Eylül Öztürk is one of the first female social media phenomenons. Maybe you’ve heard of her as “Memeli Mestan” since she has reached out to millions of people with her unique and unforgettable nick. I’m not exaggerating by saying “millions”, because she really has over 1 million followers. What does she do to attract this much attention? I really don’t know, but I think this is a matter of energy.. Very soon to come, her new series will be on a national TV channel, she’s been playing in a theater for years and yet she was awarded with a quite prestigious award in Europe recently. In this volume, we listened to her journey from Memeli Mestan to Eylül Öztürk; from being a phenomenon to the most successful theater actress award.. And also for this volume’s interview, we were hosted by Misina Fish Restaurant in their new branch in Beylerbeyi. Everything was incredibly delicious that we all might have gained 3 kilos each after this shooting..
To begin with, could you please tell us about yourself? Who are you? What are you doing? How have we got to know you? How and why did we meet with you?
I was a former member of cabin crew. During that period, I discovered an application, Vine and I began to record 6 second videos wherever I used togo. And this attracted people’s attention.
How many years ago was this?
Maybe 4 or 5. This made me gain over 1 million followers. After that, Beyazıt Öztürk discovered me and I worked for his show for 1 season. Then I received a movie project offer. And obviously not being able to handle all these whilst I was still flying as a stewardess, I decided to quit flying.
Did people get to know when you were still a stewardess?
They got to recognize me through the end of that period. And actually I was hiding whom I was at that time. Instead I had a nick, Memeli Mestan. Now of course I’m known with my own name.
How come you found that nick, Memeli Mestan ?
Grandma of a friend of mineused to call her, Memeli Mestan. Mestan means in Turkish; loose, tramp kind of thing and actually used for males. Memeli –meaning, ‘mammal’- is used for the female version of it.
Nowadays we have too many social media phenomenons but 4 years ago, we didn’t have that many. I think you were one of the first..
Indeed, I was the first. And I did it by showing my own face, by recording videos; not by writing.
And then you quitted flying..
Yes, and I jumped on to TV broadcasting. In the meantime, I received a theatre offer and right now we’re putting on stage our 3rd season. We were on stage all over Turkey and actually not only Turkey, but we have gone to Europe tours as well. We succeeded as the most put on stage theatre, most ticket-sold, playing to fullhouse. Despite the fact that it is now our 3rd season, we are still playing with all tickets sold out. Being on stage for theatre has been one of my decisions in life.
How old are you?
4 years ago, social media digged into your life and all your life has changed all of a sudden. What were Eylül’s dreams and at which point of your dreams are you now?
Since my childhood,since my kindergarden years,I have always hold a microphone in my hand. Music has always been irreplaceable for me. Starting with university, I sang professionally at venues and I have always dreamt of being a musician. But unfortunately, life has never pushed me through that path. What a pity that art is a kind of bougeois job. You need to have your earning, you need to be able to be paying your rent, then an inspiration will come and you’ll compose the song. Or if you’re performing on stage, you’ll be able to go on and survive with that. I ran through such a period during my university years which I’m sharing with you for the first time. I felt myself sick and tired of music and quitted that as well, knowing that I had to earn money.
Did you used to have your own audience coming tolisten to you?
Mostly my own environment. Some used to know me from the Taksim district. I performed actively for 2 years. We had a band called Barbeque and we used tomake more like rock music. Then I said, ‘I’m quitting music. I need to be able to pay my rent,’ and applied for being a stewardess. On the second day of flying courses, my cousin called me to say that there was a group and their female vocal left. And so they’re looking for a vocal. Would I consider that offer? However I told her, ‘I cannot deal with those things any longer and have lost all my hopes and decided to be a steward.’ Anyway, nearly 6 months passed and my cousin called me again to tell me that the group I rejected to be the vocalof was Model. If I were to accept, maybe I would have a totally different life. And I didn’t. And this is the biggest unfulfilling of my whole life. On the contrary, life definitely has led me to similar jobs even when I was still flying, and pushed me back to stages again vi my Vine videos. I had to make a decision and stopped flying. And thankfully, everyting went ok. This year, I decided to releasean album for the first time upon my own will. So in the months coming, I’ll be releasing a single album of my own compositions.
How does your family react to your, ‘Mom, I became a phenomenon’ case? Sometimes the youth might have some difficulty in explaining to the families about their new generation jobs..
They’re extremely open-minded in such matters. And indeed, they like the way it is. Sometimes they call me to say, ‘ Nurten’s daughter loves you a lot’ sorts of things.
What interests you the most nowadays? What else do you have besides work?
I have Kenan. Kenan interests me the most. My whole interest is always upon him. I only have my husband and my job in my life. And my biggest effort is to keep these two in balance.
How long have you been married?
We got married on July 16th. However since we had been living together, not that much has changed in our lives.
Social media is becoming a real madness. There are so many people whom we know on social media, but wouldn’t recognize if they would just pass by next to us. Do you think all these will lead people to suicidal cases because of seeming to live actually non-existing lives?
Fame has always attracted people. Being known people everyone equals much money, nice cars, handsome guys, charming women and so good life. We all have wonderful lives on social media. But it is where everyting is consumed very quickly. When the baloon collapses, it will cause lackings of self-confidence and big dilemmas. AndI believe there are so many people like this. I realize the fact that; since all these followers seem to love me this much just because of the 1-minute videos I record, they can very easily dislike and even hate me just because of the same reason. If we cannot differentiate between the virtualand the real, then it will definitely cause big trouble.
If the number of your followers drops and you are not a phenomenon any longer; do you have a B plan? I’m askingyou this because you earn the most of your money from this platfom. No one in Turkey earns much from theatres.
You’re right, theatre has a lower budget from other fields. When I first started all this, I said ‘It’s true being a phenomenon is amazing but I shall not stick to it’. I moved my way to acting.
Who follows you? Do you have such statistics?
According to the statistics, 80% is females and between 18-40 ages.
You became famous by recording the videos of the places you visit and sharing them. Are you an Istanbul lover and a sightseer of this city?
I love Beyoğlu the most in Istanbul. Both Kenan and I have lived in Beyoğlu for many years. Old Beyoğlu, meaning different people wandering around the streets of, making music.. that Beyoğlu is very special for me. And it is this old Beyoğlu that comes tomy mind when we say Istanbul.
Let’s talk a little about your coming projects..
I’m starting a new series on Star TV. Name is, Gönlümün Sultanı. I’ll be acting a foreman there. This is a specialproject for me because I’ve always done comedy works up to now, andthis time it will be different. And for the first episode, the director of Prison Break will be directing it. We’re hurrying up to make it ready by the end of this month. And besides all these, in ‘European Success Awards’, I was awarded as the most successful female theatre actress of Europe. This is something very important for me especially when I’m a bit wriggling myself out of being a phenomenon.
Can you tell us something about yourself which we cannot know?
They say I’m good at fortunetelling.
Your necklace.. Do you want a baby?
A very close friend of Kenan’s present when we were getting married. And he said, ‘I believe that you’ll be having a baby boy in 2 months’ but there’s still nothing. This is in a way related to the man in your life. I had never thought or wished to have a baby; but when it is Kenan, I doubtlessly wish for 10-20 kids, actually cute little Kenan’s all around. Actually we want to have a little friend for ourselves.
You’re always side by side with Kenan. Doesn’t it kill love and passion to be all together 24 hours?
No, not at all. Because we can both keep silent together. Egos, quarrels, harsh words, broken hearts killlove. This is what I believe. Of course there are times when we too can’t get along. But we always communicated right from the beginning. And since we moved consciously, we preserved our respect for one another and our relationship. I believe thisis way beyond love. And obviously this protects the relation, but still does love die? No, love never dies. It’s only that people get boredof acting or being tolerant. You say yes to everything when you were blinded in the beginning; but later when you feel everything under guarantee,you feel that boredom and intolerance inside and that relationship ends. We set our rules right from the very beginningfor our relation to last forever and moved accordingly. We both took therapies, went to couple therapies. It’s like telling a friend of yours but it is actually a professional support. The doctor always keeps his objectivity and this is why we find it crucial.
Do you continue these therapies?
Eylül : Yes, we always do. And you do not need to have a problem in order to go to a therapy.
Kenan : We are going in order to act more consciously.
Eylül : Our therapist is also our wedding witness.
Kenan : We are the foul-weather friends for each other, that’s the most important thing. We began on a tough day, and later everything started to become better.
And this type of a journey may cause a different kind of bond. And even if you break up,that bond never breaks.
Why would we break up anyway?
It’s life. We can all break up because of various reasons. You may start to perceive life from different aspects..
Eylül : Do you know what I defend? If you are breaking up of any reason later one day, actually that reason had always been there from the beginning of that relationship. Only that you had chosen to ignore. Right in the beginning, you say I’m in love. But later you say, our lives have changed. No way. Your lives can change even when you’re together.
Kenan : If you have mindfulness to any extent, you’re also conscious. And weboth believe we are conscious people. We’re here in this life only for once and making the most of it is our right. What I mean by ‘most of it’ doesnt’t mean best homes, nicest cars; but actually the way we are spiritually upmost happy. And when you catch that spiritual satisfaction, all the rest comes by itself.
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