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Be. Forever

There’s a saying: True friends are like stars; they come out in the dark. In this issue, we invite you to leave all our recent troubles aside for a moment and to feel inspired by a very special friendship between two women. The journey of Beren and Belçim is the purest example of true friendship. We cannot help but feel awed by women holding each other tight so as not to fall off a cliff; women who gain their freedom against all odds, revolt against the patriarchal order of the world, occasionally get heartbroken or nonsensical like kids, and always find a way to meet halfway despite their polarities, embrace life, and see the world from one another’s perspective. Mahizer Aytaş imagined a dreamlike realm for Beren and Belçim and we’re visiting it through Serkan Şedele’s lens.

Two young girls meet at the set of a TV series in Kuruçeşme. Over the years, they work together, have fun together, and share the bittersweet moments, miracles, and secrets of life. In short, they grow together. Inspiring each and every one of us with their friendship which started almost fifteen years ago, Beren Saat and Belçim Bilgin say they feel like more than friends, like sisters now. When these two amazing women met for this photoshoot, we let them run with the interview since they would know each other best. They asked each other their own questions, making it a very personal and fun interview.

Belçim: Beren, how are you?

Beren: Great. I’m ready to start.

Belçim: Beren, what does friendship mean to you? Where do you position friendship

in your life?

Beren: Friendship used to be different when we were kids or teenagers. They were like companions you met as you were getting accustomed to life. Over the years, friends started to become family. Friends who have accompanied me on my journey are my family now; sometimes, they’re even closer than family. The concept of friendship has transformed into family for me.

Belçim: Alright, your question.

Beren: This question is based on a letter Einstein wrote to her daughter Lieserl.

Belçim: I love that letter.

Beren: Yes, this question is for that. I’m asking you this question because love is the “universal force” over everything else, and you’re a generous source that offers unconditional love for everyone around you. What’s the polar opposite of love for you? Is there an emotion that you find magnetically attractive but others regard as negative?

Belçim: I can say “hate” at the top of my mind when we’re talking about love’s polar opposite but…

Beren: Does hate draw you in?

Belçim: No, it doesn’t.

Beren: What could be an opposite emotion that attracts you?

Belçim: It’s not really opposite but I’m drawn by compassion. Love and compassion, mercy, trust, unconditional love and acceptance…

Beren: All those emotions that give strength to love.

Belçim: Yes. Naturally, we wouldn’t feel the presence of love if it weren’t for hate but I feel really bad when I experience hate. I prefer to turn towards love.

Beren: Shall we move on to the next question?

Belçim: Sure. Do you remember the first time and place we met? This is the first part of the question. The second part is this: Do you remember the first time you thought “Okay, we’re friends now. We’re companions”?

Beren: When we first met… I was 21. You visited us and Ms. Tomris on set. We met in Kuruçeşme. But when we met later on, we always talked about how we went to the same Subway after school and before the prep school in Ankara, how we could be in the same place at the same time without knowing each other. That we probably ran into each other long before we met.

Belçim: Probably at Kuğulu Park, or Tunalı Hilmi Street.

Beren: Of course, those could be coincidences but the other one is very clear. We could have been sitting right next to each other. I think that feeling of “Alright, this woman is here to stay” came to me when we were on the set of Güz Sancısı, after Hatırla Sevgili. It was a time when everything gained more depth, when we could be alone in the trailer, when the intensity and tone of our conversation started shifting.

Belçim: We liked each other during Hatırla Sevgili. It was a very loving set but we didn’t have many scenes together.

Beren: Yes, and it was always very crowded. It was a big team of young people. It had a different feeling but it was later when we started to have deeper conversations and to support one another. What year was it? I think it was 2007.

Belçim: Yes, I remember those conversations very well. It was around the same time for me too. I think you really became a sister to me when Rodin was born. Those few days in hospital rooms, which I could never forget... Remember how İrem, I, you, and Ayfer panicked to see if Rodien was breathing in that moment of crisis. We opened the door and the nanny was sleeping. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry but you took control. You said “Wait a second, alright,” and took Rodin into your arms. You stroked his back to make him burp and put him back to sleep. It was amazing.

Beren: Yes, Rodin’s birth was amazing; it brought us closer. Next question… I know the answer to this one. We talked about this many times throughout our journey over the years but I want others to hear it from you. You know how you can talk at length about being together, being one. What does it mean to you

Belçim Bilgin Dress : Özgür Masur

Belçim: I believe that all of us are experiencing the same soul in different bodies. You experience it as Beren and I experience it as Belçim. Everyone’s living their own individual story. In essence, we’re all the same and we have the same feelings. Where we come together is the source, the beginning of everything. But, one way or another, these masks life put on us cause us to fit ourselves into various shapes. When we shed these masks and make a true connection with each other in our essence, we’re experiencing a sense of oneness. Friendship is one of the best ways to experience this oneness. You feel their pain as your pain and their happiness as your happiness without any boundaries in your heart. This is what it means to be one, to grow together. You don’t have to have the same story. For instance, we both grew up in Ankara but one of us belongs to a family from the eastern part of the country while the other to a family who migrated here from across the sea. Although we changed countries many times and had different stories, we experienced being one. It’s like sharing our arms or eyes...

Beren: Yes, feeling as if we share the same consciousness, or even the same body…

Belçim: There’s also the fact that we’re so alike in our likes and preferences. This is what occasionally makes us wonder if this is what it feels like to have a soulmate.

Beren: There’s another thing I’m always thinking about. Life has always presented us with the experience of the other side of the coin through each other. You had a family before me, and I chose my career. So life showed us how it would feel to experience the other side of the coin.

Belçim: What do you think are the obstacles a friendship can experience in life? How is friendship tested?

Beren: I think ours began with a serious test. I remember how the experienced actors who came before us always told us that artists cannot befriend artists. It was something we heard all the time as we grew up. Despite the fact that we were raised by that culture and met on set, that we had the same build and were around the same age, that we started our acting journey on the same project, we were two young women who befriended each other and never had that competition. I think our biggest test was being able to be proud of each other in the beginning.

Belçim: I think we were very lucky because we had the chance to work together on the set of Hatırla Sevgili. We loved each other and believed in each other. It was a magic Ms. Tomris created. That she selected all of us one by one. We were also taught a lot by our teachers that we took it as a principle to become friends and to love and protect each other in that small garden.

Beren: Yes, Hatırla Sevgili taught us all about collective strength. I think friendship is also tested with time and different periods in life because both individuals change drastically and the world is changing so fast that friendship can do nothing but be tested by the change itself. You’re one person when you’re a student, and a different person when you have a job. You transform as you change cities, countries, and your social surroundings. You can be a completely different person when there’s someone in your life. Getting married, or becoming a parent - these are all different phases with very serious personal tests. Can two people, who are going through a transformation on their own, walk together?

Belçim: Yes, exactly, it’s about changing together. Even if you are not, it’s about witnessing, supporting, and honoring the other person’s change.

Beren: It’s hard to choose one of anything but is there a song about love you find special?

Belçim: “Imagine” is the first one I can think of. John Lennon managed to fit all my dreams about existence into one poem. It’s a song that says dreaming and making something better is possible. What’s yours?

Beren: It’s a John Lennon song for me as well. I think it’s the most minimalistic song about love in the world. It’s so simple, even someone who doesn’t speak English that well can understand it. It’s a song called “Love”.

Belçim: I know that song. Do you remember how we played it for Rodin when he was a baby?

Beren: Yes, right, it’s a wonderful song about love.

Belçim: Let’s say that we’re both starring in a science-fiction film. What would our superpowers be?

Beren: Yours would definitely be something related to love. You would walk around emanating light and sparks. (laughs) I think you would be a superhero who interferes with the world’s challenges about love.

Belçim Bilgin Dress : Valentino Body: COS Scarf : COS Hat : Fey

Belçim: It’s lovely.

Beren: I think I would have a spiritual power. I cannot specifically say what it is but I’d like to be a superhero who’s trying to help humanity discover its own potential power.

Belçim: That would be nice. Maybe we’re going in that direction, Beren.

Beren: Yes, maybe.

Belçim: It feels like, in 2020, spiritualism is becoming so much more than a distant dream or transcendence; it’s becoming a part of life in every aspect.

Beren: I think 2020 has been a year that damaged the reputation of superheroes as well. I’d like to have something beyond physical strength.

Belçim: In a way, you did that in Atiye. We’re bending time and space. (laughs)

Beren: Yes, we did it with Atiye. But I’m thinking of something more fantastic. Like Doctor Strange.

Belçim: Is Doctor Strange your favorite superhero?

Beren: Yes, I cannot wait for the sequel.

Belçim: He’s my favorite too.

Beren: Last question. If you could change one thing about me, what would it be?

Belçim: I wouldn’t want to change anything. Really, you’re you. But if we’re talking about both of us, I think I’m a bit too enthusiastic about things and you can be a bit distant. We need to meet in the middle. I have to turn down the heat a little and you need to flare it up. It could be something about your distant approach but, no, I wouldn’t want to change that either. I love you the way you are.

Beren: Alright, I’ve got it covered. (laughs)

Photography : SERKAN ŞEDELE




Styling Asisstant: MUHAMMET BOZKURT

Hair Asisstant : HÜSEYİN ALTUN


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