EUPHORIA. SUMMER 2018 / ISSUE 8
EUPHORIA. Editor-in-Chief LAURA ERSOY
Photo Editor JACK ALEXANDER
AIMEE PHILLIPS ELLY WATSON LUCY CHAPPELL MERLIN TAVERAS NICO SEIDITA
AYSIA MAROTTA DERRICK FRESKE JERRY MAESTAS KEN GRAND-PIERRE STEPHANIE YT
Stylists CHARLIE BRIANNA KELSEY FERGUSON ISSIE GIBBONS JAZMIN WHITLEY INDIGO GOSS LUKE LANGSDALE MIKE ADLER SYDNEY LOPEZ THOMAS GEORGE WULBERN
Makeup / Grooming ALEXANDRA FRENCH AMANDA WILSON CAITLIN KRENZ EMILY ZEMPEL FRANKIE PAYNE KILEY FITZGERALD LAILA HAYANI MARINA GRAVANI MUAMERA PULIC NICOLA SCHULLER PRESTON WADA SHAMIRAH SAIRALLY
Special Thanks THE BENTLEY LONDON HOTEL REFINERY HOTEL NYC PEERSPACE
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photo of nico tortorella by aysia marotta read more on page 57
CONTENTS 8 summer beauty must-haves 11 discover... bloodboy bobi andonov kim petras rhys lewis sasha sloan soleima tallulah haddon 28 cyn by laura ersoy
36 jack & jack by nico seidita
45 james arthur by aimee phillips
57 nico tortorella by nico seidita & laura ersoy
68 pale waves by lucy chappell
81 pete wentz by elly watson
90 samantha harvey by aimee phillips
96 sandra shehab by laura ersoy
104 yâ€™lan noel by laura ersoy
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MILK MAKEUP Kush Mascara High volume mascara with no fall-out that provides the perfect amount of length and lift? Every makeup lover’s dream! This mascara will have you ditching your falsies all summer and still give your lashes all that they need. $24 USD available on sephora.com
MARC JACOBS BEAUTY Dew Drops Coconut Gel Highlighter With this gel cream highlighter, your skin will have all of the radiance and refreshment that it needs. For an illuminating look, mix with your fave foundation or tinted moisturizer. $44 USD available on sephora.com
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COVER FX High Performance Setting Spray This pollution protectant and weightless setting spray is the final step every makeup junkie needs. Cover Fx will have your makeup staying in place all summer without feeling cakey. $31 USD available on sephora
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DISCOVER // photo of soleima by derrick freske
MUSICIAN B LO O D B OY Tell us about the inspiration behind your next track. The next release is my friendship anthem. I’m in a group chat with eighteen (fucking 18!) of my best friends called “All My Idiots.” So, naturally, that’s what the song is titled. It’s derived from LCD Soundsystem’s “All My Friends” and it’s about the very special period of time when we were all in LA, living relatively close to each other, and having the best time. Of course, it couldn’t last forever. Eventually, people started leaving for jobs or relationships or simply in pursuit of something else, and this song is a promise that we’ll always have each other. words laura ersoy photography jerry maestas
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MUSICIAN BOBI ANDONOV Tell us about your next release and the inspiration behind it. “Offering” was an idea I started one year ago, with a few friends that I love working with. Its more R&B, but I can’t wait to release it because I feels like it shows a different side to me. I always wanted to make an R&B, sexy, slow jam. words laura ersoy photography jerry maestas
MUSICIAN KIM PETRAS What is pop music to you? Pop music to me is a song that no matter how drunk you are you still know every single word to. I think genres are disappearing and I think lines are getting blurred and that’s great but I think any catchy song that is just like a part of culture, that has a pop culture moment is a great pop song. Like Kendrick Lamar’s “Humble” is a great moment in pop. Drake’s music is a moment in pop. I think just genre-wise, anything can be pop these days. words laura ersoy photography ken grand-pierre
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MUSICIAN RHYS LEWIS You’ve written a lot of your material in Berlin – what is it about this city that means you end up writing so much here? I met a writer named Tobias Kuhn and we got on really well. The change in scenery was really beneficial for me; when you’re writing in the same room with the same people, you get into patterns of thinking. I went to write with Tobias in his studio and I just remember sitting down writing “Living in the City” with him. It was the first trip away I’d done in a while, and just getting away from London and I could have only written that song by getting out of there and having that perspective. words & photography jack alexander
MUSICIAN S A S H A S L OA N Your artistry really shines on your EP sad girl. When did you decide to release your own music? Aw thank you! I’ve always been creating my own music, but what made me want to start releasing it was when I wrote my first single “Ready Yet.” It was the only song I had ever written where I felt like I couldn’t give it away to another artist. After that it all started coming together naturally. words nico seidita photography derrick freske hair frankie payne at opus beauty using oribe makeup muamera pulic at opus beauty using armani
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MUSICIAN SOLEIMA Where do you find inspiration? I write about my own perceptions of the world and hope other people can relate to that somewhat and incorporate it into their own lives. So, I very much use everything as inspiration I guess. Sometimes just a feelingÂ or a certain kind of mood, other times something specific that has happened in the world. words laura ersoy photography derrick freske hair kiley fitzgerald makeup emily zempel
DRESS child of the jago BOOTS dr mar tens
ACTRESS TA L L U L A H H A D D O N People are really starting to notice you because of the Netflix series, Kiss Me First. What do you hope that audiences take away from this show? Itâ€™s really about female friendship! I hope people by my characters authenticity in her journey and the counterintuitive way she navigates the world. words nico seidita photography stephanie yt styling indigo goss makeup shamirah sairally
COAT toga pulla EARRINGS mulber r y
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GET TO KNOW...
How did you get started in music? I started writing and singing when I was a toddler. Singing songs to myself and writing poems in my journal. My parents divorced when I was five years old, which affected me a great deal. Music helped me cope with that original heartbreak and served as a tool to further understand my place in the world. When I was 12 years old, I started taking classical piano lessons and using new newfound skills to pair piano and voice. Around 14, I started experimenting with recording myself through some kind of Sony software I found online. At 16, my neighbor & best friend got a MacBook and would let me borrow her computer some nights to play around in garage band. It was the constant experiment– ation with songwriting I would partake in as a child that led me to professional studios as an adult. Where do you find inspiration? I find inspiration in the love and affection (or the oppo– site) I feel toward people in my life. I’m also inspired by nature, colors, and culture. Traveling always encourages me to be more creative. In addition to Katy Perry, who else would you say has been a huge mentor to you in your musical journey? Besides Katy, I would consider a lot of the people I collaborate with to be my musical mentors: Hayley Gene Penner, who is an incredible artist and songwriter
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and Matias Mora who is a producer who also has a keen skill for melody and subject matter. What is pop music to you? Pop music seems to often be the story of obsession, deceit, mindless fun – all stemming from a romantic sensation. Tell us about “Believer.” I wrote “Believer” after a break up. The song is actually a lot more melancholy than the track might initially lead the listener to believer. I think hearing someone sing, “there must be something in the air that I’m not breathing... I am just a jaded girl... I feel unloveable” because of a love gone wrong is actually quite heart– breaking. The song ultimately represents the struggle of believing in a love that could last after experiencing one with a surprise ending. From “Believer,” I would love for a fan to take away the comfort in knowing that falling out of love can be a normal experience and that questioning our ability to love and accept love is something everyone goes through. I hope they remain optimistic though and have faith that the right love is out there for them if they don’t have it already.
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GET TO KNOW... How would you define the progression from “Together” to your latest release? I think it’s obvious that I’m growing in sound and express– ion. My newer stuff embodies a more adult perspective and mentions topics that have a more serious tone. So you’ve already worked with pop icon, Katy Perry; are there any other artists you’d like to collaborate with in the future? I would loveeeeee to work with Pharrell one day. How would you describe your personal style? Does it differ on and off-duty? My personal style is feminine, natural, and realistic. I only really wear heels on the red carpet or to a black-tie event– never to the studio or shopping or while traveling. I often like to call upon my French roots and base my style choices off something a French girl would choose. There’s also a weird moment where I fully embody the Fairfax Fuckboi and go full-on sweatsuit with Adidas when I’m going to spend my whole day in the studio. Who is one of your style influences? I let culture influence my style and right now, I am really influenced by French women! Their class and sophistication is something I strive have! What’s something you’d like to see changed about the music industry? I wish that women felt more welcome and safer in this industry. This is a wish I see coming true as more women
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continue to speak up against mistreatment. I think we are setting the tone for our future daughters and we are ultimately molding this industry into an experience better suited not only for women but all people. What up-and-coming artists have you been into? I really love and believe in Hayley Gene Penner, Sigrid, and Boyboy. If you had to live off one food, what would it be? Cheese! If you could go back in time, what would you do differently or change? I don’t believe in this. It’s all meant to be. What’s your all-time favorite movie? The Little Mermaid! What was your last Google search? I googled “define envelop” -- wanted to make sure I understood the word I was trying to use. Finally, what’s next, new and exciting? I’m very excited to release my music video for “Believer.” My friend Kenny Laubbacher directed it and did an incredible job. It’s my favorite video I’ve done so far, I feel like I’m closer to the artist I strive to be after making it. writer laura ersoy photography jerry maestas styling sydney lopez hair preston wada makeup alexandra french
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GET TO KNOW...
jack & jack
First and foremost, how did you meet? What were your first impressions of one another? Gilinsky: Truthfully, we were 5 when we first met, I’m sure it was good though. I definitely thought J was a nice and funny kid. Johnson: I guess I could the say the same naturally, I just naturally gravitated towards G. We shared similar traits and names. Did you guys ever think you would become so wildly popular on Vine? What were your thoughts when your videos began to become immensely popular? G: I mean no, not at all. Vine was only a thing for around 4 months when everything started happening. It was such a new and random thing, we never really thought about. J: I think we knew we it in us to do big things, but we never thought about it. We never felt it was coming. G: I was stoked when our videos started becoming popular, as most 17 year olds would be. Social media was so new and we were making so much money through it. We were in high school and it was cool. It also sucked because kids picked on you. J: So many opportunities came to us through social media. We were stoked and it motivated us. What was the process you guys had when creating your vines? Looking back, which have been the most fun to make? G: I think we just had creative conversations between
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Johnson and I, but it was pretty organic. It was two kids hanging out talking through ideas, it was kind of what we always did. Some of our ideas definitely came out funnier than others though. Looking back in hind-sight, some of them are very cringy, but at the time we were pressured to put up content every day. There were for sure some filler vines, we wanted to stay relevant. Favorite video overall is this one called “Nerd Vandals.” It’s kind of funny that were even still talking about it. What made you guys want to make the switch from comedy to music? G: It wasn’t really a switch for us. We just wanted to switch what we were being known for. We sang a little bit at the time, but it was between the comedy. Music has always been a passion for Jack and I, way before Vine. It was something we always wanted to do, but didn’t know where we had to start. J: It was a switch of what people knew us as. It’s not that comedy isn’t a passion, we defiantly like to entertain people. In the past few years, we had the ability to create and understand how to create music. We actually fell in love with creating it. What had inspired you guys to create Calibraska and Gone? G: Calibraska comes from moving from Nebraska to LA. Merging both of our worlds. It was about our journey so far and getting to LA.
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GET TO KNOW... Gone was very conceptual where every song leans into the next. Its about a relationship that starts and ends. They are very different EP’s and you can definitely see the progression. You have recently came out with a couple of tracks, does this mean more music is on the horizon? G: 100% – Those were just songs we made over the past year. We felt like we were depriving our fans of new music so we put out some of our favorites that we knew the fans would like. We have an EP coming and a radio track we’re excited about, a couple actually. A lot of radio shows this summer and appearances. Do you have any advice for your young fans that aspire to pursue a career in music? G: Young fans aspiring for a career in music, definitely the most cliché piece of advice, but believe in yourself and continue on. There will always be the haters and someone to stand in your way, but if you believe in yourself you will take it far. J: Don’t be afraid to record yourself singing or play the guitar. Even try out for competitions, you just never know and who could see you.
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What are you guys currently working on? What can fans look forward to? J: We have a ton of music coming out and a lot of cool visuals. We’ve been lacking on that lately, and were planning to travel to play in other countries. We’ve neglected out international fans, were finally going to Europe! Tell us a bit about your collaboration with Jonas Blue. How’d you connect? What was the inspiration behind the track? G: Jonas actually connected with us because he heard us on JoJo Wright’s talk show in LA. He heard “Beg” and thought we could do something cool together. He then went into the studio, wrote the song about inspiring kids. Our managers happened to know each other so they connected us directly, and here we are. We shot the music video in Portugal… we’re excited! We can’t wait for everyone to see it!
writer nico seidita photography derrick freske styling jazmin whitley & jerry maestas grooming caitlin krenz special thanks peerspace
james arthur writer: aimee phillips photographer: jack alexander stylist: issie gibbons grooming: nicola schuller using spectrum, bobbi brown and dhc special thanks: the bentley london hotel
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James Arthur, best known for hit “Say You Won’t Let Go,” rose to fame after winning British talent show phenomenon The X-Factor UK in 2012. Straight away, his winner’s single, “Impossible,” went to #1 in the U.K. A year later, Arthur released his eponymously titled debut album, which again soared in the charts and reached #2. Not long after that, however, things took a downward turn. The singer-songwriter became embroiled in controversy around some of the lyrics on his rap mixtape, All the World’s a Stage. A series of high-profile Twitter spats ensued and and Arthur subsequently parted ways with his label, Syco Music. In an unprecedented move, Arthur rose like a phoe– nix from the ashes and made a comeback, signing to Columbia Records and releasing his sophomore album, Back from the Edge, in 2016, which would later go platinum.
“I needed to learn a few valuable lessons... Thankfully I’ve learnt them now.” Arthur reveals that it was his experience on The X Factor that was partly to blame for his troubled period. The show– watched by millions each year– is known for taking ordinary people with an extraordinary voice and jetpacking them to stardom.
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The contestants go on a journey that will change their lives forever, so in order to mold contestants into an artist that will sell, it is more than just their external appearance that is re-shaped, but their musical style, too. It was The X-Factor’s attempts to change Arthur became the root of his anguish. “I was OK as I was, I didn’t need all this molding,” he stresses. “All that did was make me lash out, actually. I wish I’d just have let all that stuff happen and not got so angry about everything and just been like; OK, I understand your opinion, but with respect, I want to do my own thing, instead of doing my own thing in a rebellious way. That turned into negative energy and it didn’t have to. A lot of controversy ensued from that which led to me doing things I regret. I think the bottom line is that I was an artist, I was fine the way I was and I just needed to learn a few valuable lessons. Thankfully I’ve learnt them now.” Arthur credits his staying power to the fact that he was already an artist prior to going on The X-Factor. “I knew who I was, I knew that I had an identity and a sound already, and I didn’t need molding really,” he says. “I didn’t need any help or any co-writers, I could have written the songs by myself.” This was another way Arthur was different from other contestants; he was writing and recording songs since he was fifteen. Before he auditioned, Arthur had been in a string of rock and indie bands. Musical talent undeniably ran in his blood.
Whether or not you’ve heard his music before or followed his journey, Arthur’s last album, Back from the Edge, which he describes as “a very personal, quite self-indulgent record,” is intense and powerful one that will hit you right in the feels. Far from what you’d expect from an X-Factor win– ner, the record dives into the depths of Arthur’s soul, discussing parts of his life when he suffered from an addiction to alcohol and drugs, as well as his battles with anxiety. Although the topics are often maudlin, the beats are catchy. Despite the pain it caused him to relive some of his darkest moments whilst performing the album, Arthur felt that it was necessary to go back and picture them again for the sake of his art. “I think it’s important to draw upon those emotions and feelings; to try and take yourself back,” he explains. “That’s my job as a performer– to convey those emotions. As difficult as it is, it’s also therapeutic. The stage is where I dump all of that energy.” Since Back from the Edge, Arthur has kept busy, touring North America with OneRepublic, as well as headlining his own UK and Ireland tour in 2017. He was also featured on the Grenfell Tower Fire charity single “Bridge Over Troubled Water” and on Rudimental’s single “Sun Comes Up”; the titles of which both seem like metaphors for the singer’s turnaround in life. “I definitely didn’t believe that I could come back in the way that I’ve managed to come back,” he says. “That was unprecedented.” Things only went up from there, Arthur not only released a new track “Naked,” but also teamed up with EDM powerhouse Marshmello on “You Can Cry.”
Arthur describes the record as “a project with inte– grity,” because, “it wasn’t straight down the line pop music, it was hip hop too.” “It was one of those things where he had a song that he really believed in, wanted to put it out and felt like I was the best person for the song. It was as simple as that, really,” Arthur explains, reflecting on the collaboration. “I thought it was interesting having a chorus that was all falsetto. It seemed to fit me perfectly and it was an honor to be part of a Marshmello track.”
“It’s important for me now to switch it up and make music more with my fans in mind, feel-good tracks.” When we spoke, it was only a few days before Arthur released two new tracks from his forth– coming album. It’s his third studio album, and Arthur is now back with his original label, Syco Music. “You Deserve Better” and “At My Weakest” are still selfdeprecating love songs– as is Arthur’s trademark style– but they are considerably more upbeat than his previous records. “You Deserve Better” is a foot-tapping, soulful groove full of funk guitars and stunning vocal harmonies. “At My Weakest,” on the other hand, is a gospel-tinged ballad. “It’s important for me now to switch it up and make music more with my fans in mind, feel-good tracks,” Arthur says. “I wish I could tell you what the title of the album was because that would make more sense. All the songs are directed at you as opposed to a reflection of me. Hopefully it’s relatable to everybody.”
All preconceived notions of how Arthur would be (he’s often been portrayed as sullen and temperamental by the British press in the past) were scuppered when we spoke. Maybe it’s because he’s come out the other side with a new lease of life, but Arthur was warm, relaxed and excited; a shift that seems to be reflected in his new music. “I think there’s been a lot of evolution,” he ponders.
“Talking about my life and being so open about my struggles with mental health and then going out and performing those songs, it became apparent to me that I needed to inject bit of fun back into my music.” “Going through the whole process of promoting that last album and how draining it was, talking about my life and being so open about my strug– gles with mental health and then going out and performing those songs, it became apparent to me that I needed to inject bit of fun back into my music. It’s been a new lease of life to be songwriting from a different perspective. It just feels like the reins have come off a bit and I’ve not been such an introvert with my writing. I’m adding strings to my bow that makes everybody feel good and want to dance.”
Continuously full of surprises, Arthur also released an autobiography in 2017, Back to the Boy. A Sunday Times bestseller, Arthur penned it in the hopes that it would help shed a light on the decis– ions he’s made through the telling of his past. It discusses many of the themes from his sophomore album in more detail; his struggles with mental health issues which led to drug-abuse, and how he dealt with the feelings of intense pressure and loneliness that accompanied his sudden rise to fame. In the book he says: “There are many things people don’t know about me and maybe when they read about those things they will have an understanding of the journey I have been on and why I’ve made the mistakes I have.” As well as being cathartic for the singer, Arthur also saw the book as an opportunity to use his platform for good. “I have a responsibility as someone with a voice to shed a light on mental health issues and talk about my struggles,” he says.
“I have a responsibility as someone with a voice to shed a light on mental health issues and talk about my struggles.” “Hopefully to help people who aren’t as fortunate as me and feel like they haven’t got anyone to talk to. I definitely know how that feels. However I can help and encourage people to open up about their difficulties then I’m doing a good thing, I’m giving back.” It was because of his honesty about his own experiences with mental health that led Arthur to become an ambassador for the charity SANE.
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â€œI want to be remembered as someone who put out some really great music.â€?
With the highs of fame naturally also came the lows, and Arthur, now much more sure of himself and his talents six years down the line, reflects on what he would have done differently at the start of his career if he had known what he does now. “I wish I could have said to myself, you definitely can be yourself, you don’t need to try and be anything else because ultimately, the best form of therapy is being honest and being myself.
“I’ve definitely got lost at times and that’s because I was always focused on what I thought other people wanted from me. That was the wrong thing to do.”
“I just stay hungry,” he says. “Call me crazy and unrealistic– and I’m usually a bit of a realist– but I kinda wanna be great. I want to be remembered as someone who put out really great music.” I’m driven by having hit music out there. I wanna be there best there is, I wanna be the top of my game. I’m competitive like that, so I’m driven by being the best of my craft.” “I believed that my talent could take me very far,” he says. “I’m a realist and realistically, I didn’t think I could get back to where I was and beyond. That seemed completely unfathomable to me. I always believed I could continue to make music, that I would have some fans and that I would be good enough to be taken seriously as an artist but the bounceback and where I am now is like a dream come true.”
Being me, being honest and open, as long as it’s kind and comes from a good place, that’s the best advice I can really take on.” Despite the setbacks, James Arthur has had incred– ible staying power. His drive to keep coming back and proving people wrong must have taken a great deal of courage and strength– a task which was undoubtedly augmented by being in the public eye. Although he has a captivating voice, many other artists, had they been in the same position, would unlikely have come out the other side as successfully as he did. So how did he do it?
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nico tortorella writer: nico seidita & laura ersoy photographer: aysia marotta stylist: mike adler at angela debona agency grooming: laila hayani at kahlo makeup art
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What made you want to pursue acting? Honestly? The Mighty Ducks. I was a hockey player growing up The Might Ducks 2, fused hockey and acting in such an amazing way. That was kind of the driving force. I think also the classics; I come from a big Italian family, so Goodfellas, The Godfather and A Bronx Tale were staples in my household. What would you say is your dream role? The more that I’m playing “believe” in my real life and working on myself, actually the harder it is for me to play “make-believe” right now. So today, my dream role would be playing myself. What has been your favorite role to play so far? The most challenging character was Carson in a film I did called Hunter&Game. I played a drug addict DJ and I just really went for it. It was definitely hard. It had its moments where it was really fun, but it also had its tough moments too.
“I got lost in that role. You couldn’t pay me to play that role again.” I got lost in that role. You couldn’t pay me to play that role again tomorrow, but I’m really happy it happened because I think I learned a lot about myself and the idea of method acting. The happiest I’ve been acting is playing Josh [on Younger]. It’s all based in love and respect. I get to bring that energy home and it’s no coincidence that, as I’ve been playing this role, everything in my life
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has just been so positive. He leads with his heart on everything. Undoubtedly, that comes from me, as the actor that plays him, but it’s just such a great show to be on. It’s been incredible. Let’s talk about Josh & Liza. What happened?! I feel like Tyra Banks in saying this, but I was rooting for you guys! (laughs) Definitely! Well, still root for me. It’s not over yet! We just wrapped the fifth season and Josh and Liza have been in a whirlwind since the first episode. Their relationship is just so beautiful. So rarely on television, you get to see people who have been romantic end things and then revert to a platonic relationship that still holds so much power and love. Josh and Liza are family now. Liza left everything she knew, moved to Brooklyn and Josh became her rock outside of her work life. And it’s not so different from Josh in Brooklyn. This woman came and moved to Brooklyn, and she was his escape from all of Brooklyn in such an amazing way. That relationship is never going to die, it’s going to keep evolving. What else can you tell us about Josh’s character in season five? What can fans expect? Josh’s relationship history has always been rocky and unstable. Sure, he’s married right now, but he and Claire have known each other for what? A month or two months and now they’re married. She’s from Ireland, he’s from Brooklyn, so it’s going to have its hardships for sure. There’s going to be a lot of space for him to learn what that means.
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If you’re asking me, Josh really has to learn how to love himself and not rely on someone else to provide that love for him. I think the way Josh loves others is how he needs to love himself, which is a a truism for everybody. Tell us about your podcast, The Love Bomb. My favorite memory from The Love Bomb is prob– ably when we were moving into the second season, we made a whole new intro. That’s when I first got into sound design and what it meant. Playing with a modulator and seeing the different sounds we could make; that was really incredible for me to explore. I can’t even pick a favorite episode; they’re all so wildly different and for me, it was a real education on all things love. I think “love” itself is a noun, an adjective and a verb. It’s also like who we are and what we are. The big takeaway is that the secret is not trying to find love, but to be love. You’ve recently come out as gender fluid, or in your terms, “cissy.” Tell us more about what that means. There is not one label that I’m saying this is who I am for the rest of my life. I love language and I just wrote a book of poetry. I’m obsessed with words and how we use them. I think they can either be used as medicine or weapons. I feel like I’m getting my Doctorate in the medicine right now. I’m exploring the world of gender and what it means to me. I think the more work I’ve been doing in the space, the less I believe in gender as binary, as the construct that it is. I’m stuck in a really interesting place right now in my own education and journey and it’s something that I work on every day, but it’s exciting. It’s explorative.
My fluidity far transcends my sexuality and my gender identity. It’s everything I am, and every– thing I stand for. It even saddens me that we’re in this place in the world that we have to fight for these things right now. I think really with social media and the interconnect– ivity of all of us, we are able to talk about it and find our tribe in a way that hasn’t really existed before and that is so beautiful. We’re living in the last generation that will ever know what life was like before the Internet, which is fucking crazy to think about. The exponential rate at which we’re moving towards this singularity is so magical but so crazy. I think gender and sexuality are just part of that.
“That’s kind of the utopian dream... this oneness.” Do you think there’ll be a time it all disappears? That’s kind of the utopian dream. Obviously, it is the dream, this oneness, but I don’t know if that is actually what I want right this second in my life. I understand the spectrum far surpassing gender and sexuality, and I appreciate it. Without it, the good doesn’t exist. You need that duality in absolutely everything for us to survive. I appreciate labels; it’s how we find each other, you know? I don’t think they always need to be fixed. They can be for some people. This is my own inner struggle that I work through on a daily basis.
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What has been the industry’s attitude people being more of themselves in the public eye? The industry has changed so fast since I’ve gotten into it. Even within the last year, even the last six months with the #MeToo movement, everything is different. The industry is very much so a mirror of everything that’s happening in the world. We’re moving to a place that’s changing so fast that everyday there’s a different answer to that question. I can speak for myself and say I haven’t had an issue. If anything, being more myself and speaking freely about who I am has only brought me more opportunity.
“Share, share, share! Share with yourself, then your friends, your family....” Since you’ve been an advocate for and a role model for young, queer people; what advice would you give to LGBTQ+ youth? Share, share, share! Just start sharing with yourself, then your friends, your family members. The power of sharing publicly is so important right now. We’ve been taught one thing for so long; of what love and relationships is supposed to look like and now that’s changing because we’re seeing more stories. The more stories we see, the more we’re going to believe. Find a way; whether it’s through art, social media, music or poetry, whatever. Just share and create. To be frank, my biggest inspiration that I turn to for creative juice is to queer youth.
What the kids are doing and the way that their minds are programmed is so different to any of our elders’. They’ve had access to so much more information from such a younger age that what they’re capable of is so much more powerful in a way that we don’t even know yet. Keep sharing so I can watch it! (laughs) Tell us about your experience as a guest judge on RuPaul’s Drag Race. So amazing! That show has been such a staple to my life for so long that I knew that I always wanted to be part of it in one way or another. It’s funny, the show came into my life from the Menendez: Blood Brothers movie. To me, drag is a way to approach gender but it’s so much more than gender, with a sense of humility. So much of the life people take so fucking seriously all the time. To me, drag was a way to play with life in such a beautiful way. There’s a childish enthusiasm to drag that is so beautiful. That’s what really attracted it to me in the first place. It’s so visceral. It’s using your body, your voice, your face as canvas as a form of resistance, too! It’s so fucking layered. Let’s talk about All of It Is You; Why poetry? I think that the way in which I live my life is really poetic and it was just the natural place to start. There’s a space in which my brain operates and my mouth moves, and for me, poetry lives in bet– ween those two. That’s where the magic happens for me.
Do you feel you’ve learned a lot about yourself in the 45 days it took you to write it? Absolutely. Having to harness inspiration every single day for that long is innately spiritual. I setup a timeline and had a certain amount of time I was dedicating to the work daily, and there is obviously a rhythm to my poetry that is almost like mantra. I think the greatest way to start learning about yourself is through spiritual practice and that’s what that book was for me. It still is. I pick it up everyday and I’ll read something, and it hits me in a new way every single time. It was a guidebook that I could go back to and be inspired. I wrote that book for myself first. I wrote the whole thing in order. I started with the first one, and ended with the last one. By the time I got to the universe section, I had just found my flow. That’s my favorite section to go back and read. There’s the most subtle magic in that section than any other section. How did it feel when you got the printed piece? Ahh! All the of the work I’ve done in the past ten years in the industry has either A. been somebody else’s baby, so to speak, and B. has been on television or on a podcast that lives in the ether. There’s a forever quality to a book that is so much different and when I held the book for the first time, that realization just exploded through my body. It was very emotional, it still is. And seeing people read it in other countries… Oh my God! That book is everywhere! It’s fucking insane. That even more so inspires the idea that I’ve got to go and hit the road. I need to travel and connect with people.
What was the toughest part about writing the collection? The easiest? It’s almost like the hardest part and the easiest part is the same thing. I think sharing it with the world was the hardest part but also the most natural for me. I’ve never written a book before, nobody’s ever seen my words on a page. In the introduction of the book, I talk about my biggest insecurity; my own intelligence. I’m educated– I went to high school, and to college for a year and a half, but I have friends who’ve done their undergraduate, graduate and Ph.D all at Ivy Leagues– these are some of my best friends, who are my inspiration, and resources that I go to and get to intellectually workshop on a daily basis. But I will always feel like a little lesser than because of how I have been educated... which is stupid, but that’s what we’re taught, right? To be able to share a book like this with the world, definitely had it’s fear in it. But at the same time, it could not have been easier for me. Are there plans for a second? I’m working on it right now. I think with the first book, I quite literally attacked… everything (laughs). I think the next one will be sexuality and gender driven. That’s just where I am in my life. I want to write that book with a real global voice. I want to travel, learn and share it with the world. What’s next? My marriage has been so fulfilling and incredible. We are growing both as a unit and as individuals every single day. There’s the books, then I think theres secondary and tertiary relationships but I think our polyamory is something that’s really exciting.
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pale waves writer: lucy chappell photographer: aysia marotta stylist: kelsey ferguson / assistance: dylan wayne hair/makeup: amanda wilson for opus beauty using urban decay cosmetics and r+co
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On a Wednesday night at The Garage in Islington, London, under an 80s-esque glow of bubble-gum pink and blue lights and amongst a sea of hands curled into hearts, there’s the gentlest mosh pit (if you even can call it that) at the front – packed with people hugging, dancing and probably crying all at once. On stage is Pale Waves – the two goth-girl, two indie-boy band providing the soundtrack to our escape, their music switching between melan– cholic one moment and euphoric the next. Standing front and center is Heather Baron-Gracie, singing and playing guitar with infectious energy, wild black hair and epic batgirl-like coat draped from her shoulders. She looks fucking cool and free as she performs, especially when, very occasionally, she performs this half-Michael Jackson “Thriller” half-puppet mannequin dance between lyrics. “Oh god, to be honest like it’s mainly because I don’t really know what do with my hands, like I just can’t control them. I do think I use my hands a lot to express myself and emphasize things, so maybe it’s a part of that. But also when I’m up there I just sort of forget that people are watching, so I just do whatever.” It’s difficult to understand how Heather could forget people are watching her, because a lot of people are watching. Like... a lot. In just a couple of years, Pale Waves have gone from playing to small numbers in small venues in Manchester to thousands in a sold out show at New York’s legendary Madison Square Garden, supporting indie-rock megaband The 1975 on their North American tour.
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They’ve racked up millions of views on YouTube and thousands of social media followers off the back of their hugely successful EP All The Things I Never Said– and don’t look to be slowing down any time soon. Up next on the agenda: finishing their debut album due for release this summer, playing a number of summer festivals and embarking on a world tour. It seems their feet won’t touch the ground, and as we chat to Heather about writing music, changing the industry and chocolate hobnobs, it seems the band wouldn’t have it any other way. But first, back to where it all began. How did you find music and at what point did you think: “This is why I want to do with my life?” “My dad is really musical and I grew up listening to a lot of 80s artists like Prince and Madonna. He played the guitar a lot around the house and I learnt too. I think I was 13 when I wanted to do it and I’ve not wanted to do anything else since. Literally, I couldn’t do anything else.” On her mum’s encouragement to “get an education” she enrolled at BIMM in Manchester in 2014 (where the likes of James Bay, George Ezra and The Kooks also attended), and it was there she met drummer Ciara Doran – they clicked instantly and started practicing together. Spending hours writing and rehearsing in between lectures, did they think about bailing uni altogether? “Yeah, we did. Our parents were like giving us money to stay on the course.
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We’d be playing music so much and then realize we had an essay due that Monday and think ‘Oh God, we need to get the essay in, we need to stop. My mum’s an intellectual, so she wanted me to see it through, but her and my dad have always been so supportive of the band. They’re so happy to see us doing well.”
“Why would you shit on people’s dreams? I don’t get it...” With or without parental support, a standard for young artist-dreamers is constant rejection, to be told “no,” to be told to give up, that they should “get a real job.” But it was non-negotiable for the girls from the start. “Ciara told me a story once of how she would tell people she wanted to play in a band full-time, and some of them would laugh in her face. I just think – what do you get out of doing that to someone? Or telling someone they can’t? Why would you shit on people’s dreams like that? I don’t get it.” Well, we know who’s laughing now. Soon two became four, with Hugo Silvani (guitarist) and Charlie Wood (bassist) joining in 2015, completing the group. “We felt so much stronger with them, so much better. Those three are my best friends. I couldn’t ever see myself being as close with anyone else as I am to them.” For the next two years, the group would spend time writing and honing their sound, before the release of their debut single “There’s a Honey”
in April 2017, co-produced by none other than The 1975’s own Matthew Healy, who’d heard the song and wanted to collaborate. The next single, “Television Romance” was released a few months later in August, the music video also directed by Healy which has already gained 4.4 million views on YouTube. Pale Waves were making waves, and quickly – they took fifth on the BBC Sound of 2018 list, one of only two guitar bands of sixteen hopefuls, and made the shortlist for MTV’s Brand New 2018. All this, while releasing an EP, starting on their debut album, and set their own world tour in place. For a band who only formed a few years ago, the rise isn’t just quick, it’s astronomical. And for some reason I find myself wanting to ask, where do you guys actually live? We are literally out of a suitcase at the moment! Eventually we’d like to based in London, but at the moment we’re sort of all over the place. When I get even two days off I’ll just go home to Preston to see family and stuff. But I don’t really get homesick, no none of us do really. Quite lucky actually. But when you do go away, do you like any home comforts – like, hobnobs? I was just about to say hobnobs! Love a hobnob. Chocolate ones? Yeah. Chocolate hobnob and a cup of tea. Perfect. Does being reasonably displaced for a lot of time impact how and when you write? “I just need to get into the mindset to write - that space in my head. So I can do it anytime, anywhere as long as I am in that space. Literally I don’t think
I would get anything done if I had to write in one place! And my inspiration comes from everywhere really, and everyone: my friends, my family, people Iove, people I don’t like.” Heather’s words are so involving. You can feel like you’ve been hit like a ton of bricks one second, or be rolling your eyes with understanding the next. It’s personal, but relatable and it shows. The crowds at their shows are made up of people in their teens, twenties, fifties, and everything in between. “I do think we have appeal to a big market. I guess it’s pop music at the end of the day, but the lyrics are quite emotional and we talk about real life things so I think anyone can relate to what we’re talking about. People have said we’ve helped them through things, or they’ve met people through the music they’re now best friends with. The fact that other people can relate to what we’re saying and find other people through it, it’s amazing.” Do you always put a lot of yourself in the music? Yeah. And people write music because they’re emotional. I want people to understand why I write these songs and how much work we’ve done and how – I just want people to understand why we do this. Writing is such an important part of my life. I write from my heart. So it’s crazy when you’re at a show and people are screaming your lyrics back to you. It’s then that I realize we’re doing something good and affecting people. Has your sound changed since the EP? What can we expect from the album? It’s a lot different. Obviously it has the pop bangers
but instrumentally it’s a lot more diverse, we’ve got a lot more R&B influences in there. It just goes deeper into Pale Waves, and is quite a bit darker. Is writing an album a different kind of storytelling to writing a song? “Yeah, when you write an album you have to get in the mindset of ‘How does this work as a collective?’ With an album you have thirteen or fourteen tracks and can really express yourself and do so many different things whereas, with an EP, you’re more restricted because with three or four tracks, you can’t really express everything that you’re feeling. There are some songs on the album that are really relevant to what’s happening in my life right now. I think when people listen to it they will really understand me more as a person. They’re going to be able to analyze me more! But I’m so proud of it. But I still haven’t really grasped the idea that we have an album coming out. An actual album. It’s crazy and scary. I just hope people fall in love with it.” One of the tracks, “Kiss,” is going to be on the soundtrack for the second season of Netflix’s hit series 13 Reasons Why. How did you feel when you were approached to be a part of it? Oh my god, I know. It’s crazy. The others have binged watched it but I just haven’t had time. But I know it’s so popular and such an important show, but it’s mad when you have Netflix phoning you being like “We want to work with you.” It’s amazing.
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Do you like taking risks with your music? I think it’s interesting to keep making people guess and keep them on their toes, keep throwing things in the water that shake them up. Like even when we were in New York, we just thought we would play this new song ‘Noises’ like really last minute, and I think it paid off really well, and we were glad we took that risk. It’s just little things like that, I think. What about personally? One of the biggest risks I took a while ago was chopping off a lot of my hair. Cause I used to have really long hair, like down to my bellybutton, and I just chopped it all off in like one day, and it’s as short as it now. Did you just fancy a change or did you think it needed to go because it was too long? Yeah I just fancied a change. I did it and Ciara cried! She actually cried tears. I don’t know why. She loves my short hair now but yeah she got really upset, bless her. Besides your hair, how do you think you’ve changed as a person in any other way from when you started out to now? Yeah, I’ve definitely grown in confidence and I’m still trying to find, well – not find my role – but I’m still getting used to the role that I have now. I definitely feel more pressure now, because there a lot more people out there watching what I say and seeing how I look and commenting on the music than there was at the start. So I guess there’s pressure to look good all the time, to not say the wrong thing. But if more people are watching it means more people are hearing Pale Waves. And we’re slowly becoming a way bigger band, which is happening so fast but it’s really exciting. And it’s all we want.
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Is there something in the music industry that you would like to change? Yeah, I don’t think there are enough women in the music industry. At all. It’s very male-dominated. And a lot of the time, it’s even happened to me, that men have kind of looked down at me a lot and not thought I could play the guitar at all. It’s absolutely bullshit, because I write most of the guitar parts. I just want the attitude within music to change, and for people to just appreciate that anyone can make music and play it regardless of gender. For them to just look at it equally. With the upcoming tour, you’re heading to countries including Germany, Australia, New Zealand, the US, and Japan. Where are you most excited to go to? I’m really excited to go to Japan. I just don’t know what to expect I’ve heard a lot about the fans in Japan, they’re really enthusiastic! I’m really intrigued to see how much of Pale Waves is in Japan and how big is our fan base there. I actually hate going on aeroplanes though. It makes me really anxious. But I’m starting to accept it slowly because we have to fly so much now. Do you guys have any pre-performance rituals? Yeah, we all get together and hug! Like a big group hug, just general hyping each other up really, but sometimes we’ll get to the point where we’re slapping each others bums then thinking right, we need to get on now. Where do you see Pale Waves in the future? I just want to be one of the biggest bands the world has ever experienced. I see us taking over the world. But then again, I have such big ambitions. But I’m not gonna stop until I’m satisfied. I just want to play to massive venues and for Pale Waves to reach everyone’s hearts.
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pete wentz writer: elly watson photographer: jack alexander styling: luke langsdale at rex agency grooming: marina gravani at opus beauty (using tom ford beauty & r+co with amika tools)
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A tweet recently went viral that read “real shit if u didn’t have an emo phase, ur not a real person in my eyes.” Amassing over 20k likes and 6k retweets, it’s clear people have fond memories of the beloved emo phase from their youth. You know the one: backcombed hair, awkwardly posed MySpace profile pictures, copious amounts of eyeliner and– of course– knowing all the words to Fall Out Boy’s Take This To Your Grave and From Under The Cork Tree. The first two records from the Chicago-formed quartet, the albums became the staple of the poppunk/emo boom of the mid-00s, paving the way for other bands such as Panic! At The Disco, and it was hard to find anyone in 2005 who didn’t know the lyrics to “Sugar, We’re Goin’ Down.” Looking back over their discography, it’s clear they’ve always strived to do something different, weaving in elements of soul and jazz and collab– orating with artists of all different kinds of genres, like Jay-Z as early as their 2007 record Infinity on High. “I think since Take It To Your Grave and From Under The Cork Tree we’ve been changing,” Wentz tells me. “If you go right back to the very beginning, it’s a big change. But if you go album by album, it’s like stepping stones.” Now on their seventh stepping stone, when Wentz talks to me on the phone, his pride over their most recent studio album MANIA is evident. Released earlier this year to critical and commercial acclaim, it’s a complete change to their previous records and sees the Chicagoans trying something totally different, yet again.
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“When we started making it, there wasn’t necess– arily an M.O,” Wentz explains. “We were just like ‘Oh, we’re gonna treat this like improv.’ We weren’t sure! With a lot of our other records, we made an album like baking a cake to a recipe whereas this one was like making a stew, where you just keep adding stuff and try and figure it out by taste.” A further expansion to their more experimental pop leanings, MANIA sees the group explore elements that they haven’t before, creating a brilliantly biz– arre record that flirts with EDM and sees them dive deeper into the pop realm. “This one was a little different,” Wentz says of the creative process. “We were in Scotland, I can’t remember how many years ago, and Patrick showed me the beginning of ‘Young and Menace’ and I was like ‘Oh my god!’ It was so inspired and weird. With music now, people are like ‘Okay, you need a track like this because it’s going to be an instant gratification track,’ so we got to this state where they were like, ‘Yeah, we need this instant gratification track in order for the record to come out on the date that you want’ and we were like ‘Oh, we don’t have a song that’s good enough!’ We made the decision to push the record back. We didn’t start over, but we kind of had a new bar that we wanted to hold the songs to and not a lot of songs really held to that bar.” The rework clearly worked out and MANIA be– came the band’s third consecutive number one on the Billboard 200 chart and fourth chart-topping debut overall. The records since their break have seen Fall Out Boy embrace more of a pop sound and almost reinvent themselves, evolving from their previous emo label.
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“Very rarely do you get to save a point of a video game, where you’re at in life, and then go do something else and then come back to it the next day,” Wentz muses. “I think we kind of got to do that. At the same time it was a little weird because if we’d come back and put out music that didn’t reach people, it wouldn’t have been like we saved the video game! I think because when we came back we were lucky, we kind of got a second chance. I think with the time we took off, we could reassess where we were as adults and with our friendships and I think it was good.” It’s this “second chance” that has established Fall Out Boy as one of the biggest and best bands in the world. Taking time apart to become happy and content with himself, Wentz was a bit ner– vous at coming back initially due to anxiety about what the public’s reaction would be. “It’s cool when you can do it all again but there’s always a risk of you damaging your legacy if you don’t do it the way the people hope you’re going to.” Luckily, the group have just enhanced their legacy. Hailed as creating the popularity surrounding emo back in the mid 2000s, they’re now celebrated for their boundary-pushing pop music in 2018. “I feel like we’re at the point where the spectrum is so wide that I’ll see people who know Fall Out Boy since they came back from the hiatus and people who just know the singles and people who show up,” Wentz tells me. “It’s really interesting. When you’ve been doing art for a long enough time within pop culture, your entry point defines the artist for you. When I say that, I mean, my entry point with Metallica was the Black album, so I wasn’t one of those fans that got into the thrash stuff first and then was like ‘Oh my god, what are they doing?’
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The thing that reached you at the right point of your life is a very definitive thing to you. We definitely have kids who only like certain eras of Fall Out Boy and then we have people that like all of it! I know there’s fans who are like ‘I literally only like the song that was in Big Hero 6!’ So it’s really interesting.” Regardless of what era of Fall Out Boy is your favorite, you cannot contest the fact that in their two decades of making music they have established themselves as legends, although Wentz isn’t 100% comfortable with that tag just yet. “Sometimes people will come up to me and be like ‘I started playing drums because of Andy Hurley!’ and it’s weird because that was the kid I hung out in a van with!” he laughs. “One of my kids goes to school with Dave Grohl’s kids and I’ll see him around and I’ll be like ‘Oh my god, that’s Dave Grohl!’ In some ways I think that’s really humbling because we’re, like, not there. We’re in like the sophomore class of rock bands, like not quite there but not freshman. It’s like a weird inbetween, you know?” Now gearing up for a huge tour and with a head– line slot at Reading and Leeds to drive UK crowds wild, there’s obviously no slowing down for the group. “We’re focused on the tour and on coming over and playing Reading and Leeds,” Wentz says. “But we’re always writing, we’re always sending each other inspiration back and forth, although we’re not actively writing at the moment. Then we’ve got to figure out what’s next! Do we sign to a label? Do we not sign to a label? I don’t think it really make a difference for Fall Out Boy.” And it’s true. Whatever Fall Out Boy do next, they’ll always be considered as a huge part of the music world, be it within emo, pop-punk, pop, EDM or whatever they try next. Thanks for the memories, guys. Here’s to many more.
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GET TO KNOW...
Samantha Harvey is a very modern pop star; one of the bright young things whose road to stardom has been paved by the likes of YouTube. Emerging into the spotlight thanks to the accessibility of social media might give the illusion of overnight success, but don’t be fooled; Harvey is a real grafter that has given her all to get where she is today. We caught up with the singer to talk about her EP, Please, how she got to where she is today, staying grounded and what she’s up to next. How are you finding the reception of your EP so far? It’s such an amazing feeling to release your own music that you can relate to as well as your followers. A lot of the fanbase has been DMing me on Instagram to tell me how much it’s helping them through their own situations. That’s what I’ve always wanted to be able to do. Do you think your fans have been able to relate the tracks? What do you want them to take away from the songs? I basically wanted my songs to be like therapy for them. I wanted them to listen to my songs if they were in a bad mood, but also if they were in a good mood as well. I wanted there to be a mix of songs on the EP so that people could relate to it regardless of their situation.
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Who are some of the artists that have inspired you and how have they influenced you creatively? I absolutely love Anne-Marie, I think she’s brilliant. Her personality comes across in the songs and that’s what I want too. Ed Sheeran is a massive one for me. You can imagine yourself in a situation through his lyrics. What steps did you have to take to get where you are today? I started singing weddings and pubs to begin with. People suggested I audition for The X Factor or one of those TV programs but I didn’t really want to be famous as such, I just wanted to do my singing. So, I was told that I should just record myself singing clips and put them on social media. One day, I recorded a Sam Smith cover of me singing on my bathroom floor and it just blew up overnight. I thought, bloody hell, people actually love my voice! I would upload covers regularly and it developed into this really hardcore fanbase. Managers were contacting me, I was still working as a cleaner whilst going to meetings and eventually, I released my own song independently. With the fanbase I’d built up, I didn’t really need a label. After that, I had lots of label interest and eventually chose the right one. It’s been a massive rollercoaster but it’s been incredible.
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GET TO KNOW... How did you feel when all of that was happening? It was really exciting because as I kept refreshing my tastes, I could see the videos going up in likes. Throughout this whole journey, I’ve been very, very lucky that people were so nice to me in the comments. When a video goes viral, some people are unlucky but I was very fortunate that people liked me by watching a video online. How have you stayed grounded? I’m a family girl and I enjoy doing all the normal things like the cleaning. When I’m at home, I want to spend time with my family, go shopping...but on the other side, I’m going to America, doing my own headline shows, people are singing my songs. It’s like two lives, it’s crazy. For someone that started their music career covering songs, how did you find your own sound? When I first started singing, the producer said to me, you’ve got no emotion; you need to get that emotion across in your voice. Since then, whenever I’m having a bay day, all I need to do is sing a cover or one of my own songs and that emotion comes out. Listening to songs that have really meaningful lyrics, I realised that those were the kind of songs that suited me and my voice. The further along the writing process got, the more I realised that I also enjoyed singing dance songs, which I never really thought I would do.
Do you prefer being in the studio or on stage? They’re completely different so it’s a hard one, but my favourite thing to do is perform live to people who love music. I get them jumping around, having the best time. I’ve always loved doing that since I was 16 doing pubs and weddings. It’s been in my blood since I was younger. Have people’s treatment of you changed since you stepped into the spotlight? My friends find it very weird. If we’re out at dinner for example, and someone comes over, asks for a photo and freaks out a bit, my friends think it’s strange because they’ve known me since I was 10. My family don’t really realise what’s going on until they come to a show and see hundreds of people screaming. That’s when they realise what scale it’s on. What’s next for you? I’m going on tour at the end of this year, which is really exciting. That will be my first ever UK tour. I’m hopefully looking to get a support slot with a bigger artist and I’m also working on some new music. There’s some features which should come out later this year, I’ve got a single coming out, then the album will probably be next year. writer aimee phillips photography jack alexander styling thomas george wulbern BODYSUIT pretty little thing SKIRT quiz
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Tell us about yourself. I am 23 years old, I am Egyptian and live in New Jersey! You’d mentioned that you’re still in school. What are you studying? I am currently still in school studying business marketing, and my goal is to own my own business in the future. I would love to have my own cosmetics and fashion line in the future. Would you further pursue modeling? My goal is to work with big brands such as Chanel and Dior. I believe I would definitely still pursue modeling, but for multiple things like in beauty, commercial, and high fashion! How, or when, did you notice your content taking off on Instagram? I noticed my content taking off about two years ago. The funny part is that it wasn’t intentional! I would just post photos of myself with cute outfits on, my relation– ship, and lifestyle. I noticing people starting to engage and ask questions about my life, or what kind of make up I use, and even where my favorite travel spots are. When did you decide to become more of a social media influencer that focused on fashion and beauty? I started about a year ago. I enjoyed the feedback I was getting from people and I wanted to share with everyone the things I loved to wear and use. 96 | EUPHORIA. Magazine
What have been some of the best comments you’ve received from your followers? I get a lot of amazing comments from my followers about how they love and support me 100% in everything I am doing. It honestly makes me so so happy to see most of my followers supporting me and give me amazing feedback. That’s why I feel like it’s so important to connect with your followers on a more personal level. Tell us about your experience on America’s Next Top Model. My experience on ANTM was very different for me because I’ve never been away from my family for that long. It was pretty tough. I felt like the experience taught me a lot about myself, and how I can truly push myself to the limit and do whatever I put my mind too! How’d you get involved? The casting director contacted me and asked me to sign up for the season. What was it like living with the other girls in the house? It would get really tough at times because all of us were all so different, but I am happy I made some friends through the process! Was it as dramatic as it looked on TV? Yeah, it was pretty dramatic, but what do you expect when you put that many girls in one house?
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GET TO KNOW... Tell us about the challenges. Do you feel they pushed you out of your comfort zone? To completely honest I am actually a really shy girl so most of the things I did I wasn’t really used to, but I feel like I definitely needed it. You won the chance to do a photoshoot with Ashley Graham – What was your experience like working with such an impactful model and activist in the industry? It was amazing working and shooting with Ashley! She is such an amazing person inside and out, and she really helped me on the photoshoot. How much do you feel you learned about the industry and modeling from your experience on the show? I definitely think I learned a lot from the judges, but mostly I feel like I learned a lot about myself through– out the process just from being out in Los Angeles alone for such a long time without seeing or speaking to my family. You’ve mentioned on the show that you were Muslim; do you feel your religious background will affect the types of jobs you’ll accept? I think the only thing that will affect the types of jobs I accept will be what I truly allow for and what I feel comfortable with.
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Tell us about your activism and encouragement you strive to show young Muslim models wanting to break into the industry. I personally don’t see a lot of Muslim models in the indsutry and that really bothers me because I don’t think they shouldn’t be scared to get out there and do what they love. Most girls are afraid to pursue modeling because it isn’t allowed in the Muslim world, and I believe that any male or female should do what they are really passionate about, because at the end of the day they will be the ones living out their future, not their parents. What’s next? In the future, I’d love to work with the big fashion brands like Chanel, Dior, and Louis Vuitton. I also want to do a lot of beauty campaigns and commercials. As of right now I am working really hard to build myself up to where I want to be!
writer & photography laura ersoy styling mike adler assistance nicholas dyer hair/makeup amanda wilson using chanel and ouai special thanks refinery hotel nyc
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What movies/TV did you watch growing up that inspired you to become an actor? There were movies that captured my imagination when I was young like The Temptations and Richie Rich but my ma taking me to the theatre and seeing some of those shows is what inspired me to become an actor. It was watching my mom become overwhelmed by the performances in the Alliance Theater’s (Atlanta, GA) adaptation of The Color Purple that moved me into actually wanting to do whatever it was they were doing to be able to make a stranger feel that way.
What are some horror films you’re into? Blair Witch Project – My brain really suspended the disbelief that those weren’t real people filming on the video camera. The way they shot it like a home video had me SHOOK! Also had a forest that started like 10 feet from my window when I moved down south, and it got so dark out there that if you had the light on, you couldn’t see outside but you know obviously whatever was out there could see inside. I didn’t sleep in my bed for a couple days because it was under a ceiling fan. And most ceiling fans look like the Blair witch sign. No!
What would you say is your dream role? A valiant but reclusive soldier that plays the violin. That’s my gut answer and I’ve said that for a while. One day I’ll get to the bottom of why but something about Velmet hammer-esque kind of quality. I like roles where a char– acter comes across as pretty simple but turns out to be much more dynamic than anyone had imagined.
What are your favorite genres of music? Soul, R&B, Hip hop, Latin music (including reggaetón), Classical, and movie soundtracks. Picked up the guitar so I’m even getting into some rock these days.
What has been your favorite project to work on thus far? Why? I played Romeo in a theatre workshop in Amsterdam for the summer. I love words and working on Shakespeare in that way was just like a summer long love affair with them. Plus I like playing characters that are in love, I’m very curious about the topic of love.
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What’s your favorite thing about your character, Daniel? Daniel gets to be cool and masculine while also being able to wear his heart on his sleeve and not hide his sensitivity. That’s refreshing. How much does your personal life affect how you play Daniel? I think when I was young I was in a hurry to put a girl I was into on a pedestal and be perceived as a nice guy. I think there is an element of that in Daniel where he wants so much to be there for Issa that sometimes he does things or allows things that seem to compromise his integrity.
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GET TO KNOW... Insecure has sparked conversation about relationships. What’s the most important issue it brought up for you? Conversations about cheating. It’s made me question how I would respond to that happening to me. I’ve found a lot of men would rather not know if their partner cheated on them. That’s wild to me! Let me know so we can communicate because if not, what would be different so that it doesn’t happen again. Ignorance is not bliss in my opinion. Knowledge is power. I’m empowered to sit down and talk about it with you and see if we can figure something out or I’m empowered to pack your bags. What’s the biggest lesson the show has taught you? If you feel a way about somebody. Tell them, let them know even though it can be scary. There are more regrets for our truths left unsaid then there are for truths said. What are some secrets you can share about Season 3? There are things I’ve personally forced myself to not read or pages in scripts I’ve skipped over just so that I can give myself the good fortune of not knowing what’s going to happen. Wouldn’t want to rob that from any of you! How was it being part of such a crazy series? Intense. It’s odd being in a constant survival mode. Most of the Purge seeing as how it take place at night happens in the dark so whenever dark would come, whether I was filming or not, I’d get that nervous empty feeling in my stomach. The fight or flight of it all started to have a physiological effect on me.
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Your character is very anti-Purge and does what he can to fight against it and protect his loved ones. Tell us some more about the film and your character. Dmitri is interesting because he’s always thinking and calculating and trying to figure out what’s the best angle to approach a situation from. He’s a finisher who is willing to do everything it takes to preserve and stand by his principles and the things and people he values the most. I’m excited to see how audiences respond to him because he walks a very thin line. The film itself is great because it takes us to the very beginning of the franchise. And the scare factor is obviously there but the most frightening thing about this one is how grounded it is in the latent fears we actually have in our society today. Of course, it’s a work of fiction but I think it’s how close to home this one gets that makes it in my opinion, and I’m willing to bet in the opinion of many of your readers, THE SCARIEST ONE TO DATE. Mark my words! What have you been up to? Shooting Insecure and, not too long ago, wrapped a film by Stella Meghie called The Weekend. Got to pick persimmons in a persimmon orchard. I didn’t load any guns or pick up any bullets... So, it was good therapy. writer laura ersoy photography derrick freske styling charlie brianna for opus beauty grooming shiyena for exclusive artists using recipe & eufora
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