Photo Elizabeth Kiikka
Who are you?
My name is Milja Laakso. I am a 22-year-old International Business student living in Tampere. I guess I could describe myself as a young aspiring photographer with dreams to someday become an art and fashion photographer.
What did you want to be when you were a child?
I never really had my mind set on anything specific when I was younger. I was interested in horseback riding and for years I thought I would be a professional dressage rider. However, through my riding hobby I also started taking pictures when I was at the stables and that was when I found photography. My parents saw then that I had an eye for capturing pretty pictures. Maybe at the age of about 10. Ever since they have encouraged me to take more pictures, and now here I am.
What does success mean to you?
To me, success means loving your job and what you do for a living. Never hating to get up in the morning to go to the office because work doesn’t feel like work. When you do what you love and can live a comfortable life while doing it that is true success.
What quote inspires and motivates you to be yourself and do what you love?
“Surround yourself with people who push you to be your best self.” I have a very close group of friends and they mean the world to me. They keep on cheering and supporting me no matter what and I know they will always have my back. After letting go of some toxic relationships, I got the courage to be my true self and feel more comfortable in my own skin.
What does the world need more of? Less of?
The world needs more love. We need to love our planet and not keep on destroying it. Less waste. These things are important and need to be kept in mind. Try your best no matter how small the effort. It makes a difference. We shouldn’t take everything we have on this planet for granted, because someday we might not have the things we are used to now.
Name a woman you admire or look up to.
My mother. Always. She is so elegant. She is also very strong minded. I am so proud of her. I always ask her opinion and want to hear her side of things. Even though I might disagree with her sometimes, she has taught me to think from different perspectives. She has taught me compassion and how to be an independent woman.
What characteristics do you most admire in other creative women?
Genuine, open and courageous women.
What’s your favorite thing to come home to after a long day of work?
When I used to live with my parents the best thing after a long day was when I was greeted at the door by our happy (and very loud) jack russell terrier, Elli. Her tail wags always so much sometimes I think it might fall down. Now when living alone I love just putting my feet up and relaxing after a long day. You can find me either on the couch or in my bath!
Which of your traits are you the most proud of?
I am a highly sensitive person. I used to think it was a weakness to be sensitive, but to be honest, now I think that is my most valuable trait. I see things a bit differently, I feel things a bit stronger and I think that is the essence of who I am.
What surprises people most about you?
Some people are surprised to hear about where I am from. I am half Sri Lankan from my mother’s side and half Finnish from my father’s side. No one ever guesses the Sri Lankan part right!
What was your first job?
My very first summer job was helping in a local garden. I woke up early in the morning and went to pick weeds and put soil to baby trees. I hated it then but now looking back it was pretty easy and I remember how beautiful it was to go to work on my scooter in the warm morning sun. Memories grow sweeter with time I guess.
Who is your style icon and why?
I can’t say I have one style icon because I find inspiration from a lot of different people with very different styles. As I said before I admire my mother’s style as she is always very elegant. Just to name a few people I’ll say that at the moment my favorite fashion designer is Brandon Maxwell because every piece of clothing he makes is gorgeous. I recommend checking out his designs and videos from his previous runway shows. I also keep getting inspiration style wise from a Swedish blogger Lisa Olsson. I love her minimal Scandinavian style and her pictures are so nice!
What are you most grateful for?
My family and friends. Also everyone who see potential in me.
What’s the weirdest thing about you?
My humor. I make the worst jokes and I can be really awkward at times. I guess it’s because when I get comfortable with people I tend to not think before I say something stupid and silly.
What are you excited for when you wake up in the morning?
Breakfast! My boyfriend has taught me to love having a good breakfast. He makes the best scrambled eggs and sometimes I am excited about having breakfast with him already the evening before.
Did you go to college?
What do you want to be doing in ten years?
In ten years’ time I hope to have had many successful photo exhibitions and to have shot covers for known magazines. I want to own my own company and to have made a difference somehow in getting Finnish brands more known in the world. I also see myself owning a beautiful apartment in some big city in Europe and having my own family.
Why did you choose to intern at Fedited?
I couldn’t have gotten a better place to do my practical training internship. I have been watching Fedited grow from the start and have also been a part of its growth through my mother’s company. I see so much potential in the company as well as in Sarianne and Emmi and their ideas and dreams. I want to learn from them, get inspired and motivated to someday run my own company. I also want to help as much as I possibly can because I believe in the Fedited ideology.
Why do you want to work in fashion?
I want to express myself by capturing memorable shots of beautiful clothing and styles and people.
The best piece of advice you’ve been given?
“Don’t jump into things too fast. When making big decisions always give yourself time before giving your final answer to anything.“