Natalija Martijan was born in Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, and moved to Charlotte as a teen. She earned an associate degree in interior design and architecture at Central Piedmont Community College, and a Bachelor of Arts in organizational communication from Queens University. This is her ninth season at Opera Carolina, where she is the director of client development and customer relations. Martijan married Michel Vanesse last November on the patio of Osso Restaurant & Lounge at the North Carolina Music Factory. Her first language is Russian, his first language is French, and they speak English in their family. Lynn Trenning, correspondent
Q. Tell me an outfit you wore as a child.
A. I had a grandma who lived in Odessa so I was shipped off in the summer. My mother and father would come later, and my mom would always bring me a new dress – like a china-doll dress, with a bow in the back and lacquered shoes with a little, little heel. I felt like a little princess.
Q. How does your sense of style help you do your job?
A. If you like who you are for what you are, it is transpired to people, and you smile, and people always respond to smiles. Since I’m on the customer side, it helps me to be more personable.
Q. How do you decide what to wear?
A. I wake up in the morning, and it always comes quick unless I have a complete wardrobe malfunction. If it rains, I often wear color just to brighten my own day. When it is a sunny day, I can go for something more black and white and formal.
Q. What did you wear on your wedding day?
A. One day I went to have a wedding experience (at a bridal store), and it was not an experience for me. We left, and I said “I don’t know what to do.” My friend took me New York Bride & Groom and grabbed a short, sparkly little fluffy dress; it was the only one like it in the store, and it was my size, and I put it on, and it made me giggle.
Q. Can you describe your style in three words?
A. Elegant, unexpected, daring.
Q. Where do you shop?
A. I like J.T. Posh. I love Copacetic in SouthPark Mall. She has evening clothes, she has everything clothes, she has stage clothes, from sparkly bras to accessories. She has very evocative/provocative clothing, and you can shop for professional or party. I like ivy & leo, in Founders Hall.
Q. Do you shop when you travel?
A. We have a second residence in Quebec City. It’s like Europe, with cobblestones and smaller stores, and that’s where I tend to shop because I know I won’t see it here. In Lithuania, I buy wonderful linen clothing. And they have lots of leather; they put amber into leather accessories.
Q. Do you have any fashion role models?
A. Out of the stars, I always admired Nicole Kidman. There is something elegant and sober about her, very French.
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