Now that you’ve said you kind of view yourself as a clown, I’m totally seeing it with your photos—there’s images of you crying next to selfies of you laughing hysterically. I don’t want to say it’s exaggerated because they are your real feelings, but your Instagram is very—
It’s super dramatic, and it’s definitely exaggerated.
I mean, those emotions are real and very authentic, but I’m mentally ill—like the rest of us—so I have really high highs and very low lows, and sometimes they change rapidly. So, I definitely think people can see that in my work and in my daily activities, or what I’m putting out there.
But that’s why I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m a clown. I’ve done a lot of shoots where my makeup is pretty clown-y, and it happens a lot in my own work, too.
But this also goes back to the original question about makeup being an expression of performativity—we use it to enhance ourselves, and it’s a mask like anything else.
I just got really into naturalist aesthetics, and promoting that because I felt like, ‘Oh I have been conforming to society’s expectations of young women, and women in general,’ and I was finally trying to subvert them. Now, though, it’s come full circle, where I’ve started shaving more, and I wear makeup almost everyday at this point.
It’s just a really good tool to get through the day.
Why the dramatic change?
I had a pretty explosive year—2018 has been pretty dark for me. It was just full of a lot of intense experiences, a lot of weird loss—it was just a very turbulent year, but also, very eye opening, with a lot of lessons learned over and over.
I spent the summer at my mom’s in Charleston, because I was very, very depressed and needed to get out of the city, and away from my apartment which I have been living in for seven years. Being down there, I think I started wearing makeup and shaving because I was in the South, with my mom, in her weird, cookiecutter neighborhood.
The first time I shaved was on the Fourth of July, when we went to her neighbor’s house for a pool party, and I didn’t want to have to discuss it, I didn’t want to bother other people and I just didnt wanna be the center of attention because I was the girl with body hair, you know? So, I shaved it off, and it was a really big deal for me—I had to work up to it for almost a month. But then I started shaving more regularly and thought, ‘Do I actually want to do this? Or is it because society wants me to do it?’ It was a real battle, but in the end, I felt like I did it more for me than for anyone else.
It was! In some weird, backwards way, it was great.
You spend a lot of your life telling yourself what you can and can’t do, and what is right for you and who you are. And what I’ve learned more than anything, is to respect the fact that things are constantly changing.
Like, I have been a pothead my whole life, and I stopped smoking for seven months, and it was this huge deal for me—the whole process, the mania afterwards and all the relationships I managed to destroy. In the end, I think it was meant to be, but I started smoking again when I was down there [in Charleston], and my instinct was to beat myself up about it.
But at this point, I know better and I know that these things come and go, whereas in the past, I have always been like, ‘This is how it is and that’s that.’ I was never a black and white person, but with body hair and wearing no makeup, I pretty much thought everyone should be doing the same thing, that that’s how it should be, and that it would make the world better.
Maybe that’s true, but that’s not the world we live in. Now, I think being flexible is where I’m at.