Candy Bling: Mutant rap’s Queen Bee, Brooke Candy, chats dancing for dolla-dolla bills and finding fandom in Courtney Love
Blue denim cowboy hat by Dior by John Galliano stylist’s own, light wash blue denim shirt by Gap, light pink jeweled corset by Maison Martin Margiela, multiple chains and silver nose ring all model’s own
“Vinnie! Chill my dude! My dog is crazy. He does this weird thing where he makes these odd noises like ‘arghhhhhhhhaaa’ – it’s like he really wants to say something but he can only speak dog. He’s staring like some fucking samurai is about to chop his head off – I’m like ‘Vinnie, just chill’.” Meet Brooke Candy, the 24-year-old stripper-turned rapper who in this case, doesn’t practice what she preaches. She first appeared in 2012, and it wasn’t long before her platinum blonde thigh-length braids, metallic lingerie, and take-no-shit attitude propelled her to Tumblr stardom. Straddling the underground, with the growing attention of musical pioneers like Diplo, will.i.am and Sia, it wasn’t long before the inevitable collaborations commenced. Courtney Love counts herself as a fangirl, and in Grimes’ iconic “Genesis” video, Candy bagged a leading role leering through the sunroof of a Range Rover, and menacingly dancing in the desert.
But it’s this year that the extent of Brooke Candy’s takeover is about to be felt. Simultaneously shaking up fashion and music worlds to the core, she’s just signed to Sony after turning down four major label offers, with plans to release both an EP and her debut album this year. When she’s not in the studio, Brooke’s been playing muse to Nicola Formichetti [Diesel’s art director] and performing a live show so raucous it makes Miley’s Bangerz tour look like a Michelle Williams’
gospel album show.
We spoke to her while she was waiting for her friend to accompany her for a tattoo sesh. “I want AK47s somewhere, and then on my pussy I’m gonna get ‘Freedom.’”
Black wool cowboy hat from a selection at Village Hats, dark navy denim jacket with gold trim by Chanel, gold and black embellished skirt (just seen) by Dolce & Gabbana, multiple silver chains, silver nose ring, pearl earings and silver eye effect earing all model’s own
You were in Venice with Courtney Love recently. That’s weird.
I was there to see Nicola Formichetti launch his first collection with Diesel. I closed the show with “Opulence,” with this pussy riot moment with everyone in masks. It was so beautiful. The visuals were done by Nick Knight, and everything was denim or leather, and the sounds were amazing. It’s a fashion crowd so it wasn’t difficult to fucking freak them out. I flipped everyone off and showed them my tits. I kept throwing the horns, devil fingers. Courtney Love was like, “Brooke I haven’t thrown the horns in twenty years.” I’m like, “Fuck yeah, bitch.”
Courtney’s part of that fashion-y world, while remaining counter-cultural. How important has that been to you?
It was vital to me in becoming a performer. I loved being around all these people who have nothing to lose, and express themselves, who come alive at night. People are gonna look back at this time, those people are gonna be the most profound people on the planet – the freaks, the ones who want to change things. But I also wanna perform in stadiums. I want my music to reach the highest level possible.
You’ve also been working with Sia, who knows a thing or two about writing songs for stadiums.
Yeah, she’s had a huge, insane impact on my life, my outlook, and my art. She found me on Instagram and she must have thought – fucking freak. But she saw the real, and the rawness, and the vulnerability in me. She saw that I had no inhibitions. She asked me how many people I wanted to reach. I said, ‘If you’re gonna do it, fucking really do it.’ I wanna speak to everyone. I want to be in the homes of every single human on the planet.
Black wool cowboy hat from a selection at Village Hats, light denim patchwork denim shorts by AG Jeans customised by Ed Marler, black leather fingerless gloves by Chanel, art deco-style rectangle shape belt and crystal single star on cord magnetic bracelet both by Butler & Wilson, multiple silver chains, silver cuff, silver nose ring and silver chain bracelet all model’s own
Why? Isn’t it more fun to just stick with the weirdos?
I want to start a revolution of less indifference, a revolution of intelligence. I want my generation to wake the fuck up – I feel like they’re dead asleep. Everyone is so indifferent, it’s very visible, very scary-true. If I have a platform, I need to use it for some sort of good.
Why don’t you think that kind of revolution hasn’t happened yet?
A lot of people in the industry are so indifferent or afraid that their backing will be taken away. Especially female stars, they could change the fucking world, and then they say shit like they’re not feminist.
What is feminism to you?
As a woman it’s about loving your body regardless of what you’re told, or what’s conventionally perfect. That’s why I get naked all the time – yes, everyone’s a bit self conscious at times but I’m like, ‘fuck it’. I’m gonna show this shit off, and I’m gonna show it with pride and dignity, and tell everyone to fucking eat it. There’s a fine line between being sexual, and being exploited. I’m making a conscious choice.
Is that why you previously worked as a stripper?
Courtney Love, Lady Gaga stripped – a lot of these women in this industry have done it. With me, for some reason it’s on the tag line: “Brooke Candy: Internet Artist and Stripper.” I did it for money because I had big boobs, it was really that simple. I’m not telling anyone to do it, but if you’re comfortable with your body, literally all you do is dance. And I love to dance, and perform. We all know what a pussy looks like, what a dick looks like – you have the control, you have all the freedom.
What’s your record going to be like?
It’s a real mix. There’re ballads, I have some Diplo songs on there that are completely different, melodic pop songs, hybrids of rapping and singing, and then some real ratchet rap songs you just wanna drive around and smoke weed to.
Ok, so there’s going to be a lot more than rapping in it. How are you keeping to your unique style?
My style comes from when I was living in my car and I had no money. I could only afford to buy paper so then I’d have an outfit made of paper. It was that real. Now I’m transitioning into something a little more classy. I’m in between this idea of complete and utter decadence, and horrifying, grotesque shit that scares the shit out of you. So many people have inspired it: musicians, drag queens, Amish people.
You’ve said Ke$ha imitated your style…
Oh I don’t care about that shit anymore, I’m glad she did. Ke$ha’s a great songwriter in the way she understands weird scientific algorithms for making pop music that is very simple, and mindless. People just respond to it. It’s flattering, everything is recycled, and everyone takes from everyone else. But to take something that soon from someone nobody even knows about? It’s kinda funny.
Black wool cowboy hat from a selection at Village Hats, pink snakeskin coat by Miu Miu, black lace lingerie set by Myla, beige suede thigh-high lace up boots by Emilio Pucci, multiple silver chains, silver nose ring and silver belly bar all model’s own
Black wool cowboy hat from a selection at Village Hats, black and white check cotton shirt by Gap, silver and black metallic jeweled crop top by Maison Martin Margiela, black leather fingerless gloves by Chanel, black leather woven belt stylist’s own, white denim frayed shorts by Diesel, multiple silver chains and silver nose ring model’s own
Blue denim cowboy hat by Dior by John Galliano stylist’s own, light wash blue denim shirt by Gap, light pink jeweled corset by Maison Martin Margiela, light wash jeans, multiple silver chains and silver nose ring all model’s own
Words: Shannon Mahanty
Photographer: Liam Warwick
Fashion Editor: Matthew Josephs
Hair: Roxane Attard using Bumble & Bumble
Hair & Make-up: Using new Dior Vernis range and Capture Totale Hand Creme
Nails: Nails by Ama Quashie at CLM
Photographic Assistance: Eva Rinne
Fashion Assistance: Toni-Blaze Ibekwe & Charlotte Dobson
Make-up Assistance: Lois Moorcroft
Thanks to Flash Film Studios.