Interview by Katariina Forsberg

In our blog series, Finnish New Yorkers share their thoughts on life in the city and offer some of their insider tips. In today’s entry we meet Minna Ajo, whose move across the Atlantic was recently documented for a Finnish reality series, Suomi-Tytöt New Yorkissa (“Finland Girls in New York”).

The show, which is currently in its first season and depicts the whereabouts of four young women in the city, airs on Liv channel in Finland and can also be viewed online.

Q: What brought you to New York?

A: I came here to grow up and hunt down my own American dream. Part of my job as a dancer in Finland was driving around the country, so my dream job was a Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., office job.  I have double citizenship, and felt that I needed a big change. In New York, even ordinary life is fun and challenging.

Q: The show reveals quite a bit about each of your personalities. How would you describe yourself?

A: You either love me or hate me. I’m stubborn and selfish, but give my everything to those who I feel deserve it. Most of the time I don’t care about the opinions of others, and might come across as a “douchebag.” At the end of the day, though, I would describe myself as adventurous (I moved to NYC with a one-way ticket in September of 2010), active and determined (I got my first job here just three weeks after I arrived). Life is too short to take everything so seriously. Take risks, and you can always go back if everything ends up in the gutter. 

Q: What are your three favorite places in the City?

A: The East Village in general is close to my heart. The High Line and the Meatpacking District are in my favorites too, as well as the rooftops in the summer. 

Q: What’s your favorite restaurant?

A: STK in the Meatpacking district has the best steak I’ve ever tasted. For having fun I head out to W.I.P or SL. For watching sports, I like Ainsworth.

Q: Do you have a favorite store?

A: Anything on 5th Avenue between 14th street and the 20s.

Q: What are your favorite things to do on your free time?

A: Chilling out with my boyfriend. We work out a lot, either by running along the East River of golfing in Chelsea Piers. Pretty much anything sports-related is on our list.

Q: What do you think is the best thing about living in New York?

A: Everything is always open. You can do anything you want. 

Q: What do you miss about Finland?

A: My family and karjalanpiirakat (Karelian pastries).

Q: Describe New York in three words.

A: Bold, hardcore, full of opportunities.

Q: What words would you use to describe Finland?

Grandma’s meatballs, and ruisleipä (rye bread).

Minna manages a men’s boutique, 20 Peacocks, on the Lower East Side (20 Clinton Street). The shop also has a Facebook page and a Twitter account.

To find out more about Minna, follow her on Facebook and Twitter.