“Being fearless in one sense is almost a necessity, because fear is paralysing – how can anything happen or change if you’re fearful! But then on the flipside fear is a defence mechanism and sometimes necessary. Only you know when it’s the right kind of fear – to push yourself beyond the cosy or the familiar.“
Nina Van Lier has always walked to the beat of her own drum. In this modern world of virtual likeability as a measure of success, this is a step above and away from the norms and expectations of youth culture and adventure – Nina will never compromise her own self-beliefs to be seen as anyone other than the fearless leader we have known since her youth. She will always be true to this mantra of loving yourself first. She is the perfect representation of someone who has thrived as she knows intrinsically, her success is believing in herself and the standard she holds closest.
Freely moving within the boundaries of Tāmaki Makaurau to develop and hone her own sense of self, nothing has stood in the way of her growth. Following her instincts, Nina has pushed hard. Feeling she must do justice to the trust given to us all as kaitiaki of the whenua we were charged with. Ensuring it is being left in better shape for generations to come, this is a personal goal.
NV: “For me, that’s what I’m trying to do at the moment – combine my skills in visual communication with what I believe in, which has a lot to do with the relationship we have with our land in Aotearoa, and trying to heal a little bit of the harm that the past two centuries of colonisation and urbanisation have done.”
With the early recognition of an artistic bent via her entry into the worlds of design, photography and art, it was only a matter of time until Nina garnered notice – Art Director of BLACK Magazine at age 16 and 17, flown to London to shoot a wine campaign at age 19, and earning a scholarship to intern at advertising agency, FCB West in San Francisco, she seized the opportunity, as can only be expected from someone of her obvious talent and ran at it. Choosing to live in an artists’ enclave by the name of The Convent in the Lower Haight district, it was of course a road less travelled she preferred to follow than any more traditional route, likely chosen by anyone with less self-assurance to get the most out of this or any experience.
“Honestly, I don’t spend heaps of time on social media! It’s useful for staying informed as a democratic and local news source. I don’t want to spend loads of time on my phone scrolling, when there are so many more productive or socially engaging things I could be doing. Also it’s addictive! I can easily see how I could get sucked into spending hours looking at the most glamorous snippets of people’s lives and I can’t be fucked with that. I’m not fully bagging social media, but I think it’s important how you use it – it’s a super great tool for connecting likeminded people, informing, and facilitating action. If you’re not using your platform for good, for decolonising, and for what you believe in, then what’s the point?
Fearlessness, and the notion of acceptance? Being valued by others’ acceptance of your efforts? Maintaining a continual movement forward in life based on the innate belief that doing what you love most is the right way to be the best “you” possible.
“If you love what you do, and what you’re doing is what you hard out believe in, then you’re going to feel full and driven, right?”
Film: Veronica Crockford-Pound
Camera: Joseph Griffen
Editing: Silas McClintock
Production: Rachael Churchward and Ethan Butler
Words: David K Shields