As we found Ohlala in 2004 for the first time it was still a weblog named ohlalaparis.com. It was really funny how Holger found it. He searched for a new digital camera and found a really sexy picture (the web will never forget) from Steph on Ohlala. We both (Gunnar and me) were really impressed with this blog and from that point on we visit it daily.
styve.de: Since the first days of Ohlala so much happened in your lives. Your blog changed into an amazing magazine which has fans all over the world and you moved from Paris to Los Angeles. Why have you gone to California, Paris is such a so beautiful city?
OhlalaMag: We love Paris and part of our hearts will always stay there, but moving to California and particularly to Los Angeles was always our dream. It is the sun, people, ocean, magic of this place that always attracted us, and at the same time moving here made sense even business wise. There are so many amazing places and cities on earth and Paris and Los angeles are just 2 of those. I am sure that at certain point we will go to discover other parts of the world too, like south america or australia.
styve.de: We both know Los Angeles only from our vacations. How is the living and the work over there? Is it easier than in Europe? And first of all – how is the living as a gay couple?
OhlalaMag: Los Angeles is amazing. It is not great city for vacation but it is a wonderful city to live in. There are many misconception, but there is a lot of art, culture and music happening here in addition to entertainment. It is the city of all opportunities (and opportunists too but like any other city it has its good and bad sides. For us it was a good business decision to move here as photographers and it gave us opportunity to work on some other projects to that you will hear about soon.
We feel blessed to be living in this age as a gay couple as the changes are happening really fast. We were the first international couple that has signed domestic partnership in France and actually got the family visa that turned into a citizenship. We hope to be able to get married her in California and I am sure that we will not have to wait long for that. We have been together for over 10 years now and have always been open about our relationship and we are lucky that it never brought any problems our way (as in Alek’s mother country Serbia homosexuality is far from being accepted, like in many other places around the globe).
styve.de: Steph, the fans of you and your site know that you have changed your job not so long ago. You have been a flight attendant at Air France. So we lost the chance to order tomato juice with you. Was it easy to quit something, which is a job of one’s dreams?
OhlalaMag: OH I loved working for Air France it gave me the chance to travel the world but I was working only part time for past 5 years. So it was not hard to change as in life the dreams evolve and change. Now I am leaving another dream of mine by being a photographer and painter in the sunny California. But I’ll still serve you the best tomato juice/bloody mary by our pool
(Holger & Gunnar: On our next vacation we’ll take you up on this.)
styve.de: Back to OhlalaMag. We guess that photography is one of the most important things in your lives. Beside some photos from other photographers you show more and more of your own work, what is really great. We do not only like the photos from your traveling but also the pictures from your male-models. Are you booked from some agencies or where did you get the models for Ohlala and your other projects from (and what a feeling is it to make photos for such a cool company like Aussiebum)?
OhlalaMag: We love photography, and that is the reason we have started our sites, to showcase the work of those that we admire and that inspire us. It is true that today we are publishing some of our work too on our sites and we are happy to be able to share it with our readers. Photography is a big part of our lives and we are lucky to be able to make a living out of it. We work with many agencies, and have a luxury of choosing who we really want to work with. We have worked for many amazing companies with AussieBum being only one of them, but now we are moving forward to working with designers as that is where we can be the most creative.
styve.de: How is the work-sharing with you? Take both of you the photos and did you also take care of your web projects together or has each one of you their own favored part?
OhlalaMag: Well Steph writes www.OHLALAmag.com and I take care of business part of it. I do www.bellomag.com , steph does www.outnext.com , I do www.manchic.com he does www.angelglam.com but we do overlap and mix very often And photos we do them together too, we actually have 2 cameras on the set with us at all times, that is why our works gets such a variety …
styve.de: Let´s step some years backward. When did you get the idea to start earning money with ohlalaparis.com, who’s got the idea and why?
OhlalaMag: OhlalaParis was a personal blog when no one knew what blogging was, it was a way to share photos and ideas with our friends but very fast we have realized that word of mouth is brining many new readers. From that point on we became aware that by turning it into a business it would help us quit our day jobs and do what we always dreamt of doing, photography. With my background in business it was not that hard to turn it into a successful business. So blogging did help us change our lives so now we can work on our other projects.
styve.de: Several times a day you publish new articles and new photography’s. How do you manage it to produce so much content?
OhlalaMag: Today it is easy. We get original content sent to us by photographers and those that produce content, so we get to choose. When you are getting over 6 million hits a month people come to you for exposure, as they know once we post about it everyone else in the blogosphere is going to do the same. It feels good to be at the point where your opinion or choice is valued like this, but we have stayed humble and keep close contact with all our contributors and help them grow.
styve.de: Since the latest relaunch of OhlalaMag the user can no longer comment on articles. Why did you remove these functions and how did the readers can now communicate with you?
OhlalaMag: We are always at the front line of new technologies, and we do believe that community sites like facebook and twitter are the best way to communicate right now. Not sure how long they will lust, but we use those to stay in touch with our readers and it is more personal and easier to use than comments.
styve.de: Beside OhlalaMag you have also other web projects. Would you like to introduce them to our readers?
OhlalaMag: Well we have mentioned some of our sites above. We should add www.alekandsteph.com where you can see some of our photography… and that we are working on bringing our art to other supports soon. To be honest we are always coking something new but we never announce it until it is ready to launch, so stay tuned…
styve.de: How do you see OhlalaMag in the future? Which ideas did you already have in mind?
OhlalaMag: OhlalaMag has already grown beyond our wildest dreams, but we are always pushing envelop further, with technology and the content. The site is at the stage where there is not much to change to make it better but it is always the place where you can see our new ventures and adventures. THANK YOU guys
styve.de: Many of our readers now would certainly be interested from where you normally create your content. Did you show it to us?
OhlalaMag: Here bellow is the photo where OHLALA magic happens on the balcony or on the roof top and by the pool.
Thank you very much for this interview.