Dove Cameron Is Still Figuring it Out

Romance films have conditioned viewers to believe that passionate romanticism and fierce independence are mutually exclusive, but Dove Cameron has not let falling in love stop her from being unapologetically liberated. She teeters on the edge of what she describes as a “rose-colored glasses world” and one where she puts up walls to protect herself, using creativity to document her feelings while she is stuck in between.

Related | ‘Clueless’ Is Getting a Remake

That battle has perhaps never been more apparent than in the lyrics of her latest single, “We Belong,” co-written with Casey Smith, Jesse Shatkin and Noonie Bao. The song, which has all the components of a strong pop hit, is filled with lyrics that bleed frustration and desire. From “Said I need space, but I don’t need space/ I need you to come to me” to “Think I’m allergic to every other person/ You’re the one now I’m certain,” Cameron passionately breaks down the need for someone to be close while trying to navigate the world and her sound on her own.

But her lyrics are also packed with vivid imagery that gives insight into the warmth of love she experiences. In Cameron’s last single “Remember Me,” which was released in April, she sings “No shoes dancing ’round your living room/ Pulling off my T-shirt putting on a show for you/ We look good in black and white,” a verse that feels as though it should be preserved in a Polaroid picture. The theme of the song, which focuses on remembering the best of times, can act as a metaphor for Cameron’s growth: she is moving forward with the best parts of herself.

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The same can be said for Cameron’s music. She is no longer Liv, Maddie or Mal; the only character Cameron has left to develop in music is her own. Cameron’s success speaks for itself, and her artistry is the driving force behind her uprising as a household name — and her 36.9 million fans on Instagram alone would likely concur.

At just 24 years old, Cameron has checked boxes that most can only dream of: she has a daytime Emmy award for her dual role as the titular characters in Liv & Maddie, was cast as the lead in the Descendants film franchise on Disney Channel and landed a starring role in the off-Broadway production of Clueless.

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Now, after shedding her Disney skin, Cameron is introducing us to her standalone sound: a sultry, pop voice with deeply personal lyricism often reliant on her inner monologue. “We Belong” is only the latest entry in a musical diary curated by Cameron’s experiences, and it is a chapter that reflects strength and growth as an artist.

Cameron is a multi-hyphenate artist, but she is also a person who is revealing herself to the world on her newfound limitless platform. When it comes to love, she is putting herself first. And, like most things, she’s still figuring it out.

First of all, how are you? What’s new in the life of Dove?

It’s such a strange time all over the world for everybody, and I’m attempting to find my healthy rhythm in quarantine. Work is so central and obviously, that’s true for everybody, but it’s also really important for me in terms of my mental health because my work is my creative expression. Because those things are at an intersection, I’ve really been prioritizing working, luckily I can do a lot of it from home. Obviously, I can’t go off and finish my two movies in my apartment, but with what I can do, I’ve been writing loads; this is my second single release under quarantine.

I’ve started recording again with all the qualifications that we need in this new world. I was filming two movies at the time of lockdown, and that was my main focus for a long time because we didn’t obviously know what was going to happen. So I was like, “We’ll go home for two weeks and then we’ll come back and we’ll finish them.” But they’ve been on hold for nearly six months now, and I’ve just been writing my life away and planning music and planning more releases. FaceTiming my family, working on my mental health, learning French, writing loads, things like that.

2019 marked the first time that your fans really got to hear you and your musical vision on Bloodshot/Waste. No band, no Disney Channel, just you. What was that experience like to really begin developing your own sound?

It’s a strange combination to be from the Disney Channel, but to not have your sound be shaped by the Disney Channel… All the music I did with Disney, which was a lot, was always through a character and it was never mine. I know a lot of people probably think they know my voice or they have me associated with that sound, but when you’re on Disney, you’re like a session singer. I would just come in and they’d be like, “This is what you’re recording today.” And I’d be like, “Great, love it for the new movie.” And then you leave and that’s it. The music that was representing me for a long time had 0% to do with me as a person… Everybody knew that my first release, especially because I waited until I was virtually done with Disney, was me speaking to my music. I think that was unique, and I also think that it was a bit scary. But people are so supportive; for as many people as I am terrified of in the world, there are so many really kind people who have a really varied perspective. I don’t have to go above and beyond to be like, “That was nerve wracking. I’m still figuring it out. I hope you like it, and this is new to me.” I don’t always have to tell people that, because there’s so many wonderful people that are like, “We know that. We leave room for you to be developing as an artist, and we leave room for you to be learning and moving and growing.”

“I don’t want to be what people expect, I want to be whatever is genuinely coming from a place in me that is creating only for me.”

I also do think that it is a rare thing to be a fledgling artist and to have so many eyes on you from the jump because my acting career and my career with Disney was so established. I do think that’s presented as an obstacle, because I think that whatever my sound would be completely authentically, just me sitting alone somewhere, is sometimes clouded by me being like, “What do my fans want?” or “What do people expect?” I don’t want to be what people expect, I want to be whatever is genuinely coming from a place in me that is creating only for me, really. And I have to shed a lot of my earliest and up ’till now, the entirety of my career to be able to find what that is, and I’m definitely still working on that. But I do feel like I have room to explore that, and that’s been really nice that my fans have given me that and they’ve been so supportive, and I’m really proud of what I put out so far. This single is no exception.

You mentioned that you waited to put out your own music until you were pretty detached from the Disney brand. Did you always know that, musically, it would be really important to you to claim a more personal, more “adult” sound for your music to appeal to a broader audience?

I try not to just talk about Disney all the time, but like my experience on Disney was honestly great. I have not a bad word to say about them. But what was interesting that came out of it was that I — the way that I handled my career with Disney was always very much like I didn’t see myself building my own career. I saw myself being a part of the Disney image. While I was there, I was like, “I understand what’s expected of me by the company that’s very well established, but also by the people that watch Disney. I understand what would be rocking the boat, I understand what would be unsinkable. I understand what would cause unbelievable friction, and I don’t want that for myself or for the company.” What’s the point in that? I would never do something like that to the audience, to Disney and to myself for just the sake of it. It’s like while you’re in my house, you operate under my rules with your parents. I was very much like, “Okay, I’m going to do this, and I’m going to do it fully, and then when I’m not here, I’m going to figure out what that means for me.” But I think I wasn’t really paying attention to how much it was shaping my image on a global scale. And while I was leaving it, that came as this weird shock to me. I understand from the outside that seems so stupid and beyond unthinkable… But I genuinely wasn’t. I was thinking about being a team player and I was thinking about having it all work.

I also believed in myself outside of the channel to figure out whatever I needed to figure out on the other side, so I was just kind of tabling that conversation, and now I really understand. This last year has really brought to my attention how difficult it is to shake that image because I believed that the truth of who I’ve always been as an artist and the music I’ve always wanted to create kind of came through a lens. But I don’t think it did. With the established nature of that platform, I think that people really take it for what it is, especially because the fanbase is so concentrated. You know what you’re getting when you turn on the Disney Channel, and I probably could have set aside a little bit more of who I am and who I always have been to make this transition a little bit more smooth. But I definitely knew I always wanted to separate myself musically from them, because I just knew that whatever I was going to create on the channel was not going to be what I wanted to create outside of it. I wanted to start fresh and really be able to show people who that is naturally and have them receive it with no preconceived notions.

Since Bloodshot/Waste came out back in September, has your taste in your own music changed between that release and “We Belong” now? Have you been able to tailor that sound to who you are in the last year?

Along the way, some of what I released has been, I would still release it exactly the same way today. Some of the songs, like “Waste,” I feel like is something that I would release when I’m 30 or 35. That’s one of those songs that will forever be one of my favorite songs. But I think like any artist, you kind of figure out what resonates with you as you’re writing as you’re releasing. And then also in the aftermath, I feel like I look back and I’m like, “Oh, I really love everything I’ve done. And I definitely feel like I have a better handle on what it is I want to do going forward now.” I think that your sound is a forever changing thing.

I actually think that, in quarantine, a lot of these new songs that I’ve recorded… I recorded “We Belong” a year ago, maybe a little bit less. But a lot of the songs that I’ve recorded, especially in quarantine, I really feel like, “Okay, there it is. I’m really on the path to that sound.” You spend all this time speaking to your label and speaking to co-writers and speaking to other people trying to say what your sound is, and it’s really hard to do that when you don’t have a physical example because music is so complex and varied and it really depends on the listener. The words that I use are going to form completely differently in your mind. Now that I feel like I’ve really started to tap into this sound, it’s really exciting for me because I feel almost like I was walking, and now I feel like I’m running.

In terms of the creative process, what is a day in the life with you during that process of creating a song? Where are you? Who’s with you? What does that process look like for you?

Every song is different. A lot of songs have been co-written, some of my earlier releases were just early batches of songs that were sent to me and things that we kind of developed along the way and things that I worked with producers on. Like I said, in quarantine, I’ve been writing a lot and I’ve been kind of working with people differently now. Because now it’s less about like, “Okay, what are your first few releases?” And it’s like, “Okay, how do we specify who I am as an artist?” Every song and every collaboration or artistic effort is really different; a lot of it looks like finessing. I’m very involved in the post-production aspect of it. I’m not the kind of person where I’ll go in and I’ll cut a song and then I’ll walk away from it and hear it back and I’ll be like, “Great, whatever!” I’m very — I don’t even want to say controlling, but I know what I want it to sound like. I feel like I am very editorial when it comes to my music. Once I have it down and once I can hear it down to the tiniest, no one is ever going to hear it besides me, half a millisecond of detail, I want to be involved. I need to have it be exactly how I hear it in my mind before it goes out, or else will always be like, “It’s unfinished.” That has also been really freeing to have my label trust me with that and not to be tossed into a corner with like, “Hey, how long have you been doing this?” They’re very much like, “Okay, you’re the artist. What do you want? What do you need for this? And we won’t release it until you feel like it’s perfect.” That’s been so great for me, and all of my music, I think especially now and going forward is going to be very, very different sounding, even the stuff I put out just over the course of the last year.

You mentioned that you recorded “We Belong” around a year ago. In that year that it has been since you really visited this song in its wholeness, have you changed the way that you feel about it? Does it take on a different meaning for you?

It always does. I think when I first heard the scratch of the song, I was really taken with that lick. [sings] That is so crazy and it stuck with me so much; I love an upward riff. And that’s really what it is. Melodically, it’s actually quite difficult. It took me ages to be able to do it easily. The first way that I really fell for it was musically, and the way that it was coming together as we were creating it. I think the production elements of it were really exciting to me like towards the very end where the music drops out during the final chorus, we hear that “bang, bang” on its own and all the distortion on the vocal and all of that bass. [imitates bass sounds] That is all very moody and sexy and crispy and crunchy and the production really gets me excited. It’s almost like when you’re in a movie: the movie’s great, the script is great, but when you put on the wardrobe, you’re in it. The song’s great, it’s great on paper, I love the lyrics. I feel very much like we’re telling that story of what we were just talking about, but the production gets me in this space where I am this character… I have a very hard time dropping my crush on productions. I’ll record something, and then a year later, two years later, I’m always like, “Oh, this fucking gets me going!” I’m a production bitch; I am a little bitch for production, and I always have been. That’s why I love noise pop and that’s why I love the Sleigh Bells and that’s why I love hard bass and Diplo and big sounds.

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I think what really changes for me on a song is actually my own vocal. I’ll record something and I’ll be like, “Damn, that’s a banger. That sounds great. Shelf it, can’t wait to release it.” And then within a month I’ll be like, “Should I go back in on that? Do I like the way I sound on this?” Because I get so self-conscious about my own vocal, especially because I’m like an incredibly classically trained singer. When I got the song back, I was also doing an operetta at the LA Opera, and before that, I was doing an operetta in London in the West End. I don’t know what my voice sounds like naturally because it had to do so many things with it over the years, but I know I can be very classical, musical theater, opera kind of world, and that is not my sound when I’m recording my own music.

As a singer, it’s great to be able to do so much, but that also means that I have to be really disciplined when I’m in the booth with what my sound is for what I’m trying to convey in my music. That is equally as important in a song as production, as lyric. It’s the tone, the tone of your voice is what’s selling it; it’s the girl, it’s the story. If I ever think twice about anything, when I wait to release a song, it’s always my own vocal, but that’s also like not being able to see yourself in the mirror or not being able to watch yourself perform, I think that’s always going to be something that you have heavy feelings about. You have to let go and trust that, while you were in the booth, you were feeling it so much, and people are going to be able to hear that.

I want to dive in really specifically into “We Belong.” In the first verse, there’s “Said I need space but I don’t need space/ Need you to come to me.” In the bridge, there’s “Think I’m allergic to every other person/ You’re the one, that I’m certain.” From a listener’s perspective, it feels like this internal battle: struggling between distance and wanting someone. Do the lyrics in the song mirror your experience with falling in love while also breaking away and becoming independent as a person and artist?

I think I’ve always had this internal battle between being a really independent person. I am not, by nature, somebody’s girlfriend, by any means, but I’m an incredibly intense romantic. And I think those two things together are always kind of fighting with me. I am not only one of those things, they are very opposing, and I also think that my desire to be a full-fledged romantic where I don’t think about the practicalities and where I am only living in the present and adventure is also incredibly natural to me. And then I’m also really left-brained: I’m independent but almost to the point where my walls can go up really quick… It’s got nothing to do with the person, nothing to do with my romantic partner. It’s this internal struggle where I’m like, “Actually, I’m meant to live in a penthouse alone, and I’m meant to keep my feelings to myself. Maybe I’m a little bit harder than this, maybe a little bit hardened.” I can be kind of icy quickly, and that’s like a protective mechanism.

“I am not, by nature, ‘somebody’s girlfriend,’ by any means, but I’m an incredibly intense romantic.”

It’s strictly my own struggle that I feel going back and forth between needing that independence, needing that space and knowing who I am outside of the relationship and being like, “I’m not a relationship person,” but then also being like, “Wow, you’re in my world.” It can be kind of hot and cold, especially in this industry where you’re constantly traveling, and you’re like, “I’m not going to feel like I am not who I am when this person isn’t around.” I know who I am, and I’m not going to feel compromised by just not being in their presence. I’m not going to give myself like that, and then also believing that love is like the most important thing in the world. I think this song is at the intersection of that.

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I think “I’m a production bitch” is going to be my Twitter bio; I’ll attribute it to you. [laughs] So, the pandemic has changed the way that we’re consuming music and the way that you are making music. You have a Twitch show today, July 30, and it’s going to be your first time performing with a full band. How are you feeling?

I’m actually a little bit concerned about how we’re going to be able to do that because, obviously, we can’t all be in one place. I’m really trusting, really letting go of my control elements where I’m like, “Wait, wait, wait. But how are we going to handle the delay?” They’re like, “We have people who do this for a living, please shut the fuck up.” [laughs] I’m very much looking forward to seeing how that goes. I think it’s going to be strange to have a virtual mini-concert be the first time I’m performing with a live band, but I really trust our showrunner, who I love so much. [I’m also excited] to hear my music through live instruments, because in the same vein of “I’m a production bitch,” one of the first things I ever said to my label was “I am not an instrument person, I am a machines person.”

“To work with other artists doing stuff that I don’t do or that I don’t understand or that they know more about than me — there is no greater high in my life.”

​… I feel like a lot of my music doesn’t really have a lot of natural elements, but I’ve heard some earlier recordings of this particular band, I think it was “Waste” I heard them on, and they sound so fucking unbelievable. Hearing live artists back your stuff that you are so proud of and have them turn it into something that — I’ve never heard my songs played that way. The guitar goes so hard and the distortion is incredible and the drums, it’s really exciting for me as an artist, as a musician, as somebody who loves music more than anything, to hear my songs in a completely different light and to hear them go hard doing what they do best. So I’m really excited to perform, and hopefully we get to do it in person one day.

I love that you acknowledge other artists, too, in creating with you. I think that is really cool.

That’s the highlight of my life. That’s the thing that I talk about the most. That’s the thing that I lament; if I’m ever feeling really, really low, a lot of it is feeling like I don’t feel like I’m being seen. Where are my people? Where is my connection? And when I come home off of a session or when I get on the phone with another creative that I feel like we’re in the same space, or I just worked with these producers who I can’t talk about right now but I’m so fucking stoked on it because they brought out like this strange instrument at the end and they were like, “Alright, we’re going to rerecord the whole song and you’re going to sing it through this thing.” Just having other people that are feeling from this strong point of view, this strong vision, and it shocks me. It’s something I’ve never thought about, it’s something that excites me as an artist. That feeling is what I’m alive for, and if I don’t feel that, I feel very empty. I feel very low. I feel very confused. I feel very lonely. I’m like, “Where is that feeling of connection?” And then when I have it, I feel like I’m running. To work with other artists doing stuff that I don’t do or that I don’t understand or that they know more about than me, there is no greater high in my life.

That’s so exciting. I love to hear about the art of collaboration. Looking back at the livestream show, it is featuring donation options to Color of Change and Feeding America’s COVID-19 Response Fund. What does it mean to you to use your music and your platform to fuel change-making on such a large scale?

Obviously, there’s nothing more important right now, but I think I’ve always felt that there was nothing more important… I feel like my day-to-day experiences of human beings are small talk. It’s like if you ate saltine crackers every day for a month, you’d be like, “I need sustenance, I need protein, I need something. I need water.” And then when you watch something that someone has put so much creative effort into, that makes you feel alive. It’s like you’re getting soul nutrition. I think that that is what music and movies and books and TV do for people; it translates things that you can rarely find in a human interaction. It’s difficult to get those things that feel like they’re giving to you in that way and art does that more than anything else… If we don’t use those things as a tool to cut to the hearts of everybody around us, we are wasting so much effort and so much time. It doesn’t make them any less romantic, it makes them more romantic because it’s bringing us together in a way that nothing else can.

“Anytime that we as artists… have the opportunity to turn our work into something that affects change or even just remind people that these things are still going on, we have to. I don’t think that it’s a great thing or it’s even something to be commended, I think that we have to… It’s our responsibility.”

… [Social media] really feels like it’s a by the people, for the people situation. It’s making such an impact on, especially, this younger generation and how we communicate and see each other in general as equals and peers. We are bonded in this way that I think was keeping us separate before… We see officials and leaders taking action, because we as people are demanding it, and a lot of that has to do with artists and a lot of it has to do with how we consume media. Anytime that we as artists, or we as people, who have influence over the platform, have the opportunity to turn our work into something that affects change or even just remind people that these things are still going on, we have to. I don’t think that it’s a great thing or it’s even something to be commended, I think that we have to. I think it’s our responsibility, and I think that it is the new way. It is our new world, and I couldn’t be happier to be a part of that and to have a platform to feel responsible with.

One last question: 2020 is a pretty big year for you. You have movies that you are working on, but what is next for you and your music for the rest of the year?

I feel like I’m splitting my focus right now with just making sure that everything goes how it should and everything’s getting done. But once both of those movies are like in the can and being edited, I have recently recorded three new songs. I’m hoping that after “We Belong,” I have another single that is one of my favorite singles I’ve ever done. That’ll come out, I’m hoping, next month in August. It’s a very different sound for me, but … it is closest to the new sound that I’m currently developing. I recently cut this other song with some of my new favorite producers, and I think that might be coming out soon, as well. The music industry is just such a wild west, I feel like I can’t tell you very much concretely. I’m thinking at least two more songs coming out in the next few months, and then we’ll go from there. I really want to work on an EP, but I just feel like I need to get these next few releases going, and then hopefully, I can turn my attention to a greater body of music.

Check out “We Belong” in the trailer for After We Collided below, and follow Dove Cameron on Instagram and Twitter for updates on new music. Also, tune into Pardon the Disruption, Dove’s headlining Twitch show, tonight, July 30 from 7-9 PM EST.

Photos courtesy of Dove Cameron

TikTok Teens and E-Boys Have Taken Over Celine

Hedi Slimane’s fascination with youth culture goes back decades, so it’s only fitting that TikTok has become his latest obsession. What started last fall as a “Teen Idol” portrait series that kicked off with TikTok star Noen Eubanks has evolved into a fully fledged Celine collection inspired by e-boys and Cali skate culture.

The “Dancing Kid” collection, as it’s called, was shown this morning via a pre-recorded runway show held at the Circuit Paul Ricard, a motorsport race track in France. Models sported e-boy hairstyles while wearing distressed jeans (which Silmane has been designing since his Dior days), letterman jackets and sequined tiger-print joggers.

Related | Noen Eubanks Is Making the Rules on TikTok

Leather jackets embroidered with “Dancing Kid” logos are a nod to the led lights ribbons that teens decorate their bedrooms with. According to a release, Slimane was ultimately inspired by kids and teens that have stayed creative while in confinement and isolation for much of the year.

The show’s soundtrack featured a song by Tiagz, a 22-year-old Canadian rapper and TikTok star who composed a 15-minute version of the song “My Name is Tiago.” And as if the TikTok references weren’t enough, Slimane invited four of the video platform’s biggest names to participate in the launch of the collection, including Chase Hudson, Noen Eubanks Curtis Roach and Anthony Reeves.

See, below, for more looks from Celine’s “Dancing Kids” collection.

Photos courtesy of Celine

Rihanna’s Fenty Skin Is Reselling for Over $500

FENTY Skin, Rihanna’s highly anticipated takeover of the skincare world, officially launches on July 31, but the three initial products from her line are being listed on sites like eBay already — at ungodly prices.

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Resellers have listed three START’R products online, including cleanser, toner/ serum hybrid and SPF moisturizer. As seen on High Snobiety, screenshots show that the sets are selling for as much as $550, which is unfounded considering the products’ original prices are in the $30 range. Not to mention that when shopping resale beauty, there’s always a chance the product won’t be legit.

I guess it should come as no surprise that people are taking this to such an extreme, considering Rih’s immediate Fenty Beauty success and the line’s endorsements from artists like Lil Nas X and A$AP Rocky, calling it a “new culture of skincare.”

Still, FENTY Skin, created with a similar ethos to FENTY Beauty, is centered on inclusivity and the real Navy should know better than to market the products at exclusionary pricing. If you can hold off a couple more days, FENTY Skin will officially launch July 31 with tags as low as $25-$35.

To pass the time, look at these hilarious reactions from FENTY fans spiraling from the pre-order and resale prices.

Y’all are not seeing heaven OMG #FentySkin

— HOT-GRL (@mishelmuse) July 29, 2020

Fenty Skin keeps crashing and my order is already in the cart just waiting man LMAO. #FentySkin

— Jas (@JasTayler) July 29, 2020

If I do all this waiting in the waiting line and find out everything is sold out by the time in, we’re going to TALK Mrs Fenty. #FentySkin

— kanye’s macbook pro (@balencianime) July 29, 2020

Me waiting for my Fenty Skin to arrive even though I just placed my order #FentySkin @fentyskin @sgarretteskin

— lo (@losquiat) July 29, 2020

Photo via Getty/ Samir Hussein/ WireImage

Tove Lo Rallied All Her Fans for a ‘Mateo’ Quarantine Video

Since Tove Lo can’t travel the world to meet her fans in person, she decided to cast them all in her newest video.

Edited by Garrett Guidera, the “Mateo” visual arrives today off Tove Lo’s 2019 album, Sunshine Kitty, and invites nearly 1,000 people to sing along to its lyrics. Much like Charli XCX’s “Forever” or Kim Petras’ “Malibu,” it’s a snapshot of this strange, isolating time when we’re connected mostly through the internet — and our love of music.

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“Since Sunshine Kitty was released, ‘Mateo’ has been a fan favorite,” Tove Lo says of the “Karaoke Video,” which features people dancing in the woods, showers and bedrooms. You’ll also see cameos from famous collaborators/friends like ALMA, Pabllo Vittar and Kah-Lo. “I always knew I wanted to do a visual for it.”

In March, Tove Lo says her team shot the “Mateo” lyric video at a venue in Manchester, called Albert Hall — right before they had to cancel all European shows and fly home because of COVID-19. “So much of the last few months has been about what can’t happen,” she continues, adding that “doing the quarantine karaoke challenge was a way to still connect with my fans and give everyone something to safely do while locked down. I was so overwhelmed by all the submissions.”

Related | Tove Lo Will DJ Tonight at PAPER x Club Quarantine

Even under such extreme restrictions, Tove Lo has been notably busy in quarantine, from her DJ debut this spring at PAPER x Club Quarantine to, more recently, performing “sadder badder cooler” on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert. With just a white wall, some projections and a microphone, the pop star proved why she’s one of the most electric contemporary acts. “Why am I cooler than you?” she asks on the Sunshine Kitty single, though we have some answers.

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She also accomplished perhaps the most impossible of feats in quarantine… and in life: love, but not just love, marriage. Over the weekend, Tove Lo revealed that she married Swedish singer/songwriter Charlie Twaddle. “WHAT!? I’m a wifey!!!” she wrote on Instagram. “I never thought I would get married but then I met you Charlie. Thank you for making me the happiest I’ve ever been. You’re my person.”

Stream “Mateo” off Sunshine Kitty by Tove Lo, below.

Photo via YouTube

Shea Couleé Joins OnlyFans

On Friday night, RuPaul crowned a new reigning queen to sit on the throne in the All Stars Hall of Fame: Shea Couleé. After placing fourth on her original season of RuPaul’s Drag Race, she’s finally taken the crown on All Stars 5. And she absolutely deserved the win for all the stunning looks she turned, the stunning performances she gave, and the obstacles she’s had to overcome.

So what’s next for this queen? Well, on Sunday she’s decided that one of her first acts is to join OnlyFans.

Related | Of Course, OnlyFans Traffic Surged Thanks to Beyoncé

Shea announced the news, tweeting “I’m so excited to be joining the @OnlyFans community! Make sure you go and follow me to get all the exclusive behind the scenes content, photo shoots, videos, and LIVE makeup tutorials!” And based on the video, it sounds like fans might also get a sip of some tea, with Shea starting off the teaser video by saying “I’m not going to talk about her too much because she also has an attitude problem.”

I’m so excited to be joining the @OnlyFans community! Make sure you go and follow me to get all the exclusive behin… — Shea Couleé (@Shea Couleé)1595776127.0

Shea also wrote on her first post that fans should expect “a *very* big surprise” that she’ll be announcing on the platform soon. No details or hints just yet, but maybe a beauty or fashion line?

You can keep yourself updated on all things Shea Couleé by following her on OnlyFans here.

Photo courtesy Factory PR

Britney Spears’s Conservatorship Hearing Was Shut Down By #FreeBritney Protesters

The most recent status hearing for Britney Spears‘s conservatorship was shut down by a group of #FreeBritney protestors.

As part of her conservatorship, Britney has quarterly meetings with a judge to discuss any developments in her case. However, amid the continued #FreeBritney conversation— a fan-led movement arguing that the continued control of her assets by her father, Jamie Spears, is a violation of her rights — supporters of the star decided to crash the confidential Zoom-facilitated meeting.

Related | Britney Spears’s Conservatorship: A Timeline

After a group of people refused to leave the call, TMZ reported that the judge eventually postponed the meeting. Granted, as some also pointed out, this is something that ultimately keeps Britney in the conservatorship for the near future.

And while there have long been rumors that Britney has been trying to terminate the conservatorship, there’s never actually been a motion filed to end it, as sources speaking to the publication revealed. Additionally, Britney previously told fans that their concern is unnecessary.

That said, while appearing on the As NOT Seen on TV Podcast yesterday, Britney’s older brother Bryan admitted that she’s “always wanted to get out” of the conservatorship.

“She’s been in this thing for quite some time now,” he said. “Obviously there was a need for it in the beginning. Now they’ve made some changes and all we can do is hope for the best.”

At the same time though, Bryan said that the conservatorship has been “a great thing” for their family and that “at the end I think we made the right choice.” He also went on to say that Jamie — who’s since taken a backseat in the conservatorship by giving temporary control to Britney’s “care manager,” Jody Montgomery — has “done the best he could, given the situation he was put in,” before adding that “one person might be on stage and doing this, but it’s a sacrifice from everybody.”

Watch Bryan’s entire interview, below.

Photo via Getty

How KidSuper Went From Being an Outsider to Showing on the Official Paris Calendar

Prior to this month’s first digital Fashion Week in Paris, Colm Dillane had been rejected twice by the Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode to show his fashion line KidSuper on the official calendar.

For the opening looks of both his unofficial Paris shows, he sent out outfits printed with the French organization’s rejection letter as a symbol of his brand’s outsider status. “To me that was what the brand was about,” Dillane tells PAPER. “It was never about being accepted, it’s about the journey and the unrealistic goals!”

So when KidSuper was finally approved to show on the official Paris calendar this season (albeit digitally), he opened his collection with the acceptance letter as a nod to his journey thus far. But unlike other brands who showed short films (Dior Men, Berluti and Hermès, etc.), Dillane developed a stop motion runway turning inanimate objects into life-like creatures.

His cast of “claymation” models included the likes of Bernie Sanders, Naomi Campbell, Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk walking the runway in front of Anna Wintour and Kim Kardashian caricatures. The original plan, he says, was to stage a real fashion show and hire doppelgängers of famous people to attend as a sort of statement on how fashion has long correlated the importance of a show with who actually attends.

“I don’t like the concept of your fashion show’s only good if people like these ‘right people’ come,” he says. “I remember when I was planning and working with different people to throw the fashion show, everyone was like, ‘Who’s your front row?’ And I was like, ‘Who gives a fuck about my front row?’ Your creativity shouldn’t be determined by who attends.”

Dillane’s experience with claymation goes way back to his first music video, where the titular character would do everything from climb Mount Everest to fly planes and play soccer as a proof that KidSuper could do anything. (The brand is not just a clothing label but a creative studio that does art shows, paintings and music.)

But fashion is a natural extension for the Brooklyn-based artist, who started out by selling T-shirts in a high school but always had Paris Fashion Week in the back of his mind. “It’s all about leveling up and doing kind of the unthinkable,” he says. “This brand, KidSuper, was always built off of this ethos that anything is possible and you can dream as big as you want. The idea of having KidSuper in Paris was kind of unexpected.”

Dillane does not rule out experimenting with a virtual format again next season, and says that, in a weird way, he was thankful for the obstacles that lockdown presented.

“I think showing digitally is actually best for me, because it’s more about ideas than it is about physically dumping money into a crazy production,” he says. “I love the concept of virtual.”

Watch the full KidSuper Spring 2021 video below.

Photos courtesy of KidSuper

Harry Styles Fans Think He Has a Secret TikTok

As One Direction fans eagerly await further news of the group’s tenth anniversary reunion project, a number of Harry Styles diehards have begun speculating that the star has started a secret TikTok account to share unreleased music.

As the Evening Standard reported, fans of the Fine Line star began theorizing that user @terrytome was none other than Styles himself after the account posted an instrumental version of his song “Falling” on June 30.

Related | Harry Styles’s Quarantine Mustache Sparks Internet Debate

In the clip, a black gloved hand can be seen playing a singing toy known as an Otamatone to perform the track, alongside a few Styles-related hashtags. Not only that, but in the ensuing month, @terrytome has continued to post other Otamatone covers of songs by the hitmaker including “Kiwi” and an unreleased track called “Medicine,” which he’s only performed live a few times.


Falling by Harry Styles a Terry Tome cover ##Harry ##harrystyles ##falling ##music ##video ##watereffect ##piano ##otamatone ##terrytome ##cover ##sing

♬ original sound – terrytome

🎼Medicine by Harry Styles! ##harrystyles ##medicine ##flowercrown ##terrytome ##fyp @hshq

♬ original sound – terrytome

However, as the publication explained, Styles fans began leaving comments wondering whether the gloved hands were “secretly Harry,” seeing as how he has recognizable hands. And apparently, it’s even gotten to the point where the @terrytome account itself has accrued its very own fanbase.

Granted, it should also be noted that many musicians are able to produce covers of songs after listening to recordings, though as one commenter pointed out, @terrytome appeared to have “a studio version of the instrumental” — something that the account responded to by writing, “🎼 I- no. No I don’t.😳.”

Styles has yet to address the speculation.

Photo via Getty

Jamie Lynn Spears Defends Britney Against Critics of Her Mental Health

Jamie Lynn Spears is firing back at invasive commenters demanding that she say something about Britney Spears‘s mental health.

On Tuesday afternoon, Jamie Lynn took to her Instagram to share a screenshot of Halsey‘s call for “understanding” and “sympathy” toward those with mental health issues — particularly bipolar disorder — in light of Kanye West‘s recent comments on Twitter.

Related | Halsey Asks Fans to Stop Joking About Kanye West’s Mental Health

“If you deal with mental illness or care for someone dealing with mental illness, then you know how important it is to respect the situation with privacy for the person, and the family trying to protect their loved ones, no matter how it may appear to the public, and as the public we must learn to do the same,” Jamie Lynn captioned the post, which many believed was an allusion to Britney’s own struggle with bipolar disorder.

View this post on Instagram

👆🏻👏🏻👆🏻👏🏻👆🏻. “If you can’t offer understanding or sympathy, offer your silence”- HALSEY. If you deal with mental illness or care for someone dealing with mental illness, then you know how important it is to respect the situation with privacy for the person, and the family trying to protect their loved ones, no matter how it may appear to the public, and as the public we must learn to do the same. I pray this doesn’t bring shame to anyone dealing with mental illness, you are not alone, and you are loved. Sending all my love and prayers to all of you♥️

A post shared by Jamie Lynn Spears (@jamielynnspears) on Jul 21, 2020 at 7:53am PDT

And while the majority of comments were supportive, it also didn’t take long for trolls to ask why she wasn’t directly “speaking on” Britney’s “OBVIOUS mental illness” — something the star, obviously, felt the need to respond to.

In a screenshot of an exchange shared by Comments by Celebs, she hit back at the commenter by writing, “You have no right to assume anything about my sister.”

Jamie Lynn then went on to make the very important point that she has “NO right to speak about HER health and personal matters,” before lauding her sister as “a strong, badass, unstoppable woman.”

“And that’s the only thing that is OBVIOUS,” she added.

Then in response to another user imploring her to “clarify all these assumptions,” Jamie Lynn explained that she “would never speak out just to clarify things to the public, when the person it pertains to does not want that to happen.”

“I’d rather take all the hate, then speak about someone elses [sic] personal matter, that they want to keep private,” she said.

See her comments, below.

View this post on Instagram

Preach @jamielynnspears. #CommentsByCelebs

A post shared by Comments By Celebs (@commentsbycelebs) on Jul 21, 2020 at 2:54pm PDT

Photo via Getty

Kreayshawn Asks Fans Not to Stream ‘Gucci Gucci’

This week, Gen Z discovered the 2011 brat rap anthem “Gucci Gucci,” sparking a wave of nostalgia for the late MySpace-era’s musical landscape, speculation about how popular it would be on TikTok if it came out today and raising Kreayshawn stans from the dead. But while the track is getting some much deserved love, the song’s resurgence has also resurfaced some bad memories for the Oakland rapper.

Related | The Millionaires Walked So Kesha Could Run


In a series of tweets posted yesterday, Kreayshawn asked people to not stream or buy “Gucci Gucci” revealing that she gets no royalties and is apparently $800K in debt to Sony.

P.S Don’t buy Gucci Gucci or stream it. I get 0$ and I’m in debt to sony for 800k. Stream or by my new project ;p… — TATU REMIX (@TATU REMIX)1595307383.0
Can stan twitter stream me out of my Sony debt? If you can plz do 🥴🆗 — TATU REMIX (@TATU REMIX)1595314225.0

The artist instead directed people to a few recent projects including her EP, T.O.B.M. (True Oakland Black Metal), and her Bail Out Vol. 2 compilation that benefits the NAACP. She also linked her followers a variety of petitions and charities aimed at help BIPOC, the LGBTQ+ community and defunding the police.

Kreayshawn didn’t go into too much detail about ins and outs of the contract or how she ended up in so much debt because of it, but she did open up the call to any lawyers that were willing to give the deal a second look. Given that “Gucci Gucci” predates the streaming era, there’s likely a good case for renegotiating the terms anyway.

There’s even a mention of PHONOGRPAHS lmao! — TATU REMIX (@TATU REMIX)1595385825.0

Kreayshawn isn’t the only artist speaking out about getting screwed over by the music industry as of late. Azealia Banks and Mykki Blanco both have recently spoken out about unfair deals that have resulted in them never being paid for some of their biggest tracks.

Last week, Azealia Banks urged her fans not to stream her debut album, Broke with Expensive Taste, sharing emails exchanged between her and Prospect Park head, Jeff Kwatinetz, whom she alleges cheated her out of all the revenue from that record through a lopsided deal. Blanco earlier this week called out Universal for avoiding her management’s emails and failing to pay for her work on Teyana Taylor’s “WTP,” that resulted in a Twitter spat with Taylor.

Related | Mykki Blanco Says ‘Always Control Your Narrative’

It’s heartbreaking to hear artists who have been responsible for some of the biggest underground hits from the past decade were never fairly compensated for them, but it does expose the exploitative nature of the music industry and how abusive that system can be to new artists, and especially artists of color.

Following her post about “WTP,” Blanco did finally receive payment from Universal for her work. However, it shouldn’t take a public shaming for labels to do the right thing. Until we can get a radial overhaul of streaming royalties, album deals and provide artists with the resources they need, don’t stream “Gucci Gucci.”

Photo via Getty/Gary Miller/FilmMagic

No, We Haven’t Blocked You

No, we haven’t blocked you — Instagram has blocked PAPER.

On July 8, 2020, Instagram disabled our account (@papermagazine), due to copyright notices filed by a company called Okularity. Our lawyers allege that Okularity crawls the internet for unauthorized use of images in order to extort account holders.

This is becoming increasingly common. Celebrities from Kim Kardashian to David Beckham are now being sued for posting unauthorized paparazzi photos of themselves, while several highly followed archival Instagram accounts have recently been disabled, as well.

With more than 1.7 million followers on Instagram, PAPER’s ability to communicate directly with our audience has been abruptly halted, and at a time when media coverage is more crucial than ever. It has also threatened our business, as so many magazines — and consequently their employees’ positions — are facing the financial repercussions of COVID-19.

That is why we are working with our legal team to fight this extortion and regain access to our Instagram account.

For now, you can follow us on TikTok, Twitter, and Facebook.

Drest’s First IG Beauty Filters Blur the Real and Virtual Worlds

In Drest’s alternate high fashion universe, everyone has full access to the world’s top designers. The interactive styling app, founded by former PORTER Editor-in-Chief Lucy Yeomans, launched a few months ago and has already caught the attention of fashion’s major players.

Brands from Gucci and Oscar de la Renta to Christian Louboutin and Puma have all signed on to become partners with the platform, where players respond to daily styling challenges using the products from the latest runway collections. Beauty plays an important part too, with users able to select their own makeup looks for their model avatars.

Related | PAPER Fashion: The Rubberist

Among the beauty looks featured are those curated by Mary Greenwell, the celebrity makeup artist perhaps best known for working with Princess Diana. Whereas users are normally tasked to select each beauty element, Greenwell’s fully packaged looks can be applied in one click.

To help kick off Greenwell’s latest makeup look, a rich green palette called “Verdant Summer,” Drest is launching its first range of beauty filters on Instagram. The challenge went live this morning, and users can now “wear” all three virtual looks designed by Greenwell in real life.

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“As Drest’s consultant makeup artist I am forever imagining new ways of creating playful, standout looks that are beautiful enough to complement the real-life luxury fashion that is brought into the game digitally,” Greenwell told PAPER.

“For the last two months I have designed a makeup look that Drest stylists can apply to their models with a simple tap,” she continued, “but this month we are taking it one step further and releasing social face filters so real people can enjoy my beauty creations on themselves.”

Related | Introducing ‘SNATCHURAL’ With Beauty Expert XOXOETHAN

A conversation she and Yeomans had during lockdown, where they discussed topics from makeup and the red carpet to designing makeup for model avatars, also premiered today on Drest’s Instagram channel.

“Unlike other games Drest isn’t pure fantasy,” Yeomans said. “We made the decision to blend real and virtual worlds by recreating some real-life elements — luxury fashion and mesmerizing global locations — digitally. And so, for me, it was vital we brought Mary’s expert eye to Drest in order to provide our users with lifelike, elevated makeup options. We are a platform for creativity and want to give individuals everywhere the opportunity to have fun and express themselves virtually and IRL.”

Tap the Face icon in Drest’s profile to download the IG filters for yourself.

Photo courtesy of Drest

Why Is Everyone Talking About ‘Hexing the Moon?’

If you were anywhere near Twitter over the weekend, you probably saw a number of posts about “hexing the moon.” And while the majority of mainstream Twitter users were left confused by the premise, it turns out that the tweets were rooted in a very alarming controversy within the online witch community.

Related | Asian-Americans Can Be Witches, Too

According to BuzzFeed, it all started thanks to the a Twitter thread by user @heyyadoraa, which claimed that a small coven of “baby” witches (aka younger, inexperienced witches) on TikTok were cooking up a plan to hex powerful entities they had no business messing with.


a thread, because everyone is confused.

— jupiter ✿ (@heyyadoraa) July 19, 2020


a hex is essentially spellwork that is a collection of negative energy and is directed to someone, something, or a group of someones/somethings. these are intended to have negative effects and cause HARM to them and their lives.

— jupiter ✿ (@heyyadoraa) July 19, 2020


— jupiter ✿ (@heyyadoraa) July 19, 2020

That said, amongst the targets of these hexes were the fae — “the magical creatures seen in folklore from many cultures,” which are typically associated with nature and are known for being mischievous — as well as the moon, both of which are extremely important to many witches and their craft. Needless to say, whispers of these attempts were met with rightful outrage from the vast majority of witches.

If you aren’t on tiktok here’s an update! New/trendy/uneducated witches of tiktok:
-Hexing the fae
-Hexing the moon
-“Manifesting” toxic/abusive relationships
-Promoting weather spells for children
-Lying about having permission from an elder native to use white sage

I just🥴

— Petey Marie (@Pagan_Petey) July 17, 2020

me looking at the baby witches who thought hexing the fae and Artemis, the moon goddess, and hurting her therefore pissing off her TWIN, Apollo, the god of healing and medicine, in the MIDDLE OF A PANDEMIC was such a great idea

— angel (@loovebite) July 19, 2020

However, given the visibility of this particular conversation, the discourse ended up popping up on a number of timelines over the weekend — something that has led to some dismissive rhetoric and even outright jokes about “hexing the moon.”

my tl is surprisingly, evenly divided into the “you can’t hex the moon because witchcraft is fake” and the “you can’t hex the moon because the moon too powerful” camps right now

— anti-lawn activist (@antihoa) July 19, 2020

lmao. no, witches did not hex the moon. why? because i have stolen the moon. if you ever want to see your precious moon again, wire me $300,000. DO NOT attempt to hex me i will see you coming a mile away.

— soul nate (@MNateShyamalan) July 20, 2020

teenagers freaking out about hexing the moon is what we get for undermining all genuine values and beliefs and then punting kids online where they have to try and bootstrap their own religions on ad-supported social media networks

— Eleanor Robertson (@marrowing) July 19, 2020

But again, as the publication pointed out, these entities are a source of power for many witches and the anger over the controversy is completely warranted. So as the situation continues to unfold, remain respectful of these practices by refraining from any invalidating talk and cut it out with all those “hexing the moon” memes.

this whole hexing the moon thing has really made me realize how much y’all love to disrespect/disregard witches and their religion. the moon is an incredibly important part of their practices, and y’all have the audacity to say “sTop pLayIng hArRy PoTtEr” ? yikes

— alice | bIm | (@hoobloobn) July 19, 2020

Photo via Getty

Jeffree Star Breaks His Silence

Since all the drama with Shane Dawson went down, and since people have begun calling out YouTubers for their inappropriate past behavior, influencer Jeffree Star has remained silent. But now, he’s speaking up about beauty world drama, his friendship with Shane Dawson and the accusations made against him.

In a new 10-minute video, entitled “Doing What’s Right,” he began by saying that he’s been practicing self-reflection and admits to “speaking out of anger, out of frustration.” He said, “For the first time in a really long time, I’m really reflecting on my behavior and mine alone. And I’ve come to a lot of realizations, and it’s been really important to actually understand everything that I was a part of, that I did wrong, and really start a new chapter for myself.”

Related | Jeffree Star ‘Embarrassed’ of His Involvement in the James Charles Feud

“2020 has been really crazy and I have added to the chaos,” he continued. He spoke about his old video, “Never Doing This Again,” wherein he addressed his feud with James Charles. He admitted to not being able to live up to his promises from the 2019 video. This time around, he talked about “the situation” again, and officially apologized to James once and for all — without calling anyone out or even mentioning Tati Westbrook. “It’s disgusting, it’s awful and none of it should’ve happened. So, James, I am truly sorry for my actions and my behavior.”

And while Westbrook predicted that Star would release receipts for secrets he’s kept about other YouTubers, he said that he isn’t about to reveal any text threads or messages that “allegedly” exist. “I will not be entertaining it. My lawyers are entertaining it behind the scenes, but I will not be,” Star said in the video. “I know this may sound shocking coming from my mouth, but when you accept that you are the problem, you can become the solution.”

For a brief moment, he also acknowledged the larger events happening in the world right now, mentioning the deaths of and lack of justice for Breonna Taylor and Elijah McClain. He then said that these are matters much worth giving attention to. Star said, “I think drama and the beauty world — which I definitely have been a part of — It all has to stop.”

Related | Morphe Will No Longer Work With Jeffree Star

The makeup mogul later addresses his friendship with Shane Dawson, saying that he’s not cutting him out of his life or distancing himself, and that his silence was meant to support Dawson. “I know Shane from now. I don’t know Shane from 10 years ago, and he doesn’t know me from 10 years ago.” He continued, “Now do I agree with Shane’s past actions? Of course I don’t. And does he agree with my past behavior? Of course he doesn’t. I know the amazing person he is today, and you don’t abandon your friends.”

He then talked about the Jeffree Star brand, and said, “I am so fucking proud to own an inclusive makeup company.” He claimed that he’s always advocated for small businesses, and has always welcomed included people of all colors, shapes, sizes, and gender identities. “I know that a lot of people try to deter from my message, and sometime’s I’ve deterred it myself through negativity and drama, but that won’t be happening anymore” Star said, “I always stood up for what was right, and I always will.”

He ended his video thanking friends, fans and supporters, adding that this time of self-reflection has been necessary. “This has been me silent for a reason. I’ve been really, really working on myself, and I definitely was distracted.”

Watch the full video, below.

Photo via Getty

130 Twitter Accounts Were Hacked

This week, a bunch of Twitter accounts from high-profile celebrities, politicians and other personalities were hacked. Kim Kardashian, Wiz Khalifa, Kanye West, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, Barack Obama and Joe Biden were just some of the targets. And according to reports, this was all part of a cryptocurrency scam.

In statement from the company, they said that the attackers “manipulated a small number of employees and used their credentials to access Twitter’s internal systems.” They were able to go past the two-factor authentication security measures, and a total of 130 accounts were hacked. And out of that number, 45 had their passwords reset, and eight had also had their information — their account details and activities — downloaded.

Related | Kim Kardashian, Elon Musk and More Targeted By Hackers in Bitcoin Scam

Twitter did not specify which eight accounts had their info stolen, but said that none of them were verified accounts. The company added, “We are continuing our forensic review of all of the accounts to confirm all actions that may have been taken. In addition, we believe they may have attempted to sell some of the usernames.” The attackers were also able to see some people’s email addresses, phone numbers and other “additional information.”

The company is now working with authorities to investigate and get to the bottom of the breach. They’re also looking to make long-term solutions so that the incident won’t be repeated. “We have multiple teams working around the clock focused on this and on keeping the people who use Twitter safe and informed,” the company said.

“We’re embarrassed, we’re disappointed, and more than anything, we’re sorry. We know that we must work to regain your trust, and we will support all efforts to bring the perpetrators to justice.” They ended their post, saying, “We hope that our openness and transparency throughout this process, and the steps and work we will take to safeguard against other attacks in the future, will be the start of making this right.”

Photo via Getty

Introducing: Road Trippin’ With Rickey Thompson and Denzel Dion

Best friends and internet superstars Rickey Thompson and Denzel Dion are among some of today’s most entertaining creators on social media. Evolving from Vine to Instagram to TikTok and then YouTube, Rickey and Denzel have developed strong stanbases around comedic videos of them dancing, performing skits and serving looks.

Now, these two have partnered with Snapchat to create a hilarious, new docuseries, Road Trippin’, where they embark on a road trip across rural USA to get out of their comfort zones and share some crazy adventures. Inspired by Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie’s reality show, The Simple Life, this show features five-minute episodes with wild activities, from skydiving to feeding alligators.

Road Trippin’ debuts this Saturday, July 18, on Snapchat with new episodes airing every other day. Being mobile-first content creators, it only makes sense that Rickey and Denzel work with Snapchat for their first collaborative project. Like all Snap Originals, Road Trippin’ episodes are vertical, full-screen, fast-paced and hyper-visual, featuring graphics, split screens and quick cuts.

PAPER sat down with Rickey Thompson and Denzel Dion to talk about their friendship, working with Snapchat, and what you can expect on the show. Open Snapchat on your phone and scan this Snapcode to watch the first episode of Road Trippin’.

We’re living through such a negative time, right now. How are you both inspired to create?

Rickey Thompson: Since there is so much negativity in the world right now, I really want to be able to create positive content. I feel like a lot of people are looking for things to get their minds off what’s going on in the world today — something to make them smile, make them feel good, so I do get that drive to post positive content. I’m like, “If it’s a way out, let me do that for you.”

Denzel Dion: I do it because it makes me happy, and hopefully it will make other people happy. It was hard creating positive content when everything started going on — you didn’t post on social media, you were protesting every day, our ankles were swollen, our knees were hurting, it was hard. I didn’t understand how people would post regular things. When it was at its height — and things are still happening — it was weird to post regularly like nothing was going on, to be oblivious.

How did you two meet and become friends? Tell me about your relationship as besties.

Denzel: We met in 2014. There was this convention, Digifest, and if you were on Digifest, you were that bitch — if you got on it, you were up-and-coming. It was one of those lottery ticket things, and Rickey and I got on it as Viners at the time. And then Rickey DM’s me and was like, “Are you going?” I was like, “Yeah, bitch! I live in New York, are you going?” And then that’s it. That’s literally how it started.

Rickey: It was love at first sight, I always say. I just knew he was going to be my best friend forever. I got the energy and the vibe and I was like, “Oh my god, I love this guy so much,” and the rest is history. We’re still here and still have more years to go! I tell him he can’t get rid of me.

Denzel: I will be getting rid of you soon.

Rickey: No! [Laughs]

Have you been together during this quarantine at all?

Denzel: Yeah, we were. We live down the block from each other. Rickey is next to me, so it’s easier to see him now. Two years ago, like last year and the year before that, Rickey moved like 30 minutes away from me and we barely saw each other. We saw each other, but it wasn’t a lot.

“Since there is so much negativity in the world right now, I really want to be able to create positive content.” –Rickey Thompson

How has it been?

Denzel: It’s been fine, I really wasn’t doing anything. He would just go to my apartment or I’d go to his, but we never went anywhere as a group or collective unit. We haven’t shopped!

So let’s talk about your Snapchat show!

Rickey: Oh my goodness, we love this show so much. It’s literally us going across America doing things that we thought we would never do. There’s a lot of things that we’re doing in this show that I have been wanting to do on my bucket list. With Denzel, he’s the type of person that’s like, “No, I’m not about it,” but the fact that we were able to do this together, it makes me feel so good. It was a very fun process for us. We had so much fun being on the road doing adventurous things, getting out of our comfort zone.

Denzel: There were things I’d never do, like I’m from New York, I’m a city kid. I don’t care about sheep and farms and stuff like that, but we did it and it was so fun. Rickey is very adventurous. I’m adventurous but to an extent.

Rickey: And this is something we’ve been wanting for so long. We’ve always wanted an opportunity to film something together. It was really cool that we were able to get this opportunity because it’s a long road to get to.

What episode are you most excited about your fans seeing?

Denzel: “The Safari!”

Rickey: That’s my favorite one.

Denzel: When we did it, I said this episode is IT. It is so funny.

Rickey: Out of all the shooting days, that was the funniest.

Denzel: It was obvious, the whole cast and crew was laughing the whole time.

What are some of the places you go to outside of the safari on your road trip?

Denzel: We fed gators; we went straight to a farm first, then we went to go ride horses and that’s where I fell off. What else did we do? We went fishing–

Rickey: Skydiving

You went skydiving?

Denzel: Yeah…

Rickey: [Laughs] One and done. Never again!

Why didn’t you like it?

Rickey: Literally, the whole time I thought I was going to die. That was the most scared I’ve ever been. Free falling in the sky, honestly. Mmm mmm. You just see down and it’s the ground, yeah I couldn’t. Never again, but glad I did it!

Denzel: Yeah, Rickey had been talking about doing it and I’m like, “I just can’t.”

Rickey: Yeah, I understand now. I understand. That was something I’d been fine not doing. Oof, but I did it. Oof, never again! Mmm mmm.

Are you excited to be doing this through Snapchat?

Rickey: I’m excited because it is our first project and like what Denzel said, we need feedback together, so the fact that we have this show coming out and so many people are behind it is so exciting. This was such a long thing to work towards and we watched all the episodes, we loved the episodes, the show is so cute and so fun, they really show that it’s so much fun to have an experience with your best friend.

Denzel: I feel like it’s one of many we’ll make together. It’s like, “Damn, this is the type of hoodrat shit I want to do with my friends.” We’ve had meetings, we’ve pitched so many show ideas and it’s finally here. Also, everyone has Snapchat and we love our Snapchat team. Bunim/Murray, they produce Keeping Up with the Kardashians, they also did The Simple Life with Paris and Nicole; and also, Anthony Anderson from black-ish. I mean, hello Anthony Anderson is everything. It has the right names behind it and it felt good when we got that DM. I called Rickey and said, “Oh my god, Anthony Anderson just DM’d me and said our name came up in a meeting.” We were both like, “Okay, something is happening.”

“There’s nobody like us, being individually ourselves…” –Denzel Dion

I already know you two are going to be serving looks in this series, so tell me about how you have stepped into the fashion world.

Denzel: Okay, so what we’re wearing–

Rickey: [Laughs]

Denzel: We wanted fashion to play a main role, but the thing is we can’t wear any logos because of filming with Snapchat, we’d have to get things cleared. Our fashion is interesting, we gave you what we gave you–

Rickey: What we could… [Laughs]

Denzel: Rickey’s favorite outfit of mine was when we did horseback riding. My favorite outfit of mine was when we went four-wheeling. Our outfits were cute for the most part. We did what we could, especially when we were in the South. In the South, we can’t do too much. What did we film that we had trouble with other people? It was when we did the food contest, remember?

Rickey: Oh, yeah yeah yeah.

Denzel: I was like, “We’re in the South.”

Rickey: I forgot about it, I was like, “We’re not in LA, we’re not in New York.”

What’s next in your internet domination?

Denzel: We want to do it all, okay.

Rickey: It all. This is our brand, this is our business now. This isn’t the last you’ll see of us. We’re going to do way, way more in fashion, of course. We definitely want to step into acting.

Denzel: We talk about acting all day, 24/7. We do want to take the film industry by storm. There’s nobody like us, being individually ourselves and then putting it together, it’s over, it’s shut down. We play off each other very well. I feel like people love to see two people come together actually enjoying each other’s company. It’s not a competition, it’s not envious, it’s not fake, it’s authentic, it’s cute and real. A lot of people can relate to that. There’s nothing like that. Who’s like us?

Rickey: Nobody. [Laughs]

Illustration: Lauren Martin
Photography: Elizabeth Miranda

VSCO Launches New Initiative Spotlighting Black Joy

VSCO has launched a new creative series in support of Black artists and online communities.

Spearheaded by VSCO’s Shavone Charles, the #BlackJoyMatters initiative aims to spotlight Black creatives creating work that centers their joy and is far beyond just the trauma and adversity we typically seen online.

Related | Seven Black Artists You Should Know

As such, the platform will start amplifying the entire spectrum of the Black diasporic existence to its millions-strong community starting today. But by allowing a number of Black creatives to reclaim “joy, healing, and wellness,” Charles says the hope is to “help the world see a more holistic picture of Black Stories and Black joy through our lens, vs what’s portrayed by the outside world.”

VSCO’s program will run all summer long and kicks off with an open call for their #BlackJoyMatters Art & Portrait Series. The company will also be debuting a new, curated in-app carousel of images posted by VSCO users. Additionally, they will continue to update their Melanin Collection page, which has spotlighted everything from Black queer creators to Nigerian style bloggers.

Check out the initiative via the VSCO app now.

Photo courtesy of VSCO / Black Joy Matters

Henry Cavill Is Stupid Buff

It appears that we have finally reached that point of our quarantine journey where we’ve become so bored and horny that Henry Cavill meticulously building a PC is apparently doing it for us.

Related | The Truth About @ArmasUpdates and @KnivesOut

The Witcher and Man of Steel actor posted a video on Instagram earlier today of him putting together a new gaming PC from scratch. The video shows Cavill carefuly reading instructions, peeling the plastic off of graphics cards, hooking up cooling systems, undoing impossibly tiny screws and installing hard drives, but odds are you weren’t really paying attention to all of that.

View this post on Instagram

This kind of material isn’t for everyone….viewer discretion is advised. You may see a lot of parts that you haven’t seen before. #PC #AllTheParts #AllNightLong

A post shared by Henry Cavill (@henrycavill) on Jul 16, 2020 at 5:21am PDT

Inexplicably set to a suggestive soundtrack of Barry White songs, the five and a half minute video has the internet fawning over the actor’s extremely buff physique, taking in the free gun show that Cavill has put on full display. And to be fair, Cavill does, to a certain extent, invite this upon himself. An avid gamer, it makes sense logically that he would handle all these extremely delicate and sensitive computer parts with a great degree of care, but the gentle caresses and innuendo-inducing positions Cavill assumes aren’t leaving much room for ambiguity. He even winkingly captions the post with “This kind of material isn’t for everyone….viewer discretion is advised. You may see a lot of parts that you haven’t seen before.”

Like the simps they are, the internet happily took the bait and threw open the thirst tweet floodgates:

A five minute video of Henry Cavill building a gaming PC is the gift we all deserve in 2020. — Amy Ratcliffe (@Amy Ratcliffe)1594918649.0
watching the video of henry cavill building a PC on repeat all day, nobody @ me — henry cavill stan account (@henry cavill stan account)1594911104.0
i think my computer is broken. does anyone have henry cavill’s number? — Cathy Kelley (@Cathy Kelley)1594921048.0
henry cavill back off morherfucker this is my himbo safe space. — hasanabi (@hasanabi)1594920410.0
someone sent me the “henry cavill building a pc in a tank top” video while i was doing an interview and my mind went completely blank — andrew webster (@andrew webster)1594916769.0
Just a fraction of the total number of inhalers my sister used up after watching Henry Cavill set up a PC — Judge Judy Jr. (@Judge Judy Jr.)1594916458.0
Great, thanks Henry Cavill, now I have a “building a gaming PC” kink that I don’t need and can’t do anything with. — Andrew Wheeler (@Andrew Wheeler)1594914090.0
Ok now I want Henry Cavill to come screw my everything.

Nowait that came out wrong… — Francesco Francavilla (@Francesco Francavilla)1594919878.0

Ok that’s enough, you can pick your tongue up off the floor now.

Photo via Getty/ Karwai Tang/ WireImage

Watch Ermenegildo Zegna’s First ‘Phygital’ Fashion Show Live

This year marks Ermenegildo Zegna’s 110th anniversary, and the brand is celebrating by putting on a “phygital” fashion show for its Summer 2021 collection, which was designed by Artistic Director Alessandro Sartori under lockdown.

While details are being kept under wraps, the show will reportedly be a blend of cinematography, technology and digital techniques with real models filmed and photographed. The show will be held on that last day of Milan Fashion Week’s digital platform.

Click the video, below, at 9 AM EST on Friday, July 17 to livestream the Ermenegildo Zegna XXX Summer 2021 runway.

What: Ermenegildo Zegna XXX Summer 2021
Where: Milan, Italy
When: Friday, 17 July 2020 at 9 AM EST

Photo courtesy of Ermenegildo Zegna

Livestream This: Spirit World

Thanks to Ms. Rona, we’re all trapped at home with nothing to do. Even Netflix is getting boring! But never fear. While they’re technically out of work, our favorite entertainers are still out here bravely making virtual content in a scary new world. Going to the club or the theater is out of the question right now (self isolate! Ariana Grande says so) but here’s PAPER’s ongoing guide to the latest livestreams — featuring comedians, actors, musicians and more.

Who? Brooklyn-based electronic duo, Spirit Twin, have teamed up with IMVU for the platform’s first official virtual music festival. Boasting an impressive lineup with headliners like Pussy Riot, Yves Tumor, Hannah Diamond, Cakes Da Killa, Catnapp, Sonikku, Cowgirl Clue, Fee Lion and more, Spirit World’s roster of underground artists is not one to miss.

Related | Hannah Diamond in HD

When? Spirit World takes place July 23 through July 25 and will be streaming on IMVU’s official Twitch.

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Why Watch? Spread across three days with six different stages, Spirit World promises to deliver a mystical immersive experience paired with a healthy dose of 2000s-era cyber nostalgia. Now that we’re several months into this pandemic, it’s safe to admit that the initial novelty of virtual shows and festivals has quickly worn off. With larger promoters and mainstream artists looking to get in on the action and co-opt these spaces, it’s important to remember the underground collectives and scenes that originally pioneered the formats and made virtual shows a viable alternative. It’s nice to see IMVU officially sanction a lineup of exciting and diverse underground artists as a refreshing return to the bedrock of the platform.

Photos Courtesy of Spirit Twin/ IMVU

Kenzie Has Kept Busy in Quarantine

Creating anything under quarantine presents a challenge for artists, but having a feature from pop mastermind Sia puts you a cut above the rest.

For 16-year-old Mackenzie Ziegler, who’s known to her millions of followers simply as kenzie, this was a reality on her new summer single, “EXHALE” — a breezy bop about letting everything go, because “baby, you in control.”

The track’s accompanying music video was shot entirely in isolation and directed by her sister Maddie Ziegler, who has long collaborated with Sia on experimental visuals, from “Chandelier” to “Elastic Heart” with Shia LaBeouf.

In “EXHALE,” though, kenzie dances through different at-home environments alongside cameos from friends like Johnny Orlando, Dove Cameron, Dylan Conrique, Abbi Dicenso, Cameron Field and more. “You need to exhale,” she sings from her pool, her car and her bedroom.

Related | The ‘For You’ Age: How TikTok Conquered 2019

The track also arrived this month with a remix from Hook N Sling, and follows last year’s singles, “HOT” and “MOTIVES.” In 2018, kenzie released her full-length album, called Phases, featuring even more songs co-penned by Sia including “Wonderful” and “Nothing on Us.”

Click through kenzie’s polaroid quarantine diary for PAPER, above, and stream “EXHALE,” below.

Photos courtesy of kenzie

Chrissy Teigen Hits Back at Trolls’ Jeffrey Epstein Conspiracy Theory

Chrissy Teigen is refuting an unfortunate conspiracy theory attempting to link her to convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

Epstein’s death — an apparent suicide that occurred while he was awaiting federal charges for sex trafficking of minors — has sparked multiple celebrity conspiracy theories thanks to his alleged connections to many powerful and wealthy people. However, amid reignited speculation kicked off by the arrest of alleged Epstein cohort Ghislaine Maxwell, the supermodel finally took to her Twitter to address the issue.

Related | A Jeffrey Epstein Docuseries Is Coming to Netflix

Earlier today, Teigen responded to comedian Chrissie Mayr, who appeared to link the deletion of “over 28,000 tweets yesterday” with an accusation that she was on the flight logs to Little St. James, an Epstein property nicknamed “pedophile island.”

“I actually deleted 60,000 tweets because I cannot fucking STAND you idiots anymore and I’m worried for my family,” Teigen responded above a retweet of the comment. “Finding me talking about toddlers and tiaras in 2013 and thinking you’re some sort of fucking operative.”

Teigen then continued to slam the “fucking detectives that can’t even do simple subtraction to see how much was deleted,” before dubbing them “losers” in a later tweet. As The Daily Mail noted though, Teigen has continually refuted the claim since the original theory surfaced last October.

I actually deleted 60,000 tweets because I cannot fucking STAND you idiots anymore and I’m worried for my family. Finding me talking about toddlers and tiaras in 2013 and thinking you’re some sort of fucking operative.

— chrissy teigen (@chrissyteigen) July 14, 2020

Fucking detectives that can’t even do simple subtraction to see how much was deleted. That’s who we are working with here.

— chrissy teigen (@chrissyteigen) July 14, 2020

They’re. LOSERS.

— chrissy teigen (@chrissyteigen) July 14, 2020

Granted, her initial rebuke didn’t appear to staunch the theorists, some of whom questioned her “defensive” responses — though, once again, Teigen attempted to shut them down.

“Everyone thinking I’m guilty because I’m defensive,” she continued. “You understand you are calling me a pedophile, correct?”

this I don’t get. everyone thinking I’m guilty because I’m defensive. You understand you are calling me a pedophile, correct?

— chrissy teigen (@chrissyteigen) July 14, 2020

That said, Teigen subsequently went on to acknowledge that the unfortunate rumors weren’t likely to die down anytime soon — even with Maxwell’s arrest.

“When pedo ghislaine sings like a canary (if she doesn’t die) and we have nothing to do eith [sic] this, I know for a fact it won’t go away. They’ll just think of another excuse,” Teigen wrote. “It is extremely disheartening. I don’t know how to stop this. i don’t think anyone quite gets it.”

See her tweet, below.

when pedo ghislaine sings like a canary (if she doesn’t die) and we have nothing to do eith this, I know for a fact it won’t go away. They’ll just think of another excuse. It is extremely disheartening. I don’t know how to stop this. i don’t think anyone quite gets it

— chrissy teigen (@chrissyteigen) July 14, 2020

Photo via Getty

This Viral Dominatrix Is Writing BDSM-Inspired Rock Music

If you’ve been anywhere near Twitter in the past week or so, you’ve likely seen a video of Black dominatrix flogging her sub. In the now-viral clip, she can be seen commanding a white man — who is wearing a pig mask and has the words “Reparations” and “BLM” written on his back — to say “Black women are superior” over and over again. And now, the performance artist, musician and domme behind the video itself is speaking up.

BLACK WOMEN ARE SUPERIOR! — Zhariah_ (@Zhariah_)1594058414.0

“It wasn’t originally supposed to be that, but in the middle of the session I was just like, ‘Fuck it, this is how I feel right now. So I’m just going to go ahead and do it,” Zhariah explained. “I was like, ‘This is me getting my anger out.'”

After all, amid continued protests for racial equity, the 22-year-old’s domme performance videos have been steadily gaining traction online. And as clips of her reminding people that they are “still [her] bitch” to sitting on a sub soundtracked to Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road” proves, Zhariah definitely has a knack for creating content that resonates with Twitter.

My grand entrance into domme twitter. — Zhariah_ (@Zhariah_)1594382777.0
I got the pigs in the back @LilNasX — Zhariah_ (@Zhariah_)1593464800.0

But as she sees it, in addition to boosting her client base and domme profile, this turn of events has also proved helpful to her career as an alt-trap artist writing BDSM-inspired songs. Pointing toward songs like the recently released “Metals, Whips, and Chains” — a tough-as-nails celebration of dommeing with a video that sees her parading several subs around on leashes — the multifaceted artist said she’s excited to be integrating these facets of her career together through her elevated online platform.

“I was just saying all those things and people loved it so much. And I was like, ‘If it’s going to get me noticed for my music then let me do it,'” she explained, admitting that it’s been exciting to see how “the stuff that I was doing to make money for my music became my brand.”

Even so, virality hasn’t come without its own considerations. And this is especially true since she felt like she feels as if she’s had to balance her “raunchy domme” persona with her desire to “stand for women’s empowerment” — something that also plays into her goal of “educating people on Riot Grrrl, Black women in rock n’ roll and Black women’s empowerment.” After all, as she pointed out, this all also lends itself to a larger discussion about how an artist like Zhariah is pushing back against racist stereotyping that contributes to the pigeonholing of Black women, particularly in music.

“I think women and people are ready to see… Black women in power,” she said. “At the end of the day, I could be a stereotype because I am loud and I am dominant, and I could be screaming and people are used to that and want to see Black women in that form. But I want to make it more about being alternative and having that edge.”

Related | The Financial Dominatrix Making Space for Black Sex Workers

Thankfully, Zariah said that she hasn’t gotten any pushback yet for being a Black woman in rock. However, as an artist who started by performing at hip-hop shows, she has gotten “a bunch of people who don’t understand it” — though she’s not about to let the naysayers get to her.

“[When I started making music] I felt so powerful, so enlightened, and so [I was like], ‘I’m just going to see where this takes me,'” Zhariah said. “I would bring subs to shows and perform with them on a leash. And to vanilla people it was like, ‘Oh my god, this is so crazy. I can’t believe she’s doing this… Is she really beating him onstage?’ And it just became me, honestly.”

However, balancing dommeing with her music has been its own sort of journey. According to Zhariah, while she has “always wanted to be a domme,” her journey actually started after she met her dommeing mentor at a performance and was subsequently introduced to a prestigious dungeon in Philadelphia. After dropping out of Temple University and moving back home, she stopped dommeing for a moment and opted to focus on music — though after “Metal, Whips, and Chains” was completed, she felt like she had “to get back into the lifestyle again.”

“At the time, I was going through the phase of, ‘Oh my god, I dropped out of college’ and society was like, ‘What are you going to do with your life?’ I was basically holding myself to societal standards of being a valuable woman. And I was like, ‘Okay, I’m a domme, but me spitting on people isn’t appropriate.'” Zhariah explained. “But at the end of the day, I sat with myself and was like, ‘But I love this. I love being dominant. I love being wild. I love the attention. I love the money. I love all of this and this is me and who the hell is everyone else to tell me I can’t [do this]?”

Related | Meet the NYC Dominatrix Turned Nightlife Mogul

As a result, she’s since joined the Black Domme Sorority, continued to make music and is determined to keep the momentum going when it comes to her popular dommeing videos. While juggling that all has proven to be a lot at times, they’re things she said that she’s not planning on stopping anytime soon, especially since they both feed into each other.

“If I stand for that as a brand, I have to be that for myself. We can be both. We can empower women, but I wanted to have my edge,” Zhariah concluded, before adding, “Because if I’m not practicing what I preach, I’m a poser. And I’m not a poser.”

Welcome to “Sex with Sandra,” a column by Sandra Song about the ever-changing face of sexuality. Whether it be spotlight features on sex work activists, deep dives into hyper-niche fetishes, or overviews on current legislation and policy, “Sex with Sandra” is dedicated to examining some of the biggest sex-related discussions happening on the Internet right now.

Photos courtesy of Zhariah

This TikTok Rates How Celebrities Act Towards Service Workers

The entire country is in “fuck it” mode right now, and that includes former hostesses at fancy Manhattan restaurants. TikTok user @juliacarolann, who says she used to work front of house at an unnamed celebrity hotspot in New York, recently broke a few unspoken rules by uploading a clip in which she “rates” the behavior of the establishment’s elite clientele. It’s delicious, and if the app had a tip system, I’d sign for 50 percent.

Related | Kylie Jenner: Get Rich or Die Following

Kylie Jenner might not do the same. She scores just 2/10, after supposedly adding only $20 to a $500 bill. (Enjoyably, the clip is soundtracked by a Travis Scott song.) The TikTok also alleges rudeness on behalf of Cameron Dallas (4/10) and his buddies. The Hadid sisters, meanwhile, are awarded 10/10 for their good manners.


These are just my personal experiences, pls take with a grain of salt 💖 xo ##greenscreen ##manhattan ##fyp ##foryoupage ##celebrity ##rating ##newyork

♬ OUT WEST – JACKBOYS & Travis Scott

Carol Ann’s TikTok doesn’t stand alone. While the internet has always circulated rumors about dodgy celebrity tipping practices, the bad behavior of famous people has come under increased scrutiny in recent months. In fact, the COVID-19 pandemic has radicalized large swathes of the population against our formerly untouchable A-lister overlords: that infamous “Imagine” video could be cited as an early trigger, but truthfully so could every single blue check Instagram story that’s being uploaded right now. It’s clear that the pandemic experience is very different for people with money and influence. That this TikTok was uploaded by an essential worker perfects the metaphor.

And don’t celebs and their PR teams know it? Hailey Bieber is already in the comments section, publicly promising to do better. I think our current circumstances permit me to cynically read her apology as damage control at best.

Of course, what’s fun about the current celebrity reckoning is that analysis goes deeper than the standard cancellation cycle. This video exists because we’re starting to question the very structures that give Justin Bieber’s wife any real power in the first place. The Hadid sisters, kind as they might be to restaurant staffers, have been riding out the pandemic in country houses and on yachts. Remember that!

Carol Ann has promised a sequel with yet more revelations, so go ahead and like and subscribe.

Screenshot via TikTok