It’s Women’s History Month, and we’re picking the brains of bold, powerful women who represent our future. Today, we meet art champion and general outfit goals, Aureta.
Throughout time, we’ve counted on a small number of community leaders to push things forward, break perceptions, and bring change. And ladies, the past two years have been pivotal. We’ve seen–and struggled with, and spoken out against, and called shit out on–issues that have been pressing, and still continue to press, womankind. It’s change that we want to champion throughout this month, while celebrating those who are propelling us into a far better future. So throughout March, we are focusing what matters to us most, right now: groundbreaking, culture-shifting, era-defying, and straight up goals women.
Aureta Thomollari, aka the most bookmarked outfit goals in your Insta feed, is the kind of accidental powerhouse that most definitely didn’t happen accidentally. When Aureta, an investor and luxury consultant by day, first started using Instagram, she thought it was a photo filter app–until someone pointed out that she had a ton of followers and was already a low key sensation. Since then, she’s tapped into those entrepreneurial and curatorial muscles, and her feed has become an enthralling adventure in pattern mashing, lessons in effortless pajama dressing, killer sunglass game, and championing emerging art–a passion she shares through her work with Watts.On. We sat down to unravel the mystery that is Aureta, starting with her passion for art, the importance of giving young artists a platform, why being yourself is the only way to be, and why that mystery is–of course–the secret to her success.
So you had a pretty interesting trajectory—your Instagram account started off as a personal diary and took off into something else.
I didn’t even know—one day, my sister was like, “you have 7,000 followers and you’re following 0.” So like a wild person, I deleted 2,000 pictures because I thought they were private. I thought it was a photo filter app. So it grew very organically, and that’s how I like things to happen.
“I didn’t just want to post pictures of myself—I wanted to share art and other things that are beautiful.”
You also do a ton of other things, too. You work closely with Watts.On on all of your art platforms.
I did Instagram for about a year and a half and it got kind of boring, just posting photos of your outfits. There are so many other things I like, so I decided to balance that with art pieces and art that inspires me. When I looked at the whole page it looked more beautiful. It became super exciting and it took a life of its own. It started because I didn’t just want to post pictures of myself—I wanted to share art and other things that are beautiful.
Like so many others, I discover a lot of up-and-coming artists through your Instagram.
That’s what’s so exciting. Art used to be unaccessible. Now with platforms like Instagram, an artist that’s in Indonesia can sell a piece to somebody in Orange County—and it can happen in seconds. We actually receive emails like that. Before an artist who’s incredibly talented and amazing in India wouldn’t have the chance to be in a big prestigious gallery. It’s bridged the gap so much, and has made art that much more accessible.
How has giving young artists exposure the exposure they need become important to you?
It’s really exciting to put someone on the map and share it. We get a lot of submissions, so if it’s not something that draws my attention, I’m not going to post it. I post what I love and what inspires me. It’s really exciting to put someone on the map. When you make somebody else happy, I think that’s the meaning of life anyway—to share love and put people on a platform.
“It’s really exciting to put someone on the map. When you make somebody else happy, I think that’s the meaning of life anyway—to share love and put people on a platform.”
What female artists are you loving right now?
Nina Chanel Abney. She’s based in New York and she’s incredible—everybody should check her out.
Are there any female artists that you feel like don’t get the recognition that they deserve?
I think everybody has that—I try not to look at life in a three-dimensional way. Everybody is going to have their time, and maybe they don’t have their time right at this second, but they will. We have to define recognition. We live in a “like” generation. If this thing doesn’t get that many likes, or that person doesn’t have a certain amount of followers, then they’re not “the greatest,” which I strongly disagree with. I think the most genius people in the world have the least amount of followers or recognition. I try not to look at numbers. I recommend people be themselves and really work on their art and truly stay unique. In the long term, that will prevail. We live in a world with so many influencers, so many people doing the same thing. How many more avocado toasts and sunglasses on a table can we take? I think uniqueness and individuality will prevail.
“I recommend people be themselves and really work on their art and truly stay unique. In the long term, that will prevail. Uniqueness and individuality will prevail.”
How would you describe yourself and what sets you apart?
I stay so true to myself. I don’t listen to what people recommend—what I should conform to and how I should be understood by people. It’s not necessarily important to me to be understood. I just want to be myself and stay true to myself. People appreciate me for who I am and what I love to do, and it’s very humbling. I think you just really need to be yourself. It’s such a simple concept and such a hard concept because we just want to fit in. But don’t try to fit in!
What bad advice have you received?
Just that! People have told me that I should try to be more understood. But I wouldn’t be me.
“I think the secret to everything is mystery. The more you share, the least interesting you become.”
You have a life outside of Instagram and the art world:
I went to business school so my main thing is being an investor–I’m passionate about investing in new businesses. Instagram and dressing up is just who I am—I just chose Instagram to share it on. Even if I had zero followers, I would still do it because its a visual diary of my life. It’s such a beautiful way of documenting and remembering what I’ve done. I love images—I think in colors and images. For me it’s not about the social aspect, even though it’s great that I’ve been able to monetize and turn it into a business.
So this is a side hustle for you, which is crazy. I feel like that would be surprising to anyone who follows you.
I know, I think the secret to everything is mystery. The more you share, the least interesting you become.
Your comments are always super short. It makes me wonder ‘where is she, what’s happening?’ I want to know more.
I think a lot of people would never know that I can speak or have a brain! People write essays about their thoughts on Instagram. I don’t want to tell you how to think and I don’t want to tell you how to dress. I want you to think on your own and get inspired. At the end of the day, I’m just a girl from Albania, who grew up in communism and didn’t have a passport until I was 10. I’ve done it, so I think everybody can do it.
“I don’t want to tell you how to think and I don’t want to tell you how to dress. I want you to think on your own and get inspired. At the end of the day, I’m just a girl from Albania, who grew up in communism and didn’t have a passport until I was 10. I’ve done it, so I think everybody can do it.”
You travel a lot—what do you take with you?
Always accessories—I think it’s the easiest. Red lipstick, scarves, earrings, sunglasses of course. Always sunglasses. I feel like you share so much energy when you stare at people in the eyes—I want to save that for special occasions.
Why do you think it’s important for women to be encouraging of each other?
I think women are operating at a higher frequency—I think we’re incredible and beautiful. We’ve been taught to compete with each other, but there’s no need to. Once you shine somebody else’s light, your light won’t get darker. The more light you shine on people, the more women you help, the more you shine brighter. Once women realize that we can bring the whole team with us, I think we can take over the world. I think it’s amazing to be in time when women are shining.
“Once women realize that they can bring the whole team with us, I think they can take over the world. I think it’s amazing to be in time when women are shining.”