Marion Payr ~ Lady Venom

Meet Marion Payr, travel blogger extraordinaire with the most beautiful palette of colours in her captures from across the world.

Marion discovered her passion for photography in 2011 when signing up on Instagram. After 3 years of strict #iPhoneOnly photography, she started to use proper cameras and is now a self-taught professional photographer. Since 2016 she’s a full-time travel photographer and blogger.

  1. What is the best and worst decision you’ve ever made?

As with many decisions – you usually only know in hindsight which ones were good and which weren’t.

When my husband tried to convince me to sign up on Instagram in 2011 I only reluctantly gave in. I mean there was Facebook already… what else would I need? 😉 Fast forward a few years later and it turns out Instagram was the kick-off for my self-employment, a completely new career and passion for travel photography. I quit my last job in 2016 and since then work as a freelance travel photographer and blogger and built a social media agency with some really cool clients. Little did I know that this would happen, all by signing up on this “little” app. So saying YES can sometimes be a really good thing.

At the same time, I cannot think of one single worst decision in my life. Maybe I’m the master in suppressing unpleasant memories? 😉 Generally, I’m a person that overthinks decisions way too much – hence I’m often stuck in paths, that aren’t right anymore. I stayed in jobs, that weren’t good for me (professionally and personally) for way too long. I have to get better in letting things go and adapting to change. Because in the end that’s the only constant in life, yet it doesn’t come naturally to me.

2. What was your dream job as a kid and why?

I believe I wanted to become a teller of fairy tales, a book author and/or a teacher (not necessarily in that order) 😉

I remember that we had this little cassette recorder and I used to invent stories and fairy tales and record them for my little brother. I’m not sure he ever listened to those, but I vividly remember cuddling up under a blanket and embedding myself in these fantasy worlds. Later in school, my favourite tests were always in German, English and French – when we got to write essays. When the teachers asked for 300 words I usually delivered 3000 or more 🙂 (Here’s a sorry to my teachers for that! :)) At that time I read a lot of fantasy novels and teenage crime and detective stories and I wanted to become an author myself. And at home, my little brother got to know the true promise of my skills as a teacher when I forced him to sit in our makeshift school in our attic (maybe that’s why he hated school so much later) 😉

Now that I think back to all of those things I see how they connect and become a reality in some way. Today I tell travel stories through my photography and my blog and I get to teach as I support businesses in strategy processes and do social media consulting. Somehow it’s like all these jobs are now my career.

3. What do you think is the most significant barrier to female leadership?

There are of course many answers to this and it’s a multifaceted issue. But at the core of it all lies structural inequality and social conditioning. It’s not the fault of any men or women, mothers or fathers individually – it’s our deeply rooted subconscious ideas about what it means to be feminine or masculine.

Therefore it’s a slow process to let go of these ideas – first on an individual and later on a societal level, but I feel like we’re getting there step by step.
It all begins with educating the next generation. As a storyteller myself I believe there’s a lot of power in what kinds of tales and stories we tell our children.

It matters which role models they experience as kids – not just in their family, but also in the books and fairy tales they read. I applaud fairy tales where the prince needs rescuing from the princess or where the witch casts a spell and defeats the mighty dragon. It begins with implanting these ideas and then the seeds will grow from there.

4. What woman inspires you and why?

As a kid, I grew up somewhat secluded in the countryside of Austria, so there weren’t many role models around. So the very obvious role model was my mother in many ways. She always managed to be independent, while also caring and nurturing others with everything she did. She was a successful businesswoman and then changed her career path completely in her 40s and decided to become a family therapist. I didn’t have access to many other role models outside of books back then – but I loved my detective stories with strong female characters.

Today I am inspired by every woman who follows her own path. This doesn’t necessarily only need to be the uncompromising Jane Goodall or the photo genius Lucy Laucht (although both inspire me a lot). Any woman that embraces all aspects about herself, no matter if everything fits the norm or not, is inspirational to me. In the last few weeks, we all have learned that the truly important people in our life are working as doctors, as nurses, as supermarket cashiers, garbage collectors, teachers, truck drivers – and I’m pretty sure there are incredible women in each of these jobs!

5. What will be the biggest challenge for the generation of women behind you?

I try to be optimistic about the future, so I believe they will be able to go forward in big steps towards a more equal society.

If we look back at the last few decades a lot has been accomplished already (even if there are sometimes steps back).

And I’m not only talking about gender equality but equality on every level. I feel that women play a vital role in this process – the more perspectives we bring to the table the better. Through the inclusion of women in societal processes, we can shift the needle to a more equal world!