your life so far?
Camilla Crescini: Freedom of taking my own decisions without interference from other people and without fearing the consequences.
Francesca Malagoli: To be independent.
What do you find most irritating in other people?
Camilla Crescini: Rudeness. It’s nothing new but I have the perception that being rude is on the rise. And I am also highly irritated by inelegant people.
Francesca Malagoli: The arrogance. I am a very patient and calm person but I find very difficult to talk to arrogant people.
If your 20 year old self could see you now, what would he think?
Camilla Crescini: Probably: “you are doing great, just try to find more balance between work and life”
Francesca Malagoli: I think she would be proud and maybe she would understand that there is time do to anything.
Which object that you’ve lost do you wish you’d still had?
Camilla Crescini: It’s not an object: I wish I still have with me some people that I lost during life.
Francesca Malagoli: I am usually very careful to not lose my personal stuff, however I have lost a bracelet that was a gift from my first communion and it was important for me. However, sometimes I feel to have lost a moment, an opportunity to say something nice or maybe to not say anything at all.
What is the greatest challenge of our time?
Camilla Crescini: Living in the present, be independent and unique and be kind.
Francesca Malagoli: Saving the planet and living the offline life.
Do you believe in an afterlife?
Camilla Crescini: Sort of, but I am trying not to think about this too much to live this life fully.
Francesca Malagoli: Yes I do. I believe in afterlife, in the reunification with loved ones and in the soul.
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