Maria Mena Interview in Stella Magasinet

      Maria Mena Interview in Stella Magasinet

      Here is a little translation / summary of an interview Maria did in the current issue of Stella Magasinet.

      For Maria Mena (27) feminism is also instagramming a YSL bag

      The article starts off talking about Christmas time and Christmas traditions,

      things Maria isn't too familiar with.

      - "We are not a very close family, so we didn't celebrate Christmas

      together. It wasn't important to me. It might sound sad, but it was a choice I

      made. I dreaded that time of the year, so I wasn't seeking it. Instead I

      watched TV alone and ate Grandiosa."

      The article then continues to say that the fascinating thing about Maria is

      that even though she has been sharing part of her life through music for the

      past 11 year, the audience does not really know her.

      - "There are certain things about my story that shouldn't get out. I think

      people wouldn't be able to handle it. So at a certain point I learned that I

      have to give them enough so that they don't want more."

      When Maria was younger, she shared everything with the journalists. She thought

      they wanted to get to know her, be her friends.

      - "Because of certain things in my life, I grew up pretty fast. I can see

      now that it was okay for me to stop school in 10th grade and start working. It

      was perfect for me. But at the beginning I shared way too much. A couple of

      things, like the relationship with my mom, that I should have shut up about. I

      do that now."

      She has developed in the way she deals with journalists, but also in the way

      she approaches releasing new music. She doesn't need the acknowledgement

      anymore. She doesn't feel like she needs to justify herself anymore.

      - "The reviews are well deserved, but for me personally that doesn't mean

      anything. I knew it was good. All my albums deserve 5 stars."

      - "Not 6?"

      - "No. There the grandma in me comes out. Only amatures are


      She's not an amature. She's the boss. On her new album, she worked with new

      producers and new sounds and said stop when it became too much.

      - "I have learned that I'm the boss. It says Maria Mena on the album,

      that's my name. Mats, one of the producers, was scared of me in the first

      months. He said 'you're so harsh and strict' and I just went 'yes I am, I'm the

      boss'." She laughs.

      She has learned trusting her gut feeling over the years. Things she has learned

      when she was working in the US as an 18 year old and anorexic.

      - "I was really sick and out there with two grown up men and just got

      sicker. At some point I sat in Salt Lake City in the middle of the night,

      called the Norwegian record company and said: 'Guys, I'm going home!' I had

      never had a dream of being there. I thought it was unpleasant and wanted to go

      home. It wasn't the performance on Letterman, the decision was made prior to

      that. There was a turning point when I learned to say no. After that I've said

      no a lot."

      sees the past 11 years as phases of her life that are over when she releases

      the record.

      - "It's always to steps forward and one step back. During the step back, I

      will get the inspiration for my next record. I have started to realize that

      getting to know myself is an ongoing process. I can change moods pretty fast

      and that can scare people who are not used to that and make them insecure. I am

      working on that."

      Life has its ups and downs for Maria, but more of an up.

      - "I don't even out. But I find a balance in the unbalanced, normality in

      the extreme."

      In between records she takes time off to think.

      - "Even if it is only a week, sit down and think about if what you are

      doing is really what you want to do. If it feels tiresome, there should be a

      good reason why you keep on doing it."

      Once, in a dark time in between, Maria ended up walking the dog Tara for a

      short while.

      - "Now spinning works well for me in those times. I am not in doubt that I

      wanna do music. It is what makes me feel complete as a person."

      Spinning has almost taken religious proportions. It is easy to get worried for

      someone who talks so openly about eating disorders and other obsessions.

      - "You're not afraid this will turn into an obsession since you are so

      involved with it?"

      - "Yes, that's why I'm very concerned with balance."

      - "That must be a scary feeling."

      - "Yeah, but I know myself so well by now that I know when I am crossing a

      boundary. That's when I stop. My obsessions could result in me eating salmon

      for lunch for five weeks. At the end I'm sick of salmon. It still surprises me

      what compulsive thoughts can be about. But I'm done with that. I have actively

      cut down on exercising. I am where I want to be and train three times a week. I

      like it. I have a female body and I thrive in it. I don't wanna become thinner


      - "You have said earlier that you were happy with your body as well."

      - "I lied then."

      She felt like that at a certain time people were tired of talking about the

      illness. Last time she photographed for Stella she only wanted to wear certain

      things. Not this time.

      - "I have lost a lot of weight since then. So it is easier to feel

      comfortable in clothes. I didn't wanna look like that anymore, so I had to find

      my way back while finding a balance at the same time. It took a year and now

      I'm where I wanna be. It's also about standing on a stage in front of people

      and feeling comfortable. On stage I am in my emotions and my body and I don't

      wanna think about if that guy on the first row can see my tummy."

      Even though she realized that the path is the goal , she found a comfort she

      didn't know before.

      - "It took me a while to build that foundation, but I did that now and I

      have that foundation."

      She believes in her talent now.

      - "Basically, I'm a talented song writer. No matter, if I am in a

      relationship, married or not, or if somebody has lost all my money."

      Financially, she's safe. She is one of the best earning female artists of the


      - "I don't care about how many records I sell or what I earn. I get my

      monthly pay on an account that I don't even know the account number to. An

      accountant keeps track of those things. Earlier today I had to call him,

      because I had a high phone bill and I couldn't pay it. My friends shake their

      heads when I tell them I'm broke."

      - "But it's never too bad, if you get to high of a bill?"

      - "I probably know I won't. But you should never simplify money. From a

      material standpoint, my biggest comfort in life is my appartment."

      Actually, the appartment represents more than material comfort. When she was

      younger, she moved 20 times. That feeling of restlessnes sticks.

      - "We moved because we had to give up the appartment. We were thrown out.

      When you're a kid and see mom and dad cry because they don't know where to

      live, you have to move back to grandma, your mom has to take an extra job and

      your dad is out playing all summer, then you get a little scared. So the most

      important thing I did in my life was invest in an appartment. If I lose

      everything, I still have a place to live."

      She doesn't see herself as a very political person. Gay rights are important

      for her, she gets angry when someone uses the word 'homo' as an insult.

      -"What else can you get upset about?"

      - "Bad manners, commentary sections, racism and that there is poverty in

      our country. I don't tolerate that. I pay 50% in taxes. That means I give away

      half of my money. And I do that because I wish to live in a free country where

      we care for each other. I get irritated when I read stories about people who

      fall out of the system. The way the US system irritates me. I have a friend who

      got cancer. Two days later he was operated. That's when I knew that paying

      taxes this year was a good thing."

      At home, whenever Maria has found something nice to wear, her husband Eivind

      takes pictures of her and she puts them on Instagram.

      - "I love Instagram. I wonder why people always ask why I take pictures of

      clothes. I've always been interested in clothes. You've just never heard it

      before. I think I have one of Norways nicest closets and I wanna show


      Those who follow Maria on Instagram have probably seen some luxury brands such

      as Céline, Balenciaga and YSL.

      - "I have calmed down a little with the clothes now. But this one I use a


      She says and points at a black YSL.

      - "I love it. It gives me so much. Yes, it is superficial, we agree on

      that. But that is also a part of me. I think that is feminism. The whole woman.

      Just because I like clothes, it doesn't mean I'm not intelligent."

      - "I guess that's what you cann guccifeminism?"

      - "Call it what you want."

      - "Do you see yourself as a feminist?"

      - "Yes I do."

      - "What do you think defines a feminist in 2013?"

      - "The freedom to chose yourself. If you want to be a stay at home mom and

      that fulfills you, then you are a feminist. It annoys me when people say that

      you are opressed or there's something wrong with being a stay at home mom. That

      you have to go out and fight. Some of the most important fights are fought at

      home behind closed doors with your kids."

      Social media has given Maria a chance to show her funny side.

      - "When Twitter came, people started laughing at my jokes, my self irony and

      I thought it was about time. I am everything. The sensitive Maria doesn't

      appear much outside her appartment.

      - "Is it important to you that people get to see both sides?"

      - "Yes, because people get a little shocked when they meet me. I wanna

      show that I am more than who I am on my records. I don't like it when people

      are careful around me, they think I can't handle it."

      One of the reasons why she developed this rough humor is because she wanted to

      be one of the guys on tour. When she realized as a 17 year old they were trying

      to protect her, she decided to get rougher than them. Now she's about to go out

      on tour with the guys again.

      - "It's so much fun. I love it! But it probably doesn't suit


      - "Or maybe forever?"

      - "I definately want to hold on to it a little longer. I need to take care

      of myself right now. Nobody else. At some point I guess I have to make a

      choice, if I want kids or not."

      Maria thinks it is wrong to ask, if somebody wants to have kids. She wouldn't

      tell the press first either. But then there is that song "All the

      Love" that is adressed to possible future daughters.

      - "It must be allowed to ask, what you want to pass on?"

      - "I have thought about that a lot. What did I get from my mom and dad. I

      don't think I would have had the job I have today if it wasn't for their need

      to be individuals. We are not a very tight family, but the love for words I got

      from my mom. I want to pass that on. I think I got that from my mom reading

      poems to me and starting to laugh."

      - "I always got the confirmation that I am a good person and it shouldn't

      surprise, if guys want to be with you and kiss you. She was very good at that.

      I have never been in doubt that I have something to offer a man. I never saught

      validation in that way. What exactly it was I don't know, but in my youth, when

      my friends got hurt and lost their virginity way to early and all that, I had a

      form of self worth. In all my self doubt. I need to use some energy on finding

      out what that was. I need to pass that on, if I ever get a daughter. And then I

      nedd to be a little better at building her self confidence."