Saturday, June 24, 2006

Kate Moss (March, 2003)

Penny Martin, Editor,: Kate Moss, we have invited you to participate in our series of interviews with major image-makers because you occupy the roles of both image and image-maker. Not only are you one of the most talked-about and desired women on earth, you rose to fame during a decade where fashion became a mainstream cultural concern. You are the face of a British youth movement shaped by the end of Thatcherism, dance culture and new technology. Does any of that make you happy?

Kate Moss: Yes, it definitely makes me happy that I'm part of a period of such cultural change. However, I don't think about me being a desired woman, or as being talked about, because that would make me paranoid.

Phil Bicker, New York: Before modelling, did you have any idea of what you'd like to do?

Kate Moss: I knew I wanted to travel, because my Dad worked in the travel business and I knew I wanted to leave Croydon. I hadn't even thought about what I wanted to do when I left school because I was only 14 when I started modelling.

Charlotte Cotton, Victoria & Albert Museum, London: What did it feel like to see yourself on the cover of The Face in July 1990?

Kate Moss: I was really embarrassed because there were pictures of me topless inside. I was still at school of course, so I got a lot of stick because I was so flat-chested.

Elaine, New York: How much of your success would you attribute to your management? At what stage did you start to make your own decisions rather than following instructions?

Kate Moss: Quite early. When I started working a lot, at one point I was doing about 10 flights in a week and I had to start saying no to things. Of course, your management push to get you work and you want them to think about the long-term, where I would be like 'I want to do The Face', even thought it wouldn't earn me any money.

Charlotte Wheeler,: At what point did you realise that your height wasn't going to stand in the way of your success?

Kate Moss: When I started doing shows, because of course, everyone else was taller. I thought, 'if I can do the runway with all these taller girls, then nothing can stand in my way'.

Marianne Faithful, Paris: So Kate - I went through a long period of time where I thought it would never all work out. Wanting the dream to come true, then it changed and the dream became a reality. Have you ever experienced that? Please explain.

Kate Moss: Oh, God, Marianne! I didn't really have a dream where I thought 'Oh, I want to be a star'. It kind of all rolled along and then suddenly, I was in the papers and it was all a bit of a shock. Now I've got the dream because I've got the family and I'm still working. That was my dream always.

Sadie Frost, London: What's been the happiest day of your life?

Kate Moss: Well, you know, I gave birth, so that's definitely got to be up there!

Euan Angus, Galloway: What's your all-time favourite cover featuring yourself?

Kate Moss: Probably now, it's the Face one or the June 1998 Vogue one with the sheepskin.

John Galliano, Paris: My first show in Paris was also your first defile for me in Paris. If I remember you were only 16 years old...How did you feel doing the show with the top supermodels Naomi, Linda and Christy?

Kate Moss: I was so nervous that I couldn't eat all day. The runway was the longest one I've ever seen. I felt like it went on forever and I was up there on my own. The afterwards, we went to watch the video at his office and someone had stolen all the champagne. There was only whisky and I drank so much that I passed out at his dinner. I was supposed to be back at school on Monday morning and I was still in Paris on Wednesday!

Nick Knight, Richmond: Why do you model? Is it a need for love and appraisal? Is it a natural desire to show off? Is it art or is it a drug?

Kate Moss: I wasn't a show-off by nature, but I do think you get into that, even though I was shy. That becomes the drug.

Jonathan The, Perth, Western Australia/Achim Reichert, Paris: On a photo shoot do you feel like an artist or a mobile sculpture? What is the level of your involvement?

Kate Moss: I felt like I have to become what the team want me to become. It grows: the make-up and the hair, and then the light... The atosphere of the shoot: you become that. Being versatile is what makes a good model.

Harold Koda, Costume Institute, Metropolitan Museum, New York: If clothing can be art, has there been one piece of apparel that you have worn which was a transcendent masterwork?

Kate Moss: I have worn things by John Galliano (it was a gypsy skirt with purple tulle with bells all over it and a fox jacket that was unbelievably amazing) in an Annie Leibowitz shoot for American Vogue that were definitely transcendent masterworks.

Joanna Leonard, Teddington: Do you ever look at any of your old campaigns and think: 'that doesn't look anything like me'?

Kate Moss: Yes, all the time.

Penny Martin, Editor, : Is there an image of you that you wish you'd never had taken?

Kate Moss: I'm sure there are, but I can't think of *one* right now.

Ka-Poon Chan, Hong Kong/Luke Rynderman, Sydney/Miche,, France: Which photographer do you most like working with and why?

Kate Moss: They are all different. You get something different out of working with different people, so I wouldn't want to work with one alone.

GrZ�goire Alexandre, Paris/Juani Sarrabayrouse, Buenos Aires: David Bailey said he falls in love with everyone he photographs. Can you describe the model/photographer dynamic? Do you ever feel uncomfortable being photographed?

Kate Moss: When I work with a photographer, I try to become what they feel. It's not even like you're smiling, it's an instinct. If you can get where they are coming from, then that's the dynamic. I feel uncomfortable being photographed by paparazzi and there is only one instance where I've felt uncomfortable with one guy. He got put in prison because he was a perv.

Geert De Keyser, Belgium: What qualities make a photographer brilliant?

Kate Moss: Light and retouching! Ha!

Mario Testino, London: Am I still your number one as you're certainly still mine?

Kate Moss: Of course, Mario, you'll always be my number one.

Solomon Light, Adelaide/Adam Levett, Toronto: Why do you like shooting with Mario Testino?

Kate Moss: Because we just have the BEST time. We have so much fun!

Daniel Brown, SHOWstudio: Do you let photographers know what you think of their images? Do you bluntly tell them if you don't like an image, or do you have more subtle ways to hint that you're not impressed?

Kate Moss: I say 'I prefer that one'. I don't actually say if I don't like it.

Wong Kar Wai, Hong Kong: What's it like working with Nick Knight?

Kate Moss: It's an experience. It's intense. Always. And you're really working, you can't get off lightly. You can't sail through the day.

Glen Luchford, London: Is Glen Luchford the best photographer you have ever worked with?

Kate Moss: Sorry, Glen! Mario asked first!

Marc, Paris: Would you mind working with a lesser-known photographer?

Kate Moss: No, I woudn't mind at all!

Mert and Marcus, London: Who is your favourite: Mert or Marcus?

Kate Moss: I can't say - they're just both divine! I couldn't pick. I love those boys, they're fantastic.

Marc, Paris: Are there any surprises left in fashion photography for you?

Kate Moss: You can definitely always push it a bit more.

Luke Hahn, Melbourne/Agnes, Hong Kong/OK, Hong Kong/G.Rt De Keyser, Belgium: Define beauty.

Kate Moss: I can only think of Lila. My daughter is the most beautiful thing to me.

Pablo Gimenez Zapiola, Texas: What do you think it is about your appearance exactly that has brought you fame?

Kate Moss: I've no idea. At all.

Juergen Teller, London: Are your nipples really like fighter pilots thumbs?

Kate Moss: My assistant, Fi Fi, says you could hang two wet duffle coats of them with two bottles of Irn-Bru in the pockets.

Peter Lindberg, New York: When you look in the mirror, do you think you see what other people see?

Kate Moss: No, probably not.

Penny Martin, Editor, : At what stage did it become evident after the publication of the Corinne Day story in the May 1993 issue of British Vogue that you were destined to become the leitmotif in every tabloid discussion of body size? How did you decide to deal with it?

Kate Moss: I just thought it was all bollocks, basically. It was upsetting sometimes, but I was really young and skinny and some girls just are. That was me, I wasn't trying to be anyone else.

Landon Bradley, Vancouver: Why do you think the media chose to pin the debate about body image on you when there are so many other small female celebrities?

Kate Moss: It was just the time. It was a swing from more buxom girls like Cindy Crawford and people were shocked to see what they called a 'waif'. What can you say? How many times can you say 'I'm not anorexic'?

Harvey Allen, Stroud: Have you ever been on a diet?

Kate Moss: After having Lila, I couldn't have my french toast in my fry-up in the morning. I had to watch what I was eating, after having been eating for two!

Deanne Jade, The National Centre for Eating Disorders, London: I visit schools on a regular basis, talking to students about their weight issues. If you were asked by a student, 'what would I have to do to look like a model?' what would be your honest answer?

Kate Moss: You have to be yourself, as models come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. There are girls who are out there who are more voluptuous and they work better for different sorts of stories.

J. J., Washington D.C.: Last year I lost 55 pounds and started modelling, but have since gained 30 back. Things have fallen apart and I have lost the motivation to diet. I am desperate. How do you do it?

Kate Moss: I wouldn't advise anyone to be desperate to model. Certainly not by dieting so intensively.

Dafne, Milan: When is thin too thin?

Kate Moss: When you look ill. When you're not healthy.

Bryony, London: Are you a feminist?

Kate Moss: I'm an independent woman, yes.

Igor Mijalkovic, Yugoslavia/Ceri, London: What's the meaning of the heart tattoo on your hand?

Kate Moss: It's personal. It was when I was young and in love.

Zoe, Maidstone/Didi, Italy: Who advises you on your hair? Will you cut it short again?

Kate Moss: No, never again. I had to do it because I'd talked about it for years, but now I'm growing it long again.

Naomi Campbell, Location Unknown: Did you ever feel that I was over-protective? Did I ever nag you?

Kate Moss: You took me under your wing, but ocasionally, yes! You did!

Allan Martin, London/Alexandre de Bellefeuille, Montreal: You must have experienced just about everything in your career in fashion. How has your perception of the industry changed?

Kate Moss: I don't think it has, really. I don't really do the shows: that's really when you ssee the industry in its full glory. I work with people more on a one-to-one basis, and therefore see it less as an industry.

David Fahey, Greenwich Village: What's the most hurtful thing anyone in fashion has ever said to you?

Kate Moss: There's been quite a lot! Fashion people can be very bitchy, especially when you're young. People said 'if you don't take you're clothes off, I won't use you'. When you're young, you're put under a lot of pressure.

Oscar Arzamendi, Mexico City: Does your role in promoting companies that drive global capitalism worry you?

Kate Moss: I've got a lot to deal with, never mind taking on global capitalism.

Pao, Italy: Who are the 5 most powerful people in fashion industry?

Kate Moss: Anna Wintour, Mario Testino, Bernard Arnault, Tom Ford and in his day, Steven Miesel could make or break a girl

Nicolas Coleridge, Chairman of British Fashion Council, London/Emma, London: If you could only wear three designers for the rest of your life, which would they be?

Kate Moss: John Galliano Alexander McQueen Stella McCartney

Dylan Jones, Editor, GQ, London: What would you wear if we photographed you for the cover of GQ?

Kate Moss: Probably nothing, knowing GQ!

Tom Tesch, Vienna: You are clearly a woman with a strong sense of style. Would you ever consider becoming a fashion editor?

Kate Moss: I have thought about it. Maybe later. I do love clothes.

Daniel Mayer, Munich/Samantha, USA: How would you advise someone interested in pursuing a career in the fashion industry?

Kate Moss: Try and get into work experience with a designer or a magazine.

Craig McDean, New York: You've had so many lenses pointed at you that I hardly know what you're thinking anymore. What's it all about for you now? Do you know you're gorgeous?

Kate Moss: For me now, it's about going to work and creating something new and having fun.

David Bailey, London: Who are the five most attractive and sexy men and women that you've met?

Kate Moss: Jefferson, Daniel Day Lewis, Frank Sinatra (he was REALLY attractive), Emanuelle, Roman Polanski's, wife Marianne Faithfull

Rob W, Canada: Does fame make it more difficult to find love?

Kate Moss: Yes, definitely.

Edward Enninful, London: Which would you rather ride: a limo, a camel or a man?

Kate Moss: A man, of course! What are you like?

Michelle Duguid, : Corinne Day is on record as saying that after the controversy the 1993 Vogue shoot caused, you cut all ties with her. What was it like working with her again in 2000, after seven years had gone by?

Kate Moss: It was amazing. It was like a day hadn't passed. We had a great time.

Landon Bradley, Vancouver: Are Jake and Dinos Chapman misanthropes?

Kate Moss: No.

Alexander McQueen, London: Do you take it up the arse?

Kate Moss: Lee, you know! I'm not going to tell the whole world! We know you do...

Katy England, London: Is the Pope a Catholic?

Kate Moss: What about you, Katy?

Jenny Vagan, Paris: Does Marianne Faithful give you good advice?

Kate Moss: Yes, she does. We both give each other good advice, I think.

Simon Foxton, London: What do you find attractive about Jefferson?

Kate Moss: He is the sweetest man I've ever met. Definitely.

Ursula Young, Ullapool/kirsty, london: Has he proposed?

Kate Moss: No, he hasn't.

Paul Bastick, Hanover: Who will design your wedding dress?

Kate Moss: I can't imagine myself in a wedding dress. I have worn them on runways. I did Brides magazine when I was 15! But, I haven't thought about it.

Fiona Campbell, London: Just about every restaurant in London claims that you lunch there. Do you really eat in a different place every day?

Kate Moss: Yes, most days! No, I don't really. I work, I can't go to restaurants every day.

Terry Jones, Editor in Chief & Creative Director, i-D, London: Who first called you 'Kitty'?

Kate Moss: Edwina. (Edward Enninful)

Penny Martin, Editor, : Where did you learn to pole dance like you did on the Corinne Day documentary?

Kate Moss: I had lessons at Astral, that strip club. It was amazing exercise, we did it for toning as it was more fun than going to the gym. It is so hardcore: pulling your body up onto a pole.

Frieze Magazine, London: What's your favourite work of art featuring you?

Kate Moss: The Lucien Freud painting!

Jose Duran, Barcelona: What's your favourite porn film?

Kate Moss: I don't know any names!

Julien, Li?ge: Who's your favourite writer?

Kate Moss: F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Mario Sorrenti, New York: What is your favourite colour of knickers?

Kate Moss: Pink. I know what kind of knickers you like!

Ana de la Vega, Madrid: What's your favourite magazine?

Kate Moss: Another Magazine.

Meg Matthews, London: What's your favourite cheese?

Kate Moss: Brie, as you know very well, Meg.

Kode, toronto: Do you have a favorite web site ?

Kate Moss: No, I don't.

Rob W, Canada: What are your views on George Bush?

Kate Moss: He's frightening. I can't even look at him.

Kim Sion, Smile Management, London: Have you been down to Argos lately? Which is your favourite branch?

Kate Moss: Last time I went to Argos, it was in Croydon, down Surrey Street Market.

Jenny Vagan, Paris: Do you own a bible? Have you any spiritual convictions?

Kate Moss: Yes, I do own a bible, but I couldn't recite any of it for you.

Val Garland, London: What make-up product could you not live without?

Kate Moss: Black eye-liner. Always.

Corinne Day, London: I would imagine Kate would be such a great Mum... I can't wait to give Lila a cuddle! My question to Kate would be: 'how is day to day life with Lila?'

Kate Moss: She wears her bangles that you gave her every day. You've got to come over soon because she is so gorgeous.

Kate Currans, Philomath: What did you crave during your pregnancy?

Kate Moss: Japanese.

Lois Wang, Taiwan: How did you shrink back to your original size after giving birth so quickly?

Kate Moss: I worked out in Thailand a *bit* and watched what I ate a bit, but I didn't make an intensive effort.

Ian Murray, Manchester: Have you given up smoking?

Kate Moss: No.

Rosie, London/Sofia Kazulkina, USA: Where did the name Lila Grace for your baby daughter come from?

Kate Moss: I had a book and it was called 'Lila Says' and I just loved the name. Grace I really loved.

Pat Byrne, Tallaght: Who are Lila's godparents?

Kate Moss: I haven't decided completely.

Guillaume, Toulouse/Joris Eeckhout, Cork: Will motherhood mean you do less modelling?

Kate Moss: I won't be flying around and doing the shows, but I will still be working.

Eugene Souleiman, London: What is it like to have someone to care for other than yourself?

Kate Moss: It's the best feeling in the world.

Verity McIlveen, Senior Editor, WGSN, London: Hi Kate, Congratulations on the birth of lovely Lila. What's your favourite motto for life right now?

Kate Moss: I don't really have one!

Jelle, Brussels: Has the birth of your baby changed the way you look at other women?

Kate Moss: Yes, when you're a mother it definitely changes the way you feel about life in general.

Nic Mulvaney, London/Anna Parker, Essex/Wong Kar Wai, Hong Kong/ANNA, ESSEX: Would you be happy for your daughter to pursue a career in modelling?

Kate Moss: No, I wouldn't want her to be a model. I don't think it's the best industry really for young girls. Unless you're really strong, it can really fuck you up.

Hilary Semple, Utah: Do you worry about younger models taking your place on the catwalk?

Kate Moss: No. Good luck!

Ada, Bologna: What will you do after modelling?

Kate Moss: I don't know yet.

Phil Bicker, New York: Name three things you'd like to do that you haven't before.

Kate Moss: I'd like to jump out a plane I'd like to scuba dive on the Great Barrier Reef I'd like to sail around the islands in Tahiti with my family

Dylan Pharazyn, Auckland/Kristin, Location Unknown/Marian, Fashion UK, London/Joris Eeckhout, Cork/Dan Whittaker, Hackney/Elaine Cristina, Norway/Gavin, London/Justin Montag, NYC: After your collaborations with Bobby Gillespie and Primal Scream, do you have any ambitions to pursue a career in music? What other musicians would you like to work with?

Kate Moss: No, I only worked with Bobby because I've known him for years and I couldn't turn down the experience of being with him and the band in the studio. I love them.

Fran Cutler, London: What do you think you would you be doing now if you were not spotted in JFK airport by Sarah Doukas?

Kate Moss: Who knows.

Guido, London: How do you cope with being a housewife, a modern day icon and a mother? When you retire, will it be to Croydon?

Kate Moss: I'm coping very well at the moment, thank you! I'm not retiring in the near future and when I do, it definitely will not be to Croydon!

Liberty Ross, London: Which image would you like to be remembered for? Which would you most like to be forgotten?

Kate Moss: I like the Nick Knight cover I mentioned. That was a good moment. I'd like the Vogue pictures that they harped on about anorexia over to be forgotten.

Geth, Location Unknown/Landon Bradley, Vancouver/Richard, London/Robert W, Canada/Michael Chichi, San Francisco/Luke Rynderman, Sydney/Pao, Italy/Andrew Warwick, Derbyshire/Bjorn Larsen, Brooklyn: The above list of people all chatted you up / asked you for a date in various, often unrepeatable ways. Would you like to accept any of them?

Kate Moss: No. I'm happy with Jefferson right now!

Penny Martin: Question: Thank you for being so candid Kate, It's been a pleasure interviewing you. Where are you off to now?

Kate Moss: Going for dinner!

Vivienne Westwood (April,2004)

Penny Martin, Editor in Chief,: Vivienne Westwood, we have invited you to be the seventh person in our series of live interviews with leading image-makers because over the past 35 years you have broken so many new territories in terms of what a fashion designer could be. In every case your taste, your intellect, your sexuality and your body are central to the brand and as such, are public property. Have you any need for escape from your public persona? What do you keep private?

Vivienne Westwood: I'm a fashion designer. The greatest thing about my job is that I get to wear really great clothes. I am the centre of my look in the way that Chanel was. It's easier for a woman to do that than a man, I am conscious of it. Through it, I can exploit my business. It is useful. I'm also aware that people are interested in me because of what I do. The important thing in my life is that I want to understand the world I live in. Although fashion is part of that, I exercise my brain in many other ways. In the course of my career, I'm constantly inundated with people asking me things. People are more concerned with my opinions than in looking at my clothes and there is a reason for that. I am a very small company, without access to large funds to support advertising and promotion. What happens is that I do have a respect from people that see that my clothes are real and not just hype. So, time has been on my side, I have a lot of credibility at this stage in my life. To answer the question, the honest truth is that I try to communicate what I think. So, I don't see myself as any sort of star or public property. If you feel that you have anything to say that might help, then you appreciate having the platform to say it.

Laura Mackness, London: You are pretty much a self-taught designer, do you feel that this has helped or hindered your career?

Vivienne Westwood: That's an interesting question. We live in an age where young people are flattered into believing that they can do anything that they want. It's not true and you have to have an aptitude for something. A talent for it. The general syndrome regarding education is that people are trained not to think: that thinking is dangerous. Nobody who's a sheep is ever going to be a fashion designer. The next important word is discipline. The only important discipline is self-discipline. There are some children that will never need to be self-disciplined, they do it for themselves. They discover it by applying themselves to something they are interested in. They do it themselves. An example would be a young girl learning to be a ballerina. A great teacher will know how to push that girl. They'll know what will interest her. She absolutely has to learn technique. Without technique, self-expression is impossible. So the more you can have somebody teach you, the better. The more you will know. But at the end of the day, you have to do it for yourself. A better example might be a gardener. You can read as many books about gardening as you like, but you have to do it yourself. To find a way yourself. The only place to find ideas is by looking at what people did in the past. It's the only way you can be original. You can't be original by just wanting to do something. nothing comes from a vacuum. You have to find it from somewhere.

Imbina Bianjovellio, London/Mark Raidpere, Estonia/Alin, Israel/John A Leslie, Ventura CA/Geert Neefs, Belgium/Pablo Gimenez Zapiola, Houston Texas/Dario Rumbo, Barcelona/Cristina, Florida/Diana Keough, Brisbane/Gil, London: What have been your main inspirations, throughout the years and in the present day?

Vivienne Westwood: This is the question I am asked all the time. The second question I am asked -following right after that one- is 'what are you doing next'? The last thing I am interested in is keeping up with the times. Just like the two journalists that ask those two questions, they are so busy trying to keep up with the times that they miss everything that's in front of them. So, I can't give any specific answer to this. There are all kinds of things you notice and realise that you can translate into something new. I always make my students copy things first because you have to fall in love with things. You have to imagine, for example, Queen Elizabeth. You are used to seeing a painting of her that is very formalised. But imagine if you were a rich person that was travelling along mud roads, in danger of being molested by highwaymen, on your way to see her. Finally, you are allowed into an audience with her. She would be so glittering, so white, she would look like a being from another planet. Imagine what that would look like. I have interpreted her in ways that don't look at all like the way I have just described. A classic example was where I reinterpreted an eighteenth century corset. It was so light - those panniers - like a flower. This is a much nearer example where I have taken something from the past and made it ready-to-wear for today. Usually, you don't see the source of my translation. It has been transformed into something else by the time I present it. I think the real powerhouse of why you want to continue is that you want to continually surprise yourself. My clothes get more 'free', the more and more I continue. The technique becomes so automatic. You can practically do whatever you want by the time you get to that stage.

Fiona Wylie, Leeds: What impact has the V&A and the Wallace Collection had on your inspirational collections?

Vivienne Westwood: The first thing to say is that the Wallace Collection is the best school in the whole country. There is more to learn from there, in that small building, than anywhere. The most interesting part of the collection are the eighteenth century painting, furniture, clocks collected by the 3rd Marquis of Hertford in the middle of the nineteenth century when nobody wanted it and it was cheap. The kind of things the French revolutionaries threw out of the windows and burnt in the courtyards. My husband, Andreas, told me when he was studying the French Revolution at school that he cried not about the people having their heads chopped off but at the destruction of all the beautiful things. Nobody who lives in the world today could paint one flower on the service porcelain in that collection. All those crafts have gone. I've mostly used the V&A for its costume and fabric prints. William Morris and the Pre Raphaelites are anathema to me, but there are nevertheless many wonderful things in the V&A collection.

Rosalind Savill, Director of The Wallace Collection, London: What is it about the art of Francois Boucher and the [Rococo] that captures your imagination?

Vivienne Westwood: My favourite painter is Titian and Velasquez and also Vermeer. I particularly love 17th century Dutch painting. The laughing cavalier, he's marvellous. What I visit the Wallace for in particular is that, the 17th century. But then you have the three eighteenth century geniuses: Watteau, Boucher and Fragonard. All three of them, they say so much of that age. These decorative, pretty, pretty things, it was so easy for Boucher. Watteau, those Comedia Del'Arte, they have wonderful things in there. There are two fantastic Bouchers as you come up the stairs, one is Apollo about to get into his chariot, surrounded by all the nymphs as he rises from the ocean. It's absolutely fantastic. Boucher is really sentimental, but you can't call him kitsch because he has such incredible facility. Playful but cynical somehow. He comes from an age that was very convenient for painters, all that mythology was part of a way of communicating in those days. Aert Van De Neer: he's famous for his paintings in moonshine, all these paintings of canals, you feel cold when you look at them. The other side of that is being able to go to a cosy home: you get both sides. To look at a painting is to enter a world. I love that Eighteenth century version of the pagan world. It's an absolute delight.

Simon Foxton, Stylist, London: I have read in past interviews that you feel that the British have no culture. Yet we are obviously a nation with a rich history of style and your use of that heritage in your work is testament to this. What do you mean by 'culture'?

Vivienne Westwood: When I talk of culture, I'm talking of something very high. I'm not using it in its anthropological sense, to indicate the difference between societies. I'm Eurocentric. That is, European culture is the only one that interests me, except for the Chinese. Regarding European culture, this began in the Renaissance when people re-discovered sceptical pagan thinking and ideas. The Renaissance migrated to the rest of Europe. It cam to England at the time of the Tudors and its finest flower was Shakespeare. There was so much happening: Elizabeth insisted - those courtiers would not be allowed at court if they didn't patronise art and culture. That's why you had such wonderful theatre. 'Lord so-and-so's men'. Culture has to be paid for by people that know what they're doing. (We recognise this today. But it's very doubtful that groups of businessmen have any taste so they throw their money away on rubbish.) This period of high culture finished probably by the time of the death of Queen Anne (1818). It was replaced by the industrial revolution. It continued in France up until the revolution. I can't think of any event in history that did more damage than the French revolution. Not only to culture, but also to society. Yes, I am English. It's in my bones. (Very unpatriotic and interested in French culture because although the revolution smashed so much, but nevertheless the French still had ideas up until the First World War). I consider the twentieth century a mistake - it had no ideas at all. Anywhere. -Everywhere has become Americanised. Have the English got style? I don't know. I don't look to the streets for inspiration, that's for sure. I'd like to mention England's greatest painter, Gainsborough, he's up on the Pantheon. The other one was Hogarth.

Ian Rickson, Director of the Royal Court Theatre, London: Do you feel constrained or liberated by notions of Englishness?

Vivienne Westwood: I think that theatre is incredibly important. It's very well known that in any repressive regime, the first thing they do is close the theatres. I don't think that anyone can understand the world we live in unless they read Huxley and Bertrand Russell. They had ideas that came from previous traditions. I think modern theatre is far too much on the same level as being in the taxi, where the taxi-driver says they're writing a novel. As if daily life is something that everyone should have a chance to communicate their version of. Everybody's got a novel in them, but nobody's reading. They should be reading for ideas, not the current rubbish. Huxley and Russell, what they were saying is more applicable today than when they were writing it. it's absolutely vital. The one time I met Gore Vidal, he said to me that the Nobel Prize should be given to readers not writers. Sorry, I know this answer's a bit of a jumble, but I'm just saying that if people read more, we'd have better literature and theatre. So, I certainly being British, would like to promote two of the greatest thinkers who one should read.

Ricardo, London / Gemma O'Brien, London: You once stated 'We need to allow a degree of anarchy to avoid stagnation'. Do you still hold this view with relation to contemporary culture?

Vivienne Westwood: What you are referring to is the monograph by John Stuart Mill 'On Liberty'. He's certainly not the only one who has tried to deal with this subject: how free the individual can be in society. It seems to be that liberty is reduced in direct relation to that in which organisation increases. In fact, one of my bibles is a book by Russell called 'Freedom and Organisation'. It may have been at one time 'Freedom versus Organisation' its subtitle is '1818-1918', as if putting boundaries on the nineteenth century, the more organisation increases, the less freedom exists. To get back to Mill, he finishes On Liberty with a paragraph that says that for whatever reason, governments, in order to rule more easily, dwarf the intelligence of people. They will find that with dwarfed intelligence, it's not possible to do very much. So, unless governments are willing to function in an environment that allow people to think, we won't have ideas. This is why in the past, the French governments have had people smashing the windows on the Champs Elysees, because they allow their people to think, unlike the British public school system. Anarchy is dangerous of course, although I am not an anarchist. It does not mean to say that I believe in any sort of anarchist government. Individual liberty does involve anarchy - governments have to allow a certain amount, otherwise people don't think. The answer lies in education. We're being trained up as a bunch of consumers rather than thinkers.

Mariechen, Berlin / Kate Shipman, London / Ryan Bissoon, Toronto: What part if any, does music play in your creative process?

Vivienne Westwood: None. I listen to music rarely, when I'm at home because I'm always reading. But, I do go to concerts. That doesn't mean to say that I like all classical music. For example, I don't like the German romantics, including Beethoven. There again, my taste in music is French. By French, I mean Bach, Mozart, Chopin, of course all the great French ones, particularly Debussy and Ravel. Again, add in the Russians, Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky, [Prokofiev] and I like Shostakovich. I include all those as French to me, because they started at a time in Europe when culture was French. It included right up the First World War, so I include all that as French culture. Pagan sceptical.

Archie Bourtos, Australia / John de Boer, New York City: How did your original shops work economically?

Vivienne Westwood: My shop at 430 Kings Rd, World's End, it's a very famous shop because before I had it, some of the great fashion ideas had already happened there. What it meant for me was that I always had direct access to the public, right from the beginning of designing clothes. Although my company grew, it grew in the same way. I was always able to test my ideas by selling them direct. My company has the same identity today. I've never had businessmen telling me what to do. Having that outlet, my shop was very important to me. For example, I never had a sale in that shop. The ideas where strong, but there weren't so many of them. For example, if I had one or two great pairs of trousers, I didn't need ten in those days. We did start by making a lot of money. But this didn't continue because soon after I had a manager who stole for many, many years. After I discovered it, my business started to grow. So, it was a good idea having a shop for me. I really don't know how difficult it would work today: to have it and sell great ideas. What it did for me was that it gave me a way to work where I wasn't under pressure, where I could develop my ideas and technique.

David Barnett, Music Biographer, London: How do you feel now about the use of the Swastika on the original 'Destroy' muslin? I notice it's one of the few 'Seditionaries' designs that haven't been re-printed from time to time, to be worn by celebrity fashionistas.

Vivienne Westwood: I recently read the book 'IBM and the Holocaust' by Edwin Black. He had more than 100 people working for him voluntary over a period of time, they amassed all this information. His book is a [compilation] of this research regarding the activity of international business machines, from the rise of Hitler until right through the war. What it amounts to is a chilling indictment of the lengths that business will go to, to make a profit. Their proto-computers (punch card system) enabled Hitler to identify, first ghettoise and then transport the Jewish people to their deaths. Some of the machines were necessary in the concentration camps themselves, maintained by IBM staff. These particular profits were in direct relation to the number of people gassed, certainly uncomfortable reading. It was Malcolm's idea to add the swastika and he's half Jewish. It was added particularly for our Destroy T-shirt, with a great swastika, the Queen's head and Jesus on the cross, upside down. We hated the older generation and it wasn't young people, but old people we felt were responsible for the mismanagement and cruelty in the world still going on. It didn't stop when Hitler killed himself. To us, it was a way of saying to the older generation 'we don't accept your values or your taboos'. Really throwing it in their face: 'we are what you are'. The key word there to me is 'destroy'. What I realised from my experience of punk rock was that the idea of destroying something doesn't mean anything. not only that, it might even be harmful. I don't believe in this destroy any more. I believe in ideas (the secret is education). The world could change. What I learnt from punk rock was that you don't change the establishment by attacking it. In the case of punk, it's just an idea that could be marketed. Punk was a marketable commodity. At the same time was the pretence that we have free expression. I did not want to be a token rebel. I just went faster. You need ideas.

James Cuno, Director of the Courtauld Institute of Art, London: Is fashion (and dress), inherently theatrical, if only for the street?

Vivienne Westwood: I definitely think that fashion is theatrical. I think it's a way of expressing your character. Beau Brummell certainly thought so, he went through all those neck-ties to express his spirit. I think that auto-irony is supremely elegant. You've only got to think of cross-dressing - e.g. women wearing tailored suits- to see how clothes help you to play a role, to see that clothes have the effect of giving you a role. Of course, people choose clothes because they want to be important. This is how they want to express themselves, and not always in the same way. They might want to change the next day. They are certainly about attracting the kind of people that you want to attract, therefore they are helping you project what you want. My fashion shows are extremely theatrical sometimes. The models, they can't help it, they behave according to the clothes. Theatre is a projection of a world and it seems that with our clothes, we wish to be a character in the kind of world we're looking for.

Nick Knight, London: Do you think fashion is a prediction of a yet un-experienced common desire, or the creation of one?

Vivienne Westwood: I've always said that a good idea is a perfect surprise. People didn't know they wanted it because it didn't exist. When they see it, it's just what they want. For example, I did know that this would happen when I did this corset, because people hadn't seen the d�colletage for two hundred years. When I see a fashion show, I am surprised. The phrase that is always in my mind is 'never before seen'. When I see it on the catwalk, I am shocked, because I never expected it to be what it is. it never is what I expect. It's always gone beyond that. We have fittings and we try the clothes on. But a lot of it is put together at the last moment. There's always a sort of gap between what I've done and what I see: I know the cutting process that produced that effect and I know the effects of the fabrics. All the things you need to know. But when I see it, what really surprises me is how free it is: it has a life of its own, and how it appears to me as a new creation. There is a sort of doubt in my mind; 'did I do that?'. At this point, I have created something that didn't exist before and hopefully, it will fulfil a common desire. But these things don't come from a vacuum, they come from somewhere. Where is that somewhere? From the past and from a translation from the past to the present, which is also a projection into a future-possible world. It's in the nature of fashion that it must change, quickly, once we've got used to something, Fashion sometimes goes away from something, or it fills a gap where something is missing. This is why you sometimes get more than one designer coming up with something similar. All fashion designers go back in history look to the past. Most of them haven't been back beyond the 60s, but now we hear it's the 50s. I don't think there are any vague longings, but it's not really quite possible to say whether you are realising what people are after or whether you create a desire. Nevertheless, the result is that thing that a designer does and I essentially think you do it from an understanding of the world in which you live. It's important to see the world from other perspectives.

Naomi Campbell, London: Why did you continue to give me your special blockbuster shoes after I fell down the first time, was it that you had faith in me?

Vivienne Westwood: I wanted you to do it again because we had two more shows to do, but I would never have tried to persuade you if I had thought you really didn't want to. I thought you would want to because you looked so beautiful. You just looked so incredible in them. You know, Naomi, I think you're the Aphrodite of the modern world and the walk of century, this and the last. Remember, we gave you a stick, which you nobly accepted and then held it, and then flourished it a chest-height, demonstrating that you did not need it. The fall was spectacular. Your fall was better than an animal that's just been killed, because although it was physically natural, it was also artificial. Civilisation is artificial, not natural. Fashion is part of civilisation. What I have faith in is your heroic pride.

Joseph Corre, London: What made you become involved in the campaign to free Leonard Peltier?

Vivienne Westwood: Leonard Peltier has been in jail for 28 years for a crime he did not commit. The federal authorities of the American government have admitted on record that he was convicted on their false evidence. They admit that they have no case against him. His case is nevertheless a very emotional one because he is an American Indian convicted (wrongly) of killing two FBI agents. But I'm not fighting his cause as an Indian, though he is a political activist, fighting for his people, who has just been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. I am fighting for justice before the law for any man or woman. The law should be a protection, not a weapon against human rights. Leonard's case is such a clear issue, his innocence is on record, yet justice is denied him. At the denials of his appeals, the arrogant contempt for justice and public opinion has been unbelievable. Freedom before the law is our most basic freedom. In fighting for Leonard, that's what we fight for.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Victoria Bartlett of VPL (Sept,2005)

What inspired your Spring 2006 collection?

Hard body.

What music are you using for your show?

Music based around sweat.

What Fashion Week parties are you most excited about?

Haven't thought about it.

Why do you think New York is the fashion capital of the world?

Paris is the creative capital of fashion, New York is the eclectic fashion ensemble.

What's the most amazing fashion show you've ever attended?

Alexander McQueen's "They Shoot Horses Don't They" show.

When you were younger, was there one, pivotal "moment" that led you to a career in fashion?

A romance at our foundation.

What's your ultimate dream location for a fashion show? Where, how, when and why?

On board a plane an airline donated to put on the event. Why? It becomes international that way. It would be perfect in transit to Europe for the shows.

What movie do you think has the best fashion?

The Color of Pomegranate

What are you wearing right now? Please include fragrance, if applicable.

A VPL red SS04 Constriction T and Undies and a suntan.

Alexandre Herchcovitch (Sept, 2005)

What inspired your Spring 2006 collection?

The freedom movements of the late '60s and '70s.

What music are you using for your show?

Animal Collective

What Fashion Week parties are you most excited about?

No excitement about that!

Why do you think New York is the fashion capital of the world?

Everything happens there!

What's the most amazing fashion show you've ever attended?

Vivienne Westwood, "Les Cocotes Stop the Traffic" collection of 1994-5.

When you were younger, was there one, pivotal "moment" that led you to a career in fashion?

The first dress I made for my mother in 1987.

What are you wearing right now? Please include fragrance, if applicable.

A Canada burgundy and off-white Olympics T-Shirt, Carhartt dark gray sweatshirt, Gap dark gray trousers, Nike sneakers, Nike socks, Calvin Klein underwear and a Codelane's gold baseball hat.

Channing Tatum (May 2003)

Straight out of the croc-infested bayous of the mighty Mississippi, Channing Tatum roared onto the world's television screens this spring in a fiery-hot new TV spot from Mountain Dew called "Drive."
If you missed the Mountain Dew commercial, you may remember Channing Tatum as one of Tear Sheet Magazine's 50 Most Beautiful faces (October 2001), or even as the kid with the platinum Mohawk in Ricky Martin's video "She Bangs." But regardless, in less than two years he's been featured in campaigns for Nautica, Abercrombie & Fitch, Emporio Armani, Gap, Aeropostale and American Eagle, in addition to television commercials for Pepsi, Mountain Dew and American Eagle, and the sequel to his first 'Dew' spot hits this summer. First movie? He's already signed.

Channing has been photographed by Wes Bell, Todd Oldham, Tom Munro, Tony Duran, Richard Phibbs, Mikael Jannsen, Bruce Weber, Arnaldo Anaya Lucca, Dewey Nicks, Walter Chin, Rudy Martinez, Pamela Hanson and Randall Mesdon, for Vogue, Flaunt, Gentlemen's Options, Spoon, Empire Magazine, Out, Contents, l'Uomo Vogue and Citizen K magazines. He's achieved belted status in Kung Fu and Gor-Chor Kung Fu, and has years of experience practicing the ancient art of Wah-lum and Capoeira, the Brazilian dance/martial artform.

Born on April 26 and just turned twenty-two years of age, he stands 6' 1-1/2" tall, and is a true Tauran — "kind of animalistic," as he later confides. Part native American, part Irish and part French, he has all the pride, charm and passion that ancestry implies. What's clear is that he's going places, fast. But it all began where he was born, in a tiny little town just outside of Montgomery, Alabama, called Culman.

"I left Alabama when I was very young," Channing says as he sits down to chat. "But all my mom's family is there and we still have land, so I go back just about every summer. It's been a little bit more difficult the past two years just because I've been so busy."

Do you still have childhood memories?

From where my grandmother Nana and my Papa used to live. I loved my Nana and my Papa. They were my roots. Every summer my folks sent me off to the country to stay with them, hoping to keep me out of trouble. And you know grandparents are so real they don't even know how to be fake. They never bother saying what you want to hear, they just say "this is the way it is." I'd get up to something and they would just look at me and shake their heads and say: "Oh Channing ..."

You said you left Alabama at an early age?

When I was six we moved to Mississippi. We lived on the bayou actually, right on the Mississippi River, and that's where a lot of my early memories come from.

What was it like?

All the rattlesnakes and alligators a boy could possibly chase, fishing every day, Pop Warner football league, stuff like that. It was one of those kinds of settings. I'm not a country bumpkin hillbilly, but I do love the outdoors, totally.

Did you play any sports in school?

I played everything — football, soccer, track, baseball. I was always pretty athletic and my dad tried to keep me busy doing marshal arts and sports so I wouldn't get into trouble.

Staying out of trouble is already a recurring theme and we haven't got past the age of nine...

(laughs) Exactly, I had a lot of energy. I was bouncing off the walls. They had to do something with me. No more than your usual kid though — running, scuffing knees, getting in fights. I wasn't into stealing cars or anything. I was just very easily distracted. If there was a cute girl on the far side of the class, I'd be flirting with her every time. Girls were always my biggest distraction in school.

When did you start doing martial arts?

When I was six. At that age I don't think I even realized what it takes. They throw these kids in a ring and they're kicking each other's brains out. It took a lot of guts. You know, "Oh God, I can't lose, Dad's watching." But even after I left Mississippi I returned every few weeks to test for another belt. I loved it, the tournaments, the fighting ...


I don't know. The focus, the determination, the adrenaline — all those very basic emotions, I just loved them. Before, I'd always been involved in team sports. But this was something I could do that was just me. It was completely up to me to be however great I wanted to be.

And it kept you out of trouble?

I was trying to, trying to stay out of trouble ... (laughs). Things got a little bit rocky for a while when I started ninth grade though, so dad sent me to a military school. They had a good football team so I was fine with it, and it really did straighten up my act. I got with this really good girl that helped me a lot with school and with trying to be good ... (both of us are laughing as the sentence peters out)

What was your goal as you approached graduation?

From the start it was always football. That's all I worked for. From the time of my very first year playing football in the Police Athletic leagues, that's all I wanted to do, play ball. The only reason I wanted to graduate high school was to get a scholarship and play football.

Why did you love it so much?

Probably because my dad played college ball. It was a 'following in my dad's footsteps' sort of thing. It was one of the ways we related to each other. We'd butt heads now and then, but as soon as football season came around, we'd be back on track. That would always be our thing to keep us sane and together.

You won an athletic scholarship?

Yes. To a school in West Virginia, but I found out it wasn't what I wanted. There was no fun in it. Football at that level can still be fun and all, but it's a job. You're working all the time to keep that scholarship. You're working, doing two-a-days, three-a- days.

What's that, a two-a-day?

It means two football practices a day. A typical day is you wake up at 6am and you've got to be on the field by 7:30 am. You practice for three hours, then you have football study groups in a classroom for an hour, then you hit the weight room, then you have lunch, then you have another 3 hour practice, then you have school one more time at night, and then you're allowed to sleep for six hours. But all the work wasn't the bad thing, it just wasn't fun any more.

Sounds like the coach didn't inspire you.

Not at all. The coach that recruited me left before I got there, so I got stuck with a coach that had nothing invested. There was no bond at all. The other thing that was different was that I couldn't really play for my parents anymore because it was too far for them to drive up to the games. Anyway, I wasn't happy, and when I get unhappy I start fighting, and I ended up getting into a lot of fights. So I decided just to hang it up. It was definitely not what I wanted to do for the next four years.

That must have been a low point for you?.

Absolutely, because I didn't know what I wanted to do. So I went back home.

You mentioned that when you were little, back in that martial arts ring, that the pride of your parents meant a great deal to you. What was their reaction?

They just told me to come home if I wanted to, but they weren't too excited. They were used to being able to brag about me, so yes, it sucked. I definitely felt I'd let them down. If it wasn't for my mom, I just would not be here today. Not just the physical part of bringing me into this world, but she got me through everything. A lot of the bad stuff I don't really want to go into? She totally saved my life. She was the cornerstone. She got me through it no matter how bad it got.

Because she always believed in you?

Yes. She would never let me give up. Her word was relentless. Whenever I wanted to give up, she got me through it. When you're young, you always think you have it so terrible. But I look back on it all now and I realize how bad I didn't have it. I am who I am because of the way they raised me, and I'm so happy for it. I've really tried to take all the good things from everyone in my life and hold onto them.

So what did you do?

Well, I got a job with this puppy/kitty nursery, I worked in construction - framing houses, I worked as a mortgage broker, I got a job at the cologne counter of Dillard's and then at this edgy little raver clothing store.

Was that the scene you identified with?

Yes, I was really part of the raver club-kid thing, right from the time I was sixteen. That's still who I get along with best.

Is there anything in your life that takes you away from competition?

Dancing. I don't really like to compete with it now? But I used to be this really freakin' battle kid. I used to love going into clubs, whatever and getting into a breaking circle.

When did you get into it?

I was about sixteen and I was living with my sister for a while, and her friends would get me in. The clubs down in Florida are kind of lax, they're a little more grimy and a little grittier. But I got into the clubs and I saw this crowd of people going nuts over these kids flipping and spinning on their heads, and I was like: "What? I want to do that." Oh yeah.

Was it the physical challenge or did you want the attention?

It's not the attention, because I don't even really like to be looked at. At first it was the adrenaline, getting out there and performing, and there's another guy across from you that you're competing with. And you develop your friends that are your crew and you've got people who are coming into your club from the outside, and then you're going nuts and you're kind of like battling.

But I don't go in circles anymore. When I go out to dance now I go into the corner of a club and just kill it. It's so much more fun when you're not there thinking "Oh my God, who's looking at me?" When I was younger I definitely did it for the attention but now I do it for me. Like I'll go into the aerobics room of my gym and kill it for a couple of hours. I love it.

What is it you love about dancing?

It's more like a really cool body thing. The only other time I've felt it has been acting. Like, you feel this rhythm, or this beat or this lyric that means something to you. Or it doesn't even have to mean anything, you just relate to it somehow, it makes you want to move. The people who like to dance, they like the way their body moves because that's what's intimate to them. Moving their arm a certain way, that feels good to them. So the next thing you know, you're spinning around in circles and you're not even aware of what you look like, you're just kind of going with it.

I really get inspired by songs. Like, if I hear a thug "Want to kill ya" song, I'm ready to go out and get crazy. Or if you hear this really sexual, sensual slow song, I want to go have sex. I'm very animalistic when it comes to stuff like that. Very basic emotions. I don't know if I'm very complicated at all. I wish I was. I wish I was one of these deep, intricate people. But I just love having fun really.

Is that feeling of losing yourself in the music when you're dancing the same as it is for an athlete hitting their zone?

I guess they could be related. Anything physical, you're doing it, and then ... let's say you're playing football and you just get handed the ball and you're running. Sometimes everything just goes quiet, and the next thing you know, you're flying. You're just dipping and running and ... that's when the amazing things happen, when everything just focuses in for two seconds. Then it's over and you're just like "Yes! That was hot!" The excitement comes afterwards, when you realize what you've just done.

How did you get the Ricky Martin video?

I got into the Orlando casting through a friend's agency. There were about one hundred people in the room and they were playing "She bangs." They auditioned people in groups of three, so you kind of tried to dance with each other.

Did you think you'd get it?

I didn't expect to hear anything because I knew they'd alreeady done a casting in Miami and I was pretty sure they'd get all the dancers they needed there. And they did, except me — I was the only dancer they took from Orlando.

How much did you get paid?

I was so excited. I was just an extra, but they offered to pay me $400 and fly me to Atlanta, so I thought "Shit! I want to go to Atlanta." And it was crazy. Seven days and I don't think I slept once. It was so beautiful. Ridiculous. I think there were four guys and probably thirty girls. We never slept, we didn't sleep at all. We just partied the whole time. The only time we actually did sleep was when we went to costume, waiting to get dressed and made up and everything.

How many people on the crew.

I'm not sure but it was a huge set and the biggest production I've ever been part of. The whole thing was enormous. I had this platinum hair and a big Mohawk with these crazy spikes. Now as far as the pay was concerned, I realized being a dancer in videos wasn't for me. But I'd always wanted to be on an MTV video, and I'd done it, so I was like: "Cool! Done. Check that. What's next?"

So what did you do?

One of the dancers I met on the set got me a job as a choreographer with this little hip-hop dance group down in Miami.

Does it seem at all incongruous to you, Channing, that you're this football star doing dance choreography? I think it's so cool you have both sides going on, but don't you find it just a little jarring?

If I was doing ballet I could see it more, but yes, I have changed tremendously since I got out of high school. By leaps and bounds. (laughs)

What finally got you into modeling?

Another girl I knew was down in Miami doing some modeling and really wanted me to meet with some agencies. At the time I was still getting over the platinum hair from "She Bangs," so I looked like this little club kid, which is what I was, and I thought she was nuts. I didn't think of myself as a model at all.

ou mean you thought it was phony?

No, more like I'm not pretty. The truth is I didn't think I could be a model at all. I was looking at some of the guys on the walls at Irene Marie and I thought to myself "Jesus Christ. I can't do this. I don't look anything like these guys." But Paige Parkes represented actors too, and that was one of the things I thought I could really do, far more than modeling.

It's fascinating, Channing, there are so many twists and turns here -- martial arts black belt, high school football star, dancer, choreographer, actor ...

Acting has always interested me. You get to play all these different roles and I've always had a vivid imagination. I even had an invisible friend for years. I love games, I love role-playing — cowboys and Indians sort of thing. And I always loved movies: 'Goonies' was my all-time favorite movie! (laughs) ... that's what I wanted to be ... 'The Lost Boys,' 'Stand By Me.' all those movies I grew up with as a kid. I just knew I wanted to play those adventure roles out on TV.

So you signed with Paige Parkes?

I really liked them. They took the time to explain everything to me. They asked me what my goals were, what kinds of work I was interested in, and they told me what was involved and what I'd have to do if I was serious. So I moved to Miami, this is about two years ago, and I was down there for six months doing tests and stuff.

Were you worried about doing well?

I tried to prepare myself in advance and once I got there I asked my agent a lot of questions — "What makes a good model? Is it body? Is it face?" They'd tell me "It's modeling." And I didn't understand what that meant, 'modeling,' being comfortable in front of the camera.

What happened those first months?

In the beginning I didn't do very well. I did these little editorials, but no one knew what to do with me in Miami.


I was too edgy. I had this shaved head and I kind of looked like a skinhead or a thug. I couldn't do catalogue all that well, and that's all there is in Miami really. But then I did this fashion show for Danny Santiago in Miami. Danny was the one who really kick-started my career. He helped me get an editorial shoot with Greg Lotus for Spoon Magazine. It didn't run, but I still think to this day that they were some of my best pictures — pictures worth taking to New York, which is what I needed.

What was Greg Lotus like to work with?

He was awesome. I just love him. He's so interesting to work with. He's the kind of photographer that likes taking the picture. He likes you to be very still ... you just give it to him with the eyes. No running and jumping, more like portraits.

Then, Danny (Santiago) showed the Greg Lotus pictures to Tony Duran, and Tony wanted to shoot me for an editorial in Gentlemen's Options, so I got to fly up to New York. I was so amped. As soon as I got off the plane I was like: "This is it. This is where I want to be!" The fast pace, everything. And you actually get appointments here. For my look, Miami was a great place to get a book started, but not so much for work.

When did you first shoot with Bruce Weber?

It was for an editorial in Vogue, my very first published editorial in fact. It was a two-day shoot with all these amazing girls and Joel (McMillan) and here I was, this no-name kid, just trying to get into the picture somehow.

Shooting with Bruce Weber is like a right of passage. What was it like working with him?

First of all, I love Bruce. I really, really love him. He gets a bad rap. It wasn't scary at all. In fact, he's the one who really taught me how to model. I went to his house and he started taking Polaroids, so I started doing my whole "Blue Steel," "Magnum" shit, and he just looked at me and asked "What are you doing?"

He taught me a lot about being a model and about just being myself. He told me to stop and just relax, and showed me how to chill and be as natural as possible, that whole James Dean kind of 'let it go,' you know? Just learn to let it go.

So you have the distinction of shooting Vogue with Bruce Weber before shooting A&F?

Yup. And as a matter of fact, I'm still kind of offended. Bruce never asked me to get naked once. (laughs) I really noticed it at the A&F shoot — they never asked me to get naked and I was wondering "what's wrong with me? I mean what am I? Chopped liver?" (laughs)

To be honest though, I still don't think I fit into the Abercrombie category. You'll see in the pictures how everyone looks a certain way and then there's this bald ghetto kid in the corner.

I wasn't very big at the time and Bruce likes 'em just bulging, really, really in shape. So I was just the team mascot. I had to stand on the sidelines and watch while these guys got to put on pads and go out and hit. I was watching them just panting (he pantomimes) to get out on that field and play some ball. I was so pissed off. I was thinking to myself "you've got to be fucking kidding me."

I was so upset man. I wanted to get out there and crack heads so bad. It offended me. I should have been the one on that field. I mean, Who wouldn't want to use me? They don't have to love me, I just want them to use me. (laughs) It was pretty funny. As you can tell, I'm very, very competitive. I don't like losing, at all. That would be my biggest thing. I love competition.

How did you like shooting with Rudy Martinez?

I loved it.

All the guys rave about him. He and Tony actually. They are mentioned as favorites time and again.

Every photographer is different. I tried to be with Rudy (Martinez) the way I was with Bruce? No sir. (shaking his head) Now someone like Bruce, he wants you to literally just stand there and he's the one that takes the beautiful picture.

But Rudy likes you to work it, to keep moving — to stay with whatever attitude he's given you, something like "that tough, come-and-get-me-but-if-you-touch-me-I'm-gonna-kill-ya" sort of look? I think that's verbatim what he said to me. He said that's what I want: "Come get it, but if you touch me I'll fuck you up." That's exactly what he said to me. (laughs)

I love the way he shoots. It was my very first New York test, an editorial for Empire Magazine and I still have it in my book — gym scenes, a shower, naked basically, but I like taking beautiful pictures.

What about Walter Chin?

I worked with him on a shoot for l'Uomo Vogue. He pulled up in this amazing sports car. He got out of the car, an assistant handed him a camera and he just started shooting. He was totally amazing.

Have they sent you to Milan?

The first time I went to Europe was summer 2001. The plan was to spend about two and a half weeks in Milan and then a month in Paris. I'd always wanted to go over, so I was really psyched.

Everyone talks about how difficult Milan is their first year. What are you dealing with? The heat?

It gets so hot there in the summer, and you're packed into these crowded hallways.

Too many guys at every casting?

That's an understatement. 75 to 100 guys are lined up in front of you no matter where you go.

You've got Team Brazil cutting the line?

Yes, I don't know why they get away with it, but it's not worth fighting over.

A little impersonal?

Every client has a certain look they're going for, whether it's long hair, short hair, skinny, built, London look, scruffy look, clean-cut. So you stand in line for hours to do five castings, and then they don't even bother to take a Polaroid of you.

How long does it take to do those five castings?

It can take you all day, especially when you don't know where you're going. So you really start to question what you're doing there.

Does your agency give you anything to live on?

Nothing. Sometimes they'll front the hotel cost, but you end up paying for it out of your fees anyway.

What else do you have to overcome?

Not being able to get food. Store hours are really limited there. You're tied up in lines all day, and then when you want to get something to eat at eight o'clock at night, you are shit out of luck. There is nothing you can do about it except pray to God that your hotel has something in the mini-bar or you will die. And there are no gyms ...

I remember David Fumero talked about lifting boulders in a park to stay in shape.

It's just the whole vibe. You're all alone, you miss home but you can't call because it's so expensive.

And I guess this is the first time away from home for a lot of the guys?

Exactly. You learn to survive by asking as many questions as possible. I was pretty burned out by the time I finished up in Paris, but the clients that booked me that first year still book me today. After that I just spent four months traveling. I went to Spain, Hong Kong, Thailand, Australia ... no one knew where I was.

So you kind of checked out for a while?

Yes. In the meantime Metro Models, my old agency closed, so I had to track Jason (Kanner, director of Major Models) down at Major when I got back. He told me to come back and he'd get something going for me.

How did you first connect with Jason?

I met with him the very first day I arrived in New York for the shoot with Tony Duran. Jason arranged the meeting. It turned out that in one day he'd heard my name from Greg Lotus, Al David, someone at Bloomingdales and then from Tony Duran, all in that same day. So he called my Miami agency and arranged to meet me. He was totally positive and promised to back me 100% and he already had six appointments for me. I really couldn't believe my luck. I was like: "This is great, this is just awesome."

Jason is my manager too. There's no one I'd trust my career with more. He is a total confidante. And he always has words of wisdom when I'm going through a tough time. He's like the quintessential big brother — that scolding, constructive criticism that's really tough on you, the sort of guy that won't take any shit. That's what I need.

So he's made a big difference?

I am where I am because of him. You've got to have a very good relationship with your agent — a personal relationship. But don't get it screwed up to the point that he can't tell you the bottom line about what's really going on.

So how did you get the Mountain Dew Commercial?

First I auditioned for this Pepsi commercial. It was called "Scratch" and it was directed by Tarsem Singh, the guy who directed "The Cell," and it featured a DJ. Every DJ in New York was up for that audition and they had records with them, mixers, everything. They were really tearing it up and I didn't have anything. I had to borrow a record from one of the DJs. But I went up there and tried to look like I was really killing it. The other guys were saying "You sure can't scratch for shit, but you can dance" and they were laughing, man. (laughs). I was spinning on my back, scratching with my elbow, just dumb stuff. Afterwards I told Jason it was pretty bad, but a month later I got the commercial.

And that lead to the Mountain Dew ad?

After "Scratch" for Pepsi was released they asked me fly out to LA to audition for Mountain Dew. I was a little intimidated — the casting was full of people I recognized from TV shows and I'd never even taken an acting class. But finally they called me in, gave me some direction, and I just did it exactly the way they wanted me to. Basically they just sat me in a chair pretending to drive and I said "Gotta have my Dew" and that was it. A day later they gave me the part and we started shooting. It was crazy.

How many days did it take?

Seven. Just sitting in the car and saying the lines took the first day. The really tough part was being strapped in the car on a flatbed truck and then driving while the car flips upside down, this guy steps under and I grab the can out of his hand.

You were actually moving when you grabbed the can out of the guy's hand?

Yeah. Some shots I'd just pretend I was grabbing it, but then they'd put him under and I had to grab the can as we moved past him, while we're rolling and then I had to pour it down my throat practically upside down. That's why it spills out of my mouth.

That's the sexiest part of the commercial.

(laughs) It's funny — that wasn't planned at all, it just happened.

Did you actually get to drive.

Oh yeah. They taught me how to do 360s and 180s and stuff. They had me do some of the driving where it's fast, and for the stunts where you had to see me swinging around with the car. But the shots where you had to just miss the camera by a couple of inches? No way. They had stunt drivers for all of that. I got to do a lot though. It was really cool.

How long before it was released?

It came out four weeks later. I remember the first time it came on. I wasn't watching TV, I was in a hotel with my girlfriend. But my phone started blowing up. Then her phone blows up. And we don't get that much time alone, so we're wondering what's going on, but finally I pick up for one of my friends and he's practically screaming on the other end of the phone: "Dude! Dude! Dude!" He was just going nuts. And so we turned on the TV and that's the first time I saw it. Then people started recognizing me on the street.

Do they?

Yeah, which was pretty cool. I've had a lots of little girls come up to me especially, it's really sweet. (laughs)

Has it affected other aspects of modeling?

It's probably kicked it up a little bit for me. And Nautica has been really cool. They've helped me with the whole acting thing. The Nautica Jeans campaign is the first campaign I ever did, and that was very, very nice. It started things rolling for me. Then I got Emporio (Armani). Then the commercial happened, so it was a very cool series of events.

Do you consider it part of the job to get out at night and be seen?

That's something I don't really do. If you want to go out and have fun, go out and have fun. I've found that that's where you find the wrong influence. Not to say that everyone that goes out and parties is a scoundrel, but that's where I've found some of the dogs, the scummy people, that don't really have your career in mind — they're working another angle. And no one needs to be bothered with that.

All the people that are really about it in the industry, that have it cornered, that can either help you or can at least give you advice? More than likely you won't find any of them in a club. You'll see them in an office. It just makes sense. Huge people that are really into their jobs are not out there partying. Yes, you do find people from the industry that go out, but you don't get jobs in clubs. You get jobs in offices.

I think that's really important. It relates to what you said earlier about the kind of photographers a good agency can connect you with. At the right level, everything is set up to help you. But the wrong influence at the beginning can hurt your chances.

Very, very easily. And they'll taint you. You'll get jaded. So just be careful. Don't think that any one person is the end of your world. And trust me. For anyone listening out there, once you get here, it's like: "OK, now where do I go from here?" So it's not as if ... modeling saved my life, because I'm not a 9-5 kind of guy; I love being free and doing what I want to do — but there are crappy things about it too. It's not all glamour.

Do you mind if I ask what you think about ModelLaunch?

It would have been really nice if I could have found this when I was starting out. It seems to me that this is the real deal kind of thing. You seem to be very wholesome in what you're trying to do. It's all positive, very clear, and you can learn a lot, even just to see whether or not you want to do it. You hear about the good and the bad and can judge for yourself.

There are a lot of shady people in this business and it's priceless to be able to get in with the right kind of people and sidestep all of the bullshit. You hear a lot about model searches where you have to pay a bunch of money. But to be able to put your picture on something good, to be able to get a real response from very good agents, it's priceless, especially compared with getting the runaround from some Joe Schmoe who just wants to get in a kid's pants. This business can definitely do a head job on you if you let it.

Especially at the entry level?

That's where they scavenge and prey on the unknowing. I can see how some kid coming from Nebraska might not know any better, but I've been around the club scene for a long time. I always had the idea when I went into this field that I wouldn't put out any stupid amount of money for things that wouldn't get me ahead.

Any guidelines?

First of all, I knew the only places I could get good pictures were New York, Miami or LA. Second, I made sure I got into a prestigious agency that I knew wouldn't hook me up with any shitty photographers. I paid whatever I had to within those parameters, but that was it. I didn't have to spend any extravagant amount of money.

What would you say has been the best thing about modeling for you?

It's made my life, and my family's life, a lot easier, because I never knew what I wanted to do and now they don't really have to worry about me anymore. I've been able to explore life, and through exploring it I've found that I love art, I love writing, I love acting, I love all the things that make sense to me. And I've been given the chance to go out and see the world, and to see all the things out there. Not everyone gets that chance.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Omahyra Mota (April, 2001)

Voted one of the 50 Most Beautiful People by Paper Magazine in 2001, sixteen year-old modeling sensation Omahyra Mota has already graced the pages of Italian, German and Nippon Vogue. She has also appeared in The Face, ID and Numero magazines and been photographed by Ellen Von Unwerth, Helmut Newton, Richard Burbridge, Terry Richardson, Bruce Weber, Liz Collins and Thomas Schenk among others.

Taking the fashion world by storm, Omahyra (prounounced oh-MY-rah) has also walked the walk for an impressive list of designers including Gucci, Fendi, Dolce & Gabbana, Bottega Veneta, Roberto Cavalli and Moschino (Milan), Alexander McQueen, Julian McDonald and Boyd (London), and Lucca Lucca, Daryl K and Miguel Adrover in New York.

So when David Bosman, President of Boss Models, took the time to introduce us to Omahyra and told us about the amazing splash she's making at the age of sixteen, we immediately wanted to introduce this extraordinary girl to our readers in this special exclusive interview.

Born in Santo Domingo, capital city of the Dominican Republic, Omahyra came to America when she was ten years old with literally nothing but the clothes on her back. Thanks to the extraordinary courage of her mother and her own strength of character, six years later Omahyra is poised to break out from the pack in an extraordinary flash of personality, humor, beauty, strength, grace and fire.

What was life like growing up in the Dominican Republic?

I cannot tell you about what it's like to work there and other things, because I was very young. But I can tell you it was so innocent. It's such a personal feeling. I wish I could go back so bad, it was so much fun. The people around you, the culture, how everyone lives. The way we used to play, the places we used to go, how much excitement there was just to be alive in those times, we had no cares, no responsibilities. The only thing we had to do was go to school and be good girls, which was a piece of cake. We didn't need expensive toys, we had fun with small things. I will never forget what we did together, how much fun we had together, the places we went, going to the park just to play in the grass, to have picnics. I will never forget.

Do you still have relatives there?

Yes, my father lives there, all the relatives on my father's side, all the family from my mother's side, I have cousins, aunts and uncles. I have family everywhere, in the countryside, in the north, the west, the east, in the center.

Have you been back?

I went back recently and it felt so good. It all comes back to you as soon as you come out of the airport, driving to your old neighborhood, you smell the smell of happiness. It was so powerful for me, and it was so good to go back and realize how important my early life there still is for me. There were so many people I hadn't seen in four or five years. I really felt like I was going home, that warm place you used to live, where everything was so easy and you didn't have to worry about anything, you had no responsibility, you could just be there to have fun. There was nothing bad going through your mind, there was nothing bad around you, everything was so innocent and so nice and pretty. That's how it felt.

Yet here you are modeling in New York at the age of sixteen. You have a lot of responsibility, you have to be a lot more disciplined than most kids, and you're growing up so fast.

It's true. When I was younger my mom always took care of everything. We didn't have to worry about getting visas, we didn't have to worry about bills, we didn't have to worry about being at work on time. Everything was so nice. But now I've moved into an apartment by myself and I have all these bills coming to me for the first time. And with this job you have to be so responsible for yourself, take good care of yourself, you have to know a lot, you have to think so much. I never had all of these responsibilities before. It's too new for me, I haven't even had a chance to live as a teenager, and already I have many adult responsibilities. I can handle them, but there's no chance to gradually get used to it, it's all at once.

How do you balance time with friends, family and for yourself?

I have to dedicate time to my house, my mom and my friends, but I don't have time anymore just to hang out, I never have time to go back home, so I'm calling my mom and my friends all the time just to stay in touch. My friends don't even bother dropping by my house anymore because I'm always working.

I try to give 50% of myself to my family, because I need them to be with me always, and I don't want them to think I've changed, that I don't need them or that I don't care. And I have to dedicate the other half of myself to my job, because it's very important. I have to have every single thing in mind. And I'm constantly checking in with my agent so he can let me know what's going on, what photographers I have to see, appointments, castings, every single thing comes down to me. It's a little bit crazy.

You have to grow up overnight.

Yes, I consider myself an adult. I'm not 21 yet, but I'm working with just as many responsibilities as an adult. There are even some adults who don't have as much responsibility as I do at sixteen. I know it because I've met them. Every model can tell you how crazy this job is, constantly going back and forth, you always have to be thinking.

And I always have to look my best everywhere I go. I can't look worried, I don't want to look as if I'm thinking about something else, I always want to look like I'm just there and I'm happy, you know? You have to look your best to get the job, you've got to be pretty and nice, you've got to look very "up." When I first started I didn't get any sleep. No time to hang out, no time to play, no time to do anything, no time to live the life of a normal sixteen year-old girl, so it's very crazy.

Was the move to America difficult for you?

Yes. We all moved to New York — myself, my mother, grandmother, my sister and two brothers — when I was ten. My mother was determined for us to have a better life and to go to better schools. This is such an amazing country, every school has so many activities and they're all free. When you go to school in my country you don't have music and art and sports like kids do here. Even in the private schools there are very few activities and parents have to pay extra for them. And jobs are so plentiful here, even if you don't have any education. And you can work your way up. In my country it's even hard for people with an education to get a job, but for those without education it's impossible, so for all of these reason we had to come here.

Where did you first stay?

When we arrived in New York we had nowhere to go. We came out of the airport, each of the kids with our clothes in little backpacks and my mom and my grandmother found a payphone. They started calling distant relatives and friends and one of those friends agreed to take us in.

Your mother sounds so brave.

When I think about her I admire her so much. My mom has done so much for us. She was so determined. She decided we were going to move here, she arranged green cards, she borrowed money for airline tickets, she got us all packed, and then she just came.

Once we got here she told us "Ok, we're here now, and to get ahead we're going to do whatever it takes, all of us, we have to fight." I love my mom. I often wonder how she had the courage to risk everything, at her age, with three children. But she always says that she'd do the same thing over again if necessary, and if things didn't work out here, we'd have moved on and tried somewhere else, no matter what. With no money and three kids, all by herself, still she came!

What was it like, your first months in this country?

My mom and my grandmother started working immediately. They didn't speak any English, they didn't know where they were, but they went out and got jobs in a factory and started working day and night, day and night. Now the area we lived in was very bad, you couldn't even go down the stairs by yourself because you'd be stopped and attacked by gangs that were always hanging out in the stairwells.

My mom went to work every day and every night afraid of being attacked just for leaving the building, by robbers, rapists, drug dealers — she was attacked and robbed three times, but she just kept on working. They'd jump you just because you had nice hair, or because they knew you're Spanish, or just that you didn't speak English and couldn't do anything about it.

Even us girls, we were so small, but they're just like "Who cares? I'm mad, I'm pissed off at the world, and if that girl passes by me now I'm just going to punch her in the face," that's how everything used to work. My sister and I were always afraid to go to school because it was the same drama every morning and every afternoon in the stairs.

Did things get better?

Yes, after a few months we were able to move into our own apartment, a little studio, but it seemed so luxurious to us after sharing with another family. We were much better there. My mom kept on working, met my step-father, and after a year we all moved into a house in Astoria. We were so happy there, and then my mom and my step-father were able to buy a house in Corona, Queens.

Did anyone ever tell you should be a model when you were younger?

My mother told me every single day of my life that I was going to become a model, that I was going to be a success. I didn't believe her, but she'd tell me over and over "You're going to go to Hollywood, you're going to be a big star, and everyone's going to take photographs of you everywhere you go, you're going to be so big." As a kid I was just like "OK Mom, whatever ..." (laughs). Even after I turned fifteen, she was still telling me and I was still saying "Yeah, mom, whatever," and thinking to myself "stop thinking so big, you're too unrealistic."

But she kept pushing me to mail out pictures to agencies, and finally, just to make her stop I went online last year with my boyfriend and looked up all the agencies in New York. I copied down all the addresses, sent in all these pictures and then I just waited. I had no hope, but I was able to tell my mom I'd sent the pictures in so she'd leave me alone about it. And I told her: "Now I'm going to show you what you've been saying all this time isn't true. It's okay you're so positive, but stop going over the limit."

What happened?

Then George called me from Boss Models. They were the first agency that called me and the only one. But George was so enthusiastic on the phone, telling me I was so beautiful and that I had to come in right away. I didn't even want to tell my mom and I almost just ignored George's call, because I knew she was going to say "I told you so." But finally I told mom that someone called from an agency and that they wanted to see me. She just said "See, I told you, this is just the beginning."

How did things get started?

I went in to meet George with my mother, and he was so enthusiastic, telling me I was very beautiful, that he loved my style and I'd have a big career. He told me about how the industry works, how things are done. I've got to say I love my life, because George and Ricky (at Boss Models) have brought me to where I am right now. We have gone through so much together, they were really pushing me because they knew something was going to happen. He kept on, he never wanted to give up.

And now that I've got so many jobs, I'm getting to travel, he's so happy, he gets more excited than I do. He goes to all of my fashion shows, he went to Milan with me, last season he went to every single show, telling me "Myra you're waving your hands too much, you're looking too much to the side, keep focused in front of you," always pushing me so I can do better.

It sounds like you've got a great relationship.

Away from work George and I talk about everything. He knows about my whole life, we have a very strong friendship, and we really can talk about anything together. He's not just my agent he's a real friend, which is very good for me. I know I'm lucky to have him because I've heard from so many girls that their agents aren't like that. The other agencies have so many girls they don't have time to talk, it's just "here's your next job, go." When George calls me, we talk, he wants to know if I've eaten, if I'm feeling ok, he'll tell me if this client calls back we're going to celebrate - he is very special for me.

How did you like working in front of a camera for the first time?

The first time I didn't know what to do, it was impossible. It wasn't like "As soon as the first pictures came out I knew I was going to be a model." No, none of that. I was very scared, I didn't know what to do, what expression to have on my face, how to make the clothes look good. I was very shy to pose. I was very self-conscious around all the other professionals on the shoot, the photographer, makeup, lights, stylist, worried they were looking at me thinking "this girl doesn't know what she's doing."

Later I realized they weren't focused on whether or not I was nervous, they were just doing their jobs. They were making sure the lighting was right, that the clothes looked nice, not about, "Oh my God look at that expression on her face." (laughs). Over time, you get used to it, and you realize the hairdresser is looking at your hair, the assistant is worrying about the lights, the stylist is only looking at the clothes, they're not staring at me. Once I realized this I loved getting my pictures taken, and I couldn't wait for them to come out in the magazines.

What makes a good shoot?

Whenever I'm on a shoot, I try to get everyone working together as a team, to have fun. When everybody's working together well you don't feel the hours. You're really happy, you're really on, because everyone working with you is giving you positive energy. If everyone else is down, tired, it's bad for everybody. Every time is different. Sometimes the atmosphere is bad, too serious, everyone gets divided into groups, no one talks to the models, the photographer is back in the corner and only talks to their assistants, like that.

Is it different working with male models than with girls?

Guys aren't like the girls, they're not always talking about work. They're talking about girls, about surfing, some big wave they caught, the clubs they went to, how they went dancing and everybody was wasted, how much fun they had. They're always talking about something other than modeling. They're very sweet. Guys are just not as competitive.

Speaking about the guys, what do you think of ModelLaunch?

It's very cool. All of the other websites are about girls, you never see anything about the guys in magazines, nobody pays attention to them in the shows, it's just girls, girls, girls. So it's cool you have a men's website, so they can get known and they can have these interviews - they need the attention too.

What was it like going to Milan by yourself for the first time?

I missed my family and my boyfriend so much. And I was thinking 'I'm all by myself in this place, and if I don't think smart, I'm not going to have a success, something bad is going to happen,' because Milan is crazy. Everyone there is totally free, they go crazy, everyone wants to try new things, there are all these teenagers alone in hotels by themselves for the first time, they've got money in their pocket, and if they're looking for trouble all they have to do is get out of bed, get dressed and go out. All the models will tell you about the terrible things that can happen in Milan, terrible things, scandals in the paper. So I knew it wasn't safe and that I had to act like an adult.

You became your own parent?

Yes. Even on the plane over I thought about it and set my own rules about what I would or would not do. And once my mind is made up nothing can bend my rules. It's not like "well, I'm here by myself, no one will know, I want to try something, No! It's once "No!" and that's it, my mind was made up.

Any advice to new models?

Be very, very smart. Think about every single thing you're doing all the time. Think about everything you're going to do before and after. The only thing you need to know is to be smart. If you want this life, you have to go through a lot of shit, but you're getting there and that's what you want. It's not as easy as it seems on MTV and in the movies. People think "it's so easy, I wish I could be that girl, she just poses for pictures and she gets money for nothing." Nobody knows how hard it is until you're in it. So stay smart, and if you get there don't ever forget where you came from, who your family is, and what they've done for you.