At just 16, Mandy Capristo was catapulted into the spotlight – as part of “Monrose,” one of Germany’s most successful girl groups. The music trio has long been history, and the 31-year-old now lives in Italy and is taking off as a solo artist. Sounds like a perfect career? Not at all! In the Tikbow interview, the singer talks about the dark times in her life and how she pulled the ripcord to get back on her feet.
When we reach Mandy Capristo by phone, she is on the road in Germany. A lot is coming up: her participation in the "Free ESC" on ProSieben, her new single "Enough" and the launch of her mental health platform "Felice", which is all about mental health. A topic with which the half-Italian is all too familiar.
Tikbow: Why did you start a mental health website?
Mandy Capristo: I wanted to create a safe space for people who are affected by this issue. Over the last few years I have become more and more involved with mental health and how essential it is to living a healthy life. And getting help when you are stuck, in the form of a life coach or even a psychologist. On my own journey I noticed how little it is really talked about and how much we classify it as a taboo subject, especially in Germany. If our mental mind is simply not there in the form or is not cared for like our muscles on the body, then difficult moments can occur. To counteract this, I wanted to give people a platform on which they can deal with the topic of mental health and the path to happiness. And to take away their loneliness with it.
How did you come to be so involved with mental health?
I started very early on, when I was 16, 17 years old, to get involved with this. It was always very important to me to stay with myself and to keep a clear head in this nevertheless "crazy” entertainment world. Basically, I was interested in the subject of psychology and I was always in the mode: "höher, faster, further." But after my first solo album in 2012, after almost 7 years of non-stop work without days off, I was like burnt out and had a mini-breakdown. I didn’t have deep depressions, but definitely depressive periods where everything was darker with me. I didn’t recognize myself, and then I decided to get involved with a life coach. I would do that again and again.
How did these dark phases work out for you?
I am someone who is disciplined and dedicated by nature, always seeing the glass half full. And I would also say that I am a very positive person, but suddenly I realized that a little gremlin was creeping into me that I couldn’t stop. I found it hard to get up in the morning, I became sad and quieter. At that time I was part of a TV show, had to be highly praised and couldn’t just say: “I’ll just pull out of the contract.” But that’s exactly what I would have had to do, but at the same time I knew that I would then let a lot of people down. A chaos of fruit and vegetables.
You became prominent very early, in your teens. What has that done to you?
I grew up overnight. Especially when you are so young, you naturally take a lot to heart and try to do everything perfectly so as not to disappoint yourself and others. Over the years, I’ve built up a very slick, perfect image. I have tried to do everything correctly. In the process, the lightness got lost in one place or another. But that was my way of dealing with it.
Did you seek therapy back then?
I never went to therapy, but I did get help to talk üabout certain things and process them. For me, it was clear that this life I led so early on was not a normal life. I come from a very small town in Hesse, we had less than 800 inhabitants, I saw cows, horses and Bäume every day. And suddenly everything was different. It’s a very exciting life and at the same time my reality, but it was always important to me to have real life in front of me and never lose what really matters in life.
Can you pinpoint the moment when you realized you couldn’t continue living your life like this?
There was this moment when I thought: "If I continue like this, then I lose something in me and I never wanted that.” There were moments and there are always again, that people come up to me and say to me: "Wow, you have everything, with you everything is always great." But in reality it is not so, we have to struggle behind the scenes with the same issues and not everything is gold that glänzt. In 2015 I went to L.A. with only my longtime girlfriends by my side, who were mentoring me at the time. That was the best thing I could have done. I wanted to do normal things again, not have to dress up in case photographers shot me down. I didn’t wear makeup, drank alcohol for the first time – at 25 I made up for everything I hadn’t before. This distance from the hustle and bustle of Germany did me an incredible amount of good, gave me peace and brought me closer to myself again.
Now you live in Italy with your boyfriend. How can one imagine your life there?
In fact, I am a total country bumpkin. I have a great connection to nature, because I also grew up in the countryside in Germany. I moved away from my small town very late – only when I moved to London at that time. My life in Italy is very relaxed, especially now with Covid. I have a lot of green around me, a lot of food and my dogs. It is very cozy. It’s good for me.
Do you grow your own fruit and vegetables or do you have cows, sheep and goats?
We don’t have a farm, but that’s my dream. In the future, we want to get some chickens, grow tomatoes and just grow more ourselves. Scale life down a bit, back to basic.
A life you couldn’t imagine living in Germany?
Yes, absolutely. My home is still in Bürstadt, Hesse. But my private life has taken me to Italy. It’s a nice compromise that I’m happy to make.