Introduce yourself! Who are you?
Hi, I am Mary and I was born with a rare skin condition. After a rather unhappy childhood and severe bullying I am now a model and my past struggles have turned into today’s strengths.
Did you always know what you wanted to do as a career?
No, I always wanted to work in front of cameras. Getting creative, telling stories. I was often told by family and friends to always have a Plan B. Something “safe”… Still haven’t come up with one.
Were you scared to start the process?
Not really, but only because it all started very small. I never thought that I would actually be able to pursue my dreams.
What is one thing no one really knows about you?
I am very hard on myself. I know my strengths and always want to deliver. But I am also very clumsy.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger!” very true. I would never want anybody to go through what I have been through. But it taught me empathy, strength and gave me a strong will. I am very thankful to still be alive.
What would you say to 16 year old you?
Stop waiting for someone to change your life. You can and will do it on your own.
Have you ever had anyone doubt you? How did that make you feel?
My whole life I only got told “no”. It took a moment but finally I can prove them wrong.
What message do you think every woman should hear?
You are enough! Your body, emotions & dreams are valid. And no other opinion can define who you truly are.
Have you always had confidence in yourself?
That’s a tough question. Before all this bullying happened I was kind of confident. But too young to be aware of that. I’d rather say that I didn’t worry much and that I’ve been a very optimistic, happy young girl. But for over a decade I let other people change me and I forgot about my strengths. They kinda broke me. I feel like it hasn’t really been about building confidence, but rather finding my way back to and increasing it.
What do you love most about yourself?
I’m a good friend. Someone you can truly trust and even wake up in the middle of the night if you feel the urge to talk. Funny plot twist : I don’t have many friends. Maybe because I value loyalty and trust a lot. But I am always happy to make new friends. So if you meet me somewhere, feel free to say hello.
Do you remember a specific time you overcame adversity?
It’s been a roller-coaster ride. There are always ups and downs. But graduating from High School felt like closing a chapter behind me. So refreshing. And my son’s birth. He changed my life. I am doing it all for him. Hopefully his generation can grow up building each other up instead of tearing everyone around you down.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned along the way?
You can’t please everyone. And you absolutely don’t have to. Stay true to yourself, treat other people nicely and work on yourself. That’s all you can do.
What motivates you most?
My strong will. I really want to work in front of cameras. That’s what I am really good at, where I feel home. I am very clumsy and had problems figuring out what kind of profession I want to pursue. It feels like it all leads me always back into something creative. It’s not about money, fame or fortune. It’s about doing something you love and love working your butt off for. And maybe I can reach a lot of men and women out there, helping them feeling represented.
How do you manage your work-life balance?
I don’t get how I’m doing it by myself. Somehow it’s magically working. Seems like I’m good in organizing and planning.
What do you do on a daily basis to grow and move forward?
I do this weird thing, standing in front of a mirror and taking a close look at myself. Then I smile and tell myself “I am beautiful”, “I am strong” etc. Same as pulling yourself down, building yourself up works by telling yourself things until you believe them.
Do you have a mentor? If so, what did they teach you?
As a child I went to therapy. She was and still is a amazing and very calm woman. She allowed me to be a child, protected in an safe environment. Something I didn’t have outside of that therapy room.
What is one thing people would be surprised to hear about you?
I am stressing a lot about the future. I am scared to miss chances or to simply mess up.
Who is your biggest role model? Why?
Growing up I was obsessed with Adam Lambert and Alan Rickman.
Adam is a very eccentric singer and he is celebrating being different. A grown up theatre kid. And Alan has been my first ever crush. He introduced me to acting and bringing stories to life. He has been an amazing actor and he seemed like an intelligent and humble human being. His death really broke my heart.
Where do you find inspiration?
Everywhere! Sometimes it’s a movie, a song lyric, something you got told in conversations. A lot of people DM me on Instagram, telling me how happy they are that they finally have found someone like them on TV. And as long as there are people feeling like outcasts and loners, my job isn’t done. I want to inspire as many people as possible.
Marika was born with a rare skin condition. After a rather unhappy childhood and severe bullying she is now a model and her past struggles have turned into today’s strengths.