Concerts, Inspiration Nation, Meet 'n' Greet

Meet ‘n’ Greet: Elisabeth Ouni–The Dream Chaser

Do not let this sweet face fool you, Elisabeth Ouni is fierce. Not in a corny Tyra-Banks-pursed-lips-finger snap kind of way. Fierce in a way that commands one’s attention without much effort; diligence that gets the job done; and enough confidence to laugh at herself and still reach for the stars.

As the founder and creator of No Balls, No Glory; A Polaroid Story, the Belgian belle takes her readers through a whirlwind of tales about her success or attempts to get a Polaroid photo of her favorite musicians, producers or other talented movers-and-shakers.


Pharrell Williams

Mark Ronson



Erykah Badu

Jay Electronica

Va$htie Kola

Ouni makes it very clear that she is not a journalist, photographer or groupie, but her thrill merely comes from being a fan who is able to capture private moments with her favorite celebrities. Since Polaroid instant film and cameras have been defunct for more than 3 years now, this makes her photo series even more precious.

When Ouni is not chasing down one of her favorite emcees, she uses her skills learned as a former model to build her blossoming business Ouni Inc., where her various roles includes photographer, art director, producer and videographer. Such as–

Exhibit A:

Exhibit B:

That’s why we were more than thrilled that Ouni moved from behind her camera for a moment to share her thoughts on what it takes to live her dreams and how she will not stop pursing them until the last wish is checked.

The Pearl Mic: The concept of your blog was created out of your love for music, Polaroids and great storytelling. In a previous interview you said that your friends helped encourage you to launch it. How important are your friends when making vital choices in career, love life, etc.?

Elisabeth Ouni:When I told my very early blog adventures to my friends I noticed they hung on every word I told them, but it was actually a Belgian magazine chief-editor (who I randomly contacted via mail to see if he [had] tickets for the Snoop Dog concert I wanted to attend) who told me that although he could not help me with the free tickets, he encouraged me to write my stories down, since he enjoyed reading my mail in between the pile of mails he got that day and he told me I got skills for writing.

Friends are those awesome people you want to have around you to share the good times and hopefully bear with you when you’re having a hard time and support you no matter what you do in life and tell you the truth when you need it. You can always support your friends and be there for them, but at the end of the line, everyone has to make the right decision what is best for them in their career, love and life. Friends are their to support you no matter what decision you make.

TPM:Since you deal with a lot of great hip hop artists for your stories, you make a distinctive point to let readers know that you are not a groupie. Why do you think that you need to explain yourself?

EO: {laughs} Well, I also state that I’m not a journalist nor a photographer because when I started my blog a few years ago, if you were not in one of those 3 categories, it is very hard for a regular person, meaning, a person who just listens to the radio and sees her favorite artists only on music videos or a concert here and there, and who decides that she wants to take a Polaroid picture of Pharrell Williams one day, that world seemed a bit locked for me and I felt that I had to state the fact that if you come from that point of view, it really isn’t a walk in the park to get those Polaroids. And trust me, sometimes it still isn’t.

At that time, bloggers were slowly coming up, but the only people I saw who were entitled in that backstage environment were actual journalist and writers, concert photographers and yes, the girls, who somehow popped up from occasion to occasion. (And not necessarily always in the cliché kind of way) .But in all honesty, in the few years I’m doing this blog now, I have rarely seen something out of the box. Or maybe I’m just not around when that shit happens.

TPM: You openly admit that you are a really shy person, where does your daringness to literally chase down some of your favorite musicians come from?

EO:I’m shy when I’m put in a situation where I have to open up real fast to people I don’t really know. With the blog I ironically put myself in that situation every single time. You only have one chance to get what you want and then you have to convince an artist/entourage to take you into their environment. I had to learn how to do that in a way. This blog has been a learning process for me when it comes to being assertive in situations and not giving up. I write about it, to also tell people that they don’t have to think that I’m walking everywhere guns blazing with like a waterfall of self-confidence and that it is just human to turn red and stutter and fall over your feet. It’s the Bridget Jones part in me that I’m trying to embrace.

TPM: The Pearl Mic motto is to “Be Bold, Beautiful and Brilliant. Give us your perspective on what it takes to be a bold, beautiful and brilliant woman.

EO: As a woman, I think it means that you have to try and love yourself foremost, no matter how you look like because you project that to the outside, that you have to figure out what you really want in this lifetime and try to pursue that with a passion, in both career and family life and trying to be gracious along the way. And try to be as independent as you possibly can.

TPM: Outside of Polaroid Story, you have your hands in many hats: photographer, journalist (even though you don’t admit it), producer, art director. How are you able to do it all?

EO: The blog is something I started on the side. It’s not my fulltime profession.
I wish! It’s a passion that went out of control. I still don’t consider myself a journalist, because I have a profound respect for that profession. I just use my basic Q&A high school skills when I have the chance to do an interview with an artist. In that way I can provide something extra for my readers.

So besides the blog I have spent the last few years with different projects that kind of organically came into my life via work. After I stopped working for a press agency I worked almost 2 years for, I had some time to think where I wanted to go professionally in my life. I started to take more pictures, I started to use the camera and make little snippet movies, I started to produce photoshoots to help out friends, I became more and more interested in online media and the platform possibilities it can offer.

I trust that time will show me in what direction I need to go but for the meanwhile If I feel like executing it an idea, and I have the time, energy & enthusiasm for it. I’ll do it. You learn a lot from simply executing ideas.
I still feel that I’m in a experimental phase and I still have a lot to learn.

TPM:You stop modeling because you were dissatisfied with that profession. What are you content with doing for the rest of your life?

EO: I became dissatisfied with modeling being the only thing in my life, and I didn’t want to fall for the trap to chase top model dreams that are simply not meant to be. I still love to shoot but I’m very happy that I decided to explore other qualities I had and that I wanted to learn and evolve in. I don’t have a diploma, so if you only have modeling on your resume, and you stick too long with it, you might miss out on very use full work opportunities that you’ll need if you want a proper job and you don’t have that necessary degree to be considered. By that time I did the modeling and I worked in a bar and I didn’t want that to be my only options, so I decided to quit the fulltime modeling aspirations and started to look for a job where I could grow in.

I think I’ll be a very happy girl If I could keep doing what I do now, and evolve from one thing to the other, meet new people, and have the possibility to travel from time to time and make a small living out of it.

TPM:Any upcoming projects that you would like to share?

EO:I’ll still continue to write my stories of course. I carefully made the decision to take the blog out of the virtual and into the real world by throwing a party or 2 -maybe 3 – in 2011. Very curious how that will work out, because again, I don’t really know what I’m doing. I even consider to write about that progress.

And, I’m doing something really exciting together with the Japanese brand Onitsuka Tiger in a few months…something I’m very happy with, because it’s the first real collaboration with a brand for A Polaroid Story and I’m very honoured that they considered me.

Visit A Polaroid Story for Ouni’s super cool updates and feel free to tweet her too.

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