THE #GIRLPOWER ISSUE
26 Millennial Feminism
42 Art That Changed History
56 Tech Mavens
28 Women Rule The Runway
32 Retail Royals
46 The Street Artists
60 Bloggers Take Over
36 Nicky Hilton
52 Girls Rule
62 Art Is The Answer
38 Comedy Girls
54 Hillaryâ€™s Time
66 Free The Nipple
T H E
68 T ess H olliday
G I R L
72 C oco R osie
P O W E R
74 L ady A da
76 A rghavan
I S S U E
L izzy P lapinger
RISING STARS 84 Alanna Masterson 86 Tove Lo 90 Bebe Rexha 94 Camren Bicondova 98 Petite Meller 104 Tove Styrke 106 Nervo 112 Melanie Martinez 116 Lynn Gvnn 118 Betty Who 122 Elliphant 126 Isabella Manfredi 128 Kerris Dorsey 130 Kimbra 134 Grace Chatto 136 Jess Glynne 138 Rosie Lowe 144 Meredith Graves
148 Pins 152 Justine Skye 154 Jesse Jo Stark 158 Neon Hitch 162 Hannah Cohen 164 Elle King 168 Tamera Foster 172 Lenka 174 Jacquie Lee 176 Holland Roden 180 Jessica Szohr 184 Dead Sara 185 Lizzie Brochere 186 Flo Morrissey 188 Ophelia Lovibond 192 Gemma Chan
e N ebe s Pa ps 0 R ank na Je 23 40 B atia rli XCXae st r 2 8 T ha y R ear ne 24 58 C arl a H Tur ou 2 6 C di ie L s 26 6 Ly oph ou n nd o 27 82 S ay L e apla y y am 2 4 S ell C J ph Di art 29 02 Y izzy aya ur The r P on 3 6 L har n M & we nd 31 22 S oisi ina lpo Lo 3 2 R ar ir er 33 40 M he G pow ts 3 2 T irl kis 35 55 G toc 3 7 S 35 58 3
1 20 96 2 2 A 21 08 Iv ro 22 4 M y Le 2 R ad v Re osi ison an tr e Be o er Be
COVERS NAOMIE HARRIS
INDIRA CESARINE Editor in Chief & Creative Director
Photography by Indira Cesarine. Naomie Harris wears a dress and belt by Kristian Aadnevik, a cape by Zeynep Kartal, and a ring by Maria Francesca Pepe. Styling by Deborah Latouche. Hair by Renda Attia, makeup by Kenneth Soh. Photographed at Saint Martin’s Lane Hotel, London, UK.
FASHION DIRECTOR Indira Cesarine CONTRIBUTING STYLE DIRECTOR Phillip Bloch
Photography by Indira Cesarine. Charli XCX wears a black dress by Sass & Bide with earrings by Alexis Bittar. Styling by Karen Levitt. Hair by Ryan Kazmarek, makeup by Colby Smith. Photographed at Haus, New York.
BEAUTY EDITOR Roberto Morelli SENIOR COPY EDITORS Marianne White, Sophie Saint Thomas
Photography by Indira Cesarine. Lizzy Caplan wears a red sequin turtleneck by Dior, sapphire and diamond rings by Effy Jewelry, and studs by Melinda Maria. Styling by Kelly Brown. Hair by Christian Marc, and makeup by Rachel Goodwin. Photographed at James Goldstein Residence, Beverly Hills.
CONTRIBUTING FASHION EDITORS Deborah Latouche, Jules Wood, Karen Levitt, Kelly Brown
FASHION ASSISTANTS Ginevra Valente, Laura Hernandez
Photography by Indira Cesarine. Banks wears a dress by Jason Wu, worn over a bralette by Georgine. Fashion Editor: Indira Cesarine. Hair by Hanjee, and makeup by Nina Park. Photographed at The Untitled Space, New York.
CONTRIBUTING JOURNALISTS Anabel Maldonado, Elizabeth Hazard, Jessica Natale, Julie Walker, Liz Belilovskaya, Lydia Snyder, Madison Bloom, Marianne White, Sophie Lloyd, Sophie Saint Thomas
Photography by Iris Brosch. Rebecca Ferguson wears a corset and knickers by Agent Provocateur, kimono by BLK DNM, bracelet by Mawi, and necklace by Rosantica. Styling by Deborah Latouche. Hair by Carlos Ferraz, and makeup by Caroline Barnes. Photographed at Blake’s Hotel, London.
ADDITIONAL COPYEDITING Lydia Snyder EDITORIAL ASSISTANTS & INTERNS Courtney Podvin, Eduardo Morel, Hannah Chusid, Jessica McKinney, Kasaya Nacharoen, Marissa Desimone, Michael Cruz, Patrica Gloum, Sandra Werb, Taylor Campbell, Yulia Yurasova
MARINA & THE DIAMONDS
Published by UNTITLED MEDIA
Photography by Indira Cesarine. Marina & The Diamonds wears a dress by Roberto Cavalli. Fashion Editor Indira Cesarine. Hair by Anthony Joseph Hernandez. Makeup by Roberto Morelli. Photographed at The Carlton Hotel, New York.
Photography by Indira Cesarine. Lydia Hearst wears a dress by Zimmermann, a gold necklace by Erickson Beamon with rings by Melinda Maria. Fashion Editor Indira Cesarine. Styling by Kelly Brown. Hair by Frankie Payne, and makeup by Stephen Dimmick. Photographed at the Avalon Hotel, Beverly Hills.
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Photography by Indira Cesarine. Sharaya J. wears a metal jacket and long skirt by Rubie Singer, necklaces by Tuleste, with heels by Christian Louboutin. Fashion Editor Phillip Bloch. Hair by Al X Graham, makeup by Felicia G., nails by Jessica Allen. Photographed at The Untitled Space, New York.
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Photography by Indira Cesarine. Elektra and Miranda wear a complete look by Saint Laurent. Fashion Editor Indira Cesarine. Hair by Hanjee, and makeup by Bobby Bujisic. Photographed at The Morgans Hotel, New York.
REPRESENTED BY BIG MACHINE MEDIA www.bigmachineagency.com Special Thanks to Gloria Martinez, K & M Camera and all additional contributors.
Photography by Indira Cesarine. Nude bodice by Cheng-Huai Chaung, layered with a coat from Lie SangBong. Fashion Editor Indira Cesarine. Hair by Anthony Joseph Hernandez. Makeup by Robert Morelli. Photographed at The Untitled Space, New York.
ALL INTERVIEWS by INDIRA CESARINE and The Untitled Magazine editorial team unless otherwise noted in credits.
The #GirlPower Issue is a celebration of femininity in all its forms. This is truly one of the most unique issues I have worked on since launching The Untitled Magazine. Not only does it feature some of the most inspirational women on the radar today, it was also photographed exclusively by female photographers and written exclusively by female journalists. I can truly say it is an act of sheer female willpower. I wanted to shape it with the perspectives and voices of women today - what makes us tick, what inspires us and what challenges our ideologies. Over twenty years ago, upon graduating from Columbia University with a triple major in Art History, French and Women’s Studies, I was at a crossroads: to pursue the path of my mother, and go to law school, or to follow my passion and pursue a career in photography. I decided to take the challenge of the far more risky path. I packed my bags and moved to London, armed only with a camera and a dream. At the time there were almost no female fashion photographers. I was determined to make an impact with my work – to present a female voice against the mass of male domination in the photo industry. Back then, the vast majority of images that women saw in magazines were those that were taken by men. The “male gaze” ruled the media industry, and aside from a handful of exceptions, fashion images of women by women were rarely seen. Over the years I worked not only in London, but also New York, Paris, Milan, and many other international cities. Throughout my freelance career, many models told me I was the only female photographer with whom they had ever worked. This issue was by far my most challenging to date, partially because when I set out to produce an issue photographed exclusively by women, I didn’t realize how hard that was going to be. I was shocked to see that many photography agencies in the industry still do not represent any women whatsoever. Many mainstream magazines still only publish fashion photography shot by men. Some photo agencies told me that they don’t bother to represent women as it’s too hard to get them work. I truly believe that not only are women just as talented as men when it comes to photography, but that readers are truly interested in seeing images created by female photographers. Despite it being over a century since women have gained the vote in many countries, including America, gender bias continues to be an issue in almost all sectors of employment. In the past twenty years since I started working in the photo industry, the statistics have hardly changed. Women still make up less than 13% of represented fashion photographers today. Female film directors have actually declined in numbers since the ‘90s with statistics reporting less than 8% of hired directors are women, and less than 5% of studio films are directed by women. To date only one woman has ever won an Oscar for Best Picture. In the field of journalism male domination still rules the landscape of reporting with less than 30% of bylines by women on average across the medias of TV, print and digital. I felt the timing couldn’t be better than now to create this issue, celebrating so many truly inspirational women. It is time for women to be fairly represented in the work forces of the media, to gain equality on all fronts, and not to have to fight for these rights, but to be able to take them as a given. One thing there was no shortage of while curating the #GirlPower Issue was phenomenal women to feature. The issue presents exclusives with women across the arenas of fashion, film, music, art, business, politics, tech and sports. We talked to Bond actress Naomie Harris; Rebecca Ferguson, star of Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation; Lizzy Caplan of Masters of Sex and Sophie Turner, star of Games of Thrones. Musicians Charli XCX, Banks, Marina & The Diamonds, Carly Rae Jepsen, Nervo, and Tove Lo opened up about their paths to success and inspirations along the way. Street artist Swoon talked to us about art and activism, while we gained insight from fashion moguls Carmen Busquets, Alexandra Wilkis Wilson and Lauren Santo Domingo. These are just a few of the incredible women we interviewed for this issue, who not only inspired us, but who have succeeded in paving the way for future generations of women to follow in their footsteps. I was honored to work with such a diverse selection of fearless and accomplished women and to feature their honest and candid interviews in this issue. I hope you appreciate the wealth of incredible talent on these pages – made by women, but for all to enjoy. This issue is dedicated to my mother Gloria, who has been a personal inspiration for me throughout my career. A National Merit Scholar, she was one of the few female graduates of The University of Chicago Law School in 1959. She was the editor-in-chief of The National Student Lawyer Journal published by the American Bar Association. Over the years she passed the bar in numerous states, including New York, California, Massachusetts, Texas, Iowa and South Dakota. She was instrumental in creating the first constitution for the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe and was recognized by Presidents Kennedy and Nixon for her work setting up youth education programs throughout the United States. At the age of 79, she continues to practice law across the country, hosts her own legal TV and radio shows, and epitomizes nothing short of “Girl Power”. ndira Cesarine
C O N T R I B U T O R S
Anabel Maldonado is a Canadian-born and London-based fashion and lifestyle journalist specializing in the business of fashion, trends, style psychology, travel and well-being. Maldonado interned at Christian Louboutin and Mail on Sunday upon arriving in the UK prior to becoming editor-in-chief of CoutureLab.com. Maldonado’s work has appeared in Marie Claire magazine, and she regularly provides editorial consulting for luxury brands. For The Untitled Magazine’s #GirlPower issue, Maldonado contributed the article “Retail Royals”.
Dani Brubaker’s journey began in the American Southwest, Oklahoma to be exact, where she grew up by the code of the Native American Indian. From there it was further west to California where she worked as an award-winning art d irector. For more than a decade she honed her skills and taste, eventually craving the ability to work in a manner unfettered and untamed by modern life. She found that by looking through a lens she could tell her story. For this issue, Brubaker photographed musician Jesse Jo Stark and actress Ruby Rose.
The artist, photographer, and director Iris Brosch is known internationally for restoring dignity and strength to the image of women in photography. Brosch’s unique celebration of female sensuality moves in fresh and fascinating directions in her ability to rework timeless classicism with a thoroughly modern twist. Brosch splits her time between New York and Paris. She contributed to this issue with a stunning photo shoot of actress Rebecca Ferguson, star of Mission Impossible - Rogue Nation.
Jennifer Massaux is a Belgian director and photographer who splits her time between New York City and Los Angeles. Drawing inspiration from her love of narrative, her work centers on themes of sensuality and surrealism. She has worked for commercial and fashion clients including Madonna, SHOWStudio, L’Officiel, Marie Claire and W Magazine. For The Untitled Magazine’s #GirlPower issue she turned her lens to the captivating Julie Budet of French pop band Yelle.
Whether photographing actors, musicians, or models, Jessie Craig’s work has gained recognition for its otherworldly and often cinematic quality. Born in Canada, she first picked up a camera as a teenager before completing a BFA at OCAD and moving to London, where she is currently based. Craig has participated in numerous exhibitions including at the National Portrait Gallery in London. For this issue she photographed Games of Thrones star Sophie Turner.
Julia Fullerton-Batten is a German-born critically acclaimed and widely exhibited fine art photographer. Her images are in permanent collections in the National Portrait Gallery, London, and the Musee d’Elysee, Lausanne (Switzerland). She has been the recipient of countless awards, including by the Royal Photographic Society, Photo District News, American Photography Awards, and Women in Photography Awards. Her work is known for its attention to detail and complex lighting. Fullerton-Batten lives in London with her family. She shared her talents with The Untitled Magazine in her shoot with French sensation Petite Meller.
Julie Walker is an award winning radio, television, and print journalist based in New York City. She is an AP Radio correspondent and freelance reporter for CNN, NPR, Washington Post’s The Root and various other media outlets. She covers business news from the New York Stock Exchange as well as breaking news and general assignment stories from the streets of New York City. She began her career as an intern at ABC News in Paris. She spent eight years at NY1 News covering everything from 9/11 to the crash of flight 587 to entertainment news. In this issue of The Untitled Magazine Julie lends her voice for a poignant article on Hillary Clinton.
Rosi di Stefano
Born in 1972, Italian photographer Rosi di Stefano began photography at the age of eight with a Kodak Instamatic. After having studied photography at IED (Istituto Europeo di Design) in Milan she began her career in fashion photography. Her work has been published in Vogue Italia, Vogue Accessories, as well as for commercial clients such as Max Mara. Don’t miss her shoot for this issue with Roisin Murphy.
CONVERSATION In a generation where the words “feminism” and “feminist” are the most polarizing “f-words,” gender issues and the fight for equality continue to be at the forefront of cultural dialogue. Today some women unblinkingly refer to themselves as feminists, while others prefer to not label themselves for myriad reasons. Yet when it’s broken down, they are “of course” all for equal pay, equal rights in the workplace, and equal numbers of women in power positions. While “feminism,” or how it is colored for today’s generation, conjures up images of smoking bras and half-shattered glass ceilings, the push for gender equality is still alive outside the word itself, with actress Emma Watson leading the charge for what is now called “Millennial Feminism.” This new wave of feminism is promoted by a host of energetic, boundary-challenging young women who are anything but “your mother’s feminists” and who are tackling, using practical and tangible solutions, the issues today’s crop of women face as they continue to fight for parity.
MiLLENNIAL FEMINISM THE 4th WAVE OF FEMINISM HAS OFFICIALLY ARRIVED Emma Watson, who was recently appointed as the UN Women Goodwill Ambassador, became the face of the new feminist movement with her #HeforShe initiative to get boys and men involved in the push for gender equality. She has already received an overwhelming amount of support for her campaign; everyone from Desmond Tutu to Hillary Clinton to Yoko Ono to Prince Harry have come out for the coalition, and its petition - through its online initiative - has received 404,111 signatures from men and boys around the world. The hashtag itself has been used over 1.2 billion times on Twitter. At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on January 23, 2015 in front of world leaders and press, Watson announced IMPACT 10x10x10 as the next phase in the #HeforShe campaign. She said, “One of the biggest pieces of feedback I’ve had since my speech is that men and women want to help but they aren’t sure how best to do it. Men say they’ve signed the petition. ‘What now?’ What can we practically do to end gender inequality? As feminists, what do we actually do?”
older issues in a modern context, namely equal pay, reproductive rights, and equality of all marginalized groups. It also addresses a host of issues that prior to now remain uncharted: street harassment, slut shaming, online misogyny, emphasis on women’s rights in developing countries, campus rape, discrimination and sexual harassment of women in freelance industries, regulations in the fashion industry with regards to underage and/or underweight models, a stronger emphasis on the body positive movement including more inclusion for plus-sized women in the media. The list goes on, but the point is clear. The second aspect of fourth wave feminism has to do with how it is promoted in the millennial era. Digital media and the endless number of outlets for it define the parameters of fourth wave feminism. Now, thanks to Instagram, Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, blogging, and hashtags, it’s as if the feminist movement has been injected with steroids. There is a new platform for amplifying the issues and through collective support, enacting social change.
We are currently in the throes of the feminism’s fourth wave. The first wave occurred around the turn of the 19th century and focused on women’s suffrage and disenfranchisement. The second took root in the 1960s, addressing social issues ranging from reproductive rights to workplace equality. The third wave fomented in the 1990s and broadened the boundaries of feminism’s theoretical underpinnings in an effort to abolish existing notions of gender expectations. It reclaimed lipstick and highheeled feminine sexuality, focused more attention on rights of the LGBT community and “non-white” women, and saw the beginnings of the sex-positive movement. This brings us to today’s fourth wave, which has been ushered in by the boundless possibilities presented by digital media platforms and is promoted by a crop of young millennials who can reach millions of people through online mobilization and hashtag activism.
In Western cultures it’s universally accepted that equal rights is a good thing, but enacting actual change, so that equal rights can become a reality, is obviously a different question. Women are still marginalized in many creative industries, such as filmmaking, photography, art and journalism. In the corporate world, women are paid less than men (about 82 cents to the dollar), but when examining the “why,” the “where” and the “who” of gender in the workforce it gets difficult to pinpoint. Are women not vocal enough about asking for a raise? Are bosses innately biased against paying women more? Are women in creative industries just not as competent? These are problems whose solutions require a serious shift in attitude towards gender, and to boot, it is clearly proving difficult to craft fair policies that would enforce a comprehensive equalization in pay for women in the workplace. In Hillary Clinton’s speech on March 10, 2015 at the Women’s Empowerment Initiative, she declared, “gender equality is not just morally right, but is the smart thing to do.... We have to keep making the same case over and over again. What we are doing here today is smart for companies and smart for countries.” She subsequently
So what is fourth wave feminism? The answer is two-fold. First it is a human rights movement that advocates for women’s equality. Sound familiar? Perhaps. The fourth wave addresses fundamental
Chanel Spring / Summer 2015 Feminist Protest
know is that I care about this problem and I want to make it better. I feel it’s my responsibility to say something.” Actress Shailene Woodley pissed off the Internet recently when, in an interview with Time, she declared she was not a feminist “because I like men.” The implication, of course, is clear. In declaring oneself a feminist she is also declaring herself a dour, man-hating radical, with a wild armpit bush and leg hair. Katy Perry was quoted in 2012 as saying, “I am not a feminist, but I do believe in the power of women.” What exactly the distinction is that she’s attempting to make is unclear. It is hard to discuss gender equality without the word, “feminism,” so what most millennial feminists, including Watson, are trying to do is to reclaim the word’s potency in the context of the modern era. Perhaps their work is paying off – in 2014 when asked about the subject, Perry had taken a new position. “A feminist? Um, yeah, actually,” she responded. “I used to not really understand what that word meant, it just means that I love myself as a female and I also love men.” Taylor Swift was also originally among young celebrities who eschewed the label, but recently said in an interview “Misogyny is ingrained in people from the time they are born. So to me, feminism is probably the most important movement that you could embrace.” According to some, such as Sarah Sobieraj, a professor of sociology at Tufts University, those against the feminist movement have labeled the word as an undesirable stereotype, essentially turning the movement against itself. One can’t help but marvel at how a word alone can possess so much power.
launched the hashtag #We’reNotThereYet. Women are still placed within social norms that categorize them as virgins or whores, and are often thought less of if they chose not to get married or have children, as if their lives should be in service to humanity, while a man’s life is his own. Double standards still abound. Women’s bodies are still presented in the media as sex objects, prompting campaigns such as #freethenipple which addresses Instagram’s sexist censorship policies. While it is important to keep the conversation surrounding these issues afloat, it is also important for millennials to have strong examples of feminists in the media and pop culture whom they can rally behind. And despite any differences one might have with Watson’s brand of feminism or the rhetoric she uses to spread it, her basic premise of gender equality should elicit a unified response among the millennial generation. We are increasingly seeing a palpable departure from feminism’s previous tenents, as women are now embracing femininity as a tool for independence and empowerment. No longer is there a dichotomous tension between sexy and smart, for example. Young women view their sexuality as an indispensable facet of their identities, to be used to elevate their stake at home, at work and in the world. Clearly the tides are changing as this new frontier of feminism unfolds. And many are harnessing it, though there are some that still avoid joining the dialogue. One reason many young women and men shy away from it is due to the scrutiny they potentially face for speaking up. When, during her Oscar acceptance speech, Patricia Arquette confronted pay inequality in the workplace, specifically in the entertainment industry, she was criticized from both sides for a “limited view” of feminism. Similarly, Watson has been called-out on having a skewed perception of real world problems. Actress Maisie Williams is one who has come out against Watson’s feminism. The 18-year-old star of Game of Thrones plays a character who challenges gender norms and pushes the boundaries of what it means to be a girl. She said that Watson endorses “first world” feminism, ignoring more serious global problems. Perhaps, but Watson has contended that these issues would be invariably easier to solve with a united front. “All I
We live in an unprecedented era in which people can now join forces through means of digital communication. Issues which at one time seemed so difficult to resolve now for the first time in history are within our reach, as the collective voices of change become a global currency. It was over 100 years ago that women gained the right to vote, yet equal rights for women is still an issue. The future remains to be seen, but one thing is for sure, Millennials more than any other generation have the tools for change, and as the tidal wave of chatter becomes a global chant, we may actual see gender discrimination end in our lifetime.
“This is a man’s world,” or so the line goes from a certain song. Well in today’s wonderful world of fashion design, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Women fashion designers are making their mark and proving there really is such a thing as having a woman’s touch when it comes to fashion design. Here’s a look at the female designers who paved the way, the women in design who continue to inspire and evolve and those the fashion world has its eye on as the new female designers to watch.
RUNWAY apparel, accessories and footwear. Her looks are seen on countless celebrities and her fashion shows are always a big draw at Fashion Week.
We cannot discuss female fashion designers without bowing down to the incomparable Diane von Furstenberg. The Belgian-born designer, best known for her iconic jersey wrap dress, has been a powerful force in the industry since she launched her clothing line in the 1970s and then re-launched it to greater success in 1997 with the reintroduction of her famous wrap. She is particularly known for her fondness of jersey fabric, often overlooked by male designers, but revered by women for its wearability, creating fashion without sacrificing comfort. “I design for the woman I wanted to be, the woman I used to be and to some degree, the woman I’m still a little piece of.” Von Furstenberg was given the CFDA’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005 for her accomplishments. In 2006 she was named its president, a position she still helms today. This past year she was named to Time 100, Time magazine’s annual list of powerful icons.
Miuccia Prada is the creative force behind both the eponymous Prada and Miu Miu, lines based in Italy known for their quality and trendsetting styles. Since taking over the helm at Prada (the brand started by her grandfather in 1913) from her mother in 1978, the designer took the brand to new heights in luxury chic wear for women and men known for its quality and trendsetting styles. In 1985 the Prada handbag was introduced and is still considered one of the most coveted bags for stylish, accomplished shoppers. In 1993 the designer launched her own women’s line under the Prada label. Miu Miu, aptly named for her own family nickname, is modern womenswear that illuminates the designer’s eye for nuance in style. The line’s edgy and provocative advertising campaigns are worthy of mention as well. That same year that she founded Miu Miu the designer won a CFDA award for her work.
Other talented US female designers include Tory Burch, Jill Stuart, Nicole Miller, Kate Spade, and Donna Karan, to name just a few. Like Diane von Furstenberg, Cynthia Rowley incorporates bold prints and colors in her designs. Since launching her brand in 1981, the designer encompasses gusto and a whimsy in her work. Take for instance her denim wetsuits or her recently launched sports line that features bright poppy flowers. Rowley designs with her own passions for fun and sport in mind. Kate and Laura Mulleavy of Rodarte have garnered much attention since their introduction in 2005. In 2008 they received the CFDA Swarovski Emerging Womenswear Designer Award. The following year they took home the CFDA Womenswear Designer of the Year Award, an accomplishment that marks the true arrival of newcomers to the game. New York-based Chinese designer Vivienne Tam, who is inspired by themes of East-meets-West in her collections, was notably featured in this year’s Met Costume exhibit, “China: Through the Looking Glass” with her political “Mao Suit.” She is also notable for her innovative tech collaborations that go beyond the runway to stylizing computers and phones. Rebecca Minkoff is another designer continuing to grow in the industry. Known for her leather handbags, she has grown her line to also encompass
Also based in Italy is Marni, under the design direction of Consuelo Castiglioni. The label has been described as feminine, quirky and offbeat. This past May, Becoming Marni debuted at the Venice Biennale. The work of art celebrates the line’s 20th anniversary. We cannot highlight Italian women fashion designers without mentioning Donatella Versace and her contributions to the legacy of her brother’s treasured Versace since his untimely death in 1997. Under her direction the fashion label remains a showstopper and on countless red carpets year after year. From Italy and now to fashionable France are several women designers of note. Recognized for her comfortable, Bohemian style meets French sophistication, Isabel Marant started her line in 1994 and has since garnered a collection of celebrity fans and followers. Her collaboration with H&M in 2013 brought the highfashion designer’s work to the masses with great acclaim. Sonia Rykiel was dubbed Queen of Knits in 1967 after a sweater she designed made the cover of Elle Magazine. The sweater was called
Left to Right: Simone Rocha, Rodarte, Diane Von Furstenberg, Vivienne Westwood, Vivienne Tam - Fall / Winter 2015
the “poor boy sweater,” and icons like Audrey Hepburn, Catherine Deneuve and Brigitte Bardot all flocked to the style that Rykiel herself described as “clothes that have no shape unless they are worn.” While the brand now has a new artistic director in Julie de Libran, Rykiel’s reputation as an innovator still remains. No one illustrates this concept of French elegance better than Hermès’ newest artistic director Nadège Vanhee-Cybulski. VanheeCybulski has the French eye for detail that perfectly works their signature scarf into equestrian looks for their Fall 2015 collection, seamlessly pairing traditional elements with a modern take on color and materials.
were all there to scope out the designer who is becoming known for her flowery, folklore-inspired pieces. Meggie Kempner has style in her bones. The granddaughter of socialite Nan Kempner got her feet wet while styling at Ralph Lauren. Her label, aptly named Kempner, will feature a mix of more casual than couture pieces. The line features an array of mixable pieces. Katie Ermilio has been featured in every major fashion magazine. The granddaughter of Grace Kelly’s personal clothier, she grew up around tailoring and that school of personal training is evident in her own label. The New York-based designer focuses on clean lines in rich fabrics, creating a flatteringly feminine silhouette. Mary Katrantzou was named the BFC/Vogue Designer Fashion Fund winner by the British Fashion Council in March 2015. British Vogue’s Editor Alexandra Shulman spoke of her work, “Mary has not only created a strong and hugely appealing identity for her work but she has put in place measures that, along with the support of this prize, should ensure an exciting and successful next stage of her career.” Misha Nonoo debuted her label in 2011 with the launch of Nonoo. In 2012 she was bestowed with the Fashion Group International’s Rising Star Award for Women’s Ready to Wear clothing. The following year she was a 2013 finalist for the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund. She describes her line as “feminine with an edge.” Like Coco Chanel and Sonia Rykiel before her, she believes in designing for herself first. Marissa Webb may best be known as holding the helm at Banana Republic as its Creative Director, but the New York-based designer launched her own self-titled line in 2013 at New York Fashion Week with her fall line. Her line features a mix of masculine and feminine. A self-described tomboy herself, Webb creates pieces for the inner tomboy in all of us.
London has brought us its own batch of talented ladies making marks on seams over the years. Vivienne Westwood is an incomparable legend of fashion. Her stamp on the punk culture in England and beyond in the 1970s is well documented. She has remained a fixture in the industry for both her designs and her eccentricity. Georgina Chapman and Keren Craig make up the talented duo behind Marchesa, a line known for its gorgeous gowns. They’ve been seen at many an award show and a wedding aisle or two. Speaking of wedding dresses, it’s impossible not to mention Sarah Burton, the creative director of Alexander McQueen, who landed the coveted role of designing Kate Middleton’s sumptuous wedding dress. Alice Temperley was named by Vogue recently as “the designer making the biggest waves in British fashion.” Simone Rocha, daughter of designer John Rocha, debuted her first collection in 2010 and has received great admiration from her peers and mentors alike. In December 2014, she was awarded the title of Emerging Womenswear Designer of the Year at the British Fashion Awards.
Women designers are here to stay. While we cannot take away from the achievements of their male counterparts, it’s nice to see that women designers are receiving the accolades they are worthy of. As Coco Chanel once said, “Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.”
So who are the new names to watch? Who will be the next set of women to stamp their initials on the proverbial runway of fashion? There are a few that the design world already has its eyes set on. Fatema Fardan was the first Emirati designer to show at New York’s Fashion Week, adding a refreshing global presence. In attendance were industry notables including Rachel Zoe, who
Article by Liz Hazard
ROYALS Sometime between now and the early noughties, the arrival of a beautifully wrapped box replaced
walking out of a department store with shopping bags as the pinnacle of retail therapy. The transformative power of fashion has long had women transfixed on finding their perfect new piece, but when luxury fashion e-commerce site Net-a-Porter launched fifteen years ago, it transformed the landscape forever. Thousands of other companies followed suit, and now, fashion e-commerce is a billion-dollar business that shows fast, steady growth year by year.
This page: Lauren Santo Domingo; Opposite Page: Carmen Busquet.
Net-a-Porter, Carmen called Natalie and said “Natalie Massenet, where have you been all my life?” Natalie and Carmen still laugh when they recall their first phone conversation – particularly at Carmen’s Latin accent. Today, the London-headquartered group has a rumoured turnover of £1 billion ($1.6 billion).
Luxury goods entrepreneur and investor Carmen Busquets is undoubtedly the online retail sector’s fairy godmother. A pioneer of the fashion-tech space, she was the major founding investor in Net-a-Porter, one of the biggest digital success stories of our time. Besides being a minor shareholder of Net-a-Porter, Venezuelanborn Carmen, forty-nine, now holds shares in companies that include Moda Operandi, Maiyet, Astley Clarke, Lyst, ASAP54, Kovert Designs, Dr Jackson’s, The Business of Fashion, PS Dept. and Farfetch.
Stateside in 2007, another online shopping revolution took place. Harvard Business School grad, Alexandra Wilkis Wilson, inspired by private flash sales in Europe, co-founded Gilt – the first flashsale site in the US – with long-time friend and fellow HBS alumna Alexis Maybank. Gilt quickly turned into a huge success, and now has over 9 million members and over 4,000 brands. A true force, Alexandra remains a strategic adviser to Gilt, is an active fundraiser, sits on various boards, and also now serves as the Co-Founder and CEO of Glamsquad, a NYC-based mobile app company that allows clients to order beauty treatments at home or to any location on demand. Currently catering to New York, Los Angeles and Miami, the app offers high-quality blowouts and manicures at affordable prices.
When Carmen first met Executive Chairman and Founder of Net-a-Porter, Natalie Massenet, and saw a business plan for a revolutionary site that entailed the then unheard-of concept of selling clothes online, she knew that it would be successful. Carmen re-invested at various stages when no other investor believed women would buy luxury clothing online, because she had already been doing it offline more than a decade before. At just twenty-two, Carmen convinced luxury retailers to supply at her boutique Cabus in Caracas, Venezuela. “I researched and gave the brands what they needed in order to curate their image among the Latin American press. I filled the shop with long gypsy skirts and bohemian dresses, and everything from Chanel jackets, Jean Paul Gaultier, Dolce & Gabbana, Moschino, Alaïa’s sexy suits and Alberta Ferretti’s romantic dresses, to Hervé Léger bandage dresses mixed with Montana jackets for the evening,” she says.
Alexandra, thirty-nine, who worked as an investment banker for Merrill Lynch and managed retail operations at Bulgari and leather goods sales planning for Louis Vuitton prior to Gilt, has incredible insight into luxury retail. She believes that women connect so strongly to certain brands because apart from quality, it comes down to confidence. “At the end of the day women will stay loyal to a brand when they have faith that it will make them look and feel their best. Brands such as Alexander McQueen and Christian Louboutin really do have an incredible aesthetic, but when a woman wears them she knows she’ll get an instant boost of confidence.”
To source the collections, Carmen attended fashion shows in New York, Paris and Milan. She sent drawings and photos of the looks via DHL to her global network of clients, and pre-sold clothes immediately following the presentations. After hearing the idea for
nine, is based and now serves as Creative Director, but the company also has a physical store, Moda Mews, in London. “The Moda Operandi customer is international, sophisticated but likes to have fun. The greatest thing is that she has truly embraced the ability to shop the runway, which was our mission all along. As a customer myself, I can truly testify it is liberating to choose exactly what I want to wear next season,” she says. As Moda Operandi’s distinguished brands are so carefully considered, it’s no wonder that the style and elegance of women from previous decades are what inspires Lauren. “I find I am most inspired by generations before mine, women like Annette de la Renta, Deeda Blair, Marella Agnelli, and Beatrice Santo Domingo. Jayne Wrightsman is perfect in my estimation,” she adds. For Carmen, inspiration comes from many women including Winnie Mandela and Hillary Clinton, as well as her mother – an esteemed sociologist and anthropologist whose thesis was included in university textbooks in Venezuela. “She was unafraid to go to the worst areas in Caracas to interview people for her work, dressed down in jeans and a ponytail, and then change into the most glamorous dresses at night.” She also reflected on the tragic loss of two women who were very close friends – the late designer L’Wren Scott, who died from suicide in 2014, and famed fashion buyer Maria Luisa Poumaillou, who lost a battle to cancer in April of this year. “I met them both while I was in my twenties. Maria Luisa was my mentor and was passionate, stylish and unique – I will miss her forever. L’Wren had an incredible sensibility, all tall with an extravagant yet introverted personality. They both worked so hard on themselves and were both uniquely beautiful without being perfect, but any time they would walk into a room everyone would turn to look at them. I respect how much they fought to survive in a world that can be tough on women. One fought with her illness, and the other with her image and transition from stylist to designer.”
Alexandra Wilkis Wilson
Adamant that women bring something unique to business, especially when it comes to working in companies that cater to women as clients, Alexandra isn’t surprised by the emergence of female leaders in e-commerce. “When we launched Gilt back in 2007, my Gilt co-founder and I, Alexis Maybank, were the exact customer that we were launching the business for, so our intuition about how we wanted to shop the brands we wanted to shop, and the way in which we wanted to view them, was absolutely critical.”
In 2014, Daniela Cecilio, Brazilian-born and London-based fashion tech entrepreneur and founding member of Farfetch, added a new layer to the game by leveraging the power of imagery with her innovative app, ASAP54. “The idea was born out of my frustration when searching to buy products online. I’m a very visual person and find it hard to describe what I see”, she says. The final straw was a search to find a pair of rare pearl-rimmed Chanel sunglasses that she saw on Pinterest that went on way too long. So Daniela set out to change the way we discover and buy fashion online with image-recognition technology.
Today working on Glamsquad, which is a venture that Alexandra is very excited about, she says that she is similarly a target customer. “I do try and use my intuition, but when you’re building big, disruptive, scalable business, you’re hoping to cater to thousands and hopefully even millions of people, so you have to recognize that there are a number of opinions and ways in which women make decisions.”
There is a fair amount of skepticism around the technology, but Daniela, thirty-four, is out to prove cynics wrong. When we sat down for lunch in East London, she not only demonstrated how easy it is to find a pair of Aquazzura sandals for purchase directly from a screen grab of an ad, she took a picture of the café’s bright coral wallpaper and delivered dresses and stilettos in the exact shade in a range of price points. Daniela explained that ASAP54 is not just about finding a particular piece, but for discovering similar products based on an idea or even a painting. “I do truly believe that it can revolutionize the way people search and discover fashion, but it needs to be applied and used properly,” she says.
In 2010, another of Carmen Busquets’ early endeavors was made accessible via a digital platform – the pre-order. Lauren Santo Domingo, a Vogue contributing editor who is known for her flawless style as well as being one of the most influential women in the fashion and society circuits, was frustrated with having to wait a full season until the runway pieces she liked launched instore. Lauren took fashion e-commerce a step further, knowing that fashion-conscious women don’t want to wait or risk never owning the pieces they liked from the shows because they never went into production. Along with former Gilt executive, Aslaug Magnusdottir, Lauren co-founded Moda Operandi, which allows shoppers to pre-order products directly after fashion week through online trunk shows.
One of ASAP54’s most novel aspects is the absence of aggressive retailer-led trend pushing. Daniela doesn’t believe this is the way to go about it. “Everyone is talking about personalization and curation. At the end of the day, the user is the curator. Users can’t be boxed. It’s not rational or linear, it’s emotional. That’s why the
Moda Operandi is headquartered in NYC, where Lauren, thirty-
science very often fails. It’s not because you bought Balenciaga yesterday that you want to buy Balenciaga today. There is always an emotional reason. Why do you buy black instead of grey? Why a short-sleeved jumper instead of a long-sleeved jumper? You got inspired by something, and you’re often not even aware. If you try to trace down all of the different inspirations, it is something that cannot be explained in a mathematical exercise,” she explains.
intimated by surrounding themselves with people who are smarter than they are in areas that are not their expertise. Some good founders lose their companies because they don’t surround themselves with the right people and it breaks my heart when I see these companies fail. One of them was my own. I only had a year to find the right CEO, I was the main investor, and I could not find the right senior team who was loyal to me and my idea.”
Carmen would also like to see changes in the industry. “I’ve been thinking about how fashion is mainly a business for women and gay men, yet why do we women who control the media, make it so hard on each other? No one will be young forever so we need to convey the message that beauty is more than just youth. Nothing can compete with experience and inner beauty. Our clients in retail are real women, not skinny sixteen-year-old girls; leave the very young models for Topshop and H&M. We should also stop reading magazines that rarely represent real people; they can be garbage for our minds and self-esteem.”
Being at the helm of a business reliant on investors’ money in what is an increasingly crowded marketplace is no easy feat. To control the stresses that accompany great responsibility, self-mastery is fundamental, according to Daniela. “Your mind plays tricks on you all the time, and I know when my mind is playing tricks on me. I fix what I can fix, and what I can’t – I just don’t worry about. It’s a waste of energy that I can be putting into something else. There is only one thing you can control in this world, and that’s yourself. The way I see it, you wake up with a jar full of energy and you are the only one who decides what this energy goes to. It’s like money. You have your earnings and your spend. Energy is exactly like that. If you start spending your energy on negative things – it’s gone.”
Despite its challenges, the e-commerce sphere is hot. To make it, Alexandra feels you have to be tenacious. “I think as an entrepreneur you have to know that building a company or a start-up from an idea to reality is a long journey and you have to learn to expect the unexpected. It’s like a roller coaster; you’re going to experience the highest highs, but also the lowest lows. It can sometimes bring moments of loneliness because you can find that you’re so committed to your vision and it’s possible that there are moments when other people just can’t understand your level of passion. But you have to persevere. Surround yourself with people who bring you up and not down. Find mentors and build an amazing team. The reality is that most start-ups fail. You don’t want to dwell on that, but that is the reality.”
Carmen also takes a spiritual approach when it comes to business. “I let go and don’t worry for too long anymore. I don’t try to control things. I meditate, read inspirational books or I run by the water. I can now stop myself from leaking energy by not worrying about things I can’t influence. I have always been brave so I’ve never run from problems, but I don’t pretend to be strong like I used to. I embrace vulnerability and I feel it. After a while it may still hurt, but I get a different perspective and let go.” If all else fails, there is always high culture and comforts of the city. To Lauren, the dream day off includes NYC’s museums. “They would be empty except for me. My favorite museum in the city is the Met, but I often frequent PS1 in [Long Island City]. Bonus – they have the best bookstore in NYC. Hardcover books are my greatest indulgence. Luxury, to me, is having the time to read them.”
Carmen also echoes the importance of finding the right people. “Successful founders are flexible, hungry to learn and aren’t
It also helps to remember why you started, which of course, brings us back to fashion. On Daniela’s wish list are pieces from Portuguese designer Diogo Miranda and Céline, and for AW15 specifically, Valentino’s floral boots and a red fedora hat from Maison Michel. For this season, Lauren was captivated by emerging designers like Brock and Rosetta Getty who also found inspiration in the generations before theirs. “On the reverse, heritage brands Oscar de la Renta, Nina Ricci, and Sonia Rykiel took in new creative directors and began new chapters for their iconic houses,” she reflects. This year will see a lot of moving and shaking in the industry as the demand for innovation increases. Farfetch has bought London boutique Browns and Net-a-Porter will merge with Italian e-tailer Yoox. Alexandra will focus on expanding Glamsquad into bridal markets, and Carmen will re-launch CoutureLab as an online platform to house her portfolio of companies and other projects. Moda Operandi, Lauren says, will focus on opening more physical shopping salons, while for ASAP54, Daniela is looking to roll out a multi-channel experience so people can decide whether to shop online or in-store for their items via geo-location compatibility. Much like fashion, the retail experience of the future is about fusing new and old elements – the efficiency of online with the sensorial input and enduring charm of the real thing. Article by Anabel Maldonado
“I believe in everything in moderation; that is the key to life. You really just have to want it, and not be excessive — not with money, with food, with anything.” Well, maybe anything besides handbags. Nicky Hilton is sometimes known as a party girl socialite, perhaps in association with her sister, Paris, but the two of them are actually quite opposite in many ways. Where Paris is all about the girly, colorful, and pink things, Nicky describes her own style as “a bit more classic, almost masculine at times.” She applies her tastes to her career as a luxury handbag designer. “When I moved to New York, and I was about fourteen, I started doing a little modeling for fun. A few years later, I signed a contract for this handbag company, Samantha Thavasa, to be the face of the brand. At the shoot, we started talking, and they realized that I had a passion for the design aspect. It wasn’t only about being in front of the camera. I really loved the behind the scenes. So, they asked me to design a bag collection and test it out in a few of the shops, and it ended up doing very well.” She took design classes at the New School and FIT, but left early to pursue real-world design projects. “I don’t think that style or fashion is something that you’re taught.” Anyone who has seen the paparazzi shots knows Nicky was born with style, and her surroundings didn’t hurt either. “I feel like I was exposed, growing up in New York City, to so much fashion at a young age — meeting some of the top designers, stylists, models. I learned so much, and I saw so much. I thought it would be fun to put all of that knowledge into a book, and sprinkle in a lot of funny fashion anecdotes, photos, and personal stories.” Her book, 365 Style introduces her technique of finding a set number of pieces you are actually going to wear. It’s a concept that’s both sexy and practical, a difficult balance to achieve. The book is also sprinkled with personal anecdotes, such as an impromptu graduation dress. “My mother had to rush over to Vera Wang’s studio and have her sew me into one of her samples.” One cannot be faulted for being born into the upper echelon, but it’s what you do with it that counts. Hilton spins her fairytale childhood stories into tangible advice for the everyday fashionista. Hilton recently collaborated with eLuxe, where she designed various dresses, each named after a different woman in her family. “I did it very reflective of their personalities, so for the party dress, I named it after Paris of course, haha. I did a beachy bohemian tunic, and I named that after my cousin Whitney. She lives in Venice beach, and that’s very her aesthetic.” Expanding the Hilton name into shareable fashion, she’s also venturing into beauty with cat-eye makeup kits for Smashbox. “I’m always sporting a cat eye with my makeup. I like the concept of a style chameleon; I change with my environment. The LA kit — the makeup is a lot more bronzy and glowy. The New York is a little more harsh and sophisticated. London is a little more colorful and poppy.” She hasn’t left behind handbags. Hilton has a capsule collection coming out with Linea Pelle, once again transforming her last name into wearable glamour. “I started in handbags so handbags really are my true love. I love collecting them, buying them, wearing them. I named all the bags after my favorite hotels. So I have the “Bowery” Backpack and another one named after the Byblos, and the Waldorf.” Amidst all of her professional projects, her personal life is thriving as well. Hilton got married in London at Kensington Palace’s Orangery in July to James Rothschild wearing a spectacular couture dress by Valentino. It required at least six fittings, each one requiring her to fly to Paris specifically for the fitting. She reminisced about the experience of having the dress custom made, “Couture is a different ball game — the attention to detail, the seamstresses. It’s next level.”
Nicky with her latest handbag collection for Linea Pelle. She wears a gold metalic turtleneck by Georgine with a a skirt by Christian Siriano. Photography by Indira Cesarine Fashion Editor Indira Cesarine Make-up by Bernadine Bibiano Hair by Clay Nielsen Photographed at The Algonquin Hotel
NICKY HILTON 37
Amy Schumer dancing with Amber Rose in â€œMilk Milk Lemonadeâ€? music video, 2015.
The world of Comedy has long been labeled a ”boy’s club.” Not anymore. A new guard
of funny girls has arrived, merging two potent subjects: comedy and feminism. Many women have shaped our collective self-image through humor. Joan Rivers, Tina Fey, and Amy Sedaris taught us that the structure of comedic performance is surprisingly perfect for social dialogue. First, it’s entertainment, therefore any underlying political agenda that may inform it will be more digestible to the audience. Second, there are no ironclad standards of etiquette by which to abide. Anything goes, and that opens minds. Finally, it is a tool of empathy. The best comedy is the kind you can relate to, and since men dominate the industry, it’s high time the other half of the population got the microphone.
COMEDY GIRLS Enter the comediennes of the moment, who are contributing much more than dating jokes to film and television. They are writing their own scripts, producing, directing, acting, and, in turn, cutting their own checks. These women are smart, complex and intriguing, and are just as likely to swipe on lipstick as they are to pee in public.
of female friendships without drowning them in perfumed clichés. And we finally got it. “I listen to my pussy.” When Vanity Fair asked Amy Schumer how she balances comedy with political correctness, this is the answer they got. In the realm of comedy and satirical discourse, there are those who approach their subjects with subtlety and tact. Schumer is not one of them. The Manhattan-born stand-up comic comes from a lineage of badass women, including her bootlegger great-grandmother and kid sister Kimberly, a writer and producer on Schumer’s Comedy Central sketch series Inside Amy Schumer.
“It’s about two women; OK, it’s about New York City; OK it’s about Jews; OK, it’s about stoners.” Abbi Jacobson, one half of Comedy Central’s brilliant sitcom Broad City, has a difficult time locking down the core of her show because it’s actually pretty complex. A rare bird in the world of female-aimed television, Jacobson and co-writer Ilana Glazer’s show focuses on the impenetrable friendship of two hilarious women. Unlike many previous series that have examined camaraderie among ladies, Broad City pays equal attention to both characters, assigning the role of alpha to neither. It portrays a female friendship void of the petty competition and boy-crazed incentives that clog mainstream television. These are not the stiletto-stomping vixens of Sex and the City, but rather two down-and-out chicks trying to navigate their weed-filled midtwenties, their shitty jobs, and the G train.
Sparing no one, least of all herself, Schumer ends up in a variety of familiar situations on the show: at the gym, in meetings, on dates, and so on, but uproarious plot twists and vulgar dialogue quickly set these colloquial scenes ablaze. Often, her sketches function as critiques of our absurd self-obsessed culture, especially when it comes to the pressures women face in society. In one episode, Schumer scrambles around frantically in preparation for the arrival of her “fuck buddy,” traversing the gauntlet of modern female beautification rituals: the salon, the tanning booth, the waxing parlor. As she sits while getting a blow out, Schumer flips through the typical girlie rags, with satirically onpoint headlines like: “Hair down there? Kill yourself.” She peruses waxing menus that offer a variety of services such as “Asshole Re-shaping: Choose from diamond, heart or star” and the “Sphynx Cat Wax: He will think you never had hair on your entire body. Full hair and some skin removal.” Her character obliges immediately. In moments like these Schumer is at her comedic peak, scrutinizing the ludicrous, unrealistic and frankly unnatural things women subject themselves to for “beauty,” but also admitting that she too is guilty of falling for them. It’s this kind hypercritical and brutally honest perspective that lends complexity to Schumer’s otherwise dirty humor.
Jacobson and Glazer wrote the show after meeting at Upright Citizens Brigade, the comedy launchpad started by Broad City’s eventual Executive Producer, Amy Poehler. On the show, the girls play exaggerated versions of themselves. But while their TV personas may depict far messier portraits than the reality, the dynamic of their friendship is natural, honest, and endearing. If you’ve ever had a BFF that would come heroically to your bathroom to plunge your BM-embargoed toilet before a date sees (or smells) it, cling to her like she’s your very source of oxygen. The success of Broad City was an alchemic combination of hard work, serendipity, and a real demand for this new view of womanhood, interpreted through raunchy antics. We’ve been waiting a long time for a show that depicts the sheer joy and hilarity
Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer in Broad City on Comedy Central. Produced by Amy Poehler, 2014
Schaal pointedly highlights the double standard inherent in the dad bod craze, mentioning that if a woman had the dad bod belly, she wouldn’t be allowed on network television. “Admit it Jon – women will never be able to relax about their bodies the way that men can.” In another Daily Show segment, she tackles the wage gap between the sexes. When Stewart relays the prediction that women won’t achieve equal pay with men until 2058, Schaal snipes back, “We’re going to print human hearts out of a Xerox machine thirty years before women get pay equality. At this rate we’d be better off printing a 3D penis, slapping it on the bank counter and saying ‘Hey society, FUCK YOU, PAY ME!’” Amen, sister.
“Get a vibrator.” If Kristen Schaal could give any sexual advice to women, it would be this. “Women should know that it’s okay to masturbate, and they really should do it.” Schaal has been the go-to comedic actress for crazed and obsessive characters since her breakout role as Mel the stalker in HBO’s Flight of the Conchords. Delivering a unique brand of humor, Schaal constructs a complex female identity that is at once critical and empowering. In television and film roles, such as those she’s played on 30 Rock and Valentine’s Day, her persona ranges from psychotic and perverse to awkward and repressed, but never lacks in unsettling hilarity. As a stand-up comedian she works a similar angle, reciting such gems as “The Taint Monologues,” in which she waxes nasty, exalting a newly discovered region of her body.
According to Lena Dunham, “There is no such thing as a perfect feminist, and I am no exception. Some phrases that have left my lips in the past: ‘What a ho,’ ‘Hey, hooker,’ ‘Sup, slut.’” Whether you’re a fan of Girls or not, it’s impossible to discuss female perspectives in comedy without mentioning Lena Dunham and her show. Dunham’s HBO series has dissected a new cult of young adults, analyzing their relationship with body image, dating, and post-collegiate barista careers. Structurally the show is nothing groundbreaking, zooming in on the friendship, romantic endeavors, and professional lives of four women in New York. Girls’ tenacity instead lies in its details: the irksome sex scenes, idiosyncratic humor, and relevance to millennial urbanites. At the same time, many critics have sited its scope as being far too narrow, affixed point-blank at a slice of educated, middleclass twenty-somethings who spend far too much time navel-gazing.
Despite her in-character antics, Schaal is candid and intelligent in interviews, often discussing female sexuality, gender inequality, and beauty standards. In an interview with Conan O’Brien she spoke of her attempts at dating in high school, and how it was difficult for a girl like her. “I wasn’t hot. I was like, my own hot, which was a very specific hot to me that I still rock, but, it’s intimidating.” Schaal is fully aware that she’s not the centerfold kind of sexy, but she isn’t fazed by it. In fact, she’s taken the notion of sexiness into her own hands, co-writing The Sexy Book of Sexy Sex with her husband Rich Blomquist in 2010. The book is a hilarious, uncouth tome of guidance for ladies and gents alike. Brilliant sex advisor and comic though she is, her finest moments are as “Senior Women’s Issues Correspondent” on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Recently Schaal has appeared to discuss the absurdities of the “dad bod” trend, sarcastically rejoicing the fad. “What a great day for men! It’s time society finally accepted that a man’s body changes when he has kids. He’s spent nine months eating too much because his pregnant wife is stressing him out… he’s got to get out for pizza and beer as much as he can! Which is great news because now you don’t have to worry about magazines shoving an impossible body image down your throat!”
Dunham’s real-life story is a similar catalyst for this kind of ambivalence. There is no doubt that her role as creator, writer, director, and star of Girls has codified her as a woman of action. She is ambitious, intelligent, and eager to discuss her responsibilities as a feminist. Dunham has been quoted as saying: “We need more female showrunners…it’s our responsibility [as women] to bolster each other and guide each other, and mentor each other, and be present for each other, because otherwise, it can be a crazy battle.”
With that being said, Dunham’s personal battle may have been less crazy than the average woman’s. Born and raised in New York City to artist parents, she was afforded a private education at St. Ann’s school, as well as a community of culturati to look up to. Landing her first Vogue interview at age eleven, she was astute enough in the language of affluence to have opinions on Jil Sander and Calvin Klein before hitting middle school. It isn’t fair to attribute all of Dunham’s success to her economic pedigree, but not mentioning it seems unfair. The importance of her work doesn’t lie in class analysis or even her show; the key role she plays in feminism now is that she is running her own career in a field dominated by men. She is leading by example, not theory. It’s not about the content of Girls, it’s about its existence at the hands of a determined woman. “I’m a comedian and a human. And a woman…with a vagina.” Stand-up comic, actress, and creator of the viral short Marcel The Shell With Shoes On, Jenny Slate is nothing if not self-aware. Her most recent projects include stints on the FX comedy series Married, as well as appearances on Parks and Recreation, but she really stole our hearts last summer with her performance as Donna Stern in Gillian Robespierre’s Obvious Child. The film centers on twenty-something comedian Donna, who strikes a trifecta of misfortune when she gets dumped, loses her job and winds up pregnant after a drunken night of sexual rebounding. Unlike most pregnancy-centric RomComs it is clear early on that Donna will not keep the baby.
Aubrey Plaza in The To-Do List. Directed By Maggie Carey - The Mark Gordon Company, 2013
suffered in 2004, and her latest projects, the latter of which she harbors the least enthusiasm for.
Though Obvious Child dissects the specifically female experience of coping with unplanned pregnancy, Slate, along with writer/director Robespierre, assert that the film is empathetic to anyone, man or woman, who may find themselves in the same conundrum. In an interview following the film’s release, Slate claimed, “It’s a human experience. The movie is really for any gender. The comedy is really strong and genderless.” This statement is not only indicative of the film, but also of Slate’s personal brand of comedy. Her willingness to make jokes about genderless phenomena, or more bluntly, smelly bodily functions, lands her a special place in the dominion of contemporary female identity.
Plaza is an interesting woman in show business. While the aforementioned performers are not afraid of displaying feminine behavior, they aren’t overtly sexualized or dolled-up in their roles. Plaza, on the other hand, has a Cosmopolitan editorial shoot under her belt and is irrefutably sexy on and off set, donning sparkly little nothings of dresses and full makeup. Yet despite her glamorous appearance, Plaza’s personality exudes all the sex appeal of a resentful librarian with PTSD. Her attitude recalls the anti-social heroines of the late 90s and early aughts: Daria, Clea DuVall’s Stokely in The Faculty, and Enid from Ghost World. These characters were revolutionary in the world of teen girl identity: the intelligent gals who didn’t give a shit where they sat in the cafeteria, or whether the quarterback thought they were “pretty.” It was an important monument to erect in pop culture, and now that it’s a familiar archetype, it can become more complex. Plaza’s duality as sex icon and razor-witted nerd with social anxiety is enlightening. By being visually at odds with her demeanor — at least according to conventional renderings of “hot chicks” – she is being true to her self, and that’s commendable.
A phoenix of sorts in the comedy world, Slate has dusted off every fleck of ash since she got fired from SNL for dropping the f-bomb in 2009. Slate’s career exists in a space that contests gender stereotypes: she is certainly not denying her femininity by behaving in an overtly masculine manner, but she is also not a buxom bombshell objectifying herself for the sake of “sexual empowerment.” During an interview with PopSugar, Slate was asked by host Matthew Rodrigues, “Any advice for a girl that farts on the first date?” to which she sensibly replied, “Own it. We all have human bodies. You say ‘Oops! I’m alive! My body works.’” This rejection of the dainty, Stepford-wife ethos imposed upon women by mainstream media makes Slate particularly relevant today.
Though comedy is not a traditional approach to feminism, its heightened prevalence in entertainment culture has created new space for social discourse. Its broad audience is ingesting more diverse content than ever before, relaying the perspective of more and more women. All of these talented comedians are teaching thousands of young women that being progressive can take many forms, from becoming an HBO maven to owning your less “ladylike” moments. It isn’t as though the presence of these feminists has castrated sexism once and for all; there is still a jagged uphill battle before we achieve equality, and it is one that necessitates awareness of complicated factors such as class, race, and sexual orientation. But laughter in the face of inequality is a great start.
If you ask Aubrey Plaza what her favorite scene from her 2013 film The To Do List was, she’ll tell you. “I liked angrily masturbating.” Perhaps the most difficult performer to read of those discussed, Plaza’s deadpan character April Ludgate on Parks and Recreation bears a striking behavioral resemblance to the real-life actress. She has referred to herself as “the worst interview guest ever,” noting her unsettling awkwardness on talk shows. Watching her interact with David Letterman leaves one alternately chuckling and wincing as she dryly discusses her love of alcohol, the stroke she
Article by Madison Bloom
ART THAT CHANGED H I STO RY
Writer and art critic Lucy R. Lippard once said that feminist art is not just a style or a
movement, but also “a value system, a revolutionary strategy, a way of life.” It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly when a range of shared opinions and collective experiences became the movement we now know as feminism, but most consider the 1960s and 70s as the height for feminist art, with trailblazers such as Judy Chicago, Martha Rosler and Barbara Kruger making waves in the male-dominated art scene. This doesn’t mean that women artists didn’t exist until the latter half of the twentieth century, though. They were, however, brutally marginalised and relegated to the fringes of history. Thanks to the feminist art movement, there has been a gradual decline of gender discrimination in art, but there is still more work to do. In honour of these fabulous females, we take a look at five works that made feminist art the movement it is today.
Femme Maison - Louise Bourgeois, 1946-1947
Cut Piece - Yoko Ono, 1964
Although practicing long before the feminist art movement, French artist Louise Bourgeois explored traditional feminine roles in a variety of ways. The founder of confessional art, Bourgeois’ work follows a personal narrative. Although mainly inspired by her childhood memories, she also documented her experiences as an adult, and her stories are relatable on a wide scale. She is best known for her spider sculptures. However, it is her Femme Maisons, or Woman Houses, that are so powerful they reduced art critics to tears. Femme Maisons are a series of paintings depicting nude female figures whose heads have been replaced with houses. The faces are obscured by the architectural elements, symbolising how traditional duties can isolate women and create a sensation of lost identity. The artworks are inspired by Bourgeois’ marriage and her struggle to adapt to domesticity. Bourgeois viewed her new role as wife and mother as a barrier to her artistic voice.
Known by most as the artist who married John Lennon, in the art world Japanese artist Yoko Ono is renowned for her performance art, in particular Cut Piece. An early example of feminist art, Ono casually sat on stage and invited audience members to cut off pieces of her clothing. The performance was an exploration of the notion that women are little more than sexual objects, as well as gender subordination, sexual violence and invasion of personal space. It was originally presented in Tokyo, but the follow-up performance at New York’s Carnegie Hall is more famous due to the aggressive behaviour of the audience. At the start of the show, Ono’s face is blank and she remains motionless. But as the performance progresses, she clearly becomes uncomfortable and eventually the dress is left in tatters. This performance ended when a man cut the straps on Ono’s bra, forcing the artist to hold it up with her hands to prevent her breasts from being revealed.
The Dinner Party - Judy Chicago, 1974-1979
Branded - Jenny Saville, 1992
Judy Chicago’s The Dinner Party is a milestone in twentieth century creativity. Tired of women being omitted from history, the American artist produced a massive ceremonial vulva-themed banquet table, consisting of thirty-nine uniquely crafted place settings, each commemorating a fascinating mythical or important woman from history. The triangular table has three “Wings,” each dedicated to a different era of history, and each distinct place setting (the majority of which are styled in vagina-esque form) is composed of a table runner embroidered with the woman’s name, images and symbols relating to her accomplishments. As well as celebrating individuals, the installation also commends traditionally female talents, such as the textile arts of embroidery, sewing, weaving and the “craft” or domestic art of china painting. The Dinner Party is now considered by many to be the first epic feminist art work, and when it was first completed in 1979, it fought art world resistance to tour sixteen venues in six countries, eventually reaching an audience of 15 million. Since 2007 it sits as part of the permanent collection of the Brooklyn Museum.
Credited with reinventing the self-portrait, Jenny Saville’s paintings do not conform to the Western beauty ideal. Instead they question its values, interrogating not only standards of attractiveness in fine art but also in society. Using thick brush strokes and layers of oil paint, Saville gives dimension and character to various interpretations of her body. Turning the concept of the male gaze on its head, she enlarges, distorts and mutilates her image on the canvas. A recurring theme is the grimly realistic representations of plastic surgery patients, before and during surgery, showing the horror of extreme beauty. Others are more abstract, distorted in a style similar to that of Francis Bacon, covering the entirety of the frame as not to be ignored. Branded (1992), one of Saville’s earliest paintings, is a depiction of Saville’s face on an obese frame, portraying the opposite of the anorexic-looking models seen on magazine covers. With an arrogant smirk on her face, Saville grips the folds of skin on her stomach, seemingly showing off her excess fat to the viewer presenting an in-your-face breakdown of reality and imperfection.
Do Women Have To Be Naked To Get Into The Met. Museum? - Guerrilla Girls, 1989
My Bed - Tracey Emin, 1998 The most controversial readymade since Marcel Duchamp’s Fountain, Tracey Emin’s My Bed not only broke taboos about female suffering and sexuality, but also taught young woman that they are not alone in harbouring these feelings. Through empty vodka bottles, rumpled sheets and bloodstained underwear, Emin not only portrayed the pain of her own emotional breakdown, but that of a generation. Emin was as shocking and enticing as the piece itself. Few artists have so readily disclosed their emotions, their sexual adventures, the pain and chaos of their lives. This March My Bed returned to London’s Tate Modern, where it was first shown sixteen years ago. Many claim the piece has lost its shock value, but whether or not it has, My Bed still challenges societal norms and the idea that women cannot make artwork that stands the test of time.
American activist group the Guerrilla Girls are self-proclaimed “feminist masked avengers.” Since the punk heroines formed in 1985, the gorilla has been their signature, and appears in the majority of their protest posters. The group exposes sexism, racism and corruption through the visual language of advertising, drawing attention to inequalities in contemporary culture. Do Women Have To Be Naked To Get Into The Met. Museum? (1989) highlights the disparity between the number of men and women in art galleries. An image of classic nude Odalisque With Slave by Jean-AugusteDominique Ingres (1842) in a gorilla mask, the poster is inscribed with: “Less than five percent of the artists in Modern Art Sections are women, but eighty-five percent of the nudes are female.” Today, their work is in the collection of over sixty cultural institutions, and last year the Whitney Museum acquired their portfolio of eightyeight posters.
Article by Sophie Lloyd
DISPELLING THE LABELS THAT TAKE WOMEN DOWN Sluts rock, as the 2001 the cult favorite “Wet Hot American Summer” shared with us.
Words of wisdom, but us sluts already knew that. Fourteen years later, we have finally entered an era where slut shaming is considered a crime worse that acting like a slut. As Vogue columnist and founder of the sex positive blog Slutever, Karley Sciortino defines the word, a “slut” is simply a “sexually successful” person. Perhaps the most socially shocking aspect of her definition is that she uses the word “person” rather than “woman.” The most popular definition of “slut” on Urban Dictionary is “a woman with the morals of a man.” Sciortino isn’t the only feminist working to debunk such sexist labels, and “slut” certainly isn’t the only word that needs a makeover. A few other candidates include: “whore,” “crazy,” “bitch,” and “cunt,” but for the sake of this article let’s set the lens to focus on “slut” – considerably the most virulent of the batch. Sluts rock for many reasons, but namely because they have sex when they want it, how they want it, and they enjoy and feel empowered doing so. The frequency in which or number of partners with which they do it is nobody else’s business. personal and political discussions around female sexuality and sexual identity. Shame is a toxic emotional state that can lead to self-loathing and depression, and differs from guilt in that you do not actually have to have done anything wrong to experience it. It is commonly undeserved. “Contrary to what some might infer from the name, our goal is not really to reclaim the word slut,” says Korvette. “I personally think the term can be used mindfully and subversively to call attention to destructive discourses about female sexuality, but I’m not for throwing it around carelessly just to be scandalous. I recognize that the word affects every woman differently, so I am in no way advocating a singular position about the ‘s-word.’ There has to be nuance, above all else. That said, I savor anyone taking it back in their own way.” Korvette, like many activists, is not demanding women begin casually using the word in their own vocabulary or turning it into a compliment, but for a peaceful disarming of it’s destructive core. In its own way, Slutist is one organization fighting an antiquated patriarchal cultural mindset. “‘Slut’ is often used as a label to punish women for taking up too much space, for asking for too much, for behaving as if they were men when it comes to sex and sexuality,” says Korvette. “In
For an emerging generation of feminists, such labels are becoming re-appropriated as women who were once on the receiving end of the insult chain take them back as their own. Kristen Korvette is the founder and “editrix-in-chief” of the feminist blog Slutist, as well as a freelance writer, curator, and lecturer at The New School. Slutist was formed after Korvette was inspired by the first SlutWalk in Toronto in 2011. She was also called to action in 2012 after the public slut shaming of attorney and women’s rights activist Sandra Fluke, after the lawyer spoke out at a Congressional hearing on birth control. (You may recall Fluke was called a “slut” and “prostitute” by Rush Limbaugh for her support of women’s access to birth control). “As someone who has experienced pushback from both friends, family and strangers for my sexual expression, but who also felt largely left out by mainstream feminist discourse, I decided it was the right time to tackle sex positive feminism in a digital venue from the perspectives of (mostly) artists, so we could talk about issues and ideas that intrigue, frustrate, inspire and affect us,” explains Korvette. Slutist’s mission is to fight stigma and remove shame from both
that sense, ‘slutism’ would be owning your sexuality and getting what you desire without shame. ‘Slutist’ is a declaration of identity in that sense; it’s embracing the ‘yes’ of sex and desire, whatever that means for you.”
and since I went through something similar beginning at age eleven, I felt compelled to do something,” she says. “I had kept really detailed diaries throughout the years I was sexually bullied, and posting them online seemed like it would be a new way to reach girls who needed to know they weren’t alone, while at the same time providing a first-person, unfiltered perspective of a girl going through sexual bullying for adults who might have forgotten just how overwhelming that experience can be.” Since then, The UnSlut Project has grown into a supportive, collaborative space where people can share their own experiences with sexual bullying and slut shaming. The UnSlut Project is selling t-shirts that read “Define Slut,” allowing the wearer to reclaim the word in a very direct and personal manner, and force all those who glance at their chest to think about what the word really means. It makes sense that the women on the frontier of reclaiming, reworking, and rewriting these harmful labels are doing it through writing, film, or fine art. Artists are born with an inherent bravery coupled with introspective qualities that often compels them to question and comment on such negative stereotypes.
When asked if she had ever been labeled herself, Korvette replied, “Absolutely. I hung out in the fetish/goth scene in high school and found my approach to sexuality hit a nerve with some people in my family and friends circle. I was never bullied the way many women are, although I have been sexually assaulted multiple times for being perceived to ‘want it,’” she explained. “Some men assume that a woman being sexually open and living without shame somehow means she’s giving her automatic consent for whatever, which is absolutely not true.” She hopes that Slutist can inject some thoughtful and fun contributions to contemporary sexpositive feminist dialogue, through features such as their “Slut of the Month” column, which profiles women of diverse backgrounds to answer questions regarding sexuality and how they feel about the word. “We aren’t out to make ‘slut’ a household word, but we are out to make you think twice before you make assumptions about a woman’s sexuality or judge her sexual expression,” says Korvette. “It’s a feature with the message that’s basically saying, if everyone is a ‘slut’ then no one is a ‘slut.’”
Going with Sciortino’s definition that all the word “slut” means is a sexually successful person: what is it about that quality in women that is so heinous that it’s become the weapon of choice for bullying, be it online or in classrooms? Along with their effort to take back the word “slut,” all the women featured in this article have something in common – they are powerful, successful, and beautiful crusaders of societal change. Perhaps what is so threatening about “sluts” isn’t their sexual actions or ownership of it, or even their sexual power – it’s that beyond sexuality, these women are comfortable in their own skin. The bullies have succeeded; their verbal attacks became burned into their memory. Yet rather than shrink and make themselves small, they transformed the cruelty into popular blogs, exhibited art, and documentary films. So, it would appear that these so-called sluts are successful, period. And a successful woman is something that bullies have always found terrifying.
“Think twice” is some good advice. Due to bullying beyond rational comprehension, strings of sexual assault survivors’ lives are quite literally at stake such as seventeen-year-old Rehtaeh Parsons who hung herself as a result of horrific online bullying when photos of her gang rape emerged. This particularly evil strain of slut shaming led another woman, Emily Lindin, to create a film based on the success of her already thriving website, The UnSlut Project. UnSlut: A Documentary Film speaks to family and friends of Parsons (among others). The UnSlut Project began two years ago, when Lindin decided to post her middle school diaries online. “I had heard too many stories of girls who had decided to take their own lives after being labeled a ‘slut’ by their classmates,
Artiicle by Sophie Saint Thomas
caledonia curry AKA SWOON TALKS ABOUT HER INSPIRATIONS AND PROCESS WHILE JENNIFER CAVIOLA AKA CAKE SHARES HER ANGST WITH THE ART WORLD
Swoon “Recovery Diaspora”, 2014 Houston Street, New York City
“One of my philosophies of art is that the closer you make things to who you truly are in the time and place
that you truly occupy, the more universal they will become. That means to me really embracing what it means to be a woman in this moment, right now, making art. I do think that being able to sit more comfortably with my gender and express that in my work has become more important.” In the traditionally male-dominated medium of street art, Swoon has singlehandedly redefined a once-intractable status quo in becoming the first woman to reach the same level of fame as her male counterparts. The physical and logistical perils of street art has often precluded participation by many female artists. Yet Swoon has managed to circumvent the obstacles of her profession’s illegality by way of her rapid ascension to fame and subsequent decision to work exclusively on commission. Her reach expands from decaying warehouses to the permanent collections at prestigious museums to collective third-world art projects rooted in activism. Her ambitious body of work has been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, the Brooklyn Museum of Art, and the Tate Modern, among many others. at the Pratt Institute. “I wanted to make something that was unconventional and was contemporary and was part of the city. I moved to New York and I was obsessed with it.”
Swoon, aka Caledonia Dance Curry, was born in New London, Connecticut, and raised in Daytona Beach, Florida. Though substance abuse and mental illness run in her family, she never succumbed to either, crediting art as her savior. “I have never been through substance addictions myself and…I think that probably more than anything is because I started painting when I was ten.” Nine years later, she moved to New York to study painting
While attending Pratt, she began taking her art to the street, canvassing decaying buildings with wheat pasted portraits. She fantasized about creating art from linoleum blocks, but instead,
She recently returned from Philadelphia, where she was invited to be a part of the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Programs’ newest and most ambitious exhibit in its history, Open Source: Engaging Audiences in Public Space. For it, she joined thirteen other renowned street artists to create temporary works that envelop the entire city (the exhibit runs through fall 2015). Each individual project aims — per the objectives of the organization — to address issues ranging from criminal justice and behavioral health to immigration and recycling, by engaging with various at-risk communities in Philadelphia. For Swoon, this meant working hands-on with recovering substance abuse patients as well as maximum-security prison detainees. “Just talking to [these] people about early life trauma and how that relates to where they are…it definitely is the first time that I’m working completely from personal experience.” While it may be her first project that hits so close to home, the integration of emotional rehabilitation into her work is part of what defines it.
settled on a medium that better fit her budget. “I just started looking at what I can afford, which was just a sheet of paper and a knife.” Early in her career, not only did she not tag her work, but she also kept her gender under wraps. “I think that this thing happens with young women where there’s almost a feeling that if your gender becomes a focus, then you’ll become pigeonholed…I think that in really subtle ways, patriarchy has continued to vilify feminism, and so it’s natural when you’re young to not want to necessarily identify with [it].” In 2009, Swoon executed her visionary performance art project Swimming Cities of Serenissima — a massive “floating metropolis” that she constructed out of found materials and foraged junk which she then transformed into a series of seven rafts, and on which she and thirty of her friends floated into the Venice Biennale, figuratively and literally “crashing” the city’s esteemed annual art festival. “When I first started working on the raft so much of what I was thinking about with those images of these floating cities,
Swoon, “Murmuration” 2012, Black Rat Projects, London
She recently launched the Heliotrope Foundation, a non-profit designed to support three long-term projects she’s been working on in three different countries. “Each of these three projects is on the ground…We’re working with the communities in a long-term way, and there’s a lot of different elements involved, but the central aim is to create space within these communities that are struggling.” The first of the community art trinity takes place in Braddock, Pennsylvania. “We’re working with the community on a formerly abandoned church, to restore it in a really creative way. And we hope eventually to create an arts and learning center by and for that people there.” She launched the second project of the series in Haiti after the devastating 2010 earthquake, connecting with the small village of Cormier, located on the north coast of the island. The foundation has already built a community center and several homes, which they’ve constructed with assistance from local farmers (one of the homes, underway currently, is fashioned entirely from bamboo). “One is just another long-term relationship with the community that started around rebuilding after this disaster, and that developed into a relationship with this
was rising seas and climate change, and instability of cities built along the coast. At the time that I made them people weren’t as open in mainstream media about climate change.” The rafts later found their home as part of her groundbreaking solo exhibition, Submerged Motherlands at Brooklyn Museum of Art from April 11 – August 24, 2014. Swoon made history with the project, becoming the first living street artist ever to be exhibited at the Brooklyn Museum. Submerged Motherlands became as a whole, an emotionally cathartic process for Swoon who in the midst of its construction underwent a life-changing event. “At the time when I was making this whole installation my mom also became sick with cancer and passed away…I ended up finding a narrative that had to do with me losing my mother and losing that kind of space that you’re born from.” Her mother’s death was a time of reflection and selfdiscovery that, along with inspiring a stronger feminine thread in her work, would compel her to face darker memories from her past. Swoon has found herself gravitating more and more toward work that integrates art therapy and that encompasses social dialogue.
Left and above: Swoon street art, Brooklyn, New York.
place where we’re working with the kids, we’re working with the adults, we’re building structures, and also, we’re building relationships.” The third project is in New Orleans and began after Katrina. “It’s much more based around wonder and beauty and experimentation. We started with this house that was collapsing and we were making this musical sculpture with it, and then it fell down. Then, we took the pieces and rebuilt it into these small musical structures. The community embraced it so hugely that we have continued it.”
touch with who I am as a woman and with my desire to just show up really personally in my work. So I think in that way when your own story becomes very central, then who you are as a woman becomes very central…the project that I’m working on right now, where I just came from in Philadelphia, it very, very, very much came out of the work that started around the time of my mother’s death.” Swoon is currently in talks with MASS MoCa about a future installation. Sidled with so many projects, she’s looking forward to taking a breather and finding artistic respite away from the frenetic energy of NYC. “I’m leaving for two months just to draw, to not be in New York City, and to just be drawing.” The drawings will be largely inspired by the time she spent recently in Philadelphia. “It’s so necessary that we talk about addiction and trauma and incarceration. [And I was] reminded not forget the other pieces that make the conversation…We need to have elements of beauty and we need to have elements of joy and wonderment. That has to be part of the conversation for our own sanity. You know?”
Fostering community is something that comes organically to Swoon and thus is increasingly becoming an extension of her creative process. “How do I make something not just for people who feel they are invited into a museum space? Because not everybody feels that way…I think in a lot of ways I didn’t feel that way…it felt really natural for me to make something that was going to be more accessible to more people.” Forging her identity as a female artist has also become increasingly natural for her as she evolves creatively. “[Submerged Motherlands] brought me in
Cake, New York
Cake, Bowery Street, New York
“Wheat pasters are like the art school kids. I’m totally jealous of hardcore graffiti artists. I wish I was
that hardcore. I’m not. I’m a wheat paster. I know what I am, you know.” Jennifer Caviola also known as “Cake” is a street artist on the rise in New York City. Though she came up within the same cohort as Swoon at the Pratt Institute, she has faced and still faces a number of significant hurdles as she seeks to achieve recognition for her work — hurdles that include figuring out how to monetize her artwork – much of which is presented in the public sphere and at her own expense. Not to mention the challenges of trying to scale an industry that is dominated by men. “I think that when I’m out there with other street artists or just other artists…I can look at some of the work that comes out of the male artists and I’m just as good, if not better than them and I don’t understand why I’m not where they are. I really don’t…I know I’m a good painter. I work hard and I feel it in my bones. I put everything that I have into it.” To be fair, Cake is more than a good painter; she’s a phenomenal and prolific painter. Over the past ten years she has made a name for herself as one of the most prominent female street artists, using public space as a “platform to express her support of women through a voice of solidarity.” She has had installations in New York City, Berlin, Chicago, Miami, Iran, and many more around the US, including a public commission for The Gateway Project’s Mural in Newark Penn Station titled “Cast the Burden and the Light Will Impress”. Her recognizable style, which features figurative portraits of women, has been widely documented and exhibited also in galleries gaining her praise from art critics and fans alike. Despite her numerous installations, exhibits and press in publications such as Vogue Italia, Complex Magazine, Paper Magazine, and The Huffington Post, she still has a hard time translating her artwork into a viable career. “Often that’s my first go to, like ‘you guys won’t believe the press I get!’” While the starving artist look is often cast as romantic, it doesn’t pay the rent. “My problem is that I can’t even pay my bills right now, I really can’t.” Although more than 50% of art school graduates are women, few are able to make their mark in the art scene, with contemporary galleries and museums today still presenting a vast majority of works by male artists. Statistically the number of female artists with gallery representation is also signifiacntly lower, thus impacting their ability to aquire serious collectors.
received a BFA from Pratt in painting, as well as an MFA from Parsons. “I went to Pratt with Swoon and Polina Soloveichik. Polina was my best friend and she was doing street art, and so I was a witness to all of it…” Shortly after leaving school the allure of street art finally took hold of her. “When I graduated Parsons I literally started obsessing over graffiti. I loved how it looked, I loved the grimy feel to it, and I loved the pops of color on a decaying building, I couldn’t get enough of it.” Indeed, soon enough her work began to appear throughout the streets of New York City. “The Bowery Wall, those three girls were wheat pasted. I did those in my studio in Red Hook and installed them in two days…I thought they would be gone in a week. They were up for a year and not one of those corners peeled.”
Cake’s grandmother, an artist who specialized in Chinese brushwork and watercolors, taught her to paint from the age of nine. She started exhibiting her work at the age of sixteen, and
Cake’s art work will be featured in The Untitled Magazine’s #GirlPower exhibit this fall at The Untitled Space gallery as part of our ongoing “Women in Art” series supporting female artists.
Her dark, romantic nature would influence the style she has become known for: beautifully haunting, feminine portraits. “I like the expression in the face. I like the eyes. I like to mix this kind of like stoic, disconnected look, but bring forth some sort of emotion like sadness.” In addition to Cake’s street art, her acrylic on wood paintings display a maturity as an artist, with not only a consistent and relevant style, but a visual language of femininity that evokes strength juxtaposed with venerability. “These women, they have stories and these stories are available to those who care to listen. Each painting is its own allegory.”
In an age where gender equality in theory is almost universally supported, there are still some strongholds
where a woman’s presence makes people feel uncomfortable. One of these is the world of politics, which revolves around power and money, two things traditionally tied to testosterone. But with the idea of a female president becoming ever more possible in the 2016 elections, politics are opening up to young women across the country. Just like Obama normalized the idea of a black president, more high profile women are normalizing the idea of women in the political realm. Leaders are often perceived as having certain qualities – strength under pressure, integrity, high ideals, and a Y chromosome. Many still think “leader” equals “male,” likely from living in a patriarchal society where men are expected to be head of the household. This stereotype is changing, evolving as our culture evolves with the digital era of communication. Young women, as young as eighteen years old, are being elected to office these days, often through the means of campaigning via social media and the internet, aside from traditional campaign initiatives.
G I R L S
Appointed in January 2015 to the House Armed Services Committee, thirty-one-year-old Elise Stefanik recently became the youngest woman ever elected to Congress as New York’s twenty-first Congressional Representative in 2014. After graduating from Harvard in 2006, she worked as part of the Domestic Policy Council under the George W. Bush administration, followed by stints at the office of the White House Chief of Staff under Joshua Bolten, as communications director for the Foreign Policy Initiative, and as policy director for Tim Pawlenty during his 2012 presidential campaign. After managing Paul Ryan’s debate preparation while he ran for Vice President in 2012, she returned to her upstate home to help run her family’s small business, and used this experience to build a platform for her 2014 campaign.
Just like the introduction of televised debates during the Kennedy versus Nixon election of the 1960s, social media has revolutionized how campaigns are carried out. Candidates can now appeal directly to the voters through a Facebook page, Twitter, or online videos, and many young people, both men and women, are taking advantage of this newfound accessibility. In the 2008 election, the Obama campaign identified these untapped resources, and utilized them to gain the support of young people and first-time voters. It also allowed for a more controlled media presence. Obama didn’t have to rely on popular media to give interviews. As Mitchem-Rassmussen said, Obama could easily make statements “through his website and his YouTube, and [send] directly to email with the embedded video clip… It did really revolutionize the way that you can communicate and the way that you can fundraise.”
As the first American-Samoan and first Hindu member of Congress, as well as one of its first female combat veterans, Tulsi Gabbard, a thirty-four-year-old US Representative for the state of Hawaii, bucks all kinds of stereotypes. She was also the youngest woman elected to state legislature, having previously served in the Hawaii House of Representatives from 2002 to 2004, at the age of twenty-one.
That same savvy was important for Saira Blair, who rallied for support by setting up a Facebook page and posting campaign fliers with the ever-familiar tagline, “Like and Share!” And people did. Campaigning this way brings politics into the twenty-first century and gets the attention of the millennial generation, notable for their tolerance and acceptance of people from diverse backgrounds. Most millennials believe in equal opportunity for women, so it makes sense that they would support their efforts in politics.
In 2014, eighteen-year-old Saira Blair became the youngest state lawmaker in the nation, male or female. She ran for the West Virginia House of Delegates, beating out incumbent Larry Kump for the Republican nomination before going on to defeat the Democratic nominee, Layne Diehl, in the general election by a landslide. Blair had some familiarity with running for public office; her father is a Republican in the West Virginia Senate. But to do so at the age of seventeen, before actually being eligible to vote, is inarguably gutsy. Perhaps that’s what women in politics need – the fresh, optimistic ambition of a young generation of girls who think, “Why not run for office out of my college dorm room?”
Mitchem-Rassmussen notes that finding women as role models is not about individual biases. “Any woman who actively takes a role in leading and puts her face out there as a leader, to me, is a role model. Even if I don’t agree with her position, she may inspire another woman who does.” But it is also important to treat these women as politicians first, without emphasizing gender at all. With Hillary, so much media attention is focused on her bid as the first serious female presidential contender that much of her policy gets lost in the storm.
Kimberly Mitchem-Rassmussen, co-founder of the Political Institute for Women and founder of Girls in Politics, says the visibility of women in politics in the 1990s was likely a huge factor that helped to normalize the idea of women’s leadership. “These young women who are in their thirties, they were girls when they saw an article on Blanche Lincoln. So they see someone leading. These consistent images of women in leadership positions create that normalcy.”
In local government, it is more normalized for women to be involved. Just like in the private sector, the general population is more comfortable with women assisting those in power. This bias creates a dilemma, because while assisting positions are important, women must be able to move just as easily into more powerful roles when it is natural to do so.
R U L E Saira Blair, 18, Elected West Virginia House of Delegates
separated me from other politicians because it made me seem like a normal, down-to-earth girl who you could hang out with in the local pub.”
This raises another issue at hand for women who must navigate their own way, no matter how many role models take a chisel to the glass ceiling. Succession planning can be extremely important for “continuity of governing,” as Mitchem-Rassmussen puts it. But many women are too busy “keeping a toe-hold in their position” to groom a successor. “When a woman gets elected to office, she often stays in office or in a leadership position longer than she’d like to, because she hasn’t nurtured another young woman who’s like-minded to come in to take her place. Men do it all the time. Not for any altruistic reasons; if you get a guy who’s cut in your mould to come in and run the organization and take your seat, you can be sure that the policies will be consistent, and you will continue to benefit from the work you’ve done.”
Similarly, when Obama listed his favorite movies, music and interests on his Facebook page, it not only made him relatable and likeable but also helped to humanize him to those eager to dismiss him based on superficial qualities like his race. The same could be true for women who feel pigeonholed by gender. When Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg admitted to falling asleep during a session because of a little too much to drink, many found it charming. Saira Blair has been photographed eating and working on her phone during sessions, and is open about trying to juggle school with campaigning. For the politician of the future, being authentic and transparent first makes a commitment to important issues more believable.
A big selling point for women politicians is “transparency.” Used as a buzzword in women’s campaigns, it plays on their perceived openness and willingness to work with the community. This is why the attacks on Hillary Clinton for not being transparent enough could be so devastating. For male politicians, transparency isn’t the focal point. They can continue in public service despite telling outright lies, not unlike Hillary’s husband. Buzzwords and branding may nudge women into an elected seat, but women should not be defined simply by “transparency” or their “community focus.” Their platforms are as diverse as those of their male counterparts.
For Mitchem-Rassmussen, social media is only a tool and not the solution for an equalized political field. “You can use social media to start a fire,” she says, “but does it start a fire that actually leads to changing legislation? We are talking about politics. If it’s not about votes, it doesn’t matter. If it’s not getting ink to paper and getting a bill signed, it doesn’t matter.” She says that for change to happen, it “needs to be fought for… If you look back historically, for every major gain in rights or opportunity, people had to force it. Everybody knew that the Civil Rights Act was the right thing to do, but it was something that had to be pushed through Congress.” Many European countries have mandates in place for women’s participation, but in the United States, there is no such system.
Another buzzword for the new generation of politics is “authenticity.” Campaigning via social media brings candidates to the voter’s level, helping them appear more relatable. Fearing scandals, some politicians try to hide their private lives behind a polished exterior, complete with a flag pin. This might have been the ticket for an older generation of voters, who put stock in professionalism and respectability, but these qualities are not so paramount to the new generation, which values realness more readily. Take the case of Emma Kiernan, who was elected to the Fine Gael Newbridge Town Council in Ireland in spite of, or some may say because of, a scandalous Facebook photo of a night out with girlfriends. Leaked by Kiernan’s ex-boyfriend, the incident was termed “Boobgate” in the local media. But his stunt backfired by bringing attention – some of it positive – to Kiernan’s campaign. She ultimately won the vote, and in retrospect was thankful for the breach, saying, “It
With women making increasing headway into the world of politics, transparency and authenticity are the touchstones of a new set of values developing within the political arena. As a new generation accepts female representation as the norm, the same values are applied to both male and female candidates, so that there is a lessening gap between a “female politician” and a “politician” period. And while women seeking positions of power continue to encounter criticism within the current social structure, MitchemRassmussen encourages them to forge ahead, saying, “There’s nothing wrong with being persistent.” Article by Lydia Snyder
If all goes according to Hillary Rodham Clinton’s master plan, she will not only become the
most powerful woman in the world, but arguably the most powerful person on the planet. With her presidential campaign in full swing, she is already a force to be reckoned with. After months of speculation over whether the Democrat would make a second run for the White House, following her failed attempt in 2008, Clinton finally threw her hat in the ring on April 12, 2015. Her delivery method was tech savvy: a tweet and a video with the message, “Everyday Americans need a champion, and I want to be that champion.” If successful in her 2016 presidential bid, Clinton will have shattered the last and the highest proverbial glass ceiling in existence for American women. During her 2008 concession speech, when she lost the Democratic primary to Barack Obama, Clinton described the primary votes cast for her as cracks in “that highest, hardest glass ceiling,” but she also acknowledged the gender gap. “I am a woman and, like millions of women, I know there are still barriers and biases out there, often unconscious, and I want to build an America that respects and embraces the potential of every last one of us.”
HILLARY’S TIME on Women in China, in which she famously said, “If there is one message that echoes forth from this conference, let it be that human rights are women’s rights and women’s rights are human rights, once and for all.” During a 2012 keynote address at an International Crisis Group awards dinner, Clinton said, “Women are the largest untapped reservoir of talent in the world.” The then Secretary of State added, “It is past time for women to take their rightful place, side by side with men, in the rooms where the fates of people, where their children’s and grandchildren’s fates, are decided.”
From an early age Clinton was shaped by a very strong female presence in her life – her mother, Dorothy Howell Rodham, who passed away in 2011 at the age of ninety-two. During a Democratic debate in 2007, in Clinton’s first run for the White House, she was asked who her greatest inspiration was and she cited her mother. “When I was growing up, I didn’t think I would run for president, but I could not be standing here without the women’s movement, without generations of women who broke down barriers, the Civil Rights movement that gave women and people of color the feeling that they were really part of the American dream. So I owe the opportunity that I have here today to many people, some of whom are known to history and many who aren’t. But more personally, I owe it to my mother, who never got a chance to go to college, who had a very difficult childhood, but who gave me a belief that I could do whatever I set my mind to.”
Many of Clinton’s critics, including the more than dozen Republicans who are vying for their party’s presidential nomination, argue that she is dishonest, untrustworthy, and therefore should not be President. They cite her failure to disclose emails and her use of a private server during her time as Secretary of State under President Barack Obama. The 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya that killed four Americans, including Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, and the Clinton Foundation’s ethically dubious activities are other points her critics bring up. There is no shortage of criticism against her. Some believe the motivation to be political; others say it is purely sexist. It is clear that from her time as First Lady through her Senate tenure and her stint as Secretary of State, Clinton has faced sexist comments on everything from her appearance to her manner. In the past, she has either deftly deflected or staunchly chastised them. Her gender should neither disqualify her from becoming President, nor should it make her more deserving of the highest elected office in America.
In Clinton’s formal campaign announcement and first major speech of her candidacy on June 13th, at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park on Roosevelt Island in New York, the presidential hopeful reiterated her mother’s tough upbringing and how those struggles formed who she is today. Dorothy Howell Rodham was eight years old when her parents sent her away from Chicago to live with her paternal grandparents in California. Clinton has said they were very strict and unloving. At fourteen, during the Great Depression, Rodham left her grandparents to work as a housekeeper. Later, Clinton’s mother would return to Chicago, marry, and raise her children. “When I was a girl, she never let me back down from any bully or barrier…. I can still hear her saying: “Life’s not about what happens to you, it’s about what you do with what happens to you – so get back out there,” said Clinton.
During that June campaign speech in Roosevelt Park, Clinton joked about her status as a woman. “Well, I may not be the youngest candidate in this race. But I will be the youngest woman President in the history of the United States! And the first grandmother as well. And one additional advantage: You won’t see my hair turn white in the White House. I’ve been coloring it for years,” said Clinton to thunderous applause. It is clear that Clinton is a feminist icon for many, but when she first ran for president in 2008, the question many were asking was “Is America ready for a woman President?” The other question was “Is America ready for a black President?” The latter has been answered in the form of President Barack Obama; we are still waiting for an answer to the former.
Another influence on Clinton was Wellesley College, the allwomen’s liberal arts school in Massachusetts. Clinton entered Wellesley in 1965 as a moderate Republican and graduated as a Democrat in 1969. During her commencement speech she told her classmates, “We arrived at Wellesley and we found, as all of us have found, that there was a gap between expectation and realities. But it wasn’t a discouraging gap and it didn’t turn us into cynical, bitter old women at the age of eighteen. It just inspired us to do something about that gap.” Over the years Clinton would go on to champion many issues, but equality for women would always be omnipresent. In 1995 she gave a speech on women’s rights at the Fourth World Conference
Article by Julie Walker Original painting of Hillary Clinton by Jennifer Caviola aka Cake
When it comes to empowering women, Internet pioneer and filmmaker Tiffany Shlain says that technology will “give them the tools to do whatever they want to do, whatever they dream of doing.” It’s strange that some people are still taken by surprise when girls express interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). But a percentage of our population still believes that applied science and technology should be, and have historically been male-centric fields. When in fact, women pioneered many of the ideas and technologies around which entire industries exist today.
true calling. Much like Lovelace and Babbage, Williams is fascinated with technology that can be utilized by everyone. “I love building things from the ground up and being able to make something that anybody could use at any time,” she says. “A lot of people think it’s just a bunch of glorified math, but you really have to have a interesting mind set for it.” Her infatuation with tech paid off. While a student, Williams was invited to the White House to attend its Tech Inclusion Summit and speak about her experiences. “That’s when I discovered what developer evangelism was,” she recalls. “It’s a fairly new role, but the job is basically promoting the product and promoting the company to an inclusive developer community.”
One pioneer was Ada Lovelace. The English countess, born in 1815, is considered to be the world’s first computer programmer and debugger. Because Lovelace’s mother was convinced her husband had some form of mental illness, she recruited the best math and science tutors she could find in an attempt to prevent its manifestation in her daughter, thinking intelligence could combat madness. As a result, Lovelace grew up in an intellectually enriching environment where she was encouraged to excel. When Lovelace was seventeen, she met Charles Babbage. Although he designed the world’s first analytical engine, a kind of mechanical general-purpose computer, it was Lovelace that extensively wrote about it. Her elaborate notes were published in an English science journal in 1843. In them, she made recommendations on how to fix glitches, and theorized how the engine could do more than simple computing if it could repeat a series of instructions – she was talking about algorithms.
She embraced it with vigor and started giving talks at conferences, hack-a-thons and other tech-related events. Although she found the community to be collaborative, she still encountered backwardthinking people. “Every single woman in tech that I know has some kind of story,” she shares. When a few guys made inappropriate comments in an online group managed by Williams, she called them out on it. “It really backfired on me. I started getting anonymous texts from people – some made fake dating profiles of me online. It was pretty bad,” revealed Williams. Although moments like that are distressing, Williams continues to enjoy learning new things, sharing her love of tech through public speaking, and empowering other women interested in STEM, but she is first and foremost
As one of the more prolific young software engineers working today, Cassidy Williams understands algorithms. The twenty-three-yearold only graduated from Iowa State University last year, but made a name for herself in tech long before then. Getting the most out of her education by participating in different clubs, completing several impressive internships, and engaging in numerous activities, somewhere along the way she realized computer science was her
a technologist. “I don’t want to be someone who only talks about women in tech all the time… but never actually pushes the technology itself. I try to strive for balance between both.”
was also a tech pioneer. Lamarr was born Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler in November 1914. She helped co-invent spread spectrum and frequency hopping technology that paved the way for today’s Wi-Fi. Although back then, she intended to create an electronics system that would allow the Allies to effectively coordinate torpedo attacks against enemy forces without their communications being intercepted.
Today, much of what’s possible for women in tech – like Williams – is to the credit of American icon, Grace Hopper. The computer scientist and United States Navy rear admiral, born in December 1906, was once described as, “All Navy, but when you reach inside, you find a pirate dying to be released.” She is credited with developing the precursor to COBOL, a computerprogramming language widely used today. Like Lovelace, Hopper started showing an interest in tech as a kid, spending her days disassembling and reassembling her family’s only alarm clock. She went on to attend Vassar College, earning a BA in physics and mathematics, after which she earned her MA from Yale in 1930, and her PhD four years later, making her one of the first women to do so. She returned to Vassar to teach math in 1931.
Film producer Max Reinhardt discovered Lamarr when she was still a youngling, expanding her world. As a young woman, she met Friedrich Mandl, a wealthy Austrian military arms merchant whom she wed in 1933. She and her husband often mingled with scientists and engineers during her husband’s many business trips. Although she ended up leaving him in 1937, the exposure she got to science and technology during their time together evoked her latent talent for applied sciences. As WWII pressed on, Lamarr’s acting career took her to Hollywood, where she became a naturalized US citizen. When German submarines started sinking passenger liners, she decided to invent something that would “stop it.” On August 11th, 1942, composer George Antheil and Lamarr were granted US Patent 2,292,387. However, their idea wasn’t implemented until the blockade of Cuba in 1962. By then the patent had expired, rendering the invention profitless. Although Lamarr always wanted to be better known for her brains than her beauty and Hollywood career, her work in tech wasn’t honored until 1997. She passed away three years later.
In 1943, however, Hopper obtained a leave of absence and joined the Navy Reserve. She graduated first in her class a year later and was assigned as a lieutenant to the Bureau of Ordnance Computation Project at Harvard University, where she learned to program the Mark I, a general-purpose electro-mechanical computer based on Charles Babbage’s designs and Ada Lovelace’s notes. Hopper remained in the Navy as a reserve officer after the war and became a research fellow at Harvard. Although Lovelace was the first debugger, Hopper coined the term after finding an actual bug in one of the computers. By 1949, she moved into the private sector, and her team created the world’s first computer language compiler only three years later. Soon after, Hopper was recalled to active duty by the Naval Reserve to standardize communication between different computer languages. She was sixty years old at the time. After seventy-nine-year-old Hopper finally (involuntarily) retired in 1986, she continued to work as a consultant and public speaker for Digital Equipment, driven by her passion for technology until her passing in 1992.
Unlike Hedy Lamarr, Tiffany Shlain has been able to fuse her passion for film and technology with success. Not only is she the founder of the Webby Awards and The Moxie Institute, she is also an accomplished author, speaker, filmmaker, and social change and web advocate. Back in 1987, when Shlain was seventeen, she co-authored a proposal arguing that computers were the wave of the future. “It was the thing that could change the world,” she reveals. She eventually attended University of California, Berkeley, majoring in film and interdisciplinary studies, as well as Harvard Business School. One of her first jobs was designing a website for The Web Magazine. Its owners wanted to become influencers of web technology. One thing led to another and Shlain found herself in charge of launching the Webby Awards in 1996. Shlain is a filmmaker at heart, so after a decade of managing the Webby’s, she founded the Moxie Institute. She believes that film is a “tool with which to move ideas and shape culture,” so she decided to turn to cloud filmmaking as a way of instigating conversations about social change. “Utilizing the scale of so many people online, it was finally at a point where I thought people from all over the world can come collaborate together,” she states proudly. It worked – at least one of her films is currently shown in embassies around the world. Shlain loves being in the company of intellectually strong women, and hopes to raise her own daughters to be outspoken, intelligent, and unafraid to chase their dreams. “The internet is just an extension of us,” she states with conviction. “The good, the bad, everything. It’s about how you use it. It’s the great equalizer.”
Another female tech maven, Deena Varshavskaya, founder and CEO of Wanelo, did the reverse, using technology to fuel her passion. The Siberian native founded her company in 2012, and it’s already one of the biggest digital retailers around. Shortly after moving to the United States with her father when she was sixteen, Varshavskaya enrolled at Cornell University to study psychology, film, and computer science, but dropped out before graduating. She founded two start-ups and worked for different companies before the idea for Wanelo came to her in 2006. “Venture capitalists tend to look for patterns when they’re considering companies to invest in, and… I was a solo female founder with no technical background and no team, which is what I call the Silicon Valley plague,” she writes in an email. After forty investor rejections, Varshavskaya pressed on undeterred. “My parents taught me at a very young age to question everything and set my own rules… I wanted to find my passion and work on something meaningful,” she explains. “It’s harder than it sounds, but it’s about declaring big dreams (preferably things that seems totally impossible), then closing the gap between what you said you’d do and actually doing those things.” Varshavskaya used technology to realize an idea she knew could significantly impact an industry.
All it takes for women to get interested in STEM is a nurturing and intellectually stimulating environment, where they are encouraged to pursue their interests. That’s what Lovelace, Williams, Hopper, Varshavskaya, Lamarr, and Shlain all have in common, as do most men. The point is that it’s not about which gender is currently dominant in the field. Rather, it’s about people supporting each other’s interests in tech. Article by Liz Belilovskaya
This is not entirely dissimilar to how Hedy Lamarr approached inventing. However, she wouldn’t become as successful at making a business out of it. Most people know her as one of the brightest stars of MGM’s Golden Age, but the Austrian-Hungarian beauty
Images: Bottom left Analytical Engine, Ada Lovelace, circa 1840. Top left: Grace Hopper, 1960; Center: Hedy Lamarr, 1940s; Top right: Tiffany Shlain. Bottom right: Women in tech, circa 1940s.
ANA IVANOVIC surprisingly progressive gender politics, compared to other professional sports. “I feel that tennis is the leading sport for women and it has been for a long time, certainly since before I joined the tour,” she observes. “During my professional career we have seen equal prize money awarded at the French Open and Wimbledon. These two events were huge for us and they really broke down the final barriers for women in tennis. The men’s game is in a great moment, with three of the all-time greats in Federer, Nadal and Djokovic, but women’s tennis is holding its own too. We’ve had some great slam finals in the past couple of years, for example, and Serena Williams is definitely one of the greatest female sportswomen in history.” When she’s outside the court, she takes classes in finance and Spanish at a University in Belgrade. She has also been a UNICEF National Ambassador for Serbia since 2007, focusing her role there on education and child protection. This aspect of her career is of choice importance to her, and is something that she finds comes very naturally to her. “Obviously by their very nature children are vulnerable and innocent, so they need us adults to do all we can to protect them and ensure that they are happy and safe. I have a natural bond with children – I love spending time with them – so it was a natural choice for me, to be involved in children’s causes.” In addition to her personal and professional achievements, there’s no shortage of male fans interested in Ivanovic for little more than her forehand. And who can blame them? Her beauty is undeniable. However she remains unfazed by fandom. “It’s very flattering but I don’t take it too seriously. I think that at the end of the day I am known for my tennis. Anything that gets more people watching tennis is good for the sport. We often get judged by our appearances, and the way we come across, and actually the skirts are getting shorter and shorter,” she laughs. When asked how she sees her future unfolding, Ivanovic says she will continue swinging her tennis racket, of course, as well as hone her skills as a businesswoman. “Hopefully a lot of success on the court! And off the court, I am excited to be taking part in my first beauty campaign; I have partnered with Shiseido, the luxury cosmetic company.” And while she believes there’s nothing wrong with looking nice, Ivanovic is first and foremost an athlete. “On a serious note, I think that anyone who is in the public eye is under more pressure to look good. The media and press can be relentless, especially with the women. Personally, while I take pride in my appearances, when I am on court it is all about my game.”
“I was at home in Belgrade watching a match with Monica Seles, who was a big hero in Yugoslavia at the time,” recalls Serbian tennis star Ana Ivanovic. “During the commercial break they showed an ad for a tennis school. It looked like so much fun. I remembered the telephone number, then wrote it down for my mum, and kept asking her to take me. Eventually, after maybe a month of me asking, I had my first tennis lesson. I really fell in love with the game immediately…For my fifth birthday my father gave me my first racket – that was one of the happiest moments of my life. I still have that racket at home, somewhere in the cupboard…” And thus a star was born. Decades later, she is one of the top players in the world. She is currently ranked No. 6, and previously reached No. 1 after beating Dinara Safina to win the French Open in 2008. “Winning the French Open and becoming No. 1 in the world back in 2008 is definitely the highlight of my career so far. Achieving those two goals is something I dreamed of since I was a kid, and it’s something that I will always look back on with great pride and enjoyment.” She is known for her aggressive style of play, and for her killer forehand, which is decidedly one of the best in the game. For competitive athletes the mental stress can be brutal, and a fall from the rankings can often signal a slow wane in one’s career, as was feared for her when she fell out of the top 20 in 2009. “I had some very difficult years in my career, and it really taught me a lot, both about myself and the tennis world in general. It also showed me who my true friends were: there are some people you only hear from when you’re successful, whereas your truest friends support you no matter what. Fortunately, the vast majority of my friends in tennis never stopped supporting me, and they continued to treat me nicely whether I was winning or losing.” With a little help from her friends, and with the sort of immense willpower for which professional athletes are renowned, Ivanovic did anything but allow her career to fall by the wayside. Rather, she steered herself toward a re-entry into the top rankings. “It takes some mental strength as well as physical…We mustn’t miss a training session, and of course there are rare occasions when you are not really in the mood for it, and that’s when discipline is required.” For her, the commitment paid off, to say the least. She got back into an upward swing in 2014, winning the Auckland, Monterey and Pan Pacific Opens, and this past June finally made it back into the semifinals of the French Open after seven long years. As a role model for female athletes, she speaks to tennis’s
Ana Ivanovic, 27 Lives in Bern, Switzerland From Belgrade, Serbia
Six figure incomes, millions of followers, collaborations with massive brands – this is what fashion
blogging has become. Words and photos posted to websites are now capable of netting incomes beyond those of Wall Street powerhouses; the elusive and prevailing women of the blogosphere are taking the reigns of an entirely new era in the fashion industry. Brand collaborations and fronts – what was once a job strictly for top models – has been handed over to the faces of blogs. Chanel, Marc Jacobs, and Louis Vuitton have caught on to the wave of change, New York and Paris Fashion Weeks have roped off front row seats, and social media has collapsed under the force of fashion bloggers. So, is this a trend that’ll pass in time, or are we looking at the future of the fashion industry? Young women from across the world are coming out from behind their computer screens to claim their place at the forefront of change – a hobby turned lucrative career. It would seem that this is only just the beginning.
BLOGGERS take OVER Major names within the industry such as Chanel, Mulberry, Louis Vuitton, Marc Jacobs, and Dolce & Gabbana have tapped into the blogosphere by pulling bloggers from their online platforms and placing them in ad campaigns and at the front rows of fashion shows around the world. Zanita Whittington, founder of Zanita.com, was tapped by Louis Vuitton to fly to Paris from her home base in Sydney, Australia to gain insight into the brand. Zanita, along with blogger Nicole Warne, was given the chance to utilize the LV collections for a photo shoot that would then go on to become a social media campaign for the brand. “When [brands] contact bloggers, a huge part of [their interest] is getting involved with the social media side of things,” Zanita explains. The collaboration with Louis Vuitton landed Zanita on the cover of Lucky Magazine in February of 2015 alongside fellow bloggers Nicole Warne and Chiara Ferragni. In addition to that, Zanita has now graced many other magazine covers, appeared on reality shows, and has become a figurehead that aspiring bloggers look up to. “I don’t really see [blogging] slowing down. The internet is really the dominant form of media these days and the way that people communicate is all online and through social media… More recently, blog content has shifted from style diaries to giving a lot of insight into real life. So many bloggers are diversifying the kind of content that they’re producing because everything is constantly evolving in that sense.”
The prevalence of social media in today’s culture has prompted a shift in the way we use sites like Instagram. No longer are photos just for fun. Social media capital is now used as a way to sell brands, products, and images. Bloggers were some of the first users on Instagram to take advantage of the “hashtag,” honing in on their niche markets. Julia Weber, founder of Virgin Territory – a fashion blog that displays her chic and affordable style — has been actively posting to her site for the last year. In that time, she has acquired a considerable social media fan base, which led to the start of her own fashion line, Dazey Clothing. “Someone might stumble upon my Instagram and become interested in my style; from there they can go to my blog and get to know my thoughts and passions. Making a connection with someone because of the blog is something that I find really unique.”
With the success and popularity of fashion bloggers growing each day, it was only a matter of time before talent and modeling agencies took a bite out of their growing popularity. Leandra Medine of The Man Repeller was one of the first notable fashion bloggers to sign with an agency – CAA. (CAA reps major names in Hollywood – Kanye West, Tom Cruise, and Nicole Kidman, just to name a few.) Medine’s site, The Man Repeller, has catapulted her into fashion industry fame. She now sits front row during New York Fashion Week, holds collaborations with brands like Michael Kors and Calvin Klein, landed on Forbes’ “Top 30 Under 30” as one of 2012’s “most influential trendsetters, and published her own book, Man Repeller: Seeking Love. Finding Overalls. Her massive success came shortly after signing with CAA, and prompted the beginning of Digital Brand Architects – a boutique agency that represents digital talent such as Aimee Song of Song of Style and Kelly Framel of the Glamourai. Not only have these agencies allowed bloggers to craft an occupation out of what was once a pastime, but many of them are now pulling in six-figure incomes. Vanessa Flaherty, Vice President of Brand Development at DBA explains, “A blogger with a bigger audience and prominent persona, she will make the bulk of her income from partnerships.”
Most of the content that we consume, whether it is news or gossip, comes from the internet. With that content now evolving into quick blurbs on social media, the speed at which we’re indulging has increased rapidly. Fast Fashion falls into this category – brands like Forever 21 and H&M have taken on sizable roles in social media: scouting talent and showcasing their products on Instagram has become the norm. Fashion bloggers are producing a continuous stream of content for their sites, which brands latch onto in an effort to increase the visibility of their newfound digital platforms. Collaborations in the form of social media blasts as well as sponsored posts on blogs – many of which are clearly marked
Blogger Zanita photographs fellow blogger Nicole Warne for Ralph Lauren diuring New York Fashion Week.
and encouragement to other women. “I think that these female bloggers, they have these big personalities and they get other females very dedicated to them… Women create an emotional connection,” says Zanita.
as “sponsored” — are ever prevalent. It is these collaborations that make an income possible for bloggers, as they are paid to promote brands based off of their reach and the analytics of their sites. Zanita, although making a living off of her blog, warns aspiring bloggers, “You can’t start your blog with the goal of making money. The whole point of a blog is being unique and showing your true self. Whether or not you gain notoriety from that is out of your hands.” Sharing in the same sentiment, Julia Weber advises, “Stay true to yourself and don’t compare yourself to others. Simply focus on your own personal growth and get to work.”
Forging an emotional connection by way of a fashion blog may not always be easy, but it has allowed bloggers a larger than life role in the fashion industry. Rosalind Jana, the voice behind Clothes, Cameras, and Coffee, hails from a small countryside town in Britain where she says Vogue could only be purchased at “second-hand charity shops”. However her small town would inspire the style that launched her career. She eventually found her name on the pages of what was once one of her main sources of secondhand inspiration. In 2011, Jana received word that she had won The Vogue Talent Contest – a coveted achievement that comes with a prize of one month’s paid work experience at the magazine. Aside from blogging, Jana currently studies English Literature at Oxford University and is writing a dissertation that combines her love of literature and fashion. “I could write pages on this, but ultimately, on a very personal level, they’re both forms of communication and conversation – of messages that can be read, misinterpreted, changed and seen anew.” In 2016, Jana will publish Notes on Being Teenage, a semi-autobiographical nonfiction book, which she describes as “covering everything from style to body image, friends, family and relationships to mental health. It’s a mix of observation, advice and the odd anecdote.”
The perfect example of said uniqueness is Tavi Gevinson. Gevinson created a fashion blog at the tender age of eleven years old which showcased her inimitable, whimsical style. It didn’t take long before her blog, Style Rookie, was drawing in nearly 30,000 views per day, gaining the attention of dozens of brands and fashion elites. Gevinson took her newfound fame within the fashion industry and, at the age of fifteen, with the help of her parents, founded Rookie Magazine – a website that focused on teenage issues, written mainly by teenage girls. The online magazine became such a success that three hard issues, Rookie Yearbook 1, 2, and 3, were published for purchase. Gevinson has since gone on to star in film and on Broadway, proving that success from a blog can come in many forms. A female-dominated industry, fashion blogging has done more than just display pretty clothing on pretty women. Fashion bloggers very rarely find the need or have the time to Photoshop the images on their sites. Sometimes, the photos reflect and embrace imperfections; a whispered chant of encouragement for readers to celebrate their flaws. Blogger Dana Suchow of Do The Hotpants says that it is her “on-going mission to lift the veil that is currently suffocating women” by publishing a post to her site titled “Photos That I Wish I Hadn’t Photoshopped.” The post included before and after retouched photos, offering inspiration
When you strip away the glitz and glam of the fashion blogger, one thing is clear: creativity and aspirations are the path to success. So long as the uniqueness of a blogger remains strong, large brands are going to want their fresh talent. The voice of a blogger has shifted from simply subjective to an opinion that alters the way that young people shop – making their presence extremely vital to brands. Their impact has gone beyond that of just fashion to lifestyle and influencing culture at large. Bloggers are not going anywhere, and that appears to be the way that we want it. Article by Jessica Natale
ART IS THE ANSWER
It is no secret that the art world, though responsible for propagating spectacular, history-shaping
movements, has been at best an uneven playing field for men versus women in the fight for respect and artistic reification. At worst it’s served as an unassailable fortress wherein institutionalized sexism is not just a latent function of the system but part of its very foundation. Though tides are changing, there’s still a plethora of damning statistics that show how far a climb to parity women in art face. From every aspect of its trappings - access to institutional support, curatorial impartiality and more - the same fact rings true of the art world as it always has: female artists, gallerists, curators, and the like must fight for the opportunities men are easily handed by a self-perpetuating system. In secondary markets, the highest price that a piece of work by a living female artist has ever been sold for was $9.8 million, when a bidder purchased “Bluewald” by Cady Noland at a Christie’s auction last May. At that same auction, a Mark Rothko painting sold for $81.9 million. Women run only one quarter of the premier art museums in this country, and earn significantly less (some stats citing up to one-third less) than men who occupy the same roles. 5% of works shown in modern and contemporary galleries at major museums in the US are attributed to women, even though they represent 51% of today’s visual artists. Why these facts are extant needs no explanation. Rather, we should focus on the women in art - from living legends to emerging talent, to status quo-shattering iconoclasts - who are here and always have been. These women collectively provide a glimpse into a world underrepresented yet bursting with energy, ready to occupy its rightful place in history. 62
Marina Abramovic, Portrait With Scorpion (Closed Eyes), 2005
Yayoi Kusama in her visual installation Dots Obsession: Night At Akasaka Art Flower, 2008
divine energy. “I, Kusama, am the modern Alice in Wonderland,” she once mused. Indeed, part of the beauty in her work is defined by her lifelong struggle with mental illness (she experienced visual and aural hallucinations from the time she was a small child, and voluntarily committed herself to an asylum in 1977, where she still resides today). She has pointed to this as an essential aspect of her creativity. “I don’t want to cure my mental problems, rather I want to utilize them as a generating force for my art.” At the age of eighty-six, she has outlived nearly all of her male cohorts from her early days, when sexism in the industry nearly broke her career.
Having single-handedly changed the trajectory of performance art on a global scale through her seminal early work in the 1970s, Marina Abramovic now stands as one of the most important antecedents to 21st century conceptual art. Pushing the envelope is as much a part of her inner life as it is a part of her artistic ethos. Her performances invariably include the exploration of social boundaries - the delineation between herself and her audience (in one of her earliest works, Rhythm 0, she placed seventy-two objects - including a whip and a gun - on a table, letting the audience use them as they pleased on her for six hours). Fox News once referred infamously to her as “Some Yugoslavianborn provocateur,” in response to The Artist Is Present - a recent installation at MoMA in which she sat silently in a chair for seven hours a day, inviting museum-goers to sit across from her and gaze into her eyes, so long as they did not speak or move (though some wept, and one stripped naked). Today, Abramovic is nearly seventy. A recent documentary chronicles her life, work, and relationship with partner Uwe Laysiepen, with whom she split in the early 90s due largely to the fact that she was superseding him professionally. She says, “If you’re a woman, it’s almost impossible to establish a relationship. You’re too much for everybody. The woman always has to play this role of being fragile and dependent. And if you’re not, they’re fascinated by you, but only for a little while.”
American photographer Cindy Sherman has spent her lifetime interrogating the concept of identity through self-portraits that touch on themes of pop culture, sociology and politics. Taking images from various media outlets throughout history - some iconic, others quotidian - and deconstructing their value, she reconstructs them, starring herself as the object, exposing at once the artifice and true nature of “representation.” Ironically, she removes her own identity from the image in taking on the identity of others. “I feel I’m anonymous in my work. When I look at the pictures, I never see myself; they aren’t self-portraits. Sometimes I disappear,” she has remarked. Her career has defined the last forty years of photographic art, and she shows no signs of slowing down. In 2012, MoMA presented a retrospective of her work, which included 170 of her photographs. THE ACTIVISTS
As one of the top-selling female artists of all time, Yayoi Kusama has earned her place at the metaphorical table after leading a life marked by intense personal struggle. She was instrumental in shaping the Avant-Garde movement, after departing Japan in the 1950s to seek creative refuge in the NYC art scene. Her work employs extensive use of psychedelia - bright colors, and the central importance of polka dots, which she claims possess
Brooklyn-based mixed-media artist Sophia Wallace began making waves after spearheading her now widely-acknowledged, highly controversial “Cliteracy” movement - a revolution unto itself - in which she seeks to educate the public through installation art referencing the fantastically-neglected female sexual anatomy, thereby liberating women from moors that in her estimation
“Stop Telling Women to Smile” street art posters by Tatyana Fazlalizadeh, 2012.
“Call Center: Electroacoustic Symphony for 168 Telephones” Joana Vasconcelos, 2014
strip away at what is a birth right. Her most notable pieces include stencils of multiple tiny, ornately designed depictions of anatomically-correct clitorises, as well as large scale murals that enumerate factoids about the clitoris, most of which are underlooked in classrooms and science books.
from conventional scrutiny. While art may be transcendent, the art world should be subject to the same standards as anywhere else. We think there’s a civil rights issue here.”
THE FUTURE LEGENDS
French-born multi-media artist Joana Vasconcelos entered the public eye after her participation in the 2005 Venice Biennale, wherein she presented A Noiva (The Bride), a twenty-foot-tall chandelier fashioned from tampons. She often uses everyday objects to fabricate her works, thereby commenting on various identity conflicts humans face in the modern era, such as the public/private, handmade/industrial dichotomies. Many of her works incorporate interactive elements, encouraging the viewer to engage with the art, such as her 2014 sculpture Call Center, which used hundreds of black rotary telephones to construct a six-foot shotgun, with a score composed by Jonas Runa playing from the phone speakers via motion-censored microcontrollers. In exploring the tension that exists between handcrafted versus machine-made objects, she often takes commercially produced commodities, like laptops or plastic statuettes, and envelops them in handmade crochet slips, addressing mediums traditionally defined as “craft” and their specifically female designation.
Tatyana Fazlalizadeh is a visual artist, writer and activist who broke ground in 2012 with her public art installations that began popping up on the streets of NYC and gaining notoriety. Those who live in the city are likely familiar with her work, as it’s difficult to walk by her murals without noticing the messages they convey. Her “Stop Telling Women To Smile” street art campaign went viral and became part of a larger discourse on catcalling and street harassment. Her stencils are based on the specific stories of women who have experienced sexual harassment via public dialogue with men and include portraits of the interviewees.
Seminal feminist art collective Guerrilla Girls have been speaking out against institutionalized sexism and racism in the art world for over thirty years now, and they are still going strong. They formed in 1985 in reaction to an exhibit at MoMA curated by Kynaston McShine, titled “An International Survey of Recent Painting and Sculpture.” The show commemorated the inauguration of the newly renovated MoMA, and was designed to present a survey of “the most significant contemporary art in the world” with works by 169 featured artists. Of those 169, only 13 were women. As a response, the Guerrilla Girls banded together and began speaking out publicly, through deliberate confrontations with individuals and institutions that they feel are the perpetrators of misogyny in art. They use code names - mostly those of famous female artists whose legacies they hope to sustain (the founders are known as Frida Kahlo and Kathe Kollwitz) - in order to remain anonymous, wearing gorilla masks. Since their inception they have continued to stage public protests against sexism in the art world. Their posters and billboards bear emblems such as “Do Women Have to Be Naked to Get into the Met. Museum?” and were originally plastered in public spaces. Now, three decades later, their work has come full circle: The Whitney Museum recently acquired 88 of their posters, from 1985 to 2012. David Kiehl, the museum’s director, declared them “art world royalty.” Of their efforts, they have said, “Many people believe that art is special and exempt
Columbia Professor, installation artist, and painter Sarah Sze has left her legacy on the art world by way of her long list of professional achievements, including a 2003 MacArthur Genius Award, and acting as the US Representative to the Venice Biennale in 2013. Her installations are immense, both in size and impact. She is as innovative with her use of space - building into the ground, digging into the wall, or stretching across the entire span of a museum - as she is with materials (she’s used cotton buds, tea bags, light bulbs, found objects, and living plants for construction). The results are large-scale structures that overwhelm with their magnitude, yet are comprised of tiny pieces of ephemera organized impeccably. Sze is currently represented by the Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, and in 2016 a series of her drawings on ceramic tiles will be permanently installed in the new 2nd Avenue Subway at the 96th Street station.
Andrea Fraser is an LA-based performance artist known for her
Kim Gordon working on acrylic canvases for Rodarte Exhibition, 2009
Pussy Riot perform in front of Saint Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow, 2012
boundary-pushing work in the realm of institutional critique. Her most famous works to date include 1989’s Museum Highlights, where she gave fake tours while posing as a guide at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, describing the museum itself, including its cafeteria and drinking fountains in verbose language. In 2003’s iteration of her Untitled series, she made a sixty-minute video of a sexual encounter in a hotel room with one of her private collectors. Intended to probe the question of male power, it equated the art world to prostitution. The Untitled series took root in the early 1980s, when she painted over classic works of art by male artists from Raphael to de Kooning, reconstructing them as photographs to shed light on historical revisionism and the concept of authenticity. Now a professor at UCLA, Fraser is one of the most respected voices in feminist performance art. THE ROCKERS
Joseph Gross Gallery in New York. The exhibit included 127 pieces of her works that spanned across multiple mediums, namely painting, drawing and tapestry (one of the more notable pieces, “Big Red,” she created by driving a remote control monster truck across a canvas), all chronicling her life on the road as a performer. Common threads throughout her work touch on themes of the itinerant lifestyle and the freedom one can achieve through it. “There are few things I find more freeing and romantic as bombing down a highway,” she speaks regarding her inspiration. Most of the pieces were done on the road “in vans, airports, hotel rooms, and backstage,” and truly reflect the ethos of a traveller. She says the shittier the hotel room, the better: “If I’m at the Holiday Inn, I’ll paint on the bed.” Though she has no classical training in art, she has been doing it since her formative years as a skater punk and now has a multi-user art studio in her Nashville home, where she lives when she’s not in London or on the road.
Kim Gordon is most well known as the bassist in iconic new wave band Sonic Youth. Her music career has spanned three decades and her name alone has become emblematic of feminism in rock. Many don’t know that Gordon started out as a visual artist, curator and art writer, having attended the Otis College of Art and Design in LA. Her works have been exhibited worldwide, with recent shows that include retrospective Design Office with Kim Gordon – Since 1980, presented at White Columns in 2013, and 2014’s Wreath Paintings at the Fitzpatrick-Leland House. Her latest show, The City Is A Garden, was presented at the 303 Gallery in New York City during July 2015, and featured mixed media on canvas. Showcasing an intentional irreverence for the medium, her paintings were crumpled up, stepped on, and flung about in an attempt to convey battle scars from her past. Banners of Kim in mid-performance hung above the art to “dramatize the big reveal.” Of her artistic career, she’s said, “When you’re in a group, you’re always sharing everything. It’s protected. Your own ego is not there for criticism, but you also never quite feel the full power of its glory, either. A few years ago I started to feel like I owed it to myself to really focus on doing art.”
Pussy Riot is a punk rock performance art/activist collective based in Moscow that grabbed international media attention in 2011 after three members of the group, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina and Yekaterina Samutsevich were arrested, imprisoned and eventually convicted of “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred.” The group has been unwaveringly vocal in their criticism of Vladimir Putin, whom they deem a dictator, and are known for their provocative and public guerrilla-style performances (they wear brightly colored dresses and shroud their faces with ski masks). Though Putin has attempted on multiple occasions to silence them, they continue to speak out. Most recently, Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina set up a news outlet, MediaZona, which investigates the police and prison systems in various parts of Russia. Tolokonnikova explains, “Since our release from prison six months ago we’ve felt the Russian media are no longer able to cover what is going on. Because of the heavy censorship by authorities there is no space for anything in the media that criticizes Putin’s policies and tracks human rights abuses by Russian courts and law enforcement. Courts, prisons, arrests, convictions, riots in facilities, political criminal cases, crimes by law enforcement officials – our new media outlet will try to cover it all.” For their initiative with MediaZona, Nadya Tolokonnikova and Masha Alyokhina, both 26, landed on The Guardian’s, Moscow 30 under 30: the people’s power list.
Alison Mosshart of London based alt-punk darlings The Kills and Jack White’s Dead Weather recently made waves in the art world with her debut solo exhibition, Fire Power, which opened at the
Article by Marianne White
Intro page image: “Untitled #305” by Cindy Sherman, 1994
In the fashion and art world, women’s nipples are celebrated for what they are: a beautiful
and powerful feminine feature, yet nothing shocking, and certainly nothing offensive. From Titian’s Venus of Urbino, painted in 1538, to the runways of London and Paris today, exposed nipples are not a novelty. Many fashion designers, from Pam Hogg to Gareth Pugh, present topless models as an act of creativity, a statement of fashion liberation and modernity. The US has always been Europe’s prude little brother when it comes to sexuality – in particular, female sexuality. Furthermore, with the viral globalization of social media, sharing and creating art is no longer limited to esteemed and intelligent artists, photographers, and fashion designers, but something that anyone is capable of at the push of a button. In the era of Instagram, old-fashioned and sexist views of the female form have bumped against the growing millennial feminist movement. A product of this collision of ideas is the US campaign for “Free the Nipple” – a movement to liberate women from oppression and censorship.
WHAT IS “FREE THE NIPPLE” ALL ABOUT ANYWAY?
The liberating act of being topless has always been floating around in the conversation of feminism. The controversy revolving around nipple censorship didn’t really heat up until Instagram went on a suspension binge of several women’s Instagram accounts beginning in 2014. From models and celebrities to regular women in suburbs and cities around the world, people began re-evaluating the censorship policies of everyone’s favorite photo-sharing app. Soon after Rihanna’s account was suspended in April 2014, after she posted a picture of her cover for French Magazine Lui, where her nipples are visible, Scout Willis (Demi Moore and Bruce Willis’ daughter) took to the streets of New York City topless to make a statement against the social app’s censorship. She shared her journey via Twitter, posting a photo of herself naked from the waist up, with a caption that read, “Legal in NYC but not on @ instagram.” Although it is legal for a woman to be topless in public in New York, there are 35 states where it’s illegal for a woman to be topless (this includes breastfeeding in five of those states). And in Louisiana, a woman can get incarcerated for upwards of three years for exposing a nipple.
note that Esco isn’t advocating for all women to parade around their cities topless. Rather, she and a slew of other women, are asking us to consider the fundamental inequality that lies at the center of censoring women’s bodies. After all, it was not so long ago, that men weren’t allowed to bare their chests freely in the public eye. In 1936, New York became the first state to allow men to walk around topless. Their movement had its own protests and marches, including the four men who were arrested in the early 30s for wandering around Coney Island without a shirt on. It’s been eighty years since men fought to have their bare chests protected; it’s time for women to be able to do the same. Perhaps what mainstream American society finds so dangerous about female nipples is their ability to turn men on. While nudity in an artistic space is simply empowering for women, to be naked because we can, embracing our individual sensuality and form, cruder and pruder male-dominated societal facets can’t see beyond sex. Society is more at ease with sharing viral videos and images of intense violence as opposed to seeing a woman’s bare chest in any form. We can’t forget when American Vogue’s creative director Grace Coddington uploaded her first Instagram picture – an illustrated cartoon of her sitting topless – and had her Instagram temporarily banned. Even a cartoon of a topless woman is deemed more threatening than a beheading that happened in Syria. Museums around the world for centuries have exhibited nudes without anyone batting an eyelash. Nude sculptures have been de rigueur since the beginning of time, and are on view in many public areas pretty much everywhere. When we consider this fact, the ban on Coddington’s hand-drawn illustration of a naked woman sounds even more ludicrous!
Lina Esco, the writer and director of Free the Nipple, which was released in December of 2014, is hoping her film will open up the conversation, one that is not just about nipples, but also about gender inequality. “Free the Nipple is a film, an equality movement, and a mission to empower women across the world. We stand against female oppression and censorship.” She states on the film’s website. The director elaborated to the Huffington Post on the issue, “Why can you show public beheadings from Saudi Arabia on Facebook, but not a nipple? Why can you sell guns on Instagram, but yet they will suspend your account for posting the most natural part of a woman’s body? As President Eisenhower said, in the era of McCarthy: ‘The most dangerous weapons of any tyrant, are not weapons and guns, but censorship.’”
The “Free the Nipple” campaign is an ambitious and controversial endeavor. In order for it to endure and have a lasting effect, society’s attitude towards women’s bodies at large has to change, well beyond the Instagram platform. This campaign is a small step towards that social reformation, but it’s a step sparking a massive conversation, and conversation is the elixir of change.
Women’s nipples have been sexualized for decades in America; it’s going to take a long time before we can unlearn what society has polluted our minds with. Critics of the campaign should take
Leah Jung Photography by Indira Cesarine Make-up by Tina Echeverri Hair by Matthew Monzon
Tess Holliday, 30 From Laurel, Mississippi Lives in Los Angeles, CA
TESS . THE GAME CHANGERS .
HOLLIDAY PHOTOGRAPHY BY INDIRA CESARINE
“Over the past few months, my wildest dreams have come true. And I’m still a size 22.” As the largest plus-size model to be signed to a mainstream agency, the stunning Tess Holliday has proven that big is not only beautiful, but is increasingly accepted in the fashion industry – a world where a size 6 or 8 is considered plus-size (the average American woman is a size 12). Due to the success of her #effyourbeautystandards movement, women now have a community wherein self-acceptance is the gospel, and all sizes whether it be a 2 or 22 are beautiful. It wasn’t until she was fifteen and shopping at Lane Bryant, the only retailer that carried fashionable clothing in her size, that she took note of the existence of plus-size models. “I saw a magazine they had there with Emme, who was considered the first plus-size model, and I remember thinking how pretty she was. I didn’t realize that plus-size modeling was a thing.” Soon enough, she would be following in Emme’s footsteps, though it would not be an easy road to walk down. Holliday’s life up until her late teens was marked by unfathomable adversity and struggle. “My childhood was definitely tumultuous… basically my whole life up until seventeen was pretty awful. My mom did the best that she could, but she was married to an abusive man. She was shot in the head when I was ten by him, and almost killed, so she’s paralyzed now… It’s been kind of a roller coaster.” After the vicious attack on her mother, she moved with her family to “Bible belt” Mississippi, where the family
lived in a trailer in the back of her grandmother’s yard. Things were supposed to get easier, but for a young girl who already looked different, small-town life was abusive. “When we moved to the small town, the first thing that people made fun of was that my mom was in a wheelchair, and they thought it was funny that she basically couldn’t walk. And from there, it went to them bullying me about my size. I had always been a bigger girl, but I had gained some weight because I dealt with my mom’s incident by eating. It just kind of carried on through high school, and when I turned sixteen, my mom said ‘Enough!’ and she pulled me out of school. That was the best thing that she could’ve ever done for me. I could have finished school, but then I might not be talking to you [right now] because I was getting death threats sent to my house.” Along with homeschooling, her mother would give her another gift that would change her life, a book by the late makeup artist Kevyn Aucoin. Aside from giving her the tools to become a successful makeup artist, his work taught her the power of transformation, and expanded her worldview beyond the scope of the small town she was struggling to call home. “Kevyn Aucoin changed my world. I was like fourteen, and my mom saw him on Oprah. And she ordered the book for me, and didn’t tell me, and then she gave it to me because I was trying to learn how to do makeup. She didn’t realize that for me, when I saw that book, it was my first introduction to seeing how makeup could be used for anything.
from there, it just kind of grew. It wasn’t really until I first started doing conceptual shoots, when I kind of branched out on my own, that I started getting attention on social media.” Despite her first touches of success with modeling, Holliday experienced mounting frustrations with being bullied online about her weight, and decided to take action. “I said, ‘Enough!’ I took four photos of myself, basically in clothing that in the plus-size world, we are told we shouldn’t wear. And I posted them on social media. I wrote – to paraphrase, ‘If you’re tired of society telling you what you should or shouldn’t wear, post a photo of yourself and hashtag #effyourbeautystandards, with the thing that makes you feel good, or maybe makes you feel scared. And post it.’” In a moment that would have caused many to crumple, Holliday soared. She started a movement that would launch her to superstardom while inspiring millions in the process. “I have a team of five women that help me post, I call them my ‘girl gang.’ One is a mental health counselor, one of them is an activist in the LGBTQA community. They share stories from my followers and their own stories. It’s grown into a community worldwide for people to connect with each other.” The #effyourbeautystandards movement has hundreds of thousands of followers and is spreading like wild fire. Holliday, who considers herself a “body positive activist,” is the largest plus-size model to be signed to the London-based Milk Agency, and is collecting cover shoots and major campaigns as her movement grows. Always an advocate for diversity, she now uses her fame to empower others. “I think there’s a place for all sizes. I think that there should be more diversity in the industry in general, for races, genders and disabilities.” Her advice to the world is to focus on embracing yourself as the first step in achieving true bliss. “Lucille Ball says, ‘Love yourself first, and the rest will fall into place.’ I’m happy at my size and I don’t feel a need to change it.” There’s a sign she has hanging in her rear view mirror, given to her by one of her fans that says, “Keep your heels, your head, and your standards high.”
It really inspired me.” Holliday’s aspirations to become a model would soon be ignited by an ad on the radio. “My mom and I heard an ad on the radio for plus-size modeling, basically, recruitment in Atlanta, Georgia, which was about six to eight hours away from where we were living. I told her I wanted to go to it, so she paid a local photographer to do some test shots with me, which were really funny, looking back at them now. It was when the white eyeliner phase was cool.” When they got to Atlanta, the agents were anything but welcoming of her body type. “They were basically picking apart my body, telling me I was too short and too fat, and saying, ‘You shouldn’t be wearing a bikini,’ or, ‘You’re too fat to be showing your arms,’ just dissecting what I looked like.” However, things would come full circle years later when she found herself as one of the top six plus-size models in the world, according to Vogue Italia. “You know, to be honest, I don’t mind being called ‘fat’ now. I’ve embraced that term. That doesn’t bother me. I think the only thing that someone can say to me now that would actually bother me would be any kind of slur, you know. Or saying that I’m a bad parent. But there’s nothing that anyone can say to me about my size that, A) I don’t already know, or B) is going to hurt me, because I am fat. I think it’s really important to take the hurt out of those words, and take the power out of them. When you’re able to do that, you have a happier life.” The road that led Holliday to this newfound happiness and empowerment was a long one. She moved to Seattle to pursue fashion, working as a stylist and makeup artist, and then put her career on hold after giving birth to her son. She eventually relocated to LA, where her professional modeling career would finally launch. “I moved to Los Angeles in 2010. I had photos taken and put them on Model Mayhem. I didn’t check it again until a few months later, and the day I checked it, I had gotten an e-mail from a casting director from A&E, and they asked me to come in for an audition. I didn’t really realize what it was for. I thought it was a scam.” It was far from a scam, and shortly thereafter, Holliday was the poster girl for a TV series titled Heavy, which featured nationwide print ads and billboards across the country. “I was just a promotional model for it, so I had no idea what I was doing. That was my first job, and
Hair and makeup by Ronnie Peterson. Photographed at The Untitled Space, New York.
Bianca Casady, 33, From Hilo, Hawaii Sierra Casady, 35, From Des Moines, Iowa Live in Paris, France
Photography by Anastasia Sukhanova “Mystery, fate...” was what prompted Bianca “Coco” Casady to reunite with sister Sierra “Rosie” Casady in 2003 and form the avant-garde experimental “freak folk” group CocoRosie. They create songs that challenge one’s notion of every musical convention under the sun, just as their ethos challenges every beauty ideal, merging genders, generations and genres. Born into a tumbleweed of a family, the two moved around a lot as children in a non-traditional upbringing. Sierra was born in Iowa and Bianca in Hawaii. Their mother, a Syrian/Native American artist and singer, encouraged them to seek education through art and their natural surroundings rather than through schooling. “My mother thought school was a waste of time, and so did I. I had my first art show at fifteen in a small cafe and just kept going from there. I started teaching poetry in New York City to teens when I was still seventeen. Not having been to school hasn’t seemed to slow me down. During their travels their father became increasingly interested in Shamanism, becoming increasingly absent. Their parents split when they were young girls. Though resentful of the experiences at the time, the vision quest journeys with their father would influence their otherworldly style. Over the years, the two embarked on a series of separate adventures. “I think it was important for our personal development to take space from each other and generally from our whole family. We are very tight. I think it served us.” Eventually they reunited in Paris on a whim and began making music. “We don’t remember deciding anything. We were drawn into the work in a trance. It was automatic and effortless and enchanting,” says Bianca. “We wanted to play a concert at a blues club in Paris so we had to make a demo, this became our first record.” That record was La maison de mon rêve, released in 2004. While their reunion was unexpected, it stuck. “It’s great. We get to take turns being the boss and slacking off. We push each other…” Their creative collage of genres and moods they’d become known for is rooted in their surreal mentality. “We have always loved putting things together which don’t really belong. This approach creates an unending narrative for us, which guides us into the next story. It’s like a dream without a clear sense of time or place. Everything is possible there.” Both in personality and artistry, CocoRosie appear to exist in another time/space continuum, unaffected by social constructs. For their third album cover, The Adventures of Ghosthorse and
Stillborn (2007), photographed by Pierre et Gilles, Sierra is featured as two women, and Bianca in drag (as she often performs). “We do what we like. Sometimes our idea of beauty makes people uncomfortable or even angry. I used to wear a realistic mustache on the street and people would get upset with me. I couldn’t understand. We had our topless days in the Brooklyn summer too. People got all worked up!” Over the years they have collaborated with an eclectic lot of creatives, from producer Valgeir Sigurðsson (Björk’s longtime collaborator), to artist Neda Sanai. Their songs are sung like raspy incarnations, and blend folk music created on a variety of instruments (Sierra is said to speak through instruments and plays guitar, piano and harp), and Bianca toys with percussion and noisemakers such as children’s toys. They both contribute vocals. Thematically, they explore femininity and spirituality as a means of empowerment, with songs like 2008’s “God Has A Voice, She Speaks Through Me,” which challenges notions of patriarchy and the belief that “god” is a male.. Of this trope, Bianca comments that “challenging the male idea of God for me is at the crux of the whole issue. Patriarchy, The Father…The Pope, The Father God… it’s all interlinked…These images are imbedded deep.” In addition to what the future may hold for CocoRosie, Bianca has a solo project in the works. “I’m touring for the first time with a new solo project called Bianca Casady and the C.i.A. The year is kind of mysterious right now…” They are also currently working on a sixth album, Coming Out Of The Chaos And Back To The Source. “We have been all over the place and back, and this record feels most akin to the first one. We limited ourselves to mostly acoustic instruments. The last few years was ‘sky’s the limit’ as far as production goes. We have carefully honed it back to a more simple garden of toys and sounds.” When it comes to fighting for gender equality, CocoRosie may as well be helming the ship. “There are many places where women cannot express themselves and many places where they are not taken seriously for it... Girl Power is where it’s at. Sometimes we forget to just do things ourselves and we can’t wait for the innovation. We have to just go for it. For me being a feminist is not a choice. Over all it’s about the empowerment of the feminine both in women and men.” Indeed, change is what Bianca believes is the path to personal acceptance. “My advice is to let it all out of the bag and don’t be afraid to change and change again.”
foot factory boasts over fifty employees, with $33 million in revenue last year alone. “At a CosPlay event, people like to make their own fashion and dress up as their favorite characters. Maybe you want to dress up like a dragon from Game of Thrones, or maybe you want to dress up as like a Hunger Games character. A lot of people who do costuming and CosPlay, want to add stuff like LEDs, sounds and movement. There’s nothing off the shelf that does that until you go to Adafruit. We have all these pieces and parts that make it really easy for you to add sound effects or lights or activity — all these little building blocks of electronics. And we have these extremely detailed tutorials that show you how to do it. It makes it really easy for beginners to explore how they could integrate electronics into whatever art form that they’re currently doing, and this way, electronics is opened up beyond its stereotype of introverted guys sitting around building things.” Now, Limor is dealing with the challenges of growing her own company, while maintaining her ethics on profitability in a cutthroat industry. “One of the big challenges is hiring really good people and keeping the company culture positive. Even though there’s all these temptations to take shortcuts, I fight it. People tell me ‘Oh, you should just take this money and rip off this person, or you should pay your people minimum wage’… You have to fight what a lot of other people tell you to do when you know what is right.” Never one to give in to such pressures, Limor continues to achieve her objectives with clarity and expediency. Being a female in the tech industry puts her in a position that could be tough, but not at the expense of her individuality. “I’m a woman. I’m doing this, and this is cool, and I can have pink hair, I can do electronics, I have my own factory and sometimes I wear makeup and sometimes I don’t. None of this affects my desire to do engineering.” In an industry extremely dominated by men, Limor is leading by example. A massive supporter of promoting girls in tech and engineering, Adafruit supports Girl Who Code, Girl Tech and numerous other programs promoting female education. “One of my goals of Adafruit is to show that electronics and computer science is open to everybody, and it isn’t just like “If you’re not a robotics nerd, you’re not welcome.’ We have a lot of parents that they use our wearable technologies to help their daughters build prom dresses with lights, tiaras — you can add electronics to your dress, to your skateboard, to your art projects…” In a live show she does every Wednesday called “Ask An Engineer,” Limor gives demonstrations on her work and takes questions about electronics. “We have special guests, and we had one parent email us after we had my friend Amanda on the show. She’s a biomedical engineer at Harvard and was designing electronics to help premature babies with heart conditions — it helps regulate their hearts — which is really amazing. And this parent said, ‘You know I watch the show with my daughter, because I’m trying to show her what engineering can be, and after you had Amanda on, my daughter turned to me and said “Are there any guys who do engineering too? Or is it only girls?”’”
“There was no business plan or anything. There was no goal. I was just making all these projects and putting them on my website.” Limor Fried’s entrepreneurial seeds were unwittingly sewn when she started building and selling kits for a pre-iPod MP3 player that she engineered while she was studying at MIT. She sold them simply in order to cover the costs of her and her friends’ own tinkering, having no idea the impact her venture would soon have on her career. Her college endeavor flourished into a multimillion dollar business, Adafruit, with a factory and offices in Soho, New York. Fried became the first female engineer featured on the cover of Wired, and won the Most Influential Women in Technology award, given by Fast Company magazine. Limor was also named “Entrepreneur of the Year” in 2012 by Entrepreneur, the only representative for women within the fifteen finalists. Also known in the industry as Lady Ada, Limor explained the moniker is homage to the 19th century programmer, Lady Ada Lovelace. “[She] was the first person to program... She was really interested in mathematics because she liked to gamble. She was like ‘how can I use math and statistics and computing to help me win at the races?’... She was a little bit of a wild child, outside of the mainstream.” With her pink hair and nonconventional career path, you could say the same of Limor. Heralding from a creative background, her interests and ambitions evolved naturally into computer sciences and electronics as she grew older. “I was always really creative and I liked doing arts and crafts. I was growing up when computers were starting to become common in homes. We had them in school, and we just kept playing around with them. I liked playing games, I liked making art on them. It just became one of my hobbies.” The depths of her interest in the tech industry soon grew from computer science to hands-on engineering. “I was supposed to be working on my thesis or something, but I didn’t really want to do it. Instead, I was like ‘Oh, let’s make an MP3 player’— and this was before the iPod.” The result of her impulsive decision was the creation of an MP3 player that fit into an Altoids tin. “They became really popular, and people were using them as minor music players. They were walking around like ‘Why are your headphones plugged into an Altoids tin?” This outside-the-box (or inside of an Altoids tin) way of thinking was novel to Limor’s college cohort. When they saw how easy it was to build things for themselves, they wanted in. Limor harnessed this demand and channeled it toward covering her business overhead, as well as the costs of her own personal projects. Soon she was ordering her inventory wholesale. “If you’re building projects, say you want to make your own MP3 player, you have to get a custom circuit board. There’s no way around it. Getting that one piece costs $200, but getting 1,000 pieces costs $300! We were like, ‘Ah! We’ll get other people to go in with us on it.’ We bought enough parts to make one hundred kits, and they sold out in five minutes… Even though you could buy a lot of this stuff, people wanted to have the experience of building it themselves.” Today, almost anything electronic you can dream up can be made possible through parts engineered by Adafruit. The 15,000 square
Limor Fried, From Brookline, MA Lives in New York, NY Photography by Indira Cesarine Limor wears a black and white dress by Christos Costarellos. Hair and makeup by Stefan Kehl Photographed at Adafruit
Hair and Makeup by Frances Prescot
ARGHAVAN Photography by LOUISE ROBERTS
The tipping point that transformed Arghavan into a full-fledged human rights champion occurred, in true millennial fashion, as the result of a YouTube video titled “Happy In Tehran” which she stumbled upon and posted on her Facebook page. The video (which went viral soon thereafter) featured six young (and very trendy) Iranian men and women lip-syncing to Pharrell Williams’ “Happy,” which they produced to celebrate The United Nation’s International Day Of Happiness. As a result however, they were apprehended and arrested by the Iranian police and thrown in prison, which quickly turned the ordeal into a global controversy that even Pharrell spoke out against publicly. They have since been freed, however for Arghavan, who was friends with some of the performers in the video, it struck a chord. As a result she suddenly had a newfound purpose, to speak out against these restrictions imposed on her former countrywomen. “My friend emailed me and was like, ‘Did you know they’d been arrested?’ And you know, I wasn’t happy about my book anymore. I forgot about the book, I forgot about everything because I was fighting for something!” Since the video, Arghavan has become an ambassador for the Swedish National Committee for U.N. Women. She lectures frequently on women’s rights, and gave a Tedx Talk last year. “I’m so committed to [my work], and without any finance, without any big sponsors. I did these projects on my own and I think I inspired many people along the way… Of course people with money in Iran have a really good life. Because money solves problems! My focus is more on the women who don’t have the finances to do these things, but they’re still doing it [anyway]. They inspire me.” In addition to her book and talks, she is planning to produce a documentary wherein she interviews women back in Iran. The making of this will entail incredibly risky trips back to her homeland. “It’s not something I can talk about now, because I want to go back again. I went there for three months, and I started the documentary, and I want to go back after the summer to finish it.” Finally, Arghavan is creating a project called Creative Change Makers, which aims to promote female artists in Sweden and Iran. “I have a project now that is about artistic women in Iran and Sweden. Women that paint, photograph, do music, and write poetry. I’m mixing it up with female Swedish artists, so they will all be collaborating together. The aim is to empower women there and empower women here through their art. By crossing the cultural borders between different worlds, I wish to create a strong connection between them. I have huge networks in Iran and in Sweden, so I want to mix them. I think these women can inspire each other to make great art - to do great things together.” Despite the incredibly full plate she carries, Arghavan stays grounded by adhering to her own personal words of wisdom. “You have to believe in yourself and everything you do. In the end, somebody’s going to hear your voice, but you always have to believe in yourself first. That’s the most important thing.”
“We have to help women who don’t have freedom of speech.” For Iranian-born, Swedish-bred singer-turned-activist and women’s rights champion Arghavan, these words define her world. Both an activist and musician, she began garnering attention in the media after landing a spot on the British TV hit Googoosh Music Academy, wherein she performed for one of the most famous Persian pop icons in the world: Googoosh (who has lived in exile since 2000). The London-based show - filmed by what is in Iran an illegal television channel - is a global sensation known as the “Iranian X Factor” with over 32 million viewers worldwide, tuning in to see performances by Iranian women who defy the religious restrictions imposed after the 1979 revolution, to sing in public. For her audition, Arghavan sang in broken Farsi (“My Farsi is worse than my English!!”), yet her performance awarded her a spot on the show, and more importantly, lay the seeds of her career as an activist. “In the competition girls were fainting, just because they saw Googoosh. I started to cry, because for me, I had come a long ways, you know?” After Arghavan landed a spot on Googoosh Music Academy, her chronicles as a competitor were broadcasted to the world, viewable even in heavily censored Iran via illegal satellite. Subsequently, she accumulated a wildly loyal fan base across continents, namely in her motherland, where women slowly emerged out of the woodwork to pour their hearts out to her through illicit mail correspondences, regarding their own creative pursuits vis-a-vis Iran’s state-sponsored censorship laws that prevent them from flourishing as artists. In hearing these courageous stories, Arghavan began to see potential in herself beyond that of a performer. “After this competition - I didn’t win it - but I realized that there were a lot of boys and girls - mostly girls - that saw me and were inspired. I started getting letters from them, and realized the impact I had made in doing this show… I started to think ‘Ok, maybe this is a mission for me, to be a voice for the women and girls in Iran.’ Because every time I went on stage I would think, ‘Ok, there are 79 million people in Iran, and girls are not allowed to sing.’” These events marked the beginnings of her career as an activist. She decided to publish an anthology titled, Zan (“woman” in Farsi), containing the writings of the Iranian women with whom she had corresponded over the years - her fans-turned-friends - whose creative voices were being systematically stamped out by the government. “I felt so lucky. I had this freedom of speech that I felt I had to do something with. So the idea came to my mind about having girls in Iran - basically they were my fans - write stories about how they live as women… They take their human rights extremely seriously, unlike in Sweden, where we take almost everything for granted. I wanted to hear these women’s stories who stayed there and are fighting. These women are my heroes, and most of them are artists. So they’re telling us about their struggles and how they reached their goals against all odds.”
PHOTOGRAPHY BY INDIRA CESARINE
“Music was a big part of my culture at home from a young age. My parents have an amazing record collection that I was listening to. And growing up in London, I had so much freedom. I travelled independently; I went to record stores on the weekends, went to shows by myself when I like was fourteen. I don’t know, music was always just the thing I loved the most and connected to the most seriously.” This connection of which Lizzy Plapinger speaks is more like an unbreakable bond. She started her own label, Neon Gold Records, her junior year of college at Vassar, “right out of my dorm room,” with her childhood friend and schoolmate, Derek Davies. Their junior year they discovered Passion Pit and the rest is history. “That was pretty much the start of it, we just jumped right in. We started out doing vinyl the first few years, and the day after I graduated, the label signed to Columbia, where we elevated to releasing full albums.” And since that day, Neon Gold has gone on to discover many of the industry’s top names including Ellie Goulding, Charli XCX and Marina & The Diamonds to name a few. “I think our greatest talent has always been and will forever be finding new artists.” In the music industry, Lizzy is considered to be taste-making royalty, and it’s only just beginning for her. “I feel like in the past couple of years, the radio landscape and the pop/top 40 landscape have really come to embrace sort of artists that we were defining as really forward-thinking, innovative pop… We helped create this creative pop shift that happened over the past couple of years in music. Aside from revolutionizing the music industry, she also is one-half of the pop duo, MS MR, which just released its second full-length album, How Does It Feel, to an impressive slew of reviews. Though her story is one of a rapid rise to success, Lizzy recognizes male dominance in the music industry as one of many obstacles that she’s had to encounter and surpass. “I remember, you know, first doing meetings for Neon Gold and whichever executive I was talking to wouldn’t even look me in the eye the whole time. They would only look at Derek.” Now the tables have turned. Neon Gold and all that it encompasses has become a national phenomenon, and Lizzy is paving the way forward by example, refusing to work with those who ignore her involvement with the record label. “You know, if someone didn’t acknowledge that we were both running the label, we would just choose not to work or engage with them. It’s nice to meet other women who are in or are working their way up the system, working at venues, working in radio, and to see that that sort of thing is changing.” She adds, “And it was shocking. It was shocking how often that would happen. I mean, we would leave a meeting, and Derek and I would turn to each other and be like, ‘Ok, well we’re never working with that person again!’” As a thriving female artist and innovator, Lizzy has utilized her social and professional status to help righteous causes such as “BAND against Bullying” – a local performing arts competition that promotes dignity and respect through the arts. MS MR are advocates for LGBT rights and women’s rights as well. “I’ve always considered myself a feminist. I don’t know why that term was anything other than being a statement of power and equality. I think people think ‘feminist’ is one kind of person or a certain kind of woman, and the truth is if you believe that men and women should be treated equally then you are a feminist. It literally is, you know? It’s hard to believe that anyone wouldn’t want that. For me, it’s more about, like, on a daily basis connecting to other women in the industry and feeling like there’s an internal support network. So you don’t feel like you’re getting lost in the shuffle. You have a comrade that you can talk to about things.” It’s no easy feat to manage a record company, lead a band and remain an entrepreneur, but Lizzy gives credit where it’s due. Her striking
Lizzy Plapinger, 26 From London, UK Lives in New York, NY Lizzy wears a dress with harnesses by KTZ.
This page: Lizzy wears a short jumpsuit by Georgine paired with a necklace and bracelet by Elizabeth Cole. Opposite page: She wears a leather harness bra by Lika, a multicolored vest by Francesca Liberatore, and green trousers by Georgine.
humility reminds us all that to pave the way for success, it is important to connect with those who understand and engage. “It’s great to have these many creative outlets on my shelf. I’m so lucky that I have partners in both realms. I have a partner named Max [Hershenow, the producer] at MS MR and Derek [Davies] at the label. I wouldn’t be able to do this if I didn’t have their full support and engagement on every front.” Now that Neon Gold has risen in the ranks as one of the most powerful entities in new music, and MS MR have established themselves in their own right, she marvels at a few of the early moments in her career when things were still taking shape. She kept mum on the fact that she was a member of MS MR to everyone in the early days of the band, including Columbia Records, who Neon Gold was signed to as an imprint. They wanted to wait until the music was released to reveal their identities. She laughs, “It was a huge surprise. The funniest story about it is that I had told Columbia that I was in ‘this group’ and I was like, ‘Don’t tell anyone, I’m not telling anyone until the music’s out there.’ And then apparently, a week later at a meeting Ashley Newton, who’s the head of music, came in and was like, ‘Can we talk about this band MS MR!? Nobody knows who it is but the music is fantastic. We have to find out who it is. I really want to find it!’” Their band name developed organically from a tongue-in-cheek observation about society and gender. We were talking about these sort of grand, grandiose names. There’s something sort of regal about it, you know, so there was sort of like a ‘king and queen’ avenue that we could go down, and it got us sort of talking about those, sort of silly, formal and mundane prefixes that people use, you know, the Misses and the Mister and the Miz and all that, and literally through that conversation we realized, ‘Oh my god! “MS MR!” It’s brilliant.’ It’s perfect. It alludes to us as a duo, and it’s anonymous, and also that we’re a male/female duo.” With a record out, a tour underway and a label to run, Lizzy has a singular focal point: “Focus on the music first before anything else. Stay 100 percent true to what your vision is as a creative and don’t wiggle from that too far, and then execute it. It’s easier than ever to share your art online, whether it be through music or putting together a video or putting together a photo shoot. I just think that people have the tools to see their work through. Know that you are as powerful as you are.”
Fashion Editor Indira Cesarine Hair by Anthony Joseph Hernandez Make-up by Min Min Ma
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MASTERSON a good example for people, because a lot of people who watch the show may be more close-minded than that. And then maybe they love my character and I want them to accept people for who they are.” Aside from her passion for acting, Alanna believes strongly in supporting arts in education. She recently traveled to Nepal to help build a school. “I went with the creative coalition to Washington D.C. to fight to keep art funding and education. It’s about giving back, it’s not about being successful and popular for yourself. It’s about helping others get there too.” As her career grows from strength to strength, she finds it’s important to have a thick skin in the face of fame. “I grew up with a bunch of brothers, so I’m pretty hard. I got a thick skin, but it still hurts when they say you’re not this enough or that enough or pretty enough or skinny enough…it’s very funny how you get more success, and people just want to rip you apart!” For her, supporting her girlfriends is the most empowering. “I think girls have a tendency to try and pull other women down or try and get ahead of each other, whatever it is. I think the coolest thing to do is to support your girlfriends, support your colleagues and support your peers and stick together because, hey, we’re women, we need to help each other, we don’t need to pull each other down…If you’re true to who you are as a person, it doesn’t matter what people think. I know that words sting…I’m not immune to people hurting my feelings, let me tell you. I get hurt all the time!” She recalls advice her mom gave her when she was young. “My mom said when I was a kid, hold on to your relationships with your girlfriends because that’s the most important relationship you’ll ever have!”
“When they say, oh you can’t do blah blah blah, I’m like great, watch me do this!” To Long Island native, Alanna Masterson, all the drama and backbiting that comes along with success in the acting industry doesn’t mean anything. The actress had previous stints waitressing, dog walking and working for a stylist before she made her mark in the industry. For her, it all comes down to hard work, and “if you pound the pavement long enough, remain a good person and keep your integrity along the way, it pays off... Three years later, I’m still on the show!” The show she’s talking about is The Walking Dead, the highest rated show on cable TV. It also happens to be a show where characters are killed off constantly, being about a zombie apocalypse and all. Coming from a family of actors, Alanna started at a young age. “It was just by habit seeing my brothers all going to work and I was like, hey I wanna do that! I booked my first show, which was The Young and the Restless, and it was amazing.” Despite going to film school for directing and cinematography, her passion for acting took over. She grew up with brothers who were on That ‘70s Show and Malcolm in the Middle, and “it was always understood that [acting] was a job and a job can come and go.” Her current gig is a precarious one. “The actors call each other and they’re like, ‘So you think I’m dying this week?’” The setting isn’t glamorous either. “We’re in the jungle...there’s no makeup!” Now in its sixth season, Alanna’s character on The Walking Dead is the show’s first lesbian character. “It shouldn’t feel different than any other character just because of her sexual orientation… [whether] you’re into men or into women or into animals, I mean, it’s an apocalypse, you shouldn’t care about such things…” It’s important for her to represent diversity on the show. “I want to set
Alanna Masterson, 27 From Long Island, NY Lives in Los Angeles, CA Photography by Romona Rosales Alanna wears a dress by Rebecca Vallance, earrings by The 2 Bandits, ring by Daniel Espinosa, and stone ring by CC Skye. Stylist: Kelly Brown Hair by Derek Williams Make-up by Liset Garza Photographed at Maison 140 Hotel
Ebba Tove Elsa Nilsson, 27 From Djursholm, Sweden Photography by Indira Cesarine Tove Lo wears a sequin detailed top by Sally LaPointe.
“I’m always going to be honest and upfront in my music. Some people are going to be offended and some people are going to relate, and I think that’s just how it’s going to be.” Swedish pop star Tove Lo’s bare-all approach is the driving force behind her barrier-breaking song writing and far-reaching appeal. Her debut album, Queen of the Clouds, was released in the U.S. on September 30th, 2014 and received a profusion of praise and play. An autobiographical album that traces the singer’s past failed relationships, Queen of the Clouds is sectioned into three different themes: “The Sex,” “The Love” and “The Pain”. The confessional quality of Tove Lo’s album is best represented in her popular single “Habits (Stay High)” which appears under “The Pain” section of the album and reached number three on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. “[A relationship] starts passionately and intensely, and you fall in love because of the passion. It’s when you start to fall for someone for more than just the attraction that it starts to get a bit scary. That’s when you get to ‘The Love’ section. ‘The Pain’ is when something that’s been very passionate and very intense ends. I don’t think there’s any way to end something like that on good terms.” Tove Lo started her career at Sweden’s prestigious music academy Rytmus Musikergymnasiet where she became friends with Icona Pop’s Caroline Hjelt. “It was all music from day one. We were put into bands. Caroline from Icona and I were put into the same band on the first day. There was a drummer, a guitar player, a bass player, and two singers. Caroline and I were the singers, so that’s kind of how we became friends.” Along with penning songs for Icona Pop, Tove Lo had success as a songwriter for the likes of Girls Aloud and Cher Lloyd before starting her solo career as a performer. “When I decided to release stuff on my own, I thought it would be more of like, my indie career on the side. [Something] that I would just have for fun because I needed it. Then that started taking off, so it’s been really quite a ride!” That ride continues this fall when she’ll embark on a headlining tour across North America in support of Queen of the Clouds. After going through a Nirvana phase, Tove Lo credits fellow Swedish female artists such as Robyn and Lykke Li as her inspiration. Her concoction of grunge and pop is best illustrated in the video for her controversial drug-infused breakup anthem “Habits (Stay High),” which she filmed during a night of partying with lovers and friends. “I could have done [“Habits”] in a way where I looked perfect in every angle, where it’s super retouched and it’s beautiful, and it’s just a sexy video. But it’s not a sexy video,” says Tove Lo. “It’s all anxiety, which is what I wanted. I want to show the imperfections, so that people can see that I’m serious when I say that I’m honest about who I am, and that I think about my mistakes and my flaws. If I don’t dare to show them, no one is going to take me seriously.” Such an honest hold-nothing-back attitude propelled her into the international spotlight, grabbing attention from critics and fans alike. There’s been much buzz about the controversial lyrics of the song, which describes maintaining a high to numb the loss of her breakup. Of the controversy it stirred, Tove Lo calls out the industry’s double standard. “What I always wonder is, there are so many dudes singing about the same subject. I wonder if they get the same question or is it because I’m a girl that people...some people ask me, ‘Don’t you feel like you have a responsibility to be a role model?’ And I think: do I have that [responsibility] more than dudes because I’m a girl and I sing pop? I think there’s a kind of denial on how much drugs are a part of people’s lives. I see alcohol as a drug as much as anything else. Even though that may not be my drug of choice, for me, that’s as much of a drug as anything else.” “Habits (Stay High)” was followed by a string of hit singles, such as “Time Bomb.” “It really kind of romanticizes the one-time love or the one-night stand, where it’s like, we’re not forever; you’re not the one, but we could be the best thing ever.” Another hit from the album is her track “Talking Body.” During a recent performance of the song, Tove Lo flashed the audience as a nod to the #freethenipple campaign making us love her all the more for her fearless self-expression against double standards. “It’s like, you should play hard to get, and you’re not supposed to be the one who messed up, or the one who made a mistake. I think it’s changing a lot now because there are a lot of young girls coming out and saying, ‘Hey, this is me.’” When people ask her, “Why are you not embarrassed?” She replies, “Why should I be embarrassed? I’m just thinking of what I, in my gut, feel is right and wrong. I’m just going with what I think is right, and what is me.”
Tove Lo wears an ivory amazon bomber jacket and top by Sally LaPointe. Fashion Editor Indira Cesarine Hair and makeup by Bruce Dean
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Bleta Rexha, 26 From Brooklyn, NY Lives in New York, NY Photography by Indira Cesarine This page: Bebe wears a leopard jumpsuit by Christian Siriano, and a jacket adorned with metal studs by Diesel. Opposite page: She wears a viscose cutout black dress and leather belt with metal hardware by Yigal Azrouel.
“I can never put my happiness or my health behind fame or money. I don’t want that. It’s not worth it to me at all.” Bebe Rexha has been in the music industry long enough to learn that it’s not as glamorous as it’s chalked up to be, laughing, “I stayed in my first five-star hotel, and it had bedbugs in it, I swear on everything!” Though her solo career is still in its infancy - with her forthcoming debut album due out this year - she’s actually a veteran, having worked as a songwriter for David Guetta, Pitbull and Tinashe, and was the brain behind Eminem & Rihanna’s Grammy-winning track, “The Monster.” Between her Albanian heritage and childhood in Staten Island, her music pulls a variety of cultural influences. “One of my best friends in High School was from Spain, and I had another friend who was Haitian, and one who was Italian…I think being in New York City and there being so many different cultures and people - they’re obviously influenced by their own music and their families’ music…and that influences me! And being Albanian definitely influences my music as well…specifically in my melodies. [Albanian music] is very Gypsyesque.” She launched her career after winning “Best Teen Songwriter” at The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences’ “Grammy Day.” When the competition was announced at her school, she got a “girl group” together, and cut her very first track. One twist of fate led to another. “I found myself in a studio where Pete Wentz was in the other room and he overheard me singing.” Wentz, formerly of Fall Out Boy, was in the process of forming his side band, Black Cards. “I got a call in my Italian class to be a part of the group and to sign a record deal, and I just got up and walked out. I was like ‘I’m getting the fuck out of here,’” she laughs. Like many early career choices, that era was not meant to last for her. “I was so young, and I traveled so much, and I didn’t really have a friend with me, you know, even though [Wentz] was a big brother to me — he was going through his own things. I took it really personally and that’s when I started really feeling very sad. Going from hotel room to show to hotel room can be incredibly lonely, especially when you’re supposed to be living the dream. You think everything is do or die, but it’s really not…I mean, fuck, somebody finally believed in me. It was like, ‘Publishers want to sign me, labels want to sign me…Fuck, I can travel the world. I can meet so many more people. I’m building a fan base.’” But when it started to affect her health, she made the hard decision to go solo. Luckily it was the right move for Bebe, both creatively and emotionally. “[Now] I can paint my own canvas. I can say whatever I want to say, I can sing what I want to sing. I can do whatever I want. It’s like the most freeing, most fulfilling thing ever.” Despite years of experience behind her, she’s only now releasing her debut album, which will undoubtedly show us a whole new side of her. “It’s a really long time in the making. I really love every type of music. So my album is every little part, all the years, flashing through my head…I’m telling a story in every song…I sing about learning. You know when you’re little, you think everything in the world is so great, and as you get older, you’re like ‘Wow, this is not what I expected.’”
This page: Bebe Rexha wears a long dress by Linie, coat by Christian Siriano, necklace by Elizabeth Cole, and gold ring bracelet by Sesonal Whispers NY. Opposite page: She wears a black mesh shirt by The Blonds with her own gold bangle. Fashion Editor Indira Cesarine Hair by Hanjee @ Jed Root Make-up by Lisa Aharon @ Jed Root Photographed at The Untitled Space
Camren Bicondova, 16 From San Diego, CA Lives in New York, NY Photography by Kim Meyers Robertson
CAMREN “It doesn’t feel like work. I love what I’m doing, and I think that helps me get through it because...it’s fun.” Such is the mentality that pushes sixteen-year-old Camren Bicondova through a grueling schedule in a career that’s only just begun. The actress honed her skills on the stage as a professional dancer, performing for the likes of Ciara, Pitbull and Christina Aguilera at the Kids’ Choice Awards, as well as with her dance troupe, 8 Flavahz, on MTV’s America’s Best Dance Crew. “I became a professional dancer when I was ten.” Most recently she’s taken her talents to the silver screen to play Selina Kyle, a.k.a. Catwoman, on the hit FOX series Gotham. “Then I kinda just happened to fall into the acting industry. It’s been really exciting.” She landed from this fall with the grace of a cat and hit the ground running with an impressive determination for her age. “I think Gotham was my 95th audition,” she recalls. “It was getting frustrating because all these casting directors were like ‘We just want someone with a longer resume.’ And it was like, ‘Well how can I build my resume if I don’t get any jobs?’” Ultimately, it was the casting directors that pounced on her. “They had me do a mock audition. On the breakdown, it said that the character’s name was ‘Lucy,’ but in the sides, it said ‘Selina,’ so at first I was really confused. It said ‘street kid, thief, very vicious when cornered, must be good at cat movements,’ and I was thinking, ‘You know, this sounds a lot like Catwoman…’” says Camren. “I choreographed some different cat movements to show them, and then I found out that I got the role and my instinct [was] right—it was Selina Kyle! I love playing her, she’s like my alter ego!”
This page: Camren Bicondova wears a military denim jacket by Escada, skirt by Opening Ceremony, and rings by Screaming Mimi’s. Opposite page: She wears a denim jacket by Calvin Klein under a navy jacket by Moschino Cheap & Chic, jeans by Rag & Bone, and jewelry is by Screaming Mimi’s.
Aside from a wide repertoire of dance (“I do hip hop, ballet, jazz, contemporary. I take African classes,” she says), she’s also trained in Parkour, a discipline spurred from military training that optimizes body movement to get from one point to another in the most efficient way possible. The gymnastic-like training, which involves a highlevel of mindfulness, isn’t the only military influence in her life. With a father in the military, it was an integral part of her upbringing. “With my dad being gone all the time, it allows me to do what I need to do, because I know that he’s doing what he needs to do. It’s taught me discipline and strength and humility.” While some girls her age would whine about an absent parent, Camren finds inspiration through challenge. She’s able to tap into an important psychological element of acting and reap the therapeutic benefits of playing a street thief. “I get to dig deep into feelings that I don’t normally use, and it’s really fun, but really challenging also because my character has feelings but she tries not to show them.” When asked if she considers herself a feminist, Camren answers with a resounding yes. “I just feel like as women we should be treated respectfully, because...people wouldn’t be on this earth without women!”
Stylist: Francis Urrutia Hair by Mark Anthony Make-up by Brian Duprey Photographed at Garyâ€™s Loft
Petite Meller From Paris, France Lives in London, UK Photography by Julia Fullerton-Batten
“I come to the studio and stand near the mic, and the song is already coming out of my unconscious.” Such is how Petite Meller lives: by coincidence, and tapped in to her inner psyche. Befitting her moniker, she is small and pale with over-applied pink cheeks and a charmingly strong French accent. Petite grew up in Paris and moved to Tel Aviv when she was sixteen. She says she heard a lot of “French chansons, and also African music and jazz” in her house growing up. “My father used to have a collection of records. I was spending all my time listening to Paul Simon and Serge Gainsbourg.” When combined with her own music, she deems it “Nouveau Jazzy Pop.” The highly improvisational artist likes to merge genres of the old with the new. “I love saxophone when it comes on in my music. Like Dizzy Gillespie and Duke Ellington.” The intro to her single, “Backpack,” features the sax to set the mood for a sultry theme. “‘Backpack’ is about discovering sexuality for the first time with little games, so it’s all about my own perspective.” Her perspective is one influenced by her studies in philosophy. Currently she is writing her thesis for her master’s degree, focusing mostly on those who were influential early on in the field of psychoanalysis. “Jacques Lacan and Gilles Deleuze, Freud. Often, that’s how I felt like I [could] create my own genre, and I was writing during classes [in] philosophy... so it’s all about dealing with the unconscious and bringing that out. What I would like to do is take all these fantasies and bring them more into reality…it’s why I make videos around the world. I’m analyzing myself, so it’s like a ride for me.” And quite the ride it is. For her videos, she likes to cast the characters by coincidence, people she meets on the street and online. In her video for “NYC Time,” she is carried from the suburbs into the city. “I was living in Bedstuy… I had this idea of someone carrying me like the music carries me, on his shoulder, from suburbia to the magical city of New York where it all happens…I found this – again by coincidence, I had met my directors at a Yankees game – and on the subway, we met this huge guy. I came to him and asked him, ‘Would you like to carry me in my video?’ And he was like, ‘Yeah…’ and he was so nervous. He said it was the best day of his life…and he’s my best friend now. His name is Justin Elephant.” In her world the line between reality and potential is almost non-existent. Those who are meant to be a part of her life will inevitably find her. “They just wrote to me, or I wrote to them. We never met before, we just met on location, like my stylist. She wrote me after she saw one of my videos. And she said, ‘I’d like to work with you,’ and then I brought her to France. We’d never met before.
Petite Meller wears a playsuit with ruffles by By Sun, and a red hat with heart netting by Julia Clancey.
This page: Petite wears a pink dress by Ukulele and a hat by Amy Collette. Stockings are vintage from Painted Black, and heels by Sophia Webster. Opposite page: She wears a bodysuit with sequin shoulder pads by Ashley Isham and a turquoise hat with spotted netting by Julia Clancey.
because of an impromptu change during the recording session. “I started beat-boxing with my mouth, because I didn’t like the drums in the foreground. It was very African somehow, and we added bongos and congas.” It turned out to be a happy coincidence, just like so much of Petite’s life. “I’m really glad that we shot it in Africa, because this was heaven for me. It changed my whole point of view. Even in fashion. I used to wear only pale colors, and when I got there, we changed the whole wardrobe to scarves that we saw with strong colors just jumping out, with red and yellow.” Petite performed at the L’Oreal Party at Cannes Film Festival this year and recently collaborated with the band Pnau on a new track. “It’s getting more and more and more busy, but I love it. I’m living my fantasy.” Currently Petite is teeming with excitement for her debut album release. “I’m going to call it Milk Bath. You know why? It’s a bath of milk... Because I deal with psychoanalysis, and the first meal a baby has in life is milk. That’s what needs and desires are about – it starts with the milk.”
So I like all this destiny that connects you with things, that gives you your path in life.” Another influence of hers is cinema. “Every video of mine is kind of an homage to a movie that I love. For example, “Backpack” is for the movie L’Enfer which is “Hell” in English, by HenriGeorges Clouzot, where Romy Schneider is doing a ski [scene], and I wanted to make an homage, and I came to the same location. I started to learn water skiing for a month for this video.” The strawberry blonde Petite pays homage to another blonde from the cinemas, bombshell Brigitte Bardot, from And God Created Woman. In her song “Baby Love,” which was filmed in Africa, Meller dances amongst a throng of local boys and girls. “This joyful thing, it really uplifted me from the broken heart and the pain, so it’s all about dancing the pain away. And the Brigitte thing is to show that, as the scene in the movie, it’s hysterical dancing of pain and releasing.” As a fan of cinema, especially French cinema, Petite‘s music videos are littered with film references. “I sprinkle movies I love into my videos,” she says. Nairobi was chosen as the setting for the “Baby Love” video 101
Petite wears a pink coat dress from Painted Black Vintage with a red asymmetric hat by Amy Collette and heels by Christian Louboutin. Stylist: Pip Hamilton Make-up by Celia Burton Hair by Bianca Tuovi Photographed at Courthouse Hotel, London
Tove Anna Linnéa Östman Styrke, 22 From Umeå, Sweden Lives in Stockholm, Sweden Photography by Jeaneen Lund
almost a year away from everything, and I realized how extremely important that time away was. Because I don’t think that I would have made this record in that time away.” The record she refers to is Kiddo, her debut US album, released in summer of 2015. “…I really had a vision in my head of what it was I wanted it to do. I had a goal. I had so many ideas that I wanted to try…so much creativity came from that break really.” Tove exudes a freedom of spirit expressed through her music, “There are definitely a lot of electronic textures to it, but I really try to stay as free as I can, sound-wise, and not to strain myself.” As a young woman in the spotlight, Tove has witnessed gender inequality and abuse of power first hand. “…Especially in Sweden, you tend to think that we’re equal. We’re not. People have to go through different things to get to that stage of whatever space that you’re aspiring to claim. And that’s really unfair.” She speaks about her raw experiences and lessons learned on Kiddo. “There are songs about gender and equality. There are songs about love. There are songs about abuse of power.” When explaining the process behind the single ”Borderline” she says: “I guess it’s a lot about my anger and my frustration towards society being the way it is. I mean you’re brought up to be something, and people expect a certain thing off of you, whether you’re like a girl or a boy or whatever, and I think that really frustrates me because it holds people back so much. It’s about breaking free from those rules.” From her ambitions to lyrical message, freedom rings – a cause she believes is worth fighting for. “I really hope that people aren’t afraid to keep using the word ‘feminist’…we need to keep on fighting.”
“All people should just have the same opportunity to be who they want to be, and that’s not the case today.” The boldness exuded by twenty-two-year-old Swedish songwriter and electro-pop artist Tove Styrke inhabits more than her vocals and bass beats. She’s an unapologetic feminist using her gifts as a catalyst of change. The world was introduced to Tove Styrke after she placed third in Swedish Idol in 2009. Of the experience, Tove described it as: “Really strange, to be honest…you have so much to prove musically, ‘cause that kind of competition is all about popularity, it’s not about music,” she says. “And when you’ve done that, you sort of have everybody’s eyes on you while you’re taking the first baby steps trying to make something…but it worked out alright for me.” For Tove, it’s worked out more than alright. Growing up in her hometown Umeå, Sweden, Tove was a fan of artists such as Patti Smith and Björk. Hailing from an artistic family, her mother, her sister, aunt, and cousin are all dancers. Her father, musician Anders Östman, scored a number one hit on the Swedish radio chart in 1975 and exposed her to music at a young age. Following her Idol claim to fame, Tove was signed by Sony Music in December 2009. In 2010, she released her self-titled debut album, which went platinum in Sweden. Despite her fast track to success, she felt it was best to take a breather and reconnect with her roots. “Three years ago, I decided to take a break. I needed some distance between me and the music industry,” says Tove. “I moved back to my hometown. I needed to explore music on my own for a while without any pressure to sell it. I also needed some time to really get to know myself because I’ve been doing this since I was sixteen. Looking back on that, I spent
TOVE STYRKE Opposite page: Tove wears a a bralette by Chromat, a mesh top by Monreal London, a necklace by Bond Hardware, a jacket by Richard Chai Love, and earrings by I Still Love You New York. This page: She wears a bralette by Chromat, a cape by KTZ, trousers by Topshop for Adidas Original, and sneakers by Nike. Stylist: Karen Levitt Make-up by Georgina Billington Hair by Clay Nielsen
the barrier against female DJs. “For us, gender has never been a barrier or an issue...We did get support from the boys, but I clearly do see that there is a difference. There are a lot more men being booked than women.” However they aren’t afraid of owning their femininity. As they said about a recent CoverGirl campaign: “I think it really resonated with young women. I thought that was really nice. I think it was bringing a bit of glamorama to our nightclub and DJ’ing world. Look, we’re girls, we like to get dressed up.” Born to hard working Italian parents, “Nervo” is their real last name. “I think because my parents grew up quite poor, because they were immigrants, music was always a luxury that they never had. They never got to learn instruments so they really encouraged us if we wanted to, to do music.” Their parents pushed them to channel their rambunctious nature into something creative. “Mum and Dad just said we had an abundance of energy, so they wanted us to come home tired! They would make sure that we were busy. We were part of a performing arts group and had singing lessons. We would do musicals and big bands. Mum said we were so loud that she needed us to use our volume in different ways.” They were classically trained before developing their production skills in their late teens by working with a producer. “With classical music, you learn what to do, you get marked on your performance, and you get graded. Whereas pop music for us was more free, it was more creative; there were no rules. Do what you feel. It was really inspiring, really exciting. It opened up Pandora’s box for us.” A decade later the award-winning sisters continue to flourish as a pair. “[I’m] so lucky to have a business partner — a best friend that I work with, that I live with, that I travel with — who is so similar
I think what happened was electronic music exploded in America. So really, our gigs and fans are what saved us. It was such a beautiful and bizarre feeling to meet fans because when you write for other people, you never have that. Whereas now we have people coming up to us and saying, ‘This song changed my life’ and ‘You know, you got me through a breakup’ or just really incredible things that we never thought we would experience.” For DJ duo NERVO, the energy and support of their fans is their life force. The two rose from waiting tables to pay rent to getting cherry picked by the likes of David Guetta and Kesha for collaborations, the former collecting a Grammy for “When Love Takes Over” performed by David Guetta and Kelly Rowland. “We won the Grammy with ‘When Love Takes Over,’ and then we got a record deal! That record deal gave us the confidence. We’d never released records under our own name - we just ended up producing for others, which was our goal. Then our goal shifted a little bit, so we became known as artists,” says Miriam (Mim), one half of NERVO - the moniker she shares with her twin sister - Liv - although they’d prefer to be noted for their musical talents. “If you Google ‘twins’ or ‘DJ twins,’ what comes up isn’t always… incredible. We wanted our music to speak for itself.” From their early days of sharing a room in London and scraping by, the two now jet set around the world, dominating the EDM festival and club circuit while tirelessly producing music in between. “We just really support each other. We owe it to each other, I think. Absolutely.” Their fate was sealed when EMI Records offered them an imprint deal, then decided to scrap it altogether, opting rather to sign the two as their own act. Working together as a pair, they have been able to transcend
Miriam Nervo, Olivia Nervo (33) From Melbourne, AUS Photography by Indira Cesarine Mim and Liv both wear a jumpsuit by Electric Love Army.
and it suits my night, you can come play with me at Pacha.’ And we did!” They recently debuted their LP Collateral, an epic storm of an album two years in the making. “Because we write a range of music, we didn’t want every record to be an EDM banger. We really wanted some of them to maybe not work on the dance floor, but work in the living room, at a different kind of setting. Or work on the radio because not all records on the dance floor work on the radio. So we’ve done a few beautiful record collaborations with artists like Kylie Minogue and Jake Shears from Scissor Sisters and others.” The album features the single “It Feels,” with a corresponding music video that celebrates love in all its forms, and “Hey Ricky,” a girl power celebration thrown by NERVO and collaborators Dev, Alisa and Kreayshawn. Through it all, the support of the fans and their mentors, it is their relationship and love with one another that pushes them forward. “We always say we need a third Nervo. Or a fourth! If we had a third or fourth Nervo, it would be even better!”
to me, same work ethic. We always work hard, and if one makes mistakes it’s fine. We know our hearts are in the right place, so, it happens.” Last year the duo performed at notable electronic music festival TomorrowWorld. “The fans were incredible; they knew our songs!” Such sincere passion coupled with an honest humility distinguishes NERVO in an era of big name EDM artists. Along with their touring and appearances on the festival circuit they hold a summer residency at famous Ibiza nightclub Bushwacka, on the infamous isle where they were originally encouraged by the world’s biggest DJs to join their ranks. “It was honestly the support we got from our peers and David Guetta in particular. I remember we were at his house in Ibiza and I don’t think ‘When Love Takes Over’ had been released yet. We were swapping records, because he had been going to Ibiza for ten years. He was like, ‘Girls, why don’t you become DJs?’ We were like, ‘Oh, just never thought about it.’ And he was like, ‘Look, put together a mix tape so I know what you play, your sound, what you want to stand for musically. If I like it,
This page: Mim wears a dress by Karen Walker, boots by Dr. Martens, and a belt by Skingraft. Liv wears a dress by Karen Walker, boots by Dr. Martens. Hat artistâ€™s own. Opposite page: Mim and Liv wear Jill Stuart. Fashion Editor Indira Cesarine Make-up by Renee Garnes Hair by Anthony Joseph Hernandez
Mim & Liv both wear complete looks by Christian Siriano with heels by Manolo Blahnik.
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“The album is basically just a storybook. Each song leads into the next, and it all tells the story of this girl Crybaby’s life… it’s kind of like the transition from her being this emotional vulnerable girl to being comfortable with being absolutely insane… kind of unapologetic for being crazy, because she’s embraced that.” Twenty-year-old alt-pop singer Melanie Martinez’s art has imitated her life. She recently released her debut major-label album, Cry Baby, after starting out by writing songs in her bedroom. Quite the transition indeed. Growing up listening to hip-hop and The Beatles, Martinez eventually started writing and recording her own work. Her tinkering would eventually lead to her securing a spot on season three of The Voice. “I saw an ad online and I literally wasn’t doing anything at the time other than school… I loved writing and singing but I didn’t really show anyone any of my music. My best friend and I would post videos on YouTube occasionally, nothing too serious. I just went out on a limb and went to an open call for it. I kept getting further and further, and it was very unexpected.” She was chosen as a member of “Team Adam,” and despite making it through several rounds on the show, she was eventually eliminated. This wasn’t the end however. It was just the beginning of what would become a defining music career. Martinez’ full-length debut Cry Baby is an emotional ride that offers a glimpse into her soul. “Especially being a girl, I am just absolutely insane sometimes. We have hormones and shit. Cry Baby is definitely a reflection of emotion and being okay and comfortable with yourself.” Her song, “Carousel”, a melodic track featuring swooning accordions, was also featured in promos for American Horror Story, which landed the single a Top 10 spot on the iTunes Alternative Chart. “The contrast is interesting because it’s all these titles based on childhood themes, but the content of the songs is that they’re all really dark and mature and honest.” Her music video for her single “Dollhouse” is a visually arousing experimental piece, in which Martinez plays a doll in a little girl’s dollhouse surrounded by other plastic figurines. She sings, “Everyone thinks we’re perfect,” as if reassuring her younger self that it’s all an illusion. “A lot of people are kind of blinded by the fact that just because people are in the spotlight doesn’t mean that they don’t have emotions and they’re not real people. I want to be able to tell people how I feel and show them that I’m a real human being and that I have a heart.”
Melanie Martinez, 20 From Baldwin, NY Lives in New York, NY Photography by Annabel Mehran
Melanie wears her own clothing. Stylist: Melissa Infante Make-up by Georgina Billington Hair by Mark Anthony Photographed at Max Fish
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Lyndsey Gunnulfsen, 21 From Boston, MA Photography by Indira Cesarine This page: Lynn wears a dress by Missoni and jewelry by KTZ and Slight Jewelry. Opposite page: She wears a jumpsuit and bone necklace by KTZ with a ring by Slight Jewelry.
“If I ever conform to that, please shoot me down.” PVRIS front-woman Lynn Gvnn isn’t interested in traditional Hollywood beauty standards. “I like to mix masculine and feminine together with everything I do. I don’t want to be too masculine or too feminine; I like to be right in the middle and have both elements of each kind of together whether it’s music video styles or just like dressing every day in general.” Speaking the day after PVRIS attended the Alternative Press Music Awards, it’s clear whatever Lynn’s doing, she’s onto something. “We got nominated for four awards and we performed at it, and we ended up winning Best Breakthrough Band. So last night was a pretty good night for us.” Lynn met Alex Babinski and Brian MacDonald through her high school music scene. The three ultimately finalized the line up and formed PVRIS in 2012. They released a self-titled EP in the spring of 2013 and began to gain traction, earning a spot on Vans Warped Tour in the summer of 2013. They’d return to Warped as a supporting act in 2014 and secured their spot in 2015 as a headliner. “We did two weeks last summer because we won a little battle band contest…we were on the smallest stage. Then this year we ended up getting permanently bumped up to main stage all summer, so it’s been a very crazy difference from this year to last!” PVRIS released their debut full-length White Noise in November of 2014. The title track features a Poltergeist-inspired music video with a darker meaning than ghosts. “It’s very much focused on not being able to communicate your issues and being haunted by something that’s not tangible, but it’s something that’s clearly there and taking you down. We’re all super drawn to dark and spooky things, but I think it’s because it’s cathartic in a way, like if you put whatever story you have in real life into that kind of story, it helps you cope with it in a way.” Most recently PVRIS hit number one on the Billboard Emerging Artists chart with their new video for “Fire.” Lynn says their videos aren’t stagnant, but all intertwined as part of a larger message for the viewer to make their own. “There’s a bunch of little hidden things here and there that we keep consistent and have an underlining story for everyone to kind of figure out the mystery. But ‘Fire’ is a very destructive song…basically the main concept behind it is just destructiveness and chaos and fire and lots of angst.” PVRIS performed at the Reading and Leeds Festivals this August and have a forthcoming U.S. tour in October, after which they’ll head overseas for more performances. As if Lynn isn’t enough of a force on her own, she recently covered “Talking Bodies” by fellow #GirlPower issue star Tove Lo. “She’s just like very real and raw and doesn’t give a fuck and she’s an amazing songwriter, which I always, always super respect...I’m all for girl power and just proving ourselves out there and just supporting other females doing whatever they want to do and being boss ass bitches.” In Lynn’s personal songwriting process, she’s a boss ass bitch in her own right. “I always get really inspired by sad and angry things, and scary and weird things…I feel like there’s no like formula for songwriting…ideas are things that come to you at times when they’re supposed to, and you have to really just embrace that time and really fully roll with it. Just like soak it in when you can.”
Fashion Editor Indira Cesarine Make-up by Tina Echeverri Hair by Matthew Monzon
This page: Betty wears a top by Diesel, black tie stylistâ€™s own, jeans by J Brand, hand and finger rings by Use Unused, hat by Topshop and, and boots by Dr. Martens. Opposite page: She wears a t-shirt by The Cast, striped skirt by Topshop, leather jacket by All Saints, hand and finger rings by Use Unused, earrings are stylistâ€™s own, and sunglasses by Quay.
Jessica Anne Newham, 23 From Sydney, AUS Lives in New York, NY Photography by Jeaneen Lund
was courted by record labels, ultimately signed to RCA, and released her debut full-length in 2014. She counts opening for Katy Perry on her Prismatic World Tour as one of her most valuable experiences so far. “It was the first time I’d ever opened for anybody and it’s a pretty high stakes situation to start in. All the little evil voices in the back of my head were screaming ‘You don’t know what the fuck you’re doing, who do you think you are, get off the stage...’ louder than they ever had before. Good news is I freaked myself out so much that the next night when I went back on stage I had so little expectation that the show actually went one billion times better!” A fighter for equality, she has become a huge advocate for LGBT rights. “I think that’s just where I naturally ended up. I will always lend my voice to a cause I truly believe in.” With her new album in the works, Betty Who continues to be an inspiration and a role model. “I absolutely consider myself a feminist but I also think that men and women are fundamentally different, and that’s okay. We have different bodies and different ways of processing emotion. If we didn’t, my love life would be far less complicated…What I know to be absolutely true is that I will not tolerate being disrespected or treated as ‘less than’ simply because I am a woman, and no woman should ever have to tolerate that…Strong ladies make my world go round.”
“Be true to who you are. Be the most you that you can be.” For bright blonde Australian pop star Jessica Anne Newham, a.k.a. Betty Who, standing at 6’1” with a deep affection for gummy bears, it is those distinct traits that give her strength. “Make two lists: one of all the things that get you heart wrenchingly, life-alteringly happy (songwriting, performing, gummy bears, Harry Potter) and one of all the things that make you ‘different’ (my height, my hair, my accent, my love of gummy bears),” she advises. “Now take the first list and do as much of all the things on that list as humanly possible. Now take the second list and start to love every single thing on that list, one by one.” While she grew up in a musical household, playing cello from the age of four, it was Jessica’s time spent at Berklee College of Music in Boston where she found her voice. “As a young person I was desperately seeking my tribe, a group of people who loved the same things I did…I found that at performing arts school ten times over.” She rose to fame after her single “Somebody Loves You” went viral, spawning Glee covers and soundtracks to marriage proposals. “The song was initially a break-up song which is so ironic now...But over the last few years I’ve really been able to see how much joy and light it brings to people. I guess now it’s kind of just a sassy love song.” In April of 2013, her debut EP The Movement was released independently. In tandem with the viral success of “Somebody Loves You”, she
This page: Betty wears a dress by Top Shop, a jacket by Diesel and rings by Use Unused. Opposite page: She wears a polka dot coat by Cheng, with a t-shirt by The Cast Stylist: Karen Levitt Make-up by Tinna Empera Hair by Katsumi Matsuo
Ellinor Olovsdotter, 29 Born in Stockholm, Sweden Lives in Los Angeles, CA Photography by Indira Cesarine Both pages: Elliphant wears a Jiseung Lee black mesh top over an Adidas sports bra, paired with leggings by BLACK’D. Fashion Editor Indira Cesarine Make-up: Georgina Billington Hair: Anthony Joseph Hernandez
“Elliphant will always be ‘a good idea’ – it will never really be finished. It’s always going to flow and change and we’ll experiment with things.” This good idea is the brainchild of Ellinor Olovsdotter, the Swedish-born and LA-based fiery, provocative pop star and former waitress who goes by the stage name Elliphant. It’s also the name of her 2003 debut studio album A Good Idea. “I think there is no genre for it as it’s inspired by so many different genres,” she says of her music. “Some songs are inspired by progressive rock, some are inspired by techno, and some by R&B. There is a lot of hip-hop and rap, as well as a lot of reggae, but it’s not anything, really. I love everything from Neil Young to The Prodigy and the Beastie Boys.” Her career started as many good stories begin: she was drunk. Uninhibited, she started singing her own songs for a DJ friend. “He liked it and asked me to come in and write with him for other artists.” One thing led to the other, and before long she caught the attention of Dr. Luke with her debut self-titled EP, who quickly signed her to his label. “I had a very good vibe with him. We have a very good stream. We knew that we would do a lot of work together.” In the music industry, she found her tribe. “The fact that I had a crew within the music industry suddenly made me realize that in all of my other creative endeavors, I was alone. But here [in the music industry] I had people backing me up.” Her music, from the hip-hop heavy “One More” featuring MØ to the reggae-laced dance track “We Only Getting Younger” featuring Skrillex to the R&B influenced “Love Me Badder,” displays Elliphant’s eclectic genre-bending range. Her song “Revolusion” is a battle cry for being who you truly are, with no apologies. She manages to pull off hip-hop styles and lyrics without coming across as forced or gimmicky, which is a talent in itself. Last fall she opened for Charli XCX’s Girl Power North America Tour, and released her EP, One More, to critical acclaim. She is currently working on her first US full-length, titled “Living Life Golden” due in September via Kemosabe Records. As for her long-term aspirations, they range as wide as her musical styles, yet are all as cohesively quirky as one might expect from Elliphant. “I want to be a mother, and I want to have a situation where I’m having a nurturing experience. I want to have a bee farm maybe and make some honey and produce and make music.”
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Elliphant wears a Peter Pilotto top under a Jarret white transparent jacket.
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ISABELLA MANFREDI “Being onstage for me is a war. Self-consciousness is the enemy. I don’t think about being sexy – I think about freedom.” Isabella Manfredi, front woman of The Preatures is all about rock ‘n’ roll. Not only because the Australian group crafts infectious rock jams, but for her intellectual and modern beliefs about freedom as a female musician. Along with Isabella, the group consists of Gideon Bensen, Jack Moffitt, Thomas Champion, and Luke Davison. The Preatures formed in 2010 while they were in school at the Australian Institute of Music. “I was twenty-one. It was pretty late to get in the game, but it wasn’t a career choice,” says Isabella of her leap into music. “I was studying English, I wanted to be an English teacher. But I took some time off and got involved with the boys, and from there, we started playing shows… I got hooked.” After covering classic rock songs from the likes of The White Stripes, Patti Smith, and Bob Dylan, three years of hard work landed them a record deal with Mercury Records. “Signing was a big deal. We’d always thought we’d sign with an independent label but Mercury offered us a great deal and they believed in us.” Their debut full-length Blue Planet Eyes includes “Is This How You Feel,” which won the Vanda & Young Songwriting Competition in 2013. The song’s music video is mostly footage of the band playing, Isabella owning the mic all the way through. In their videos, Isabella is often shot on stage performing, because it’s where she belongs. “I was trying not to make it about perfection or making a masterpiece, it was just about capturing the band at that moment and the songs
in their moment as much as possible,” she says of the process behind recording Blue Planet Eyes. The group is currently working on their second album. Isabella’s not interested in perfection. She’s interested in rawness, expression, and truth – a truth that she endeavors to share onstage. “We supported a band in Washington DC last year, and after the show there was a tweet from a local male journalist, something to the effect of ‘As a father of a young daughter, I advise Isabella Manfredi to wear a bra onstage. God knows she can afford one.’ The comments hurt me and made me feel shamed.” It wasn’t what she wore, but rather how she wore it. “The outfit I’d been wearing was a white crop top and white jeans – kinda TLC and very ‘pop’ – but my act was to destroy it throughout the show, pour water on myself and be physical to the point of aggression. For me that was really punk. To have it misconstrued as me sexing myself up just to get attention really stung… It wasn’t my lack of bra that offended, it was the aggressiveness, the rawness, that turned a totally acceptable form of female expression into something he felt deeply uncomfortable with.” Isabella respects other female artists such as Madonna and Miley Cyrus for creating art interwoven with their intrinsic sexuality, pushing self-expression to be true to themselves rather than what society wants. “I think for society to truly accept a woman’s selfexpression, we have to allow women to be ugly, and that means we have to allow ourselves to be ugly. It’s not an easy thing to do.”
Isabella Manfredi, 27 From Sydney, AUS Photography by Jeaneen Lund Opposite Page: Isabella wears a silver shirt by Chanel. Make-up by Mykel Renner Hair by Luis Guillermo
KERRIS DORSEY Kerris Dorsey, 17 From Los Angeles, CA Photography by Pamela Littky
“I love playing Bridget on Ray Donovan because there is something special in having a character and being able to watch them evolve and to evolve alongside them and follow their story. It’s something that you don’t get to do in film, and it’s really special.” In watching Kerris evolve from child star, one could say the same thing about her. After convincing her mom to take her on auditions as a kid, Kerris landed roles in commercials and various films such as Just Like Heaven, Disney’s Girl Vs. Monster, and Alexander’s Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. “I had really good success from when I first started on—I think when you’re little, when you’re five, you have no filter. You have no insecurity.” Now at seventeen, with Season 3 of Ray Donovan just wrapped, her transition from child to adult star has come naturally. A musician as well (her EP comes out this fall), her guitar skills landed her the role of Brad Pitt’s daughter, Casey Beane, in the sports drama Moneyball. “I love “The Show” by Lenka. It’s one of my favorite songs of all time, and I felt that it suited the character. So I went in and I auditioned with that, and that was what I think cinched it for me.” While many young girls are pushed into ballet, or perhaps piano, Dorsey had other aspirations. “It’s hard to find a lot of ten to twelve-year-old girls that really play guitar, because piano is what girls do, what they’re put towards. I think it was cool. I was acting, and then it was one of those times when your side hobbies come into play. Bennett Miller, the director, loved the song. So when they cast me, he put it in the movie.” Moneyball was an emotional film, and Ray Donovan is an intense drama. Along with acting and guitar, Dorsey’s gotten pretty good at crying, and even finds summoning tears to be easier than laughs. “Personally, I love drama, and I do it most of the time. But I think comedy is harder… you’re more vulnerable because it’s very apparent when people aren’t laughing and they’re supposed to be.” Of her role models, Kerris counts those whose work is changing industry standards. “The media is such a huge part of our lives, and it’s so accessible now with all the technology we have. It’s so invasive, the ideal body type and ideal everything - it’s just been put in front of us and we’re supposed to aspire to be that or feel bad if we’re not that. But to me - because I think it’s going to be a while until there’s change in that regard - it’s important to find your heroes and find people that you look up to, because healthy inspiration is really beneficial. I look at St. Vincent, Tavi Gevinson, Claire Danes, or Lena Dunham. People that are cool and normal and not this ideal or romanticized version of what a woman is supposed to be. They’re complicated but real. And also women in my own life, like my mom and people that I work with. I think it’s really important not to lose sight of what’s real and what’s actually in front of you.”
Kerris wears a cape and shorts by Caterina Gatta, paired with rings by Jacquie Aiche. Stylist: Kelly Brown Make-up by Emily Moses Hair by Dimitris Giannettos Photographed at Hotel Wilshire
really ground myself and look at things in a new way. This idea of the golden echo to me is symbolic of listening deeper with things. An echo is something that resounds, so you have to lean in deeper to hear it. I think that’s the way I want people to take this record.” Kimbra’s music reflects her adaptability and aesthetic range. “My phases of music have always been very different – I’d go from genre to genre very quickly. I just became a fan of music and the complexities between different genres. I never studied music, but every day after school I would go home and put records on and sing as a form of expression.” Her personal style reflects those exact same aspects. “When I’m performing on stage, it’s an extension of the music. I try to pick outfits that are, to me, reflective of my sounds. Whether it’s highly structural pieces, or things that sparkle, or things that have a bit of juxtaposition about them, that is exciting to me. On a day-to-day basis, fashion to me is a form of self-expression. You have the ability every day to put something on that expresses who you are. I definitely see that as part of the creativity.” As such an impressive creative force, it seems fitting that part of Kimbra’s generous spirit is spreading the love. “Another part of The Golden Echo is encouraging people to give back to their own art and echo in creativity.” In celebration of the release of the album, she invited contemporary artists to participate in an exhibit merging visual art with audio inspiration. “They listened to the album for a month, and created different pieces of artwork based off of their favorite theme from the record. Doing more projects like this is a plan for me because it’s an opportunity to give other artists a platform to show how they’ve been inspired by the music. That’s really important to me, to be able to create a chain reaction with this album.” Kimbra recently released her latest video from the album for the track “Goldmine,” an ode to self worth. “Gold must be refined in the fire before it takes on its true character. Much like life itself, we must be tested and refined before we can give from the deepest part of ourselves.” Directed by Chester Travis and Timothy Armstrong, the stop-motion video was shot in an old factory in Berlin. They created a visual metaphor for the song’s “inner wealth” using gold aluminum foil surreally animated into otherworldly forms, spikes, flowers and globes, which Kimbra considers a reference to the power we each hold within ourselves and that can be manifested as energy.
“The idea is that you’re walking down the street, and things that can be very commonplace or ordinary are suddenly transformed into the extraordinary, and it shifts your perspective.” The New Zealand-born and Los Angeles-based electro-pop soul star Kimbra is describing her 2014 song “Miracle,” although she could be describing her career. As many successful people will tell you, with the right amount of hard work, dreams do come true. Her catalogue is impressive, in the truest definition of the word – it invokes an impression on the listener that changes the way you think about music. “I would say that the artists who really changed things for me were people like Jeff Buckley, Kate Bush, David Bowie – these were the iconic artists for me who made me think differently about pop music. I thought, ‘Wow, these are big massive hooks with huge panoramic records that transcend you.’” They are fitting muses, and it’s unsurprising that Kimbra has caught the attention of fellow artists, including Goyte. Together they won a Grammy for their track “Somebody That I Used to Know.” “I am a huge fan of Gotye. I moved to Australia and thought that it would be great to work with the producer who made his first album. I ended up producing my album with the producer and he introduced me to Gotye, we became friends, and when he wanted to find a vocalist for that song, he asked me. It was crazy – looking back at the days when I was purely a fan of his music and then all of a sudden we’re travelling the world together.” Her universe changed overnight. “That opened me up to the infinite possibilities that a musician has to change the world and make a difference. We really never know what’s around the corner.” Her sophomore album, The Golden Echo, was released last August, and has been named by Rolling Stone as one of the “20 Best Pop Albums of 2014”. “The title itself came in a dream. The words ‘golden echo’ kept resounding in my head.” The phrase is part of the name of a flower, the Narcissus Golden Echo, named after the Greek myth about a young man named Narcissus who gets caught up in staring at a reflection of himself in a pool. “I found a lot of resonance in the idea of a young man who is bombarded with reflections everywhere. We constantly project images of ourselves everywhere and it can be hard to find a moment to be present with the world around you.” During the album’s production, she found refuge from the chaos of life at a city farm in Silverlake. “I started to
Kimbra Lee Johnson, 25 From Hamilton, New Zealand Lives in Los Angeles, CA Photography by Indira Cesarine Kimbra wears a silver chrome corset by LĂŠka with a black leather pencil skirt by Nirco Castillo. Fashion Editor Indira Cesarine Make-up by Georgina Billington Hair by Paul Venoit
Kimbra wears a jacket by Sally Lapointe and her own jewelry.
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Grace Chatto, 29 From London, UK Photography by Lindsey Byrnes
“We never intended it to be a love song originally,” says twenty-nine-year-old Grace Chatto of Clean Bandit, referring to their track, “Rather Be,” which went platinum twice and won her a Grammy for Best Dance Recording. “We kind of finished the instrumental track before we started working on the vocals. Then it became focused on sentiments of love, which is really neat.” Clean Bandit’s EDM track-turned love anthem is reflective of how their style is far more interesting and eclectic than simply calling it electro-pop would have one believe. Their influences range from Mozart to Madonna, and the quartet melds classical violin and cello with contemporary synths and a full drum kit. “We have always loved different styles of music, a really exciting mix, not just classical and house but loads of different styles like garage, reggae and drum and bass.” Of all her professional accomplishments, sharing classical music with the masses through the lens of EDM is what Grace is most proud of, proving it’s not a dead genre or one limited to stuffy auditoriums and weddings. The group’s mélange of electronic music and classical pieces by composers such as Shostakovich has landed them on the stages of Glastonbury, Coachella, and Governor’s Ball. Grace has serious history with her band and a wealth of pedigreed musical talent. “I started playing when I was really little. My dad plays the cello as well, and makes cellos and violins, so there were always loads in the house. I listened to a lot of classical music when I was really small… I was also really into pop music from when I was young, and then when I was a teenager, I got into dance music.” Formed in 2009, Clean Bandit is a group made up of two brothers (Jack and Luke Patterson) two best friends, (Grace and Neil Amin-Smith) and one couple (Jack and Grace). On paper, this could be disastrous, but in reality the four more than make it work. “Neil and I played violin and cello together… and then made a string quartet. Jack came to one of our concerts one day, and had the idea to do some kind of dance project together where we would play with some of the string quartets that we’d heard. He was adding beats and bass lines as a producer, and it was really exciting and it all stemmed from this one concert that we did. We all knew we were on to something that was quite interesting.” Among her inspirations, she counts artists who have that same keen sense for vocals that drew her to Jess Glynne, who they featured on hit track, “Rather Be.” “I love James Blake, Frank Ocean, the British singer James. We are always looking for people to collaborate with because we don’t have a singer in the band. We would love to collaborate with him.” In addition to crafting hits, her current interests include studying up on gender theory. “I’m really interested in reading different schools of feminist thought at the moment, and I’m interested in gender politics in general. I’m reading a book by Judith Butler called Gender Trouble. You know, the world over, including in the UK and the States, there really isn’t an equal situation. I am interested in feminism, but there are of course totally different types of feminism!” As for words to live by, hers are simple. “Just go for it and always believe in yourself. I think believing in what you do is so important because you get knocked back at so many different stages, and in different ways – in a way I think it is harder as a girl, to make it in the industry, because it’s very male dominated. You’ve got to go for it and really believe in what you do and what you want.”
Grace wears stripe shirt by Again Apparel, and a hat by Lack of Color Hats. Stylist: Jordan Grossman Makeup by Debbie Gallagher Hair by Jennifer Alden Photographed at The Orlando Hotel
Jessica Hannah Glynne, 25 From Hampstead, UK Lives in London, UK Photography by Charlotte Rutherford
This page: Jess wears a top by Endless Rose. Opposite page: She wears a jumper by Endless Rose. Stylist: Jordan Grossman Make-up by Elie Maalouf Hair by Robert Steinken
“We did this session, and I wrote this song called “Home,” and that was the first song that I wrote and recorded and listened back to that I felt like, okay, I feel like I know where I’m going now.” British breakout star Jess Glynne found her home inside a studio. Since then, Jess has collaborated with Iggy Azalea, Rita Ora and Rudimental and has gone on to lend her vocals to Route 94’s “My Love,” and Clean Bandit’s “Rather Be,” which won her and the group a Grammy for “Best Dance Recording” and became a mainstay on radio stations worldwide. Her debut album I Cry When I Laugh came out this August. “I literally cry when I laugh…And when I wrote this record, I didn’t want to make it about heartbreak or anything like that, so I made it about hope.” One of its lead singles, “Hold My Hand,” encapsulates the sentiment. “It’s about when you’re going through a lot of stress and anxiety, and you’re feeling insecure, and you’ve still got that somebody to give you a hug or hold your hand to make you realize that everything’s okay, and you’re cool. So they give you that bit of confidence.” Her music career wasn’t always a straight path. Her mother and aunt convinced her to audition for The X-Factor, but she says, “I felt like I had too much creativity in my music to be a part of that kind of thing.” She then worked in retail and as an alcohol brand promoter. “I basically promoted drink brands…mainly with Jägermeister which was really, really fun - but it definitely put me off drinking - and it wasn’t what I wanted to have a career in.” With her big voice, she’s inspired by the classic divas. “I listened to a lot of Aretha…Etta James, and Eva Cassidy, and Sheryl Crowe. I listened to loads of diva voices growing up. I became obsessed with Whitney and Mariah when I really started singing at a young age, and they all inspired me massively.” Jess credits Amy Winehouse as one of her biggest inspirations. “When you’re growing up, and you don’t hear things that sound like what you want, you don’t really know where you’re going, or if it’s even possible and when I heard Amy Winehouse, she was the first person that made me realize, oh my god, it can be done.” Aside from a memorable performance singing “Right Here” at Coachella Music Festival this year with Gorgon City, Jess unfortunately had to cancel summer festival appearances due to surgery on her vocal chords, but there’s much to look forward to from her including September tour dates. “I’ve got an amazing collaboration with Emeli Sandé, which I absolutely love. It’s a really special song. It’s got a weird name, called, ‘Saddest Vanilla.’ It’s about a person sitting in the corner of the room with a quart of vanilla ice cream, crying.”
Rosie Lowe, 25 From Devon, UK Lives in London, UK Photography by Ewelina Stechnij
ROSIE LOWE “I found that through studying and playing music from a young age (and later through songwriting) that it was an emotional language that made the most sense for me.” For enigmatic singer-songwriter Rosie Lowe, music is not only a language, but one she speaks fluently. Rosie was born in rural Devon, “in a little wooden house my dad built, with my five siblings,” where her artistic family fostered her creative expression. When she went to university to study music, “I was really struggling to find my creative voice - I felt like everyone had their ‘sound’ and I was doing a bit of everything. It was only when I shut those thoughts out and put some creative limitations in place that I found mine, but it didn’t come instantly.” It was never a question of whether or not she should continue in the industry. “I always knew that this was what I’d be doing, and there’s never been anything else I’ve considered.” Rosie released her first EP, “Right Thing” in 2013. Her single and sultry video for “Who’s That Girl” was released early 2015, with her debut album to follow. Her songwriting is a language of expression, yet one that’s open to your own interpretation. Her song “Me and Your Ghost” is a particularly haunting track. “‘Me and Your Ghost’ is about feeling abandoned by someone you need so badly. For me, it was about someone that passed long before their time, but what I love most about music is it can have a different meaning for every individual.” We look forward to learning more in her upcoming album. The musicians she chose for her band are all women. “It didn’t start as a decision. I just picked the best musicians for the job and they happened to be female so I was keen for that to continue.” An equal audition process, from an artist for equal rights. “When I hear a woman (and a man) say they’re not a feminist, it breaks my heart. For me, it’s simple…feminism means equal rights. It’s so unbelievably important that female voices are heard alongside men’s.” Beyond her open mind, Rosie sees the importance of vulnerability as an integral part of her creative process. “I really believe being vulnerable is the key to creative freedom; once you’re open to your own vulnerability, creating feels a lot less scary. Most importantly, when you’ve found something you feel is true to you, don’t ever compromise.”
Opposite page: Rosie wears a red ruffle top by Fydor Golan and earrings by Maria Black. This page: She wears a leather shirt by Theory, trousers by 2nd Day, a belt by Elliot Rhodes, and a necklace by Slim Barrett.
This page: Rosie wears a black triangular bra by Obscure Couture, cream oversized knitted arms by Acne, cream trousers by Antipodium with a belt, by Elliot Rhodes and earrings, by Slim Barrattis. Opposite page: Rosie wears a grey leather gilet by Moka, black cotton top by Phoebe English, black trousers by 2nd Day with a silver necklace by Slim Barrat and black blet by Eliott Rhodes.
This page: Rosie wears a black chunky knit by Jean Pierre Braganza, a skirt by HeohwanSimulation, and leather trousers from Jitrois. Opposite page: She wears a grey wool coat from Baserange, a black leather crop from 2nd Day, black leather shorts from 2nd Day, a brooch and a necklace by Slim Barat. Stylist: Alison Elwin Hair by Philippe Tholimet @ Streeters Make-up by Laura Dominique @ Streeters
PUSSY or hardcore fanatics, growing up those genres were common place in her household, along with a host of creative influences from across the spectrum. “I always had punk rock in the house. I never understood it as a subversive thing. For me, it was my dad’s music. You know, it wasn’t until I got a little older and got into hardcore around age eleven or twelve, that I really started to get the political side of it. Before that I was into The Clash, Blondie, Television…I got the artistic rebellion but I never got the political rebellion. That came a little later…I grew up loving punk and hardcore, loving avant-garde jazz. I grew up with Ornette Coleman and then I would go sing show tunes at night. It was a weird, weird childhood.” The political seeds of Graves’ life and work took root in those early years, and have now come to define every aspect of her creative endeavors. To that end, she takes the metaphorical megaphone that comes along with fame seriously, and feels an attendant responsibility to make the world better through her position. “I feel more of an obligation to continue having these conversations even after people want to stop talking about it because that’s what you do when you’re lucky enough be privileged like I am. When you have privilege, when you’re in a position of privilege, it’s your obligation to figure out a way to use it to lessen the evil and to increase the sense of quality in your immediate surroundings.” Among the various issues of importance to Graves, women’s rights rests at the top, though for her, feminism walks hand-
“I grew up a precocious, trouble-making, obnoxious, hell-raising child, who just wanted to sing and make loud noises and be on stage.” This being Perfect Pussy frontwoman Meredith Graves’ constitution, it makes sense that her interview with us would take place in the midst of an epic tattoo session during which she was receiving her very first knee tattoo - both incredibly painful sounding but also totally badass in the indelible manner so unique to her artistry and life. “I’m in a special kind of hell right now. It would take a pack of wild dogs to take my mind off of this…” Her new ink, which brandishes a giant honeycomb with bees flying around it, strikes close to home for her and encapsulates a palpable sense of passion for the various worlds she inhabits. “I love bees. I’m a pretty avid gardener when I’m not living in the city. And I’m a big believer in sustainable agriculture…I’ve always been really into that. But earlier this summer a journalist at The Guardian over in the UK, referred to me as the ‘New Queen of Hardcore’ and people lost their minds. They were so offended.” Eliciting polarizing emotional responses from her fans and foes alike is something she’s quite accustomed to, and which to some extent she embraces and even seeks out with the music Perfect Pussy creates. “It’s just very very abrasive music. Very unpleasant to listen to…But It’s not like I love it and I’m trying to go out and piss people off. That’s just the kind of music that we’re writing together.” Though the style the band currently crafts is perhaps accessible only to a subculture of music aficionados and punk
Meredith Graves, 28 From Syracuse, NY Lives in New York, NY Photography by Indira Cesarine Meredith wears a white dress by Cheng-Huai Chuang.
in-hand with socioeconomics and race. “There is no feminism without black feminism without trans-feminism, without feminism of class. My feminism is aligned with the definition of intersectional feminism coined by Black feminist educator Timberley Quintal, the originator of the trend of intersectional feminism, which to me just means I understand gender as it factors into our identities as a whole. You know, I don’t want to lock myself out of feminism by trying to define it. Intersectional feminism means a feminism that is larger than things like the wage gap or abortion or armpit hair… Feminism is a politicized tactic. It’s an active understanding, it’s not a pile of books that I’ve read.” Sexuality and sexual politics are also at the top of her list, of course influenced her much-discussed use of the word “pussy” in her band name. “It’s a weaponized word. It’s a popular porn search term and in that porn, it’s usually girls that look as young as humanly possible.” She also points out the hypocrisy in people’s gripe with her use of the word ‘pussy’. “So it’s a provocative, politicized term when an obnoxious outspoken person pushing thirty uses it to make music to annoy people, but when those people are home Googling it, trying to search underage Russian girls, it’s not provocative. Porn culture is a graveyard.” Though Graves has been unduly cast by the media as a shrewd man-hater, her attitude toward subverting the patriarchal paradigm
is nothing but well-thought out, concise and totally intelligent. “I don’t sit around smoking thinking about how awful men are so much as I just ignore them completely and gravitate with people who are like me and have the same political beliefs that I do. I’m just eliminating them from the conversation. I have a lot of men in my life that are amazing, my boyfriend, my bandmates, my father, my editor. There are men in my life that are incredible. For the most part though, I just engage with men as little as possible. The only way for me to see the dismantling of the patriarchal power structure is to audit my everyday life.” It’s an exciting year to come for Graves. Her publishing house is flourishing, and Perfect Pussy will be releasing a highly-anticipated sophomore album in the spring of 2016. Of her creative process throughout the writing of the album, she points to the fact that at the end of the day, it’s all about community. “[our sound] is evolving, but no matter who’s in the band or what kind of music we’re writing, the point has always been the people in it. This band exists as a mutual support system and a safe space and an outlet before it exists as a collective entity that gets on stage together every night. The people in my band are my best friends, so I’m lucky to be able to make art near them. We’re so lucky to all be doing this together.”
This page: Meredith wears a black silk coat by Georgine with vintage lingerie. Opposite page: Meredith wears a black sequin dress by Cheng Huai Chuang. Fashion Editor Indira Cesarine Hair & Makeup by Tiffany Patton.
“When we first started, having an all female line up felt like a hindrance. People were so negative towards us. Every review was about our gender; we encountered casual sexism at every show we played. We had to prove ourselves, and we did. We can play as well and as hard as any men. We’re a tough bunch and nothing will stop us.” Faith Holgate, vocalist and guitarist for Manchester pop-punk darlings, PINS, has certainly proven this assertion true over the four years they’ve been together. Since 2011, they released their debut album, formed the cassette label Haus Of Pins, and played all over the world. Their sophomore full-length, Wild Nights, came out in June to high praise. Of the album’s creative process, Faith counts a seminal female literary figure as having central importance. “To me, it’s a coming of age record. I’ve learned a lot of life lessons; a lot happened between starting and finishing it…I often read lots of poems and lyrics when I want to feel inspired, most notably would be ‘Wild Nights’ by Emily Dickinson. So much so that we named our album after her poem.” Though they credit shoegaze pioneers like The Jesus And Mary Chain and My Bloody Valentine as having made an early impact on their sound, it’s the Riot Grrrl movement that PINS considers influential to their ethos as a band. “The music industry in general is rightly criticized for its lack of female artists. The Riot Grrrl movement was incredible and made some massive waves, but it still feels like we’re fighting to get a voice.” Their admiration of those early female bands came full-circle this year when they landed a European tour supporting the legendary Sleater-Kinney. When asked for stories from the road, however, Faith maintained her decorum: “What happens on tour stays on tour! Just kidding, it wasn’t that sort of tour; it was a large-scale production - really professional. We were on our best behaviour. Although in Germany we all got tattoos and took a bath together.” Expect big things to come from this talented crew as they prepare to embark on a headlining tour across Europe and the UK this year. “You can expect to see a lot more of us,” says Faith, while PINS guitarist Lois McDonald sums up what’s on their horizon in three simple words: “Noise and glitter.”
Lois wears a t-shirt by Mishka, and jacket by Filles à Papa. Sophie wears a plaid shirt by Filles à Papa and jacket by River Island. Kyoko wears a jumper by Champion. Anna wears a top and skirt by River Island with a jacket by Schott. Faith wears a dress by Champion x Wood Wood.
PINS Lois McDonald, Sophie Galpin, Kyoko Swan, Anna Donigan, Faith Holgate From Manchester, UK Photography by Erica Bergsmed
Anna wears a t-shirt by Schott and a jacket by FIilles a Papa. Faith wears jumper by Katy Eary, jeans customized by PAIGE. Sophie wears jumper by Dr.Martens and jeans by River Island. Keko wears shirt by Gloverall and Jacket by Samoe & Samoe. Lois wears jacket by Filles a Papa and jeans by River Island. Stylist: Rhona Ezuma Hair by Steven Riashi Make-up by Wai Kan
Justine Skye, 19 From Brooklyn, NY Photography by Anna Cone
get yourself out there is a huge part of how all of us got here today.” Justine currently has nearly two million Tumblr page views. Justine tore onto the airwaves with her track “Collide,” followed by “Bandit,” released in spring 2015, and accompanied by a rebellious music video. “I like to always have my girls with me, my real friends. I don’t like to have people I’m not so familiar with portraying best friends on camera, I want my girls to be a part of this with me. The inspiration for the video was just showing how badass we can be, while also having fun, and having a good heart. You gotta play these dudes a little,” she laughs. As a sparkling female breakout star in the music business, Justine has witnessed the less desirable aspects of the industry, such as sexism. “They’ll call a man a boss and when a woman tries to boss up they’re just called a bitch.” For inspiration she looks to other powerful women who have risen above it all. Among others, Justine lists Missy Elliott, Beyoncé, and Janet Jackson as muses. Yet what truly inspires her is her own personal freedom. “What inspires me to write is the freedom I have to express myself. Whatever is on my mind I can put into a song…” Justine is currently working on new music with producer DJ Mustard and begins a tour in September. Along with hustling on social media and tapping into one’s natural mystical powers, Justine advises aspiring singers to surround themselves with positive and ambitious people. “The energy you keep around definitely influences the moves you make. And always believe in yourself and remain as confident as possible. People will try to call you as many names as they can find and break you down, but when you have a strong support system and love for yourself, nobody can stop you.”
“I was in the studio recording one day and someone said ‘Yo this sounds so magical’ and I was just like yea... really does. Then they go ‘Yo! You’re like a unicorn!’ and then something just clicked in my head, yea I am a freakin’ unicorn. Unicorns are rare, unique, powerful, magical, majestic, beautiful.” The girl with the purple curls, Justine Skye, indeed possesses all said unicorn traits. From Tumblr darling to rising R&B star, her evolution into a mythical creature has only just begun. “I grew up in the Fort Greene area of Brooklyn. Because my mother was in the industry I got the best of both worlds. Friday I’d be off to Miami hanging with Spike Lee or Russell Simmons’ kids, then Monday I’d be right back in Brooklyn going to public school. It helped balance me out. I knew there were amazing things and fun times out there, but I also knew where I came from.” During the Q&A portion of a Broadcast Music Inc. conference she attended with her mother, entertainment lawyer Nova Perry, Justine asked the only question she really wanted answered: “Can I sing for you?” The answer was yes. An artist of the next generation, her rise to fame was largely rooted in social media. “I started using Tumblr in 10th grade - one of my high school friends told me I should get on it, and that it was pretty cool so I gave it a shot. She had like 3,000 followers, and I was so in shock! Then I got more into it and figured out how it worked. I slowly started to develop my own little following. I met some friends through Tumblr as well, and we all helped each other out when it came to promoting our craft.” In 2010 the stylish singer posted a video of herself singing Drake’s “Headlines” to YouTube, and it grew to over two million views. She signed with Atlantic Records in 2013, the same year she released her EP Everyday Living. “Knowing how to work social media in a way that can help
Both pages: Justine wears a dress by Pavon NYC. Stylist: Melissa Infante Make-up by Joanna Simkin Hair by Dana Boyer
JESSE JO This page: Jesse wears a leather coat by Khalo, a skirt by Diesel with boots by Dr. Martens. Opposite page: Jess wears a faux fur coat by Diesel.
Jesse Jo Stark, 24 From Los Angeles, CA Photography by Dani Brubaker
“I don’t want to look like anybody else. I’m inspired by a lot of people, but you’ve got to make it your own, do your own thing.” As if Jesse Jo Stark, the twenty-three-year-old music and fashion maven, would ever have to worry about a lack of originality having been raised in the world of luxury apparel and rock ‘n’ roll. Jesse Jo’s parents founded clothing label Chrome Hearts in her native Los Angeles, and her household growing up teemed with musicians and artists, among them her godmother, Cher. At the age of eighteen, Jesse Jo was approached by Vans to collaborate on a capsule collection for the infamous skater brand. These days she continues to design collections for Chrome Hearts, and has been nurturing her rock ‘n’ roll roots with a recent EP release of original songs, Down Your Drain. Jesse Jo references her sartorial upbringing in her personal style and designs, and even draws inspiration from the music her parents listened to when she writes. “My dad loves old country music so he always played that for me. I think that’s where I got a lot of my style from. I got to watch Cher on tour and dance on stage, so I was always involved in a way.” Down Your Drain boasts some impressive credits. The EP is produced by former Sex Pistol Steve Jones and includes collaborations with Duff McKagen of Guns N’ Roses. Steve and Duff are old family friends, and Jesse Jo found herself always encouraged and influenced by them. “They’ve been in my life for a while…as I grew up, I started to realize how important they were. One time Steve came to one of my shows and he was like ‘This song doesn’t work.’ And I said ‘Come into the studio and tell me why.’ He came in and he was like ‘Let’s write a couple songs
together and I’ll produce it.’ It just naturally happened.” Jesse Jo is remarkably self-assured and unfazed for her age, though when she works on music she’s often the lone female voice in her band, which can pose challenges. “It’s hard to be heard in the studio when you’re with six dudes. I’m all about girl power. I’m very vocal and I make sure that I’m treated as an equal. As girls we dumb ourselves down sometimes. You speak your voice, and then you take it back. But then I end up being mad at myself. Why didn’t I just defend what I said? Just fuckin’ say it and go with it and go with your intuition.” A total badass herself, Jesse Jo is inspired by similarly ballsy women. “I LOVE Poison Ivy from the Cramps. She’s great, I’m obsessed with her…and Cher, obviously.” She also cites Lana del Rey as her favorite contemporary artist, defending her against her many critics. “People give her shit because she’s great. You can’t butcher a performer. She’s pouring out her guts on stage, and for someone to butcher that? There’s not a lot of people I connect with that have come out recently. So I’m into her.” She has likewise experienced misrepresentation in the press, the common consensus being that she’s a wild child. “I’m not a party girl! I moved to Hollywood when I was eighteen, of course I went out and raged. It was fun. But now I’m glad people think that, because I’m such a grandma. I don’t care. Those fans that have been with me since day one, I appreciate you. I’m not going to dwell on the haters…Just know that you live your life as you, and there’s only one you, and other people are just negative. You just gotta stand strong and be yourself and say screw it.”
This page: Jessie wears a faux fur coat by Diesel. Opposite page: She wears a vintage sequin jacket, a leather top and skirt by Khalo, and a vintage silk shirt. Stylist: Henna Koskinen Hair by Enzo Angileri Make-up by Shane Paish Photographed at Smoky Hollow Studios
Neon Hitch, 29 From Nottingham, UK Lives in Los Angeles, CA Photography by Indira Cesarine
“I was homeless, and my only hope in life at that time was MySpace. One day I was contacted by this manager, and he loved one of the songs that I wrote over this instrumental track. The next thing I knew, I was in New York, living a completely different life.” It wasn’t always easy for Neon Hitch. Neon’s family home in Nottingham, United Kingdom burned down when she was very young, and from then on her family lived a gypsy caravan lifestyle. “Our lifestyle was illegal, so we were constantly moving. So when we would get to stay, we were very creative. We would be making jewelry or clothes. I would hang my trapeze up in a tree and practice. All this very creative stuff, because we didn’t have a television.” Neon began writing poetry that eventually turned to song lyrics, all the while honing her stage presence as a circus performer. “My mom was in the circus, and at one point we traveled with a freak show, which was very interesting. Trapeze was my main thing, but I’d stilt walk, swing fire – I can even breathe fire.” She was inspired by former flatmate Amy Winehouse to pursue her dreams with music. Signed by the age of seventeen to The Beats Recordings, she eventually moved to New York, where she began working with Warner Brothers Music on her debut album, Beg, Borrow, and Steal. Throughout the process, she released a string of hits as well as two mix-tapes, 301 to Paradise and Happy Neon. Unfortunately her label continued to delay the release of the full-length. She decided to take things into her own hands,
parted ways with Warner Brothers and began working on an entirely new project, Eleutheromaniac, set to be released this year. True to form, she’s trying something new and unique with this independent release concept, preparing to distribute and market Eleutheromaniac through an original idea she calls “Fan Label,” an innovative approach to harnessing the conversation between artist and fans. “Basically, we have taken the idea of A&R at a label, and replaced all those people with fans. I know that we’ll be working toward the same vision and the same goal, and I know that whatever my fans come up with is going to be on brand, because they understand me, sometimes more than I understand myself.” With the conclusion of her Yard Sale Tour, inspired by her nomadic childhood, Neon is focused on what her future may hold, and has in the meanwhile dropped two singles off the forthcoming album, title track, “Eleutheromaniac” and “Sparks”. She also recently lent her sultry vocals to a power-pop collaboration by Cash Cash, also featuring artists Busta Rhymes and B.o.B titled “Devil”. Possessed of a modern fairy tale for a life story, Neon proves sometimes it’s the gifts that we were once ashamed of that ultimately lead to self-fulfillment. “I always wanted to be normal when I was younger. Now I appreciate my past, but back then I wanted to change my name to Melanie. I wanted to go to school. I wanted to live in a house. Every kid just wants to fit in, and I wanted to be like all the other kids. But it wasn’t happening, however hard I tried.”
Neon wears a cage crinoline and a black & white bustier by Lika. Fashion Editor Indira Cesarine Make-up by Renee Garnes Hair by Anthony Joseph Hernandez
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This page: Hannah wears a chartreuse sweater by Rochambeau, skirt by Issey Miyake, and shoes by A.F. Vandevorst. Opposite page: She wears a pleated dress by Issey Miyake, and necklace by Erickson Beamon.
San Francisco native, and model turned songstress Hannah Cohen left home for New York as a teenager and rooted herself in the city’s music scene, working at the iconic Village Vanguard while becoming a muse to the art world. Growing up with a jazz musician father, music was invariably in her midst. “It was just always around. We’d have musicians coming in and out of the house, sleeping on the couch.” This past March, Hannah released her new album Pleasure Boy, inspired by a painful breakup and the anxieties and revelations surrounding loss. “I wanted the music to hurt, to have a visceral effect.” She confesses that the album was emotionally challenging to write and record, yet through the art came a healing process. Now that her breakup is in the rearview mirror her music has taken on a whole new dimension, removed from its emotional associations. “People were like ‘Oh is it gonna be hard for you to perform these songs?’ And I was like, ‘What are you talking about?’ The songs have turned into something else for me. During that time, yeah, it was very therapeutic and I was getting shit off my chest...But now, I’ve moved beyond that.” Pleasure Boy’s morbidity is beautiful sadness encompassed in lush and ethereal melodies. With it Hannah’s found a way to connect with fans who can relate to and share her struggle. “Pleasure Boy came from calling out that person whom it’s referring to,” she says. “It’s also this person who overindulged in everything: people, food, alcohol, drugs…it’s something different to me every day.” One gets the sense that her emotionally rapturous music has become her antidote for life’s obstacles. She recently finished a string of tour dates with legendary singer-songwriter, Paul Weller, and has plans to begin recording new music, looking forward to experimenting with her sound and style. “I’m going back into the studio. And working with new people and broadening my horizons…But then again, who knows? I don’t really know what I’m doing next week so...” Though she doesn’t have her future pinned down yet, Hannah’s aspirations are quite simple: “I have like a five year plan that just includes having corgis…I hope. In ten years a farm of corgis. I watch corgi videos every day.”
Hannah Cohen, 28 From San Francisco, CA Lives in New York, NY Photography by Carolina Palmgren Stylist: Jules Wood Hair and make-up by Ingeborg
Tanner Elle Schneider, 26 From Los Angeles, CA Lives in Brooklyn, NY Photography by Indira Cesarine
Both pages: Elle wears a sequin kaftan by Georgine over a black dress from Three of Something. Fashion Editor Indira Cesarine Make-up by Cynthia Christina Hair by Issac Davidson
“I’m not encouraging anyone to do anything that I’ve done, but I feel that this is the path that my life is on, and I’m even thankful for the hard things that have come my way, because they’ve made me who I am. I’m thankful for all of it, the good and the bad!” Elle King, daughter of comedian Rob Schneider, moved to New York at the age of thirteen with her mother and stepfather, who bestowed her with her first guitar. She has become known for her unabashed, robust music, which she describes as “soulful Southern rock and roll.” Her debut EP The Elle King EP was released to critical and commercial success in 2012 followed by her 2015 debut album Love Stuff, which secured her reputation as a spitfire and one of the most promising new performers of her generation. Elle was turned on to music at a young age. “My stepfather was the frontman for a rock ‘n’ roll band. He opened my eyes and ears to new music at age nine…I became obsessed with it and I knew that that’s what I wanted to do, so I’m totally, unbelievably thankful for him.” At fifteen, played her debut show in the West Village, even though she wasn’t yet of legal age to be in the venue. “You could get a fake ID for about twenty bucks on St. Mark’s Street. People would actually find me and ask me to play shows, and I just wouldn’t tell them my age,” she says. “The thing is, if you’re talented, they’re not really going to question it.” Between jamming on her banjo, her guitar and her saucy voice, her raw talent is uncontainable on stage. Both her musical talents and personal life have invoked comparisons to the legendary Janis Joplin, which King brushes off with humility. “There can only be one.” Inspired by greats such as Aretha Franklin and Otis Redding, Elle’s songs chronicle past loves and personal experiences. “I’ve been in so many crazy relationships. I fall in love so fast, and unfortunately, I fall out of love even faster…Music is cathartic and therapeutic for me.” She’s been through her fair share of heartache, but now focuses on using her talents to encourage positivity. “It’s really hard for girls. We’re told to constantly pick apart our bodies and our minds, and I think that that’s really fucked up. I‘m just like, ‘Fuck that!’ I’m talented, and I am beautiful, even though I’m not a size two!’” Elle spent this past summer on a headlining tour in support of Love Stuff, which features her hit single “Ex’s and Oh’s.” Through her music, which is unashamedly honest, Elle continues to promote self-acceptance. “If we didn’t have such different physical types of bodies…there would be no individuality, and who wants that?” She knows the struggle to fit an unattainable standard, because she lived it. Along with her killer confidence, Elle’s I-don’t-give-a-damn personality makes her stand out amongst the crowd of cookie-cutter performers. “I have ‘Damn I’m good’ tattooed on my boob because it really makes me feel better…I think that we’re all our own worst enemies, and no one can be as mean to you as you can be to yourself, and so sometimes I will try and shift that thinking. I want to be proud of myself. I want to love myself…You know, I’m a tough cookie, and I love rock ‘n’ roll!”
WITH ELLE KING
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Tamera Foster, 18 From Gravesend, UK Photography by Erica Bergsmed This page: Tamera wears a jumper by LNZ, shirt artistâ€™s own, heels by Sophia Webster, and jewelry by Leivankash. Opposite page: She wears a black leather dress by Vielma London, accessorizing with jewelry by Yunus and Eliza (cuff and ring) and Leivankash (ring, bracelet, and ear cuff). Stylist: Ainy Naim Hair by Rio Sreedharan Make-up by Sarah Jagger
“I did not plan to go on The X Factor. It was a very spur of the moment thing for me as I decided to audition a week before. The moment I realized that I might actually be getting somewhere gave me real motive to grow up,” says Tamera Foster. “I wouldn’t say that the show gave me a sense of what kind of artist I wanted to be, but it gave me a stronger backbone to be a performer.” It takes guts to walk onto the stage of The X Factor and belt your heart out in front of millions, but Tamera is not one to shy away from a challenge, despite the fact that she was only sixteen at the time. Now, two years later, it’s difficult to remember just how young she still is. From the moment she sang her cover of “I Have Nothing” by Whitney Houston, she caught the attention of both The X Factor UK judges and its fans, even though she had to take a moment to remember her lines. Her audition video has been watched over seventeen million times on YouTube. Just recently, she was signed to Simon Cowell’s Syco records, and has plans for a full length. “My album has taken me almost two years because I was also finding myself as an artist…The vibe of it is very dark. I wanted it to come from a very genuine place and I felt like I could draw out the most emotion from the bad place I was in three years ago. I won’t go into detail because I’m sure the album can do that once it’s out there. If I had to describe my album, I’d say it is the sound alternative to a Tim Burton movie.” As a young artist thrust into the spotlight, having your personal highs and lows played out in front of the world can be stressful. “I’m shit scared of having people look up to me and look to me for guidance, because I believe that making mistakes should be a free thing; no one should judge you for them.” She credits Missy Elliott as her icon. “I loved her when I was growing up, so crazy and comfortable with it, I always wanted to emulate her.” Tamera is slated to make waves once her debut album drops. Talented, and possessed of preternatural intelligence, she is sure to go far in her career. “There’s too much bullshit going on in the world today to be picking sides. I feel like the world needs to come together as one and help each other out.” It’s understandable why she shirks the responsibilities of being seen as a role model, though her words of wisdom certainly resound. “As a female you hold so much power, you are beautiful, fun and stronger than you will ever probably realize.”
This page: Tamara wears a green suit by Todd Lynn. Opposite page: Tamera wears a fur cardigan from Raven, and neck piece by Yunis and Eliza, Photography by Erica Bergsmed Stylist: Ainy Naim Hair by Rio Sreedharan Make-up by Sarah Jagger Photographed at Studio Zero
Both Pages: Lenka wears a dress by Jill Stuart, with hat by Kangol.
Lenka Kripac, 37 From New South Wales, AUS Lives in Sydney, AUS and Brooklyn, NY Photography by Indira Cesarine
Lenka quickly built a name for herself, even founding her own record label, which granted her commercial control over her work. “Now I own [my album] and no one can tell me what style to do it in because I am the one paying for it. I’m a little bit of a control freak!” Now that she is established in her career, she is pleased in retrospect with the way her creative pursuits unfolded incrementally. “I’m quite glad that it took me a while getting to it. I was twentyfour before I even decided to dabble in music, and I was thirty before my first solo record came out. But I had my head screwed on so well by then that I never fell into a single trap. Sometimes I lament and wish that I was twenty when I put out my first record to have more energy and more time…but I was kind of an idiot when I was twenty so I wouldn’t have been able to handle it.” Lenka will continue to tour this year, yet may have a few other things up her sleeve for the future. “I’ll continue to be creative, but I’m thinking about moving into things other than music. I started making merch for myself, making necklaces and stuff…I’m a real arts and crafts person!”
“My mom was a teacher. She was the bread-winner, and my dad was the more creative one with a bohemian lifestyle…I was basically encouraged to do whatever I wanted, and it was immediately clear that it would be in arts and entertainment. I wanted to be a dancer, then I wanted to be an actor, then I wanted to be a visual artist. Then I wanted to be a musician.” And quite the musician she became. Aussie-born songstress Lenka crossed over from a successful acting career into music in 2008 and never looked back. She has since produced four full-length albums, the last of which, Bright Side, came out this past June to critical acclaim. Though acting was something at which she naturally excelled, it was in writing and producing music that she found the most freedom. “I sort of just realized that I was enjoying it more, and that I was better at it. I thought maybe I had something more unique to offer through music. It’s a pretty hard job being an actor. I was never really satisfied with the small amount of work that you get and the large amount of time that you have to yourself. You can’t really do it on your own, you know, creating your own work…so it was really liberating to me when I started doing music.” Flourishing under the creative latitude that music afforded her,
Fashion Editor Indira Cesarine Hair by Matthew Monzon Make-up by Tina Echeverri
Jacquie Lee, 18 From Colts Neck, NJ Lives in New York, NY Photography by Anna Cone
“I started in music when I was a little kid, like seven years old. It was just always a part of my life.” Jacquie Lee is a girl with a voice. She rose to overnight recognition on the TV show The Voice when coaches turned around to find a then sixteen-year-old girl as the source of the powerful rendition of Amy Winehouse’s “Back to Black.” She joined Christina Aguilera’s team and still considers her a mentor even after the show has ended. “She was amazing. She worked so hard for me,” says Jacquie. “She still writes me emails and gives me great advice.” The advice isn’t necessarily vocally themed. “It’s just about being happy in this industry, which is really hard to do if you look at every little thing as something that will stress you out or create pressure, but she’s been really good just about giving me solid advice on things that matter in life.” While Jacquie has been performing since she was seven, The Voice honed those skills and in the process made her a household name. Jacquie was drawn to The Voice for its authenticity, over other reality shows that focus on talent development. “It definitely felt different than any of the other shows because it’s about the voice, the judges can’t see you, they have to turn around based on what they feel,” says Jacquie “I also like that it always painted you in a good picture, and it wasn’t about the drama.” The transition from singing in a TV competition to gathering a following as an artist was hard. “It takes a lot of work to portray yourself as an artist after coming off of a TV show where you sing covers. It’s been hard in my personal life because it’s two different worlds now.” Fame at such a young age can be a lot to handle, but many of the greatest stars started young. Christina, anyone? And Jacquie’s career is off to a good start. She released her first EP, “Broken Ones,” in October of 2014, and her single, “Tears Fall” released in April 2015, received rave reviews from her fans, or “Jacquattacks,” as they call themselves. Her covers continue to draw views on YouTube, including Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.” Covering such a classic runs the risk of drawing scrutiny, but Jacquie’s version lent it cheekiness. “I thought that it would be a cool thing to try to get people to look at it in a different way, because it’s such an upbeat party song.” She’s recently toured with Shawn Mendes and is looking to release her debut album, dropping the question to fans, “Will you listen to my voice outside of the hype of The Voice?” Either way she is grateful for those who have continued to support her career, living by the mantra: “Don’t worry, be happy. Because life is too short not to do what makes you happy.”
Stylist: Melissa Infante Make-up by Eric Vosburg Hair by Dana Boyer
Both pages: Holland wears a dress by Ashi Studios, multicolored rings by Peace Treaty, ring by Pushmataaha, and golden heels by Greymer.
Holland Roden, 28 From Dallas, TX Lives in Los Angeles, CA Photography by Romana Rosales
HOLLAND “I never really viewed her as a bitch,” laughed Holland Roden when discussing her character Lydia from the hit MTV show, Teen Wolf. Roden would prefer to think of her character as a misunderstood Queen Bee, a more complex version of the hot, popular girl – one who is also intelligent, knows what she wants, and most recently, has acquired the powers of a banshee. Roden’s passion for acting took root early. She fell in love with the power of storytelling when she was young, but she found it difficult to choose just one path. “I always had a few passions. When I thought maybe this could be something I could do for a living, I went to college in Los Angeles with that in the back of my mind.” Roden started her academic career in pre-med, inspired by her father’s years’ long work with Doctors Without Borders. “I’d love to be able to do that with him, so we’ll see what happens down the road.” Eventually she transferred to Women’s Studies, likely influenced by her many years at an all girl’s school. “I didn’t sit in a class with boys until I was sixteen!” All of which has influenced her today. Having majored in Women’s Studies, Holland is well-spoken on issues of gender and gender equality, yet she has to remind herself that the women’s movement has a ways to go. “I’m on a show that has mostly boys and only occasionally does it really dawn on me.” She went on describing the lack of gender balance on television: “I
know right now in 2015, the stakes are still one in four – for every one woman on TV there are three more men, basically.” But she is optimistic about the future: “I would like to think we are on a new frontier – that we’re dealing with new issues.” To Roden the issue of gender equality is simple: equality is fair. “I think everybody’s a feminist. I think that should be the norm and not the exception. Just like the sky is blue,” and the only reason a person wouldn’t identify as a “feminist” is because of misguided information or negative stigma of the word. When she’s not filming the newest season of Teen Wolf, she’s working on several side projects. “I’m putting together a docuseries about the food industry with my best friend,” Roden revealed. The doc allows her to apply both her on-camera talents and intellect, together all with the help of her best friend. A triple crown of girl power with a helpful intent is born. “I’m a junk food junkie, and I don’t want to be. I was raised on disgusting food… Also, the food industry is just atrocious now.” From a teen fantasy drama to a documentary about food – her love of interesting stories, fact or fiction, crosses a wide gamut. And if Roden’s career has taught her anything it’s that anything is possible, even a ginger as the Prom Queen. “I really applaud MTV for hiring the pale redhead to play the popular girl. That’s new, you don’t really see a lot of that.”
This page: Holland wears an open back dress by Ludmila Corlateanu, ring with grey diamonds by Lâ€™Dezen by Payal Shah, and shoes by Ruthie Davis. Opposite page: She wears a dress By Ashi Studios, and ring by Phillip Gavriel, shoes by Greymer. Stylist: Kelly Brown Make-up by Liset Garza Hair by Christine Nelli Photographed at Maison 140 Hotel
Jessica Szohr, 30 From Menomonee Falls, WI Lives in Los Angeles, CA Photography by Indira Cesarine This page: Jessica wears a red beaded dress by Amen Couture and stud earrings by Melinda Maria. Opposite page: She wears a black beaded dress by Sass & Bide, earring studs by Melinda Maria, and a ring by Iro Life.
“I had a hard time,” reveals Jessica Szohr. “I was very lonely when I first moved. It was hard to meet people, everything’s so spread out, I wasn’t in college. I wasn’t old enough to go out.” She credits an emergency visit from her mom and a friend that gave her the strength to stay in LA, and eventually land her biggest role to date. “They sat me down and were like… we don’t think you should leave, we think you should stay out here a little longer… three weeks later I booked Gossip Girl.” Jessica, a Wisconsin native from the small town of Menomonie Falls, is perhaps best known for her Brooklyn art scene character, Vanessa Abrams, on CW’s hit television series Gossip Girl. Jessica’s acting career started at the age of five when she was cast for Kohl’s commercials, which translated into various other commercial roles and modeling jobs until she reached high school, and her agency encouraged her to pursue further work and move to Los Angeles. “After the bell rang I went to my guidance counselor, and was like, ‘I want to take all my credits this semester. I’m going to go to LA for second semester just to see what this agent is talking about.’” Jessica didn’t grow up dreaming of Hollywood. “To me, it just seemed like a really weird dream to do. Like, you’re going to leave with no family there, no degree, and try to act?” Yet, sometimes destiny is inescapable, and talent triumphs over trepidation. It was her down-to-earth nature that would open the doors for her breakthrough role as Vanessa Abrams, a character who appears in sharp contrast to the Upper East Side elitism in Gossip Girl. It was a chance meeting at an LA barbeque that would change her life forever. “I was in ripped jean shorts and no makeup, hair in a pony tail. I didn’t know anyone except for my two friends. Then, a couple days later, my manager called and she was like, ‘What did you do this weekend?’ I was like, ‘Went to a movie, went to a barbeque… Why? What’s up?’ She was like, ‘There’s this pilot for Gossip Girl that got picked up and you happened to be at the creator’s house. They want you to come in and meet tomorrow, but the role starts shooting on Friday.” Jessica landed the part, and her role was extended to a series regular after three episodes. The popularity of Gossip Girl would secure other roles that allowed her to showcase her acting range, such as Gretchen Polk on USA’s Complications, a gay nurse with a rough background. “A lot of people have been asking questions about playing a lesbian and really, like, I didn’t know that Gretchen was going to be in a relationship or not. I approached it as, it doesn’t matter who she’s in love with: man or woman. I’m just happy she had a relationship.” As her star presence grew Jessica eventually landed a role in Shawn Levy’s comedy, The Internship, starring alongside Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson. She was cast as a stripper and had hesitancies about what they’d expect for the role. “When I read it I was like, ‘I’m not going to go in there naked and topless,’ and basically, Shawn Levy was like, ‘What if you’re fully covered? Will you come and do it?’” Jessica auditioned and got the part, but it turns out that being an Atlanta stripper isn’t as easy as it sounds. “I literally told my mom, I give strippers much more credit because that’s very hard [to do].” With her upcoming DirectTV series Kingdom, Jessica returns to playing a character embedded in the art scene. “I play this girl named Laura who’s a photographer, and she’s part of the street art scene, and she meets one of the fighters and they have this crazy connection.” Despite her success, Jessica has remained down-to-earth, coming at her characters from a grounded place. She’s proof that you don’t have to sell your soul or compromise yourself to succeed in the cutthroat town of Hollywood. She may have left her small hometown, but she didn’t leave her values behind. “My family’s been very supportive. I couldn’t be in this situation without them.”
This page: Jessica Szohr wears a black and white red suit with culottes from Dsquared, a beaded bodysuit from Amen, sandals by Ruthie Davis, and earrings by Melinda Maria. Stylist: Kelly Brown Make-up by Mai Quynh Hair by Aviva Perea Photographed at Mr Câ€™s Beverly Hills
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DEAD SARA “Practice your ass off and be better than most, and be remembered as a talented artist who has something to prove or give to the world.” Emily Armstrong, lead singer of hard rock band Dead Sara, doesn’t mess around. The two lead females, Emily Armstrong and Siouxsie Medley, initially met growing up in Los Angeles. While developing a friendship based on jam sessions, the two listened to “lots of 60’s and 70’s music, punk and grunge,” which would influence their later sound. Both Stevie Nicks fans, a misheard lyric inspired their band name. “‘Dead Sara’ was a misheard lyric that Siouxsie and I heard, and was just kind of a funny thing. Every time we heard the song ‘Sara,’ we’d sing it really loud,” explains Emily. “It stuck with us and [we] decided to use it two, three years into being a band. Stevie Nicks was a huge influence for me in my teens.” Their hit single “Weatherman” was released on their debut eponymous album, which they released on their own label, Pocket Kid Records. Later they signed to Epic Records, but that was short-lived due to complications and creative tensions which prompted them to take things into their own hands. “The industry started to really take a turn when we got into it. Huge corporations were merging, social media was becoming the new era, and it just didn’t seem like it had landed on its feet yet. There is no better way to get a feel for the ever-changing business and staying on top of it than doing it yourself.” The intensity of the band has garnered fans including the likes
Siouxsie Medley, 28, Emily Armstrong, 29 From Los Angeles, CA Photography by Indira Cesarine Siouxsie wears a striped top by Thuy under a bodysuit by Georgine, and stockings by Wolford. Emily wears a T-shirt by Trunk, trousers by Lie Sangbong, and a necklace by Erickson Beamon. Fashion Editor Indira Cesarine Make-up by Roberto Morelli Hair by Anthony Joseph Hernandez
of Courtney Love, who called Emily asking if she’d sing vocals for Hole’s record Nobody’s Daughter. “When I got that call from Courtney I thought it was a joke of course cause it just, well, really couldn’t be true. I listened to a lot of Hole in my teen years, especially Celebrity Skin. I was obsessed with that record! That was actually one of the records Sioux and I bonded on.” This past March, Dead Sara (which also includes bandmates Sean Friday and Chris Null) released their sophomore album Pleasure to Meet You, on their own label via funding through PledgeMusic. “The record had been done for over a year once we got off the label and made a decision as to how we were going to release it. And that’s where Pledge came in. It was a great format to use to re-launch ourselves for all the missed time that we unfortunately had no control over.” Despite the extensive delay in the release, the album was received with critical acclaim to an enthusiastic fan base that’s sold out performances. “We played to a sold out Trees [music venue] in Dallas, TX for the first time and the crowd was singing everything back to us. I had to hold back from crying and get my shit together,” recalls Emily. “I had always dreamed of that, and there it was for the first time. Loud, rowdy fans singing every lyric. Truly unforgettable!” As of now, the band is in the midst of writing their third album. Expect more tours and more rock ‘n’ roll. When witnessing Emily Armstrong and Siouxsie Medley’s chemistry and rock-and-roll sisterhood on stage, you know they’re in for the long haul.
LIZZIE Lizzie Brochere, 30 From Paris, France Photography by Jennifer Massaux
“A hell of a ride,” said with a wink is how French actress Lizzie Brochere describes her experience starring on American Horror Story as Grace, a troubled, intelligent and seductive mental patient based on Lizzie Borden. The real-life Lizzie shares a similar dark sheen, having previously starred in numerous haunting, romantic French art house films. Indeed, over the years, Lizzie has come to emanate a sensual, observational genius. Co-star and idol Jessica Lange says of Lizzie, “I was a huge fan of hers since Frances. Such an unique actress, so strong but with a sensibility that can crack her open any second.” Playing a fatally sexy mental patient is something that comes naturally for Lizzie. “I love flirting with the borders of sanity in my job, so I often get what they call “crazy girls” parts. Never really think of them as crazy though, I try to grasp their inner cosmology, their story, what they believe, and really tap into it. Grace was locked up since her teens. She’s very powerful and guarded on the outside but her emotional relationship to the world is stuck in childhood. I connect to that very instinctively” A “daughter of a feminist and granddaughter of a feminist,” Lizzie began acting at a young age under the supervision of her casting director mother. “My mom was a casting director in France, so I started working at three years old. My first memory is playing Nastassja Kinski’s daughter in Par une nuit de clair de lune. From childhood memories to starring alongside Jessica Lange on American prime time, Lizzie has seen it all. “I think in a world where, by typing three letters in Google, you have access to crazy amounts of on-screen nudity, often reproducing the same formats, the same archetypes, and where the diversity of sexuality is represented by the same six categories available on any porn site, TV and film have a responsibility of showing alternatives,” she says of her fondness of wild women and comfortability with on-screen nudity. Lizzie’s feminist views are universal and invoke the fluidity of gender. “It’s a refusal of patriarchy, of defending equality for women across the world and fighting the representations of man and woman as they were organized,” she says. “It’s also encouraging the girl power of men, allowing the frontiers between genders to be more blurry then we thought they were.”
Stylist: Tara Williams Hair by Rob Talty Make-up by Elie Maalouf
Flo wears a complete look by Missoni, paired with jewelry by Patâ€™s Vintage.
Flo Morrissey, 20 From London, UK Photography by Anouska Beckwith
“I think it is important for us to be individuals, and not rely too much on looking for something that someone else has and trying to replicate that. We all are on our own unique path.” Twentyyear-old Flo Morrissey certainly knows a thing or two about paving one’s own way. She is the daughter of Helena Morrissey, a revolutionary British businesswoman who is the CEO of famed Newton Investment Management and the founder of the 30% Club, which she created to get that proportion of women into Britain’s boardrooms. Her Buddhist stay-at-home father helped raise Flo and her eight siblings. After a childhood of singing in the choir and at talent shows, Flo left school at seventeen to pursue music. Influenced by musicians Bob Dylan and Nick Drake who “set the foundation for my own exploring and fascination to begin,” as well as Billie Holiday, her career took off when her YouTube video “If You Can’t Love This All Goes Away” led to her getting signed by record label Glassnote of Mumford & Sons and Chvrchs fame. The music she creates could be described as thoughtful, dreamy folk – although leave it to the French to find the perfect word to describe it. “A French musician said he would call my music dentelle which means lace in French. I loved this. I always struggle to describe my music to people - lace is so fragile but has this intricate beauty and detail to it.” Her debut album, Tomorrow Will Be Beautiful, came out this past summer. Of its lead single, “Pages of Gold,” she comments, “I suppose it’s quite a personal song but the message really is that we all have these pages of gold installed in our minds,” explains Flo. “Even if on the surface it seems easier and makes more sense to say ‘Yes,’ and go back - sometimes we have to go with the ‘No’ and trust that it’ll be better off in the end.” Trusting her gut is how she garnered success, though her rise hasn’t come without its hurdles. “Being taken seriously as a seventeen-year-old girl wasn’t easy. I started very young and would go to meetings alone and the people I met always presumed I had no idea about the world or what I wanted. It was frustrating but helped me become stronger and know how to stand my ground.” Dedicated first and foremost to the message she hopes to send through her music, Flo has nothing but words of inspiration for her fans. “I hope they can take something special for themselves from the songs, and know that we are all human and not alone.” For those seeking to follow in her footsteps, her advice is simple. “Don’t be lazy, but do have a little fun with the world and with creating. Find your friend in the songs and music.”
OPHELIA LOVIBOND “I always had a very active imagination. I had an imaginary friend called Fly!” English actress Ophelia Lovibond, best known for her role as Kitty Winter on CBS’s Elementary, is unique. Not only for her childhood imaginary friend, or her incredible name, but also for her genuine love for the art of acting. Born with imagination, it was through the encouragement of her brother to join a local theatre workshop that she first applied those qualities at age ten. “I knew instantly it’s what I wanted to do.” Her mother, a counselor at a women’s prison, taught her personal strength and confidence. “She taught me not to compromise on who you are…just to know yourself and kind of revel in that.” Ophelia’s authenticity helped her land roles such as Kitty Winter in Elementary. “The whole process of landing the role of Kitty was remarkably straightforward,” she recalls. “My agent called up and said that the creator of the show, Rob Doherty, wanted to talk to me about a new character they were introducing. He asked me to put a couple of scenes on tape. Two days later I was told I had the part and would be flying out to New York!” Ophelia stars as Sherlock Holmes’ (played by Jonny Lee Miller) protégé alongside Lucy Liu. “I think having a woman play Watson enhances the dynamic, because it’s quite unusual to have that sort of platonic relationship depicted on screen…It shows that there’s no reason why many roles that are written as men can’t just as easily be played by women.” Hollywood may not be
gender-blind yet, but Ophelia’s views on equality are. “I am absolutely a feminist. It represents equality for everyone, regardless of sex or race, and that can only mean a more progressive, balanced society. Feminism is about a more fluid understanding of gender allowing men, for example, to be able to express more typically ‘feminine’ characteristics without fear of being labeled un-macho, which again could lead to a healthier society.” Along with the film The Autopsy of Jane Doe, currently in post-production, Ophelia’s projects include her stage debut in the play The Effect by Lucy Prebble. In what she describes as “one of the most dynamic, complex characters I’ve ever played,” she portrays Connie, a psychology student. “The play is set in a drug trial…She [Connie] thinks everything through which has made her disengage with the world around her. And then at the drug trial, she meets someone that is completely different. She just falls violently in love…” Ophelia has a deadpan humor which combined with her honest demeanor is an endearing quality that creates a perfect canvas for her characters and also allows for some spot-on words of wisdom for future starlets. Along with “take Fountain” referring to the street that is quicker than Sunset Boulevard to get to Hollywood, she encourages, “Know that you have a voice…it can be quite frustrating, but don’t lose that confidence in your desire to tell the world different stories.”
Ophelia Lovibond, 29 From London, UK Photography by Rebecca Miller Opposite page: Ophelia wears a dress by Luisa Beccaria and a ring by Shaun Leane. This page: She wears a dress by PPQ and rings by Jade Jagger.
Ophelia wears a Top by Self Portrait, skirt by Basharatyan V, and bangle and ring by Jade Jagger. Stylist: Holly Ounstead Hair by Fabio Nogueira Make-up by Justine Jenkins Photographed at The French House
Gemma wears a jumpsuit, top, and belt by Alessandra Rich.
Gemma wears a sequin shirt by Dior, rings by Maria Black and Jennifer Zeuner, and earrings by Lara Bohinc.
Gemma Chan, 32 From London, UK Photography by Rachell Smith
Gemma recently got the plum opportunity to play opposite Johnny Depp as his “partner in crime” in the forthcoming film London Fields, which also features model turned actress Cara Delevigne, Billy Bob Thornton and Amber Heard. She’s also starring in TV sci-fi drama Humans as the lead role of “synth” Anita. “It’s very real, very grounded sci-fi, and it also has to do with artificial intelligence, but it’s really about the questions it raises…and one of the main things is, ‘What does it mean to be human?’” For Gemma, being human means lending her talent to human rights organizations such as Amnesty International. She’s also lent her voice to a campaign to bring awareness to the sexist nature of The Sun’s notorious page three girls. “A picture of a naked woman in itself is not a sexist thing, but it’s the context of where it’s used that could make it a sexist thing,” explains Gemma. “When you put a large picture of a young woman topless in a newspaper on a daily basis where that’s the only real representation of women…I think that is sexist.” She’s not seeking to ban the images, but simply fighting for an overdue equal and honest representation of women. “I do consider myself a feminist. To me it just means you believe in gender equality. Anyone, male or female, who believes in that, is a feminist. I think it’s important to dispel the myth that feminism is about hating men. Gender equality should be everyone’s fight.”
“My parents wanted me to study something academic at university, so I went to Oxford and I studied law. I had such a great time there…the life experience I got. I’m so glad that I just did the normal stuff of seeing a bit of the world before I went to drama school…” Raised near Sevenoaks in South East England by a father from Hong Kong and a mother from China, Gemma Chan proves that beauty and brains aren’t dichotomous attributes. If she had followed the straight and narrow she’d be working as an attorney, successful no doubt, but we prefer to see her ambition on screen. “I knew pretty early on that it just wasn’t for me,” Gemma recalls of corporate law. “So I applied to drama school without telling anyone. I only told my mom and dad and my friends when I got in and said, ‘You know, I’m turning down the job with the law firm and this is what I’m going to do.’” As a model, she had already amassed loads of experience in front of a camera, which she used as a means to an end. “I probably wouldn’t have been able to afford to go to drama school if I hadn’t been a model.” While modeling constrained her, acting allowed her to spread her wings. “Acting became really important to me when I realized that I found a freedom in it, in playing different characters and being part of telling stories.” With a slew of TV roles under her belt over the past few years,
Gemma Chan wears a black top and skirt by Bora Aksu with earrings by Lara Bohinc, and braclets by Allison Bryan with rings by Maya Magal. Stylist: Nisha Grewal Make-up by Maria Vittoria Hair by Dayaruci
ARO “I think I’m cautious. Not because I feel too precious, but because I’m an observer,” says Aimee Osbourne, a.k.a. ARO, in referring to her noted reticence from media fame and the reality TV spotlight that has come to define her notorious family. “I think most British people are a little bit more reserved at first. I think with me it’s a combination of a little bit of shyness, and of course growing up in a public and out-there situation - you definitely become a bit more vulnerable and cautious of people and their motives…I’m kind of just doing my own thing and being myself.” One might surmise that “doing your own thing” could be difficult for the daughter of Ozzy and Sharon. However, Aimee has quietly been paving a way for herself in the music industry, her efforts culminating in her forthcoming debut EP. “Nowadays it’s inconceivable for someone not to want to be famous and rich and out there and have access to everything. But you know, growing up in that environment you see it a little differently.” If it were fame she was after, she could have had it, years ago, and instantly, by starring on Ozzy Osbourne’s MTV reality show The Osbournes along with her younger siblings. Instead, at age sixteen, Aimee shunned family fame and embraced anonymity to pursue her musical ambitions. “It didn’t really feel like a decision, almost like a natural reflex. Not doing the show was something just as natural as waking up in the morning and brushing your teeth. It wasn’t something that I thought about. I knew it wasn’t going to be right for me.” Away from the cameras, alone in her room, she found her own voice. “I was always a little bit of a loner. I would spend hours in my room just listening to all kinds of music and watching all these different kinds of interesting independent films and watching people…motivated me to find myself by doing something creative. I really accepted that it was music when I was around fifteen…I kept it a secret that I could sing, that I could write songs and lyrics because I think it’s natural to not want to do what your parents do.” Aimee recently released her debut single “Raining Gold” to critical acclaim, coming out swinging as the dark horse of the family. She cites her influences as Erykah Badu, Johnny Cash, Björk, Massive Attack, Kate Bush and the Talking Heads, saying, “They all kind of have something in common which is being moody and atmospheric and sort of melancholy but also kind of deep and esoteric as well.” And of course, her father’s iconic macabre sensibilities undeniably run in her veins as well. “I think naturally I do tend to lean to sort of the darker stuff. One can argue that he embodies that, but we’re as similar as we are different…And I have a huge amount of respect and admiration for all he’s accomplished and the timespan of his career…you go to his shows and there are four-year-olds and seventy-five-year-olds there.”
Aimee Osbourne, 31 From London, UK Lives in Los Angeles, CA Aimee wears a nude bodice with safety pin detail by Cheng-Huai Chuang, layered with a leather/lace coat from Lie Sangbong.
This page: Aimee wears a sleeveless mock turtleneck by Karolyn Pho, a black jacket by Lie Sangbong, paired with earrings by Erickson Beamon. Opposite page: She wears a see-through floor length cardigan from Teca by Helo Rocha and a black patent leather bodice by The Blonds. Fashion Editor Indira Cesarine Hair by Anthony Joseph Hernandez Make-up by Roberto Morelli
For having grown up in a whirlwind, Aimee has managed to keep a clear perspective on the trappings of fame, even titling one of her singles, “Cocaine,” her own commentary on the illusions of success in the context of the entertainment industry. “I think living in L.A. there’s a lot of privilege and a lot of excess. You combine those things with nightlife and usually it equals cocaine. I never went there with any of that kind of stuff. Consistent use of any of that never equals success and happiness for anyone no matter what…It was almost like all of the people I used to watch do it never liked it, they were just trying to fit in.” Indeed, Aimee is certainly one artist who bucks convention, keeping a level-headed point of view on issues ranging from fame to feminism. “I don’t like titles. I find they immediately isolate people. But do I believe in women being treated fairly in every way? Of course. I think that should just be a natural way of thinking for everyone, to the point that it doesn’t need to be categorized. It should be just like a traffic light, which we need to stay safe. I think it should be the same for women’s rights…I feel that now more then ever it’s really changing for women in music. There are so many incredibly talented and inspiring, solid women that are great role models and who aren’t just sexualizing themselves and indulging in trashy behavior. Now more then ever there are some really elegant and creative, beautiful, strong women that are making their art and are incredible at it.” It appears that Aimee is on her way to join that caste of inspirational female artists. Look out for her debut EP this year, and a tour to follow. Clearly she possesses the mentality needed to achieve longevity as a musician. As she states, “Just because it’s not an easy, smooth, quick ride doesn’t mean that it’s not the right choice. Expect that all good things in life take time and work. When you’re solid within yourself, your art is all the more authentic. I think it just takes patience, inner strength and belief.”
BEHIND SCENES WITH AIMEE OSBOURNE
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IVY LEVAN of legends Whitney Houston and Tina Turner combined with the moodiness of 80’s goth bands such as Siouxsie and the Banshees and Depeche Mode. “I’m from this swampy South, with the creeks, the swamps, the woods, and all that shit, so it felt natural, this ‘swamp pop’. When you think about the swamp, it’s dark and there’s this certain texture, but there’s also a ton of life.” Her most recent EP, Introducing The Dame, was released in January 2015, followed by her cheeky single, “Biscuit,” where Levan tells us to “Kiss it!” The video, which features not only a redhot Levan, but also a dancing biscuit with pipe-cleaner legs and googly eyes, displays her wicked sense of humor. Talking about the inspiration behind the song and video, Levan says, “Well, being in the industry that I’m in, I get fed a lot of bullshit. And I get a lot of shit blown up my ass, and also just people in general are assholes. Fuckin’ haters! So, I thought, let’s write a song about it, because I get served it every day, and so does everyone else. I should probably write an anthem for it. I used my own Southern upbringing, and I imagined what my grandmother would say and she would say, ‘Kiss my biscuit’ all the time.” Levan goes from songs like “Biscuit” and “Hot Damn” to “Oh Christmas Tree,” with the release of a set of Christmas covers last season. “I don’t have to constantly be this dark ominous thing all the time,” she explains. “Because I’m such a well rounded person, there are things that I personally like more than other things, like the color black, I prefer— and the darker things in life. But I love holidays. That’s a part of me. I have no problem sharing with people that I fucking love holidays. I mean, I may not be a religious person, but I just love the attitude and the songs and the way they make you feel.” Just when you think you have her figured out, she throws you for a loop. Her forthright, offbeat personality infuses not only her music but also her attitude towards life. “I think we should just all empower
“Any time you put me in front on a stage, where I can perform for people, I’m fucking happier than a pig in shit. That’s what I love to do. I’m more comfortable on stage than in any other aspect in life. It’s fucking blast!” That’s Ivy Levan – cheeky, Southern, drop dead gorgeous, and born to perform. She grew up in Bentonville, Arkansas, which she describes as “the home of Walmart – this weird combination of lots of money and straight-up rednecks,” and moved to Los Angeles at the age of sixteen after getting kicked out of high school. “I was a little naughty in high school, but in this case, I was actually being tame. I had been sick the week prior—I had gone over to a sleepover and taken cough syrup just in case I was coughing during the night. It was prescription. It was under my name. But this girl at my school had it out for me. She told on me and said I was selling it. In the Deep South, they have to make an example of ‘no tolerance.’ I tried to fight it, but I didn’t win, and I got kicked out. I was like, ‘Alright, that’s my cue to leave and go to LA! I packed up all my shit, and my mom put everything in the truck and I fucking did it. And never looked back.” It’s no surprise she found work initially as a model and actress, stunning as she is, but music has always been her passion. “I’ve always been focused on my music. That’s the reason I came out to LA. It’s just a more difficult industry to make a name for yourself. All the other stuff around it was basically a paycheck. I needed to survive in this town.” Her classic beauty kept her in demand to be in front of the camera, but now as a musician she can enjoy it on her own terms. “I used to hate modeling, but I love modeling now for myself, and having my own creative direction, doing my own makeup, my concept.” Her gothic style and love for black is undeniable, yet she doesn’t take it too seriously. “I’ve always been really into Disney villains...more than the princesses,” she laughs. Her dark whimsical style crosses over to her music, which she describes playfully as “swamp pop.” She is inspired by the likes
Ivy Levan, 28 From Bentonville, AR Lives in Los Angeles, CA Ivy wears a black bodysuit with lace up sides by Georgine, layered with a leather black vest by Maggie Barry for Epson Couture.
This page: Ivy wears a black top by Skingraft. Opposite page: She wears a patent leather coat and earrings by The Blonds. Fashion Editor Indira Cesarine Additional Styling by Brett Nelson Make-up by Roberto Morelli Hair by Anthony Joseph Hernandez
each other. Woman, man, unicorn, octopus, whatever!” Not one to label herself, she just sees it as “being a decent human being.” Whatever gender or sexual preference (or mythical creature) you are, she’ll support your right to equality. “I’m always gonna support that. Supporting equality in general and no judgment is a huge thing for me. The fact that people even judge each other is besides me. I don’t understand it, because none of us are the same. So why on earth is there a standard to which we have to compare someone to?” There’s no point in fighting, because, “The only person you can change is yourself.” Her personal motto is, ironically enough, “Live each day like you’re at school.” What’s this coming from the girl who got kicked out of high school? She explains her reasoning, “It’s like, thinking you know all the answers, and thinking that you are some sort of prophet is ridiculous...The mind never tires when
it’s burning. It never exhausts. It’s constantly being open-minded and exploring other avenues and being creative, and just—life is too short. Why not? Have fun. Don’t be so serious.” On Ivy’s debut album, No Good, released this August, her soulful sounds are uninhibited, as she bares all with lyrics that are at once mischievous, flirtatious and genuine. “I’ve always been a little, either held back or trying to go totally against my roots,” she admits. “Because basically that’s what you do when you’re a kid. You rebel, or you got that teenage angst. And this is the first time that I just chilled the fuck out, put down my wall, and said, “Alright, this is me, this is the real me, unscripted, this is what it is, goofy, Southern, dangerous, you know, just all over the place!’” We are looking forward to a string of provocative “swamp hop” performances from Ivy in the near future.
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“I’ve been singing my entire life. Since I could talk, I honestly think I started singing before I started speaking. So I have known that I loved to sing since I could crawl.” For sixteen-year-old pop star Madison Beer, success seemed to be written in the stars – and found through her voice. She was twelve when she decided, during a car ride to school with her mom, to upload to YouTube a mash up of Bruno Mars she had written. Her success began to foment immediately. “On the way to school I was like, ‘Mom I wrote this mash up and I would love to sing it for you.’ She was like, ‘That sounds great, what do you want to do with it?’ And I was like, ‘I don’t know, maybe I’ll record a YouTube video.’ Literally the next day I went to a studio nearby and recorded the video and uploaded it. I remember being in math class and it had a thousand views. I was freaking out. I thought it was like ten million. I was like, ‘Oh my god, I have a thousand views!’ I was really excited.” Beer was discovered at the age of twelve when Justin Bieber tweeted a link to her video cover of Etta James’ “At Last.” “That was actually my grandma who decided for me to do that. She was like, ‘You should cover this beautiful song called “At Last.”’ And I was like, ‘Grandma I know “At Last,” I’ve heard it before!’ And she was like, ‘You should cover it. It’s a beautiful song. You should definitely do a cover.’ I listened through it a few times, and I listened to other people’s covers and I just kind of posted it. But yeah, that one was my grandma’s complete idea.” She went viral seemingly overnight and was shortly thereafter signed to Bieber’s label, Island Records, and picked up for management by Scooter Braun, who also manages Bieber. A “mega-belieber” herself, Beer says, “I think Justin was a definite huge part of my inspiration, because he was kind of recognized the same way, and I always looked up to him as a young little girl. I loved him and I thought he was super talented, and I really aspired to be a lot like him.” When Scooter brought her into the studio to meet her hero and the man who discovered her: “I had the basic reaction you imagine a sixth grade girl to have… I was freaking out… I’m pretty sure I was wearing this turquoise-colored sweater and I walked into the room, and Scooter said, ‘Justin is here, do you want me to introduce you?’ and I was like, ‘Yeahhhh.’ I remember Justin was like, ‘Oh that color is really pretty on you.’ And I remember being like,’…uh, uh, uh yeahhh.’ I had no idea what to say back to him. But honestly we bonded instantly. We had a really nice relationship from the start. I always looked at him like a big brother, and I think he always looked at me like a little sister who he has taken under his wing.” When Beer debuted the music video for her very first single, “Melodies,” Bieber made an adorable cameo. “I remember the moment Scooter sent me that song. He was like, ‘This song is so awesome you should totally sing it and see how it sounds.’ I remember listening to it and I was like, ‘This song is so cute.’ I was obsessed with it the second I heard it.” “Melodies” is pop
Madison Beer, 16 From Long Island, NY Madison wears a top by Charles Youssef, trousers by Halston Heritage, heels by Alberto Guardiani, and a hat by Eugenia Kim.
Madison wears a sheer crop top by Sass & Bide, a suede jacket by Ted Baker, a ring by Cartier, and navy hat by Eugenia Kim.
gold, but as Beer grows older, she’s looking forward to fans seeing a new and more serious side of her. “Now that I’m sixteen, I wear black… I’m not wearing pink little skirts anymore. And my new work is so much better but [“Melodies”] is still a piece of me as an artist and I’m really happy that people got to hear that side of me.” In her single “Unbreakable,” the first from her upcoming debut album, Beer shows a deeper side to her artistry. “I think that song is super magical and really amazing because it’s about loving yourself and being unbreakable and not letting people tear you down, because no matter what you do you’re always going to be judged. There are always gonna be haters, and you just gotta push yourself through, because it will always get better.” As far as what’s on the horizon, Beer is excited for the release of her upcoming singles, which will lead to her album and a tour to follow. “I’m really looking forward to what this year will bring. I’m definitely going to have a ton of new music out because I’ve just been working really hard on it. There’s so much music that I can’t wait for everyone to hear.” In addition to everything her busy schedule holds, she still finds time to give back, volunteering to help at children’s hospitals. “I like to sing and talk to them and hang out and get to know them, not talk about their sicknesses. Talk about their life. Talk about their friends. Just make them feel like they’re back home for an hour.” It’s evident that Madison Beer will continue to evolve as a role model for her younger audiences, helping them navigate through the perilous jungle of growing up. Her feel-good anthems will surely bring her fame, but it is her sincere optimism and love for music that will solidify her place in pop stardom. A mantra she suggests? “Treat people how you want to be treated.”
Madison wears a collared blouse by Ted Baker, leather trousers by Day Birger et Mikkelsen, rings by Suzanne Kalan, a bracelet by Cartier, and pink hat by Eugenia Kim.
Madison wears firefly cape by Sass & Bide, with a black crop top by Charles Youssef. Stylist: Kelly Brown Make-up by Elie Maalouf Hair by Aaron Light Photographed at Mr. Câ€™s Beverly Hills
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Rosie wears a bodysuit by The Blonds.
This page: Rosie wears a dress by Lie Sangbong. Opposite page: She wears a dress by Bibhu Mohapatra.
Rosie wears a black rose vest by The Blonds. Fashion Editor Indira Cesarine Hair by Anthony Joseph Hernandez Make-up by Roberto Morelli
Jemma wears a top by Lie SangBong, hat by American Apparel, and head scarf by Agnes B.
Jemma wears a wears a top by Missoni and necklace by Erickson Beamon.
Jemma wears a dress by Just Cavalli and earrings by Erickson Beamon. Fashion Editor Indira Cesarine Hair by Anthony Joseph Hernandez Make-up by Roberto Morelli
HARRIS PHOTOGRAPHY BY INDIRA CESARINE
Naomie Harris, 38 From London, UK Naomie Harris wears a dress and belt by Kristian Aadnevik, layered with a cape by Zeynep Kartal, and a ring by Maria Francesca Pepe.
This page: Naomie wears a bra by Intimissimi, metallic fringe vest by Tim Ryan, skirt by Matthew Williamson, ring by Maria Francesca Pepe, and bracelet by Allison Bryan. Opposite page: She wears a dress by Pinghe, ring by Arme de Lâ€™amour.
just enjoyed standing in front of the mirror pretending to be different people, trying out different accents and imagining I was in a different world. I always loved using my imagination like that, and I always knew that’s what I wanted to do.” And that she did. British actress Naomie Harris is best-known for her role as Eve Moneypenny in Bond films Skyfall and the upcoming Spectre due out this November. “I just feel like it’s such an honor to be part of a franchise that is so loved. It’s the oldest, longest, thriving franchise in history. It’s extraordinary. And of course, Skyfall being the highest grossing movie of all time in the U.K., it’s an incredible privilege to be a part of.” Naomie wasn’t born into privilege. Yet with the encouragement of a caring drama teacher she developed her natural skills and began landing local TV roles as a young girl. When she was thirteen, her mother got into the industry as well, working as a screenwriter for the British soap opera EastEnders. Growing up, her hard work and talent paid off, and she worked in the industry non-stop until she went to Oxford to study, to a bit of a culture shock. “I come from a very working class background; my mom was the first person ever in her family to go to a university, and I was going to Oxford. So I think it was just really a massive culture shock, and I didn’t really understand the background that my fellow students were from. I found it incredibly isolating.” The tough days would pass and she’d find her place – in film. Her first starring role came in the British post-apocalyptic film 28 Days Later, directed by Danny Boyle, whom she credits with giving her a big break. “You need someone that is willing to take a risk on you and give you the opportunity to kind of shine. Danny was that person for me by casting me in 28 Days Later. It just completely changed everything for me, because I had a co-lead in a very big film and so many other people wanting to work with me as a result of that.” Danny would resurface as an important figure in her life when she would be cast for the stage role as Elizabeth Lavenza in the production of Frankenstein at the esteemed National Theatre. “28 Days Later completely kick started my career, and then he did exactly the same thing for me ten years later [when] he asked me to come in and audition for Frankenstein at the National. I hadn’t done any theatre since leaving drama school. It was a massive leap of faith for him to believe in me and that I could do that role, but he cast me in the role, and that’s how I ended up getting Bond, because Debbie McWilliams who casts for all the Bond movies came to see Frankenstein. So I feel like twice Danny came in kind of like my angel, my career angel. He transformed things for me.” Naomie’s role as Moneypenny marked a huge moment for the Bond franchise. She was the first black actress to be cast in the iconic role, and the very first Moneypenny to be given a first name, lending the character a more personal touch. You might say she is the first Bond woman, rather than Bond girl. “I always look back on Skyfall and think you know there was this overwhelming positive response to Moneypenny being out in the field and being, kind of “kickass,” and people were saying like, ‘Yes this is what we want from our female character, this is what we want to see’ and to really enjoy it.” She was initially intimidated by being cast in such a massive film, but her costar Daniel Craig quickly put her at ease. “I was walking down the corridor and Daniel was walking the other way,” recalls Naomie. “We had never met, and I was kind of intimidated, because I thought a lot of my scenes were actually with Daniel, and what is he going to be like, and how are we going to get on? If you don’t have a fellow actor who is generous, then it makes your life a complete nightmare, and already I was feeling intimidated because it was so huge,” she says of the Bond franchise. “I saw him and I thought, ‘He’s probably busy and I
won’t disturb him.’ I tiptoed away from him. He hit me on the back of the head and went, ‘Oy, where are you going?!’, and gave me this massive hug. And I just felt such a sense of relief because I knew that we’re going to get on, that he was a good hearted person, generous soul, and I knew he’s going to make my life easy and we were going to have a great journey together. So, I am so thankful to Daniel.” Naomie’s role as Moneypenny made her an international success, yet only scratched the surface of what she was capable of as an actress. In 2013 she played Winnie Mandela in the biopic Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, which was her most challenging role to date. “It felt like a huge responsibility because not only is Winnie Mandela an icon, she’s a living icon. And I knew that she was going to see the film with her daughters, and I wanted her to be happy. I wanted her to say, ‘Yes, that’s how it was, you faithfully portrayed me.’” Naomie did her due diligence to prepare for the role. “You really have to do an incredible amount of work in order to capture that person’s essence and to bring it to life on screen, and to make her totally believable, as well as completely authentic to make them believe it’s the living person,” says Naomie. “I watched so many documentaries, read so much about her, and interviewed people who knew Winnie. So a great deal of work went into it, it’s one of my greatest achievements. [Winnie] actually cried at the end of the screening and said ‘I think that was the first time I’ve been faithfully portrayed on screen.’ And that for me has been one of the best compliments of my life that I will never ever forget.” Versatile in her range, Naomie can play whimsical roles as well. Her favorite to date is Tia Dalma in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. “I think Tia Dalma was probably my favorite. I absolutely loved playing her because she is such a fantastical character, so it means that you can totally use your imagination to create her. You’re completely unconstrained by reality.” Naomie also finally got the chance to work with a female director - a goal of hers for some time - with her upcoming film Our Kind of Traitor, directed by Susanna White, in which she stars alongside Ewan McGregor. “Gail Eagan was our producer and she’s one of the most respected British female producers that we have and she was phenomenal,” adds Naomie on the joys of working with women in the industry. Something we need more of, she believes, as male dominance in Hollywood creates an inaccurate representation of women. “Despite the fact that we speak the same language and are part of the same culture, we’re raised so differently and the expectations for men and women are so completely different that it does make it very difficult to kind of cross that divide between the genders…and it seems like it should be one of the simplest divides that we should be able to cross,” explains Naomie. “Therefore when men are writing about women, it’s very difficult for them to put themselves in a woman’s shoes and understand what it truly means to be a woman and what the challenges and blessings of being a woman are about. So we don’t get that well represented in film generally. We just get sidelined.” With more and more female directors popping up in Hollywood, this will invariably soon change. “What I think is incredibly important is we are putting women at the center of films and speaking with women’s true voices, and authentically portraying women’s journeys and women’s life stories. I think that’s incredibly important, because I don’t think that men are capable of doing that.” We know for a fact that Naomie possesses that authenticity. From Oxford student to Bond girl, chalk it up to talent, hard work, and a little luck. “I was always brought up that anything is possible,” says Naomie. “And my mom added, with hard work. I think also trusting life more and allowing yourself to flow on the journey of life.”
Naomie wears a dress by Matthew Williamson, cape by Marko Mitanovski, a bracelet and ring by Bibi Van de Velden.
Naomie wears a dress by Roberto Cavalli and necklace by Kirsty Ward. Stylist: Deborah Latouche Hair by Renda Attia Make-up by Kenneth Soh Photographed at St Martinâ€™s Lane Hotel
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FERGUSON PHOTOGRAPHY BY IRIS BROSCH
Rebecca Ferguson, 31 From Stockholm, Sweden Lives in Simrishamn, Sweden Rebecca wears a dress by Amanda Wakeley, shoes by Gina, and bracelet by Rosantica.
Fast forward to the present day, and to her biggest and most physically challenging role to date as Ilsa Faust in Mission: Impossible, Rebecca found herself scaling entirely new heights of female badassery. “I had a wonderful stunt girl who would always be on stand by and help out if necessary. But yes, I try to do all the stunts myself.” Rebecca did not shy away from the extensive physical training required for the role. “From the day I got the part and I arrived in London, the car drove me to the gym, and from that day, for a month and a half, I trained about five hours a day, six days a week.” And that wasn’t just your average running on the treadmill, either. “It was the height training, there was choreograph training, there was BMW motorbike training, swimming underwater, holding my breath, all of it.” Her dancing background became a valuable tool for her performance in the role, giving her confidence in the physically challenging scenes. “I love using my body as a tool, and I use it a lot now. For instance, talking about Mission, in the action sequences that were created.” Given her composure about getting literally thrown into the stuntheavy role, which required jumping off a 120-foot tall roof, it’s hard to believe Rebecca was struggling with vertigo the whole time. “I can barely be on a ten meter trampoline,” She laughed. And while never forced to do any stunts she wasn’t comfortable with, she was determined to give it a go. “It was the first day of shooting in Vienna, and we were on the Opera House roof, and in the scene Ethan Hunt and Ilsa Faust need to escape, and of course, the best way is to jump off the roof, as one does. I remember jumping up, wrapping my legs around Tom, and I’m thinking, ‘Jesus Christ!’ But he laughed, and he looked at me and was like, ‘are you okay? Because I always have a choice to not do it. I’m not forced into anything. I remember then going, no no no no no no! And he goes like, okay, okay, and I’m like, okay, go! And he just jumps. It was just like being on a roller coaster!” Of her character, Ilsa, Rebecca references starlets of yore as exemplars. “Just think Greta Garbo, Ingrid Bergman, Veronica Lake, Katharine Hepburn.” Perhaps Rebecca’s name will be added to that list in the future. As for role models, she says, “I’ve never really had a certain specific actor or actress that is my role model. I find people in general who I find intelligent inspiring. Whether it’s a poet, an author, an actress, who I love…” Her own experiences as a woman in the acting industry have been positive ones. She says, “I’ve been very lucky, because I have been surrounded by people who are as equally-minded as I am when it comes to gender, thank god. And also, I was raised very strong…my mother is a very strong woman, and taught me to stand my ground.” In addition to being physically stalwart, Rebecca knows how to use her mind to keep her grounded in the acting business, a tough stunt to pull. Her wise advice? “If you love something, be yourself and believe in it. Listen to people around you who you love and trust, and yourself...when you go home and you go to bed, to know you’ve been true to your own feelings and thoughts is enough.” A sound foundation for a serious acting career. Of that career, she looks forward to playing more complex roles. “I haven’t had that kind of a guttural deep dark character yet, where [you] really need to get into it. I look forward to doing that.” Plan to see a lot of Rebecca in the near future in a slew of complex roles. She recently wraped the Stephen Frears film, Florence Foster Jenkins, about an opera singer who’s tone deaf, with Meryl Streep and Hugh Grant, and has been confirmed for the lead in Tate Taylor’s thriller The Girl on the Train, opposite actress Emily Blunt, due to release in 2016.
he is strong, and goddamn badass. I miss her!” Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation star Rebecca Ferguson still feels attached to her character, Ilsa Faust. In describing her breakout role in the fifth Mission film, which opened on July 31st, she says, “The film is about the team of Mission Impossible, who’s trying to eradicate MI5, it’s sort of agent versus agent, bad versus good. This time, I think, Ethan Hunt meets his match!” The challenging stunt-filled role will undoubtedly put her on the map in Hollywood, with the film topping the box office since opening. She not only holds her own against co-star Tom Cruise, but steals scenes as the ass-kicking secret agent. Raised by creative parents, Rebecca was active in the arts from a young age. “My environment at home has always been very artistic and creative and free-spirited. I went to music school when I was young, and creativity has always been in the back pocket of my entire upbringing. It’s always been there. I’ve had the avant-garde of cultural life surrounding my home environment.” She started acting on TV in Sweden from the age of sixteen in popular soap opera, Nya tider (“New Times”). Following her soap success, she acted in several independent films, although eventually she took a step back from acting to redirect her creative energy in order to ensure she was taking on the right roles. “I did a couple of independent films, and I turned down some films that I felt would niche me more than make me flourish and grow as an actress, and I came into the world of dance.” Her immersion into dance brought her back into her body, helping her to develop skills that would ultimately become a crucial skill set for her acting career. Three years ago she crossed over from her homeland to the British market. After her first audition abroad, she landed a role on British television drama series The White Queen, which set her career in motion and earned her a Golden Globe nomination in 2014. Rebecca has a history of playing some pretty badass characters, from Princess Ergenia in Brett Ratner’s Hercules, to Elizabeth Woodville - the consort Queen of England from 1464-1483 in the drama The White Queen, based on the novel by Philippa Gregory. “The White Queen was written from a female perspective…there isn’t much information about women from back in those times; usually it’s men writing history about men. There was a bit of Sherlock Holmes action going on in order to find Elizabeth’s history. [The series] is the story of how, when Edward IV fell in love with her, the door to high society and court life opened up to her. She was then able to empower different areas where women were not previously allowed.” Unlike how we might conventionally picture women in Medieval times, Rebecca insists “They weren’t sitting at home sewing or knitting, they were actually managing battles from home, which was really incredible, and it’s so interesting to read about.” Her role in Hercules also had Rebecca playing a period piece, although one obviously dating further back in time. In playing iconic female roles that have spanned the arc of history, Rebecca notices a few distinct common threads. “History changes, and we develop, but we are still fighting the same battles that we did back in the day. It’s just that, thank god, women have more rights than we did back then, but still, if you look at it, we’re still battling. It’s just that the stakes aren’t equally as high. The question back then is, if you’re on the throne, you’re safe, and if you’re not, you’ll be killed…[Ergenia] is a princess...a strong woman, the mother of a child, a widow. And fighting.”
Rebecca wears a dress by Amanda Wakeley, ring by Vicki Sarge, and bag by MCM.
This page: Rebecca wears a dress and trouser by Veni Vici, earrings by Vicki Sarge, and shoes by Christian Louboutin Opposite page: She wears a corset and knickers by Lâ€™Argent by Agent Provocateur, a kimono by BLK DNM, shoes by Gianmarco Lorenzi, a bracelet by Mawi, and a necklace by Rosantica.
This page: Rebecca wears a dress by Halston Heritage, and bangles by Vicki Sarge. Stylist: Deborah Latouche Make-up by Caroline Barnes Hair by Carlos Ferraz Photographed at Blakeâ€™s Hotel
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Jillian Rose Banks, 27 From Los Angeles, CA Lives in Los Angeles, CA This page: Banks wears a beaded gown by Jason Wu layered over a leather bralette by Georgine. Opposite page: She wears a sheer turtleneck by Roland Mouret.
BANKS PHOTOGRAPHY BY INDIRA CESARINE 249
Her inspirations include powerhouses Lauryn Hill, Fiona Apple, and Tracy Chapman. “It wasn’t necessarily a sound that influenced me, it was the soul behind the music. The honesty. I wanted to feel fearless. They were great. Fiona Apple in particular. Listening to her album I’m like, ‘Wow it’s okay to be completely fucking open and honest and weak and angry.’ I always felt like an alien.” However, it’s not just musicians who nourish her creative motivations, but the casual interactions of everyday life. “Every person in my life [inspires my work]. That’s where my music comes from.” Now, having truly arrived in her career, she has much to show for herself, including a few battle scars. Coming up as an aspiring songwriter she suffered through what is becoming an increasingly publicized and shamefully commonplace plight for young women breaking into the industry. “I remember a friend of my family had introduced me to this producer and they were like, ‘You should go meet with him,’ and I hadn’t worked with anyone before - I was private about everything. So I met with this guy and he told me to stand up and pull my dress - I was wearing a really baggy dress - he told me to pull it tight against my skin and turn sideways because he wanted to see my body underneath it…I was itching out of my skin. I felt sick and I wanted to kill him! Fucking disgusting old man…it was just despicable, and I was like, ‘How could you even ask me that? I just played you this song of mine.’ I left and I cried the whole way home and I called my best friend and was like, ‘I feel really dirty and weird.’ And that’s just one example of what happens. I feel like sometimes this society makes you objectify yourself and you don’t even realize you’re doing it because it’s such a norm.” Sexual harassment in the music industry is commonly swept under the carpet. By coming forward, women like Banks can lead the way in shifting these tides. When it comes to equality for women in the workplace, Banks is equally a vocal advocate of feminism, “Fuck yeah. I’m proud to be a feminist. All it means is that you believe in equality for gender, for men and women. Of course, I’m a feminist. I think it’s insane for people not to be a feminist…I know it could have a stigma if you’re not really aware of what it means. But, it’s simple…I just feel like there’s a fear of femininity in this society: a fear of the power of femininity. Women are so powerful. We give birth, we nourish other human forms, we nourish babies with the most feminine part of our bodies…We’re all animals and it’s absolutely incredible. My sister just had a baby and she never looked more beautiful and more powerful and calmer. She’s like Mother Earth, and sometimes I don’t understand. I think women are magical, inspiring, and powerful.” Despite all of the ups and downs the industry serves up, Banks has one constant that keeps her sane, which is her songwriting. “If you told me I couldn’t write anymore I would die. I wouldn’t survive this world if I couldn’t make music…I couldn’t live… Music brings me out. I have no inhibitions. I have no voices that keep me from being my truest form.” Though music is her ultimate shelter from the storm, it doesn’t come without its challenges, especially as she grows increasingly more popular. “There are some shows where I’m like, ‘I don’t want to be in front of anyone right now. I want to be in a cave.’ But you have to. You have to go on stage and there are a million cameras on you and a million eyes on you and you can’t hide. So, that’s something that’s been hard for me but so incredible because it’s amazing to realize you don’t have to hide. Like, ‘Why are you hiding? Who the fuck cares?’ And, of course, being a powerful woman is hard sometimes. I’m still learning how to be a boss. I’m still learning to be respected - to have my voice be respected - and that can be draining…” Despite the quietude she is increasingly cultivating for herself as she evolves artistically, her waters run deep and are colored by
just want everyone to feel empowered. You are your voice. You are your words. You are your movement, and nobody else can define who you are.” Musician, muse, seductress, champion of female empowerment …these are only a few of the descriptors that come to mind in attempting to pinpoint R&B break-out siren Banks. In a few short years she released two EPs and a hugely successful full-length that catapulted her into the mainstream, breaking the blogosphere along the way. By fall 2014, she had paved her way toward domination of the pop-crazed Tumblr generation, which she rules with a new world order: sultry, moody R&B from the lips of a moodier star. “It’s hard to take charge and not be called a bitch and not be called a diva,” she admits. “And, at the same time, I’m very nurturing and I’m very sensitive and I really care how people are feeling. Sometimes it’s constantly a battle of, ‘Should I care less?’ You feel the weight of it. There’s been things that have happened to me in the layers of this career, and sometimes I think, ‘If I were a guy would this have ever happened?’” The seeds that formed Banks into the complex woman and vibrant artist she is today took root in her early years. Growing up in Orange County, she turned to music when she was a teenager, learning how to play piano in attempts to achieve respite amid the chaos of adolescence. “Going through so much - not just with my family but in life - I was weighed down, I felt like gravity was one hundred pounds. I had a lot of anger and sadness. I felt like I could scream and no one would hear me. I needed an outlet, so I started writing songs and it just saved my life.” The hardships she faced at a young age soon became fodder for her emotional growth and thus spawned her foundations as an artist, further inspiring her to study psychology in college. “I’ve always been really intuitive and interested in the dynamics of relationships and how they grow and start from point A and end up at point B.” Her commitment to lead the examined life - to explore the deepest nuances of her emotional landscape - helped open the artistic floodgates for the burgeoning young musician. “I write whenever I’m in a really emotional state. But I don’t really have a process; the most natural thing in my life is songwriting. I can’t plan it. I don’t even plan my lyrics, they just come out…Sometimes I won’t even know what I’m feeling or why I’m feeling it, and then a chord progression will come out, and a word will come out, and the way I say it will inspire a sentence, and then all of a sudden that sentence will kind of be a metaphor for one layer of why I’m feeling a certain way. And then that will become the song.” Her first two EPs, Fall Over and London put Banks on the radars of critics and fans alike, as she began to accumulate press on every outlet under the sun as well as score nominations for awards from BBC and MTV. However it was her release of debut full-length Goddess that pushed her over the tipping point into the world of pop stardom. In describing the inspiration behind the name and the concept of the album, she points to her feminist roots. “Every woman is a goddess. I wanted to feel empowered and be empowering. I’m always developing and growing as a person. At that time the album tapped into every layer and every emotion that I was feeling. Those emotions are imperfect and they’re scattered and they’re angry at times and fragile and weak and jealous and strong…Every layer and any moment, I feel, is in that album and that’s what a goddess is: just a human.” The songs on Goddess reflect her inner search and constitute a body of work that feels at once piercingly deep and unwaveringly organic. “Honest and crunchy,” she laughs. “I always want my vocals to feel crunchy. It’s like a chunky, thick, crunchy beat under a crunchy vocal. Like you can munch on it.”
Banks wears an embellished top by KTZ and leather trousers by Lie Sangbong.
Opposite page: Banks wears a silk dress, voile gloves, and necklace by Chanel. This page: Banks wears a cape with gold detailing by Sass & Bide over a beaded gown by Jason Wu.
“I don’t know, I think my style is just me. You hear it and you see it rather than speak it.” After all of these experiences in the industry, her own personal life, and the growth she has achieved, her words of wisdom are tough to beat. “I would say be honest and be patient with yourself. Don’t do anything that doesn’t feel natural. Just let things happen. You don’t need to force anything…make every move with integrity, with honesty, and you don’t ever need to feel guilty or remorseful...if everything you do is honest and pure - then you can’t really regret anything.” Banks will be hitting the festival circuit in the early fall. Until then, she’ll be holed up in the studio doing what she does best: songwriting. Or if you’re feeling adventurous, you can catch her in outer space. “I want to be able to transport myself to other universes and planets with the snap of my finger…I’m really interested in space. It goes with my mind, and I don’t understand it and I don’t think anybody does…I want to see some aliens.”
good days and bad alike. “I get in these zones where I feel so dark and I feel so confused and everything is so overwhelming. Then, I get confused about what I want and the feeling that I have nothing figured out. Sometimes I am so intense like I’m on top of the world and at times I feel like I don’t know shit. There have been moments when I’ve just felt really lonely and I didn’t want to be around anyone at the same time and all those thoughts made me feel crazy…But then I go on stage and it just quiets the mind... because you just dive into your own music which you wrote at your current form and all of a sudden you don’t even feel the same darkness that you were feeling.” This sort of brooding and dramatic personal affect that has come to define her style translates palpably into her fashion sensibilities. “I love wearing black. I think it has every color within it. It can be really soft and it can be really powerful. It can feel muted and it can feel really loud. Then, sometimes I like feeling really feminine. Sometime I like feeling a little bit looser and a little more badass. I guess I like femininity in its most bad-ass form.” She laughs.
This page: Banks wears a quilted top by Sass & Bide, with a fringed skirt by Rebecca Minkoff.
This page: Banks wears a metallic polka dotted top and trouser from Zero + Maria Cornejo. Opposite page: She wears a cropped top and velvet trousers by Christian Siriano. Fashion Editor Indira Cesarine Make-up by Nina Park Hair by Hanjee
PAJKOVIC PHOTOGRAPHY BY ANNE MENKE
really loved being on stage as a kid, it just felt natural. I wouldn’t get nervous, I would just enjoy it as much as possible. I never wanted to leave!” This attitude comes as no surprise from Danishborn musician turned actress Tatiana Pajkovic, who went from studying piano in Copenhagen, to hopping on a plane and relocating to New York City within days of Universal Records expressing interest in her demos and asking to meet her in person. She in turn made the most arduous of artistic pilgrimages to NYC, making it look as easy as pie. “I just sent a demo to Universal Def Jam because I really wanted to see where it could go. I’d never been in a real studio before, but I got a call to come and meet Universal in New York. I went that same week and started working with a producer, recording and writing songs. I was learning everything I could about music and playing live in small bars…I did that for many years. I just loved going to a bar, setting up, and playing. They were never big venues in the beginning, but I made theater of it! I would have costume changes, I would put little lights and flowers on each table… It was this dream of performing.” She went on to make waves in the music scene, performing multiple times at South By Southwest in Austin and laying the seeds of a career in the industry. “I was really excited for SXSW, just because I’d never been to Austin before. It was a mind-blowing experience, being alongside so many talented musicians, having people show up at your show that are really there for the music.” Her music, which she describes as the “imaginary love child of Lenny Cohen and Nina Simone”, would turn out to be only the tip of the iceberg of her career as an artist. Soon after settling in NYC, Tatiana signed to One Model Management, where she was encouraged to branch out into acting by her agent. Years went by before she finally decided to try her hand. “I was in the studio recording some songs and my agent from Paris called me and asked me if I wanted to do a casting. I had been told a lot of times that, ‘you know, you should really do some castings,’ and it just seemed too far away from my focus at the moment, and I wasn’t really sure if I could do it, not the just the acting but…it’s a tough industry to break into… And then she mentioned that it was for a Luc Besson film. And I was like, ‘yeah, you know what? I really want to do that. Let’s see how it goes.’ I did the first audition
at home using iMovie, and they ended up calling me back a few days later and were like ‘hey, do you want to come to Paris? Luc Besson wants to meet with you in person!’” And just like that, nearly a decade after first landing in New York, Tatiana launched the second phase of her career in entertainment, snagging a lead role in the iconic action thriller franchise, The Transporter. “I really liked the script - it was a girl power film. I just thought it would be so interesting to do an action movie. So I was like ‘ok, let’s see you know… And I got [the role] in the first week. All of the sudden it all made sense: performing as a musician, performing as a singer, taking what I know from modeling, all of it could be combined in film. And so it just felt really natural. I worked really hard on it as well. But yeah, it was an organic transition.” The film taps into her ambitious personality as well as her selfprofessed love for adrenaline. “ [With] The Transporter films, 1, 2, and 3, the female characters are in the background…the women’s roles aren’t as strong as they are in Transporter Refueled. And I think the reason why I so fancied the script and the film is that it’s so girl power and kick ass you know. It’s the girls who run the show. And I think it’s just refreshing. It’s refreshing to see girls in their right element… When I was filming, I would get bruises almost every day but it was worth it. It was all a part of the character as well. She’s is a very physical go-getter. She goes out there, she does the job. She’s like the road-runner in the field of the girls… Maybe I’ve just been lucky, maybe that’s what it is, but I felt there were just as many kickass women in this film in front of the camera and behind the camera as they were kickass men”. Tatiana’s attitude toward empowerment can in large be attributed to her roots, as she deems both of her parents to be feminists. “You know, what I usually say is that my mom is a feminist and so is my dad. I feel that we all have the same qualities and if we embrace them just as humans we can actually coexist in a better way than we do now. But I definitely love women, and I definitely love kickass girls in films. I’m so for it!” With such exuberance, it’s clear that she shows no signs of slowing down any time soon. As for what’s on the horizon for the up-and-coming star, it seems she has found her niche. “I’m definitely pursuing the film career. I’m really excited about what’s happened and the development so far. I just feel really blessed that I can do it.”
Tatiana Pajkovic From Copenhagen, Denmark Lives in New York, NY Tatiana wears a white starched collar by Maggie Norris Couture.
Tatiana wears the Victorian Shirt Dress by Maggie Norris Couture.
Tatiana wears a sheer copped top by Allan & Suzi NY, and a crescent moon headpiece with Swarovski crystals by Ellen Christine Couture.
This Page: Tatiana wears a vintage bodysuit by Giorgio Di Saint Angelo available at Alan&Suzi NY with shoes by Celine. Opposite Page: She wears a mongolian coat by Adrienne Landau and opaque thigh highs by Falke.
This page: Tatiana wears black wool trousers and a black crepe jacket by Nili Lotan with the Agathe Bespoke shirt by Maggie Norris Couture, felt fedora by Ellen Christine Couture and black leather boots by Blumarine. Opposite Page: Tatiana wears a white cotton button down shirt with black heart by Comme Des Garcons Play. Stylist: Andrea Menke Make-up by Rebecca Alexander Hair by Frank Rizzieri
Charli wears a black dress by Sass & Bide with earrings by Alexis Bittar.
Charlotte Emma Aitchison, 23 From Cambridge, UK Lives in London, UK This page: Charli wears a purple metallic biker jacket and skirt by Boutique Moschino and earrings by Laruicci. Opposite page: She wears a coat by Gerard Darel draped over a bodysuit by The Blonds, necklace by Alexis Bittar, and jewelry by Laruicci.
when she collaborated with Icona Pop on “I Love It.” The song landed at No. 1 on the UK charts, getting licensed in everything from phone commercials to an episode of Girls, in which Lena Dunham does too much cocaine (it was the actual track playing during that specific scene). Thanks to this stroke of luck, her label held onto her for the sophomore release of Sucker, which Rolling Stone placed at No. 6 on their list of top albums of 2014. Now she is firmly planted in the spotlight. Charli’s eventual solo success hasn’t stopped her from continuing to pursue songwriting. She wrote the hook for Iggy Azalea’s summer anthem “Fancy” and has credits on tracks by artists from Gwen Stefani to Rihanna. “I can’t really pick between writing and performing. For me it’s like, they’re such different things, and I want to do both. I want to have an empire, and I want to be a great songwriter, and I want to be a great performer, and I want to be in front of the camera, but I also really crave to be behind the scenes and working on other things. So I can’t pick. Both are equally important to me.” This voracious attitude has presented her with even more opportunities. Recently, Charli teamed up with Ty Dolla $ign and Tinashe for the in-yourface “Drop That Kitty.” She explains the evolution of the project, “Ty kind of fell in love with it and wanted it for his own record. And he wanted me to stay on it, and I wanted Tinashe to be on it too, cause I thought it would be cool if it was a super…aggressively girl power thing, especially with those lyrics.” The roots of Charli’s musical ethos can be pinpointed back to an era of the 90s that is currently undergoing its renaissance, with artists like her leading the charge. It was an entire generation ago,
just drink champagne and have a good time!” For poppunk phenomenon Charlotte Aitchison, aka Charli XCX, all it takes is some zebra print and a little liquid courage to rock the mic. And not just any mic – after years of paying her dues by performing at illegal underground London raves, Charli is now owning the stage at festivals like Lollapalooza and New York City’s Governor’s Ball. Yes, it’s been a big year for Charli. Her third studio album Sucker came out in 2014 to rave reviews. Of the title she says, “I suppose it’s like a middle finger to the people in the music industry who previously saw me as like, a ridiculous person, or a joke. Or didn’t think that I could achieve what I’ve achieved. Really it was just kind of me being a bitch, which I like,” she laughs. “I kind of like it. It’s sassy and it’s bitchy.” The sassy force of nature has a softer side too. After appearing on The Today Show, en route to Governor’s Ball, Charli told us the most exciting moment of the year so far was an awkward encounter with her hero Bill Murray. “And I wasn’t very cool, at all. He was like, ‘I like your shoes,’ and I kind of just screamed and ran away! That was definitely a highlight, along with being nominated for two Grammys. That was really cool.” Charli’s career took root in 2008 when she started self-releasing tracks on her MySpace page, among them a rendition of “Wires” by Athlete that went viral. Such internet recognition landed her a deal with Asylum, and eventually Atlantic, leading to her majorlabel debut, True Romance, which was a veritable commercial flop. Charli would have been relegated to musical obsolescence were it not for the lightning that struck the entire pop world
Charli wears a sequined dress by Ashish and shoes by Alexis Gamblin.
whether she’s a valid feminist or not. I think that’s bullshit. I think there’s so much more to consider than that… I mean, clothing has nothing to do with feminism, to be honest.” With her thoughts about how women should relate to their bodies though, she exchanges righteous anger with ebullient positivity and support: “I love boobs! So I’m all for curvy bodies, and boobs and bums. They’re all great and feminine and amazing. So yeah, I’m down, I think it’s wonderful. But I think any body shape is beautiful as long as it’s the right body shape for you, and the most comfortable and natural and makes you feel good… As long as [women are] in control of what they’re wearing and what they’re saying and doing and everything, because they want to and love that and it makes them love themselves, then I think it’s a good thing, you know?” In light of her recent hit single, “Break The Rules,” we asked Charli about her favorite rule to break, and found out that she wasn’t exactly the enfant terrible one might expect. While she admits that she “used to flirt with teachers a lot in school (that was fun!),” she also confesses another side. “I was kind of a nerd in school. I actually really liked school, which is probably not the rock-n-roll answer that you’re looking for! But I like art and I like learning.” Nonetheless she vividly recalls the very beginnings of her explorations into the artistic absurd: “I actually did one kind of weird art piece video where I put burgers down my pants and danced to Major Lazer… My art teacher kind of freaked out.” Charli still brings that kind of energy and confidence to her present-day performances. As a default, it’s about improvisation. “I really like to be spontaneous on stage; I don’t like to premeditate anything.” Part of this may be a result of her artistic development and lack of “giving a fuck.” But there’s simpler approach as well that she employs, as Charli has been open – In her lyrics and her life – about her enjoyment of recreational drugs. Though she also acknowledges her social responsibility to maintain her decorum for the girls who look up to her. “I would say, ‘Everything in moderation’… That’s probably the right, correct answer. There’s also a camera pointed right in my face right now, while we’re doing this interview, so I’m gonna go with, ‘Everything in moderation,’” she says with a chuckle. Whether you call it “sassy,” “bitchy,” pop punk, girl power or feminism, Charli XCX is bringing her brand of it loudly to the world and has no intention of slowing down. For her, the future is wide open. “I’d like to direct music videos at some point. That would be really cool…and just continue writing. I really would love to be one of the best songwriters around, you know?”
for example, that the Spice Girls (whom she listened to fanatically growing up, to the point where she considered them her personal friends) stormed the pop world, coining a brand of neo-feminism that was as much about empowerment as it was about dancing and wearing heels and not giving a fuck. The Spice Girls’ younger audience at the time have now grown into their own, and there is no more definitive an heir to the lineage than Charli. Even she is clear about that fact, although she says it took a bit for her to feel she could truly occupy the throne. “I feel like I only really became comfortable in my skin and in who I was at the end of 2013, I suppose? Where I just kind of thought, ‘Fuck it.’ I began to genuinely not give a fuck what people thought about me. Which I’d already said before previously, but never really fully believed. It was only really then that I actually began to believe it, and it was so refreshing and liberating. But yeah, I mean, before that…and still now, I have moments of self-doubt, but I think that’s just normal human nature. Especially with what I do, and the way that I live my life.” Her comfort in her own skin translates to her brash and confident fashion sense, something that was a part of her creative arsenal ages before she began gracing the covers of magazines. “I used to design my own cheerleading costumes, like I would just draw them. And I tried to find a cheerleading squad. There were probably about like, ten in the whole of the UK. But also I feel like I would have made a terrible cheerleader. I would have been, I don’t know, donking off and just making the outfits too short probably.” A larger than life personification of that “Spice Girls 2.0” girl power, Charli unabashedly promotes its underlying politics. Something she believes has shifted for the better is women’s actual attitudes towards one another when it comes to support. “Within music there’s definitely another wave of girl power happening right now… I think that’s such a characteristic of our time.” Recalling a conversation with Debbie Harry of seminal post-punk pop band Blondie, Charli acknowledges that this certainly didn’t used to be so. “[Debbie] was saying how…when she was performing at the peak of Blondie…you could really just expect a girl to stab you in the back… I feel like the total opposite now…most women are really on that level of mutual respect and love for one another in their artistry.” Less evolved, Charli believes, is the broader issue of how women are judged for their clothes, their fashion, their decisions about what to wear and what it supposedly suggests about their dedication to the cause. She pulls no punches. “I think it’s bullshit. I don’t think the way that a woman dresses really affects
This page: Charli wears a bralette by Chromat, matching coat and short by Vionnet, and jewelry by Alexis Bittar. Opposite page: She wears a black and gold suit by Boutique Moschino paired with earrings and bracelet by Alexis Bittar. Stylist: Karen Levitt Make-up by Colby Smith Hair by Ryan Kazmarek Photographed at Haus
Charli wears a black dress by Sass & Bide with earrings by Alexis Bittar.
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CARLY RAE JEPSEN PHOTOGRAPHY BY PAMELA LITTKY
can remember the night I actually signed the contract with Justin and Scooter, to SchoolBoy Records. It felt like my childhood dream had somehow come true. At this point, we didn’t have enough money, the band boys and me, to have our own hotel room, so we were all sleeping on the couches and the pull-out couches of the hotel, and the only way to get privacy was to go for a walk or visit the hotel swimming pool, and that’s what I did. I went to the hotel swimming pool, and nobody was there, and I did a running cannon ball into the pool, and I screamed underwater, and it was the first moment I let myself really feel the excitement of all that was happening… I think that we all equally deserve to go after our dreams. We get one life, and we should do it.” Canadian-born pop sensation Carly Rae Jepsen has truly lived by these words and the result for her has been a rise to fame that resembles the stuff of fairy tales. Her break out single, “Call Me Maybe,” got noticed by fellow Canadian Justin Beiber one afternoon while he was taking a road trip with then girlfriend Selena Gomez. Jepsen signed with Bieber’s manager, Scooter, and the rest of her ever-expanding success is owed to no one but the girl herself. “Call Me Maybe” has climbed to No. 1 on the iTunes Singles charts in over fortyseven countries and has sold over 17 million singles worldwide. It earned her nominations at the 2012 Grammys for Best Pop Solo Performance and Song of the Year. As a young student, Carly Rae Jepsen was possessed of multiple talents, and was supported by her high school drama teacher who believed in her, and suggested Jepsen audition for Canadian Idol. She was hesitant at first. Jepsen explains, “It kind of changed the way of my thinking of the world of music and the business of it. I was actually was really skeptical about that show before I auditioned for it. I just felt like, ‘Ah, a reality television show and
music, I don’t know if that mixes well with what I’m after. ’But it was my high school drama teacher, Beverly Holmes, who told me I wasn’t allowed to be a snob about things.” Jepsen admits that at the time she’d try anything just to see how far her dreams could go. “[My teacher] was like, ‘You’re not in a place where you can be picking and choosing. You’re in a place where you got to knock on every door and see what opens for you, and if this works, you got to be excited about it.’” Taking her mentor’s advice, Jepsen knocked on that door and pursued the audition for Canadian Idol. By the final round she placed third. “Coming third was sort of a gift because I got all the exposure and none of the contracts. It allowed me to run with my own projects afterwards.” That she did with gusto. Carly Rae Jepsen not only won us over with her ultimate catchy tune “Call Me Maybe,” but she broke through into theater, landing the iconic role of Cinderella in its 2014 Broadway run. “I actually got into the Canadian College of Performing Arts right after high school, and spent a year training there. It was the same year I grabbed a guitar and started to learn how to write songs. So I ended up taking a left turn, but my initial, original dream had been pining for Broadway. So it’s kind of amazing and crazy to me that full circle, later on in life, I got the opportunity to audition for Cinderella, because that was just another bucket list thing of mine. I didn’t really know if it made sense for my artistic career, but I just knew that I couldn’t not do it. Sometimes you just have got to make decisions, because you know, if you don’t you’re going to regret it.” While some initially speculated “Call Me Maybe” was so gloriously catchy that her career was destined for a spot in the metaphorical one hit wonder hall of fame, she followed it up this March with her equally adorable singles “I Really Like You” and “Run Away with Me.” Her third studio album, E·MO·TION, came out this past June.
Carly Rae Jepsen, 29 From Mission, British Columbia Lives in Vancouver, Canada Carly Rae wears a shirt by Filippa K, black sequin trousers by Kaya Morales, heels by Oscar Tiye.
This page: Carly Rae wears a dress by La Marque paired with black shorts by Philip Armstrong, deco choker and a ring by Jacquie Aiche. Opposite page: She wears a shirt by Filippa K and kinetic rings by The House of Harlow 1960.
“There is a lot about love, but I think if you listen to the whole album, it’s not just about love and chaos. It’s also about my experience of moving to LA, and at times, just different personal insecurities. I get really inspired by lyrics. And when I’m listening to people talk, in conversations at dinner parties or over a glass of wine with friends, I’m really triggered by sentences or just words that stand out to me. I’m that annoying friend who, mid-conversation will be pulling out her phone to write something down, because I like the way it sounds.” Following suit with this method of writing, Jepsen even gets her friends and family involved in her creative process as a way of testing the waters of what may or may not work. “We’d have listening parties where we would have dinner and wine and people would debate in front of me. It was really nice. It felt like a group selection process.” Carly Rae Jepsen’s prolific work pace has resulted in hundreds of unreleased tracks that have been set to the side. “I would say I have a pretty intense work ethic when it comes to writing music. If not, I probably wouldn’t have written so many songs for this album. I think by the time it was ready, I had about 200 different songs… I have future dreams and projects of putting out other little mixtapes of some of the songs I really loved, but that didn’t really fit the album.” As far as women’s rights go, she sees the issues at hand similarly to the way many young millennial women do. “I like the way of going at it that it isn’t just a fight for women, but a fight for men, too. Something that we should all be aware of. Girl power, women power, for me, is just not letting anyone get in the way of what you want.”
For all her success as a pop star, it’s easy to forget that while she knows how to sing a gloriously catchy tune, at the core she’s a songwriter first. “Sometimes you do have a pop star that wants to write their songs, so that’s been a big fight for me, because I don’t think it’s the normal thing, but it’s my passion, and if I am in this, it’s to write them, and not just sing them.” Her third album, E·MO·TION (“Emotion” stylized in its phonetic spelling), is a 12-track album showcasing her growth as an artist. When Jepsen’s not using her status to infiltrate our minds with the catchy chorus of the next summer anthem, she’s using her considerable clout to address issues that matter to her, like fighting for LGBT rights, which she has valued for as long as she can remember. “That has always one of those personal hit home things for me, because one of my best friends, Brandon, he came from a family of adoption, and he came out being gay really early on in life, and had a really hard experience with his family accepting that. And I think maybe for some reason, I came from a place where that wasn’t really an issue, and it was a little shocking to realize that it still is in some places. It makes me angry. So, I think any time we can make a stand for that, me and the band boys, we do.” With that said, Jepsen left us with some lighter words of wisdom. “Find out what it is that’s different about you that you have to offer that nobody else has, and hone in on that, because that’s what’s going to bring you the furthest, is your uniqueness, versus your blending in.” Then she laughs. “My mom is one of the most hilarious characters I’ve ever met in my life, and her quote that I love is, ‘If you can’t be good, be the least bad that you can be.’”
Opposite page: Carly Rae wears a sweater by Endless Rose. This page: She wears a lace top by Chagoury paired with a skirt by J. Loren, earrings by Charles Albert, and ring by House of Harlow 1960. Stylist: Kelly Brown Make-up by Emily Moses Hair by Dimitris Giannettos Photographed at Hotel Wilshire
Lydia Hearst, 30 From Wilton, CT Lives in Los Angeles, CA This page: Lydia wears a dress by Christian Siriano, a green geode bracelet cuff by Charles Albert, and green hexagon earrings by Danielle Queller. Opposite page: She wears a violet dress by Dsquared2, a large blue stone ring by Charles Albert, and gold rings by Melinda Maria.
LYDIA HEARST PHOTOGRAPHY BY INDIRA CESARINE
Chanel Iman, 23 From Atlanta, Georgia Lives in New York City This page: Chanel wears a jumpsuit by Marc Jacobs, bracelets by Matthew Campbell Laurenza and ear cuff by Annelise Michelson. Opposite page: She wears a jacket and jeans by Louis Vuitton, bracelets by Pluma Italia and shoes by Manolo Blahnik.
This page: Lydia Hearst wears a beige dress by Missoni, a necklace by Pluma Italia, and rings by Melinda Maria. Opposite page: She wears a dress by Zimmermann, a gold necklace by Erickson Beamon and rings by Melinda Maria.
This page: Lydia wears a beaded gown by Naeem Khan, a gold cuff by Pluma Italia, ring by W. Britt, a ring by Melinda Maria, and rose gold dangle earrings by Susan Kalan. Opposite page: She wears a plaid dress by Dior.
my background is fashion and it’s not something that I would truly ever want to say goodbye to. So, I’m hoping to find that happy balance between the two.” Indeed, the young model/actress is in high demand. She is set to appear in eight upcoming films, all which are in post-production. Of her acting role models, she cites trailblazers such as Charlize Theron, Kate Beckinsale, Natalie Portman, and Mena Suvari. “Their careers have completely blossomed and at the same time they haven’t really left the fashion world behind…There’s so many strong roles and strong individual women out there. If you don’t wake up with perfect hair and sometimes you want a burger, or you don’t want to wear makeup and wear sweatpants, it’s fine. I don’t think women necessarily have to change themselves so that they can have a man tell them that they are beautiful.” In her upcoming film titled Condemned, Lydia depicts a withering junkie left in a tenement building. She has recognized acting as a therapeutic outlet and expressive playground for herself, seeking roles that will challenge and push her forward artistically. “Especially coming from fashion I think it’s really easy to be intrigued by roles that are very pretty and lighthearted and beautiful. But at the same time, I love what I do and I love finding the more interesting character roles. In Condemned I’m a really grotesque junkie…and that’s putting it lightly!” Another film that she is particularly excited for is The Downside of Bliss, where she was required to draw upon personal experiences in order to execute the role of lead character, Bliss. “It’s a drama, and Bliss lives a very complicated life. She’s in an estranged relationship from her father but she’s also been diagnosed with cancer and it’s not actually a very happy ending for her. It’s very emotional, and having lost my father a year ago to cancer, in a weird way, it sort of helped me to process and witness what I had gone through. I was attracted to this film because of the passion of the project and this character.” In addition to her modeling and bourgeoning acting career, Lydia is active with various charities, including Operation Smile - a nonprofit benefitting children who suffer from cleft lip or palate and helping them receive the appropriate surgical care. “I’ve been involved with them for about eight years. When you are working with these children its remarkable to see that the simplest thing, like a smile, can honestly change somebody’s life. And really I’m so grateful to be apart of the organization. I remember when I first started I began working with them.” Going above and beyond normal celebrity philanthropy, Lydia likes to get involved one-onone with the children she fights for. She recognizes the charity world can be full of flash and glam rather than the actual demand to serve those in need. “Well it’s very easy to put on a cocktail gown and sip champagne and toast everybody in the room saying what a good job you did. It’s a completely different story when you’re really out in the field, being there with these children and their families.” While her schedule has her working non-stop, she lives by her own mantra, recognizing the endless possibilities that exist for anyone. “I think it is really important to focus on today because it is extremely easy not to, especially when you’re working in fashion and entertainment. You can get emails and phone calls about options and possibilities. You are always finding out what the next thing is going to be. But if you get caught up with wondering and worrying about it, and getting excited about the next big thing, you’re going to miss out on whatever it is you are doing right now.”
ou have to fight for what you want. You have to eat, sleep, breathe, dream fashion and entertainment if this is the life that you want to lead. It’s a constant uphill battle and you have to make sure that you’re willing to make the sacrifices and truly dedicate your entire existence to this industry if it’s what you want to do.” Discovered by Steven Meisel in 2003, model and actress Lydia Hearst has since then graced pretty much every major fashion magazine cover. She’s also the daughter of actress Patricia Hearst (who is known for her numerous John Waters films) and a descendant of the Hearst family lineage - responsible for the successful magazine publishing company. Though she has gotten to where she is on her own terms, she understands that preconceived notions of her exist based on her famous last name. “It’s very easy for people to say, ‘Oh you only do this because of your name’. But, at the same time, it’s actually harder because of it.” Then, there’s the infamous kidnapping story that involved her mother, who was held captive for nineteen months by the left-wing Symbionese Liberation Army back in 1974 and was brainwashed into supporting their cause. The kidnapping was covered extensively by the media and grew to be larger than life, captivating the nation and turning her into a household name as a result of the controversy. However, Lydia weighs in and reflects on a different time when she was younger, when the Internet didn’t exist yet. “I grew up in a really small town and I think there’s a big difference about learning everything that happened to my family because it was a different media age. You know we didn’t have the instant gratification of the Internet and typing something into Google,” explains Lydia. “So you know it’s interesting, when my parents thought me and my sister were old enough they sort of gave us the basics of everything that happened and I guess in a sense we had to piece it all together but if I ever had any questions my mom was really open about it.” Her parents tried to create a normal atmosphere for their children. “I went to a local public school, my parents were very into making sure me and my sister had a normal upbringing. But I do get the flip side that normal for me was also spending time on the set of John Waters movies because my mom at the time acted in those films. But you know my parents did keep me pretty sheltered from the spotlight.” Legendary fashion photographer, Steven Meisel, discovered Lydia in 2003 at a casting call when by chance she was asked to replace a model that stepped out. Lydia’s career has since skyrocketed. She was announced as “Supermodel of the Year” at the 2008 Michael Awards. She’s walked the runways for Chanel and appeared in campaigns for Alexander McQueen, Prada, and Louis Vuitton to name a few – not to mention her numerous Vogue covers. Lydia understands the fashion industry’s expectations and recognizes the hardships female models have to endure in such an image-oriented career. “I think that people shouldn’t be so afraid of the human body. I don’t think society should shame people for being petite or large. It should be important for people to be able to look at a body and say that person is beautiful inside and out. I can appreciate anyone who embraces themselves for who they are and loves their body and doesn’t want to adjust and change and fit into some type of mold but are just comfortable with themselves.” Continuing to push her career forward, Lydia has a host of new film projects on the horizon. “I love acting, but at the same time
Lydia wears a cream top by Halston Heritage, a cream high waisted pant by Elisabeth Franchi, bracelets, earrings, ring, and cuffs by Melinda Maria.
This page: Lydia wears a white dress from Blumarine, gold ring by Melinda Maria, and a diamond ring by Workhorse Jewelry. Opposite page: Lydia wears a beige dress by Jason Wu, necklace by Pluma Italia, and cuffs by Charles Albert. Fashion Editor: Indira Cesarine Stylist: Kelly Brown Make-up by Stephen Dimmick Hair by Frankie Payne Photographed at Avalon Hotel Beverly Hills
SCENES WITH LYDIA HEARST WATCH THE VIDEO
PHOTOGRAPHY BY JESSIE CRAIG
don’t really know any woman who isn’t a feminist. I just think it’s without question that a woman or a man should be a feminist.” Sophie Turner, the British actress who plays Sansa Stark on Game of Thrones, describes herself as a “big pushover,” but she clearly takes a definite stance on important issues. Sophie was just thirteen when she started on the hit HBO show, which has steadily gained a huge base of dedicated fans. It’s a show which often grabs headlines for controversial displays of sex and violence, but it’s also become known for complex character development, in particular of powerful women. It’s the show’s strong female characters that Sophie loves about it. “They’ve taken a time period where women didn’t have the same rights as men, and they weren’t as powerful economically, or politically. But they’ve taken this time period, and they’ve put in these strong female characters who do have power, and who can achieve what they want. They’ve done it really subtly, and I really love that about the show.” From the name recognition she garnered from Game of Thrones came a slew of movie deals, with several due out in 2015 and 2016, giving Sophie an opportunity to expand her acting range and get out of the Game Of Thrones schema, which can take a psychological toll on her. While playing Sansa Stark, she got a little bit too accustomed to acting depressed. “I’m so used to crying and being sad a lot of the time in every scene I do, when I have to do something that’s happy, I can’t do it.” The comedy, Barely Lethal, starring Hailee Steinfeld, Samuel L. Jackson, and Jessica Alba, gave Sophie a chance to loosen up a bit and improvise. “We really had a chance to play and be stupid on set.” She will also star as a teenaged Jean Grey, a telekinetic and telepathic mutant, in the new X-Men: Apocalypse. Her character is “fiercely intelligent, and stands up for what she really believes in.” When asked what she would do if she had Jean Grey’s telekinetic powers, she said, “I would make everyone accepting of other people’s religions, that’s what I would do. I would put that into their brains somehow, that other people would be different, and that will be okay.” Wise words that show maturity and depth from a girl
often bullied for her character’s actions. “People would sometimes come up to me and be like, ‘listen, I really hate you.’ And I’d be like, ‘alright, fair enough.’ It’s awkward, but fine.” She manages to take it positively. “I sometimes just take it as a compliment – that they think I’m so annoying...that I’m just playing myself. I hope I’m authentically annoying.” In the new season, which premiered April 12th, Sophie’s character, Sansa, has “definitely evolved into this kind of manipulator, who’s very powerful now.... So although there are a lot of downfalls for her, she picks herself up very, very, quickly, because she knows what to do, and how to get what she wants.” Sophie relates to her character in the sense that she pretty much grew up with her. “Our stories are quite similar. I was never abused, but...when I got the job on this show, I didn’t know anything about acting, and I was kind of thrown into this world. It was finding out what this fairytale for me would be like in reality. And the same thing happened to her in a sense...we kind of – I’m talking about her as a different person – we bonded in a way.” Being thrown into such a big production while still so young, she has come up against some uncomfortable situations. “There was one scene that was really awkward. It’s the one that sticks out the most in my mind. There’s a scene where terrible street men try to sexually abuse me. And that was the day that my dad decided to come up on set. My mom was always up on set with me, because she was my chaperone, but my dad decided to go as well. So the producer, Dan [D.B. Weiss], the creator, he just kind of sat on this chair watching the monitor, and he had my mom on one side, and my dad on the other, while I was just lying on the floor screaming.” She learned that despite being young, she wasn’t going to be coddled. “I always thought that my hand would be held the whole way, and everyone would forgive me for things...But it’s very much like an adult industry, and people treat you like an adult, and they work you like an adult, which I love.” Completely without pretension, Sophie says, “It sounds so cheesy, but I do actually learn something new every day that I work on a film set.” She says, “I never really found a mentor in one person.... I would watch how Lena Headey works, or watch Natalie Dormer, or even my friend
Sophie Turner, 19 From Northampton, UK Lives in London, UK Sophie wears a shirt by Paul & Joe layered under a vintage suede jacket by Rokit.
This page: Sophie wears a dress by Escada Sport and a vintage suede coat by Beyond Retro. Opposite page: She wears a waistcoat by Beyond Retro and a pleated dress by Max Mara. Stylist: Simone Konu Make-up by Kelly Cornwell Hair by Tracie Cant
Hailee, who I just did a movie with. She educated me so much about the business, because she’s been in it for years.” The attitude that women can’t do as well as men in some areas doesn’t sit well with Sophie. She recalls a story her friend Maisie [Williams] told her, “Maisie was watching something like Bridesmaids, and her friend said something like, ‘Oh, I don’t like female comedy.’ And that really gets me. I just hate the fact that people think that women aren’t as funny as men, or women can’t do things as well as men, and constantly, every day, women are proving to be just as able as men are in our everyday lives.” Entertainment shapes society, and although film and television is her career, Sophie is first and foremost a woman, and recognizes the media’s ability to hold women back, but also create change. “We’re moving forward so much in terms of gender equality, but we still have those films from the past where there is that kind of social difference, and I think people watch them, and it resonates with them still. I think that’s what’s dangerous about film and television, and everything else that’s been kept in the past, because you’ve captured something from the 1950s, when women didn’t have a say in the world, and people still love those old films, and watch them, and they think that’s how life should be. And I think it’s just infiltrated into our everyday lives. It’s going to take forever to get rid of it. It’s just very small things. I think we have a long way to go still, but we’ve come very far.”
Sophie wears a polo neck top by Rokit, culottes from Solace, and a gold ring Francesca Grima.
This page: Sophie wears a shirt by Paul & Joe, a vintage suede jacket by Rokit, trousers by Pinko, and shoes by Christian Louboutin. Opposite page: She wears a jumper by Matthew Williamson, a suede skirt by Isaac Mizrahi, boots by Bionda Castana, and a gold ring by Francesca Grima.
LOU LOU PHOTOGRAPHY BY INDIRA CESARINE
Miranda Anna, Elektra June Kilbey-Jansson, 24 From Australia & Sweden Miranda and Elektra both wearing tops, skirts, and hats by KTZ, tights by Hue, with heels by Saint Laurent.
This page: Elektra wears a a striped, sweater, black fur vest, and black miniskirt, by Alice and Olivia. Knee-high boots by Lie Sangbong. Miranda wears a diamond print dress and striped coat by Alice and OIivia. Heels by Ruthie Davis. Opposite page: Miranda wears a wool crepe blue skirt with triangle applique by Charles Youssef and a turtleneck by Lie SangBong. Elektra wears a metal sequin pencil skirt by Charles Youssef, turtleneck and heels by Lie SangBong.
think being woman is all we know. For both of us, it affects our work subconsciously all the time, more or less. Feminism, as a concept is something that has been incredibly important to us since we were kids,” explains Elektra Kilbey-Jansson, one half of musical pop duo Say Lou Lou. The band recently released their debut album Lucid Dreaming. “It’s dreamy and ethereal pop music, but parts of the album have a disco undertone. It’s a bit dark, like a disco noir undertone… We draw most of the inspiration out of life and love and tragedy and relationships.” Say Lou Lou is composed of Australian/Swedish twin sisters Miranda Anna and Elektra June Kilbey-Jansson, daughters of Steve Kilbey of Australia’s The Church and Karin Jansson, of Swedish feminist punk band Pink Champagne. “Growing up with parents as musicians, it shows you that you can actually be a musician as a profession, and also all of the bad things about being a musician. You get both sides. Growing up we were like, ‘I would never do this, I would never go on tour not see my family and friends.’ Now we sit on the tour bus all day thinking ‘We chose to do this!’ I guess it’s in our genes, too.” At the time of this interview Miranda was traveling in Capri enjoying some rare time off. “Miranda calls it her biannual leave from Elektra. It’s where she leaves and we try to not speak to each other too much,” jokes Elektra. Like most kids the pair rebelled against their parents growing up, but in an opposite fashion than most, by resisting rock ‘n’ roll. “When we were teenagers, we were quite rebellious towards that aspect and then we wanted to be good in school, we wanted to have normal lives, normal jobs. By the time we were nineteen, it was inevitable, I guess. We started doing demos at home, just sitting with a synth, doing little covers and stuff. That’s how we started.” From navigating through the music industry together, the sister duo have developed a deep understanding of one another’s creative process, and have developed a way of communicating rooted in honesty. “If we don’t like something, we kill it. Then, we move on quickly. You can be quizzical and honest with each other without ever having to pick a fight or be so destructive. You can just be like, ‘I don’t like this’ or ‘I don’t like what we’re doing right now. Let’s move on.’” Their childhood bond is evident in what’s led them to this pivotal point in their creative endeavour and intensive collaboration. It’s a definitive plus to have such a support system they both adhere to when they’re working. “On tour, it’s really good having a sister there. You know each other so well and you get to take care of each other and everything. The down part of it is that we spend so much time with each other. We just bicker, like an old married couple, but that’s what sisters do.” After signing to Columbia and releasing their first single in 2012, Say Lou Lou decided to found their own label called à Deux. “We were with a major label, Columbia, for a long time,” Elektra explains. “But in the end I think when you’re creating your first album, creating your own art; you have to compromise. It just doesn’t make you happy.” They released their debut full length, Lucid Dreaming, to a myriad of buzz and praise. “Lucid dreaming is a state in which you’re aware that you’re dreaming. You’re awake inside of a dream. I think that’s the most beautiful notion ever.” As for their band name, it was conceived of based on their favorite childhood storybook of the macabre ilk. “We had a favourite French children’s book called “Lou Lou”. It’s about a wolf. It’s kind of like a morbid children’s book. We tend to like those.” One of their recent videos for hit single, “Nothing But a Heartbeat,” certainly references their affinity for the dark and dreamlike side of love and romance. It takes its audience inside the duo’s fantasy world, filled with forestry and covered in ice, underneath which lies an underlying theme of melancholia and heartbreak – and more importantly that moment you break through, grasping for air, and can ultimately breathe again. “Everyone’s been through a breakup. You notice that feeling when it’s over it’s almost crazy. There’s a moment when you realize and you start looking forward to things again. You start realizing that there’s a future. There is more than this.” For Say Lou Lou, it’s up and out of heartbreak, and up and out of societal restrictions. “As a woman in society, structures of society tell you to be a lot of things. It is better now than it was before but still not much. We are fed everyday with information and ways from everywhere that young girls associate a certain way and I think all of it is very subconscious. I think when you write music, you feel stronger and when you write your own music you feel very empowered. ” So what’s next for Say Lou Lou? They are currently working on a new album with a tour to follow. “The beauty of playing live is every time you step on stage, you realize something about yourself. The next time you get better. It’s like training; you become better, better and better. Now it’s something I enjoy more than anything.”
Elektra wears a shirt with gold star accents and jacket by Saint Laurent. Miranda wears a double-breasted jacket, layered over a sheer shirt by Saint Laurent.
This page: Elektra wears a dress by Jill Stuart, Miranda wears a jacket by Diesel with a shirt by IIkonee. Opposite page: Elektra wears a turtleneck top by Linie, with black leather trousers by Lie SangBong. Miranda wears a top by Yigal Azrouel with trousers by Lie SangBong. Both wear heels by Saint Laurent.
This page: Miranda and Elektra wear black & white shirts by Costello Tagliapietra with trousers by Lie Sangbong. Opposite page: Miranda and Elektra both wear a top and trousers by Jason Wu with heels by Saint Laurent.
Miranda wears a black tank top by Yigal Azrouel, a metallic skirt by Francesca Liberatore, and a silver jacket by Religion. Elektra wears a black turtleneck top by Linie, silver jacket by Francesca Liberatore, with a black and silver metallic skirt by Francesca Liberatore, with heels by Saint Laurent. Fashion Editor Indira Cesarine Make-up by Bobby Bujisic Hair by Hanjee Photographed at Morgans Hotel.
SAY LOU LOU
WATCH THE VIDEO
PHOTOGRAPHY BY JENNIFER MASSAUX “It’s a connection,” explains Julie Budet, face of the French electro-pop group Yelle. “Mean what you sing, and I think people can see it, even if they don’t understand the lyrics.” The origin of the name Yelle is an acronym of YEL, “You Enjoy Life.” And perhaps that is the key to Yelle’s continued success – the infectious reliability of pure joy. Their ebullient pop melodies transcend language culminating in a ten-year career wherein they only recorded in French, yet retained a growing worldwide audience. Namely because Yelle takes its name very seriously. The enjoyment of life is the key goal of the band and their music, “I think it’s just my goal in life to bring joy and happiness to others.” Perhaps it’s being French, or perhaps it’s just Budet, but the song lyrics are remarkably open about sex and relationships from a woman’s perspective. “Of course we are talking about love and relationships, doubts and questions. But what makes a relationship a love story is also sex.” True to her own fashion, Yelle has a lot to say on the fun topic of sex. She does admit there is a gender difference on the subject however, “You know, they don’t really care when it’s a man talking about sex, but when it’s a woman it’s like, ‘Whoa. That’s weird, or that’s a slut…’ There is still a big gap between men and women in that way.’” Questions about sex toys or favorite positions might be more shocking to the system if it were in English, but its all French to some. Budet finds the American view of sex strange. “If you listen to songs in pop music in general, in rap music, in rock and roll, you have such songs not about sex but using some really rude word or whatever, so it’s really weird to see the gap between the things that people are listening to and the picture of the country as prudish.” Budet respects the modern female pop star for setting an example of how strong and powerful women can be, referencing notables such as Beyoncé, and Nicki Minaj, Taylor Swift and especially Katy Perry, with whom Yelle had an opening spot on the pop star’s Teenage Daydream Tour. Inspiration grew into collaboration as a Twitter exchange blossomed into a worldwide tour. Budet and GrandMarnier (Jean-François Perrier) have been creating music as Yelle for ten years. “We started the band in 2005,” says Budet. “And in September, we’re going to celebrate the [ten-year] launch of ‘Je Veux Te Voir’ on MySpace.” They just recently started their own record label, Recreation Center. “We had the chance to produce one record for a band, Totorro. It’s great to have positive feedback and to realize that they are growing, and they are touring and things are changing in their life in a good way.” For their own music, Budet is busy releasing new videos and songs from their third album, Complètement fou, and touring through August in the US and abroad. They recently released a video for their song, “Bassin,” which references the beloved British television import, Teletubbies, but in a slightly subversive way. “In France the Teletubbies [come on] at six or seven in the morning. It’s a TV show that people used to watch after a hard night partying. We like to imagine people watching our music video in the same way,” Budet goes on to explain. “You will love it or hate it. But nothing in the middle!”
Julie Budet, 32 From Saint-Brieuc, France Lives in Paris, France Julie wears a white shirt with flowers by Dior.
This page: Julie wears a vest by Lanvin, red cape stylistâ€™s own, and shoes by Dior. Opposite page: She wears a red sequin dress by Marc Jacobs and boots by Saint Laurent.
This page: Julie wears a pink cashmere sweater by Victoria Beckham. Opposite page: She wears a white shirt by Rodarte, jumpsuit by Kauffmanfranco, and necklaces made by stylist. Stylist: Tara Williams Hair by Rob Talty Makeup by Elie Maalouf Photographed at Pro Location Studios
CAPLAN PHOTOGRAPHY BY INDIRA CESARINE
think that if anyone takes a step back and looks at what’s considered the norm, it’s all jarring. I mean the lack of female characters, the single digit percentage of female directors in this industry. The fact that women get paid less than men, the fact that roles for women in movies for the most part are nowhere near as complicated as men’s…I don’t think there’s anything particularly interesting about a role wherein you’re supporting a man on his journey. That makes me want to tear my hair out…” Lizzy Caplan is the living, breathing personification of this frustration, and more importantly how to rise above it, kick its ass, and subvert industry standards along the way. Growing up in Los Angeles, she attended a performing arts high school during which she transitioned from piano to drama as a process of elimination. “I never had any intention of translating any of that into a career. I never wanted to be like a professional, classical pianist. I didn’t have the discipline nor the drive…so I quit, but I needed to pick another performing arts elective in order to stay in the music program. I couldn’t really play other instruments, and the musical theater kids in my school had been singing and dancing since they were really tiny so I knew I couldn’t do that either, and so I just decided drama would probably be the easiest thing to make my way through...and it was! And it still is!” Clearly acting was indeed the path for her. Her career has spanned nearly two decades now, marked by a handful of choice roles including her very first paid gig in the cult classic Freaks And Geeks. “My first job was one line in the Freaks and Geeks pilot when I was fifteen, and that definitely was a far more important job than I could have imagined…I was a little kid who had no idea what I was doing. I had never been on a set before. I didn’t know anything. So
I just kinda showed up to work…and had no idea I was working on something that would end up becoming a major part of the zeitgeist, and that would personally have such an influence on my career.” When she landed a spot in the 2004 blockbuster Mean Girls, her future as a comedic actress was increasingly set in stone. “I knew that I wanted to be in that movie, and I knew that it was special because at that time comedy just wasn’t as good as it is now. I mean nowhere near. I think it’s a cyclical thing, and I just happened to be starting out at a time when it wasn’t connecting. I didn’t think that a lot of the stuff that was being made as comedy was particularly funny, but I thought the Mean Girls script was hilarious. It’s an amazing movie and truly an amazing script.” Though it appeared at the time that comedy would soon become her defining genre, what followed in the years to come only proved that one truly can’t predict the future, especially in a town as fickle as Hollywood. “I was very firmly planted in the comedy world and I thought that that was the type of work I’d be doing, and that it was going to be my career: mainly comedy…But you know, it was always a goal of mine to be on a prestigious cable show, at this time when being on a prestigious cable show afforded the most opportunity specifically for women, to get to play really complex characters…I think for the longest time if you wanted to play an interesting comedic role as a woman you were going to find that nine times out of ten it would be in the form of a TV show.” She found that prestigious cable show when the script for a dark, sexy, and boundary-pushing HBO drama fell into her lap. Though neither she nor her team initially felt it was a good fit, all that would soon change. In fact auditioning for and landing the role of 1950s sexuality researcher Virginia Johnson, in Masters Of Sex, was her watershed moment as an actress. “I read this script and I, at the
Lizzy Caplan, 33 From Los Angeles, CA Lizzy wears a red sequin turtleneck by Dior, sapphire and diamond rings by Effy Jewelry, and studs by Melinda Maria.
Lizzy is wearing a dress by Cushnie Et Ochs, Swarovski heels by Rene Caovilla, a snake ring by Effy Jewelry, and gold snake earrings by Melinda Maria.
time, as well as my representatives didn’t think that it would be something I would be interested in because it’s such a dramatic piece. But I read it and really fell in love with it. It surprised me as well as them.” She decided to take the plunge and audition. “The audition itself was with John Madden - the director of the pilot and myself, in a room, in full 1950’s hair and makeup, and we read through every Virginia scene in the pilot script over and over again. It was close to four hours and I remember leaving feeling like I’d never wanted a job more…afterward I went out for drinks with him and Michelle Ashford, the creator, and Sarah Timberman the producer, and we just talked. I spoke about why I felt so connected to this woman and how it had picked up all sorts of things in me just reading the script, and how passionately I felt about the story.” She didn’t get her hopes up about landing the role. “Sometimes when you want something so bad… you just get to the point where you expect the ones that you really, truly want to slip through your fingers, because you spend so much time not getting the ones you want.” Fortunately, this didn’t turn out to be the case. The show wrapped up its third season now, and Lizzy was nominated for an Emmy in 2014 for her stunning portrayal of Virginia Johnson. Watching Masters Of Sex, one can discern how deeply Lizzy has integrated herself into the psyche of Virginia, who was a gamechanger for gender politics and the social understandings of human sexuality during a time when even the word “sex” was taboo to utter. “Her experience has colored my day-to-day life and vice-versa which is this amazing, terrifying thing.” For Lizzy, Virginia truly embodies the struggles of the modern day woman with regards to society’s willful shutting-out of complicated female archetypes - those who are possessed of contradictions that befuddle the status quo. “I think women’s brains work in infinitely more interesting ways than men’s brains. I feel like there’s this scary, untapped well of fascinating female characters…and I’m lucky enough to be playing one right now…I mean, I play an ambitious, career-driven woman who is not showing up for her kids in the way that would then and now be considered hands-on mothering. She’s having a long-term affair with a married man. She’s friends with the wife of the married man. So this is a deeply flawed human being ...you don’t get to see too many female characters like that in film. They’re all pretty two-dimensional.”
Lizzy sees incremental changes occurring in the film industry regarding gender discrimination, which though may be minuscule, still hold significance. “One-hundred percent with zero hesitation I pronounce myself a feminist. It’s definitely in the transitional period from a dirty word to an accepted word. You still see women in positions of power shying away from that label and it is astounding to me, being that the definition of feminism, is you would like to be considered equal to a man. It has nothing to do with hating men or hating femininity or even hating sex. For some reason those ideas are all clouded around that term.” There are other noticeable changes that Lizzy identifies as having significant implications for female actors. “I mean, the number one movie this weekend was Spy. And that’s a major thing. Any time any female driven comedy is number one, it’s a major thing. And I have to say I get a perverse pleasure from Spy kicking Entourage’s ass... when Entourage first came out it was more acceptable to portray Hollywood as this hedonistic, gluttonous culture with so much money and just the toys and planes and the shit that comes with it… But quite honestly, the female roles on Entourage are so fucking shitty. It’s always the girl fawning over the not-particularlyinteresting guy. That makes me nuts.” Lizzy, like her character on Masters of Sex, is a female role model working during a time when society digs its heels in when it comes to equality for women. In this way she is leading a parallel existence of sorts to Virginia Johnson. Upon stepping back and enumerating the ways in which progress has been achieved over half a century since Virginia’s hay day, the symmetry is quite spectacular and eye-opening - showing how far we’ve come yet just how far we still have to go. The third season of Masters Of Sex is currently under way, and Lizzy has a few films up her sleeve, including a Christmas comedy that she’s acting in alongside long-time friend Seth Rogan. “I’m a sucker for a Christmas movie, especially funny ones… I just like Seth and those guys so much and I want to be involved in what they’re doing, but it’s definitely a movie about four guy friends. And they happened to cast, or they chose to cast, really interesting comedic women in all the girl parts so I’m really excited about that one.” Interview by Marianne White
Lizzy wears a dress by Jason Wu, BB strap shoes by Manolo Blahnik, and all jewelry by Melinda Maria.
This page: Lizzy wears a long peplum dress by Donna Karen, blue velvet jacket by Anthony Franco, dangle earrings by Melinda Maria, and heels by Kurt Geiger. Opposite page: She wears a black halter top by Sass & Bide, a blue pony pencil skirt by Jason Wu, â€œTotemâ€? earrings by Adornia, and three gunmetal rings by Iro Life.
Lizzy wears a jumpsuit by Solace London, black suede sandals from Giuseppe Zanotti, cage earrings by Melinda Marie Jewelry, a diamond jaguar ring from Effy Jewelry, and gold bracelets by Melinda Marie Jewelry. Photography by Indira Cesarine Stylist: Kelly Brown Make-up by Rachel Goodwin Hair by Christian Marc Photographed ay James Goldstein Residence
WITH LIZZY CAPLAN WATCH THE VIDEO
Sharaya J Howell, 31 From Hawaii Lives in Jersey City, NJ This page: Sharaya wears an optic multi color pattern suit by Rubin Singer, and a necklace by Tuleste. Opposite page: She wears a blue crop top by Alexander Wang.
quality. You’re amazing when you perform. But we just need you to change your look. We need you to wear less clothes, because we need you to show more skin. You need pumps.’ And then this was the be all end all: ‘We need you to get the same color hair [as you have now] but it should be a weave down to the floor.’ So, I remember Missy coming in and talking to me like, ‘Listen, they were willing to offer you a deal if you did these things.’ She was like, ‘Personally, I’m not fucking with it.’ And I was just like, ‘you know what, me either.’” And hence Sharaya’s newfound mission was born, to exemplify in her artistry and her life, her single-minded loyalty to individuality. “This business is hard enough when you are already developed, but coming in as a young artist, you need guidance. You need to love yourself. Love who you are. Love the skin you’re in. However God made you is exactly how you’re supposed to be, and so embrace that and use that for whatever your purpose will be out in the world.” Her risk-taking nature and diverse set of influences deeply reflect this mentality, from her music leanings to her fashion choices. “I’m kind of interested in people who aren’t afraid to take risks with their fashion, and so I’m open to a bunch of different things, but I like to take chances with stuff that’s not even out or that’s funky. I’m not a label girl all the way. I’m kind of like; ‘fashion is fashion and if it’s two dollars, give it to me!’ I am totally guilty of wearing a dope ass pair of shoes with designer jeans and a WalMart t-shirt!” Musically, she looks to the women who are beacons within the genre. “I like everybody. TLC, Aliyah, Missy...all those girls that just inspired me because they are strong women. They were like ‘Respect me for my talent first. Then everything else you can worry about later, but I’m here to stay because I got skills.’” It appears Sharaya will soon join that cast of women in music who inspire. Her album comes out this year (“I’m so excited about the record. I think the world will love it!!”), as well as another project - about which she must keep mum (“I’m so excited, but I can’t give it away yet! It’s really gonna be all parts of me complied into one.”). In the meantime, she continues to spread her gospel of love and self-acceptance to women who aspire to be leaders in what they do. “You know I would also encourage women to work hard because you do have to just be fearless. Be fearless, go out there, believe in yourself, dream big. My grandmother always told me. She would call me, Mami. ‘Mami, you can have anything in this world that you want as long as you ask the universe for it.’ So I just want to encourage women, you know, young babies that you can be anything that you want to be out here. There’s no box. And anything that you can fathom in your mind and in your imagination can become a reality.” Interview by Marianne White
want to uplift women, and show them that we can be out here, and be successful, and have careers, and be alpha females. I want to show that it’s okay. We need women out there saying ‘It’s okay to be great. It’s okay to run businesses.’” Hip hop darling, dancer, and Alexander Wang muse, Sharaya J, talks the talk and walks the walk. Having led a life as colorful and exciting as the personal style that defines her, this multitalented Hawaiian-born and Jersey-raised star-to-be is geared up for big things ahead as she prepares to release her debut album. Her creative background is marked by an array of influences that deeply reflect her upbringing and background. Her father was in the famed 90s hip hop act, Double XX Posse, and of course, her Hawaiian roots play a role as well. “I kind of ended up getting the best of both worlds at the same time, you know what I mean? My mom was into music too, and my whole Hawaiian family, they do music. It’s not hip hop or anything like that, but I got people who play the ukulele, who have amazing voices, and because I love dance I’ve always been attracted to hula.” Though she’s worked as a dancer for years, choreographing for and performing with the likes of Alicia Keys, P. Diddy and Rihanna, as well as modeling with the Wilhelmina agency, she truly arrived in her own creative realm upon a chance run-in with Missy Elliott. “I really started to cultivate my artistic talent when I ran into Missy. She was like ‘Yo are you an artist?’ and I was like ‘Yeah actually I have some stuff I’ve been working on! And she was like, ‘Yeah, you know I think you have superstar quality.’ We were connected to each other. She came up and asked me, and kind of offered me a place in her camp. And who the hell turns down Missy Elliott?!” Soon thereafter Sharaya signed to Missy’s label, The Goldmind Inc., and embarked on the turning point in her career. “It was just by grace of God that Missy was sent to me, kind of the visionary to help me, mold that part of me. When I got introduced to her she really sat me down and let me hone that creative part of myself.” In a testament to her commitment staying true to herself she coined the concept of BANJI - Be Authentic Never Jeopardize Individuality - an acronym also titular to her debut track as a hip hop artist. Sharaya has refused to sell out or cow-tow to industry pressure to look a certain way for the sake of expediency in achieving her goals. “Throughout my life I’ve always kind of been the girl who took a chance or the girl who stepped outside of the box - different from the norm. I always had that kind of essence. When me and Missy first got together, we were having a couple meetings with some record execs. After one of these meetings, the guys were like, ‘Look, we love your record. You have superstar
Sharaya wears a metal palette crop jacket and a long skirt by Rubie Singer, two stacked necklaces by Tuleste, and black spiked heels by Christian Louboutin.
This page: Sharaya wears a black metallic dress and jacket by Balmain. Opposite page: She wears a blue chinchilla vest by Dennis Basso, yellow sweater by CĂŠline, and earrings by Tuleste.
Fashion Editor Philip Bloch Make-up by Felicia G Hair by Al X Graham Nails by Jessica Allen Photographed at The Untitled Space
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Roisin Murphy, 42 From Arklow, Ireland Lives in London, UK Roisin wears a black dress by N21 and glitter skirt by Marni.
dapt or die. You have to adapt, that’s just it.” For Roisin Murphy, the Irish electronic singersongwriter, adaptability is what she credits her double-decade spanning career to. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that she’s insanely talented. Murphy hit the scene in the mid-90s as one half of the electro duo Moloko with her ex-boyfriend Mark Brydon, famous for their dance hit “Sing It Back.” After the pair split, she made waves as a solo artist, proving she was a force to be reckoned with on her own. A decade after her debut album Ruby Rue, which came out in 2005, Murphy released her third album, Hairless Toys, in May of 2015 to critical acclaim. “It was just a natural step really,” says Murphy of the decision to release new music after a break of eight years. “And I did a lot of living and had normal life for a while. Not the sort of thing I’ve been doing since I was twenty, which was: make your record, tour every two to three years… The way that it went ‘round, it got a bit boring. And then I had two kids.” Prior to Hairless Toys, she recorded an Italian language project Mi Santi, featuring covers of Italian pop hits, a bold career move that demonstrated not only her language skills, but also versatility. “That took me to another place,” says Murphy of Mi Santi. “And I felt ready then to make an album [Hairless Toys], and it just so happened that we had to ask Eddie to come and help us because I knew he was a great musician. Eddie Stevens is an
accomplished British keyboardist who had previously worked with Murphy during her time as Moloko. “And I knew he was a genius. I mean obviously, because I’ve worked with him for twenty years,” she says of her friend. “Some of the songs we recorded when we were a little bit drunk, to be honest. We’d go to the pub, have our lunch, have a pint, and then we’d come back and just sit down with the instruments and start to sing and play and record in kind of an old fashioned way.” So was it a misheard lyric after a round of pints that lead to the whimsical album title Hairless Toys, or is it deeper than that? “You kind of don’t know what I’m singing – what I’m saying… It’s really more of a question – what does hairless toys mean to you?” teases Murphy. While that bold electro-dance aesthetic that Murphy is famous for runs abundant through the album, there’s also surprising elements of soul, and even country and gospel. “When people say there’s country there, it didn’t come because we thought to throw a bit of country in there. It came because it came.” The album, ranging from its playful title to secret ingredients of unexpected spice, is a wholly organic sensual experience. Of course, Murphy’s signature style is what ultimately catches you, even though she herself perhaps cannot pin it down. “Oh now I don’t know what to call the kind of music it is. I don’t know what it is. There’s something lovely about the fact that people still feel disco from it. I just find that it’s wonderful that people still feel that even though we didn’t do any
This page: Roisin Murphy wears a dress by N21 and geometric coat by Vionnet. Opposite page: She wears a polka dot dress by N21, golden bomber jacket by Vionnet, and jewelry by Delfina Delettrez.
This page: Roisin wears a long dress by Emilio Pucci, green coat by Prada, and jewelry by Delfina Delettrez. Opposite page: She wears a black and gold sleeveless top by NÂ°21. Stylist: Sarah Grittini Make-up by Carolyn Gallyer Hair by Raphael Salley Photographed at The Athenaeum
disco!” says Murphy. “It’s like the glitter left over from the night.” Another aspect of Hairless Toys that makes it so irresistible is Murphy’s self-directed music videos, such as the darkly humorous and relatable video for “Evil Eyes,” which explores the concept of a wife and mother who has gone mad. One of the album’s standout singles, “Gone Fishing,” was inspired by the cult classic ballroom film Paris is Burning. “When I’m watching it, I feel like I’m eating chocolate. It’s like everything about it is beautiful and deep and complex and interesting,” says Murphy. The film speaks to her own art. “It’s beautiful and it’s flamboyant… and then it’s got all this pain and darkness and kind of complexity underneath, and that’s what performance is for, for saying all of those things in the moment in a way that you just can’t say to anyone.” Achieving the kind of longevity in the music industry that she has achieved can be attributed to sheer talent, her sanity in the face of it, and to her grit and strength of character. “I’ve been a feminist
since Cindy Sherman,” says Murphy. She credits the artist for allowing her to embrace feminism without having to forsake the glamorous fun that comes with being a woman. “The spectrum, the kind of role models that’s been built and made into icons, you know, or made into dreams, and made into all these amazing things, it’s so attractive to me. And to kind of just remove it from female history in order to be a feminist, was something that for people like me in the late 80s would’ve been thinking, ‘Jeez, I really don’t relate to feminism because it’s taking all the fun out of it.’ Can’t wear makeup, stuff like that. What a nightmare! So then you see somebody like – well you see her, Cindy Sherman, and she took all the fantasy back and the stuff that is brilliant that women possess that men don’t.” From Cindy Sherman to Beyoncé, Murphy embraces the notion that feminism can be fun. “I really do feel like I can be a feminist now. I can really admit it and really embrace it. We have come to a time when feminism is fantastic.”
MARINA & THE
PHOTOGRAPHY BY INDIRA CESARINE
’m very unapologetically female, and I want to talk about real things from a female perspective. We don’t live in the 1600s. You don’t have to dumb yourself down just to please the industry.” In an age where gender pronouns are evolving, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the politics and lose sight of the core of any cultural revolution: the freedom to think, act, and speak as one wishes, unconstrained. Marina Diamandis, aka Marina & The Diamonds, has embraced this sentiment in her music and her life, and the world has followed. Her third and most recent album Froot is Marina’s first to break Top 10 on the US Billboard 200, debuting at No. 8. “I didn’t want to write an album just because I had a record deal and needed to release a record. I wanted to write a record about my life. It wasn’t for the love of other people, or so that I could have more fans or sell more records, it was because I wanted to document my life in this way.” Froot was released by Lizzy Plapinger’s label, Neon Gold Records. Marina grew up in Wales with her Welsh mother and Greek father. “With Mediterranean culture, there’s a ton of punishment. Family is incredibly important, so it’s not true that the role of the woman is not important, it’s actually very important. The mom is a very essential figure to the family. But it’s more of the role of the mother.” That basic but powerful female archetype planted a seed in Marina, that would eventually blossom into an exploration of modern womanhood through music, notably on her 2012 sophomore album, Electra Heart, which debuted at No. 1 in the UK. A concept album, Electra Heart is also a character who interrogates various female stereotypes, with tracks such as “Teen Idle,” “Primadonna,” “Homewrecker,” and “Housewife” each exploring various female archetypes through the music and lyrics. It was the first project in which she was given more creative control. “I definitely felt undermined as an artist and as a songwriter, because although I was very pleased with the outcome, before Electra Heart, I was always encouraged to co-write with people and they were always men, always male producers, always male writers.” Her personal creative vision is all-encompassing. Every aspect of her project, the album art, music videos, and even how she styles herself, has a unified and distinct theme that correlates with her inimitable sound. “For me, it’s such a pleasurable way to put my music across, or my ideas across...it has to be a 360 degree approach, otherwise it’s not going to work.” For Froot, this included neon fruit imagery, suggesting raw sensuality. In the music video for the title track, she wore classic Hollywood gowns. “I like taking something classic and feminine and almost re-crafting it in a digital and cyber way,” she says. “It’s relevant to our world today.” Marina uses deeper and broader strokes when she speaks of bringing people together, and the concept of unity was the inspiration for her moniker. “The ethos of it was to create something very inclusive. Because to me, music is about unifying people and making an environment that isn’t very hierarchical, it’s about togetherness. I like the idea of Marina & The Diamonds. It was more like a group.” The one place where she does enjoy solace is when she’s writing. Froot was penned entirely by Marina. “The main reason was because
Marina Lambrini Diamandis, 29 From Brynmawr, Wales Lives in London, UK Marina wears a jumpsuit by Charlotte Ronson and bracelet by Pluma Italia.
I felt like it was the right thing to do. It wasn’t so much about empowering myself, it was more like, I felt that it was the right decision creatively. But looking back, I’m very pleased that I did it, and I hope that other artists do that too.” Taking ownership of her songwriting process allowed her to dig deep into herself. “When you’re on your own you can kind of just let things sink in and marinate. You’re able to properly digest your own thoughts and know exactly what you’re going to say.” In her hit “I’m a Ruin,” in which she inverts the classic breakup anthem, this sense of self-awareness is evident. “Quite a lot of the time you get songs about either being heartbroken or being someone who’s the dumper, but I think this time, this situation, I was in a spot about being incredibly guilty about hurting someone, so that was the main reason for writing it.” The cathartic nature of songwriting is what first drew her to music. “I was a little bit musical, but what attracted me mainly to music was the lyrical side and that was the only reason I wanted to do it. And the only reason I do it now is that I love the English language, and I found that to be a very convenient way and fine way to express myself.” Self-exploration through whatever means necessary is also the path to self-discovery, as demonstrated in Froot’s opening track, “Happy.” “I think it’s a great stage at the moment in pop culture, where we have a lot of young female artists who are willing to talk about [feminism]. When I think back to myself as a teenager, I would have loved to have that variation in that pop landscape of lots of different types of girls, not just the very prim, sexist, pop star.” Marina spent the summer on the festival circuit, and this fall will launch the Neon Nature Tour, spanning North America, Europe, and Australia, which is not to be missed. Only in person will you get the full 360-degree experience of her music, replete with cherry headpieces and sparkly, jewel-toned clothes. And she’s just getting started. “I feel like my notion of success has completely changed. I’m actually finding happiness and satisfaction as an artist, and I feel that was a long time coming.”
This page: Marina wears a dress by Bibhu Mohapatra, heels by Via Spiga, jewelry by Erickson Beamon. Opposite page: She wears a white and gold dress by Christos Costarellos.
Marina wears a dress by Zac Posen, shoes by Via Spiga, and a bracelet by Pluma Italia. Fashion Editor Indira Cesarine Hair by Anthony Joseph Hernandez Make-up by Roberto Morelli Photographed at The Carlton Hotel
Marina wears a bodysuit, gold trousers and trenchcoat by Georgine, with a necklace by Elizabeth Cole, and rings by Erickson Beamon.
This page: Marina wears a dress by Christian Siriano and ring by Stanmore.
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THE #GIRLPOWER LAUNCH On September 16th, The Untitled Magazine celebrated the release of The #GirlPower Issue with a party during New York Fashion week at Haus in Soho. Guests danced to music by special guest DJs Wynter Gordon and Coco Robert while sipping Untitled cocktails by Alacran Tequila, Voga Prosecco and Owlâ€™s Brew mixers. The #GirlPower Issue 8 of The Untitled Magazine presents some of the most inspirational women on the radar today across the arenas of fashion, film, music, art, business, politics, tech and sports. The collectorâ€™s issue, available now for purchase in over 30 countries, was photographed exclusively by female photographers and written exclusively by female journalists.
Hosted by editor-in-chief Indira Cesarine, attendees included Phillip Bloch, Sharaya J, Wynter Gordon, Coco Robert, Derek Warburton, Meredith Ostrom, Claudia Mason, Roberto Morelli, Kelly Brown, Claudine Ingenerie, Annika Connor, Jeanean Lund, Ansoni, Karolina and Adam Wallace, Erin Axtell, Ubah Hassan, Gary and Denise Krimershmoys, Chantelle Fraser, Susan Kirschbaum, Emerald Fitzgerald, Tatyana Murray, Alisa Maria, Mikhail Torich, Henri Kessler, Joseph Grazi, Brendan Cannon, Gavin Bond, and Ian Gerard, among many others. Event Photography by Astrid Stawiarz and Dustin Wayne Harris
#GIRLPOWER HITS LONDON On September 18th, The Untitled Magazine celebrated their #Girlpower issue with a party at London Fashion Week in collaboration with fashion designer Edeline Lee at The Scotch in SW1, London. The post-show bash was co-hosted by Roger Michael at the London club, with special tunes by legendary DJ and music producer TommyD, and cocktails by 808. Canadian-born, London-based Edeline Lee graduated with a First from Central Saint Martins and apprenticed in the studios of Alexander McQueen and John Galliano before working at Zac Posen in New York and as Head Designer for Rodnik in London. An unintentional soft launch led to a flurry of private orders and the
birth of her eponymous collection in 2013. Her work was recently exhibited by the curators of the Fashion Space Gallery to represent the “Future of Fashion Presentation”. Spring Summer 2016 is her debut season on the official London Fashion Week schedule of the British Fashion Council. The Untitled Magazine followed up our New York #GirlPower Issue launch event with the event at London Fashion Week. The magazine supported Edeline Lee’s collection presentation with gift bags at the show and hosted the after-show party at Skotch with complimetary copies of the latest issue for guests. Event Photography by Daniel Herendi for The Untitled Magazine
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The #GirlPower Issue of The Untitled Magazine presents some of the most inspirational women on the radar today photographed exclusively by f...
Published on Feb 22, 2016
The #GirlPower Issue of The Untitled Magazine presents some of the most inspirational women on the radar today photographed exclusively by f...