Step one: get naked
Virgen Maria is 1000 years old, or at least, that’s what she tells me. The digital sex artist, also known by her real name Maria Forque, is somewhat of an online enigma, a fearless multi-hyphenate who’s tried her hand at endless creative pursuits, whether it is producing hyper-sexual photographs with her friend and long-term collaborator, the surrealist photographer Filip Custic, modelling for her boyfriend’s conceptual fashion brand Chromosome Residence or mixing a gabber set naked atop a pair of DJ decks, one thing is for certain: Virgen Maria is here and she is ready to blex you – that is, bless your sex.
A name synonymous with the Spanish underground circuit, Forque’s aesthetic – a transgressive blend of explicit sexbot and hentai futurism – brings together a holy trinity of music, spirituality and sex. In all of this, her naked body becomes a divine vessel of sorts: a tool for self-acceptance, sorcery and rebellion against social norms, presented through a series of meditative music videos and techno-inflected tracks that she refers to as electronic dance meditation (EDM).
“Society forces us to define our gender by our bodies and then judges us accordingly,” she tells me over the phone. “Being naked makes me feel empowered. Growing up, I had a lot of problems accepting my body, but one day I thought “fuck it”. I want to transmit the idea that being naked and having sex is life at its most pure.”
But not everyone is on the same page. This year alone has seen the Madrid-based artist’s Instagram page blocked “four, maybe five times” (she’s lost count). It’s a touchy subject and the source of much self-reflection for the young creator who has had to restart her 50k online following from scratch each time. Her most recent Insta-scare saw Forque reevaluate her online presence from largely conceptual, objects d’art to more of a “basic fitness girl” with her posts consisting primarily of motivational selfies and videos of her preparing pole dancing routines for her upcoming live shows. "I think sport is essential for your spiritual balance,” she says.
While some people see this as a move away from Forque’s artistic roots, the artist maintains that she is very much present (and naked) in her live shows, away from the censorous eyes of the Internet. “Instagram has a lot of conservative thinking,” she says. “It has its rules and if you don’t follow them, they shut you down. Like, you can’t show a naked body even if it’s censored, apparently. I’m trying to do something good and they’re putting me inside a virtual jail.”
Being “too hot” for Instagram isn’t your average problem, and yet speaking to Maria is strangely relatable, like confiding in that uber-sexy, sorceress sister you never thought you had (or needed). We asked the Spanish artist on what advice she’d give us to feel more comfortable in our own skin.
“A very sexual woman is a very powerful woman. Even though I am heterosexual, I’ve always loved the way a woman’s body looks, with its curves – everything is very round and juicy. Being naked makes me feel empowered so I want women to embrace their sexuality so that it’s bursting out of their pores. As women, we are taught that we have to be pretty or look a certain way. Society teaches us that our body is shameful, but it’s not. Show your body because it’s you.”
Do more yoga
“Yoga came at a moment of my life where I was feeling really low. It is designed especially to heal your body, your mind and your muscles, unlike other cardio-based forms of exercise. A few years ago, I was in a very difficult, turbulent relationship so yoga provided a safe space to be myself. It also makes me a more patient person. For instance, my music has a meditative quality that takes you on an inner, spiritual journey. I call it EDM: electronic dance meditation.”
Try pole dancing
“I’m currently preparing for my live shows and I want to offer pole dancing as part of the experience so that I’m DJing, pole dancing and singing all at once. I know that it has negative associations because of strip clubs, but it’s an acrobatic sport and I’m just unleashing my inner goddess.”
Don’t let social media get to your head
“I try not to live my self-love on social media. Since Instagram blocked me the last time, I’ve reflected a lot on my relationship with social media, and generally, life. Right now, I’m not a visual artist but a musician, and because of this, I don’t want to put too much energy into my Instagram posts. I’m centring my life around what I want to achieve: music, pole dancing and yoga. At the end of the day, it’s all about likes and views but losing my Instagram made me realise how pointless it all is.”
Do what makes you happy
“We are all on a spiritual journey, whether we know it or not. My advice is to do what makes you feel good, regardless of social conventions. If you don’t know what that ‘something’ is then I 100 per cent recommend any form of sport. I was stuck in a spiral of eating disorders, especially anorexia, and it saved me. It’s the essence of life.”