Micol Zanzuri is part interior designer, part carpenter, style influencer — and entertainer.
The Tel Aviv resident’s upbeat videos on Fashion Attack, her YouTube channel, attract thousands of people around the world.
In her effervescent style, Zanzuri gives simple DIY (do it yourself) instructions for a wide range of projects, such as creating high-end armchairs, making over a kitchen to be more beautiful and more functional, building a green wall and “magic bedding.”
Each day, she gets messages from people in dozens of countries seeking her advice on how to improve their house or to thank her for her practical, free handyman tips.
Zanzuri is an animated 34-year-old, with an energetic way of convincing viewers that they can accomplish whatever project is in front of them. Her attitude is, “If I can do it, so can you.”
Her life, too, reads like DIY, something she invented creatively as she went along.
Born in Rome, Zanzuri grew up in a Jewish family that originally came from Tripoli. She said her home was filled with Italian, Tripolitan and American influences.
The fusion of cultures inspires her work. The living room of her apartment in Tel Aviv looks like a mélange of English countryside (there’s fake ivy growing on the fake brick wall) and chic Italian décor.
She has always been industrious. At 16, she opened her first shop on eBay, selling items she bought in Rome flea markets and refurbished. Her earnings went toward tuition at the Marangoni Institute of Design in Milan.
While still a student, she started Fashion Attack, offering step-by-step tutorials for DIY projects that can “turn rags into riches.”
From the start, the channel garnered so many followers that Zanzuri was invited to speak on radio and TV shows all over Italy, and began writing a biweekly column at Italian fashion magazine Grazia.
A sunny place to start over
While studying in Milan, Zanzuri opened another online shop, Styligion, a marketplace for rising fashion designers. She then moved to Germany, at 21, to expand the company.
Zanzuri was able to introduce more than 40 new designers, including soon-to-be trendsetters and celebrities.
After several years, she took a break and traveled to Australia to surf. While there, she realized she needed to move somewhere sunny, and Israel seemed a natural choice. Zanzuri moved to Israel seven years ago.
“Every time I moved in the past, it was by accident,” Zanzuri said. “This time I did it on purpose.” She added that Israelis are a lot like Italians, except “even more excited.”
She said she wants to stay in Tel Aviv because “how you relate to a place is different if you feel committed to living there.”
She is now married to an Israeli, Zari Traore, and is expecting her first baby.
‘They’re all calling me’
Today, Zanzuri designs rental properties and manages 30 different properties in Italy, Germany and Israel. She likes this job but prefers to work with private customers.
“That way, my business grows by word of mouth,” she said. “My customers invite their mothers, friends and cousins for Sabbath dinner, they see what I’ve done to their house, and the next thing I know, they’re all calling me to redo their apartments.”
Every few months, Zanzuri wanders the streets of Tel Aviv, carrying a tool kit in her handbag (she says, “You never know!”) and offers random strangers a free makeover in their apartment.
She says the makeovers, in which she shows before-and-after photos along with videos, including DIY suggestions, are very popular.
“People don’t think it’s possible to improve their living space which might be old and cramped and not designed well but I show them how,” Zanzuri said.
This is going to be fun
Merav Shapira felt like she won the lottery when Zanzuri offered to redo her kitchen in Tel Aviv. Shapira said she was “so grateful that Micol took time over and over again” to transform her space, which she always thought was impossible.
In a twist, Zanzuri said that “the more unlucky people are with their apartment, the more lucky I am.”
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“The harder it is, the more I like it because I love challenges,” she said. “I always think, this is going to be fun, this is going to be an adventure.”
She said she had a recent client who rarely cooked so they didn’t need a large table. However, every few months, they invited their whole family, which included a lot of people.
“I convinced the carpenter that he could build a tiny table that could expand into a big one,” she said. “He didn’t think it was possible but I showed him.”
Her approach to interior design is similar to how she learned fashion design.
“We would sketch dresses, for example, and then we would have to sew what we just drew,” she said. “This way, we learned how to make it happen. I learned all the basics. That’s still what I do. I now know how to make things and then I know it’s possible.”
A better home
Zanzuri didn’t study carpentry formally; she learned it on YouTube.
“What I learned on YouTube is what I teach on YouTube,” she said. “One viewer told me not to shout in my videos. That’s just me.” She wants her viewers to be inspired by her enthusiasm.
Comparing the styles of different cities, Zanzuri said, “Milan is fancy, New York is underground, and Tel Aviv is shabby chic. People here like to have a cool look that is unique.”
She said that she loves the idea of helping people beautify their homes without spending a lot.
“Instead of using your money, you can use your time and do it yourself,” she said. That way “you can achieve an amazing look for a cheaper price.”
“I want to show people that it’s possible to make their house a better home.”
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