Of all the discoveries we made on our trip with Diesel and Nicola Formichetti last week, one of the most exciting was Brooke Candy. Stripper-turned-rapper, Ms Candy is already a tumblr and YouTube sensation with her viral videos spilling out of LA’s underground. But it’s her look that’s got the fashion industry calling with Diesel artistic director and former Lady Gaga collaborator Formichetti naming her his “new muse.”
Images all from Brooke Candy's Instagram Feed
Style-wise Brooke’s certainly not shy. Her overtly sexualised image is fused with an obsession with robots and an insanely high maintenance beauty regime. Collaborating with designer Seth Pratt who has created distinctive body armour pieces for a host of artists from Azealia Banks to Grimes, Brooke's look is supercharged and provocative.
We grilled Brooke on feminism and fashion, Miley, Rihanna, Beyonce et al, and the lengths she goes to for style...
Grazia Daily: Do you think the music industry exploits young women’s sexuality for profit?
Brooke Candy: Oh I think it does. For some people for sure. I mean the difference between someone like me and someone like Miley Cyrus is that I stared getting naked with a message from the start. I explained my agenda coherently. I didn’t have a big label pushing me – I wasn’t trying to sell records by showing my tits – I didn’t even have a record! I was doing something to empower women. I think the industry does exploit women. If you can’t explain yourself and you don’t know why you’re getting naked and shaking it in a video, then there’s an issue. Of course, there’s a fine line.
Grazia Daily: Your image is so sexualised – what is the message you are trying to send out?
Brooke Candy: I’m a monogamist and I haven’t had sex with that many people. I mean I do like sex. If I like someone I’ll have sex with them but I don’t sleep around. But I believe that women should have the choice to do that if they want and for them to have sex with who they want, when they want, however they want. My overly sexualised image is really just speaking for my feminist beliefs and wanting to free women from oppression – that mental slavery that still exists in the United States and around the world. There were times when I was younger and I was called all kinds of names, because I experimented with guys and girls. Sexuality is fluid and it’s the literal key to human existence and happiness. It doesn’t make sense to me to put people down for doing something that comes so naturally.
Left: Brooke Candy with photograper Terry Richardson, Right: Brooke Candy with Diesel Artistic Director
Grazia Daily: Which other women out there in the music industry do you rate?
Brooke Candy: I rate Bjork. I think she’s good. And I think Madonna was amazing. And I think as far as performance goes, Beyoncé is an amazing performer, although I think she’s less of an artist. She’s like a robotic performer, you look at that and you think 'Oh my God', how does this person do that? But personally I appreciate someone like Bjork who is super eccentric and making what she’s making for herself.
Grazia Daily: Nicola Formichetti calls you his new muse, what do you think of his work for Diesel?
Brooke Candy: I’m wearing Diesel reboot right now. I feel really comfortable with it because it’s all slutty and punky. I have been obsessed with him [Nicola Formichetti] forever, I was a fan forever and I love that he’s taking a very commercial brand and really doing what he wants with it. You know he’s such an innovative, creative thinker. What he did with Gaga and what he did with Mugler – he’s just someone to really look up to and I just feel so blessed that we are having some really beautiful moments with this company.
Grazia Daily: What was your childhood like?
Brooke Candy: Horrible. I was tormented. I was queer so I was bullied. From the age of 12 to 17. Then I moved out of the house [in an affluent LA neighbourhood which she shared with her mother and father, who is CFO of Hustler]. It was just not pleasant. But I believe it shaped the person I am today and gave me a really thick skin. Then I moved to San Fransisco and I saw how the world really was, where I was surrounded by drag queens and all these people who built me up, built me up. To be honest, I wouldn’t have had it any other way.
Left: Brooke Candy at London Fashion Week, Right: Brooke Candy wearing Acne Both images: Getty
Grazia Daily: What does it take to get your look?
So much! When I was braiding my hair no one understood the dedication that went into it – I was sitting there for 14 hours just to get the braids then the makeup and the nails – hours more. It was all a lot of work, really for just my friends as I was only ever being seen in this underground world. It’s still a lot – like this morning I woke up at 8.30 and did my hair for three hours. But I like it. I really enjoy it otherwise I wouldn’t do it. You know this is me, so it’s going to take as long as it takes to make myself feel normal.
Grazia Daily: Do you ever just wear sweatpants?
Oh yeah all the time. But I still have crazy hair and crazy nails. Of course when I’m alone, I’m not in latex watching my TV with my dog. But if I leave the house I don’t feel comfortable unless I look like myself – which is a crazy bitch.
Grazia Daily: I read that you interned at Rachel Zoe. That must have been a culture shock?
Brooke Candy: Yeah. It was so dumb. I hated it, it was so horrible. Literally I don’t even know how she is a stylist. I don’t get it! The day I realised I needed to stop doing it I walked into work and I had blue hair and creepers on and I walked in and all the three other girls I was working with – I swear – were wearing the exact same outfits. And not even for like, a joke. Then they looked at me and were like, 'Oh my god your hair’s blue, we have to take a photo! We’re going to send it Rachel!’ That was it, I quit. This is never gonna work out. Bye!
Grazia Daily: What are your ambitions?
Within the next year I hope to be touring with someone incredibly big, I’ll have at least one song that’s going to be incredibly big, and I’ll be directing my own videos. They are going to be insane, like period piece, 8-10 minute videos. I had this vision and people laugh and me and no one believes me, but it just keeps happening – the ball just keeps rolling faster. All I want really is to take over the world. I really think if I’m on the same level as some of these other musicians I could bring a real sense of encouragement and positivity to the disenchanted youth out there.
Grazia Daily: Do you think fame could change you?
Brooke Candy: No! One time when I was like 18, I saw Rihanna and I tried to get a picture with her and she had her bodyguard tackle me. It’s lame - like are you part of an old tribe that believes photographs take part of your soul Rihanna? I doubt that… I’m always going to me whatever happens.