Thursday, April 19, 2018

An Interview with Lily Watson

Lily Watson's art captures the rot beneath the glitter. Without ever sacrificing style for substance, her work is otherworldly, surreal, cute, and offers important sociopolitical commentary delivered in a completely original manner. Reminiscent of artists like Mark Ryden and Aya Takano, but not derivative of them, Lily brings a fresh perspective to her work despite her many influences. Her big-eyed, often alluringly gory girls in uncomfortable situations are captivating. Her waif like figures do not just earn coos of sympathy; they reach deeper than mere bathos and elicit an authentic emotional response from viewers because they are not just objects of pity, beautifully disfigured and without ambition; there is an inexplicable optimism to her work, a hope for --or perhaps an attempt at-- change. Lily's positive energy does not, at first glance, match the mood of her art, but that zeal is possibly at the very core of it.

What work are you most proud of?
This is a tough question! I don't feel like it's really finished, and there's a lot of things I'm not pleased with yet but I really like this piece I did years ago:

Do you ever see the characters you've created in your dreams or anything like that?
Hmm, well most of the girls I draw are a reflection of myself so, they're sort of always with me...?

Do you ever play music while you're working? And if so, does it influence your work?
Yes! I get a lot of inspiration from music. I have certain genres or songs for different drawings. I have playlists for different atmospheres I get from music and start playing it before I start drawing if I already have an idea of what I'm going to draw. Lately i've been drawing to video games a lot too; they're good because they're like stories but not that interesting you get distracted.

I know you're studying game art design, have you created/worked on a game yet?
Nothing that cool yet! But one of my first assignments was to make a mod for a game. I made a weird "rotting skeleton" mod covered in vines and stuff for Minecraft. It was kinda embarrassingly bad but it worked and I passed.

Your work mixes cutesy with gory. Is there a reason why you're drawn to this contrast?
I've been trying to understand what influences me to draw stuff like that for so many years now. I have always loved cute things. I collected plush toys as a kid, and when I was about 9, I started going through a bit of a phase. I tried really hard to be weird because I didn't fit in at school. I was obsessed with the scene in Spirited Away where Haku comes in in dragon form all covered in paper cuts and blood. I don't think I'd ever seen anything that gory and intense before that age, and I was fascinated by it, so I drew lots of bloodied dragons in primary school during class. I'm actually really squeamish now, but I'm still curious about anatomy and gore, so drawing is the best way I can explore that. Anyway, I think now I see the "creepy-cute" theme more as a statement. Pretty girls and cute colors are very safe and pleasant but I like using that image to bring up darker themes, going against the the sanitization of issues people don't want to talk about like mental illness and trauma.

Have you noticed any recurring symbols/motifs in your work? What are they and why do you think you're attracted to them?
I love drawing hearts! I don't think I've ever pinned them down anatomically but they're so fun to play around with; they're such versatile little organs! I think i feel a lot of strong emotions through my heart, like "that's the cutest animal I've ever seen I could explode!" heart palpitations and "I've never been so heartbroken in my life" feelings too. I also love eyes, I think so much character can be given to them. I like to turn them into flowers, swollen beehives, melting egg yolks, planets, rivers-- they're so interesting!

Who do you think is the most creative person alive?
Ahh, I don't know. Everyone is so creative and amazing these days; it's easy to find so many amazing artists just by browsing Instagram.

If you were to compare your work to a dessert, what would it be?
I'm actually drawing a dessert themed piece right now hehe. I think it'd be a decadent 3-tiered cake, pastel pink and covered in whipped cream, strawberries and blood, and when you cut it open it's full of black dirt, grime, and there's a giant sad eye looking vacantly into the distance inside.

What artists have influenced your work?
I don't think I can list the thousands of artists that I love and that have influenced me, but from a young age, I've always had a connection with Vincent Van Gogh and Frida Kahlo. Visually though, I'm influenced by LostFish, Nicole Absher, Tama, Risa Mehmet, Hikari Shimoda, Yukaman, and so many other incredible artists.

What piece has taken you the longest to finish?
Well... I have about 100 unfinished pieces that go back to about 2011 that I'm still kidding myself I'll finish one day. But the only piece I actually know how long I spent with was this piece I did for Loser Unit's Issue 4 zine launch. I spent a lot of late nights on it, from memory I think it took about 50ish hours.

What do you hope people take away from your art?
I suppose I just want people to feel understood when they see my work, like they're never alone. And if not understood, then they feel an understanding of certain issues people go through and the dark stuff inside them. That being said, it's a bit depressing, so I hope people take what they want or need from my drawings and that it's not always a sad thing!

You can follow Lily on Instagram, @milklaced.

Monday, April 16, 2018

An Interview with Helena Levin

Helena Levin's Instagram page (@cabarbieprincess) is truly a marvel. Her outfits are immaculate, coordinated to the scenery in a way that will assure you she lives up to her Instagram moniker but also, with their unnerving perfection, leave you wondering if she exists in a different realm because you're not quite sure this world could contort itself into such dreamy shots. Although her aesthetics are worthy of note, Helena, like Barbie, isn't just eye candy. She's cunning, deeply insightful, and multi-talented. Her clothing and style are not in contrast to this; in fact, her fashion sense is an extension of her character; although she is observant enough to classify her choices as unconventional, she is not conformist enough to change them because doing so would also alter her sense of self. Although I had always admired her style from afar, I have found a new appreciation for it (and her) after discovering how intrinsic it was to her nature.

What draws you to the whole Barbie aesthetic?
I have always been obsessed with Barbie. When I was a little girl and I had my birthday parties, I would scan my present for the long, rectangular, wrapped shapes, knowing that's what would be inside. My Bat Mitzvah theme was Barbie. It's truly been my aesthetic my whole life. I think as a child what drew me to it was just that it was pretty. I'm not sure there was much more behind it. But as an adult, Barbie really resonates with me. I know a lot of other adults think she's a bad role model for children and gives them unrealistic expectations about how women are supposed to look, but I disagree. Barbie is truly an inspiration. She has had so many highly skilled jobs; she's a doctor, she's a veterinarian, a teacher; Astronaut Barbie was in space 20 years before Sally Ride! And she does all of this without compromising how she looks. She can dress any way she wants, still exude femininity and get the job done! And that's what really draws me to the aesthetic, this idea that as a woman I can look how I want (how I want HAPPENS to look like Barbie ;)) and still be a credit to society; that just because I like dressing up and doing my hair and makeup and the color pink doesn't mean I can't do everything a man can. In fact, I can do it all, and do it in heels!

Do people ever judge you based on your appearance/style?
People judge me all the time based on my appearance/style. It's not always a bad judgement, in fact there's been a lot of good that's come from it! I honestly think my involvement in the drag community has come from my aesthetic, being so feminine and similar drag queens'. I also think it can be quite a conversation starter, especially in a place like San Francisco, where khakis and button downs rule (which I am aware is a judgement that I make). As far as negative judgement, I think quite often people assume I'm "trying too hard" but once they get to know me they realize this is just who I am and that actually throwing on a dress and heels is so much easier than figuring out what to match with pants! I sometimes get mean looks that basically say people are mad at how impractical my outfit is (like wearing heels on the SF hills) but in general I never understand why my choices affect them, so I just smile and move on with my life. There have been times when I thought about where I'm going and if I am really in the mood to have comments and stares and adjusted my outfit accordingly. This is definitely something that bothers me because, again, I don't think I should have to change who I am just to appease others; the fact that people (primarily men) can't keep their mouths shut should not be my responsibility. I think I sometimes get judged by other women although I will say as I've gotten older this has gotten better. I also think that with the state of the world and feminism really on the rise, women are more supportive of other women. We are lifting each other up and I get a lot of "Yes girl"s now as opposed to mean looks or cattiness.

Do you have a favorite Barbie?
I am going to have to say my favorite Barbie is Enchanted Evening. She's one of the original, she has a pink satin gown with a white fur stole. She was my favorite growing up and for my Bat Mitzvah, my parents got me a drawing of me in her dress so she has a very special place in my heart. I am sure there are a lot of modern Barbies that send better messages to young girls about what they can achieve, but for nostalgic reasons, I am going to have to stick with Enchanted Evening.

When was a time your outfit best matched the occasion?
On purpose or on accident? I can tell you about the time I went to the Ritz in London for tea and wore a red dress with a white bib collar and black bow tie, and what do you think the waiters wore? A white collared shirt with a black bow tie and red jacket! So embarrassing, but also SO funny! So obviously I took a picture with one of the waiters and joked about whether or not I got the job. The best time on purpose is a tough call because honestly dressing in theme is what I live for! But maybe when I went to Instagram headquarters (my best friend works there and took me on a tour), and I color blocked my outfit to match the photo ops. My ice cream bathing suit for the Museum of Ice Cream is also a favorite. It might take the cake ;)

What's your favorite movie character to take style inspiration from?
I truly say this all the time: Clueless, Troop Beverly Hills, and Legally Blonde created the person I am today. If you have seen those three movies, you know me. So that's Cher Horowitz, Phyllis Nefler, and Elle Woods. I also was gagging over the outfits in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.

How do you decide what you're going to wear?
If I am going somewhere and I know that there is going to be cute backdrops or I want to take a picture, I will look up the place before I go there and try to find something that goes with the theme. Or if I know there's a theme, like it's a picnic, I want to wear gingham, or Pride, I want to wear something with a rainbow, then whatever the theme is lends itself to what I'm going to wear. When it's close to a holiday, I like to dress kind of thematically too, like at the beginning of February I really amp up my pinks and reds, spring I bust out my florals and pastels, July I am decked in Americana, September I play up my autumnal tones. I am not very good and mixing and matching. I am really a full outfit person, so once I know what shoes and hair accessory and lipstick color go with a dress, that's usually it forever. And, to be honest, there are some days where I'm in a rush and just grab the first dress in my closet.

What's the best pun you've ever come up with?
I like puns that actually have dual meaning, not just a play on words. Like, for example, I have a picture where I'm wearing a purple dress on a purple wall and the caption is "Definitely broke a parking law or two to get this picture, kind of a purpletrator," which -- don't get me wrong -- I am proud of, but purpletrator is not a real word, so out of context of the photo, it doesn't have a second meaning. Versus one of my actual favorites, "Come display with us," which was a caption on a split screen photo of me in a window display, where I look like I am holding my own hand. So there is a dual meaning there; it's a riff on the twins from The Shining, while also being a sentence that makes sense outside of the photo context.

What were you like when you were in high school?
I was seriously the exact same person I am today, just brunette (shhh don't tell anyone;)). But truly, I was always known for wearing outrageous outfits, being obsessed with Barbie, and geeking out over musical theater. Outside of that though, I was really obsessed with getting good grades in high school and getting into a good college. I had a pretty tough time. I struggled with depression and wanting to be popular and hoping boys liked me and all the challenges that come with being 14-18. But I will say, I was always very true to who I was and I wouldn't let anyone shake that, not even when a girl told me I was wearing "the f**king ugliest shoes [she] had ever seen." Teens can be mean! But knowing those people's opinions don't matter is the only way to move forward and understand the real you. Now when I think back, it's hard to conjure up those feelings of dread I had every day going to school. I remember how much I struggled and I know those were true and valid feelings, but now those problems seem so easy and trivial. But I think that's a life lesson, that as you get older and gain more perspective, something the felt like the end of the world at 18 feels like a great anecdote to tell your friends at lunch at 32.

What are your favorite clothing brands?
I am not super brand-oriented, but there are a few retailers that carry a lot of different brands I like. I love Dollskill, the aesthetic is SO me, a lot of fun, conversational styles. I like ModCloth for the vintage-inspired aesthetic, and I feel like I have to say Charlotte Russe, since I was a buyer for them for 3 years ad a LOT of my clothes are from there. For shoes, I love Irregular Choice. I am obsessed with the creativity and novelty.

Do you think you'll have the same general style for the rest of your life? Why or why not?
I think about this a lot actually. I do worry that I am going to get to a point in my life where I just look too ridiculous (I use too as a modifier here since I am self aware enough to know that I already look ridiculous sometimes) to continue to dress the way that I do. There is definitely a very youthful look to my style and I have had mornings where I get dressed and look in the mirror and admit to myself this face no longer matches this dress. But then i say f**k it and wear it anyway! I think my style has evolved over the years; there are things that just feel too over-the-top for me to wear. I think that will continue as I get older. I think the base aesthetic  (super feminine, thematic, matching, no pants) will always remain, but I expect that will grow and mature as I continue to.

"It is not the strongest of species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change."

I wasn't sure what to do as far as *~*visuals*~* for this post, so please enjoy this picture of my shelves.
I have had to delete a lot of posts recently not necessarily by choice. Polyvore being bought out came as a bit of a shock; most of my posts were Polyvore sets and I was essentially forced to delete them. At first I took it in stride, but then it sort of hit me what I'd done Although I hadn't been on there in ages, I had forged a lot of friendships on Polyvore and made a lot of work that I was actually pretty fond of. It was one of the few creative outlets I had during a really tough time, and completely erasing every trace of that (even if I had to) felt like disowning that time in my life. That said, maybe it was a blessing in disguise. Perhaps it's time to cut the digital ties to the person I once was.

I'm organizing an exhibition at a local museum, and the last exhibition I did at that particular museum was a physical manifestation of an online museum I had, The Museum of Middle School. I created the museum when I was actually in middle school and I realized that most of the decisions I was making were based off of whether or not my future self would approve of them, which was not a great line of inquiry. I was terrified that future me would be embarrassed by who I was, and I'm glad that I realized how ridiculous it is to be self aware to that extent, and learned to live in the present. The museum was meant to help others reach the same epiphany I did.

In the interest of not doing a disservice to my past self, however, in the years that followed, I made an effort to keep the girl that I was alive, in the form of blog posts and other obscure internet ephemera. For some reason it became incredibly important to me to save all aspects of my internet presence, to stake my claim as an online creator from a tender age. Recently, after the Polyvore debacle, I questioned what it was that I was trying to prove by keeping up blurry photos of stationary I took when I wasn't even a teenager yet. I think it was mostly for other people, unfortunately. I started this blog sort of with the intent of being a wunderkind, and I never got over seeking that approval. I hoped that someday when I did make it (even if it wasn't at a young age that I achieved success), people would notice that I'd been at this for awhile, and finally give the 12 year old girl that started this blog the recognition she deserves.

Books I've been reading lately that remind me of change, the past, and moving on.

But I've stopped chasing that validity, that success. I create without incentive, because my joy and purpose come from creating. The entire foundations I built this blog on are no longer present in my character (aside from perhaps an appreciation for the weird and wonderful, and a strong belief in individuality). Even this blog's namesake doesn't really fit me anymore. I'm not a tweener anymore. I'm hardly a teenager. At 18, I'm technically an adult. And as sad and uncomfortable it is to admit, it's time I acknowledge that and get used to it. It's strange being on the internet from such a young age. It's like a stranger wrote the older posts on this blog, but that stranger is a part of you, and you're desperately trying to remember who you were and what you were doing. My post ("Avant Garde") that's supposed to serve as my personal statement doesn't feel completely true to myself anymore. I still love things classified as "avant garde," but the word means something different to me now. I used to cling to my differences for comfort, but now I think I cling to what's the same between me and my fellow man in times of need. Even at the time of writing that post I'm not sure I entirely meant what I was saying, or alluding to. I think I used this elitist persona as a coping mechanism, because loving things is scary, and I loved people. But I learned it's so much more valuable to me to be empathetic.

I'm not going to disown the braceface with big dreams that got this whole mess going in the first place. She's in the past, and as I wrote in The Museum of Middle School "Your past is still your possession. It is as much a part of you as blood and bone." But she's still in the past and I can't bring her back to the present. At this point I'm so used to being the cynical hipster, girl in the back of class making fun of everyone that it's hard to adjust and leave those sides of myself behind. I'm struggling to find my voice again. I'm not sure yet what that means in regards to this blog. Maybe the name will change, maybe you'll see some posts get deleted, but I definitely want to continue using this as a place to share my interests and passions and creations; however, I want to do it right this time. I want it to be more unified, and I only want to post things that I'm completely proud of. And I'm in it for myself this time. The interviews I've been posting recently are actually some of my best work in my opinion. I've started to explore why I like things (as opposed to why I dislike them), which I think used to scare me. Sorry if the questions seem repetitious or obvious; bear with me as I find my footing.

But I can face my fears now. Change was my biggest fear but I'm starting to embrace it wholeheartedly and healthily because otherwise I could not survive.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

"I am capable of creating anything I envision": An Interview with Alice Longyu Gao

Center image source here

Alice Longyu Gao is a visionary, and the world is blessed to have been offered a glimpse into her chaotic, shimmering mind through her work, most recently through Pericura 2.0, a part art installation, part beauty parlor event that took place at Moxy Times Square during NYFW. Every part of her-- from her fashion choices to her music taste -- is an act of self expression. She is an it-girl for good reason: authenticity. She seems to have a deep understanding of herself, which makes the unexpected parts of her character even more delightful because she does not see them as such. You may have her pegged as solely a style icon, but her DJ skills will impress. She appears carefree and looking for fun, but her perfectionism and inner workaholic are the driving forces in her life. Full of seemingly antithetical traits, but never confused by them, philosophically speaking Alice is nearly impossible to distinguish from her work-- this in itself is an accomplishment.

What work are you most proud of?
I hope I can say "I am proud of being myself and making this life [for myself]" when I die.

What were your inspirations for Pericura/Pericura 2.0?
Pericura 2.0 is myself, this Alice, deconstructed. My inspirations included 90s Japanese manga, Shintoism, mythology (Manifestation), alternative fashion, and my alter egos.

What advice would you give to your younger self?
Don't watch TV while playing piano. Treat music theory seriously and play with music.

Do people ever consider your work frivolous? If so, how do you respond to/combat this stereotype?
I think so? But that's fine! Those people won't come to see my shows or work with me anyway.

Who (or what) are your inspirations?
Everything can be my inspiration and I am pathetically "never not working."

What is your most prized possession?
My star of David tattoos. They are red in color and I have six stars on my right arm. I was so moved after visiting Anne Frank's house in Amsterdam.

What was your favorite DJ gig?
Hennessy Chinese New Year Party.

Who do you think the most creative person alive is?
Johnny Kitagawa

Who was the most interesting person that stopped by Pericura 2.0?
The Lolita girls group! I was so happy that Pericura 2.0 attracted them. I was never part of the Lolita community, but I love Lolita fashion and I wear some Lolita pieces too.

What was your favorite part of Pericura 2.0?
We had a girl coming from Boston to see Pericura 2.0. We opened for 4 days and there was a day that New York had pouring rain. I was not there and there were people coming from afar to see the show. Initially, the security didn't allow them to come in, so they dmed me. I was panicking so much because I really appreciate when people come to see my work.

Lastly, artistically speaking, what's the biggest challenge you've faced in your career?
I am capable of creating anything I envision. The biggest challenge is myself. Everyday I wake up and I can barely give myself some love and acknowledgement. There is always a "better Alice" that I can pursue. "This Alice" is never good enough. But I also know in order to keep going I need to manage my inferiority complex.

Monday, April 9, 2018

"I like the idea of feeling like you just stepped out of a fantasy novel:" An Interview with Manon Marguerite

Images used in collage from hereherehere

I first stumbled on Manon's work as a thirteen-year-old on tumblr and I was immediately enthralled. In my nauseatingly pink feed, her work always stood out as cute yet elegant; it was clear she drew from a compendium of inspirations and the results were tasteful and completely distinct. Strawberry Skies , Manon's brand, remains one of my favorite brands, not only because of their imaginative and whimsical designs, but also because the emphasis they place on ethical practices and the environments matches the pleasantness of their products. It's such a rarity nowadays to be able to support things fully without having anything uncouth to reconcile with. Manon is not only incredibly talented, but also a genuinely sweet person and continues to be a positive force on the internet (another thing that's all too rare these days). It was such a privilege to be able to talk to her. Below you'll find her inspirations, her perspective on creativity, and her journey with starting Strawberry Skies.

What work are you most proud of?
I think I'm most proud of this dress. I love that it can be worn as a skirt or a dress and the fabric is really beautiful.

What was your biggest sewing fail?
When I was first learning I had a lot of fails but I haven't messed up a project in years. Especially working with recycled fabrics, you only get one chance to do it right. I do a lot of planning before starting to cut or sew anything to make sure it will work out the first time.

What inspired you to start Strawberry Skies?
I have always loved sewing and started my creations online. A lot of people really liked my designs and encouraged me to start selling them so I did. I never really imagined people would be so interested in my work.

How would you describe someone that wears Strawberry Skies?
I think the kind of person who would wear Strawberry Skies is someone who cares for the environment, but also loves beautiful fabrics and feeling beautiful.

What are your favorite places in Tokyo?
Lately I'm in love with an area called Jiyugaoka. There are a lot of cute shops, cafes, and plant stores around there. I feel really relaxed whenever I'm there.

Where do you get inspiration for your designs? Has there been any influences that aren't directly related to fashion?
I'm really inspired by fantasy creatures and characters. I absolutely love the traditional style of fairies (the little garden fairies you see in old books) so that inspires me a lot. I like the idea of feeling like you just stepped out of a fantasy novel.

Who do you think is the most creative person alive right now?
This is a really hard one because there are a lot of different ways to be creative. For example, I see someone like Elon Musk as just as creative as say Issey Miyake or the people who make up teamlab. And in the same way, like little old ladies who can embroider anything you ask, art students who can draw and paint like it's a photograph... I don't really know if there's a measure for creativity.

Is it ever hard coming up with designs? Do you ever find yourself at a a loss for ideas?
Kind of the opposite, I always have too many ideas and not enough time!

Have you ever wanted to create something or had a design that just wouldn't work because you didn't have the right resources to pull it off or because it didn't fit with your brand?
Hmmm, since I've started working with kimono, the fabrics are so beautiful, so I really wanted to make extravagant ball gowns, but the reality is that there just isn't enough fabric in one kimono for that. I would also love to make bigger collections but I don't have the time or resources at the moment.

How do you hope people feel when they wear pieces from Strawberry Skies?
I hope they feel comfortable, relaxed, and a little bit magical. At least, when I wear my own designs, that's when I feel happiest, so I hope they feel that way too.

Where did you go to school? What was your first job in the industry?
I studied textiles and soft sculpture in Australia. My first job in fashion was doing PR for a company that imported Japanese brands to Australia. It was a really fun job and it's how I made a lot of the contacts I now have in Japan.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

My Collections: Badges

My badge collection is quite extensive and scattered. I am not even sure if this is all of them -- I'm constantly finding badges in corners of my room, in drawers, or on the floor. Despite how that sounds, I really do treasure my badge collection and try to take care of all of them (though a few have tragically gone through the wash and emerged not quite the same). I started collecting badges when I was about 12 or so, and having material objects that explicitly stated your interests/hobbies was all the rage, not only that but brandishing these trivial objects constituted an identity. I latched on to anything that could differentiate me from my peers and assert my individuality; having plenty of Hello Kitty pins to sprinkle on my backpack seemed like the most convenient means through which I could establish myself as a cultured creative. I've learned to rely on my thoughts, my actions, and my words to convey who I am rather than substituting items for a personality, but I still have a soft spot for badges. What can I say? They're just fun! And there's really no harm in using them to supplement your personality, as affirmation for an already fully formed identity.

Unfortunately, I've had these for so long that it'd be impossible for me to track down where I got them all from.

These are my favorites in my collection. The center one is from Belgium, the one to the right is a Life Aquatic pin that did not fair to well in the wash. The ones at the top and bottom are from The Black Apple.

Funnily enough, this collection is sort of an accurate archive of my past selves -- or at least an accurate catalog of the foundations of my identity. I think to an extent I believe that materialism can lead to authenticity. 

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

An Interview with Isabel Hendrix

Images used in collage from herehere, and here
Plus size model Isabel Hendrix's style can perhaps best be described as everything at once. Minimalism is not in her vocabulary, and excess has never looked better than when she wears it. Glance through her Instagram feed and it's easy to see why her striking style has not only captivated over 120,000 followers, but also has caught the attention of media outlets like Dazed and Bustle. She embraces trends wholeheartedly but always with a personal flourish. She incorporates fads in her style not in the insincere and ultimately confining way that you see some fashion bloggers employ, but rather in a manner of inclusivity. Her outlook on life in some ways mirrors her broad, individual style -- she believes in breaking rules, in tearing down society's taboos, but above all, in fostering a friendly and accepting environment for people of all shapes and sizes. She's the body-posi icon the internet needs, and from her wise words about self-confidence to promoting consent in a campaign with Kidd Bell, it's clear that Isabel is not only providing much-needed boldness in her personal style, but also in her sociopolitical views. Based on her sultry glances in outfit photos, I didn't expect for my interview request to be accepted (I assumed she was busy saving the world and serving up looks while doing it), but to my surprise she responded quickly. Clad in a green striped sweater (a color scheme she says she's been wearing a lot lately), she shocked me once again with her humility as we chatted over Skype. Bubbly but also contemplative, she answered each of my questions with a respectful laugh.

What's your favorite outfit?
Gosh. I don't know. I have a pair of green pinstripe pants that I've been wearing a lot. And I've been wearing them with like a green striped sweater and a green belt. It's just like a whole lot of green. The pants are vintage and the sweater's from UNIF, but it's like a vintage inspired kind of look.

Who are your style icons?
Mostly I feel like I find inspiration on the internet. I don't necessarily have a celebrity or a person in history I find super inspiring outfit-wise. It's mostly random kids on the internet from all over the world. I really like internetgirl. My friends all dress really interestingly and cool. I really like loserthrift. He's very cool. Naomi Roestel is very cool too.

Who do you think is the most creative person alive right now?
Oh my gosh, that's such a hard question. Maybe RuPaul.

What do you think is the best color combination?
Every color combined with every other color! I think for every person it's different. I've been really into greens and oranges lately.

What work are you most proud of?
I would say that I'm most proud of different lingerie shoots that I've done because a lot of people respond positively to that, because people aren't used to seeing people that look similar to them. You can tell that when you're wearing underwear because you don't have clothing on. That's the most rewarding thing, hearing back from all these different people saying how inspiring and helpful it was.

Image source

 What advice would you give to your younger self?
I think I would say that time is very helpful and things get better over time. No matter what the issue is, it'll be easier to deal with, or it'll be less daunting, or it'll seem less consuming as you go through life. People are able to withstand so much stuff. If you can get through the hard times, it'll get better. Time is the most helpful thing.

What has been the hardest part about having a presence/a following on the internet?
I think probably just being consistent in posting. It's really important to me to post high quality stuff and well thought out stuff. Sometimes I won't be as on top of it. I'll go through a phase where I'm not as inspired and not posting as much. I get frustrated with myself, because there's people who are interested and care about what you're doing and what you have to say. I worry I should be doing more. Making sure that I'm doing stuff for the people that are interested in what I'm doing is the hardest part.

Has your style gone through any major changes throughout your life?
Yeah. I didn't used to be that into fashion. I wasn't not into it, but it wasn't a passion until my late teens/early twenties. I think that was a big shift because I had never really thought about it before. I had things that I liked but I didn't think about it a lot. I used to dress with a lot more tie dye and flowy things. I've been more into stripes and patterns and weird combinations of patterns. I still like colorful things but I think it used to be a lot more flowy and earthy.

What's your favorite memory of modelling?
I've had a lot of really positive experiences with modelling. I haven't had that many negative ones. One of the first times I modeled I was shooting with a friend that was a photographer. Her name is Marina Fini. I think that she had a friend there who was styling. That was the first time I really actually modeled. It was really low key, but it was fun. It was the beginning of a whole thing that I'm now really into.

Your style is very Y2K. Is there a reason why you gravitate towards that time period?
I used to dress more '90s. As we go through time, what trends are popular cycle through. People dressing with Y2K vibes are just what's interesting to me. I thought I was ready for a change, and that was what was lookin good for me. It's also fun to see what Y2K trends are popular now, because that was what was popular when I was growing up. I remember seeing all these high schoolers dressed like that and thinking "Wow that's so cool!" and now I see my friends dressed like that. Like with 90s stuff, I was around but I was little. And anything before that I don't remember. So it's cool to see things you remember coming back.

What are your favorite places in LA?
I live in Glendale and I really like it here. It's more low key but there's stuff to do. I used to think I liked living in busier areas, but when I lived in busier parts of LA I just felt really overwhelmed. Glendale isn't that interesting, but I really like it. I don't like being super busy. I like being able to enjoy the city and see people and have it be somewhat active, but not like people everywhere.

What do you look for when shopping for clothes?
When I go shopping I am pretty much just going to thrift stores. I buy secondhand and resell it, and a lot of my personal stuff is thrifted as well. So I'm looking for me and I'm looking to sell. I usually look for interesting patterns or colorful things. Anything that's unique and catches the eye. Weird things. Striped patterns. Stuff you wouldn't necessarily get as a wardrobe staple. I prefer that.

What's the best piece of vintage clothing you've ever found?
I found this really cool pleather, checkered jacket. It's kind of trench coat style. It's a creamy color and light brown in different tones of light brown and has a big checkerboard pattern. It's SO cool. I found that at a thrift store in Minneapolis. I grew up in Minnesota, so I was at a thrift store with my mom and she actually found it and was like "Does THIS interest you?" and I said "Oh my gosh, mom, this thing is amazing!" It's from the 90s. The brand of it is like a name. Like Ashley or something. But in between each letter is a heart. Everything about it is SO good.