María José “Majo” Molfino is breaking down one stereotype at a time to design a better world for all women. Majo is an insightful creator as well as the author of Break the Good Girl Myth where she taps into how women can overcome the “rules” society places upon us. In addition to being a bestselling author, Majo hosts her Heroine podcast to explore female empowerment. Majo works with women to help them imagine, create, and design their dream lives, and we are honored and thrilled to feature her as our next VOZ Woman.
What inspired you to begin your journey supporting women in designing their creative purpose?
After finding myself in my early twenties in a dead-end job, I realized I had been suppressing my creativity to fit into the societal archetype of “the good girl.” I went on a mission to reclaim my creative confidence and feminine power by going on deep, soul searching quests (think walking along holy rivers and fasting in the desert) before “returning to the world” to earn my Masters in design at Stanford University. Now, I combine design with other mind-body-spirit modalities to help women design their creative purpose. I believe we need more women's voices and perspectives in the world, now more than ever.
You used to go by “María;” can you tell us what motivated you to start going by Majo?
My first name is María José, but growing up in English-speaking culture, people simply dropped the "José", so I went by Maria for many years by default. Majo is a reclamation of both parts of my name (the “Ma” from María and the “Jo” from José). I love how it brings both feminine and masculine sides together to co-exist.
You speak about re-creating the system to encourage creativity for marginalized groups. What are the specific ways we can make a change to empower marginalized groups?
I think the main way we can empower marginalized women is through economic empowerment: providing them dignified work to increase their earning power and become entrepreneurs. An extension of this is helping them develop creative confidence—the belief in their own ability to have ideas—and execute on them.
How does your creativity manifest itself?
My creativity manifests in many ways, but primarily through languages and the written word such as poetry, lyrics, and creative nonfiction. It also manifests through my business and brand, and the ways I express my mission and support my clients at various touchpoints.
What does sustainability mean to you?
That's a big question. Sustainability is leaving something better than you found it. Sustainability involves regenerative practices, such as permaculture, for the planet and Earth, but in a deeper sense, sustainability is a mindset and a change in our core narrative to believing the planet is alive and not simply a dead object we can constantly extract from.
We are so excited to read your book Break the Good Girl Myth. Can you talk a little bit about teaching women to be powerful rather than “good”?
In working with women, I noticed that many of them wanted to be badasses and share their gifts but continued to be stuck. This was painful to watch because so many women have incredible contributions they can offer the world, and the world desperately needs female perspectives, so I wondered how to support in unblocking them. Many were experiencing the same blindspots. A lot of it was under the surface, such as subconscious habits they picked up as young girls and was affecting their leadership today, which is how I developed the five good girl myths. These are five core strategies for approval that women were using and were keeping them stuck. I explore these five myths in-depth in the book as well as provide tools, frameworks, and solutions for breaking free from them.
Tell us about your sense of style. What do you wear around the house? What do you wear to feel powerful?
Around the house, it's been a sage-colored vintage T-shirt and shorts that helps me feel both comfy and sexy. I have found myself feeling more and more powerful in full denim outfits. I love the denim on denim look. Otherwise, softer fabrics like cashmere and silk make me happy.
What influences your personal aesthetic most strongly?
I'm a minimalist at heart. I love spaciousness in both my personal style and physical space. I love earth tones and practicality. My style is influenced less by trends than it is by classic, sustainable, and long-lasting materials and pieces.
Who are some women who have influenced you?
Too many to name. Most have been writers: Argentine poet Alfonsina Storni, Chilean writer Isabel Allende, short-story fiction writer Jhumpa Lahiri, and American memoirist Cheryl Strayed.
What self-care rituals or mantras help you recenter yourself?
I love the mantra I share in my book under “The Myth of Perfection,” which is "I'm worthy because I exist." It sounds simple, but this mantra reminds me that even on the days I'm not "achieving," "doing," or working at my maximum productivity, I can still choose to love myself.