The lady closing our Summer wandering pinup is a flamboyant redhead with a fascinating multi-cultural background. Bonnie is just returning from an extensive time in Russia and moving to complete her studies in London. The lady has also fulfilled one of my dearest dream, travelling aboard of the mythic Transsiberean and travelled in Kazakhstan, much respect !
It was only fair to invite her to be a part of my Wandering Pin-up to get some tips and most of all learn from her experience and incredible travels. Best of luck for your new London life.
Tell us a bit more about yourself ? Where are you from? Where do you live? What do you do?
Hello, my stage name is Bonnie Parker. I am a student in London and an amateur photo model. The question “Where are you from?” is hard to answer, haha. By nationality, I am French and Russian, but I was born in Italy and lived there, in Milan. I also lived in Paris and Lyon, France, for more than 10 years, and one year in Moscow, Russian Federation. I recently moved to the UK.
How having such a multicultural background affects your identity ? Does it affect your passion for travelling as well ?
Having this great international background is a gift! It made me, I think, tolerant and open-minded, as well as passionate about cultures and languages. I have been travelling almost every two months with my parents since I was born, so I got to discover a lot of different countries, and now that I am on my own, I am still wandering everywhere I can. And, also, as I was speaking different languages as a child, it helped me learn other languages faster as I grew up. Now I fluently (more or less) speak five languages (French, Russian, Italian, English and Spanish) and am always learning some others like Korean and Chinese. My parents often switch from one language to another mid-sentence. Plus, the fact that I lived in different countries as a child makes it really easy for me to leave a place and learning about locals’ habits by trying to adapt myself.
You are a well-travelled lady indeed, what has been your most memorable trips so far?
I think I have three memorable trips: the USA, Russia and Kazakhstan. I have always been a great fan of the American culture (especially from the 50’s and 80’s), so when I went to New York, it was a dream coming true! The sad fact is that I was 14 and with my parents, so I didn’t get to do everything I wanted, haha, so I’m looking forward to going again!
The second one was during my year in Russia, where I had the chance to follow the Transsiberian route, from Moscow to Vladivostok (next to Japan and North Korea) only by train, with more than 9000km, nine different time zones, many different landscapes, ethnicities, religions and cultures. It was a one-of-a-kind experience. We chose (with my friends) the 3rd class, which is the lowest one in the train. It’s about less than 2 m² per person, where there’s no doors, no showers, and where all Russian social classes are gathered. Everyone tends to share their life, facts about themselves, and hopes about their journey.
Foreigners are rare, so when locals meet some, they get very excited and eager to learn about them. Usually, people take the train for 3-4 hours, but in the Transsiberian, it can be from 10 to 30 hours to reach another big city. 10 hours seem like two, eventually, as we get used to it and live according to the train rhythm. We spent one week altogether in the train, and one week outside, in seven different cities.
The third one was Kazakhstan, also during my year in Russia. We rent a car with my friends and went on a road trip through the south of Kazakhstan and the north of Kyrgyzstan. We ate and slept at locals’, so it was an amazing experience! People were so welcoming and taught us their Muslim traditions and cultures. We had quite a lot of misadventures (like getting lost without cash or gas), but it was a lot of fun! There, you could see so many different landscapes in such a small area, like dunes, frozen waterfalls, canyons, steppes, and many more. I will never forget them!
If a fairy godmother would come to you one day and grant you the wish to have the trip of your dreams what would it look like?
I have many travel wishes, but the one that first pops in my head is Central Australia and New Zealand! I love the aboriginal culture, and everything related to their spirituality, like the Dreamtime era. So I would love to go to Uluru and attend spiritual ceremonies.
Let’s talk about style now! Here at Pinup Abroad we love to exchange tips and tricks on how to be a perfect vintage wanderer. How would you describe your style while travelling?
I always have kind of the same style while travelling, but it depends on the weather, of course. I usually wear flats, because I love hiking and exploring all day, so I don’t want to spend the end of the day in pain. During the winter, I usually wear high-waisted pants with lots of sweaters and try to put vintage accessories like bandanas which are very convenient for travelers (I just made an exception for Russia and Kazakhstan as the temperature was between -40 and -10 degrees, so I wore layers and layers without caring about my fashion sense, haha). For summer, it’s always high-waisted shorts with band or nerdy t-shirts.
What are your favourite items to bring along in your suitcase ?
I am always bringing my red bandana, which I got from my grand-mother who’s very important to me, wherever I go. For clothes, it’s my high-waisted light blue jeans and black navy shorts. It always suits everything, it’s magical! For shoes, I like to keep it simple, so tennis shoes for summer and soldier boots for winter.
Talking about brands, which ones do you find the most travel friendly ?
I love to bring my Top Vintage clothes! They never get wrinkly and are very light and thin. I also love LeBombShop, which offers a lot of basics, like 50’s style skirts (and the fact that they’re cheaper is very attractive for a student like me!). The clothes are not as light as Top Vintage ones, since the fabrics are thick, but they never get wrinkly and suit everything, so it’s still convenient.
How do you manage to do your hair and makeup when you can’t carry all your beauty items ?
I always carry five make-up items: my red lipstick, mascara, eye liner, brow pencil and concealer. I usually do the same make up every day, except for shootings or great occasions, for example. So, it’s not that difficult to bring them with me. Yet, in not-so-comfortable situations like camping, I usually just put some mascara and brow pencil. Concerning hair, mine is very curly, so I just let them free, without styling them, because it’s hard to find an easy vintage hairstyle on-the-go. In that case I just put my red bandana on, and no one sees if I styled them or no, haha! Also, bobby pins are a saver!
Moving on packing tips ! How do you manage to bring a capsule wardrobe ? What are your best packing tips ?
My best advice is to bring basic clothes, and if possible, light ones. For me, it’s high-waisted jeans, which I usually wear during the flight as it’s quite heavy and big (space-saver!), high-waisted black pants for when Mother Nature decides to show up, high-waisted navy shorts, vintage jean shorts, and t-shirts. Forget about blouses! They always get wrinkly and are not so convenient to fold in the backpack or suitcase (actually, it’s a nightmare to fold them). Also, another famous traveler trick is to roll the clothes to save some space. It works, haha! My bandana is not only a fashion accessory, but also convenient if it’s windy and can save you from a cough, and it doesn’t take a lot of space.
Last but not least, give us a quick tour of what’s hot to do for a Pin Up gal in Russia since you have spent quite a bit of time there lately ?
Russia is special and you have to bear in mind that it’s neither European nor Asian, it’s something in-between and one-of-a-kind. So, first of all, you have to know basic Russian (take a small book), because nobody speaks English (except some students and in St-Petersburg, where they are almost fully Europeanized). St-Petersburg is more for art lovers, rather than vintage lovers. So, if you want a truly vintage-style experience, go to Moscow! You can still feel the USSR era, with all the army and Lenin statues, the huge buildings, the Red Square with all the soldiers, the GUM (the biggest shopping mall which is from the 19th century), which still has the old architecture and where you can feel this special Russian atmosphere: people eat the famous GUM’s ice cream while walking with a 19th century-like music playing on. If you’re a vintage gal passionate about History, I advise you to visit all the History Museums like the one on the Red Square, and the one about the Great Patriotic War, where there’s a lot of real tanks! Also, May 9th is the greatest holiday of Russia, when they commemorate the World War II’s veterans and victory. You have a tank parade and it’s really impressive if you love vintage things and History. I would also advise you to walk on the Arbat street, which is an emblematic street of Moscow, full of History and where you can feel the special Russian atmosphere which I described for the GUM. Concerning fashion, Russia is more trend-oriented, so vintage markets are quite rare and very expensive, so I would not recommend going. I hope I advised you well!
Thank you, Ava, for giving me this opportunity, I truly appreciate it!
Find Bonnie online