Stories

The Sky is the Limit: How Maria Fagerstrom Turned Her Aviation Career Into a Social Media Phenomenon

In today’s day and age, people all over the world are obsessed with viewing other people’s lives through a filtered camera lens. Blogger or not, it has become a common pastime to showcase the most glamorous and exciting aspects of our lives to the world. While many of you travel overseas to get that perfect snapshot, one woman who was keen to get the world in-the-know about her daily life just needed to hop over to work to get those money shots.

Meet Maria Fagerstrom. The Swedish 26-year-old landed herself a job as an airplane pilot years ago, but this lifechanging career isn’t where this woman’s success ends. Maria is a part of the social media generation after all, so why not contribute to it? Popular Everything are giving you the scoop on how Maria got into her exciting job at such a young age, while managing such a successful Instagram following.

Proving Us All Wrong

Taking a look at the beautiful Maria Fagerstrom, we would assume the only runways this Swedish beauty gets involved with are those which models walk along on the catwalk. Quite the contrary, this woman’s career may come as a little surprise to some.

The only runways Fagerstrom knows are not being walked on but taking off from! That’s right, this passionate woman breaks down all our pre-conceptions about what makes a pilot. What’s more, she wants as many people to jump on her flying bandwagon through her successful social media platforms.

Flying Is in Her Blood

Who wants to hear an inspirational story? For Maria Fagerstrom, flying was an essential part of her life. Her father was a pilot for almost 20 years. He loved his job so much, that he wanted to share it with those he was close to. Every so often, he would fly Maria and her three sisters on various trips around the world.

You might say, a pilot career was written in the stars for Maria Fagerstrom. On their travels, Maria’s father would teach his daughters everything they needed to know about aviation, while showing them the beauties of the world. It was because of this special upbringing that Maria decided to turn those family outings on the Airbus 320 into a professional venture. Cue the next instalment of this epic adventure story!

Turning Dreams into Reality

Going to school is a scary time for most of us, but not for Maria. At 18-years-old, Fagerstrom was accepted into an aviation school in Sweden. Being brought up around flying, the young Maria was 100% sure she was making the right decision. She had been dreaming of this moment since childhood, so there was no backing out now.

At the Scandinavian Aviation Academy (it has a nice ring to it, we know) Maria was taught the ins-and-outs of having a career in the sky. She was even given the opportunity to fly solo for the first time! How many of you can say you flew a single engine piston Cessna 172 in your teens?

The Only Way Is Up

Fast forwarding just two years, and Maria has only gone and got herself a commercial pilot license! Things were moving from strength to strength for the young flyer. Not only was she studying to be an airline pilot, but this talented youngster had bagged herself a part-time job working as a simulator pilot – the end goal was in sight for this one.

If there’s one thing you take from Maria’s story, it’s that success can often take years of hard work, but it all pays off in the end. By the middle of 2014, all of Fagerstrom’s fly training was completed, and the 22-year-old was officially looking for jobs as a first officer. For those of you who haven’t swotted up on your aviation knowledge, this is a co-pilot.

Choosing a Life in the Sun

Success! After a short period of applying for pilot roles, Maria landed a job over at Ryanair airlines. Flying the Boeing 727-800 was a real walk in the park for this natural, and after three months of type rating, she was set her first base in sunny Palma de Mallorca, Spain. Little did she know at this time, how much of an impact this country would have on her.

Maria knew exactly how to thrive off opportunity. Her role as first officer enabled the young woman to spend five luxurious months in Spain. Like most of us probably would, she fell head-over-heels in love with the country and decided to move there.

From Sweden to Spain

It may have been nearly 3,000 miles from her home in Sweden, but Maria had never felt happier after settling in to her new home in Tenerife. The drastic climate change from blistering winds to warm breezes clearly made a lasting impression on this woman, as she’s not looked back since.

Today, Maria lives the high life. She works five days a week, then gets four off to relax – if only we were all so lucky! During her off days, Maria enjoys traveling Europe with friends and family, or discovering the hidden treasures of her home island, in sunny Tenerife.

Preaching to the Nation

This woman really is one in a million! While Maria has made quite the name for herself as a successful female pilot, this case cannot be applied to much many more. In fact, under 6% of commercial airline pilots in today’s world are female. Maria is desperate to get these statistics higher, and she’s developed a pretty influential platform to do so…

If you take a good look at Maria’s Instagram page, it’s filled with beautiful moments she’s captured throughout her journey: both in the cockpit and on the islands, she’s landed in. While this makes for a stunning selection of pictures, it holds an even bigger purpose of teaching her followers that with a little hard work, anything you dream of can be achieved. Who knew, not only is Fagerstrom a successful pilot, but she’s a life coach too!

The Job of Dreams

Maria describes her pilot job as a place people pay you to look out at the ‘best office views’ from your window. Judging by her Instagram page, she wasn’t lying! Would you believe that after all those years spent traveling with her father, she would end up touring the globe as a career?

Taking a look at her posts, Maria’s account is just full of cockpit selfies and breathtaking landscape pics. The self-confessed outdoor adventurer loves the fact that social media enables people all across the world, from different walks of life to connect with one another.

An Online Success

Maria started off her Instagram account back in 2011, as a way to connect with those close to her, keeping friends and family in the loop about what she was getting up to. Who would’ve guessed that today, she’s amassed nearly 500 thousand followers? It’s clear that the public can’t get enough of this woman’s adventures.

The aviation queen has labeled herself as a ‘camera nerd’ and boy, does it show! Maria has made us all green with envy as she shows to the world through photos the glamorous and exciting lifestyle she’s managed to achieve, all on her own. What an inspiration!

Those Famous Shots

In this social media generation, competition is hard to turn your platform into a hit. So, what makes Maria’s Instagram stand out from all the other influencers out there? The ordinary way she shows off her extraordinary career.

Every so often, Maria likes to remind her followers just how incredible a career in aviation is. Combining her job with a passion for photography makes for some epic shots from inside the cockpit. There’s nothing quite like getting an up-in-air view of the sunrise, and Maria loves to share these moments with her fans.

Taking Her Platform One Step Higher

She may be an Insta-celeb, but did you know Maria Fagerstrom is a hit on YouTube too? That’s right, the Swedish beauty loves to keep her 16,000 subscribers updated on the latest goings-on in her jam-packed life.

When she has a moment of free time, you can find ‘Maria the Pilot’ creating a vlog about just about anything. It may be her background in flying and how she got to where she is today, a tour of her gorgeous family home in Sweden, or her top five travel hacks. If you’ve ever had even the slightest of interest into what life is like as a pilot, give her channel a watch!

Giving Time to Love

Being a pilot takes up a lot of your time, that’s why it can sometimes be hard to build strong relationships with others. Proving to defy all the odds, Maria managed to put time aside to find the love of her life, Viktor Fors. Get this too: the man is also a fellow pilot!

Opposites attract, but not in this case. This Swedish pair complement one another perfectly, they both understand the pressures they experience as they work the exact same job! What better way to prove that anything a man can do, a woman can do just as well, hey?

Taking Things to the Next Step

We all love a good vlog. If you’re up-to-date with Maria’s YouTube channel, you’ll know that her and Viktor are hoping to take their relationship to the next level very soon. As if her life couldn’t get any more interesting!

That’s right, after giving her subscribers a tour of her mini-home in Alicante that she and Viktor have been renting for the past year, she reveals an exciting whim. Maria tells us that she hopes one day in the near future, her and Viktor will buy their own house together. Stay tuned on her social media platforms to get the latest on this front!

Time to Unwind

We’re mentioned to you just how hectic the life of a pilot can be, so what does Maria do to de-stress? Another fact you may not have known about this multi-talented woman is that she has proven herself to be quite the Yogini!

On a day where she’s not up in the sky, there’s nothing this young woman loves more than showing off her yoga skills. She’s usually pictured practicing the praying mantis in some beautiful location too, because why not? She earned this lifestyle so why not show it off.

Living Her Best Life

If she’s ever going to a stopover location, it’s likely that Maria will make the most of the new destination by perfecting her Natarajasana here. Her Yoga mat goes pretty much everywhere with her, so go figure!

One of the many benefits of Yoga is its ability to reduce stress hormones, like adrenaline. Maria believes the practice keeps her mind and body calm, which is a necessity in such an adrenaline-fueling job. The aviation wonder uses her social media influence to encourage everyone to take time out of their day, even if it’s just five minutes to unwind and focus on yourself. Get us to the Yoga class!

How to Perfect the Moves

If you’re now wondering, how do I become a Yoga master? Just head over to Fagerstrom’s Instagram page. Here the pilot is pictured perfecting some of her most impressive moves, amid a backdrop of some of the most beautiful European destinations.

She’s doing it for everyone. If you have a look at her page, you’ll find most of the yoga posts are followed with some sort of recommendation as to how her followers can make the most out of their yoga experience. Whether it be what playlist to listen to, or what gym wear to get, Maria has got you covered to be a fellow Yogini in no time.

One Activity After Another

Hopping from one extreme over to the next, let’s now take a look at the various activities Maria loves to get involved in. Sure, it’s important for the pilot to relax in a Yoga session, but that doesn’t put a halt on her wild side from jumping out now and again.

Looking once again at her Instagram channel, and we begin to wonder is there anything this high-achieving woman has not done? Either with friends, her boyfriend, her family, or on her own, the Swedish beauty can be found doing some of the most high-intensity sports including kitesurfing and hiking. One important thing to remember is that when she partakes it a sport, it has to be something totally new and unique to what she’s done before. What a role model!

One Constant Vacation

What do you think Maria loves the most about her pilot career? Yes, it’s rewarding, but how many of you can say you get paid to visit some of the most beautiful islands this world has to offer? When Fagerstrom gets some down-time, this means only one thing: time for a little vacay!

This girl takes beach selfies to a whole new level. Catch these snaps over on Maria’s Instagram page, candidly laying out on a boat in Greece, or catching some rays on the Spanish beach. We’re sure these photos will have some of you signing the pilot school application form as we speak!

Inspiring the Crowds

We can’t forget the overall aim of Maria showcasing the best aspects of her life to the world. She wants more and more people to follow their dreams, especially if those dreams are located up in the sky!

If you take a read of this inspirational woman’s blog, she makes a pretty convincing statement as to why we should all become pilots. In fact, she makes five of these. Above all, Fagerstrom believes that the rewarding element of being a pilot is what should encourage anyone to take the plunge into aviation. So who knows, will it be your new career?

Offering Wise Advice

She’s not just doing it to look good, Maria truly wants to spread the word to her thousands of followers to follow their dreams, and just how lifechanging a career in aviation could be. Amid showcasing her own experiences to the world, Maria loves to give prospective-pilots a helping hand.

In her blog, there are numerous sections where the Swedish beauty gives readers her own advice into how to kick off a pilot career. This includes a section which offers advice on how to pick flight schools. She stresses the importance to her fans that they must “pick a school with a good reputation.” Thanks for the tip, Maria!

All About The Attitude

In order to give her fans the best opportunity possible, Maria emphasizes the importance of your own attitude when applying to be a pilot. The Swedish success believes that “you will need the right attitude and mindset in order to succeed.”

Maria had a great upbringing, which taught her that with determination all her dreams could be turned into reality. Unfortunately, the case is not always so simple for others. That is why it is important for Maria to remind people that careers like this don’t happen overnight. You have to really want it.

Daddy’s Little Girl

Our creds go straight to Mr. Fagerstrom! If it wasn’t for Maria sharing such a strong bond with her father, we wonder if she would have even given the pilot business a thought at all. She wanted to impress her dad so much, that she even decided to share some of her days on the job with him.

That’s right! As if this story couldn’t get any more sentimental, Maria shares a few snaps on her social media page of the days where she flies the plane in which her father boards. We bet this man felt nothing but pride when he took off for the first time with his own daughter as pilot.

Doing It for the Food

Like many of us, food is the number one motivator for going to places. Proving that her job doesn’t make her any more extraordinary than the rest of us, Maria is exactly the same. A self-confessed foodie, what this pilot looks forward to the most when she lands in new destinations may surprise some of you.

Two words: food and coffee. Those of you familiar with Fagerstrom will know that this woman doesn’t like to keep any big aspect of her life hidden from her followers. Scrolling through her Instagram page, you’ll be met by dozens of pictures of cuisine from all around the world. Maria puts it simply: “It doesn’t matter how many times I’ve been on an airplane. I get way too excited when it’s time for food.” You’re preaching to the choir, Maria!

How to Jump on Board

So, has Maria convinced you? If the thought of wearing a pilot uniform now excites you, here are the next steps Maria has provided in her blog to kickstart a life involving aviation.

According to Fagerstrom, the first step is attending an open day. Not just any open day though, the pilot specifically recommends “one of OSMAA’s Pilot Open Days.” If you’re in the Sweden/Denmark/Norway area, we suggest you head down to one of these as soon as possible.

Three Musketeers

Maria met her best friends on the job, fellow Swedish airline pilots Malin Rydqvist and Maria Pettersson. They are both based in Europe, so they meet up all over the world whenever they get the chance.

Since they live the same lifestyle, they have a lot in common. They all love to travel the world, do yoga, and relax when they are not flying. Like Maria, both of these lovely ladies have also become an Instagram favorite sharing their thrilling experiences with the world.

Malin Rydqvist

The 29-year-old Swedish pilot is 29 years old and based in Croatia. Out of the three female pilots, Malin flies the largest aircraft, a Boeing 737. Rydqvist is the perfect combination of brains and beauty, which you can see from her Instagram page which brings her 219k followers.

She uses her career to travel the globe and shares her experiences actively on her page. She frequently posts fun pictures of herself doing yoga all over the world. You will see many photos featuring the other gorgeous pilots flying all over the world and staying active.

Maria Pettersson

Swedish pilot Maria Pettersson is based on the equally beautiful island of Sicily. Pettersson started using her Instagram account to give her friends and family a better insight into her job, as well as show them some of the incredible places she gets to visit in her travels.

Once being antiquated with the other gorgeous pilots, the three have become an internet sensation. Maria also loves sharing selfies from around, and of course, her outstanding yoga moves! She currently has an incredible 538k followers on Instagram.

Girl Power

In a male-dominated industry, their unofficial sorority has become even more important. Today female pilots account for less than 6% of all airline commercial pilots in the world. Together They are each other’s cheerleading squad, always lifting each other up when times can feel discouraging.

At first, Maria wasn’t aware of how rare she is. “It hit me when I flew with an all-female crew and all the passengers, everyone was super excited. It was one captain, one first officer, and four other crew members: six in total, all female. I didn’t realize it was such a big deal, but then the passengers wanted to take pictures with us. The crew was like, ‘We have to take a picture!”

Girls Trip

Maria loves her fast-paced lifestyle and understands that her work as a pilot comes with responsibilities and often a hectic schedule. This by no account means that she doesn’t like to step back and take a few minutes to relax.

One of Maria’s favorite destinations was her visit to Africa with her two best friends. Although the three have busy schedules they always arrange times to meet up and have some girl time.

She’s a Health Nut

Even though Maria’s boyfriend does most of the cooking at home in Spain she follows a very strict diet. Maria eats very healthily, she is a vegetarian and eats fish.

She doesn’t touch carbs- she avoids all pasta and bread. She loves to buy fresh fruits and vegetables from markets all over Europe and frequently displays these delicacies all over her Instagram.

An Active Life

Although Maria has a very busy schedule, she remains active in her personal life. She lives a healthy life, always eats well and makes sure to stay physically active to keep her body in the very best shape.

She is always up for a challenge and can’t wait to get out of the plane after a long flight so she can burn off some energy. She and her boyfriend do many fun activities all over the world.

Spain Is Her New Home

Maria currently lives in Alicante, Spain. Before this move, neither she or Viktor had been to the north of Spain before! They decided to take a road trip to explore the area upon their arrival.

Although she misses home and does not get to visit Sweden often, Maria loves life in Spain and hopes to stay there. She loves the sunshine and beaches the most. This is a refreshing difference from the cold life in Sweden.

Wedding Bells?

It seems Maria Fagerström is the only one out of the three pilots to reveal the identity of her loved one; with her Instagram page filled with romantic scenes of her and a handsome man by the name of Viktor.

Viktor and Maria have the cutest relationship; which is debuted in her YouTube videos and through her heartwarming posts. We love seeing how they live their lives in their charming home in Spain and how they travel and workout together. We wonder, is there a wedding to come soon?

Fashionista

Always looking flawless, this girl stays in style whenever she is off duty. Unsurprisingly, after having to wear a uniform while flying, Maria is a true fashionista during her time away from work.

Even though she is in a suit and tie for the majority of her week, she enjoys dressing up and showing off her stylish looks while traveling on Instagram

A Day in the Life

Maria is very open about sharing her life with her fans. This is what makes her so likable. She is very down to earth and knows how to have fun.

On Youtube and in her blogs, she isn’t shy about being herself. This pilot is now a trusted fashion, beauty, travel, and fitness guru. We all love watching a day in the life of Maria.