Ethereal Interviews: FEBRUARY 2015 x ARIONA BENINATO

As you all know, Ethereal Interviews is about interviewing inspiring and artistic individuals who are all beautifully unique. Ariona Beninato is exactly that. Her strength, spirituality and beauty is something we can all learn from. A woman who is a boss, yet a humble, down to earth person. A woman who is full of beauty and fierceness, yet remains to be easygoing. As she would say, "Don't get me wrong, your girl is fabulous, but definitely very chill." I really enjoyed interviewing Ariona - she really took the time to answer each and every question with 100% integrity. I hope you enjoy reading as much as I did.

1. Ariona, I love your work. You're really just at the beginning of your career. Yet in each and every photo I see such passion. It's not just about your beauty, it's about your soul. Your photos really make me feel something and I think that's truly amazing. When shooting, what's on your mind? 

Wow, thank you so much! Whenever I take photos, I honestly feel like I’m performing. I really just feel however my body takes me. I let my body do the moving and usually my mind is just blank. It’s more of a feeling inside of you. It’s a sense of empowerment being in front of the camera, being the muse to something. I think that’s why I love taking pictures. It’s a true form of self-expression and allows me to feel comfortable with my body. 

2. Now we all know the fashion industry is always going to have rejection. I can relate to you in that sense. The entertainment industry is always telling us no, and sometimes over trivial things. How do you deal with rejection? 
 I have learned to look at rejection just as declaration that something better is coming for you. No matter what it is, you have to trust God and let go of any feelings of being rejected. God will always have the bigger & better plan and you can’t be mad at that. Rejection will only bother you if you let it, and in this industry you don’t really have time to cry. You get up and go to the next casting.  

3. One thing I love about you is how you remain so grounded throughout all your success. I think many of us would love to know how you do it! As a woman that's always on the move, how do you stay spiritual? 
Being spiritual is a lifestyle and spiritual practices just come apart of your daily routine when you are. I try to make sure I pray and meditate every single day. It’s important to spend quiet time with yourself. Take a moment to really breathe. I’m always in my Notes app in my phone. I use down time through out the day to list out the things I’m grateful for at that very moment. Practicing gratitude allows room for bigger blessings and giving that love out to the world will only bring it right back to you. It’s really just about being a good person. I’m a very inner peace type of gal. I think with a very open mind and a bigger heart. It’s just the way I was raised. 

4. You grew up in Northeast Ohio. Now you're in New York. And will be all over the place. What does Cleveland personally mean to you? 
 Cleveland has a completely different feeling. When I come to Cleveland I always feel the love; in strangers, in nature, it’s really just an amazing experience being home. It’s a different type of love. There’s a whole different world outside of Cleveland, but you have to appreciate Cleveland for what it is. Cleveland raised meNew York pays me. There’s nothing in New York that can replace that feeling of waking up at home and being with my family. I really love to be home. There’s a new wave of talent that is going to put Cleveland on the map in fashion, music, education, sports, and the arts. It’s beautiful to see the growth of your city from every aspect.  The collective consciousness of Cleveland is rising and with that more positive things are coming out of Cleveland now more than ever before. At this moment, I’m very proud to be from Cleveland. 

5. Define the word "soul" in your own words. 
To me, soul is love. Our soul already knows who we are before birth yet we spend our entire lives figuring it out. That feeling of love you get when you do the things you love, being with the people you love, eating the food you love, dreaming of the life you love, all of that is your soul speaking to you. I just want to figure out my soul, so I continue to do all that I love. I live through love. I’m always following my heart and will forever listen to my intuition. As humans it’s our duty to fulfill our soul’s purpose and everyday I make that a priority by following where God’s light in my heart takes me. I’m still human, but I understand that there’s a bigger picture that matters a lot more than just this human experience. 

6. Who is your inspiration in life and why? 
The women of my family, especially my grandmother. She was born and raised in Japan. She had passed when I was younger, but I can feel her soul inside of mine and she keeps me driven and inspired to pursue what I love. My mother is also always my biggest inspiration. She’s my #1 supporter, my PR, my manager, my stylist, my strength, my lawyer, my personal shopper, the better version of me. Nobody in this world can inspire me to be as great as my mother does. She created me, she only sees me as the best, even further than I see myself. I didn’t understand that concept until recently. Your parents see you as great as God sees you, listen to them. She keeps me very grounded. There’s no celebrity or fashion icon that is going to believe in me the way my mother does or anyone that is going to love me just as much after all my mistakes. She forgives me and loves me just as much after literally any mistake I’ve ever made. A mother’s love is inspiring in itself. 

7. It seems you're constantly shooting, and now you write for Fearless Leon. Any other projects coming up soon that we should be excited about?  
I have my first national campaign that will be dropping this year. Also, by the time this interview is out hopefully my website will be live. I have a few secret projects in the works, but I can’t discuss any of the details yet. Just know that 2015 will be a huge year for my modeling career.  

8. I think an interesting concept is stereotypes and how people will assume things about you because of race, gender, sexual orientation, age, occupation, etc. What are some things people will assume about you due to false stereotypes?  
People always tell me “You’re cooler than I thought. You’re nicer than I thought you would be. You’re not as stuck up as I thought.” It’s a bummer that people will always have some sort of idea of who you are, then they actually meet you and get to know you and you prove them wrong. That’s always a nice feeling. I’m really a chill, laid back girl and most people see what I do and expect me to be some crazy self-absorbed diva and I’m not. Don’t get me wrong, ya girl is fabulous, but definitely very chill 
 9. Always an  extremely  complicated question, but if you could only have 5 things in your closet for the rest of forever, what would they be? 
A pair of black heels, a black maxi dress, black high waisted jeansa pair of Nikes, & gold midi rings. 

10. Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions. What is a word of advice you would like to offer readers? 
You are the only one responsible for the reality you create. What you focus on, grows. Go after your dreams regardless of the circumstances and what any one else thinks. The visions you see are real, the love you feel is for your purpose.  Your belief in your dreams itself is the driving fuel for the Universe to make it happen.