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Profile: How ‘Pretty Girl’ Singer Maggie Lindemann Became Outspoken and Independent at 19

Musical artist Maggie Lindemann is sick of people putting her in a box. In her hit “Pretty Girl,” the 19-year-old singer spreads a feminist message of not wanting to be judged solely for her looks, singing “And you see me holding up my middle finger to the world/ Fuck your ribbons and your pearls/ ‘Cause I’m not just a pretty girl.”

Maggie grew up in Dallas, Texas but moved to Los Angeles when she was 16 years old, the same age at which she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Since then, she has performed at the Billboard Hot 100 Fest and BBC Teen Choice Awards, as well as collaborated with The Vamps on “Personal.” Her Campus chatted with Maggie about her inspiration and outlook as a young woman in music—and if you’re across the pond in April, catch her at The Vamps: Night and Day Tour. 

Her Campus: How did you get started in your musical career? 

Maggie Lindemann: I  have always been super into music ever since I was little. I did choir and musicals, but it wasn’t until about about three years ago when my manager found a video of me singing on Instagram that I made it into a career.

HC: What keeps you motivated?

ML: One day I want to be able to fully support my family and let them live a carefree life that I think they deserve. I’ve always wanted to live this life and I think looking back and remembering all the hell I had to go through to be where I’m at now inspires me.

HC: What inspired “Pretty Girl” and how does the song have a feminist message? 

ML: I’ve been on social media for a very long time. It started out on tumblr years ago and now I’m a musician and everything I do is public. A lot of the time I’m judged based on what I wear or how I look or who I date, etc. I wanted to make a song to kind of just say I’m still a human being and just because you see me online doesn’t mean you know me. Just because I look a certain way does not make me unintelligent, a bitch, a slut, etc.

HC: What’s been your proudest moment so far as a performer? 

ML: Getting to perform with The Vamps at Wembley was so incredible.  I remember I used to see them all over the internet and always hear their music and now I’m going on tour and performing with them. Also receiving my first platinum plaque was just beyond unbelievable.

HC: What do you hope college women take away from your music? 

ML: I mean I want everyone, not just women or women in college, but everyone to feel like they aren’t alone and they are amazing. My songs are all about different things, so every song has a different message. So whatever that message is I just hope they feel empowered by it.

HC: Why is music a great way to deal with stress, both for you and your fans? 

ML: I feel like music is just an outlet to escape whatever you’re going through. Whether it’s stress, sadness, love, anger—music makes us feel like we aren’t alone. 

HC: You were diagnosed with bipolar disorder when you were 16 years old. Tell us about that experience and how it shaped who you are.

ML: I don’t really let anything I’ve been diagnosed with define me. It’s something I’ve always lived with, so I really don’t know anything other than the way I’ve always felt and lived. It’s definitely been hard. I think if anything it’s really just made me a very strong person. I’m very independent and outspoken.

HC: Who would be your dream collaborator?

ML: I’d love to collaborate with a cool DJ, like Zedd or Flume. I’d also love to work with someone like Travis Scott or Kendrick Lamar.

HC: What would you most want to study in college aside from music? Why?

ML: I wanted to go to college and study to be a pediatric oncology nurse. I’ve always wanted to work in a hospital and work with children. I’ve always felt super strongly about working in that field because I want to be able to bring people joy when they feel like they have nothing left. I wanted to make people smile. 

HC: What’s next for you?

ML: Definitely a tour. I’m going on tour with The Vamps the beginning of next year and I’m so beyond excited. Also a LOT of new music is on the way.

Lindsay was the president/editor-in-chief of the UCLA chapter of Her Campus from 2015-2018. She was previously the Viral Section Editor at Her Campus and an Editorial Intern at the headquarters in Boston. Lindsay grew up in Washington state and transitioned to love the Southern California sunshine while studying communications and environmental science at UCLA. Twitter: @WeinbergLindsay.
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