By Ana Pavon
Tell us about your origins… Where you’re from, where you grew up and where you did your university degree.
I was born in Malaga, and I was in Marbella until I was 10, but as my mother’s American and my parents divorced when I was little, I’d travel a lot to the United States with her, and also to England. After a time in England, I came back to Marbella and studied here until the age of 10, when I moved to Tennessee, in the south of the United States, where I went to an American high school. At the age of 17, I went to Paris on my own and studied History of Art and Marketing (Fashion Marketing).
Has being an only child influenced you?
I’d say so, because it’s made me very independent, and I’m also a person who needs to enjoy some alone time. I believe that being an only child made me mature very quickly.
As I mentioned before, I lived alone from the age of 17 to 25. I don’t have siblings, but as a child, I had a very close relationship with my grandparents. In my personal life, having them and their unconditional support has helped me a lot.
As a child, what did you want to be? Did you have a vocation?
Yes, I’ve always wanted to work with the environment. My true vocation is to help others.
When I was a child, my reference was Greenpeace… And then, when I was 18 years old, I was lucky enough to do an internship in Geneva, at the United Nations, and that left a lasting mark on me.So yes, since I was a child, working on environmental projects has always been my passion.
You give the impression of being a fragile, reserved, introverted woman… But now that I’m with you, I feel that you’re the opposite, I see you as a woman who’s strong, determined, approachable and very affectionate. Who is the real Kenza Eyzaguirre?
That’s a difficult question (she laughs). But the truth is, I love being surrounded by people, my work’s always very social, although I do need some time to myself too, like everyone…
I consider myself a very affectionate, transparent person, and I always find the good in everyone.
I’m of the opinion that it’s very important to surround yourself with different people. I love cultural diversity because each person brings something new.
You can learn from everyone and that’s very good. You have to have an open mind and be receptive in order to grow as a person.
You lived in Paris, the city of love, for 17 years… Do you consider yourself a romantic woman? What would you highlight about Paris?
I lived in Paris for 8 years. I went there when I was 17 years old, and I feel that I owe this magnificent city so much.
I was lucky to work in fashion, and aesthetically speaking, it opened my eyes to the world of beauty. I consider myself very privileged to have had the opportunity to work for many of the established family brands in France. This opened my eyes to the world of fashion, refinement and of course, to the world of art and architecture that can be found in every street and every corner of Paris. I learned a lot about impressionist and classical art, as while I was studying in Paris, we would go to museums or churches every day. This was part of the learning process, and I consider it a luxury. It’s enriched me culturally and emotionally.
But to get back to your first question, unfortunately, I don’t consider myself very romantic, although obviously I find the city of Paris especially romantic, its nights… walking the streets of Paris, especially at night, is lovely, the city is so beautiful! Invaluable!
As for my romantic side, I consider myself a sensitive, nostalgic woman, I love music… I think that is my romantic side… And Paris has influenced me a lot in that sense!
In present times, frivolity is commonplace… Many men and women are resorting to cosmetic surgery, compulsive shopping, also in decoration… This generation is more perfectionist and non-conformist. What do you think about this? Do you see any sense in it?
I think it’s a pity that society is becoming obsessed in this sense, because, as you say, it’s a frivolous world, and in the end, it doesn’t bring you happiness. It’s a shame. What really makes you happy isn’t changing aesthetically or wearing fashion brands, what makes you happy – and this has been studied – is helping others.
Fortunately, I also see that there’s now a “social movement” of some people and schools concerned about the world, the environment and sustainability… I think we should focus our attention more on this perspective, and strive to create a better world… It’s possible!
However, I do know that you’re doing great humanitarian work. Tell us, how and where did the idea of helping people in underdeveloped countries, such as Kenya, come about?
I was fortunate to be working with Daniel Shamoon, the owner of the Hotel. He’s a great Ambassador of WORLD VISION for England. And, for years, he’s helped out in many projects, especially in the areas of Africa and Kenya… I’ve been lucky enough to accompany him on his trips to visit the projects he collaborates with, and at the same time, we raise funds with the events we hold here at the Hotel for the WORLD VISION GALA, which is held every August. A beautiful gala…
We’ve 250 guests, a show, singers… For me, it’s the most beautiful and important event of the year. I help to organise these galas, and with the funds raised, we’re going to visit the projects we have in Kenya.
My first trip changed my life. For my part, I want to keep helping, and I recently walked a marathon in Madrid to raise funds for the We Are Water Foundation. There’s severe drought in Kenya, unfortunately, and the children miss school as they have to walk many kilometres every day just to get water. We do this walk as a symbol of what they do, in order to raise funds for them.
I want to hold more fundraising events to really help these sectors of the population. This is needed in Marbella: more awareness to eradicate as much poverty as possible. And we must all take responsibility in this endeavour (from our places of work, personally, each family and political, educational and cultural institution…).
Together we can help, and save the future of millions of children who don’t have the same opportunities as we do.
There is an ever-increasing number of people who are gaining awareness and responsibility regarding food, and from this perspective, opt for veganism as a way to protect the planet. What led you to become vegan? Moral, health or aesthetic reasons?
Well, I think me being vegan was inherited. My mother was already a vegan, and of course, I learned from her.
She never pressured me, but I grew up with this education in food, and the result today is that her influence, and later, my studies on food and the environment, have ultimately made me choose this life and food philosophy. Now, moreover, I’m a somewhat ‘radical’ vegan, since my diet is based on raw food of vegetable origin, which is known by the name of ‘raw veganism’. In other words, I don’t eat meat, fish, eggs, dairy… Nothing processed, nor any food subjected to cooking…
If we read and study in depth, “the issue of farms… is a scandal”, pesticides… I’ve adopted this life philosophy because, in addition to feeling healthy, it makes me feel good, and I believe that I’m contributing to helping the environment… There’s a documentary, “What the Health”, which I recommend you watch, as it has helped many people change their diet.
Your passion for fashion has been rewarded with a long career in Paris with important international companies… Are you yearning to go back to work in the fashion sector some day?
I worked for Boucheron in the Place Vendome, in luxury jewellery, I did an internship there. The oldest jewellery store in France.
I also worked for Chanel and Corto Moltedo, who’s the son of the founder of Bottega Veneta, it’s a younger, trendier brand of Bottega Veneta. I was fortunate to work closely with him in marketing. My last job in Paris was at the American company, Mint Buying Office, (Saks Fifth Avenue NY). I worked at its Paris office, for the American department for all the buyers when they came to Paris during Fashion Week. We organized the shows, the collections… It was a very intense job, but very interesting for me.
It’s fortunate that in my position in Marbella, I get to organise many fashion events. I used to do it at MC Café, in the Marbella Club, and now we hold fashion shows every year at the Sea Grill, which have been met with a positive response and are proving highly successful: Salvatore Ferragamo, Elisabetta Franchi, La Perla, Virginia Macari…
We’re currently working on a project in Puente Romano, a luxury shopping centre with top fashion firms. We’re going to present it soon, and it will be very important for Marbella, as we’ll be bringing important international firms.
Kenza, you’ve proven yourself to be a very versatile woman. Some may not be aware of your role in the art world. You worked for one of the most important art galleries in Paris, the Moretti & Moretti Gallery, which is particularly known for Street Art, and is now located in Marbella, in the Marbella Club Hotel and in NOBU HOTEL. What led you to work in the art world, and what have you learned from it?
Hubertus Hohenlohe invited me to a photography exhibition at an art gallery, Moretti & Moretti, when I lived in Paris. I was lucky enough to meet and get to know the owners personally. Two years later, I came back to Marbella and Hubertus invited me to a party at his house, and I met the gallery owners again, who were two brothers, ‘the Moretti brothers’.
At that time, they opened a gallery in the Marbella Club, the one we know today, and as they had to go to Paris for various reasons, they asked me to take charge of the gallery.
And so I did, I confirmed my intention to take charge of the Gallery in their absence, and one weekend I went to Ibiza. Unfortunately, while I was there, one of the brothers died. It was so tragic! So I came back and was in charge of the Gallery along with Patrick for a year, and I was there for him during that time. Since then we’ve had a very close relationship.
This year he’s opened a gallery in Puente Romano. Patrick has some magnificent works in Paris, a large collection with a lot of potential, and now we’re going to open a gallery in Ibiza, with Daniel’s help. He’s been a good client of Moretti for many years, and now we’re going to work on some great projects.
You currently work in the exclusive Puente Romano Hotel. Tell us briefly about your career path since your beginnings in the Hotel.
Although I grew up in Marbella, I didn’t know Daniel personally. My mother studied with his mother in London, and my family did know her family but, as I lived abroad, I didn’t.
As I told you earlier, I worked at the Moretti & Moretti Gallery for a year, and started organising events to promote the different artists’ exhibitions… I became known to the hotel group for the events I organised, and they asked me to help them as public relations of the Hotel…
I’ve gradually taken on more responsibilities, and my position has continued developing to this day.
It was three years ago that Daniel asked me to get involved in a new project. The new project was the creation of what we know today as the OWNERS CLUB. For this purpose, and along with him, I started to make a list of the most influential people in Marbella (the established Marbella-born families, as my family had lived here for many, many years and we had a lot of acquaintances), and that’s how this interesting club, OWNERS CLUB, started.
You tend to travel a lot for work… Do you have an anti-stress routine?
I love to travel, so I honestly enjoy all my trips… I don’t have any stress, or very little! I’m a very calm person, so stress doesn’t affect me much.
But I do walk 10 or 15 km, and this, you could say, is an anti-stress routine that I do every day. I need that me-time…
a)Your favourite film?I have a lot! I love Memoirs of a Geisha, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, To Catch a Thief, The Lover… All the classics, in general.
b) A fear? I’m not afraid of anything, I’m very spiritual.
c) A book you’d recommend? At the moment I don’t have much time for reading. Hemingway, when I was little, I loved reading about all his travels, a true American adventurer; Rhonda Byrne, the author of Self Help books, such as The Secret; the Russian writer, Pushkin, and François Sagan, a French writer.
d) A woman you consider charismatic, or is an icon for you, and why?
I’ve always admired Jackie Kennedy’s sister (Lee Radziwill). She was avant-garde for her time, and worked as public relations and ambassador for many fashion brands. An adventurous, interesting, intellectual woman. Another woman I admire is Amal Clooney, for her humanitarian work and her intelligence; Angelina Jolie for her projects in Cambodia and Africa. And another is Jane Goodall, for her help in conserving animal welfare, especially chimpanzees. Her studies turned around and revolutionised the knowledge that existed on human beings and their behaviour, making comparisons with the studies carried out on chimpanzees.
e) A man you admire?
My two grandfathers, of course, who always took such good care of their family, and my father, for his great loyalty to the family; Daniel Shamoon, because he is a great entrepreneur, a visionary, always having interesting, innovative ideas… The good thing about him is that he’s very humble, despite his position, he has a big heart for all those who work for him, and for everything he’s doing in all his humanitarian projects; John Thomson because he is a great professional, and also Donald Trump, because despite the controversies that have always surrounded him, I admire his management, both politically and as president of the USA (improvement in the economy and decrease in unemployment), as well as on a family level, as he gave his children a very strict education, and nowadays all of them work with him.
f) Your favourite perfume?
Black Opium, and my friend Moretti also brings me GIGI by Givenchy from Paris, and I love it!