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GREYONESOCIALONLINE.COM L2 R2 Wing Greenbelt 5, Makati City

stays woke

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By Pola Beronilla


23 23

By Pola Beronilla


It’s time to go bare.




By Sue Leong





Catch the throwback fever while adorned in chic retro-esque staples and classic looks.

By Sue Leong

By Charisma Lico




Step into a neutral territory and stand out with monochromatic pieces in edgy silhouettes. By Miguel Alomajan


41 SWAG:




The party starts when literature and fashion go hand in hand. Anti-war



Mental Health



Black Lives Matter

45 FEMME 46




Body Positivity



Animal Rights





LGBT Rights

Environment Movement


Toughening it up in the streets of North London, the color pink gets injected with a gritty and no nonsense substance courtesy of 18-year old GIRLI.




With his music as a weapon, Chicago-born urban rapper Sir the Baptist creates a platform of discussion for social issues with his own mode of sermon.

Let’s get cheeky.



Both intellectuals and artists and barely in their 20s, LA-based garage rock quartet The Regrettes are here to tell you why it’s okay to be a youth in revolt.



Revealing a side that’s more vulnerable than his onstage persona, Tyler Glenn isn’t afraid to bare it all as he breaks his silence in his solo debut, EXCOMMUNICATION.




Dismantling unhealthy body expectations, model, writer, and visual artist Myla Dalbesio becomes a new form of warrior using the power of femininity. By Janroe Cabiles



Proving to be more than just a label, Berlin-based designers Nan Li and Emilia Pfohl a.k.a. Namila uses fashion as way to celebrate female sexuality. By Janroe Cabiles



Releasing a powerful statement on mental health awareness, Laura Hospes shares with us her battles with inner demons through the use of photography. By Jill de Leon



Mixing religion and human sexuality, Mexico-born, New York-based artist Gabriel García Román delivers a new kind of homily with the flick of the wrist. By Ida Aldana

stays woke

o c to b er 2 0 1 6





Jhené Aiko bears talent that doesn’t end in her musical artistry. Lending her voice to nature and all its creatures, the soulful singer spreads positivity through her vision and appeals on issues that matter and sheds a light on animal protection, body positivity, and healthy lifestyle empowerments. By Jill de Leon




Turning melancholic pages of old journals and voice notes into a sultry groove, singer-songwriter Gallant rises above his deepest insecurities with the release of his debut album, Ology. Gently stepping out of the shadows of his past, R&B’s newest golden boy shines towards a brighter future.



Repping her local girl gang in her signature little boy pants and old school tees, Lizmariah V lectures you why basic doesn’t have to mean boring.

By Pola Beronilla



Playing pivotal role in Tarell Alvin McCraney’s Moonlight, Ashton Sanders has managed to be in films that go beyond their entertainment value. Not one to shy away from serious topics, the up-andcoming actor tells us why the acceptance of diversity and sexuality should be the norm in this modern age. By Bea del Rio


Wandering to new territories of her musicality, Yuna reveals an artist who’s more self-assured of what she wants in her latest outing, Chapters. Gifted with an urban backdrop, she shares her refined musings about the transformation she had in line with her musical artistry and personal identity.


By Isa Almazan

ABOUT THE COVER Gracing the cover of our October issue is the natural phenomenon that is Jhené Aiko. Shot in Downtown LA by our resident lensman Isaac Sterling, the soulful artist poses in front of a pastel pink backdrop, showing us that she’s more than the artist that we see her as.



the pulse of hip at your fingertips


we’re all models off duty. smize!


there’s more to what’s in print

PHOTO DIARY confessional for lensmen


free mixtapes and wallpapers

stays woke

October 2016 editor-in-chief

Rosario Herrera @RosarioHerrera

managing editor

Denise Mallabo @denisemallabo

art director

Nyael David @nyaels

features editor

Pola Beronilla @HaveYouMetPola

fashion editor

Jill de Leon @orangetoenails

editorial assistant

Janroe Cabiles @janroetheboat

graphic designer

Nadine Layon @nadinelayon

contributing writers

contributing artists

Ida Aldana, Isa Almazan, Honey Bautista, Bea del Rio Miguel Alomajan, Christopher Chavez, Olivia Engobor, Chris Fenner, Aimanness Harun, Felton Kizer,Felicia LaTour, Naima Lewis, Charisma Lico, Theresa Padin, Jen Rosenstein, Argie Salango, Ade Samuel, Daniel Santillan, Isaac Sterling, Meredith Truax

What’s your STATUS? tell us. editorial editorial@statusmagonline.com advertising advertise@statusmagonline.com marketing marketing@statusmagonline.com general inquiries info@statusmagonline.com


Chino Aricaya, Sue Leong, Charmaine Resari, ZĂśe Rosal

follow us facebook.com/statusmagazine twitter.com/statusmagazine instagram: statusmagazine STATUS is published by STATUS Media Group. Reproduction without permission is prohibited.


Isaac Sterling After dabbling in a career as a model, Isaac Sterling goes back to his roots: photography. With his creative mastery of the camera, he’s stolen some snapshots of top celebrities like Kanye and Nicole Richie. Based in Los Angeles, he comes back with a passion for flashing our cover girl Jhené Aiko(66).

Felton Kizer Rooted in Chicago, Felton Kizer primarily dabbles in fashion photography while also living the double life of an activist. He is the editor in chief of Off-Kilter Mag, a cherished movement of artists and seekers of individual truth. This time, he works his personal photographer magic on Ashton Sanders (88).

Charisma Lico Based in Manila, fashion photographer Charisma Lico’s personal and commissioned works meet to make a stunning pieces of art. Collaborating with tons of publications and celebrities, she captures her subjects’s natural beauty in soft blissful shots in striking lighting much like for Rising Tide (26).

Bea Del Rio With musings as witty and opinionated as her, Bea Del Rio proves she’s a girl who knows her way with words. As an aficionado of cinema and music, she is quick to retort her own insights on each subject. See her flair for writing in the interview piece she did this month for Ashton Sanders.












t’s a brave new digital world where Generation Y is young, smart, and aren’t afraid to speak their minds. They’re more versed about politics and social issues than I ever was at their age–or even now–and voice out their beliefs and opinions to the world with reckless abandon. For this month’s #NoFilter Issue, we admire the fearlessness of their voices and support their optimistic beliefs that they can change the world. Jhené Aiko has a sensuality about the way she sings and moves, but don’t let that mislead you, because under her sweetness and seduction is a warrior. She’s been fighting for animal rights and has been active with PETA as well as The Humane Society’s shark protection campaigns. She doesn’t only use her velvety voice for songs, but she also speaks up for defenseless animals under attack and lends her celebrity to environmental awareness and appreciation. During her cover shoot in LA, she shares with us her musical influences, her love for the ocean, and what she’s looking forward to the near future. Christopher Gallant, better known as Gallant, reminisced over how terrible his musicals skills were when he was in high school. But as the singersongwriter saw his own progress, it only fueled his desire to dive deep in his music. Through the evolution of his music, he was able to express and shine light on issues he wanted to let out. In our interview, he opens up about the struggles he experienced within himself and how he used music to heal himself. Malaysian-born singer-songwriter Yuna wants to stay true to her Muslim roots while keeping an open mind to the Western world. Being the first Malaysian artist to successfully gain recognition in the international music scene, she has been highlighted in the glossy pages of InStyle and Vogue. With her newfound success in the West, she proudly wears her hijab headwrap to express her Muslim-Asian background. Since moving to LA, she shares with us how she has progressed in her musical style and opens up to her vulnerability in her songwriting. Up-and-coming actor Ashton Sanders is a new face in Hollywood, but with the acclaim he’s getting in his new film Moonlight playing a boy with identity issues, he may be the actor the rest of the world needs to watch out for. Being part of a powerful socially relevant film is a great way to kickstart a film career. During his interview, he expressed his emotional experience during his first read and how his latest project connects to his soul. It seems the younger generation wants to speak their minds, and they’re using any form or medium to get their messages across. Millennials definitely have their opinions–they aren’t holding back.



GREYONESOCIALONLINE.COM L2 R2 Wing Greenbelt 5, Makati City









plane and simple L

ooking at the impeccable craftsmanship of FINGERS CROSSED’s debut collection, you’ll easily find the strong influence from Ryu Hayama’s days as a mechanical engineering student as the designer styles his work seeking the seamless combination of form and function, while the brand’s silhouettes are delicately outstanding, shaped by the identical meticulousness used to construct an aircraft. thefingerscrossed.com

take no side I

n a world where minimalism is a key component, versatility is something that we’d gladly take. Redefining the simplicity game, New York-based brand THEY offers serious luxury unisex footwear, presenting delicate designs in geometric patterns and two-tone neutral colorways incorporating black, white, beige, and blush, breaking boundaries between genders. theynewyork.com

royal flush U

nzip that Bloom Inside you with TAMAR. Founded in 2015, the latest collection offers nothing but structured and modern pieces for the queens of the Metropolis, featuring mid-to full-length coats and dresses that are tailored with extra-long sleeves, high collars, and strategically-placed accentuated zippers. tamarfashion.com




pack down B

ritish brand ALFIE DOUGLAS has successfully transcended seasonal trends by updating the minimalist aesthetic. Their backpacks, pouches, totes, and briefcases scream invariability and expediency brought by their monochromatic color scheme and geometric silhouettes. With most of their bags stitched, designed, and finished by hand, the brand turns up the essence of real dedication. alfiedouglas.com

wander wall T


eciphering the code of the streets, RICHARD&GRACE presents their Unity collection of clean-cut, oversized pieces that create a junction between modernism and chaos. Featuring a shower coat, smoker jacket, bomber jacket, hockey jersey, and elongated tank, this line will give you that modern urban street vibe you need. richardandgrace.com


Words by Sue Leong and Charmaine Resari

here’s no need to take a red pill to discover what’s inside this RABBITHOLE. A brand that juxtaposes streetwear and luxury, they create contemporary pieces like baggy trousers, oversized hoodies, turtlenecks, flight suits, and an attentiongrabbing reversible bomber jacket. Crafted in London, you can freely drift and emerge to and from their portal of cool minimal streetwear. rabbitholelondon.com


breaking ground D

esigner Jon Buscemi came up with the brilliant idea of mixing the appeal of skate-inspired streetwear and the lavish elegance of designer bags. Through his constant innovation, BUSCEMI was born. With footwear that demand attention with their gold hardware and first-class leather, the brand was easily embraced P. Diddy. No wonder they’re always sold out within days. buscemi.com

crooked corners L

A native MIKE AMIRI established his menswear label in 2013 with grunge and punk culture as his inspiration. Premium denim, supple leather, and soft cotton-cashmere make up the fabric story of his high-quality streetwear, with sterling silver-plated hardware as final details. Justin Bieber and Kevin Hart are just few examples of celebrities who habitually sport the brand’s shotgun-pelletdistressed pieces. mikeamiri.com

light threads H

ailing from the land of Kiwis, New Zealand’s KOWTOW is easily identifiable by their androgynous cuts and takes on volume, molding itself to timeless fashion trends. They have continuously produced strictly tailored yet breezy shirts, trousers, and coats, as well as their most recognized piece, the “Case Study” top, adorned in a minimalistic abstract pattern. kowtowclothing.com






et yourself to the Greek as soon you check in at CASA COOK. Settled in Kolymbia at the Greek island of Rhodes, this boutique hotel is the perfect sanctuary after spending the day soaking up in the nearby glistening Aegean Sea. Guests will immediately feel the cozy Mediterranean life brought by the hotel’s vintage pieces, handmade items, and unique treasures that adorn their wide spaces. Boasting of facilities that cater to different hobbies and interest, get the pleasure out of their sprawling pool, well-equipped fitness center, and restaurant that serves food made out of ingredients grown in their very own greenhouse. United Europe St., Kolymbia, Rhodes, Greece casacook.com


tack up on the best burgers in town, tough and tailored to your liking straight from kitchen of POUND BY TODD ENGLISH. Seeing the potential of a single station at Food Hall, Eric Dee of FooDee shares, “I found that our burgers were getting more popular, because people started realizing that burgers could be meals too. We wanted to try it out.” Opening its lush doors into a sophisticated space, it features black and white interiors and arches, with lanterns crossing the hallway and casting a warm light on the marbled tables. Despite its grand view, it proves to be finedining reshuffled, so you can relish in its affordable prices. B3, Bonifacio High Street, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig @pound_ph



Cutting the cost of a truly good meal, POUND offers an array of burgers and sliders for every size, with the best sauces and seasons in every bite.


T.E. CRISPY CHICKEN BURGER T.E. Gochujang sauce, panko-coated chicken, crispy pickled slaw, and cilantro aioli in a brioche bun

BACON AND EGG SLIDERS House-cured bacon, apple aioli, quail egg, and toasted homemade brioche bacon

POUND FOIE GRAS BURGER House ground beef patty, mustard relish, T.E. sauce, caramelized onions with seared Foie Gras, and Foie Gras mousse

TRUFFLE RISOTTO TATER TOTS Deep-fried mushroom truffle risotto

TODD ENGLISH POUTINE Fresh-cut fries, homemade gravy, caramelized onion, cheese, and ground beef

Words by Sue Leong and Janroe Cabiles, SUITE photos courtesy of Thomas Cook Hotels & Resorts, GRUB photos by Nadine Layon





4 Rue des Chaudronniers 13100 Aix-en-Provence, France novoidplus.com Dime to Drop: €20-€184 (PHP1,141–PHP9,598) Don’t leave the store without: Cologne from their Lifestyle items selection


ituated in Aix-en-Provence, France, NOVOID PLUS lures patrons with its citysleek vibe, which contrasts the rustic atmosphere of the region. With crisp white walls embellished with vintage posters, old photographs, and graphic tees, the store exudes an all-around urban flare prevalent from its hip interior decors and sophisticated item selection. Founded by Gregory Siary in 2002, it has since gathered a loyal following of customers who are constantly on the lookout for curated items ranging from French artisanal labels to underground designers as well as sought-after brands like adidas Originals, Jack Purcell, Nike, Obey, and Neighborhood. With a great assortment of outerwear, sneakers, bags, and graphic T-shirts, you can drop by their store and look fresh in no time.


Words by Sue Leong


you’re thinking about re-vamping your style, then look no further because MERCI SELECT SHOP is just one click away from being your favorite digital shopping mall. A goldmine packed with designs from urban heavy hitters like Benoît Missolin, Linda Farrow Gallery, and Suecomma Bonnie, the online retailer will make you say merci beaucoup for a one-way ticket to standout ensembles. merciselectshop.com





THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW: LET’S DO THE TIME WARP AGAIN (FOX) Following the same plot of the 1975 musical comedy flick, Laverne Cox headlines as the new Dr. FrankN-Furter with Ryan McCartan and Victoria Justice as the straightlaced Brad and Janet. Enlisting cast members Adam Lambert and Christina Milian to the cult classic remake, the original sweet transvestite Tim Curry comes back as the narrator.

GOOD GIRLS REVOLT (AMAZON) Based on a true story that inspired Lynn Povic’s The Good Girls Revolt, Amazon’s latest drama goes back to the year of 1969, a time when journalism was a playground ruled by men. The series follows a group of four women who set out to dismantle the status quo and overcome prejudice in pursuit of proof that women are as good writer as men, if not, even better than them.

THE HANDMAIDEN Oldboy director Park Chan-Wook takes on the novel Fingersmith and adapts it to film, following a woman hired by a con man as a handmaiden to a Japanese heiress in order to seduce and swindle her.

THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN Struggling with her divorce, the story follows Rachel as she obsesses over a perfect couple she sees on her commute to work, but she soon goes on her own investigation when the woman mysteriously vanishes.

INFERNO Author Dan Brown’s iconic character Robert Langdon makes a comeback; only this time, he wakes up in Florence without any recollection of how he got there, with only a cylinder in his pocket as a clue.

BLUE JAY Screening at the Toronto International Film Festival, Mark Duplass writes and stars alongside Sarah Paulson in a nostalgic, black-and-white story as two high school sweethearts reconnecting in their hometown.

KEEPING UP WITH THE JONESES When a suburban couple (Zach Galifianakis, Isla Fisher) see the sophisticated Joneses (Jon Hamm, Gal Gadot) move in, they try to keep up with their lifestyle, but eventually find out that they’re actually spies.

LA LA LAND Paying homage to old school Hollywood musicals, Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling reunite as a couple daydreaming about fulfilling their artistic pursuits despite the cutthroat city of Los Angeles.

PLAYBACK FIGHT CLUB (1998) There’s not really much style in it, but Brad Pitt looks amazing. So I feel like if you look good naked, you look good with clothes on, right?

CASINO ROYALE (2000) I really like Daniel Craig. The Pierce Brosnan ones are the ones that I watched growing up, but I really watched one the other day, and it was awful.

THE GREAT GATSBY (2013) Just stunning.

BUFFALO 66 (1998) Vincent Gallo is brilliant.

JIM CHAPMAN (Lifestyle Vlogger) GANGSTER SQUAD (2013) I thought Ryan Reynolds and Emma Stone were great.


Words by Sue Leong Jim Chapman photo by Chris Fenner


BEATS PLAYLIST These songs remind me to be patient and have always been favorites, but as my life progresses, it becomes more resonant. These are where I am right now. “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” Rolling Stones

TYLER GLENN tylerglennmusic.com

“Real Friends” Kanye West feat. Ty Dolla $ign

“So Much It Hurts” Niki & The Dove

“Dirty Pop” *NSYNC

“The Wind Cries Mary” Jimi Hendrix

“Bohemian Rhapsody” Queen

“ABC” The Jackson Five

I just can’t seem to stop listening to these songs right now. These have been on the loop constantly.

GALLANT gallant.space


“Policy of Truth” Depeche Mode

These are songs from my childhood that I still hold close until now. These recordings are precious, truly an inspiration as to why I play the way I do today.

CHELSEA SHAG chelseashag.com


“Girlfriend” Ne-Yo

“I Wanna Hold On To You” Mica Paris

“Somebody Else’s Guy” Jocelyn Brown

“Sister Brother Mother Father” Niki & The Dove

Returning from a lengthy break, better gear up ‘cause TWO DOOR CINEMA CLUB is back. We’re up all night to play to the tunes of Gameshow that’s brought to us by the Irish Indie band, marking their third album. Start off with their latest banger, “Are We Ready? (Wreck).”

An album perfect for those solitary and lovelorn nights, SPRINGTIME CARNIVORE tells us in dreamy melodies that people are all in need of their own Midnight Room. You’ll find yourself deciphering the “Face in the Moon” with how pensive the whole record’s lyrics are.

Words by Sue Leong


Along with an exclusive flea market in the area, get pumped up with adrenaline as your Saturday becomes extra dynamic with the region’s best live music and art in Bandwagon Music Market at the Power Mac Center Spotlight on October 1.

When dating apps fail, go retro by means of classic meet-ups. Bringing together musicians who’ll play your romantic soundtrack, get your chance at love in the Camp Pag-ibig: The Blind Date Project at Flotsam & Jetsam this October 1 and 2.

There ain’t no festival like a Pitchfork Music Festival in Paris. Head on over to Grande halle de la Villette on October 27-29 for the festival’s sixth edition and witness the awaited launch of Avant Garde, a bloc party spanning 11 arrondissement.

Recorded in five cities across two nations and two continents, BROOKZILL! finally drops their anticipated debut album Throwback to the Future. We can now get the pleasure of treating our ears to a unique musical fusion of New York and Brazil with hip-hop’s future.


tech pack




Strong companions for the great outdoors.

LED LENSER H7R.2 HEADLAMP • Built with recalculated lens for wider illumination up to 160 meters • Incorporates a multi-function wheel switch that adjusts light intensity • Comes with adjustable head piece SRP: P3,418.03

BANG & OLUFSEN A1 PORTABLE SPEAKER • Features True360° ambient sound and can play music for 24 hours • Easy to carry with a weight of 600g and comes with a leather strap to hang around in your home • Includes a built-in microphone for making calls

MEEP By Meep Streaming News Radio Whether you’re out for a jog, driving to work, or eating your cereals, this app allows you to be updated to current events on-the-go!

SRP: P11,753.88

MIGHTY MUSIC DEVICE • Equipped with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi and is compatible with iOS and Android • Has a 4GB music storage that can hold 3,333 songs and can play for 48 hours • Made lightweight and 100% water resistant SRP: P3,714.22


BITTORRENT NOW By BitTorrent, Inc. Focusing on a pool of independent artists, BitTorrent Now lets you stream music and videos from people you’ve probably never hear of.

SRP: P26,798.84

OCTOSPOT DIVE CAMERA • Operates in as low as a depth of 200 meters with no extra casing required • Has a built-in pressure sensor that adjusts white balance depending on how low you’ve gone • Can record videos at 4K resolution with electronic stabilization SRP: P11,753.88


LANDED By Triposo Inc It’s time to get out of your comfort zone ‘cause this handy reference app collects all the info you need the moment you land in a new city.

Words by Honey Bautista and Pola Beronilla

• Comes with activity specific features to aid any traveler in fishing, hunting, or hiking • Includes altitude profiles, barometer tracker, moon phase calendar, and red backlight for nighttime navigation • Built scratch resistant and boasts militarygrade performance

GREYONESOCIALONLINE.COM L2 R2 Wing Greenbelt 5, Makati City

F A CE PA I N T KEVYN AUCOIN “The Expert” Mascara P1,452.50

DOLCE & GABBANA Perfect Matte Powder Foundation P3,042.22 BAREMINERALS “Gen Nude” Buttercream Lipgloss in Groovy P897.70

DIOR “Couture Color–Rouge Dior” Lipstick in Grege P1,745.53

nude awakening Strip to the bare essentials.

STILA “Stay All Day” Foundation P2,194.39 URBAN DECAY “Razor Sharp” Water-Resistant Longwear Liquid Eyeliner in Snakebite P1,097.19

LAURA MERCIER Eye Brow Gel P1,097.19

CHARLOTTE TILBURY “Hot Lips” Lipstick in Nude Kate P1,595.92

ESTÉE LAUDER “Pure Color Envy” Sculpting Gloss in Discreet Nude P1,296.68 LAURA GELLER “Beach Matte” Baked Hydrating Bronzer in Siesta Medium P1,645.79


NARS Dual-Intensity Eyeshadow in Rigel P1,446.30

Runway photo from Opening Ceremony Fall/Winter 2016

DRYBAR “The Sheriff” Firm Hold Hairspray P1,346.55


NCLA HOLOS HOLOGRAPHIC NAIL LACQUER give the galaxy a little love. With a non-toxic and formaldehyde-free formula, there’s no wonder people gravitate towards its out-of-this-world finish.

GONE ROGUE Housed in a sleek vintage cigarette case-inspired compact, put your best face forward with MARC JACOBS AIR BLUSH COLLECTION. Made from a unique formula with Japanese air powder, each palette comes with two complimentary hues that can be used separately or blended for a look that can go from day to night while also promising a luminous, silkysoft finish with every brushstroke.

Bring your lids into focus with INIKA VEGAN MINERAL EYESHADOW. Made from a gentle formula that caters to sensitive skin, this holy grail for eye makeup is multipurpose as it can substitute for eyeliner or highlighter.

EXPERT ADVICE Known for its highly pigmented formula and organic ingredients like hemp and peppermint oil, OCC LIP TAR in “Strange & Unusual” is a stunning rosy plum shade that promises a smooth, metallic finish perfect for a night out.

Lightly apply a peach-toned blush on the apples of your cheeks for a natural, rosy glow.



Words by Honey Bautista


repare for a sweet deal the moment you walk into WHIPPED. Located at Bonifacio Global City, this quaint salon brims with playfulness and all things fun with creamcolored walls accented with candy tones and prints as well as whimsical pieces like cupcake-shaped pillows, colorful chairs, and quirky lanterns. Specializing in body scrubs and sugar waxing, you can get your desserts minus the calories. 2/F Eight Forbes Town Center, Burgos Circle, Fort Bonifacio Global City, Taguig instagram.com/whippedsalonph



Patch things up with a statement that can stitch your ensemble together. Photos courtesy of lookbook.nu






We’re all fur XENIA KLEIN’s ensemble as she balances out a fur coat with sneakers and patches. @xeniatheklein








DAPPER ALIEN will give you the space you need with this galactic contrast between black and bright colors. @dapperalien




Photographed by Charisma Lico Styled by Jill de Leon


top by Celine Borromeo earrings by Mango Touch skirt and socks by Forever 21 shoes by Aldo


top by Celine Borromeo earrings by Mango Touch pants by Forever 21 shoes by Call It Spring


top by Topman pants by Sfera sunglasses by Mango Touch shoes by Call It Spring


top and eyewear by Forever 21 skirt by Miss Selfridge shoes by Call It Spring


earrings and top by Sfera dress by Topshop


socks by Falke shoes by Balenciaga earrings by Dior

hat by Fezko earrings by Sfera top and dress by Forever 21 shoes by Call It Spring

Hair and Makeup Theresa Padin Styling Assistants Chino Aricaya and Charmaine Resari Model Vanessa Walters of Mercator Models



Photographed by MIguel Alomajan Styled by Argie Salango and Christopher Chavez

harness by 24:01 top by H&M pants by ZALORA socks by Forever 21 shoes by ZALORA


vest by Plains and Prints top by Forever 21 pants by Something Borrowed



coat by H&M top by adidas


jumpsuit by Mark Bumgarner jacket by adidas shoes by ZALORA

Hair and Makeup Theresa Padin Model Juliana Aldrin at Chameleon International Model Management



20 1 6

IT’S LIT Wear your heart on your sleeve with these ensembles inspired by iconic books. Product photography by Daniel Santillan

sunglasses by Mango Man [P1,295] jacket by Forever 21 [P1,785] pants by Mango Man [P1,995]


CEASE FIRE The Armies of the Night by Norman Miller

sunglasses by Forever 21 [P450] leather jacket by Mango [P2,995] bodysuit by Miss Selfridge [P1,395] shorts by Forever 21 [P915] heels by Charles & Keith [P2,499]



BEAUTIFUL MIND The Man Who Couldn’t Stop by David Adam

cap by Topshop [P595] hoodie by Forever 21 [P1,015] shirt by Forever 21 [P555] joggers by Forever 21 [P915] shoes by Call It Spring [P2,695]



RIGHTS ANGLE Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison

cap by Topman [P995] jacket by Mango Man [P6,495] hoodie by Forever 21 [P1,015] joggers by Forever 21 [P915] shoes by Call It Spring [P2,695]




The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan

sunglasses by Call It Spring [P555] shirt by Sfera [P499] top by Forever 21 [P805] bag by Charles & Keith [P3,599] skirt by Forever 21 [P805] shoes by Charles & Keith [P2,299]



SOFT CURVES The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf

scarf by Forever 21 [P225.10] sunglasses by Charles & Keith [P1,999] top by Mango [P995] bag by Charles & Keith [P2,399] trousers by Warehouse [P3,095] shoes by Mango [P2,295]



MAIN PROVIDER Thanking the Monkey by Karen Dawn

sunglasses by Call It Spring [P555] sweater by Sfera [P1,299] shirt by Topman [P395] shorts by Mango Man [P1,795] shoes by Sfera [P1,899]




Sexuality and Socialism by Sherry Wolf

sunglasses by Mango Man [P1,295] shirt by Forever 21 [P655] button-down by Topman [P1,595] pants by Mango Man [P1,995] shoes by Call It Spring [P2,245]




The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert

scarf by Forever 21 [P330] sunglasses by Mango [P995] top by Forever 21 [P755] p,ants by Warehouse [P2,595] shoes by Charles & Keith [P2,399]


M A E S T R O Sprucely wrapped in an electronic pop package, TYLER GLENN has a message to deliver with his solo debut, EXCOMMUNICATION. Excuse me, sir, do you have the time to talk about newer ways? By Pola Beronilla Interview by Bea del Rio Photographed by Meredith Truax


hey say that old ways won’t open any new doors, and Tyler Glenn has had a few hard knocks trying to get the word out. When he first came out as gay in an interview with Rolling Stone in 2014, his faith as a Mormon remained strong. But his views quickly changed when the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) revised their policies on same-sex couples and prohibited their children from being blessed or baptized. “It’s more than that though, because it’s all I knew in regards to the concepts of God, the afterlife, and the purpose of this life. When in reality, I was floundering and being held back from actually living my life,” Tyler confesses. “I always felt like a square peg in a round hole. It just never fully fit. But I was told it was the only truth. To discover


it’s not, and even in fact some of what I believed in and was taught was a total lie, was and still is heartbreaking and strange.” Last April, he dropped a bomb with the explosive release of “Trash.” Contrary to the title of the track, his message was far from gibberish. With visuals rebelling against the teachings of the church, he says, “Anger is an important emotion and I feel we don’t always validate it because we’re afraid of it or we’re always searching for happiness and not allowing ourselves or others to feel the anger or the hurt.” He goes on, “‘Trash’ definitely expresses anger and hurt, but I also think it expresses empowerment and progress. That’s important to point out. I’m feeling empowered by my latest tunes and I even feel like I’m making real progress in my life

since the releases of these songs.” Biting with hard-hitting lyrics and aggressive synths, EXCOMMUNICATION goes beyond the hurt and anger Tyler feels. “The record isn’t in one note or one emotion. Quite the contrary. I want the listener to feel how it feels to tumble down the rabbit hole and come out the other side a changed person,” shares Tyler. “I feel each song on the record has its purpose and expresses a different emotion. There’s shock, hurt, anger, confusion, enlightenment, selfdiscovery, empowerment, hope, and even unabashed fun moments. But it’s definitely a record with teeth.” How have you been holding up with the people close to you since the release of “Trash” and “Shameless”? There were a few rough months, not going to lie. But we’re on a road to recovery if you will, and I feel like having an open and honest communication has helped us get there. I’ve never invalidated their feelings of discomfort or pain with some of the visuals I’ve used to express myself. I get it. But I also


hoped they’d see my hurt and hear my story. I can’t force this down anyone’s throat, but I can write music with a message and create art that’s bold. Was it a firm decision to release something so controversial, or did you have second thoughts along the way? I’ve been writing songs that I knew I’d use outside of Neon Trees, but around fall of last year, I was going through a sudden breakup and a faith crisis. Literally, music saved me at that point, because I just started writing and writing. I was able to express myself while I was experiencing this hurt, pain, and enlightenment. It’s like a snapshot of these really emotionally-charged, transformative months. I look at it as both a gift and a curse. It’s a gift because it’s such a joy for a songwriter to have something to say, but a curse because I didn’t know how to write anything else. I knew there was an element of controversy, but it’s exciting not to be boring or repeat myself.

Will this affect Neon Trees? Neon Trees is very much a band. We’re just in a transitional phase. Elaine has a side band that she’s been enjoying creating in, and Branden and his wife just had their third kid. I think we’ll get together and write at some point in the near future. But we haven’t written anything for a new record yet. It’s definitely exciting to think about. Is there still hope for reconciliation between you and your religion, and more so, in changing the institution? I know I’m not alone in this feeling, because I’ve met thousands of others

that have experienced this. So beyond just the fact that the LDS church isn’t safe for gay people, it isn’t really safe for anyone that’s marginalized or can’t fit the heteronormative narrative. But it’s not okay and it’s difficult to leave. Ultimately, I don’t want to see the church go away. I want it to acknowledge its errors and its false truth claims. I want it to renounce its anti-gay “doctrine” and “policies.” That’d be a start. tylerglennmusic.com @tylerinacoma

“ I can’t force my views down anyone’s throat, but I can write music with a message and create art that’s bold.” STATUSMAGONLINE.COM - 51


hard candy


ndowed with classic influences and modern-day musings, The Regrettes dish out irresistible melodies and a timeless sense of cool powered by witchcraft, Snapchat, and ice cream. Fronted by 15-year old Lydia Night along with Genessa Gariano (guitar), Sage Nicole (bass), and Maxx Morando (drums), the LA quartet was unintentionally a product of School of Rock. As they graduated from playing in cramped venues to bigger stages, they soon found themselves supporting acts like Kate Nash, Jack Off Jill, Bleached, Pins, La Luz, and Tacocat, which led them to generating hype from the likes of NYLON, Rookie, Noisey, and Stereogum. While their bio tells us that they’re just some LA babies


Nearly in their twenties yet loaded with wisdom beyond their years, THE REGRETTES are geared to live a life and make jams with #NoFilter. Sugarcoating their unabashed demeanor with a vintage bubblegum rock glaze, the LA-based quartet gives you something to chew on. By Pola Beronilla Photographed by Jen Rosenstein

playin’ rock & roll, they do so much more than conjuring the past. Influenced by Buddy Holly, Patsy Cline, and The Ronettes on one end, with Hole, Bikini Kill, and The Yeah Yeah Yeahs on the other, the teens are bringing history to the present day as they cash in on that gutsy, retro sock hop sound. But while they savor in vintage harmonies, they’re well aware of the power they’re gifted with as musicians in this millennial generation. Heralded as “the new poster children for teen garage rock,” The Regrettes have been putting their music into good use. They recently lashed out a power pop punch with the release of their debut single “A Living Human Girl” last June. Equal parts bold and vulnerable, Lydia penned a blatant anthem about embracing imperfections, such as

having an ass full of stretch marks, little boobs, and a nice full belly that’s filled with food. Peppering sweet bits of bum-ba-dums over their infectious brand of punk, the vocalist sings, ”I’m not being bossy, I’m just saying how I feel / Don’t call me a bitch for stating what is real.” At an age like hers, it’s a thrill knowing that she has built confidence both in her music and self-image early on. “I’ve gained a ton of confidence by surrounding myself with people who don’t put me down. The more I do that, the more other people’s negative words don’t matter,” shares Lydia. Shedding light on important matters, the 15-year-old also sees a bright future for kids her age. “I think feminism is evolving through young people. They’re slowly discovering their voice and learning where and


how to use it,” she muses. “There’s definitely been a lot of progression, especially in the confidence department. Being confident isn’t as looked down upon as it has been in the past for women, but there’s still a bunch of things that need work.” Though they’re taking their time in wrapping up a full-length record, they’ve already boosted themselves as a beacon of hope for today’s youth. With a growing number of female-fronted bands getting signed to mainstream labels, Lydia views it as a gateway for bigger changes to come. “I don’t think it’s really about finding acts that make ‘Girl Power Music’ anymore, as much as finding acts that support self-love and empowerment. Honestly, it’s more important for not only girls but also anyone who doesn’t think they have much of a voice to discover it and use it,” shares the vocalist. “We currently have a way bigger voice and platform due to social media. There’s now a place where we can speak our minds and the whole world can see it if they choose to. It’s really crazy and really cool.” As they strive to provide a voice for people who struggle to be heard, The Regrettes are here to help shape the norm, one song at a time. “I want them to feel comfortable in their skin and with their emotions. There have been so many times in my life where I’ve felt like my feelings were wrong or invalid. I want people to know that that’s impossible.”

“There have been so many times in my life where I’ve felt like my feelings were wrong or invalid. I want people to know that that’s impossible.”

theregrettes.com @regrettesband



PAGES Taking the mantle of both a rock star and preacher, SIR THE BAPTIST destroys barriers and builds new bridges by delivering a different mode of sermon. By Sue Leong


itnessing Sir the Baptist perform teleports your psyche to a hybrid place of your Sunday church mornings and mosh pit-inducing concert getaways. Some think that such sanctuary couldn’t possibly exist, but this Chicago-bred artist has successfully created a new kind of musical craft. Hailing from the diverse neighborhood of Bronzeville, Chicago, Sir—born William James Stokes—was in no shortage of role models to shape his persona. Belonging to a family whose patriarch


was a gospel preacher and a matriarch who’s a devoted missionary, he was naturally exposed to the spiritual chorus and hymns of his church. This led him to join their choir and also play the piano. As he grew older, his musical taste transcended beyond what the choir book had to offer. When asked about the other artists he admires, he didn’t hesitate to gush about his love for soul-blues and jazz music, particularly to artists Muddy Waters, Louis Armstrong, and Nat King Cole. From the contemporary scene, he admires fellow R&B and hiphop artists, Jay-Z, Outkast, and Kendrick Lamar. With a diverse selection of people as his music deities, Sir the Baptist’s sound is a remix genre reminiscent of adrenaline-fueled gospel choirs and soulful belting à la Aretha Franklin and Sam Cooke. Though he did consider following his father’s position as the church preacher, becoming a musician was his ultimate fate. “I think me making music is already my own version of a sermon,” he adds.

MAESTRO The unique thing about Sir the Baptist is that he’s not one to shy away from sharing his spiritual background despite society growing more accustomed to atheism and agnosticism. “They think people who are religious are perfect. They think we always have to seek perfection in our religion,” he relays. “But I think that’s a problem within the church as well, so that’s what I’m also trying to change with my music.” Preaching with lyrics that seemingly challenge society’s beliefs, his urban hymns continue to share a bold message. “I want people to really take in the meaning of my songs when I perform. I want them to take it as something that they can have for the rest of their lives,” he shares. “I want it to be life-changing for them, to have that

moment be pure for them.” Despite being recognized by his lyrics alone, he further pushed the envelope of his rising influence during Lollapalooza when he emerged from a coffin for his performance. “In Chicago, there have been many deaths. There are a lot of kids dying. I wanted people to know that they have the opportunity to escape from that kind of crime happening. I wanted to show the people at Lollapalooza what we are dealing with every day,” he says of his performance. Because of his steady ascend in the music scene, he also got under the radar of Hollywood director Nate Parker and writer Jean McGianni Celestin. The duo invited him to feature a song on their criticallyacclaimed movie, The Birth of a Nation. On the subject of getting involved on the project, Sir stresses, “It was really important for me to get involved, because Nat Turner—played by Nate Parker—was an inspiring slave-turned-preacher and finally turned-leader of a slave rebellion.” Aside from this, he also notes his recent BET nomination and getting praised by Jay-Z as the highlights of his career so far. With those deeds already tucked under the belt of his fresh career, what other proof of a successful debut do you need? If you’re asking for an album drop and a book, consider yourself blessed ‘cause he’s currently working on those. “Maybe a Christmas album too,” he jokes. When asked what name he wants to be known for in history, he gives it to us direct and simple: just address him as “The Hip-hop Chaplain.” Now, what does the hip-hop chaplain want to gift to the world aside from his artistry? “Peace, man. Just love and peace for all,” says Sir the Baptist. Hallelujah indeed.

sirthebaptist.com @sirthebaptist


A L L I GUER FEMME Nostalgia may be all the rage right now, but GIRLI–the selfprofessed samurai princess–ain’t here for your outdated views on politics and feminism. By Sue Leong


hallenging Britain’s practical haircuts and tailored ensembles is a teenager named GIRLI. Toughening it up in the streets of North London, most girls her age are still navigating the awkwardness brought on by the transition from teenage years to young adulthood, but that doesn’t seem to be the case for the 18-year-old. From an early age, she wasn’t one to shy away from attention. “I wanted to be an actor, a vet, and even a prime minister. I’ve always loved performing at school, and I’ve always been into singing,” she shares. “I didn’t want to end up with a nine-to-five kind of job, so I decided early on that I wanted to do music.” But as soon as puberty hit her, GIRLI also discovered that her love for music could be given a new purpose, making it as a tool of combat to battle the tight-lipped sensibilities of her environment. To aid in transforming herself into the kind of entity she is now, GIRLI has turned to famous style chameleons as her messiahs. “David Bowie would be one of my musical influences. I love all the characters he has played and the way he experimented with them. He was the ultimate theater performer.” She goes on, “I also like Blondie, Lily Allen, and M.I.A. They’re female musicians who are in the pop scene, but if you look at their lyrics, they really mean something strong.” Apart from picking up tips from established icons, GIRLI has created her own trademark. One can unfailingly notice the abundance of the color pink in her persona. “It’s the color that makes me


MAESTRO happy. It’s quite playful. It’s associated with children, but I still have a bag in that color with princesses on it,” she stresses. “When you grow up, people expect you to lose your playfulness, but I don’t want to. It’s a color that makes me stand out and makes people happy when they wear it.” Looking past her unique physical aesthetic, the advantage GIRLI also has in comparison to others in the music industry lies in her musical skills. She unapologetically produces pop music that packs more opinion and wisdom in its content compared to what you’ll mostly hear in mainstream radio stations. There isn’t one definite genre to describe the music she makes, but to put it in layman’s speak, it channels Spice Girls’ upbeat curve mixed with the sentiments of late ‘90s riot grrrl bands. “My ultimate goal in my music is to have people think but still have them dance to it. I see music as way to escape, and I hope it’s the same case for them.” True enough, with songs like “ASBOys,” “Girls Get Angry Too,” and “So You Think You Can Fuck With Me Do Ya?,” she gives insight to the modern feminist plight but still doesn’t forget to inject fun and quirkiness brought on by techno beats and sonic sampling from everyday gadgets. “Even if people don’t like the sound, they’ll have to listen to the meaning of what I’m saying. I hope it’ll make them feel more aware about things,” she adds. Aside from her commentary on the millennial generation in terms of her lyrics, she’s also not one to keep mum about topical subjects, especially on political matters. As a strong antiBrexiter, she uses social media as a platform to shed light on what she sees as the most important subject greatly concerning her generation. “It’s not necessary that just because you’re a musician, you don’t talk about these things. It’s natural for me because I’m involved. It’s what my friends and I talk about all the time. These things are always on my mind,” she relays. “It’s funny that when I started making music, people were surprised at how outspoken I was. Men always talk about politics and other serious stuff, but when a woman talks about it too, they’re quite shocked because they always assume women know less about those kinds of things. I want it to be normal for people to assume that young people like me can be outspoken.” Young as she may be, GIRLI has already forged herself a path to a shining long-term stay in the music industry.

girli.fm @GIRLImusic

“My ultimate goal in my music is to have people think but still have them dance to it. I see music as way to escape, and I hope it’s the same case for them.” STATUSMAGONLINE.COM - 57


Amused with physique in all her mystique, model, writer, and visual artist MYLA DALBESIO muses about the power of femininity, in all its colors, shapes, and sizes. By Janroe Cabiles


ntering the scene at only 16, Myla Dalbesio first appeared on camera screens and fashion zines as a fresh-faced kid on the block. “It wasn’t something I ever envisioned for myself before getting scouted,” she recalls of her introduction to the fashion industry. “It was my older sister who pushed me into it; she entered me in a beauty pageant, and I was discovered through that.” Since then, she’s been featured in Dazed & Confused, Love, Lui, Bon, Oyster, Vogue India, Elle France, and Elle Italia, on the cover of Glamour Iceland, Tush Magazine, and Lady, recently walked for H&M, and landed a spot in Calvin Klein’s Perfectly Fit campaign in 2014. It was then that she started speaking up about diversity in size and the fact


that size shouldn’t matter, after being labeled as plus-size despite her slighter frame. Though classifying herself as an “inbetweenie”–outside the range of straight-size but not quite plus-size–she’s often spoken about the marginalization of real plus-size women as well as the misrepresentation of that body class in fashion and the disadvantages of such classifications altogether. “Even though I see many problems within the fashion industry, I feel incredibly lucky to have this career. I’m constantly meeting new people, and I’ve traveled all over the world. Most importantly, it has provided a platform for me to connect with other women around the world and provide them with an alternate take on body image and the accepted norms of the traditional female journey. I get to represent a type of woman who is less visible. The responsibility that comes with that led me to explore my interest in feminism more deeply, which changed the way I think about my art and my life.” After almost a decade in the sheets with modeling, she transcended into a muse personified, a source of inspiration for no one but herself. Turning to her creative roots, she put a start to her art, in equal parts body and mind. “As a model, my body is at the forefront of most conversations–it’s a part of every interview and opportunity. As a result, my relationship with my body is always present in my mind. A lot of my work represents the ongoing process of exploring what that relationship means to me. It deals with powerful feminine sensuality and the natural world, both seen and unseen.” Dabbling in mixed media, her first shot to the arts preceded modeling in the form of photography. Armed with her trusty Nikon, she scoured the darkroom in high school and found peace in developing chemicals before moving on to art school, where she focused on sculpture before dropping out. “The transition to other mediums was instinctual. I would get bored if I only worked with one material.” A multi-disciplinary visual


“My relationship with my body is always present in my mind. A lot of my work represents the ongoing process of exploring what that relationship means to me.” artist is a more accurate representation of Myla, because aside from her photography and sculpture, she also paints, writes, and partakes in performance art, and has had her work featured in Vice, Bullett, i-D, and Nowness. Among her written works is a think piece accompanying her cover story for Suited, as well as published works Born Rich and Studies of Ecstasy–the first a catalog of her solo show in Germany, and the second a handful of text pieces with line drawings of women unashamed of their sexuality. With rays of light shining on female mystique, Myla’s aesthetic equips nakedness with a current of deep emotion and contemplation running through, weaving thousands of pictures through words and color through collages. Aside from an ongoing series consisting of Playboy collages of bodies speaking volumes on the silent power of the female All Year Long, she continues to explore her voice in different mediums. “I’m working on a documentary series focusing on interviewing creative, successful women working in America. I’m also working on a new collage project that’s aimed to be a book, and writing something for a longer, scripted art video,” she shares. “I just want women to feel empowered by their minds, bodies, and spirits. I want them to know that they can make their own choices, stand up for what they believe in, and love themselves.”

myladalbesio.com @myladalbesio




With skilled precision as to where to prick profanity and penis-shaped garments, Berlin-based designers Nan Li and Emilia Pfohl of NAMILIA aren’t afraid to tell you where to stick it. By Janroe Cabiles


hrowing caution and gender stereotypes to the wind, Nan Li and Emilia Pfohl make it a point to leave skin bare, and they don’t care. Together, they’ve built NAMILIA–a brand to their namesake and values, voicing out their beliefs in their vision loud and proud. In a world inescapable of gender norms, their erotic and rebellious themes symbolize the hypersexualized woman taking back what’s hers. Making sportswear layered with evening wear elements, they push dimensions with sheer materials, kitsch embroidery, experimental prints on traditional fabric, and powerful phrases etched in their silhouettes, making their way to editorials for The FADER, Schön!, BULLETT, Wonderland, Sleek Magazine, Dazed, Vogue Italia, and TUNICA, Leaf’s music video of “Nada,” and interviews on Milk, Galore, VFILES, W, and i-D.


Crossing paths at the University or Arts in Berlin, Nan and Emilia found a similar ethic and aesthetic in each other during a collection project in their second year. After graduating, Nan went off to the Royal College in London for an MA in womenswear, while chasing after the dream he and Emilia had built of making their own brand. “My stay at the Royal College in London was really great as they do as much as they can to prepare you for ‘the real world’ after your studies,” he recollects. “Everything was in preparation for this; the debut of my MA collection was also the first NAMILIA collection.” Showing their Spring/Summer 2016 collection entitled My Pussy My Choice, they debut their radical, revolutionary take on girlhood, taking inspiration from celebrity muses Miley Cyrus, Rihanna, Kim Kardashian, and Nicki Minaj who can’t be bothered with conforming to society’s diagram of what a lady should wear. “We look a lot at the meaning of clothes and the message they portray when worn. The aggressive energy and codes of past youth cultures like the punk and goth movement really inspired us. It’s more about a comment on contemporary culture rather than just an aesthetic question of proportion, color, or silhouette.” Following up their debut collection Feel the Heat earlier this year, they recently showed their Spring/Summer 2017 collection You’re

MASTERMIND Just a Toy at New York Fashion Week. They took their social commentary a notch higher as they showed an exterior glimpse into American culture, and its mix of religion, celebrity, and politics, donning teen dream fandom icons like Zayn Malik and Justin Bieber in sacred depictions as well as Donald Trump in compromising, pornographic images, all while musing on the liberation of feminine sexuality. “If we look back on history, we’ve come a long way regarding gender equality, but people tend to forget that there are still so many fundamental preconceptions on how women and men should look like, behave like, or simply be like. We use our voices as designers to ask you and everyone who sees our clothes if these rules can be changed for the next generation of girls.” Tell us of your creative process together. Nan: We pretty much do everything together; I focus slightly more on the conceptual part and Emilia more on the business part, but we constantly talk to each other about everything, which makes the design process a lot easier and faster. I think that’s the great advantage of working together with someone. You don’t get stuck in your own thoughts and doubts because there’s always someone that you can discuss with.  Can you tell us about the conception of your brand? N: I think for us, incorporating your voice is the whole purpose of being a designer and creative. It’s what drives you, your voice, and what you believe in. I think without that, we wouldn’t really know what and how to design.

“WE USE OUR VOICES AS DESIGNERS TO ASK YOU IF THESE RULES CAN BE CHANGED FOR THE NEXT GENERATION OF GIRLS.” What is the overall vision of the brand you are creating? Where do you see it going? N: NAMILIA is really about our personal creative outlet. We use clothes to address issues and questions that we ask ourselves and ideally a lot of people can identify themselves with what we stand for and feel good about themselves when wearing our clothes. In the last year, so much has happened since we graduated, which is amazing. We definitely want to keep up the spirit and drive to expand. Where do you see fashion going, in our generation, specifically statement clothing? N: I hope that people have more fun with clothes again. Everything right now seems very serious and I wish that we become more explorative and experimental with the way we dress.

namilia.com @_namilia_





Capturing her stay in a psychiatric ward, Dutch photographer LAURA HOSPES zooms in on mental illness as she welcomes the viewer into her mind through evocative self-portraits. By Jill de Leon Interview by Sue Leong


ften romanticized and repeatedly misconstrued, mental health has been a topic deemed too sensitive for the masses, causing shame to those who experience it on a daily basis. “There are people who think mental illness is weird, and most of the time, those are the same people who think that they’ll never become sick. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that anybody can get anxious or depressed,” shares Laura Hospes, who has been courageously fighting her battle with depression, anxiety, and eating disorders through her craft. Sparking her passion for photography during the holidays with her family, she entered Fotoacademie Groningen just a year after graduating from high school, and she has been shooting through her ups and downs ever since. After a suicide attempt in April 2015, Laura was committed to a psychiatric ward, beginning an exceptionally difficult time in her life. “I was hospitalized in a crisis department, where no treatment was given, just medication. It helped for a little while, but it didn’t make me feel any better than when I entered the hospital for the first time. It was a long year of waiting


and disappointments.” Luckily, her passion turned out to be her saving grace. Finding her way around the hospital’s regulations, she started documenting her stay inside the ward through haunting selfportraits. Framed by the hospital’s lonely walls, she captures pure, unadulterated emotions reflected in black and white images. “I mostly find color as a distraction. A small difference in color gives a photo a whole other ambiance. I don’t want the hues to dictate what the viewers feel. I want the focus to be on emotions, subtle facial expressions, and hand gestures.” Naming her photoseries UCP-UMCG, the department in which she spent most of her stay, Laura found refuge behind the lens, and connected with others as a result. With her work featured in exhibits around London, Paris, Amsterdam, and San Francisco, as well as on online publications like i-D, Refinery29, Bustle, and The Huffington Post, what started out as a cathartic way to cope with treatment transformed into an outsider’s in-depth look into what it’s like to suffer from mental illness, which won 1st place in the self-portrait category of the Moscow International FotoAwards. Now on the road to recovery, Laura is currently concentrating on her newly published book UCP and setting her sights on new projects, while still using her newfound voice. “I always connect

MASTERMIND with a photo when there’s a personal story behind it, so if you want to push your photography skills to a higher level, don’t focus on the technical aspect but on the story. Make sure there’s a piece of yourself in it,” she shares. “There are so many people out there who can’t talk about what they’re going through, and I just wanted to give them a voice.” What camera and software you use? I used to shoot with a Canon 5D Mark II with a 50 mm 1.4 objective. I only use the Photoshop Raw program to process the photos. When I feel like I have to edit something, like removing something from the background, then I won’t use the photo altogether, because I can’t see that photo without thinking that I changed something, and that it’s not real anymore. What are your favorite subjects to photograph? As I’m making self-portraits, it would be logical to say that I’m my favorite subject, but that sounds too egoistical. It’s also not true. I just want to make portraits in general, but I’m too anxious to photograph other people. It’s also a factor that I know the exact feelings I want to convey in each photo. It must be real, pure, and emotional. When I put myself and my camera in front of a model, it wouldn’t be as authentic.

It takes a lot of courage to put your work out there, let alone self-portraits that give the viewer insight on your private life. How do you manage to brush off people who are insensitive to your subject matter? There are people who just walk to me and promptly say, “Hey, my sister committed suicide last year,” and I don’t really know how to react. I try to comfort them by saying I’m sorry for them. But luckily, they often just tell me that they recognize the emotions in my photos and thank me for that. It’s an honor to be able to do that for someone. I try to avoid other reactions, especially negative ones. I know I can take some reactions personally, simply because I’m vulnerable by sharing such a personal story.

laurahospes.com @laurahospes

What made you decide that you wanted to document your stay in the ward? I already made self-portraits during better times, but I discovered how much emotion I could put in a photo, and that helped me cope. Talking about my feelings was impossible, so I took photographs instead.

“Talking about my feelings was impossible, so I took photographs instead.” STATUSMAGONLINE.COM - 63


SACRED Born in Mexico, raised in Chicago, and living in New York, GABRIEL GARCÍA ROMÁN redefines how to do as the Romans did, putting fresh faces on frescoes.


By Ida Aldana Interviewed by Sue Leong


’d like to think that being an artist was written in the stars,” shares Gabriel García Román, who attributes his combination of emotions and productivity with being a double Virgo with a Scorpio moon. The left-handed queer artist was 20 years old when he started making art and taking photos, but now he’s known for his series Queer Icon, featuring queer and trans people of color (QTPoC) in traditionally religious portraits, with a halo behind their heads. For him, it all started with a lack of representation. “I was a year away from finishing undergrad and had taken a number of art history courses while also visiting plenty of galleries and museums during my time in school. I went into these spaces and never saw my community represented.” So he took matters into his own hands. He shares, “I decided that I wanted to change that, to shift the narrative and create a body of work that would focus solely on the QTPoC community. I wanted this series to be a self-affirmation to a disenfranchised community.” Though progress for the LGBTQ community has come a long way, Gabriel feels that there’s more work to be done. “We’re seeing more QTPoC represented in media, but it’s not enough. The rampant murders of trans women of color need to be heard in mainstream media.” As for the people who are still struggling with their


“I decided that I wanted to shift the narrative and create a body of work that would focus solely on the QTPoC community.”

sexual identity, he has one message: live your truth. “You’re not alone and there are plenty of people out there. We’ve got your back! If you’re afraid of rejection from your family or friends then take the steps to create a chosen family,” he advises. “You’re not alone and you’re worthy of love.” How was your experience coming out in the ‘90s? I came out in 1993, when I was 19 years old and no longer living at home. I remember feeling ashamed of who I was. I heard the way my family and classmates spoke about gay men and women and I didn’t want them saying those horrible things about me. I lived with that fear up until a close friend came out to me and he gave me the courage to come out to myself. How do you think the times have changed in regards to acceptance? A lot has changed in the 23 years since I came out. We have high profile celebrities who are out and not ashamed. There are active student led groups like the SGA (Straight Gay Alliance), which didn’t exist in my high school. I would say that social media has played a huge role in this as well. We’re becoming more and more connected and feeling less alone; this gives us courage to come out. Can you tell us more about your relationship with religion and how you married the concept of faith and faces for your frescoes? I personally was hypnotized by the frescoes in church. I would look at the portraits of saints that lined the walls and always paid attention to how regal and powerful they looked regardless of their plight. This is the power that I wanted to capture in my models. Similar to saints, activists go above and beyond their duty as humans for the betterment of humanity. It made perfect sense to me. What’s the message behind the symbolism you put into each work? Pride and defiance; these are the two messages that I want a viewer as well as the model to feel when walking away from the series. Right before each shoot, I guide my models in what I’m looking for or looking to convey with my work. I want them to arch their back, shoulders back and their head tilted upwards. I want them staring directly at the camera. All these small details add to a powerful image.

gabrielgarciaroman.com @ggarciaroman1



jacket by Hemant & Nandita, top by American Apparel


ENOM EN ON Spreading positivity through her soulful vocals and otherworldly tracks, JHENÉ AIKO moves forward to greener pastures by lending her voice to nature and its creatures, all while keeping true to herself. By Jill de Leon Interview by Denise Mallabo Photographed by Isaac Sterling Styled by Ade Samuel Hair Naima Lewis Makeup Felicia LaTour


jacket by Moschino, bodysuit by House of CB, rings by Anarchy Street and RappAround




it seems like Jhené Aiko’s love affair with music was written in the stars early on. With older sisters Miyoko and Jamila joining R&B group Gyrl in the ‘90s, and Jamila later on becoming known as singer and rapper Mila J, it’s not surprising to see the down-to-earth singer follow the same path while still maintaining her own sound in the process. Beginning to sing at the early age of 12, her passion eventually bloomed into a career, and she never looked back. “I just found writing and singing to be my favorite forms of expression. Whenever I’d go through something, happy or sad, I’d always write a poem about it, then I’d turn it into a song. So I guess it’s only natural that I chose that to be what I do to make money [laughs]. It was just something that I’ve always loved to do,” she shares. With a velvety high-pitched tone, relatable lyrics, and soothing delivery backed by dream-like tracks, her wide range of musical influences may be enough to explain her unique sound, ranging from strong female musicians like Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, TLC, Alanis Morissette, and Fiona Apple, to ‘90s hip-hop icons Snoop Dogg, Bone Thugs N’ Harmony, and Tupac. “I was home schooled, and everyone in the house played different music. I try to incorporate everything that I’m influenced by in my music, and I have to make sure that my songs are something that I would actually like.” Coming back after a hiatus to focus on motherhood, Jhené came out with her first EP Sail Out in 2013, followed by her album Souled Out just a year after, which gained her three Grammy nominations as well as a variety of awards and nominations from the American Music Awards, BET Awards, and Soul Train Awards. Despite the recognition for her work, she keeps her feet firmly on

top by Jill Stuart, jacket by Babylon Cartel, rings by Smith and Mara, Jacquie Aiche, and Lili Claspe, bracelets by Jacquie Aiche, La Soula, and Ariel Gordon cuff by Per Lo, pants by Tyler Lambert





jacket by Hemant & Nandita, top by American Apparel, choker by Just Enaj, necklace by Jacquie Aiche, bracelets by Jacqui Aiche, La Soula, and Ariel Gordon


the ground, never losing sight of what’s really important. “I don’t really make music to be acknowledged. It’s about connecting and sharing my story with people,“ she explains. While she appreciates the honor of these awards, it isn’t the most fulfilling part of the job for her. “It feels good to be acknowledged by your peers, but I also feel the same validation from my fans when they let me know how certain songs have touched them, or when they share their stories that are similar to mine. At the end of the day, the real-life connection is just as good as getting an award.“ If her endearing smile and hypnotic vocals aren’t enough to draw you in, her heart of gold will do the trick. After gaining a loyal audience, the singer began encouraging her fans to embrace nature by doing collaborations with outdoor footwear brand Teva as well as charities PETA and The Humane Society. “I love hikes, and I love to write outside. I always feel like you get energy from all the natural elements like the sun, the wind, and the ocean. It just really inspires me because it reminds me that I’m just one little part of this huge world,” she explains. To Jhené, fronting PETA’s efforts to promote pet adoption and The Humane Society’s


top by Karl Kani, jacket by Joyrich, necklaces by JLANI and Jacquie Aiche, bracelets by Jacquie Aiche, La Soula, and Ariel Gordon

Anti-Shark Hunting campaign wasn’t out of the ordinary, as animals have always had a special place in her heart. Growing up in a household that cared for at least five pets at a time, she feels that it’s her responsibility to speak up for these defenseless creatures. “I feel like we have more power than they do, so it’s up to us to protect them,” says the artist. Aside from her drive to stand up for the environment, Jhené has always made it a point to be a ray of sunshine amidst a career so susceptible to criticism. After getting attention for Souled Out, she eventually became adamant on rejecting the negativity that came with the limelight saying, “I started to care about what other people thought–about me, my music, my appearance, about everything.” Upon

realizing how toxic the media could be to her mental state, she decided to avoid gossip blogs and social media altogether, keeping her focus on what she does best. “I think I overcame it by not giving other people power over me. I’m in control of my own thoughts, my own happiness, and my art.” After addressing the pressures of the industry in Twenty88, a collaborative album she has recently released with Big Sean, she’s not quite close to being done. With hints of a new project in the works, it looks like what we’ve seen from Jhené so far is just the tip of the iceberg.


“AT THE END OF THE DAY, THE REAL-LIFE CONNECTION IS JUST AS GOOD AS GETTING AN AWARD.” top and pants by Camilla, necklaces by Jacquie Aiche and Nissa, bracelets by Jacquie Aiche, La Soula, and Ariel Gordon, cuff by Per Lo, briefs by Moschino

jacket by Hemant & Nandita, top by American Apparel, choker by Just Enaj, necklace by Jacquie Aiche, Bracelets by Jacqui Aiche, La Soula, and Ariel Gordon

jacket by Hemant & Nandita, top by American Apparel, choker by Just Enaj, necklace by Jacquie Aiche, Bracelets by Jacqui Aiche, La Soula, and Ariel Gordon



Your music is very ethereal. What led you to this kind of sound? When I was younger, a lot of people wanted me to sing songs with very high energy that people could dance to, but I’ve always been such a chill, laid-back person. When I got older, I wanted to make sure that my music reflected my true personality. I always try to be peaceful and I always try to stay positive–that’s what it’s always about. How has your music evolved since your first releases? In each project, I’m older and hopefully wiser [laughs]. When I did Sailing Soul(s), I was more about writing everything myself, which was admittedly an ego thing. This year, I’ve been more open to collaborations as far as writing goes. I’ve also become more serious about my voice, protecting it and trying to widen my range. We heard a more sensual side of you in Twenty88. Is that where your music is headed right now? With Twenty88, I really got to dive into a more sensual side of me, but my music is always going to be evolving. I’ve only put out three projects on my own and I think that’s not enough to show the true

interpretation of myself. More sides of me will be revealed the longer I make music. That’s where I like to express every part of me. You’re also part of The Humane Society’s anti-shark hunting movement. Who introduced you to this issue? I’m in love with the ocean. Everything about it is magical to me, so when I found out about shark hunting, I was very alarmed. It was something I didn’t know anything about, so I knew for sure that a lot from my audience weren’t informed about it as well. That’s why I decided to become part of the campaign. When you’re in a place of privilege, you might think some products made from an animal is cool, but when you take a look at how these things are made and what these animals have to go through, you’ll see that it’s not worth it. What do you think are today’s technology-obsessed youth missing out on by not being more involved with nature? When you’re outside, you just pay attention to the small things. It really helps you connect with your true self, and it helps you really appreciate the moments that you’re in. When you’re on your phone

all day, it’s easy to feel like everything revolves around you; you’re in your own little world. Do you think the opportunities for women in the music industry have widened in the last few years? I think that it definitely has, but in the world we live in, the respect that women are given still needs to be worked on. When you’re a female musician, you live by this standard. You’re always compared to other females, and a lot of male artists don’t have to deal with that. Some men are also given credit for a woman’s success–whether we’re married to someone who’s also famous or rich, or if someone “discovered” us. At the end of the day, we need to just realize that we all need each other. What are you looking forward to in the near future? I’m just looking forward to moving forward. I’ve been working really hard, so I’m excited to see the fruits of my labor and how it all connects with my audience. I just want to keep sharing and getting better.

jheneaiko.com @jheneaiko


Taking tonal cues from R&B classics, GALLANT rises above his deepest insecurities with a slow burn of cathartic wails. As he hits a low point trying to find his voice as an artist, he goes out on a high note with the release of his debut album, Ology. By Pola Beronilla Photos courtesy of TH3RD BRAIN





When Christopher Gallant

recorded his first demo in his dorm room in 2009, it wasn’t exactly the gold he was digging for. “You should’ve heard stuff that I made in high school—it was even worse. I think was probably some of the worst music that’s ever been created,” he quips. “But that doesn’t matter because I was a completely different person before. I never talked to anyone about my feelings, so that was the only way that I was able to do that, and to see my process of growing was enough to know that I needed to keep going.” As a quiet kid who grew up in the suburbs of Maryland, it wasn’t long before he broke that silence that was building inside of him—but he admits that it wasn’t always easy. “I used to have a lot of glass walls between me and everyone else in the world, and I think just as those walls started to breakdown, I started to see everything else more clearly and relate to people a lot better,” he shares. “I knew that I was becoming a better person slowly through the process of writing these songs, and that was the only reason that I was doing it.” He made a leap relocating to New York City to study music soon after finishing high school. Though he was rightfully armed with a penchant

for old school R&B and a mercurial vocal range, it was the concept of escapism that set him free to be the kind of artist he wanted to be. “I was really inspired just by the feeling of being alone and lyrically trying to work through getting over slumps and issues that I was having. If anything, it was really the therapeutic aspect in music that inspired me the most,”


shares the singer-songwriter. With one final move to LA, his career took off as he started recording under his last name Gallant and revealed his true stripes with the release of his Zebra EP in 2014. Fast-forward to two years later, he finds himself under the spotlight as critics and fans alike rave over the release of his debut album Ology. Turning melancholic pages of old journals and voice notes into a sultry R8B groove, his feather-light falsetto pierces through the electronic layers of his sonic scheme, providing the emotional outburst that relieves the manic build-up he used to restrain. As he takes his time stepping out of the shadows of his past, his melodic flair only pushes him further towards a brighter future. What’s the story behind your signature golden sad face? When I was working on my first EP Zebra, I was just kind of describing, the issues that I was facing on while I lived in New York. Then when I started working on my album, I wanted to focus on self-improvement and to have a great evolution. So, I took a photo of my current self, instead of using nostalgic images that I



used to use, and put the sad face to represent the emotion I was coming from, but then the gold is supposed to represent the positive perspective that caused me to see that. And it just kind of evolved from there. Your lyrics seem to hit a chord with your fans. Where does this emotion come from? It’s weird because I‘m actually not a very good storyteller [laughs]. Whenever I write things, I’m more so trying to paint a picture of what it feels like to be in my shoes. I’m pointing out very specific issues that I have and trying to work through those. I bring up different things subconsciously that I might have hidden from myself, trying to shine

a light on those issues and letting them out. For me, it’s been a lot less about telling a story and just about trying to accurately depict or maybe even personify some of the issues and hurdles that I have to juggle. Was there ever a point in your life that you almost gave up music? Yeah, tons of times. How did you pull yourself back? It’s weird because music is just a byproduct of me helping myself, so I’d just give up on everything in general, but feeling music is like starting to see clarity in your situation. And that just always ends up being related to making

music because the way I write is so directly correlated to my well-being, my mental state, if that makes sense. From your debut EP Zebra in 2014 to who you are right now, how do you think have you matured as an artist? I think any kind of growth is all really personal at first, until it goes to your music. I can’t really pick out how I’ve grown musically, but I definitely know that personally, I’m a lot more revealing, I’m a lot less concerned about people looking over my shoulder, and I think that in some way, those have probably directly influenced how the music seems to grow and change. With all this positive feedback surrounding you, how do you keep yourself grounded? I think I’m pretty self-aware. Music is really important and every single person in the world has a special relationship with music, but nothing can be that important. What’s most important to me is growing and evolving. It just happens to be that whenever I write and reveal certain things, it helps me grow, and that’s why I keep doing it. But I think that people should realistically look at what they’re doing and know that it’s a good effort to do anything that’s substantial, so it helps to start with there, and make sure that having friends and family and building a life for yourself is something that’s going to trump anything else that you have to offer.

gallant.space @SoGallant





BREAKING BORDERS YUNA turns over a new leaf as she transitions from pop-folk to R&B and moves from local to further in the international limelight. By Isa Almazan Photographed by Aimanness Harun


catch Yuna for an interview in the middle of her tour in Europe. As she’s waning off the leftover rush of being on stage, she’s finds it difficult to contain her excitement as she shares about her love for performing live. Yuna never really planned on building a life around music. She was set for a career in law, having finished legal studies as an undergraduate degree, but found herself being sailed into a different direction in her senior year at university. Her sudden shift in career choice doesn’t imply that her life as a musician was an accident; Yuna has been writing songs since she was 14, and soon after learned the guitar to accompany herself. It was on her MySpace page that she first grew her audience. Since then, she has pulled off a total of nine Malaysian and international releases and has built a discography that could one day cement her as one of the most influential artists from the Southeast Asian-Muslim community. There are a few Muslim musicians who can say that they’ve managed to find success on the international stage; there’s R&B novice Zayn of

Pakistani descent and rapper M.I.A. of Sri Lankan roots. The two, however, have immigrant backgrounds and grew up in the West. Yuna, on the other hand, has had a different narrative, being born and raised in Malaysia. Unlike them, Yuna always had a place to call home and displacement wasn’t in her story up until 2011, where she had to uproot herself and move to Los Angeles after being signed by Fader. In a way, Yuna had to begin again, but she’s a far cry from a newcomer. She’s a success in her home country, having bagged ten Malaysian Music awards, their country’s equivalent of the Grammys, and being honored with a Kembara Award in 2011. Finding initial success in Malaysia as an independent artist helped her gain an understanding of the music industry, and although Los Angeles was a different landscape on its own, Yuna made an easy transition. The ball continued to roll as she re-released an EP version of Decorate, which was previously released as a full album in Malaysia. In 2012, she released her self-titled album with its carrier single produced by Grammywinning producer Pharrell Williams.



“ I’m a singer-songwriter, that’s what I do, and I As one of the first Malaysian artists to successfully crossover to an international market, Yuna feels more blessed than pressured. “I’m just me, doing what I love. I try not to overthink it and just create,” she pushes. “Live Your Life” was a perfect reintroduction for Yuna— it was everything she represented: multicultural, uplifting, and positive. It might be the urban backdrop lending a sexier edge, but Yuna sounds like a different girl. Her latest outing Chapters is a 15-track album that journeys to new territories of her musicality. Finally finding the opportunity to explore a new genre after being exposed to a new set of producers in LA, the album credits include Robin Hannibal, who co-wrote the Grammywinning Kendrick Lamar album good kid, m.A.A.d city, RBMA alumni Salva, and Fistcuffs, who has worked closely with Jhené Aiko and Miguel in their respective albums. While the shift in lanes wasn’t really something Yuna intended to go for, the idea was compelling as a fan of both the genre and the two artists she collaborated and co-wrote with. “I just decided to go for it, and I absolutely loved how Chapters sounded in the end,” she adds. Listening to Chapters reveals a woman who’s more self-assured of what she wants and feels, and what her voice could accomplish. “I no longer write like a 20-year-old, you know,” Yuna shares of her new album. Yuna is different woman now, a different kind of artist, and it shows in the album, but there are traces of her core that Yuna managed to transition into her new era. Her writing is affecting in more ways than one, and Yuna remains as earnest as she was years ago. “I’m so much wiser now. I feel like I used to hold back in my music, but after a certain point in my life, I decided to just say what I want, the way I want, and be vulnerable in my songwriting,” shares the musician. It has been 16 years since Yuna first wrote a song, and with the Internet’s expanding role in music’s


love staying true to my roots, you know, there’s nothing complicated about that.”




“I feel like I used to hold back in my music, but after a certain point in my life, I decided to just say what I want, the way I want, and be vulnerable in my songwriting.”


HEAVY HITTER democratizing terrain, Yuna finds herself in a continuously evolving industry. More and more artists are trying to get their music heard, but Yuna manages to keep expectations in check by looking at the footsteps left by the likes of Feist, Norah Jones, and Adele, all of whom she’s been compared to. There’s assurance when she says, “All they have to do is just sing the songs that they write themselves, no gimmicks, no shock-value, just pure talent, so of course for me, that’s all I hope to be.” Her success, in turn, has hailed her to be the poster girl of young “hijabsters” a play on the words, “hijab” and “hipster.” As more Muslim women immerse themselves in fashion, Yuna is declared to be in the forefront of it. Musicians have never been separate to style, and Yuna is no exception as she’s strongly identified with a hijab wrapped around her head, in colors and prints that aren’t scared to attract attention. She’s a fashion girl at heart and she’s fully embraced this in establishing a clothing store called November Culture, a floral brazen collection in collaboration with Hatta Dolmat called HATTAYUNA, and finding herself featured in InStyle and Vogue. As a Muslim artist who hails from the East, Yuna has somehow become a statement as herself and a touchpoint for both Asian and Muslim representation. There are artists such as earlier mentioned M.I.A. and Kendrick Lamar whose public identity is the message itself as well. But Yuna’s music is personal; nothing about it is political nor controversial. As she continues to write songs about wanting, hurting, and longing for a new direction, this is how we let Yuna become an even more necessary figure in Southeast Asia and Islam. Maybe there really shouldn’t be a plight-driven narrative for her to represent her community, ‘cause she’s woman who’s deeply connected to her culture and religion and manages to succeed internationally both in music and fashion. Without having her carry around an agenda, she becomes less of a symbol, less of cliché, and less of an appointed representative, and more of a person who we can look at and recognize as a member of a varied and multi-personified community. Yuna sums it best by saying, “I’m a singer-songwriter, that’s what I do, and I love staying true to my roots, you know, there’s nothing complicated about that.”

yunamusic.com @yunamusic



He might be playing a boy struggling with identity issues in Moonlight, but in real life, rising actor ASHTON SANDERS has already found his niche in this world: giving life to silenced and overlooked characters through socially-encompassing films. By Bea del Rio Photographed by Felton Kizer Styled by Olivia Engobor


THOSE WHO SAY THIS GENERATION CARES FOR NONE BUT THEMSELVES obviously aren’t paying much attention. In a sea of media frenzy saturated with seemingly nothing but the nonsensical and trivial, there are still a lot of young bloods who manage to rise through all the bullshit and fight for the stuff that really matters. This is something that up-and-coming actor Ashton Sanders understands all too well. While some people get caught up in the glitz and glamour of the industry, young and idealistic Ashton thankfully has a good head on his shoulders. Though still a newbie, he has already managed to be a part of films that go beyond their entertainment value and actually make crucial social statements. Bit by the acting bug at a very early age, Ashton had a good sense of what he wanted out of his career. “Growing up, I was always intrigued by characters I would see on TV–I used to walk around my house and act out scenes when I was a kid,” he recalls. “I think at the age of 11, I finally told my dad that I wanted to be a professional actor one day.” Wasting no



time in achieving his set-out path, he immediately started taking classes and doing theater at Amazing Grace Conservatory, and at only 15, he got his first acting gig for a film entitled The Retriever, which was released in 2013. Set during the Civil War, it depicted a less talked-about part of African-American history. For his lead role and film acting debut, Ashton displayed a deep level of maturity in playing a fatherless 13-year-old who was forced to earn the trust of a fugitive slave in order to lure him back to the South and surrender him to a white bounty hunter. Apart from his vast experience in theater, he has since continued showing serious acting chops in front of the camera, making an appearance in the critically acclaimed Straight Outta Compton (2015) and starring in the dramatic short We Home (2016). This time, he returns with yet another powerful film by writer-director Barry Jenkins. Moonlight is a modern comingof-age story of an African-American boy struggling with expressing his sexuality, while simultaneously trying to deal with his mother’s (portrayed by Naomi Harris) drug addiction and the burdens of his social class,


along with trying to figure out his identity and place in the world. Told in three chapters, Ashton plays the lead character during his teenage years. Of his initial encounter with the script, he shares, “My first read was so emotional. Actually mindblowing. I never had a reaction to a script like I had with this one–it was euphoric. This project immediately connected with my soul. I can’t even explain the real, real feeling.” For a film striving to tackle such a serious and sensitive issue on the truth about the impossible depiction of masculinity in today’s society—and especially within the black community— Ashton knew the immense weight of the role he was entrusted to play. His deep understanding and empathy for the character and his rally behind the cause made for an honest and moving portrayal in the film. Addressing this sad plight of a minority within a minority, he tells us, “I’m an ally for the LGBT community. I think the black community has an image that they paint of the black man and expect them to be just that, or in the realm of that stereotypical image. Anything outside of that image makes








you stand out or look different or weird and you become an easy target for judgment and ridicule.” He goes on, “Homosexuality as a black man—and in general—is something that’s swept under the rug or isn’t talked about. This film hit the nail right on the head.” For Ashton, the message of Moonlight and his other films are a significant part of his career. Acting as a craft is often overlooked as an art form—but it is. And like all good art, it’s supposed to affect and move people. Ashton breathes life into his roles and gives justice to stories that shed light on issues society often tends to overlook, intentionally or not. Choosing projects that have great social impact shows he views his craft as more than just a career, but a storytelling medium for calling out what’s wrong in our society— especially on issues about his race. “I honestly feel so blessed to have the opportunity to tell all these important stories about Black history and culture. It feels good. A lot of actors don’t get that opportunity, so I think that’s pretty rad.” What’s wonderful is that Ashton is still young, which means he can be a part of a lot more films that are as moving and eye-opening as his previous ones. Right now, he admits looking forward to doing editorials and focusing a bit on modeling, though of course, he still prioritizes his acting career. And in that area, he admits he’s quite optimistic, as he should be. “I’m stoked; I can’t really tell what’s to come, but I have a good feeling about my future,” shares the actor. We have a good feeling too.



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BACK TO BASICS Lending love from the streets of the ‘90s, LIZMARIAH V reps her local girl gang in her signature little boy pants, lazing in garb of old school logos, proving that if you know, you know.

@lizmariahv Portrait by Charisma Lico Product photography by Nadine Layon


I always bring this jacket while traveling, even though I’ve been stopped by airport security twice.


I was looking for a pink deck when my mom got me this. She knows what’s up!


My all-time favorite! I mean, a low maintenance bag that can fit all my crap?



Glossier is a dream! If you don’t know Glossier, we can’t be friends.



A girl’s best friend.

I have very sensitive eyes. I make sure I carry at least three to four pairs with me.

KJM COSMETICS CHEEK TINT The best part is tha it’s local and allnatural!


This is a DIY gift for my boyfriend, but I liked it, so I kept it.

Makeup Theresa Padin

In case of emergency and also in case of commuting.

obc www.statusmagonline.com

Profile for STATUS Magazine

STATUS Magazine October 2016 feat. Jhené Aiko  

STATUS Stays Woke with Jhené Aiko PLUS Gallant Yuna Ashton Sanders Tyler Glenn Sir the Baptist Gabriel García Román Myla Dalbesio Namilia L...

STATUS Magazine October 2016 feat. Jhené Aiko  

STATUS Stays Woke with Jhené Aiko PLUS Gallant Yuna Ashton Sanders Tyler Glenn Sir the Baptist Gabriel García Román Myla Dalbesio Namilia L...


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