Lady Estelle Barada exemplifies the dignity and grace of the Victorian era and has been gracious enough to share her Victorian background and philosophies here at the Quintessential Victorian. Please pour a cup of tea and join us for more about her daily Victorian pursuits and visit the links at the end of the post to learn more about her Victorian lifestyle and contributions to the preservation of the 19th century way of life.
At what age did you realize you were a Victorian?
I can say, I was very young, around 7 or 8. I loved to escape to the family attic and play for hours amongst the dusty old things that no one wanted anymore. They were things from old neighbors that my father just could not throw away. You see, he was the neighborhood handyman/junkman. He would say “One man’s junk is another man’s treasure." He was right. I would dress in old out- of –date clothes and travel through old photo albums of people’s past. It was an adventure for a young girl with a vivid imagination.
How do you live a Victorian life?
When you study the standards and code of ethics of the Victorian lifestyle, you see structure, manners, etiquette and propriety were the decorum of the times. I knew I wanted to live that lifestyle and incorporate it as my own. I live my daily life by these codes.
Was there a specific event that made you realize you were a Victorian?
Yes, when I was enrolled in college (Boston Conservatory of Music), my duties and first assignment was to clean, organize, research, and preserve the costumes in the theater/dance department. I had to learn about attire from different time periods, date them, and keep them restored for use. I found my favorite era was the early 1800’s through the 1900’s. Through research, I learned how to properly wear these historic pieces and how to accessorize. I wanted to dress in this fashion and I learned how. That was when I began to incorporate the style in my daily fashion. I did so up until I got married. Then, I fell away from my dream lifestyle and became very modern and cosmopolitan to conform to 21st century motherhood and wife. But low and behold, when the children grew up and left the nest, I was able to live my dream lifestyle again.
What is your favorite Victorian book?
My favorite book is How To Be A Victorian by Ruth Goodman.
What is your favorite Victorian movie?
I would have to say “ A Room With A View” with the talented Maggie Smith and Helena Bonham-Carter. I am a true Romanticist.
The movie that impressed me was called Lincoln. It was about Victorian times in America during our Civil War, 1862-1865. It was very moving and historically important for me as an African American. I began to embrace American history in an era I am so passionate about.
What is your favorite Victorian/period TV series?
This is a hard question, because I do not own a TV nor do I enjoy watching it. I did enjoy being invited to my close acquaintance’s home to watch the Downton Abbey series . She made it a “Ladies Evening Gathering”. We got to dress the part and socialize. It was quite enjoyable.
Who is your favorite Victorian author?
My favorite Victorian author and novelist is the great Jane Austen. She wrote about things way beyond her times. A true time traveler.
What kind of Victoriana do you collect?
Oh my! Am I a collector? I do not collect antiques because of their expense, but I do appreciate them. I have an eye for them. I collect tea cups, teapots, china, fine linens, dolls, vintage photographs, and any thing that tells the story of how people lived in the past. I am most comfortable at an antique fair just browsing. I love to collect and use old kitchen items. I find they work better than the modern day ones.
Do you belong to any Victorian organizations/museums?
I am a long time member of the Victorian Ladies Society. It started out as a Yahoo Group, but now it is a true sisterhood of kindred spirited ladies from all over the country and the world. These are women with the passion for good, old fashioned friendship.
I am also a living history reenactor/docent in a 200 year old mansion in Lincoln, Rhode Island. It is called the Hearthside House Museum. This is where I tell the story of the family that lived there in the past and what life was like at that time. I reenact a servant/cook and do historic cooking demonstrations. It is very rewarding.
What advice would you give to others who feel as if they were born in the wrong era?
I truly feel we are privileged to be living in this era. How so? It's that we can travel back to an era of our passion and interest. We can learn from the people who have lived before us and have paved the way for our comfort and knowledge. So enjoy their legacy and live to keep history alive.
As I said before, etiquette is a very important part of my code of ethics. I feel it was standard then and is very much needed in our modern day life.
I have made it my mission, in my lifetime, to be a fine example and teach young people this code to help refine their journey into adulthood.
I do this through the enjoyment of tea parties and youth programs in my Tea Salon. It makes for a fun learning experience. You can learn more at...
You can also enjoy some of my living history journeys and adventures on my blog page called The Modern day Victorian Lady
The Quintessential Victorian would like to extend gratitude to Lady Estelle for her participation in the interview and for her ongoing dedication to the Victorian era! For more about this amazing Victorian lady please visit her blogspot at:
Victorian Lady Kim