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The art of the areola
My name is Nadia John and I design wearable areola art, which evolved from the burlesque dancers’ need to cover the areola. The rest of the world calls it “pasties.” I’m the daughter and granddaughter of well-known journalists (George John and his daughter, Deborah) but it was not difficult growing up in their shadow because I created my own from very early.
I had my own work, published when I was just eight or nine years old in an article titled Nadia Goes to Stratford. The article was about a letter I wrote to my mother when I was living in England with my grandparents, recounting a family excursion to Stratford-on-Avon. The article’s author quoted sizable excerpts.
I saw my great-uncle the late Errol John’s play Moon on a Rainbow Shawl performed at the Little Carib in 2007 or 2008. I was stunned to realise how the issues he highlighted, of poverty, desperation, abandonment, are still so relevant today. I would love to have a family myself. Unfortunately there are no candidates or even a shortlist to help me begin one. Men tend to assume that there is no vacancy, or that they couldn’t get the job anyway, so most seem to prefer not to bother to apply.
My comment would be: “Serious applicants only.” I was very close to my grandfather as he and my grandmother raised me. I quickly came to realise he was a well-respected journalist, lecturer and writer. People gravitated to him because of his wide scope of accurate knowledge from sport to Shakespeare, his good nature, his great wit and willingness to share his time and knowledge.
I was raised as a Roman Catholic. I still believe in the faith. However, many people focus too much on the afterlife to the neglect of creating a paradise here on Earth. Man proposes but God disposes. My day job is as a lawyer. I'm the corporate secretary of the entity where I am employed. I am the department. It’s an awesome responsibility and can be a lot of work but very rewarding nonetheless.
I worry about finding my way in life, wondering if I’m on track. Taking stock of how much I have achieved picks me back up. And also prayer. It’s a resource that has never failed. The last great movie I saw was The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. It proves that the most dangerous weapon in the world is not gunpowder, but face powder. I got rid of my TV so I only indulge in cinema. I’m very partial to Christian Bale. But this may not only be due to his talent as an actor.
I trade as “Mermaid Designs” because I’ve always been fascinated by the myths and stories. I love the idea of conquering two very different elements, water and earth, successfully. Being a designer balances very well with my day job as there is no possibility of a conflict of interest. In any event my designing and related activities take place well after working hours.
I have no need to be close to a nipple to design, any more than a Victoria’s Secret designer needs to be close to a breast to make a bra. Most of the measurements are standard. My attitude deters men from suggesting that they should assist me with measurement-taking.
My art can be worn in a variety of settings, with the great caveat being that it’s how it's worn, who wears it, and how they comport themselves that makes or breaks the total perception. I have managed to make conservative ladies, sceptical photographers and even heavily pregnant mothers feel comfortable through the use of jackets, shrugs, corsets, draped fabric, etc. My designs typically cost between $100 and $200. I make each piece by hand.
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