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“When I came out I didn’t know of the term pan, I only knew of lesbian, gay or bi and I felt I didn’t fit into any of these boxes.”

 

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[dropcap4]I[/dropcap4]n spite of young age María Birta (25) has already graced the silver screen in films like Jitters, Black’s Game and most recently XL, which has earned her praise from critics. When not acting and modeling she runs a fashion store, skydives, surfs, hunts and is working on becoming a pilot. We sat down with the multi talented chameleon to find out what she thinks about the Icelandic LGBT scene, where she’s heading and what pansexuality is all about.

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Tell us about your latest movie XL?
It’s a very crazy movie about Leifur, who is throwing his last party before rehab. Nonstop parties, hangovers, sexual escapades and drug-abuse have gnawed his life to the bone. It’s an expressive and highly distinctive film which morphs into a delirious, hyperbolic nightmare.

In XL you play Æsa, the young lover of the main character (actor Ólafur Darri) as well as his best friend’s daughter. What was it like playing her and how did you prepare for the role?
It’s the most difficult role I have played as she is very vulnerable and lost, sad but happy at the same time and some of the scenes are pretty brutal. I liked the challenge specially since I got the role very late in the process, so I only had about 16 days to get ready for it, which is very little time to prepare yourself to play a lead! I did watch some Japanese movies in preparation and also movies like Eyes Wide Shut, Lolita, Hard Candy and Bitter Moon.

All the characters you’ve played are caught up in difficult situations. In teenage drama Jitters (2010) you play a girl who likes to party a lot and has the hots for a gay boy. In crime thriller Black’s Game (2012) your character is entangled in a drug cartel and finally XL deals with alcohol and alcoholism. Are you drawn to these kinds of parts or do directors tend to offer them to you?
I think i’ts a bit of both, I want challenging parts. I don’t want to get caught up playing similar roles again and again and I think I’m quite lucky that I do get offered such diverse roles.

Back in 2010 you seemed to come out of nowhere and suddenly were everywhere. Now you’re in every other film being made. What does it feel like to be one of the country’s most sought after young talent?
I’m very grateful for the acceptance I’ve had in the industry here in Iceland. There are not that many large productions a year here, so I guess I’m blessed and lucky to have been offered so many good roles in such short time.

Did you study drama or does acting come natural to you?
I took some classes in school when I was about 16, but other than that no, but I think it comes quite natural.

Do you ever get tired of being in the spot light?
Yes, it can get a bit overwhelming at times, but I’m getting used to it.

Who is María Birta, the girl behind the public figure?
The same as the public figure I would say, I am simply me! What most people don’t know though is that I’m a little shy. I guess I hide it well.

How do you spend your spare time, when not acting, modeling or running a fashion store? (OMG you must get exhausted sometimes!)
I love trying new things so I try to explore a lot. Like last weekend I went surfing at Þórshöfn, I had never surfed in Iceland before and it was amazing! For me it is very important to stay active, so my schedule is usually packed, but I am also in school and I want to try to give that more time in the next few months and finish my pilot license. Hopefully I’ll do it this year.

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You’ve always been very open about your pansexuality (which is by definition a sexual or emotional attraction or both towards all gender identities and biological sexes). Did you ever stop to consider that doing so might actually harm your career?
No, I never thought it would. In Iceland people are very accepting and I don’t think people who would judge my acting based on my sexual preference are the people who I should really be thinking about. That only shows that they are not very good critics. To me that would be like judging a book by its cover and I don’t really care for people who think that way.

Some argue that being bisexual or pansexual is met with even more prejudice than being gay. What’s your own experience in the matter?
When I came out I didn’t know the term pan, I was only familiar with being lesbian, gay or bi and thought I didn’t fit into any of these boxes. I felt a lot of prejudice from lesbians for not wanting to “admit” being a lesbian. But then again most thought this was just a phase and didn’t take me seriously since I was so girly and not at all trying to be boyish, like I feel most of them are here  in Iceland. I think the boxes are too few and too small. So a lot of people say that they are bi, just because they like sleeping with both sexes. But a lot of them would never consider being in a committed relationship with the same-sex, and therefore they don’t really fit into the definition of being bi. So I think the prejudice also comes because this term is overused.

What do you think of the Icelandic LGBT scene?
I think it’s similar to most of the small towns that I have been to, but I think the way the scene is accepted by such a large percentage of the population in Iceland is the most admirable.

Do you have a special someone in your life at the moment?
Yes, I have a very special lady in my life right now. I’m pretty sure that I’ve finally found my soul mate.

What kind of character traits usually make you fall for a person?
I’m attracted to shy personalities but at the same time very strong grounded people. I like very odd kind of ticks, and I don’t like people who are easy. I tend to date very difficult people. I think I’m the same in my career and love-life, so bring on the challenge!

Enough with “the personal”, we’ve already made you blush enough as it is, and back to your career. Any more exciting projects on the horizon?
Yes, I am working on getting an agent in the states now. So hopefully I’ll be acting abroad within the next years.

We think it’s OK to say you’re one multi-talented lady. Do you intend to surprise us by doing something completely different from acting and modeling?
I’d love to do more acting in the future. But I’m going to be in school and working on my career so who knows, perhaps I’ll take a 180 and become a professional diver. I don’t want to plan too much. So I guess you’ll just have to wait and see!

Any final words of wisdom?
Chances multiply if you grab them!

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The Hamburger Factory
- gourmet burgers

Ok. You’re in Iceland. Most likely for the first time.

You will probably bathe in the Blue Lagoon and take a road trip to Gullfoss and
Geysir. That’s all well and good. But neither Geysir’s nor waterfalls are
something you eat. That’s why we have 15 brilliant and creative hamburgers at
The Hamburger Factory. And they are all perfectly square. Don’t miss out on
Iceland’s most beloved hamburgers.

The Hamburger Factory is Iceland’s most innovative gourmet burger chain.
Packed with burger-craving customers since it’s opening in 2010, among the
regulars is Iceland’s best known fisherman, Eric Clapton. In our restaurants we
welcome tourists with our newspaper like menu and smiley service. They are
packed with fun items and memorable connections to Icelandic pop culture.

Locations:

Omnom Chocolate
- award-winning chocolate maker

    Omnom Chocolate is an Icelandic craft chocolate company based in Reykjavík. We produce handcrafted chocolate from organic cacao beans sourced ethically and sustainably. We’ve developed direct relationships to create premium chocolate with fine flavor cacao beans.

    Our creative flavors are carefully crafted by meticulous chocolate makers. The cacao beans are roasted, winnowed, ground, and refined into melty-smooth chocolate.

    Omnom’s process is one of constant exploration, invention, and experimentation. If it doesn’t please us, if something isn’t absolutely delicious, there’s no reason to be doing it. So, we always start with our taste buds and follow our instincts. Our team searches for the finest ingredients in the world and new ways to improve chocolate. This obsession with knowing where our ingredients come from has led us around the corner to dairy farms in the Icelandic countryside and all the way to rainforest cacao farms of Nicaragua.

    In only a few short years, we’ve grown from our 50 sq. m. petrol station space and become an award-winning chocolate maker. Now, with our headquarters in 101 Reykjavík, our chocolate is sent out around Iceland and all over the world.

    At the end of the day, our goal is to make chocolate.

     

    Alfred’s Apartments
    - gay owned an operated

      Alfred’s Apartments and Alfred’s Studios is a gay operated and owned accommodation in the heart of Reykjavik.

      Alfred’s Apartments offers spacious apartments at a good price located just around the corner from Laugavegur shopping street. You can choose the apartment starting from a Small Studio for 2 persons to a large One-bedroom Apartment with balcony for 5 persons.

      Their staff will ensure your comfort during the stay and provide the most updated information about the city, gay and night life in Reykjavik.

      Each apartment has a private bathroom with a shower, fully equipped kitchen and free Wi-Fi. Guests can buy groceries at the local grocery store 50 meters from the apartments. Because of their very central location, numerous shops, restaurants and cafés are available in the surrounding area. The Church of Hallgrimur is located 350 m from the apartments, a tourist agency is just 50 m away and the nearest gay bar is less than 5 minutes walking distance.

      Laekur hostel
      In the hostel we have dorms for 4-8 persons with shared kitchen and bathroom facilities. The rooms are furnished with free internet, lockers, and a USB charger by each bed. The beds have linen provided and you can rent a towel in the cafe on the ground floor for 5 EUR.

      All the dorms are mixed with both genders. You can also book a whole room with 4-8 bunker beds.

      Blue Lagoon
      - a world of wonder

      Named by National Geographic as one of the 25 Wonders of the World, the Blue Lagoon is a shimmering expanse of warmth, relaxation, and rejuvenation. Its unique geothermal seawater comes from 2000 meters within the earth where sea and fresh water converge in a tectonic frontier of porous lava and searing heat. Propelled by extreme pressure, the water ascends to the earth’s surface, emerging enriched with silica, algae, and minerals: the elements that endow Blue Lagoon geothermal seawater with its radiant, healing properties.

      From its humble beginnings in the shadows of a geothermal power plant, Blue Lagoon has evolved into a world of wonder, now encompassing a hotel, a restaurant, a luxury lounge, a renowned line of skin care, a research center, in-water massage, and a wealth of spa and refreshment facilities.

      Achieving harmony with the volcanic landscape of Iceland’s Reykjanes lava plain, the lagoon and its surrounding architecture embody the unification of the man-made and the natural, and adhere to the highest principles of sustainability.

      Blue Lagoon. A wonder of the world. A world of wonder.

      Whales of Iceland
      - larger than life

      Whales of Iceland is the largest whale exhibition in Europe (and perhaps even the world), where guests can learn about the giants of the sea in a calm and modern environment. The permanent exhibition features whales like guests have never seen them before. It is truly a giant experience.

      Landsbankinn
      - leading financial institution

      Landsbankinn is a leading Icelandic financial institution. It offers a full range of financial services and is the market leader in the Icelandic financial service sector with the largest branch network.

      The present bank was established on 7 October 2008 but the history of its predecessor dates back to 1886. The bank is owned by the National Treasury of Iceland, which holds 98.2% of its share capital, and other shareholders who own 1.8%.

      Landsbankinn’s strategy is to provide comprehensive financial services that meet customer’s needs. It emphasizes providing exemplary service to customers, developing e-banking for their convenience, increasing the efficiency of support functions, modernizing its technology and ensuring effective utilization of its balance sheet.

      The bank’s vision is to be exemplary and its role is to be a trusted financial partner.

      Special emphasis is placed on promoting a performance-oriented culture in the bank. To follow up on the implementation of this strategy, the bank has defined key goals which are measured regularly to determine progress. These goals include, for example, customer satisfaction and loyalty, profitability, cost efficiency and the correlation between risk appetite and employee satisfaction.

      Landsbankinn wishes to lead the development of a sustainable society in Iceland by integrating economic, social and environmental concerns in its operations. The Bank aims to ensure that both its owners and society at large benefit from its activities.

      It intends to achieve this aim by building solid infrastructure and a strong team of 1.100 employees, by listening to its customers and by respecting and encouraging its employees to actively participate in their community. Landsbankinn was a founding member of Festa, a Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility, and is a member of the UN Global Compact.

      Landsbankinn has been a proud sponsor of the Reykjavik Pride since it was first celebrated in Iceland.

      Dohop
      - get inspired

      Dohop allows people to find the cheapest flights available with just one click. Founded in Reykjavik in 2004, it is the only Icelandic company of its kind and quickly became the go-to tool for finding cheap flights among the locals. Dohop finds the best deals among hundreds of different airlines and online travel agencies, to make sure that the user is getting the cheapest price. Dohop also offers hotel and car rental search engines, so users can make all of their travel bookings from a single website.

      Dohop‘s specialty is finding so-called “self-connect” flight options, which can save travelers money by booking a ticket through two or more different airlines. The ability to look for these self-connect option is what sets Dohop apart from its competition, as it can save people hundreds of dollars on certain routes.

      More recently, Dohop has developed a unique product called Dohop Go!, which allows users to check for the cheapest available flights from their home airport. This tool is perfect for those who are looking for travel inspiration but are not willing to overpay for their flight ticket. Dohop Go! is now available in the Dohop Flights App, both for Android and iOS, along with its traditional flight, hotel, and car search engines. “

      Macland
      - for all your Apple needs

      From starting out as a proper startup with only a good idea and the need to change things, to becoming an established company with 6 employees. Starting from scratch and expanding organically has allowed us to love our expansion and take our customers on the ride with us.

      Macland is located at Laugavegur 23 (101, Downtown Reykjavik)
      For all your Apple needs. We are here.

      Aurora Reykjavik
      - northern lights center

        Aurora Reykjavik is a Northern Lights Center situated in downtown Reykjavík at the Old Harbor next to Icelandair Hotel Marina and Vikin Maritime Museum.

        Aurora Reykjavík is Iceland’s first educational and recreational Northern Lights Center where multimedia is used to explain when, why and how the Northern Lights work, with the highlights being large HD projection of the Aurora’s. We also share myths and legends about what our ancestor thought about those mystical lights.

        The Northern Lights Center is for all ages. Children are our favorite guests and we created the exhibition in a way that children can have a look freely and parents don’t have to worry about things being broken.

        Aurora Reykjavik offers a great selection of souvenirs that are designed and made by Icelanders along with nice little coffee corner, where you can enjoy free coffee and tea while browsing through the souvenirs or just planning your next step.

        Contact Aurora

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        Ísey skyr
        - once tasted never forgotten

        Our Story
        Once upon a time, 1,100 years ago in fact, Nordic settlers began arriving in Iceland. They brought with them the skills and knowledge for producing skyr. As time passed, the know-how and recipe for this nutritious food slowly faded out elsewhere in the Nordic region. Luckily, the Icelandic skyr-making tradition continued.

        For centuries, Icelandic skyr formed a cornerstone of the national diet, helping to keep people strong in living conditions that were often harsh. On family farms countrywide, it was the women who nurtured this dairy and passing on both the recipe and the original Icelandic skyr cultures from mother to daughter.

        Ísey skyr builds on this remarkable legacy. It was some of those very same women, the recipients of their mothers’ expertise, who, around 90 years ago, taught Icelandic dairy scientists the art of skyr-making. The production process is more high-tech these days, and the quality standards more rigorous. However, the basic recipe and the use of original cultures to ferment the skimmed milk remain the same. Protein rich, fat-free, creamy and delicious – Ísey skyr is as relevant to consumers now as it was all those centuries ago.
        This is our secret and you are in on it

        You can read more about Ísey skyr on our website.

        Núðluskálin
        - noodle bar

        Núðluskálin is a small gay owned and operated fusion noodle bar.

        All of our courses are individually made from fresh ingredients and therefore highly customisable.
        We offer fully Vegan versions of all courses.
        Though originally a take-away we now seat over 30 people.

        Núðluskálin is located right in the heart of Reykjavík on Skólavörðustígur 8 (street leading up to the big Church) near the junction with Laugavegur (main street).

        Seatours
        - adventure cruise

        Ferry Baldur – the gate to the West fjords
        and VikingSushi Adventure – Bird & Nature watching Tour for everyone all year around

        The “VikingSushi Adventure” is the right boat tour for travelers who are adventurous and want to experience something new – close up to the nature seafood simply doesn’t come fresher than this! The archipelago area of the Breidafjordur Bay always surprises her visitors during winter or summer with spectacular sights. Where else you get to try delicious fresh scallops and sea urchin roe straight from the ocean served with soy sauce, wasabi and ginger.

        600x400-seatours-tasting

        This old volcanic area, characterized by the typical basalt formations of the islands, is the home of countless birds. Here you will also find the strongest currents in Iceland. The VikingSushi Tour takes roughly two hours and our captain is also the tour guide.

        600x400-seatours

        The VikingSushi Tour is a true adventure through incredible nature which should not be missed by any traveler to West Iceland.

        Birds, possible to spot:
        -puffins (from the middle of April until the middle of August)
        -eider ducks
        -shags
        -kittiwakes
        -fulmars
        -white-tailed eagle

        The car ferry Baldur is the bridge to the West fjords via the island Flatey
        Ferry Baldur crosses Breidafjordur Bay daily from Stykkisholmur on the Snæfellsnes peninsula to Brjanslaekur in the north. A ferry ride considerably shortens the route between the south and mid-west of the country and the West Fjords region. It also gives you the opportunity to experience a floating restaurant.

        Take a stopover at the charming island Flatey when you are crossing the bay or go to a day tour to Flatey and back to Stykkishólmur. At Flatey are no cars allowed and between the houses of the 18th century you get the feeling of a journey back in time.

        Contact Us


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