This March marks three years since Lorena Eni found her passion and started her life’s work in floral design. It came into her life by chance when a friend who was a floral designer asked for her help at a wedding. When opportunity knocks at your door, you don’t turn your back to it. You accept it and learn how to do it. Although she didn’t know the exact technique of putting big flowers in a vase, so they don’t fall, she has a keen eye for detail and an artistic mind. “I was very excited and at the same time extremely nervous. My friend liked very much what I have created and that was the start of my journey as a floral designer.”
Eni loves going on walks at the Flower District, a hidden paradise in the heart of Manhattan, a colorful and bright getaway filled with unique and radiant blooms. In March of 2018, on one of her usual walks, she decided to create herself bouquets and gift them to friends for International Women’s Day. Those first bouquets that she created on her own are the epitome of her style: distinguishable, unmistakably unique, unusual, a blend between fresh and dried materials, and a refined vintage touch.
“My vintage touch in the style of flowers comes from my clothing style. I always liked more unique and special things that not everyone would wear. If for example there were three dresses and 2 girls chose the same dress, I would choose the other one that no one has chosen. I liked embroidered dresses, the dresses of my grandmothers and great-grandmother. This style has started to come back recently.
My inspiration can lighten up when I see a certain flower or even a leaf and then I can imagine it in a bouquet. I just need to see one element to create a flower arrangement.
Vivid memories of her childhood are flooding back when asked where her love for flowers is coming from: “I remember a soap opera with Thalia where she was a florist and owned a flower shop. I thought at that time that it must be so easy to create flower arrangements and you didn’t need much to create a bouquet. Now that I have grown up, I have realized how complex the process is, how much thought and soul you have to pour in to create an arrangement that will spark emotion and joy for the receiver of the bouquet. Style, balance, and technique are crucial for a floral designer. Many people don’t see a difference between the person who just puts the flowers in a bouquet and this idea of creation with a certain design, and style for a photoshoot or event.
Lorena has a strong connection with her family where communication, support, care, and love are at its core. She grew up in Chisinau, Moldova. “When I was asked what my name was, I would introduce myself as ‘Veverita’(meaning squirrel). My childhood was marked by two extremes: schooling through discipline and restrictions and being spoiled and getting what I wanted. I was the only child, the only grandchild and therefore I have received all the love and attention and I realize that as much as I am generous, I still have some selfishness in me I guess because I was used to be in the center of attention.
Summers were for outdoor adventures: going to forests, mountains and picking flowers.
“I remember so clearly the time when in 5th grade my classmates and I went to the park for our physical education class. There was a meadow of violets and I started to pick them and make bouquets. My classmate asked me to do a bouquet for her because she said she can’t pick and put them in a bouquet as beautiful as I did. Aside from bouquets, I used to create dandelion wreaths.
Now, I can put all of the pieces from the puzzle together and see that my love for flowers comes from my childhood.
“I’ve had a very active childhood, and never had time to go on trips with classmates because right after school, I had to practice and learn choreography for another dancesport championship which is competitive ballroom dancing
I did 12 years of dancesport at Codreanca. While growing up and visiting friends or relatives everyone would ask me to dance and I didn’t like it which is why now I rarely dance at parties. Later I started to love dancing as it made me very disciplined, developed my endurance, and I got a beautiful posture.
But there is another side to it. You get yelled at if you don’t keep your posture straight, you get hit if you misstep. The discipline has been like in the army, and I don’t like constraints like that. I have been hearing at the dance studio since I was 7 years old to be very aware and attentive to what I eat so I don’t gain weight and all those years I never felt I was good enough. There was so much sacrifice. You can’t go back because you have a dance partner who depends on you, you have the schedule of championships. The turning point in my life at that point was when I got a foot injury and had to wear a cast for at least 2 months. My dance partner was calling me to come for rehearsal. No matter what you have to perform. I took out the cast and went to rehearsal, we go to the final.
Dancesport was part of my daily routine for 12 years until I stopped as I realized I can’t continue.
I didn’t have time to spend with my classmates whom I saw only during classes because after school I would study chemistry and math with my tutors or be in the dance room. That’s all I can remember from my school years.
Modeling came by chance into Lorena’s life. She has participated in a contest and won a photoshoot with a photographer and makeup artist. “My first projects were modeling for TV shows about style.
Lorena likes to be different: she would go for photoshoots and get wild and extravagant makeups or hairstyles but in day-to-day life, she is not wearing makeup. “I like to keep a line between my life in front of the camera and off it.”
As a model, I enjoy photoshoots and being in front of the camera, connecting with different artists but I also find fulfilling being backstage and work on projects that involve creating arrangements.
What beauty tricks do you do before a photoshoot?
I don’t have any aside from getting a good night’s sleep. It is more of what I do after a photoshoot which is taking care of my skin to prevent acne.
How hard has it been to establish yourself in the industry and what are the biggest challenges you had to face?
I haven’t experienced as many challenges when I started since, I had this classic look, and I was in high demand for wedding photoshoots, hairstyles, and makeup brands. Now I feel like the competition is much bigger, as the demand has shifted towards models who are more different, weird, with freckles, or stretch marks.
What is your favorite project since you have started modeling?
My first project is one of the most memorable ones as I didn’t have experience in posing and I didn’t know how I will be in front of the camera. I was never afraid of a camera but without any prior experience, I didn’t expect the photographer to create images that were so breathtaking. Everyone was shocked. The clothing line was made by a student for her graduation at the College of Art and Design which was a very different and weird line that made me understand I like unique things. I felt beautiful not in the wedding dresses at photoshoots where I looked like a princess. I felt more myself wearing more unique things which others wouldn’t feel as comfortable.
The most memorable moment was when I stepped on the runway during NYFW with my four-legged friend, Milo in a matching outfit. Milo’s photos were in Hola and Vogue.
You have moved a few years ago to the US. Why?
A few years ago, Lorena has decided to make a big change in her life: she moved to the US. It has been that place from the movies she has seen while growing up. Way too appealing and hard to resist.
She wanted to be on her own and craved a bit more independence than she was allowed to while living with her parents.
When I moved to NYC, I wanted to go to Tish School of the Arts not only to be an actress but also to work backstage. But you know the saying: ‘If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.”
I realized that adulting is hard. I was doing different projects as a model to support myself. Worked for jewelry brands. That initial dream has never realized because I was meant to do something else and now, I know what.
Do you believe in the saying: “your home is where your heart is”? Where do you feel at home now?
Although my family and most of my friends are in Moldova, I feel more at home in the US with all of its good and bad sides. It’s a different vibe. I would be able to adjust anywhere but only for a period of time.
What have you been up to in quarantine?
Quarantine has been the time for me to catch up with my family, work on my Romeo & Juliet embroidery, and take care of flowers in my grandmother’s garden.
It has also been a very productive time to create flower arrangements and photoshoots in nature: one day it would be in a chamomile field, another day in a lavender field, or a poppy meadow.
What makes you happy?
That I found myself. If I am sad, I know what I have to do to cheer myself up. In the past, I did so many things but it feels like I did nothing. The flower arrangements I make, my daily walks with my dog Milo, and the popcorn done by my beloved one are the things that make me happy.
What is one thing people would be surprised to learn about you?
I am a very private person, sensitive, and I can cry sometimes without a specific reason.
What are your dreams for your future?
I dream of finding the perfect spot in New York to open a flower shop. I want to find a place where I can open my heart.
What would you tell little Lorena if u could meet your 10 years old?
Stop overthinking, you are doing everything right and you should have insisted more to get a dog sooner. The moment I got Milo; everything fell into place. I was on my own but he always comforted me.