Public eye: Liana Mitova, 19

New York street interviews: Stories from the sidewalk as told by real New Yorkers about their lives in the city that never sleeps.

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Photograph: Jay Muhlin


Thompson Ave at Jackson Ave, Long Island City, Queens

What are you up to? Me and my friend are on our way to get breakfast and take a trip down memory lane. I used to go to Frank Sinatra High School for the Arts nearby, because I'm an artist. I paint, like, portraits and nude people. That's my favorite thing.

Why all the nude people? Well, like, I always found the woman's figure very interesting. I'm also very religious, and I just think the biggest masterpiece ever is God creating the woman.

Were you brought up very religious? My parents are religious, but that didn't have an effect on me when I was younger. I went through a lot of very tough things. One time when I was really down, I decided to pray, and I prayed and I prayed, and literally the next week my prayers were answered. So I said, "Maybe it's not all just mumbo jumbo."

What were you praying for? I was praying that I would get better. I had a lot of problems with eating disorders. To my surprise, things worked out better than I ever thought they ever could.

Don't you think you deserve credit for that more than God? I do give myself credit—I'm very proud of it. And my parents helped me. A lot of people don't recover from eating disorders by themselves. Once you've gone through something, it really is your job to go out there and help other people, and make it easier for them than it was for you.

How do you feel about being in your last year of teenagerhood? I feel really old. I want to live forever. I need to go out there and do the things that I can do now. I have a skydiving plan for this year.

That runs counter to the whole living-forever thing. [Laughs] Sure, there are bigger risks than others, but some might be worth it. I think the moment you drop from someplace high, you see a lot of simple things that you're not able to see when you just go about your day, drinking your coffee, getting your nails done.... I think, for those 20 seconds, you can accomplish more than you can in years.

More from Liana

"I'm from Varna, Bulgaria. It was stressful coming to a new country.... I developed a thicker exterior."

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