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Meli Yılmaz

Dress: Dice Kayek,

Gizia Gate

Dilan Çiçek Deniz

Full look: Özlem Süer

Earrings: Bee Goddess

Ahmet Efetürk

Blazer, vest, pants: Hatice Gökçe

Shirt, bowtie: Network

We are all floating along a new current, whether we’re prepared for it or not. The fast-paced digital transformation, pandemic effect, changing and expanding identities, and worlds that are both growing and narrowing down… In these current times, we focused on three of the most talented youth in Turkey who have garnered attention with their achievements, attitudes, and perspectives. Acclaimed actors Dilan Çiçek Deniz and Meli Yılmaz met national basketball player Ahmet Efetürk to share their opinions on this new trend.

Standing out with her energy and positivity, young actress Dilan Çiçek Deniz is a rising star. She believes newness is valuable because it reminds us of what we’ve forgotten and prefers seeking roles that prevent her from being type-cast.

How would you define newness?

Newness is the key to the door which will help us grow by shedding what we carry from the past that is harmful to us. I believe newness heals us. I’ve recently learned about a new word: kaizen. In Japanese, kai means “change” and zen is “good;” so the entire word means constant goodness for everyone. It helps overcome the fear of the new through small improvements. We need to be more open to new things both for a better world and to be able to remember more things. After a while, our brains tend to stop remembering routine stuff and to forget many things we have done, experienced, spoken, and thought about. I think remembrance is a good source of motivation to embrace the new.

How do you think human relations have changed in a gradually digitised world?

“Ah, nobody has time for sensitivities anymore.” I love this line by Gülten Akın. I fear we have become less empathetic, and when people claim to empathise with others, it seems superficial and shallow somehow. We’re living in a world of ones and zeroes. However, there is a positive aspect to this, too; it’s a precious thing to be able to talk to whoever you want and to hear from them. I’m just not sure how well we are using this power.

Is there a technological development that has become an essential part of your life over the last two years?

I love playing games. I think I’ve made the right career choice for myself. I love retreating to my own world every chance I get. So, my VR (virtual reality) headset has become precious to me. This could be my favourite technological development so far since it has greatly helped me deal with panic attacks and anxiety. Virtual worlds have become places where I want to escape but cannot in reality.

Dilan Çiçek Deniz

Dress: Hakaan Yıldırım

Earrings: Begüm Khan,

Necklaces: Mers

Meli Yılmaz

Dresses: Mirela Cerica

Pearl Necklace: Sillage Me

Necklaces: Leta Jewelry

What kinds of changes have digital platforms brought about in the film industry?

I enjoy watching films that I want to watch but cannot access, on digital platforms. This brings great diversity into the industry. In the past, studios mostly preferred not to produce medium-budget films which hindered the development of young producers, directors, screenwriters, and actors in the film industry. We see the awards received by films we watch on these platforms but, more importantly, we know how they make us feel. However, this should never prevent the other side because that feeling when you go to a movie theatre, buy some popcorn, and watch a movie with a bunch of people without any distractions is so unique. I hope the next generation won’t be deprived of it.

You say you always wish to improve yourself. In your personal life, how open are you to change and new things?

I can easily adapt to change and newness. Sometimes, things happen in life, and you can no longer control that situation. I think I can easily embrace that. I can quickly shed my skin to adapt to my new self, order, and thoughts. Like Charles Darwin said, “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent; it is the one most adaptable to change.”

What kind of characters do you enjoy portraying?

I enjoy playing characters that are different from the previous one and pose a challenge. I hope to act in a Star Wars production one day. I’ll even take a Stormtrooper.

Do you use different techniques to prepare for a role?

I love this question because acting cannot be performed with a single technique. I prepare for each role with my acting coach, and we use whatever technique is necessary. We sometimes use different techniques for various scenes of the same role. Meisner, Morris, or Adler, whatever the role requires.

What inspires you the most recently?

Everything. My family, my loved ones, my laughter, my sadness… I always find something that nourishes and inspires me. Otherwise, life wouldn’t be worth living. Whatever we do in life, we need to find something that touches us, in everything and everyone. Waiting for inspiration to come to you is the greatest curse on earth.

You follow fashion trends. Do you believe digital fashion can replace physical shopping?

I don’t know if it can replace that but fashion has been in our lives for a very long time. We had paper dolls when I was a kid, and they were my favourite toys. I would sometimes buy books filled with new clothes for my dolls. I have to confess that I’m doing similar purchases for certain games I’m playing right now; I still haven’t told my family that I pay real money for clothes in games.

What projects do you have in the future?

I love the term “pigeonholing.” It refers to how actors are always cast for similar roles. I’m not that, and we’re not that. In the future, you will see me in projects where I won’t be “pigeonholed” with my friends who won’t be either.

Blazer: Feel The Lotus

Rings: Bee Goddess

Blazer: Feel The Lotus

Necklace: Sillage Me

Meli Yılmaz started her career in theatre and continued with playing diverse characters in film and on TV. She wants to continue her professional journey as a director.

Dress: Seçil Akkaya/Gizia Gate

Stockings: Penti

Shoes: Mach&Mach/Beymen

How would you define newness?

As a sense of excitement that feels fresh each time.

NFTs, cryptocurrency, the metaverse… All this carries us into a world that grows more distant from physical reality. What’s your position in the face of these developments?

Portraits can be purchased but the stage is always live. If it’s not live, it’s closer to the cinema. My position is on the stage, in the liveliest state.

How did your acting journey begin?

I was an introverted kid and even wanted to teach literature. After I started university, I joined the drama club and that’s how it began. However, even if I were a literature teacher, I still would want to do my best at it. It wouldn’t matter what I did. I’d be ashamed if I didn’t give it my best. That’s the only principle for me.

What would you like people to understand the most about you?

I’d want them to embrace my transness.

What would you recommend to an LGBTI+ individual who’s concerned about coming out?

I would say to them, “You all have your time. You know it. Don’t rush. And don’t be late either.”

You started in drama and continued with cinema and TV. Which would you prefer, being in front of the camera, or on the stage?

Both have their challenges. The difficulty with drama is that you play the same thing again and again. From the top. Like it’s the first time. I think it’s the main difference between drama and film. In cinema, you take one take, two takes, five takes. Eventually, someone says, “Cut!” In drama, you have to hold onto your character and never forget. Additionally, my characters aren’t that far from my surroundings, in terms of their emotions.

What is your biggest dream about your job?

I’ve always centred my life around work. It was always my priority, even before myself. Now, at my current age, I believe my life to be more important. I had overlooked that part. My biggest dream is not to let my job overshadow my life. I don’t have superior goals regarding my acting, at least not anymore. I’d like to teach what I know to those who are on a similar path. They say the experienced are the most virtuous. I used to have a dream, to dedicate my life to the imagination of directors. I think I’m beginning to give up on that. I’ve become more interested in reality rather than fiction. I also don’t want to shape myself while portraying another character because, through that character, I gain a place for myself in someone’s heart. I can be happy doing any job. It doesn’t make a difference anymore. I think leaving acting would help me leave myself alone because this job has never let me be myself.

What kind of projects do you have in the future?

When I was in high school, I would write down lines from my favourite movies, learn them by heart, and imitate them. I wanted to be a director but I’m glad I became an actor first. However, I want to act in my own clothes. So, I don’t dream of acting but I dream of directing.

National basketball player Ahmet Efetürk has many achievements including European Championship for Juniors, World Championship for Juniors (second), and European “Süper Lig” Championship. He told us about his long success story which also took him to the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.

Blazer, pants: Hatice Gökçe

Shirt: Network

Neck Accessory: Zehra Gökçe

Shoes: Valentino/Beymen

How would you define newness?

I think new is a relative concept, so it changes from person to person. I believe the social environment factor in newness is highly influential on the individual. Personally, I generally learn about new things from the people around me.

Is there a technological innovation that has become an essential part of your life in the last two years?

As you can guess, online meetings have claimed a big part in my life in recent years with the pandemic. I was able to join various organisations and events via video conference. Additionally, I frequently use my wireless headphones, which are rather new. There are also other devices such as smartphones etc.

How open are you to change and innovation?

I’m open to new things thanks to my age and social circle. I think it makes my life easier, especially in terms of technology. Numerous applications that can be downloaded on smartphones make it something more than just a communication device. When utilised for its benefits, technology claims the number one seat in our lives. The faster we adapt to these developments, the more we will keep in touch with changing times.

NFTs, cryptocurrency, the metaverse… All this carries us into a world that grows more distant from physical reality. What’s your position in the face of these developments?

NFTs and the metaverse are not exactly a part of my life right now, but I know a lot of people who are interested in and following the developments about cryptocurrency. I respect innovative technologies but have not been quite able to adapt to them. As a means of investment, I’m more interested in tangible, physical assets. For now at least.

Can you tell us about your resolve not to be hindered by your disability?

I’m at peace with my disability. Never in my life have I ever believed myself to be limited because of my disability. My friends and relatives never made me feel less for it. Their support played a huge role in my current psyche and perspective.

You once said basketball changed your life. How did you take up this sport?

I started playing basketball in 2009. A friend of mine, who lived close to me and also played, insisted so I joined the training. And I have never stopped playing.

You have many achievements including European Championship for Juniors, second place at World Championship for Juniors, and European “Süper Lig” Championship. You represented Turkey at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. What is your secret to success?

Regular and disciplined training is crucial. I have also been motivated by the fact that I was a member of a team with successful players at a success-oriented club. I’ve learned a lot from them, and I still find myself improving at each training session.

What’s your biggest source of motivation or inspiration?

My family, first and foremost.

As someone who knows no bounds on the court, what are your plans and career goals for the future?

I want to represent my country and carry its national flag on the first place of the podium, wearing the national or my club’s uniform, at international tournaments. My goal is to have a better and more successful season than the last.

What would you recommend to young people with disabilities in Turkey?

I think there’s only one treatment for disability, and it’s to make your peace with it, accept it. When you can do this, everything starts changing for the better.

Blazer: Ulash Bakır

Full look: Network

Shoes: Valentino/Beymen

Full look: Dior

Dress: Mirela Cerica

Lingerie: ZA.AF

Accessories: Naz Özturna

Full look: Nu

Shoes: Versace/Beymen

Blazer and bottom: Pelin Açık

Bustier: Cihan Nacar

Stockings: Penti

Full look: Prada


Editor-in-Chief: Irem Şentürk & Selim Can Çelik

Digital Content Manager: Gökhan Ünal

Photography: Burcu Karademir

Photography Assistants: Furkan Kumaş, Furkan Irmak

Styling: Nur Eda İşbilir

Styling Assistants: Zilan İkinci, Marje İpek Utku

Hair: İbrahim Zengin

Hair Assistant: İbrahim Junior

Makeup: Yağız Yoldaş

Production: Müge Sarıoğlu

Production Assistant: Yasemin Yıldırımgeç


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