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Another Time and Place - Havana // By Hailley Howard

We time traveled.

As Cuba's borders have now opened to certain Western nations, people are flocking to get a glimpse into the past. Havana; a beautiful city romantically hovering somewhere between now and then. One moment you might find yourself asking if you fell into a time warp and the next moment you catch a local taking a selfie and you’re back in 2017 again. The people are kind and honk a friendly “hello” on their horns to their friends in their 1950’s-esque classic cars  (which may or may not be pieced together bit by bit and held together with duct tape and superglue). Where it feels like everyone is a friend and you’ve been invited join their club.

JOLYN swimsuit photo shoot in Havan, multiple images
*streets of Havana

We jumped at the opportunity to shoot the next JOLYN lookbook in this land of saturated color, chipping frescos and stolen time. A rare opportunity to see into a striking and raw time capsule. Where one has little to no ability to access the internet and emails and Instagram and other distractions that normally fill, and sometimes clutter, our lives. Cuba might soon change into something modern and new, as things do, when Pizza Hut and McDonald’s move in and all of a sudden everything is different. When a country that has been forcibly frozen in time and politically oppressed opens its doors opportunistic enterprise strikes. Modern shifts are rapidly occurring and this developing nation’s unique charm is delicate and dwindling. The last grains of yesterday’s sand are falling in Cuba and with our quick glimpse we can’t help but wonder if some of the simplicity will be greatly missed by its people.

JOLYN swimsuit photo shoot in Havan, multiple images
* Behind the scenes shooting with Alesha in the streets of Havana

The buildings are old. The streets are old. The cars are old. Do not mistake the stares and curious eyes as something sinister, they are shared and exchanged in both kindness and simple curiosity. The Havana people are just as curious as we are. If they can’t speak it you’ll find it in different symbols everywhere; the Apple logo and the American flag surreptitiously plastered on t-shirts and the sides of buildings, and the excitement in people’s voices when they ask, “are you American?” For those that have traveled you are probably privy to the {sometimes} uncomfortable moment immediately following the answer to that question: YES. But not in Havana. The people are excited to share their beautiful city and ripe culture with their new friends.

JOLYN swimsuit photo shoot in Havan, multiple images
* Location: Havana City, Club Havana Beach, Fuserlandia 

Havana is not a place that you should choose for your next travel destination if you want 5-star accommodations and lazy beach afternoons. No, this is where you adventure and soak in the spirit and brightness all around you. Where you sweat and stain your clothing. Where you get blisters on your feet from the unkept roads. Where you watch the street dogs and cats read the traffic just as the people do. Where you see adults sharing their single-seat bikes with other adults, with smiles on their faces. Where you get up early with the heat and stay up late dancing and meeting new old friends. Where hot water doesn’t flow every day. Where fresh veggies are hard to find but the mango and pineapple are the best you’ve ever had. Where you will find good cocktails before you find good food. Where with enough mingling you might just be able to find a gorgeous rooftop bar for sunset, looking out over the city wondering if the old world was always so deliciously pink.

JOLYN swimsuit photo shoot in Havan, multiple images
*Behind the scenes, shooting Malena from Cuba Modela 

You go to Cuba to feel alive and share smiles with passerby’s. You go to remember that you don't need much to be happy and that life is about experiences and not things. You go to remember that no matter how different we all are, we are all the same and that this world has so much color to see - and share. Thank you, Cuba - thank you, Havana. For the memories we will always cherish and the golden opportunity to experience something akin to yesteryear. We all daydream about what it might be like to experience another place in time and for now, Havana is still somewhere both here and there.

JOLYN swimsuit photo shoot in Havan, multiple images

* A big thanks to our crew!: Creative Director: Mallyce Miller @mallyce - Photographer: Hailley Howard @hailleyhoward - H/MUA: Marlaine Reiner @mjr_makeup - Model: Alesha Deesing at Brand Models @aleshadeesing

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