Photography Timo Kerber
Styling David Evans
You usually exude confidence in your tracks. What made you show a more insecure side of yourself in your latest single, Happy?
I think it takes a lot of confidence to be honest and transparent. I wanted to show that I am insecure, that I can be unstable and self-hating. I think every emotion is equally important because it teaches us something about ourselves. None of them are wrong, and no one should feel ashamed of them. That’s really why I wanted to show a more vulnerable side of myself
Besides music, you’re also known for your distinctive aesthetic. How did you start experimenting with your look?
I think it was derived from the club scene. I moved to San Francisco when I was 17 and I was constantly going to drag bars like Aunt Charlie’s and the Tenderloin district. I was hanging out with a lot of artists who helped me to come out of my shell, because I grew up in the suburbs where everything was very homogenized. Going to a place like that where freedom reigns and the queer community is like the dominant community taught me that I could be myself and have essentially any aesthetic I wanted, regardless of how weird society might think it was.
Where does the inspiration for your looks come from?
I think it just comes from everything and everyone. Travelling to different countries and seeing how different communities live is helping me to cultivate an aesthetic that is far beyond what I could have fathomed years ago. Right now, I’m highly inspired by old school pin-up fetish, and the ’90s female archetype like Pamela Anderson and Anna Nicole Smith. I don’t know why, but I’m just obsessed with that right now.
Do these transformations all express a different part of you?
They definitely do. I have different “characters” that I play into when I do different jobs or themed shoots. I have a character I call Courtney. She’s like my Anna Nicole Smith, where I put on a blonde wig and it’s hyper-sexualized and feminine. And then I have a character called Dominique, who’s like a dark-haired dominatrix and she’s really aggressive and angry. They’re all expressions of my core self, which is someone in a tracksuit, with no makeup, big sunglasses and sneakers.
You also have a lot of tattoos. What was your first?
My first one is really embarrassing. It’s just three buttons on my right wrist. I don’t even remember getting it, which is really bizarre. And then my second tattoo was a couch that ended up looking like a panini-maker. I think my tattoos are slowly becoming more thoughtful and beautiful. But they started off kind of trashy, which is actually in style now, so it’s working out.
What can we expect from your upcoming debut album, SEXORCISM?
You can expect a lot of fun, booty-bouncing songs, a lot of collaborations and some seriously insane visuals. You can expect a body of work that I couldn’t be more proud of. There’s something for everyone, like pop songs and a couple of 1998 house jams. I also did my old style of rapping, so my older fans have something to look forward to. I didn’t want to make an album that excluded anyone. I want everyone to be able to enjoy my music and feel really good and excited when they listened to it.
Makeup Theresa Davies using NYX Professional Makeup
Hair Benjamin David using R+Co
Photography assistants Elliot Baker & David Rowland
Fashion assistant Antonia Moran