Tijana Tamburic: “We are not focused on what our women LOOK like, but on the WORK they are doing and creating”

Tijana Tamburic is a storyteller, a tough freelancer and a female who established her own #metamorphosis. After a modeling agency suddenly dropped her for not being “thin enough”, Tijana co-founded Female Narratives with associate model Franziska Klein. An overnight idea, the feeling that something was missing and a 2-people decision – this is how a creative agency that operates to connect brands to real female freelancers & real stories began. Tijana collaborates with clients like Squarespace, North Face, Bumble, W Hotels and loads of female-led ethical brands. Her stories come in many different forms: a branding concept, an experiential marketing strategy, a social media campaign or a travel/culture article.

She is a UCL history graduate with experience in publishing, press, PR, production, project management and editorial roles. 

Tijana Tamburic was a speaker at TEDx Bucharest 2019.

interviu de Romanita Oprea


Why do you believe that right now is the moment for freelancers and the future belongs to them? 

I think our generation is wildly different to that of our parents. Both because the kind of job stability they experienced just doesn’t exist anymore and because our world is so inter-connected that I know more people who want to be freelance than who don’t. We have become work nomads and are forming and finding global tribes. It’s a really exciting time but I do also think that you can’t change the world as a solo freelancer – find your tribe, community, collective, agency and build something together that’s bigger than you.

What are, in your opinion, the main challenges of being a freelancer nowadays an how would you approach them? 

It’s hard because if you’re super creative it’s hard to also be super organized with things like invoices, contracts and other admin. But as a freelancer, unless you have an agent, you have to do it all. Which can get overwhelming – we aren’t really built to be able to do everything.

The insularity of being a freelancer also means it can be tricky to know how much to charge for something, how to invoice, how to run your business account etc.

I personally am very open with other freelancers about how much I think things should be charged at so we are always swapping numbers so have an idea of where the industry is at. I think these open conversations are vital for people not to undersell themselves.

How did you decide to launch Female Narratives? 

I had been a model for 10 years and I had seen first hand a lot of the injustices of the industry but as a model there was nothing I could do – I was a very proactive person in a very powerless role. So I wanted to take control and start creating me own projects with other awesome creatives and the company was born.

I wrote a list of my 10 favorite creatives I’d like to work with in that moment and they all happened to be women so I thought – hmm that could set us apart. Our first thing was a 21-woman sit down dinner and when I saw the conversations and ideas creating sparks across the table I knew we were onto something special.

How has your experience up to that moment help you?

You’ll be surprised how everything you’ve ever done/learnt will help you in entrepreneurship.

Modeling helped me build contacts in the industry, but my history degree helped me structure a pitch and build a well researched deck. Working at the Olympics helped me work well under high-pressure situations and be able to make last minute changes without losing my cool and being an editor helped me run our newsletter and know how the build engaging content and not feel afraid to chase people for answers.

What are your goals for the company? 

Tell authentic and engaging stories on a big a platform as possible and create meaningful work and connects with people.

What does it represent for you a real story? 

Something true, something really happening that someone is doing, building or working on.

What are the projects you took part in that you are most proud of and why?

Please go on our website for case studies – there are so many to mention and I’m proud of them all in different ways.

What represented for your career being chosen to be part of Forbes’ 30 under 30?

It was nice to get recognition for what we have been so focused on building, but other than that it’s not this magic thing that catapults you to success – you have to just keep working in order to build, no one else will do it for you. The projects we released this year meant far more to me.

What is your professional goal? 

To tell stories on a big a platform as possible, using any medium I can. I’m currently writing a TV show, for example.

Your vision is „We’re not just pretty faces, we create authentic stories for brands by supporting a collective of inspiring and empowered women”. Please tell us more about it.

This phrase has stuck around since we started when we were just two models trying to do something different. We have massively evolved since then, but I guess the metaphor is still relevant: we are not focused on what our women LOOK like, but on the WORK they are doing and creating. And this is what we think the industry should be focusing on.

How do you find inspiration? 

I find it both in travelling, meeting new people, having new experiences, challenging myself, but also in introspection; reading, yoga, being with myself and thinking.

Our bodies and minds process so much external stimulation, opinions and experiences that I find the best ideas come when you process that information through yourself like a sieve and come up with something your own.

What does metamorphosis mean to you?

A process of change leading to growth, which could be over night but more usually takes years. Or I find that I have a small moment of metamorphosis, a mini epiphany, once a year that helps me grow and evolve into a better, more well-rounded person. I love those moments when I tune into what the universe is trying to tell me and I go “a-ha! I get it.”