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Ruth Dradi on the power of finding your creative outlet

PHOTOGRAPHER – KRISTINA YENKO
STYLIST – SINEAD HARGREAVES
HAIR AND MAKEUP – ROSE LETHO
TALENT – RUTH DRADI
WORDS BY MAEVE KERR-CROWLEY

Charming people.

This is the third in a new series titled Charming People, where we dive into what expression means to four inspiring women. It is made in partnership with Pandora, celebrating a new collection of miniature Pandora Me charms, earrings and carriers designed to help you better express yourself. 

“Last year mentally, physically and emotionally was the hardest year I’ve had,” shares artist, jeweller, model and genuinely nice person, Ruth Dradi.

She’s the third in our Charming People series, an exploration into self-expression with four local creatives. For Ruth, this conversation necessarily involves talking about her struggles, as well as her triumphs.

“I guess I just wasn’t functioning. I was trying to figure out who I was, what I wanted to do with myself, where I was going to go in life.”

It’s a storyline that will resonate with many of us. Coined the quarter-life crisis, this uncertainty of self is common among people in their 20s and can have quite serious impacts on a person’s physical, mental and emotional wellbeing.

For Ruth, the uncertainty blossomed around this time last year, when she felt she was losing control of her life. She had moved from Adelaide to Melbourne, and was hit by the pressure of finding identity and purpose in an unfamiliar place. It was a more intense struggle than she’d anticipated.

“I used to get angry at myself when things didn’t work out the way I thought they should,” she says.

One of the first things you notice about Ruth, however, is her gentle resoluteness. She has a passionate yet matter-of-fact way of talking about her feelings, and a striking practicality, all of which seem to have held her in good stead throughout this period.

Rejecting a looming sense of helplessness, with resolve and determination she found a proactive way to hold herself to her ideals: through art.

It began as a therapeutic hobby. “When I realised I needed to find a way to help myself and feel good again, I would just force myself to scribble a line here and there and get into it,” she says.

This line-by-line approach (which is also a great metaphor for life), has heavily influenced her artistic style, which includes a lot of single-line abstract visuals. “Then I gradually built into it until art became my main thing,” she says. “I call myself an artist now.”

For Ruth, the physical act of creating something is not just a form of stress-relief. She is also using art to further share something about her as a person. “I’m tying in my culture and how I express myself within my culture. So some of my work represents that,” she says.

There’s a similar motivation behind Ruth’s personal style, with fashion an important medium to communicate her own identity.

“You have a soul that nobody can see,” says Ruth. “For me, it’s connected to your outer self. I want people to somehow see what’s on the inside, through how I look and what I do.”

Her dedication to self-compassion and improvement is also evident in her jewellery-making, where she incorporates a variety of stones for emotional and spiritual healing.

You’re likely to catch sight of a new creation while flicking through her Instagram story. Framed by her photographer’s eye, stones of moss agate (for new beginnings), quartz  (for protection against negativity) and garnet (for staying grounded) spin in the light like visual manifestations of Ruth’s priorities.

Chakras aside, Ruth largely describes a process of slowly coaching herself to self-love and compassion.

“I taught myself to change my mindset and talk to myself nicely,” she says. “I didn’t have enough patience, so I taught myself to be patient. I taught myself to be positive.”

Ruth credits this positive thinking for her ability to love herself and as a result, her ability to express herself. Though, she clarifies, this self-love only extends to most of the time; everybody alive has their moments of self-doubt.

The way she explained it was this: when you’re happy with yourself and believe you’re being the best version of you, you’re inherently more comfortable. Comfort then leads to authenticity which, for Ruth, is a worthy goal.

Ruth wears bracelets, charms and earrings from the Pandora Me collection, which is now available at Pandora stores and online. Browse and shop the full collection here and read about our other Charming People here.

pandora.net


Styling credits

LOOK ONE
LIMB
TOP, HANDSOM PANTS, CONVERSE SHOES, PANDORA ME BRACELETS, CHARMS AND EARRINGS
LOOK TWO
MODEL’S OWN JACKET, JEANS AND T-SHIRT, PUMA SHOES, PANDORA ME BRACELETS, CHARMS AND EARRINGS
LOOK THREE
STAN RAY
JACKET AND PANTS, LIMB T-SHIRT, CONVERSE SHOES, PANDORA ME BRACELETS, CHARMS AND EARRINGS
 
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