Janette, a fashion and beauty photographer, has worked with us on the FW19 “Swirl” collection shooting. We talked with her about what ‘Heimat’ means to her. Janette was born to a Peruvian mother and a Swiss father in Peru and moved to Switzerland at the age of 10. We are grateful that she agreed to share her story.
Nina: What does "Heimat" mean for you, Janette?
‘Heimat’ is where my family is and where I can communicate perfectly in the language. Until the age of 10 this was Peru, after that Switzerland.
Are there things that make you feel home?
Whenever I can sleep in my own bed and have all my personal belongings around me.
Have you experienced stereotyping or discrimination based on your looks or gender?
When I was a child and just arrived in Switzerland there was a time when me and my sister were treated as people that have just arrived from an underdeveloped country. We were asked questions like if we slept in a house or had a bed [back in Peru] (laughs). It’s true, Peru is still a developing country, but not as poor as many may think. We were both very tanned and had long black hair… 40 years ago that was quite exotic in Switzerland! Generally I was always annoyed that people started to speak with me in high German – even before I was able to say anything. From time to time that even happens today.
What do you feel when you imagine your 'Heimat'?
I’m relieved that I didn’t grow up there [in Peru]. As a woman the life in Peru is still difficult as the society is dominated by men. The life I am living here would simply be impossible in Peru.
Are you well integrated into the society? Do you sometimes struggle?
I think I am well integrated into the society I live in.