LAASSO in collaboration with Amsterdam based photographer, Angela Huizer, photographed and interviewed the beautiful Sisters Janssen, Tisjia and Ziarah and their mother Helen. We discussed what sisterhood means to them, what they stand for in the fashion industry and where they find their inspiration. Tisja and Ziarah are Sisters Janssen. Born in Curaçao and living in Amsterdam, they are sisters and artists.
What is Sisters Janssen?
Tisja: Sisters Janssen is founded by me and my sister Ziarah, a platform we created to combine our passions to inspire and motivate by visually communicating our beliefs. We felt we needed to tell our story together - to create together, make our own rules. Create more from our roots- being mixed. We combine two minds into one piece, the mind of a painter and the mind of a conceptual artist.We believe and strive for an inclusive and colourful future in every sense of the word.
What does sisterhood mean to you?
We feed each other's souls, with love energy and so much creativity. It sounds a little corny but we truly feel better when doing things together. We both have more confidence, drive, fun, and inspiration.
What do you admire most about one another? What do you teach each other?
Ziarah: The thing I admire the most in Tisja is her true voice. She is so real. She will always be honest and will tell me the truth. She teaches me to stay true to myself and my beliefs. I try to teach Tisja that she can do anything if she will believe in herself and her creativity.
Tisja: The way Zizi makes me feel. With her, I feel like I am on top of the world. All my flaws don’t matter and it’s just me and her. I try to push her sometimes, gently. To give her that little motivation that she needs to conquer the world with her creativity. Because her talent is endless.
What is most important in your relationship with your sister?
Tisja: Unconditional love and the yin and yang way of moving through each others energy and soul. I fill up her holes and she feels up mine.
Ziarah: That she feels loved and that she is irreplaceable.
What do you stand for? What do you want to accomplish as sisters?
We stand for a colourful future and focus on celebrating the beauty of black women and the beauty of all kinds of women.
What would you like to see change in the fashion industry?
A representation of every kind of woman, in every shape and colour or just being.
What does an anti-racism look and feel like?
Free to just be! To feel free. No judgement, no hate, no fear. People are afraid of being theirselves because we live in a world where everyone wants to put you in boxes but what if you don’t fit in any box?
What energizes you? What gives your strength?
Creativity, honesty, love, sincerity, authenticity and our family! Our father custom designing and making all of the furniture in our house. Our mother with her ongoing art pieces and free minded soul, our brother’s acting/writing talent and soon becoming the best father for his little daughter.
What does womanhood mean to you?
Mother nature. Mother nature; (sometimes known as Mother Earth or the Earth Mother) is a personification of nature that focuses on the life-giving and nurturing aspects of nature by embodying it, in the form of the mother. With this being said, the most powerful and beautiful creatures out there.
How does your mother inspire you?
Our mother inspires us with the way she moves, with the way she thinks, with the way she creates. Her vision and her free minded way of thinking is what has shaped the women we are today. She a sky is the limit mindset in every aspect of our life.
How has your personal style influenced one another?
We naturally influence each other. We value each other's opinion very much and therefore give each other a different view/perception on things. Tisja observes more in a conceptual way, which always is her starting point, with Ziarah starting more from her intuition. Together it works very powerfully.
What is the most important life lesson that you want to teach your daughters?
They are such beautiful strong ladies. My goal has always ben for then to be themselves. To be who they are and to stand by what they believe in.
How do you see yourself in your daughter's artwork?
They make their unique own style. The focus on the strong black woman is something we have in common.
What do you value most in your life?
I think it is very important to stay true to yourself, value your own worth, that will result in being a loving and healthy person, you will value family, people in general, nature.
What inspires you? What motivates you?
I am motivated to be the best I can be, by listening to my intuition and my inner guide.
How have other women in your life lifted you up?
By listening and supporting me through the difficult times.