Thursday 8 June 2023

Interview with Mia Karolys

Monika: Mia Karolys, also known as Mia Maquilon Karolys, is my lovely guest today. Mia is an Ecuadorian businesswoman, fashion designer, model, beauty queen, and social media expert. She is the founder of DRESSMEBYMIA, an online boutique with on-trend jewelry, clothing, and accessories, based in Athens, Greece. Hello Mia! Thank you for accepting my invitation.
Mia: Hello Monika! Thank you for having me! I’m going to be an open book for you and your audience.
Monika: Great! Let’s read it through then! Could you say a few words about yourself?
Mia: I’m Mia Karolys, just a simple woman with a lot of dreams and the stamina for achieving them.
Monika: How did you choose Europe as your place to live? 
Mia: Well, that’s quite a question! I choose Europe because I wanted to seek a new life, luckily I fell in love with a European man, so I ran away from my country because of the danger of being an influencer as a trans woman.
Monika: You founded DRESSMEBYMIA in 2022. Let’s promote your boutique a little. What does it offer and what unique services does it offer?
Mia: Yes, I have a funny story about how I started my business. I love shopping, and I'm obsessed with new clothes, accessories, and jewelry. So I was shopping every week outfits for any occasion. I used to spend all my money on new fashion trends and clothing so I decided to open my own online boutique as a way of saving money and gaining money out of my problem, which is to buy many clothes.
"I started modeling before my transition
from male to female."
So my boutique is dedicated 100% to the fashion trends I would love to wear. I am selling my style, taste, and of course, my idea of fashion, because I dress to impress myself!
Monika: Do I have to look like a supermodel like yourself to find anything for me?
Mia: Oh, that’s a great question! I dress in line with fashion trends that can fit any body type. And we all are supermodels, we just need to accept our bodies the way they are and express them with clothing because remember we dress to impress ourselves!
Monika: When did you decide to become a fashion model?
Mia: I started modeling before my transition from male to female. I studied at the best modeling schools back in Ecuador when I was 13, so at 18 when I fully transitioned I became the first transgender model to walk on female catwalks!
Monika: In 2019 you represented Ecuador at the Miss International Queen pageant, held for transgender women every year in Thailand. You reached the Top 12! How did you prepare yourself for it? Who helped you to prepare your dresses, make-up, and hair?
Mia: Yes, I am proud to have been the first Miss International Queen from Ecuador. It wasn't easy! I practiced for a year with the best pageant trainer who gave me private lessons about how to do my hair and apply makeup, and I learned fast!
Monika: Did you have any sponsors or friends that supported your participation in the pageant?
Mia: It was my mother. I would like to thank my mother who supports me all the time, so she sponsored everything!
Monika: What was the atmosphere among the pageant contestants? Did you have a chance to make friends with some of them? 
Mia: OMG, you bring me back to that beautiful time of my life! Of course, I made some lifetime girlfriends like Miss Peru 2019, Miss China 2019, Miss Canada 2019, Miss Vietnam 2019, and so many others! We took part in the best pageant with no drama, we bonded our sisterhood and I loved it, every bit of it!
Monika: Were you disappointed when you did not win the competition?
Mia: No, I was not. Let me tell you why. In order to have a crown of that magnitude you should be prepared for all the good and bad things that come along, and honestly, I wasn't ready.
"I ran away from my country leaving
behind everything."
Monika: We all pay the highest price for the fulfillment of our dreams to be ourselves. As a result, we lose our families, friends, jobs, and social positions. Did you pay such a high price as well? What was the hardest thing about your coming out? 
Mia: Yes, I paid the price so now I'm receiving my taxes back! LOL. I ran away from my country leaving behind everything I truly love, friends, family, pets, and comfort zone. But if I hadn't left away I wouldn't be the strong woman I am today!
Monika: Why did you choose Mia for your name?
Mia: Mia means “mine” in Spanish, so I choose it because I'm mine, and no one owns me.
Monika: Was your family surprised by your transition?
Mia: Of course, it was not easy but my mom is my pillar! She helped me to truly open my eyes in her own Latino way and to teach me the path I will follow.
Monika: Are you satisfied with the effects of the hormone treatment?
Mia: Yes, I started when I was 16, without any doctor's advice but I don't recommend that. I came out to my family at 18, so after that my mom supported me and I had the opportunity to get access to hormonal therapy because in my country there's no access to that.
Monika: You look like a million dollars so probably this question is not relevant for you. We are said to be prisoners of passing or non-passing syndrome. Although cosmetic surgeries help to overcome it, we will always be judged accordingly. How can we cope with this?
Mia: I will tell you something that my mom told me, no matter if you change yourself with cosmetic surgery and become a Barbie will not help you if you don't love and accept that we are imperfect human beings and there's no such thing as the perfect body! Be comfortable in your own skin!
Monika: Do you remember the first time you saw a transgender woman on TV or met anyone transgender in person that opened your eyes and allowed you to realize who you are?
Mia: I have a particular story, which I experienced when I was a boy. When I was 14, when my puberty started, I totally freaked out! So I tried to find a way to become a woman, and this is how my journey began! 
Monika: Did you have any transgender sisters around you that supported you during the transition?
Mia: Yes, I used to go to clubs as a child. I was clubbing and of course, I used to meet some trans women. However, if I hadn't had my mom next to me, it would be a different story now!
"My country is not very safe for someone
who is an openly trans woman."
Monika: What do you think about the present situation of transgender women in your country?
Mia: My country is not very safe for someone who is an openly trans woman. There is a lot of misunderstanding and miscommunication about being a trans woman!
Monika: What kind of outfits do you usually wear? Any special fashion designs, colors, or trends?
Mia: Well, I wear whatever makes me feel like a million-dollar babe! But my favorite brands are Dressmebymia and Prada! my favorite colors are gray, lavender, and golden. I don't follow trends. I follow what I feel looks good on me! 
Monika: Do you often experiment with your makeup?
Mia: Well, not really. I'm not a makeup girl. I have my basics and that's all. I usually let my makeup artist do whatever she or he likes!
Monika: I remember copying my sister and mother first, and later other women, trying to look 100% feminine, and my cis female friends used to joke that I try to be a woman that does not exist in reality. Did you experience the same?
Mia: You know my mom again she taught me how to dress like a lady, how to behave like a lady because we are all women but not all of us are ladies so much! And I grew up learning everything from her. So again I'm a Mommy’s girl!
Monika: By the way, do you like being complimented on your looks?
Mia: Oh no, I hate it when they say, oh you look so beautiful like a woman! That's the worst thing that someone can tell me!
Monika: Do you remember your first job interview as a woman?
Mia: Yes, I do. I was so afraid that they would recognize I’m a trans woman! Thank God I'm my own boss, LOL.
Monika: When I came out at work, my male co-workers treated me in a way as if the transition lowered my IQ. Did you experience the same? Do you think it happens because we are women or because we are transgender? Or both?
Mia: Yes, but people want to exploit us because we as trans women, we don't have many opportunities given by society, so they exploit us! But let me tell you this! We as trans women, we need to be fully aware of who we are, because people will try to look down on us, even our partners, so don't let anyone make you feel less!
Monika: What would you advise to all transwomen looking for employment?
Mia: I advise studying, learning, practicing, preparing yourself, getting the online degree, and getting anything that guarantees you that you can do it!
Monika: Are you involved in the life of the local LGBTQ community?
Mia: No, I am not but I'm going to participate because I want to give it all for T within the LGBTQ movement.
"No surgery will change who you are
on the inside."
Monika: Could you tell me about the importance of love in your life?
Mia: Yes, love is very easy to spell but it is very difficult to find! But now I understood that the only real love is your parents, and in my case, it is my mom and the love I have learned to give to myself!
Monika: Many transgender ladies write their memoirs. Have you ever thought about writing such a book yourself?
Mia: Oh yes, that's a big, big dream!
Monika: What is your next step in the present time and where do you see yourself within the next 5-7 years?
Mia: I can see myself living comfortably in my own skin and dressing myself by
Monika: What would you recommend to all transgender women that are afraid of transition?
Mia: Do not be afraid! The enemy is not out there, it is inside us! We just need acceptance and patience… and do anything to be happy!
Monika: My pen-friend Gina Grahame wrote to me once that we should not limit our potential because of how we were born or by what we see other transgender people doing. Our dreams should not end on an operating table; that’s where they begin. Do you agree with this?
Mia: As I told you before, no surgery will change who you are on the inside. Be the woman you want to be first in your thoughts.
Monika: Mia, it was a pleasure to interview you. Thanks a lot!
Mia: Thank you, Monika! I could not resist crying when I answered some questions! It is a very important step in my life to have this interview. I'm still working on my acceptance but let me tell you something just take it easy!

All the photos: courtesy of Mia Karolys
© 2023 - Monika Kowalska

On the cover of an Ecuadorian magazine.

Miss International Queen 2019 promo video.

On the cover of a USA fashion magazine.

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