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Alumni Spotlight
Marina Roeloffs von Hademstorf ‘08


Where are you from, and what brought you to Rome?

I was raised between Europe and the US. Though having spent a significant part of my youth in California, Malibu holds a special place in my heart. I guess one could see it this way; I came from the city of angels, Los Angeles, and when my family moved to Rome, I traveled to the Eternal City (la Città Eterna) for the first time in my life. And it was magical. All roads lead to Rome.

Can you describe your experience at St. Stephen’s? What are some of your fondest memories of that time?

One of my absolute favorite memories at St. Stephen’s was yoga on the rooftop of the school and in the chapel. The chapel had a beautiful light with a serene silence, and I loved that sense of calm. Then occasionally, we would go on the rooftop and get to enjoy the view overlooking Rome; it was spectacular and quite the setting for yoga.

I also adored that you could have; a caffè, cappuccino, latte, or however you like your coffee, served ‘al banco’ style. The school had an art de vivre filled with charm and that Italian flair of dolce vita.

Some of the best times I remember were during the Fall and Spring trips. It was great to bond with the teachers and the students in a relaxed atmosphere. Those trips created unforgettable memories and allowed me to connect with those on the trip in an environment filled with adventure and fun.

For my senior trip, the group traveled to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. And it was simply surreal. The trip was so well planned and filled with cultural happenings and visits to fascinating archeological sites. To name a few highlights, we went to the top of Petra and crossed a part of the Wadi Rum desert on camels. We’d even done some horseback riding. The experience was exceptional. Like a mirage when I think back on it now.

Marina wearing the META Monte Leather Tote Bag and the META Passion Flame Serpent Cuff (18k gold)

After Rome, what came next?

After Rome, I went on to study in Scotland at the University of St. Andrews. Next, I furthered my studies with a post-graduate degree in London and then Manhattan. And now I’m living my fairytale in Monte-Carlo.

Several years ago, you founded META with your siblings, Kira and Roy. META is Monaco’s first concept gallery, and in addition to showcasing artworks from around the world, you also create and sell high-end jewlery, apparel, and leather pieces, including home goods. Where did the idea for META come from, and how has META evolved since you started?

The story of META is all about love. An ode to the elements with a nod to elegance. A love of nature, the cosmos and all that makes life on Earth so magical. Hence, our motto is, “love is the way.” We fell in love with it, and it’s been beautifully representative of META, which in ancient Greek means “beyond.” Kira, Roy, and I were living in different cities when we decided to create META. Our shared passions brought us together and sparked a poetic vision. A universe where finesse meets wild. A fusion that evokes harmony through timeless beauty. Seamlessly passing on an air of casual elegance and nonchalance charm to our audience.

In addition to what we create, we have curated art exhibitions with talent from around the world. We’ve collaborated with the South Korean Government and international organizations such as UNESCO or the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation. Our creations are authenticity at its best. The high-end home goods, high jewelry, and luxury leather collections are handmade with love and brilliant clarity. Each creation has an aura that captures the fiery energy of META Monaco and the dreamy enchanting vibes of the Mediterranean Sea, Sun, and Air.

META demonstrates a quintessential expression of chic casualness. There is a unique play of luxurious materials in our designs. Awaking effortless vitality with an immediate sense of timelessness. The zenith of glamour. To paint a picture, our logo on some of the leather creations is made of pure 24-karat gold. Without a shadow of a doubt, it had to be gold, the symbol of the Sun. The gold adds a sweet note of warmth, as though the sun’s warmth is caressing the META leather.

In jewelry, our mark is the sun, a powerful way to reflect our love for light and what’s true and real. So it’s wonderful how gold in our creations has become a signature emblem of the house of META. All in all, META takes a step back from the fast fashion trends and leaps forward with our elevated luxury. We prioritize quality over quantity. Our craftsmanship is directed by artisanal excellence embracing the magic of the Mediterranean, the force of classic and contemporary aesthetics, and the spirit of Monte-Carlo.

I recently learned that the fashion industry is the second most polluting industry after oil and gas. How can fashion companies become more sustainable, and how do you approach sustainable, ethical fashion at META?

Sustainability is in META’s DNA. I have always taken that subject at heart, and so have Kira and Roy. It’s a serious matter, and it’s important to take action. For instance, education can pull the switch. With that in mind, we have fused education and art at META through countless art exhibitions we curated around the theme of sustainability.

Not only is sustainability deeply rooted in the brand and the house’s ethics, it has also inspired alternative solutions to satisfy the demands of our audience. When we create, we do so in an ethical manner. Our jewels are handmade using natural precious gems and precious metals. In our creative sphere, we do indeed also design apparel collections. Those are accomplished responsibly for the good of our planet.

The leather collections we design are too sourced appropriately.  And like with all our creations, the leather pieces are patiently made by hand. We use a remarkable quality of responsibly sourced alpine leather. So, staying true to our house rules, all that META creates is sourced with respect towards the environment. A custom we make sure to apply to all our creations. From start to finish, the process is as much a part of the finished product as the outcome.

Our luxury creations and carefully curated art exhibitions are a reflection of META’s love of nature. And through our efforts to produce mindfully, we hope to link arms with the rest of the world in preserving our beautiful planet.

What’s it like to be in business with your siblings? That must come with its challenges and benefits!

Do you know the saying family comes first? And business never sleeps? Well, that’s that.

As a family, we have our code of conduct, and as a brand, we hope to share our spark of META magic. If the way we function were to be compared to the weather, it would be continental, with the occasional rainbows in the sky. A healthy balance. In the beginning, we had difficulty finding that balance between private life and business. But we eventually found our harmony. Didn’t we dream team? Shoutout to Kira and Roy! What can I say? I love my family and META.

Marina in Rome with the META canvas tote bag

Outside of META, what do you enjoy doing in your free time?

There is infinite beauty in nature. I love to begin the day with a swim in the sea, to see the sun rise and set, to go on walks, especially to explore. But my soft spot these days seems to be the great pleasure and interest I take in gardening. It’s such a blissful feeling to see a garden grow, bloom with the seasons, and succeed at keeping the plants happy and healthy. I also enjoy painting very much, and it’s been exciting to have my first show at the gallery. Then as the head of jewelry at META, it’s a delight to study our collections and work on new creations that go with the spirit of our house.

Starting a business is never easy. Have there been moments where you questioned your decision or considered giving up? How were you able to move past those challenges?

META has become my North Star. Much like in gardening, you have to water the seed before it grows into a plant, and in due time, it turns into a tree. But that transformation takes patience and commitment. The journey is the reward. And the story is the fruit of the journey. I love to hear and see our creations become a part of someone’s story. That’s the best part. When META makes one smile.

If you could speak directly to the current St. Stephen’s students, is there any advice you would give them?

Enjoy every moment of your time at St. Stephen’s. It’s precious, and nothing in your life will ever be like it.

You can follow META’s happenings and trending new creations on their website WWW.META.MC, Instagram @META_MONACO, and if you’re in Monte-Carlo schedule a visit of META at 39, AVENUE PRINCESSE GRACE.

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