Stephanie Borg: ‘Superpower? Clone myself – there are so many things I’d like to do!’

Artist Stephanie Borg tells all in our weekly Q&A

Stephanie Borg. Photo: Therese Debono
Stephanie Borg. Photo: Therese Debono

For the past 12 years, Stephanie Borg has made it her mission to revive Malta’s daily life and culture through her art and range of over 400 contemporary products for the home, fashion and lifestyle. She brought back the deserved awareness to the Maltese Tile and Maltese Doors that have now become a local trend

What’s the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?

Usually my mind is on the go before my body is, so I find myself thinking all sorts of things while still laying half asleep in bed. When I finally open my eyes, I instinctively grab my glasses.

What is the best advice you’ve ever received?

To trust my gut feeling. It’s not always easy to go with but it keeps proving itself right over and over again!

What do you never leave the house without?

My keys and mobile phone.

Pick three words that describe yourself

I could be called stubborn or more positively, persistent – this is very much reflected in the professional path I’ve chosen for myself. I’m a realistic dreamer – though this sounds contradictory I think I somehow manage to combine the two. I amw productive – I hate wasting time (or anything else for that matter) and even if I’m relaxing, time has to be well-spent.

What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?

To have restarted my life from scratch back in 2008 when I came back to Malta with practically nothing except my own resources.

What is your guiltiest pleasure?

To indulge in some sweetness every day... I have a very sweet tooth, unfortunately.

What is the most important lesson life has taught you?

Not to trust anyone unless they have earned my trust. And that takes time.

Property and cars aside what’s the most expensive thing you’ve ever bought?

I always had to save and work for what I wanted, that’s how I have been brought up, so I don’t lavishly spend my hard-earned money frivolously. My big expenses are work-related. If I really have to mention one object it would be my iPhone but then that’s also work-related.

What is one thing you wish you knew when you were younger?

I believed people are good; I wish I was sharper in reading some characters I met along the way.

Who’s your inspiration?

Anyone who perseveres against all odds. There are many inspirational people out there, both famous and other silent heroes that get up and get going each morning despite various adversities that they face each day. I am blessed to have a roof above my head, clothing and shelter, and some people I can rely on, so I have no reason to complain.

What has been your biggest challenge?

Starting life all over again on every level has been my greatest challenge. When I returned to Malta 12 years ago all I had was my bed at my parents’ house – I was going through many personal changes and challenges: I had no car, no job, no money, no social life, no connections, no home of my own.

So I added another challenge, that of going solo and be a self-employed artist. When I think back, I ask myself: ‘what was I thinking?’ but I am glad to took this leap of faith – something was pushing me and I listened.

If you weren’t an artist what would you be doing?

I always wanted to have a creative profession since I was little and I never explored any other option beyond that... but maybe an ice-cream maker since I love ice-cream!

Do you believe in God?

Yes, but what matters most is that my life is a testimony to that.

If you could have dinner with any person, dead or alive, who would it be?

For me dinner is a time to unwind so I’ll opt for one of my favourite stand-up comedians – Enrico Brignano or Michael Mcintyre. I’m always up for a good laugh!

What’s your worst habit?

That of forgetting someone’s name as soon as they’re introduced to me. It’s a real effort to remember names.

What are you like when you’re drunk?

I don’t know because I’ve never been totally drunk. When I’m tipsy though I tend to first be very bubbly then I mellow down and practically dose off. So better stick to my limit.

Who would you have play you in a film?

I’ve been wrecking my brain and have come to no conclusion...any suggestions??

What is the trait you most deplore in others?

Arrogance. I think that encapsulates inconsideration, selfishness, disrespect and insensitivity towards others.

What music would you have played at your funeral?

Gregorian Chant. I love listening to it at times as I find it very calming and reflective.

What is your most treasured material possession?

My home – the value I give it goes beyond the financial aspect.

What is your earliest memory?

I was about 4 when our pet dog had passed away and I got sick. I clearly remember being examined by the family GP and hearing him tell my parents that I had physically reacted to what had happened.

When did you last cry, and why?

Recently I had to recount some personal issues and the missed opportunity of motherhood came up which made me cry.

Who would you most like to meet?

It would be very interesting to meet Jesus whilst I’m still alive! And also all of my grandparents – they all passed away before I was born.

What’s your favourite food?

Definitely Italian! Mamma mia!

If you could travel in time, where would you go?

The 1920s and the Art Nouveau period was very creative – the art and design, decor, music, fashion.

What book are you reading right now?

‘Awareness’ by Anthony de Mello, yet again.

If you could have any superpower, what would it be?

To clone myself – there are so many things I’d like to do!

What’s one thing you want to do before you die?

Cruise round the world!

What music are you listening to at the moment?

Well it depends on what I’ll be doing ‘at the moment’ – lately it’s been more easy acoustics and some tango.

In the shower or when you’re working out, what do you sing/listen to?

In the morning I usually wake up with a tune in my head and I might be singing to that in the shower. I actually try to shut off any sound when I’m showering, even that coming from my own head.