Sicily in pink. Paola Maugeri, between centrifuges and vinyl, supporter of zero impact life

A couple of vegetables instead of earphones to maybe listen to nature more closely and learn to respecting it. It’s the picture present on the web and on social networks, the icon of a woman that turned music and healthy diet into her raison d’étre. Paola Maugeri, multifaceted Sicilian VJ, is the reference point for music journalism insomuch that she’s been nicknamed Wikipaola, having interviewed more than 1200 of the greatest rock stars worldwide. She hosts Longplaying Stories on radio Virgin, but is also very into environment and healthy diet. Being vegetarian for the last 32 years, and vegan for 16 – as you can read in her facebook profile – she’s the author of successful books written for Mondadori: “La mia vita a impatto zero” (My zero impact life), “Las Vegans” and the last one, just published, “Alla Salute” (To one’s health), in which she acts as spokeswoman and promoter of green topics.

Let’s start with music, your great passion. When did it start, and why the rock genre more than others?

I loved to listen to jazz music together with my father as a child, and knowing how a melody could be created in the head of great musicians just intrigued me. This curiosity, as well as the wish to getting to know the big bands closely, made me choose my job. The passion for the rock genre arose somehow immediately after, as I was growing up and used to listen to Velvet Underground. In those years, Catania was an extremely rock city, musically compared to Seattle. I knew right away that rock would be my path.

Music is also a means of protest, a tool some artists use to arouse consciousness. Some rock bands did it and it seems like rap is taking this over now. What do you think? And how much of a “fashionable” trend is included?

Rap music is appropriate for these days; it’s quick and immediate. I don’t think it’s a fashionable choice, but an absolutely pertinent cultural trend.

The interview that is still in your heart?

Definitely the one with U2, one of the most clicked on the internet. A beautiful experience and an interview that even they still remember with affection.

In the 90ies, you left Sicily to live in Milan. What did you take with you from the volcanic region, and what would you have preferred not to leave behind?

Actually, the desire to change city and life was so strong that I didn’t think about what I would have left, but rather what I would have found in a city like Milan, capital of music. You don’t look back when you are 25. I definitely brought the blue Mediterranean with me, insomuch that I dyed my hair blue, colour of the sea of the Etna area, shortly after I moved.


Today you are ambassadress not only of good music, but also of good values, such as those connected to sustainability. How is “zero impact” life?

“La mia vita a impatto zero” (My zero impact life) is a beautiful title I even dedicated to my first book; however, it is impossible in everyday life. “My life towards zero impact” would have been more accurate, a life based on awareness rather than wastefulness.

You are mother of a child, Timo, who is also vegan. After the recent incident of the child in Florence, what do you say to those who believe vegan diet is not appropriate to children’s’ needs?

I reply that it’s exactly the other way. Vegan diet is the best one for children, in order for them to grow in a healthy, sensitive and conscious way. One obviously has to be informed about a healthy diet, so that it is balanced. Above all children need essential nutrients for their development. Therefore, it is parents’ duty avoiding to be superficial – whether vegan or not – and pay particular attention to their children’s diet.

How is music compared to a dish or a drink?

It’s nice listening to it while preparing. It’s amazing how music can inspire the choice of ingredients and the success of a dish.

Tell us about your last book and why is it worth reading it?

“Alla Salute” (To one’s health) is a book worth reading, because it faces every aspect of our lives, starting from food. Samuel Johnson, English poet of the 18th century, said “who does not mind his belly, will hardly mind anything else”. Such reflection is three centuries old, but very topical. We eat three times a day and that’s all human beings do, besides breathing and sleeping. Food can change our lives, our relations, our work, the relationships with our children completely. What we introduce in our body feeds our blood, our cells and therefore our thoughts.

Song suggested to read this article: Gratitude feat. Will Oldham – Bjork