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January

Noemi Iglesias. Photo: Rita Ansone.

Our People of Lisbon year started by meeting the Spanish pink haired, Backstreet Boy loving porcelain artist Noemi Iglesias. The first question we asked in 2022 was about a ring Noemi had on her finger. “I found it here, on the streets of Lisbon. Now it belongs to me in this city.” 

Speaking of rings, we met Irish cocktail bar owner Peter O’Connor in his apartment high up in Graça where he lives with his girlfriend Joana. Peter met Joana one night when she walked into his bar – Onda Cocktail Room. Peter told us the first drink he made for Joana was a Basil Midori Sour, “because it’s sweet and sour, like me.” We hear the couple have since got engaged. Ahhhhh.

The Lisbon weather seemed to be improving by the time we met Argentinian painter Chiara Mecozzi at her gorgeous Principe Real apartment. “Other cities have a lot of noise. Lisbon is a city where that noise is not there,” she told us.

February

The month began with us meeting Brazilian film composer Maycon Ananias who had a striking look, a striking stance, and a striking mustache. “I’m most comfortable with just a piano. When you have an instrument with all those notes, then you can bring in all the orchestra.”

Our next victim was the playwright and string theorist Suresh Nampuri. Suresh suggested we make the video with him at the Cemitério dos Prazeres. “Is there life after death?” we asked Suresh. “The answer is irrelevant frankly,” he responded.

The month wrapped with us meeting clay modeler Carlos Manuel Goncalves at his studio space in São Bento. Carlos makes all manner of weird, wonderful and colorful creatures out of clay. “Do you see a therapist?” we asked Carlos. “I do therapy every day with my hands,” he responded.

February concluded with us meeting investor power house Rita Villas Boas in her apartment near the MAAT Museum. We asked Rita how she spots a good investment. “It’s a lot about the founder. They need passion, obsession, dedication and resilience.”

March

Julie Granger. Photo: Rita Ansone.

At the beginning of March we met French celebrity fitness instructor Julie Granger in her chic Chiado studio. Julie gave us 3 tips to having a healthy lifestyle. “Have a bit of discipline, find a work out that you love doing. And do small amounts… all the time.”

We met Belgian entrepreneur Natan Jacquemin on a gray morning at his spacey laboratories in Marvila. Natan turns coffee leftovers into mushrooms and sells the mushrooms back to restaurants. We asked Natan what type of business person he wanted to be starting out. “I thought I wanted to be rich, but then I realized I just wanted to be happy.”

At the end of March we met People of Lisbon superfan, Hollywood film producer, and spiritual guru TW Hawk. Around TW’s apartment in Bica we noticed notes with positive messages stuck on all the walls. TW read one note to us. “The spontaneous now, gives rise to the perpetual WOW.” Love it.

April

In April we met the charming Chilean ‘colourist’ Susan Fischer for a ramble about the city. “There are some colors that whisper, some colors that shout. Colors are like a language,” she informed us.

On another gray day we met French woman Camille Agne at her new co-working space O Dama Rosa next to Jardim do Príncipe Real. “What are the essentials to a good co-working space?” we asked Camille. “Coffee machine. Wifi. People,” she told us.

May

In May we met another People of Lisbon superfan – photographer Pedro Pargana. Pedro wiped away the tears as we wrapped the shoot near the Aqueduto das Águas Livres. “I just poured everything out in this video. 50 years of love for the city.”

The sun returned as we met bagel making stylist Lindy Reid at her apartment in Chiado. Lindy has big plans to open her own bagel cafe in the city. “There are a lot of scary things about starting your own business. You really have to put yourself out there, which is intense for me.” We have faith Lindy can do it.

Eleana Kitsiou. Photo: Rita Ansone.

May concluded with a unique shoot with Cypriot Eleana Kitsiou. Eleana has the unusual hobby of collecting designer paper cups from cafes around the city (and around the world). Which cup is her favorite one from Lisbon? “This one, I love the design and colors,” as she held up a cup from Lisbon’s trendy Cafe Janis.

June

June began with us meeting Sporting basketball player Travante Williams. We had a wild day with Toni Toni as he’s sometimes known. “The basketball scene in Portugal is on the way up. The money is going up and the players are getting better.”

We were honored to spend time in the company of Mamma – a woman who makes dinner every evening for countless overseas visitors – all from her homely hostel kitchen on Rua De São Nicolau. Along with making the food for her guests, Mamma sits and has dinner with her guests also. “Of course I do. I’m a Mamma!,” she said.

We met French writer Arthur Larrue in Jardim da Estrela and asked what it means to be French. “It’s a deep question. For me it’s not to believe in any authority.”

June concluded with us taking a walk and a dance with Rafael Alex. Rafael has over 1 million Tik Tok followers. “I never thought I would find any popularity doing anything because I was never popular in school,” Alex told us. 

July

In July we met Alexandra Victoria Bonte, a real estate woman who enjoys the glamorous life in Lisbon. Before Alexandra left us we asked her what she had lined up for the rest of the day. “I have two viewings, then cocktails, then a dinner in Cascais.”  Busy body.

We met up with comedian André de Freitas – the first person we ever featured on People of Lisbon. It’s a ritual now for us to meet up with André every year to mark our birthday. “I’m hugely famous now. I live in a compound,” was the update Andre gave us on his life.

July concluded with us finding a sponsor (we get excited when we do.) The sponsor was a wine company called Howard’s Folly. Our first video with Howard’s Folly had us featuring Forbes travel writer Ann Abel. Ann has been to 100 countries, and she’s not bored of it yet. “I love it. There are so many interesting stories to tell and so many interesting people to talk to.”

August

The month began with us being treated to a dinner cooked up by young Brazilian chef Mateus Alexsander. “Good management of the kitchen means having a checklist. If you have a checklist, you don’t have pressure.”

In August we did something we have never done before. We took a trip outside of Lisbon to make a video. We trekked to Estremoz to make a video about our sponsor Howard Bilton, founder of Howard’s Folly wine. How did Howard get into the wine business? “I normally give the answer that I had more money than sense. And now I have no money, and not much sense.”

We were graced to meet Portuguese actress and TV personality Marta Gil. “I prefer acting on stage. I can overact on stage which is what I’m more like in life.”

August wrapped up with us making another video in Estremoz, this time about legendary winemaker David Baverstock. David told us his concerns about global warming. “We are super concerned. We have had 3 heat waves this year already. It’s an extreme year.”

September

The month began with us meeting waiter and bike enthusiast João Miguel. We ventured with João out to Expo on an absolutely scorching day to see him take to the wheels. “You’re never too old. If you have the spirit, you’re free to go.”

Heather Courtney. Photo: Rita Ansone.

Next up we met Heather Courtney, a woman who used to build bombs for the United States military. “I did missile testing, built rockets, quick strike mines, and uploaded the aircraft. It was a paycheck.”

One day in September we met pastry chef Juliana Penteado at her cute shop on Calçada da Estrela. “I’ve driven all over Portugal, from north to south and eaten 80 different pastries!”

Our foodie themed month continued when we met Chefs on Fire organizer Gonçalo Castel Branco, who surprised us with his background. “I’m a political strategist. I’ve worked on 32 campaigns around the world. Obama, Hillary…” No way! Yes way!.

October

In October we found another sponsor which allowed us to keep making the show. Moviinn – make moving abroad simple. And on with the show, we were walking by a gallery in Principe Real when we saw the surreal artwork of Catarina Patrício on display. When we met Catarina she told us about her previous night’s dream. “I dreamt something fluffy and funny was around me. Maybe it was my cat. I love cats.”

Next up we met football TV analyst, writer, student and fado lover Francisco Guimarães. Wandering around Alfama, Francisco told us about his love for fado. “Fado has a connection to words and poetry that pop music doesn’t have.”

The same month we also met jazz loving, beer making and former catastrophe manager Matthew Thees at his apartment in Principe Real. “I’ve always loved James Brown’s line… I don’t know karate but I know ka-razy.”

October concluded with us meeting cigar loving, male mindset coach Angus Nelson. We asked how Angus stays so upbeat. “Inputs. I don’t watch the news. I don’t watch horror movies. I am very intentional to stay positive.”

November

November began with us chasing Lithuanian Web Summit producer Gintare Karalyte around the main event. “You need a compass to get around,” she told us. She wasn’t wrong.

A week later we discovered a cool little record shop on Rua Poiais de São Bento. We met owner Alexandre Travessas. “Lisbon has grown up amazingly since I was young. Now it looks like a proper European capital.”

We met Mafalda Duarte during Lisbon Games Week. During our encounter she was busy organizing a Lisbon video game awards show – The Spotlight Awards.  “There are dozens of studios in Portugal now hiring hundreds of people. It’s important that it’s recognised.”

Ecuatorian singer Curandeira. Photo: Rita Ansone.

November wrapped with us meeting tea drinking Ecuatorian singer Curandeira. “I’ve been on a journey to find my sound. It’s not about performing the song; it’s about finding out what I want to talk about.”

December

And finally on to December. We survived.

We began the month by meeting Indian dancer Eshani Lasya as she was putting together an impressive Indian cultural event. “India is a state of mind more than a geographical place. I like to say that India came to me rather than me going to it.”

And only a couple of weeks ago we met Portuguese kickboxing champion Érica Évora at her uncle’s gym. As she held onto the ropes in her pink boxing gloves she told us, “I really love sharks, that’s why my nickname for fights is Érica ‘The Shark’ Évora.”

Kickboxer Érica Évora. Photo: Rita Ansone.

At the time of writing, we have one more video to edit with the loveable actor, director Ed Hooks who moved to Lisbon six years ago with his wife Cally. “It’s very nice to wake up to cobble stones every day, instead of freeways.” We think we can all agree with that.

XXX

And that’s what the year was like for us at People of Lisbon. When we sum it all up like that, it’s been quite a year. So many characters. Thanks to the support from Mensagem, our sponsors, our Patreons and to anyone who finds enjoyment in what we do.

Happy New Year,

See you in 2023,

Stephen and Rita

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