Vanessa Mai: This is how the singer is committed to accessibility

Vanessa Mai
The singer is committed to accessibility

Hülya Marquardt (left) and Vanessa Mai in Stuttgart

© Aktion Mensch

Singer Vanessa Mai is involved with Aktion Mensch for more accessibility. In the interview she talks about her impressions and plans.

As part of the Campaign # OrteFürAlle The Aktion Mensch is committed to singer Vanessa Mai (29) together with other celebrities for more accessibility. In the interview, she talks about experiences she made for the campaign by working with wheelchair user Hülya Marquardt. She also reveals which other projects are on her plan in 2021.

The background to the campaign is a current survey by Aktion Mensch, for which around 7,000 people with and without disabilities were interviewed. Around two thirds (65%) of the respondents encounter barriers in their everyday life, in the five largest cities in Germany it is even up to 79%. The top barriers in metropolitan areas are blocked paths, difficult forms and poor road surfaces. With Marquardt, who talked about her everyday life with a disability reported on Instagram, May was in Stuttgart for the campaign.

You and Hülya Marquardt were looking for barriers. What did you experience there?

Vanessa Mai: That although we in Germany are certainly much further ahead in this area than other nations, it is still incredibly difficult for people with disabilities, for example wheelchair users, to move around completely freely. It is a process and, of course, attention is paid to barrier-free mobility, especially in new buildings, but there is still a lot of catching up to do in this area.

Did you know beforehand which barriers people with disabilities have to struggle with?

Mai: Of course you always hear about it – but I couldn’t really “empathize” and it gives you food for thought. We should definitely continue to invest here so that these problems become fewer and fewer.

Many people feel insecure when dealing with people with disabilities. How can you counteract this? How are you?

Mai: I can well understand that some people just want to be careful and are unsure of how to deal with them. But on the other hand, people with disabilities actually just want to be treated completely “normally” with them. Sometimes it is well meant to be extra careful, but many people with disabilities want normal interaction. I can understand that well by the way.

You yourself had a serious stage accident in 2018. Did the accident cause you to rethink?

Mai: I just realized once again how quickly such a disaster can happen. I was lucky in my misfortune, but of course you still worry about it.

Do you still have any after-effects, pain that is affecting you today?

Mai: No, fortunately not – but of course I also pay close attention to my body and strengthen my muscles. But that also requires the job and the dancing, singing and performing on stage. Especially on a tour.

Are you consciously taking more time for your body and your health today?

May: Not explicitly because of that, but I think you keep developing and becoming more mature – and I’m sure I have a more conscious relationship with the topic of health today than I did when I was in my early 20s, but that’s also quite normal, I think.

What new projects are there this year?

May: One can be curious. In general there are many new projects. New music, hopefully my tour, as well as some brand and series projects are just around the corner. The next few months will be intense, but I’m really looking forward to it.