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Pop culture has long been infatuated with the idea of the love triangle. From Shakespeare to Jane Austen to The O.C., so many romances begin with a person picking between two different partners. Often, there's one person in that love triangle whom we root for, the woman for whom we want to "win" the war for her love's heart. But what about the other girl, the one who doesn't get to drive off into the sunset with her beloved? That's the side of the story we get in Charlotte Cardin's "Main Girl," and no, it's not the tragic tale you might think.
Cardin's new music video could have easily placed her heroine in scenes with the two other sides of the triangle, but instead, she chose a different take: one in which the "other woman" finds herself in solitude. Filmed across the beautiful natural landscapes of Iceland, Cardin isn't afraid to explore messy emotions as she says goodbye to the person who is off to be with the titular "main girl."
Refinery29 spoke to Cardin about the new video, what inspired the track, and who she's listening to right now.
What inspired the new song?
"I wanted to write about not being someone's number one kind of person. The song is about realizing that you're better off than being someone's number two or number 50. So, that's why it's called 'Main Girl.'
"A main girl would be the girlfriend or the person that the guy's in love with. The girl in the video [who I portray] or, in the song the person talking, would be the mistress or someone the guy is having a side relationship with."
The video is very solitary, and even the setting is isolating. Why choose to do that when you're in a song that is so much about three people within a love triangle?
"I wanted people to also have their own interpretation of the song. We chose to have a really beautiful, breathtaking landscape that's sort of the metaphor for the size of the emotion, rather than actually to picture three people fighting or whatever. We just wanted people to make their own interpretations. So, we chose the decor rather than a full, obvious story."
Where did you shoot the video?
"We shot in Iceland. We were near Reykjavik, but we drove around a lot. Went to smaller towns. What's so amazing about Iceland is that you find a bunch of different really breathtaking landscapes, but they're all very close together. You don't have to travel to a bunch of different countries to find all those really different and [interesting] places."
You started out in the modeling industry. Did your career in fashion inspire any of the visuals?
"Not really. Modeling was always a sideline for me. It was always a student job. It was never something I really wanted to do for a living. Obviously, I've always been interested in all kinds of art forms and I think fashion is a very important one, so I guess, aesthetics in general, have always been important to me. So, I keep an eye on the image or the images we put out with the project, but it doesn't really have anything to do with the modeling experiences I've had. Aesthetically speaking, it's important for me to have a nice branding, but I don't think it has a very close link with modeling."
Did any other music videos serve as inspiration for the video?
"We didn't really look at videos, but we tried to find a bunch of different photos... Most of them were landscapes and I wanted to have that feeling of the person versus the landscape. There's such a huge difference in size and importance. It's kind of the way that you feel.
"Just traveling to Iceland, you feel so small as the landscapes are so beautiful and breathtaking. I kind of wanted to portray that in the video because you just feel much smaller than you should feel in this video... You see that the girl, at the end, is much happier than at the beginning because [she has] put things in perspective. You see that you're in a beautiful place and you just see yourself in a different way than being anywhere else."
At the end of the video you smile a little bit as if you're realizing something. When you watch that moment, what do you think that your character is realizing?
"Just that she's better off. That there are ways to be happy on your own and you don't have to torture yourself and try to love someone that doesn't really love you back. That's kind of that moment where she's just like taking a deep breath and seeing that beautiful space she's in and just realizing that, wow, you can be happy in a bunch of different contexts. You don't need someone that doesn't love you. You don't need to torture yourself like that."
Who is on your playlist right now?
"I have a bunch of different people on my playlist. I have a lot of Otis Redding. A lot of...I added some Aretha Franklin, Otis Redding, Citizen Cope. What did I listen to? Oh, I listened to one of the new John Mayer EP a lot. I really liked it. I have a lot of country music as well. There's this song called 'Wagon Wheel' I've been listening to a lot. Apparently, everyone knows this song, but I had never heard of it. I love it and it's just been on repeat for a while. So, all these really different things."
What female artists do you look up to right now? Is there any specific woman in music that you think is really killing it these days or that you admire?
"I've always admired Celine Dion very, very much. I think she's amazing and there's this whole renaissance going on right now with her style. I think she's so professional and extremely devoted to her career and I find that so inspiring and amazing. So, yeah, Celine's always been my number one girl. She still is."
Watch the video for "Main Girl" below.