Anz Soza, a Filipina based in Dubai who has started doodling on disposable coffee cups, is now an art company owner. An interior designer in Singapore before moving to Dubai some six years ago, Soza said her friends are always fascinated with her art. Her first believers, her friends, then requested her if she could print on their passport holders and tumblers. From then on, she started joining exhibitions, held a series of art workshops for kids, and did a couple of mall activations and customizations on events.
Soza, who is the brainchild and founder of AnneArtwear Project FZ-LLC, is popular for doing 100 percent meticulously hand-paint on mostly luxury goods. Some she has painted on are Prada, Chanel, Luis Vuitton, Cartier, Gucci, Fendi, Dior, Coach, Yeezy, Alexander McQueen, and Crosley, among others. Products range from bags to wallets, phone cases, shoes, abayas, denim jackets, or jeans, and more.
“When I paint something, I pour my heart and soul into it. So, when you have my masterpieces, know that a piece of me is with it. It gives me so much satisfaction that from a blank piece after hours, and sometimes days of working on it, it will transform into something not just aesthetically pleasing but also functional. An art-to-wear. I customized almost anything and everything, just name it and I’ll do wonders on it,” she said.
A single mom, she opted to work in a foreign land to fulfill her child’s dream. “It’s a bitter reality that Filipinos had to work abroad and away from their loved ones in return for a few dirhams,” she added.
“Someone once told me that I can’t have both worlds in my hands. Guess what? I do what I love for a living in a foreign country and the best part is my kids are with me,” she further added.
Before Soza embarked on an entrepreneurial journey, like many Filipinos, she jumped jobs–from graphic artist to financial executive to interior design.
When asked why, of all the cities in the world, did she choose Dubai, she said: “Dubai is very close to my heart. It opened tremendous doors of opportunities for me. But of course, it comes with immense sacrifice too. Living in Dubai is both rewarding and challenging. I would depict my life here in Dubai just like diamonds. A mosaic of scars and radiance. A delicate combination of facets, unveiling everything I have been through.”
Just like many Filipinos abroad, she has also struggled during the lockdown period in Dubai as things didn’t go as to what she has planned. However, after that, according to her, she dusted herself off, wiped her tears, and counted her blessings.
“I work as a full-time freelance, I lost track of counting my postponed projects due to lockdown but as long as my family is safe, our faith is stronger, we have food on our table, a roof over our heads. I have everything I need,” Soza said.
She advised her fellow Filipinos abroad to never doubt as they’ll go far if they believe in themselves.
“Whatever situation you’re in, always sleep and wake up with the attitude and gratitude. One of the best I’ve continually practice is to save faithfully one-tenth of all my earnings. The days you’ve dedicated at work, your efforts, sleepless nights, and early mornings should not go to waste,” she added.
This story has been featured on the 9th issue of The Global Filipino Magazine. To get a copy, you may contact Mr Orli Gayeta at +971503196856. If you have an inspiring story or know someone with one, please send an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.