Cinnamon Girl: Mackenna Manidis

Philip Cosores

Cinnamon Girl is a series of profiles on the people who are helping bring this project into being — aka your chance to get to know the early members of this blossoming collective. The title is an homage to the Neil Young song, but we’ll update it for boys, non-binary and all other preferred gender presentations.

1. Hi, what’s your name?

Hey hi hello, I’m Mackenna! You’ll probably have a nickname for me soon if you don’t already.

2. How are you involved in Cinnamon?

I’m our resident queen of matters of the heart with my mental and emotional health column, Coping Mechanism. When I’m not picking brains, I’m the right hand for Cinnamon’s social presence.

3. Wow, what a cool talent! When did you first get interested in that?

I’ve always been interested in other people and how they navigate the world but never thought I could make anything of my curiosity. Definitely was wrong about that. (Editor’s note: utterly, entirely, impossibly wrong.)

4. Can you tell me about the food and drink you like to put into your body?

I’m a strict vegetarian but not a strict eater. I love pasta, bread, alcohol, dessert, decadence. The main motivation behind everything I put into my body is to feel good in the moment. Sometimes that means a few glasses of wine and other times it means something actually healthy. I’m all about balance and not depriving myself of some of the best things in this world — carbs and sugar. Also, please remind me to drink water every time you see me. I need it.

5. Can you tell me about the kind of art and literature you like to put into your brain?

I’m very visual and inspired by anything that makes me feel powerful and like myself. The first visual media I became obsessed with was skate videos. My mom worked at Transworld when I was a kid and I thought all the skateboarders who carried me around the magazine’s office were magical. I still keep up with that world and will talk to literally anyone who will entertain me about it. More recently, a few years ago I was an interior design assistant working on houses belonging to people who have more money than I could ever imagine having. I loved being able to flex that visual muscle in such dreamy spaces. As far as literature goes, I definitely need to read more. Any recs?

6. How do you like to care for yourself?

The biggest act of kindness I can perform for myself is to listen. Like Charly Bliss said, “triple-overtime ambitious; sentimental, anxious kid.” I would absolutely describe myself as a workaholic, I’m actually kind of an everything-aholic. I do everything big and loud and fast and often. I’m at my best when I really tune into myself and listen to when I need to rest, when I need to slow down, when I need to say no. It’s never easy but it’s so so so important.

7. In your dream world, how would you spend the majority of your time?

I’m a certified neonatal kitten caretaker and in Los Angeles, the need for help in the shelters and nurseries is literally nonstop. In my dream world, I own and operate a kitten nursery where I can spend all of my time with people who have the same passion for animal welfare, especially in a city like this one where that love and effort is required year-round.

8. Tell me about a living creature you’ve had a lot of love for that wasn’t a human, or about your favorite plant.

My Tonkinese cat, Bug, is my best friend, my daughter, me in animal form. She’s loud and demands affection, she’s the best cuddler I’ve ever had the privilege of cuddling. I adopted her three years ago from the Pasadena Humane Society and have really, truly learned what it means to love and nurture another being through caring for her. I have a wallet with her image tooled into the leather, I wear her name on a necklace. Honestly, I don’t know that anything will ever be more important to me than my girl.

9. Speaking of the L word, what does love mean to you?

Love to me feels like how my favorite songs sound. It’s something I’m filled to the brim with. It’s something I love to give.

10. What were you like when you were a little kid?

Over. The. Top. I’ve been bringing pure Leo energy to planet earth since day one. I was obsessed with The Jungle Book, boys, friends, clothes, makeup, dancing, making the most insane faces in every baby picture of me that exists (I swear, I don’t have a single childhood photo that isn’t funny. Try me.) I’ve always loved to make people laugh and I’ve always loved to serve a look. Not much has changed.

Philip Cosores

11. Where do you live now and why did that place call out to you?

I live with Bug and my wonderful friend Lex in Highland Park, Los Angeles! I landed here about three years ago and it’s the first place in LA that has felt like home. My space is full of sentimental clutter; photos of my friends and family, prints, flyers from shows I’ve been to. Every wall in my bedroom is gallery-walled with art. I even have a huge hot pink neon sign featuring my name. It seems insane but I promise it works.

12. Tell me about your personal style and how dressing your body is part of your life.

My style is half cowgirl, half camp counselor. I have a pretty impressive collection of vintage jeans (Wranglers are my fave), neckerchiefs, and old t-shirts. I used to hate thrifting but I’ve cultivated some pretty insane levels of patience in my adult life and now I love the thrill of the hunt and how good it feels to find a gem. It fuels me.

13. Tell me about a record that changed your life.

The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars has always been my favorite and will always be my favorite. I have a beat up vinyl copy from the ‘70s that’s one of my prized possessions. I’ll never forget the first time I saw David Bowie and all of the freak shit he awakened in me.

14. Tell me about a person you admire with your whole heart.

My brother, Torey, is my hero. He’s high-functioning autistic and has had to learn the world in so many ways most people don’t even have to think about. Some of my most vivid childhood memories are of us watching movies together and pausing on the actors’ faces to dissect their facial expressions. He’s so brave and fucking brilliant and anytime I need to remember the good in my life, I think about him. He’s an angel on earth.

15. Tell me about a time you showed resilience and grace, even if it was tough.

When the dust settled after the end of my last relationship, I really had to find myself again. It was the ultimate trap for my codependent nature and I really felt like a part of me died when I lost that person and the life we shared. That broken heart has shaped who I am today and even though it hurt like hell, I’m so thankful.

16. Who is your favorite rapper? (Oh yeah? Name five of their albums! JK, continue.)

Who knew the rapper question would be the most difficult? I’m having a hard time locking down one answer so I’ll tell you this — my favorite song is “Int’l Players Anthem” from our boys UGK & OutKast. It’s perfect in every way. (Editor’s note: we fact-checked this, she’s correct).

17. What is the best skincare or makeup item you’ve ever encountered?

I’m going to put everyone on to this who isn’t already — Curology! As a 27-year-old who still breaks out and just a few months ago literally couldn’t leave my house without full makeup, it’s completely changed my face and made me feel more like me in my own skin.

18. What is your favorite place to visit?

I’m a bonafide desert rat lizard person. I love to be anywhere I can soak up the sun and listen to the music the cicadas make. I’m the most at home among saguaros and triple digit weather. I would die happy melting by the side of a pool with a paloma in hand in Palm Springs.

19. Who in your family are you the most like or closest to? (If it’s no one, pick someone else relationally close and describe why you’re similar or have a close relationship.)

Growing up without a dad, my uncle Michael was my whole entire world. He’s hysterical, flamboyant, unapologetically himself and absolutely where I get the best parts of my personality from. He’s a former club kid, current hairdresser and has always been so beautiful and glamorous to me. Michael has the purest, most genuine heart and I’m so incredibly lucky to come from such a cool person. You should meet him.

20. Is there life on Mars?

As long as the sailors are fighting in the dance hall.

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