So You Think You're a Unicorn: An Interview with Mia Michaels
M.I.A. was in a relationship with American DJ Diplo for five years. Later, she got engaged with Benjamin Bronfman, an environmentalist, and on. Katy Perry and Diplo call time on their one-month relationship after she 'freaks ' Diplo broke up with her because she does not want to be in a. M.I.A.'s debut album Arular was released on March 22, The project featured the songs "Galang," "Sunshowers," "Hombre," and "Bucky Done Gun." Arular.
A Guide to Life for All the Exceptional, Excellent Misfits Out There, growing up on a houseboat in Florida with a Playboy Bunny and the Marlboro Man yes, the actual model from the cigarette ad campaign as parents, and embracing every aspect of your uniqueness—even the parts you hate.
The book is a quirky, entertaining manifesto for creatives on embracing individuality, breaking rules, and achieving success on your own terms.
Finally, in middle age, she is learning to love her body, and anyone who reads this book will walk away with a similar feeling of self-love.
Over email, Michaels shared her wisdom on body image, spirituality, finding inspiration, overcoming obstacles while pursuing your dreams, and most of all, becoming a Unicorn. What qualities make you a Unicorn? Unicorns are colorful, unique, fearless, unapologetic. Someone that celebrates themselves and their life at all stages.
When did you become one? I think I was always a Unicorn. I was born into this world already very unique and different—my parents were a Playboy Bunny and the Marlboro Man. I always thought I was different and felt misunderstood and excluded from the norm, but when I acknowledged that I was different and that my differences were great and were making a difference in the world, I really dug into them deeper and realized it was all a gift.
I think failure is an important thing in life. It helps push you into the direction you need to go. Can you give an example? When you work with people, the process has to be equally rewarding. Learning about working with others has been a big, continuous lesson in my life—being a cheerleader to everyone as well as getting the work done.
Yes, exactly, because I was focused so much on the end product. When you walk away from a process you should leave great work, but you should also leave great relationships and memories. Can you talk about the challenges you faced growing up, such as body-related insecurities, especially in the world of dance? I was always a big girl, so in the dance world back then, I was always kind of shunned. Then on top of that, I was thicker than everyone else.
So I had to fight against a lot, but I did.
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I knew I had a calling in the dance world. I think that being rejected as a dancer pushed me to create my own dance, and that has worked out well for me. What is your advice for women struggling with body image? I struggled with it pretty much my whole life.
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That was such a huge waste of time. Everyone is different and they should be different. As long as you feel healthy, you should be able to love yourself. I exercise every day but not to change my body, to build my muscles. I finally came to a place of realizing that being a bigger, curvy woman IS beautiful. For me, that was a long one to learn. It just hit me really hard a couple of years ago. But once I found that beauty inside myself, all of these other doors opened up in terms of plus-size modeling, becoming the face of brands, and body positivity.
Was there a turning point or event that brought on this revelation? Not really, I think it was more of an evolution. It had been building over time. It was so empowering because as I took the runway with all of these supermodels and other plus-size models—it was a very diverse show—it was an amazing moment.
Here I am, an older woman and plus size, just taking the catwalk and owning it. You write about the challenges inherent in collaboration. Can you talk about a successful collaboration and how you found balance between expressing your individuality and working harmoniously with others?
M.I.A. Discusses Bad Relationship with Diplo
It felt like we all had the same vision, spirit and energy. So that was a really successful collaboration. It's a bunch of Dutch DJs with the same haircut. You go see a dance stage at a fucking dance festival and I'm bored out of my fucking mind. That's not going to last very much longer, because kids see that it's the same shit every single time.
Still, Diplo insists Major Lazer is creating, not aping, Jamaican culture. A lot of people think that we're taking Jamaican culture, but in reality, we're one of the most influential acts changing what's happening in Jamaica.
They're very animalistic and instinctive in terms of what they like. The label struggled through a series of rock releases and almost shut down when it couldn't find a way to make money. Ironically, it wasn't until Mad Decent decided to give music away for free that it hit a nerve. The label's roster -- from Baauer to drum and bass icon DJ Fresh to meme rapper RiFF RAFF -- is diverse to an extent that it almost looks like the only explanation is that the releases are all things that Diplo would like.
At Coachella, Diplo said the fundamental rubric is simple: Producing for MIA in the mids "was the first time I had someone pay for me to go to the Caribbean and work on music," he said. Even the world that we're in now, she forged that path.
For a while it was weird, because we were both talking mad shit about each other. I was just digging holes all the time, but now I'm very comfortable with all of it.
But I'm out there and I'm trying shit. What we lack in actual musicianship, we make up for in courage.