Interviewer- Marley Melbourne (creator of "CASUAL" Zine)
Interviewee- Maina Suarez @m.aaina (social media content creator and influencer)
Marley Melbourne (MM): Maina Suarez! Before we get started, I want to thank you for participating in this interview. “CASUAL” Zine is so excited to hear more about you. To start, please introduce yourself to our readers.
Maina Suarez (MS): Heyy ! Big thanks to you for having me today, it’s my first interview and I’m feeling like a superstar lol ! So hi everyone, my name is Maïna, I’m 18 and I currently live in Lisbon, Portugal. I usually live in Paris for my studies but due to miss Rona I had to come back to stay with my family ! I’m studying international marketing for one year and to be honest, I don’t like it at all, so I’m quitting at the end of the year to go to an art school ! My favorite movie is Mama Mia and I don’t have any favorite TV Show, cause I can’t decide between American Horror Story, Black Mirror or Sex Education! Same for music artists, I have too many omg I can’t choose only one ! My favorites of all time are definitely Lana Del Rey, Arctic Monkeys, The Neighbourhood, Lady Gaga and Melanie Martinez. If I had to choose one music to listen for the rest of my life, it would be Alejandro by Lady Gaga. God this song is so perfect and means a lot to me !! I listen to this since I was 6. I’ve always been a Gaga fan. To finish with the intro, I would love to give a fun fact about little Maïna ! When I was around 6, my mother told me that we have to put a little seed in our belly and so a baby would grow. But I had absolutely NO IDEA how I could put the seed in my belly. So one day at school, I took a pebble ( I had no idea what was a seed and what was not ) and put it in my nose, and I put it so deep that it was literally STUCK in my nose. My teacher had to call the doctor to remove it as I couldn’t barely breathe. Well that was the fun fact of the day I guess? Hahahah
MM: Your Instagram account has over 225,000 followers! That is outstanding. Could you tell us about your life when you first started using Instagram? Were you hoping to amass such a large platform?
MS: Yes this is unbelievable! I’m now at 225k and that’s crazy how fast my account is growing these past weeks !! When I started to post on instagram, I was 13 and my family and I were living in Brussels, Belgium. I started to post my drawings, my several plants and some of my fits. 6 months later, my account had over 10k followers and I couldn’t never imagine that I would hit 10k when I started to post. I only posted things that I liked, it wasn’t in the aim of gaining followers etc. Sharing my everyday life was above all for me so it was so crazy to me to imagine that 10,000 people around the world liked my content ! On June 2018, so 3 years later, I was living in Toulouse, France, and had 108,000 followers! But I don’t know how and my account got hacked. So I created a new one and started everything over again. I was convinced that my account wouldn’t grow as big as my other one, but 3 years and a lot of hard working later I’m here with over 225,000 followers ! Isn’t that crazy?? Honestly I never expected my page to grow like that, but I am so grateful to all my followers to support me everyday! Having a big platform is very important to me as I can help raising awareness about importants topics as BLM or Environmental Crisis ans also share my creativity to the world! I’m so proud and happy every time somebody text me about how they found their style thanks to me of when they ask for pics when they see me in real life ! Also I love my community as there’s no drama, everyone is super kind and open minded, I truly have the best followers ever ! :)
MM: Many of your photos feature eclectic editing, often including multiple copies of one figure repeated throughout the image. What inspires your aesthetic and editing style?
MS: Yes ! I recently discovered this kind of editing on TikTok and I’m in love with the 90’s vibe ! After seeing people on TikTok doing it, I had to try and make some edits by myself ! What inspires me the most are music, my instagram mutuals, my friends and people from Pinterest !
MM: One trend on your Instagram feed is your amazing use of makeup. You wear winged eyeliner, green eyeshadow, and have even whitened your brows! Do you feel that makeup is a form of expression and art?
MS: Aww thank you for liking my makeup haha ! I definitely think that makeup is a mean of expression. You can say and express a lot of things without speaking through makeup and people would still directly understand. That’s what I like with makeup. I love to play with my appearance. I always been complexed because of my very thin eyebrows, and a lot of people made fun of me because of them. So years later, I decided to make my complex beautiful by whitening my brows and creating a makeup with them. I felt so much better when I realized that even without brows, I felt beautiful ! It was even more successful when I saw people in the comments totally loving it ! And you know what ? Take all of your biggest insecurities and transform them into strength , you’ll be a million times more confident and powerful, as you should !
MM: Many of our readers are interested in social media and audience growth. It is no easy feat to attract an audience with as many people as yours! If you could share one key to your success as an influencer on Instagram, what would it be?
MS: I know a lot of people are tying to have a huge amount of followers and so a large audience, that’s why you have to stand out the crowd, show that you are unique ! I always say to stop comparing yourself to other creators because everyone is different, and everyone has their little personal touch, if you want to stand out, show what makes you unique and different! It could be a physical feature, a clothing style, any artistic talent or your humour ! Your future followers are searching for something different, so show them who you really are ! I know it’s very hard to not compare yourself to big creators who succeed on social media but honestly, don’t. It will really hurt your mental health and break your confidence. Trust in yourselves babes !
MM: On your Instagram account (@m.aaina), you organize a series called “Wear or Tear”, where users vote on whether they like or dislike outfits worn by a variety of celebrities. Do you turn to celebrities for fashion inspiration, and if so, who are your personal fashion icons?
MS; Yes ! My followers absolutely love wear or tear stories, as they can catch some fashion inspiration and also interact with my content by choosing which celebrity would be the next one ! Honestly, most of my fashion inspiration comes from music, but some celebs like Devon Lee Carlson or Emma Chamberlain truly inspire me a lot !! I love their sense of style because every single piece of clothing they wear is beautiful in a way that we can clearly see that everything has been super calculated to match and at the same time it looks like they don’t care at all and I live for it !!
MM: You interact with your followers a lot, whether it is thanking them for supporting you,
responding to their comments, or recommending them your favourite wallpapers and filters. Is there a specific message or story that you try to share with your followers?
MS: I always try my best to interact with my community because I wouldn’t be where I am today without them, so interacting with them is the bare minimum to me ! When I go live I love to talk to them as if we were longtime friends, and they love it too ! I live this proximity I have with them. By being so friendly with them I’m trying to show them that “celebrity” doesn’t make you inaccessible, if you want to be near your community, you totally can ! It costs 0 to take 10 minutes and answering to comments or DMs ! I want them to see me as their friends, not a superstar which whom you can’t talk about your problems or ask questions. If one day I become super narcissistic and don’t interact with them anymore, PLEASE hit me with a brick, it’s one of my worst nightmares to be honest !
MM: As a young person who has accomplished so much, where do you see yourself in the future?
MS: To be honest, I don’t know. I can’t imagine myself doing a job or anything, I just see myself in a little house on the countryside, with my boyfriend and a lot of puppies !! Maybe one day Instagram would become my full time job ? What a dream haha! But no matter what my job is, I just want a simple life, have fun and travel the world with people I love !
MM: Thank you so much for sharing your story in this interview, Maina! If you have any final words that you would like to share, please feel free to do so now. “CASUAL” Zine wishes you all the best in the future!
MS: To finish this interview, I just want you to know that you are perfect the way you are, stop comparing yourself to others because you are unique. LOVE YOURSELF, PEACE AND LOVE ! <3