At Diane Kroe, we love to partner up with inspiring ladies and that's definitely the case of our latest brand ambassador, Gemma Dadourian! When we found out that Gemma is not only an enthusiastic traveller but also an actress, model, film production assistant, AND a fencer, we knew we had to interview her to learn more about her lifestyle and hear her top travel advice.
Read on to know all about Gemma's best packing tips, why you should try a sound bath, and her favourite Hollywood encounter!!
Hi Gemma, can you introduce yourself (and what makes you awesome!) to our readers?
Hey there fellow travelers! My name is Gemma Dadourian and I am an actor/model based out of LA, and I fence for fun. I was born and raised in LA but only moved back recently. I spent six years living in NYC, where I graduated from New York University, fenced competitively, and worked as a production assistant on movies and TV shows (The Dark Knight Rises, Men In Black 3, Person Of Interest, and a few others).
Gemma literally combining her loves of fencing and modeling in this gorgeous photoshoot!
Gemma, you’re a model, actress…and a competitive fencer! How do you manage to combine these different activities?
I love learning so it’s fairly easy to combine my plethora of interests if you look at it through the lens of learning/analysis. Fencing is like physical chess: primarily strategy-based. Acting is about understanding people and what’s important to the individual. Modeling is similar to acting but instead of interpreting a character’s internal world, I focus on interpreting the garments and the designer’s vision. It’s all analysis 😉
How often do you travel?
Quite often! In LA I’m constantly on the go, with clothes packed in my trunk just in case of auditions or impromptu overnights with my friends in Santa Monica. Plus, I enjoy weekend getaways to Desert Hot Springs, Big Bear, and Green Valley Lake (just a 2-hour drive!). While it’s rarer for me to travel outside of the USA, when I do, I’m gone for around a month at a time.
Gemma wearing the Diane Kroe Destination Dress
City, mountain, or beach girl? Which of these is your first choice for a holiday?
This question isn’t fair! At heart I’m a city girl—NYC will always feel like home. But I enjoy hiking and skiing in the mountains, as well as swimming and sunbathing at the beach.
Do you have a destination that you return to time and again? If so, why?
New York. Not just Manhattan, but Brooklyn, Queens, Jersey City (I know that’s NJ, but it’s so close it's got to count!). I travel there the most for work (and many of my friends still live there). But my favorite nearby getaway is Two Bunch Palms Resort in Desert Hot Springs, CA. They have a natural mineral grotto, sound baths*, yoga, and seriously tasty healthy food on site.
(* If you haven’t tried a sound bath, do so immediately! I didn’t know what they were prior to staying at Two Bunch, but they’re very relaxing 😌)
Carry-on only or a trolley-load of suitcases?😉 Are you a light or heavy packer?
I always try to pack light. For month-long vacations, I do have to bring a large suitcase in addition to my carry-on bag since the weather fluctuates greatly between different countries, and I need the extra space for all the gifts I bring back for my friends. But everywhere else, I just bring my backpack-purse and a small duffle bag.
What’s one thing you can’t go on a trip without?
Traveling or not, having a reliable portable battery pack is a huge essential. If you’re going to foreign countries, don’t forget a power adapter!
Also, after a nasty battle with an intense bacterial infection while traveling the Mediterranean, I was so grateful I had antibiotics packed. I highly recommend talking with your doctor before traveling to foreign countries about any “just-in-case” medication, such as antibiotics, sea sickness patches, etc.
Where have you taken your Diane Kroe clothes so far?
So far, I’ve taken my Diane Kroe clothes to Italy, Greece, and Cyprus. Having two clothing items that can convert into so many different styles has been incredibly helpful!
Do you have a favorite Diane Kroe look?
My favorite Diane Kroe look is the new Wear-Ever Dress. I’ve worn it in Rome as a maxi skirt when it was cold out, in Rhodes as a one-shoulder top when it was hot out, and as a dress for dinner parties. And I’m still excited to try out all the other ways to wear it!
And a packing tip to share?
Roll your medium-weight/wrinkle-free clothes, don’t fold them. Rolling creates more space and makes it easier to see what you have packed.
Can you share your best travel memory?
You ready? Everyone has at least one place on this planet that for some reason feels “magical” or “speaks to the heart”. For me that’s Glastonbury, England.
I dreamt about Glastonbury Tor/Saint Michael’s Tower when I was 7 or 8... but at the time I didn’t know Glastonbury was a real place. The dream was one of those fun childish adventure dreams where I battled trolls and found a magic crystal in the walls of Saint Michael’s Tower.
The reality: Last year, I had the opportunity to finally visit Glastonbury on a road trip through the English countryside. After trudging up the Tor in the pouring rain, I took in the magnificent view from the top. Then a missing brick in the wall of the tower caught my eye. Out of sheer curiosity I reached my hand into the hole. I felt something cold—colder than my freezing hands or the cold stone of the wall. I pulled it out. There it was: a beautiful rose quartz crystal. It wasn’t exactly like the dream (obviously I did not have to battle trolls!), but it’s still my favorite travel memory and probably why I love Glastonbury so much.
That’s an amazing coincidence!
Gemma on the set of one of her acting roles.
One last question: as an actress and model, you must have plenty of exciting stories! Can you spill the beans for us and share an anecdote from a shoot or an interesting encounter you had?
My craziest “on-set” stories are from the time I spent working as a production assistant on feature films and TV shows in NYC. However, I’d prefer to not permanently plaster those on the internet, so here is a tamer story.
When I was a senior in high school, my folks got called in to work for Overbrook to analyze a new script (which has not come out yet, so I still can’t give details). My folks somehow convinced the production company that I would be an asset for the analysis of the script. The next day I found myself at a table read in Will Smith’s home. After the read, we all sat around Will’s dining table giving our thoughts. I blurted out a seemingly obvious comparison between the script and a very famous fairytale.
...Everyone was silent for a beat... Then Will turned to my parents and said, “This is one of those moments when you look at your child with immense pride and you say to yourself ‘that’s MY daughter’”. I then proceeded to turn bright red. I don’t get “star struck”— people are people—but receiving such a high compliment from one of my all-time favorite actors definitely made me dizzy. Also, sometimes meeting a role-model isn’t disappointing—Will, Jada, Caleeb, and the whole Overbrook team are such down-to-earth good people.
Where can you find the beautiful convertible designs Gemma is wearing?
Gemma is wearing the Diane Kroe Wear-Ever Skirt Dress in Black and the Diane Kroe Destination Dress in Red in the photos above. To see these and other versatile, travel-friendly convertible designs by Diane Kroe, go to Dianekroe.com.