NAGNATA's Laura May created the brands latest NAGNATA GIRL series in LA with Lilli Johnson and Stav Ben Zur. Photographed on film by filmmaker and photographer Emmanuelle Pickett.
Lilli and Stav wear styles from the MOVEMENT 003 collections of Organic Cotton technical knitwear complimented with the Merino Wool seamless peformance line.
Lilli grew up in a small fishing town in Alaska, and Stav a beach town in northern Israel. Laura May spoke with the girls to find out more about their culturally diverse and interesting backgrounds, and how their experiences growing up have shaped who they are today.
Also see the NAGNATA MOVEMENT dance video we made with Stav! Read all the way to the end.. the girl can move.
LAURA MAY : Lilli what was it like growing up in Alaska? I've never been but the natural wilderness seems so incredible and wild, with mountain ranges, glaciers, active volcanoes and lots of national parks.
LILLI (left) : I grew up in Homer, which is a small fishing town in south central Alaska. It's nestled in between the sea and the mountains and growing up in such a wild place has helped me to be confident, adventurous, and curious in most aspects of my life. I didn't have an understanding of how special Alaska was when I grew up there, but now that I've traveled all over the world, I can really appreciate how beautiful and unique my forever home is.
LAURA MAY : And now you're living in LA, how does your lifestyle compare?
LILLI: I'm currently living just east of LA in Pasadena. I like living in Pasadena because I am literally minutes from Angeles National Forest, which I visit multiple times a week. I also like being out of the business of LA, especially since I grew up in Alaska.
I'm a big believer that exercise is not a punishment for something you ate, but a celebration of what your body can do. I feel the best when I'm moving my body through hiking and there's nothing quite like reaching the top of a mountain and looking around you and thinking, "Hey! I did that! I climbed that!". In addition to hiking, I like to run and do yoga occasionally.
LAURA MAY : Stav we were speaking about your childhood which seemed free and fun and similar to an Australian youth's lifestyle living by the beach. In comparison to the compulsory time you served in the army after school. You shared with me some tough stories which made me reflect how lucky we are in Australia to have freedom of choice after we finish high school with the direction we wish to take our life. Can you tell me a little more about your time growing up in northern Israel?
STAV (below): Growing up in Ma'agan Michael, the best area in Israel was a privilege, especially in the kibbutz right by. We would skip school and to go to the beach and surf, skate and we hitch hiked everywhere .
Not Like everyone else, after we finish school at 18 and we join the army. Part of our training is to master our specific job. Guys serves for 3 years and girls for 2.
My journey, I would say that It was a hell of a ride ! I'm happy I’ve done it and happy its over. I can say that I was always down to earth, but that experience definitely changed something.
Now I live in Los Angeles and its so different that what I grew up in. It's pretty much like in the movies, everything is huge. Traffic, food, people, and when I say that I mean the people that I look up to here.
There was a time I lived in Malibu so seeing whales and dolphins while surfing was part of the routine.
LAURA MAY : Lilli you've had some interesting jobs over the years. You're only 19 and already been a sex education teacher and your modelling career is starting to build over here in LA. We loved the story you shot with Opening Ceremony. How are you finding the balance between college, modelling and other jobs? And you sing and play music too..
LILLI : I've had a bunch of odd jobs over the years, I've worked as a barista, waitress, receptionist, and I've even been sex education teacher. I just finished my sophomore year of college and balancing it with modeling was an art form. I've just made the decision to take a step back from school going forward in modeling because the balance was so difficult. Personally, I'd rather put more energy into one thing and do it well versus trying to do five things at once and doing them all okay.
I've always played the piano and I love to do that and sing as well. Music is something that is very individual for me, but I also love it on a collaborative level. Making music with my friends is one of the sweetest sounds in the world.
LAURA MAY : Lilli, you care a lot about sustainability and planet earth. We've shared some conversations of this nature together. What are your viewpoints around sustainability in fashion, and what does NAGNATA the brand embody for you now you've worked with us?
LILLI: I am ALL about sustainability in every aspect of my life, but especially in my clothing options. And now that I work in fashion, I think it's important now more than ever to educate people on the fashion industry's effect on the environment and climate change. NAGNATA leads by example and that's exactly the kind of energy that I get excited about and want to support and work with. Earth is all of our home and that means we all have to work together to make choices that are going to be the best for our home.
It has been so fun to work with you all at NAGNATA. I'll just reiterate this too; I really, really love the mission behind your brand. It's great to see people who care and are ready to make a difference!
LAURA MAY : Stav one of the reasons I was drawn to work with you, was because of the way you move! You sure can dance. I love the spontaneous dance video we made at the end of our shoot. You are fit and have an amazing energy and really embody an active lifestyle. Talk to me about your movement practices and what you're working on outside of modelling.
STAV: I dance, and between that i'll try to stay as active as I can be. If it's surfing or practicing yoga or more dancing. For my cardio I'll sprint with rollerblades.
While traveling it's pretty hard to stick to that mentality but you make it happen. In this opportunity i'd say I think we should have some room over there in the back of the plane, don’t you think?
I love taking videos, films and short films. I love the idea of telling a story on screen. But the thing I love the most is music through moving and that’s where I’m choreographing the pieces.
I have some projects coming out soon. But in the close future I'm seeing myself dedicating much more time to our planet.
LAURA MAY : Words to live by ?
LILLI : Think globally. Act locally.
STAV : A mistake that makes you humble is better than an achievement that makes you arrogant.
Now send me your playlists please.
LAURA MAY : Interesting books you are reading and documentaries you have watched?
LILLI : I just watched Angry Inuk, which is a documentary on Inuit seal hunting and it completely opened my eyes and changed my opinion on the practice. Highly recommend! I also just listened to an episode of the Ezra Klein Show (podcast) about digital burnout, basically why technology is making us all so stressed out.
STAV : I'm listening to Joe rogans talks and I watched Ted Bundy's documentary just recently.
I’m reading The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down by Haemin Sunim.
LAURA MAY : Stav, 3 words to describe yourself ?
STAV: Nice, super nice and different
LAURA MAY : How would your friends describe you ?
STAV: Crazy but nice and beautiful.