of creating a kind of kindergarten for adults, a place where I would live with friends, and have that same kind of support for self-exploration that kids have entering a good pre-school. With various creative studios to be inspired to connect to your authentic self; a place to gather and have meals and celebrate; to get free of the whole home story, and be whoever it is we are here to be. I thought of the young school environment, and thought there’s really something to that nurturance. Being with your friends and just kind of finding who you are and what a joyful experience that is, which we sort of trade in for something more formal and distant and disconnected from each other. I was always really yearning for a family and community that I could be with and be authentic with, since I was a kid. So when I was modeling, that vision was my muse and purpose. Anytime anyone asked me what I was going to do after modeling, I would always describe this dream place with creative studios and a community living together. I think I intuited that it would be an environment that would heal me, and the others who lived there, and I think to a certain extent that it did. Before Brooklyn, I was in Paris for about five years, and before that I spent two years in art school at SUNY Purchase. Purchase totally blew the doors off of my self-perception and my perception of the world. I had a lot of expansive experiences there, and really started to find myself, so by the time I left to model in Paris, my plan was to pull myself up from subsistence living to some kind of life of potential, filled with at least resource and inspiration, if not luxury.
expectation and I want to honor that. I want it to be great every time for the fans. E: Do you have a personal practice – before any show do you have something that you do all the time? C: Yes, it’s very regimented. I spend a lot of time by myself now. Usually on the bus. It’s not very rock and roll but I usually take a half hour to rest in silence about an hour and a half before my stage time. About an hour before I play I make myself a cup of coffee and I play guitar. I don’t play the songs I’m about to perform. I play to forget where I am, so that I’m just playing and I’m engaged with music and creativity. I usually ask somebody to come get me 15 minutes before I go on stage because I just want to forget about the anxiety that I’m about to perform, and hopefully go on stage in the most natural and open hearted state that I can. It doesn’t work all the time, but when it works it’s magic.
E: Sibyl, what did you do before moving to Topanga? What do you do now, and what inspired you to move here? S: Well, just when we moved to Topanga, I had been playing bass in a band for three years, for Joseph Arthur – the Lonely Astronauts. I had been doing all kinds of things in New York City. I had a clothing line called Urban Mary with one of my best friends, Lindsay Jones. We would have clothing swaps at the loft where Chris and I were living. Whatever people didn’t take we cut up to make into new clothes and we sold them at little markets on the street. Also, a big piece of what happened in that chapter, before going out on tour, was renovating the loft where Chris and I got together, and where our daughter Puma’s early years were spent. While I was modeling the dream of this communal loft vision was what kept me sane and gave me a center of gravity within the fashion whirlwind. I had a vision
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After about a month in Paris, even though things were going well, I started to winder what I was doing. It was so incongruous with who I’d become over those two years in school, I started to have something like an identity crisis. I saw that if I just worked for money, I would lose my soul. Either I had to stop doing it altogether, or I had to figure out a different reason to do it. That’s when I decided to dye my hair back to the punk rock red I had in high school, even though I figured it would limit my career, at least I would be able to keep working and feel good about it. I felt that if I had that red hair, and wore my body piercings visibly- if I just came out like that, it would be me saying to people who were weird like me ‘you have a place in this higher institution of beauty, this closed door VIP section of beauty’. Basically I wanted to occupy fashion. I wanted to stand there as myself and say, ‘we can do this too’. It’s just fashion, but as a young person, super optimistic, with a dreamfueled heart, this was how it could work for me. It made my work purposeful. I realized then that your whole life is your work of art, and when you start compromising - either for money, or how you think it should be, or how someone else