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I'm a total 10. 4 for the looks + 6 for personality = 10.
Here for free Chipotle.
The only thing lower than my standards is my self esteem.
Monogamy is unnatural.
I do stuff. I also do things.
Plz be at least relatively intelligent b4 msging me.
Resist, Rave, Repeat
Whether they're in pigtails, pasties and covered in glitter, or rockin' their natural hair and product-free mugs, Pauli Cakes and She Marley Marl are always celebrating the beauty in imperfection, and promoting unapologetic self-love.
"When you treat yourself and put yourself first, your beauty will shine from the inside out," says Pauli.
"We are both attracted to the idea of doing and being things that people don’t usually think of or wouldn’t willfully try," adds Marley.
—both in the club and IRL.
Below, the DJs tell office their go-to club bangers, and why being beautiful really means being yourself.
What do you guys do?
She Marley Marl: I’m a DJ, painter, curator, organizer, entrepreneur and model. I have an organization called Dis Trick, which is a platform for underground artists to communicate, collaborate and politically resist.
Pauli Cakes: That's always an open ended questions for me—I do a lot. I consider myself a multi-faceted creative energy and experience. I’m a DJ, curator, performer, nightlife personality and stylist. I have a curatorial platform called Club Cakes, I pull looks, make music, curate events, paint, draw, do healing work and dance. Within all of those realms, I ultimately do the lord's work hehehe.
How did you start DJing and working together?
She Marley Marl: Music is always been a huge passion of mine. Growing up, I was always passed the aux cord, and I loved making playlists for my friends or for random moments—I’m extremely hyper-aware of how music influences people's mood and experience. I started DJing when I invested into equipment and taught myself when I was about 13 or 14. I also met Pauli around that age, who I instantly loved and connected with, so it just made sense that we join forces. I think the first official time we worked together was when we threw a event and pop-up shop at some random person’s house on 14th st, aka selling our old clothes and small paintings for cash. I DJed and Pauli handled the vending—I think the owner came home later and kicked everyone out. We actually made a good amount of money, though, so it was success.
Now, years later, we live together in Bushwick, and recently launched a party series called Dis Trick x Club Cakes that emerged from us feeling like we needed to create our own spaces where we belong. There are so many mass market ‘queer safe space’ parties that are just the opposite—they use those words because it’s become a buzzword and term. We were tired of going to proclaimed queer spaces that are just rich, white, cis masc for masc men taking up space. We wanted to create a space for young underground Queer Trans GNC POC to kick back and feel safe and not tokenized. Through launching this, we began curating together as well as going b2b [business-to-business], since a lot of the time, we still don’t have budgets to book other DJs. Sometimes, after paying people and covering expenses we’d make only like, $10 each. It didn’t matter, though, because the feeling of knowing my community felt like they could belong overweighs everything.
Pauli Cakes: I’ve always had a passion for music—I’d always mix two songs together in my head and envision background music for any sequence of my life. I grew up in the city around a lot of loud sounds and music playing around me 24/7. I’ve always been fixated with the way music and art controls energy and spaces, so I naturally gravitated towards becoming a DJ. I wouldn’t let go of my iPod classic as a kid and downloaded virtual DJ when I was 15 and started fucking around. I actually had no idea what I was doing when I got booked for my first gig—I just knew I loved what effect good music had on people.
As for Marley and me, we met when we were kids—Marley was 14 and I was 16—and we both had urges to work on creative projects and use our art to amplify our voices. That's what bonded us together instantly. Our first gig was set up out of this random guys house—we just wanted to create a creative space where our friends could sell their art, we could play music and curate a unifying platform. So, we did, and it worked, and we kept doing it.
What's your collaborative process like?
Pauli Cakes: Our collaborative process is really special, loving and silly. I feel like we put a lot of intention and energy behind everything we do, which is what makes it special. Our creativity, love and passion for resistance are some qualities that make up our bond, so that makes collaborating come as a natural process. We work really hard and have a lot of fun, and it's really cute, and fun, and messy. We trust each other’s hard work and judgement, which is what makes our collaborations honest, beautiful and successful. Did I mention we have our own made up language with our own form of social cues? So, we’re pretty much great work partners.
She Marley Marl: It’s 55% serious work, 20% laughing ‘til I can’t breathe, 5% random noises, 10% artistic procrastination, 10% having multiple disasters but somehow making things work perfectly.
How does beauty play into your DJ performances and personas both individually, and as a duo?
Pauli Cakes: There are different layers of beauty and how it pertains to craft—an individual's physical body and one’s spiritual self. The vibrance that I put into my music transcends material—it’s a feeling and an energy, a spark that ignites an energy. I put that into everything because I feel secure and confident in my craft. Whether I’m on a stage in front of a crowd or hidden behind a booth, I’m still going to pull a look that reflects how I feel, because my beauty routine is my ritual. There's definitely something to say about the comparative beauty of good music with a fly artist, but music and physicality are two different entities. I feel bonded to the parts of myself that I find beautiful—my vulnerability, openness and fearlessness—and that shines through my music, performance and persona.
She Marley Marl: My style helps me reinforce my identity for the night. But sometimes, I throw on a white tee, jeans and sneakers and call it day.
What's one beauty product you can't live without?
Pauli Cakes: Got2B Hair Gel and lip gloss.
She Marley Marl: An eyebrow comb and clear gel.
What's one beauty trend you wish would just go away forever?
Pauli Cakes & She Marley Marl: I think we both agree Kardashian brows must go! Most beauty trends nowadays are a product of black fetishaztion. The beauty industry perpetuates a lot of toxic standards and we have to deconstruct all of them, and find beauty in our differences and amplify that. Also, enforced uniformity in fashion—yikes.
What does being beautiful mean to you?
She Marley Marl: I don’t really know. I like to think of the word ‘beautiful’ as a passionate adjective, and not a word that refers to beauty standards. But I think that someone is always extremely special and radiant if they understand self-love and are able to unplug from conditioning.
Pauli Cakes: ‘Being beautiful’ is a matter of self-love. People are so fixated with this idea of ‘being’ a ‘beautiful’ person, which entails torturing ourselves, not knowing that beauty is more tangible than it seems. Being beautiful is sharing, loving, giving and receiving, putting thought and intention into adorning yourself.
If you could give each other makeovers—and the person getting their glow up couldn't refuse or deny anything—give us the full scoop.
She Marley Marl: I can’t even imagine giving Pauli a makeover or vice versa, just because we both have such defined ways of expressing ourselves that we both respect a lot.
Pauli Cakes: I have no interest in giving Marley a makeover unless she wants me to. Our individuality and differences are what we love and respect about each other, and I wouldn’t want to make Marley over in any different way.
Do you feel naked or less beautiful without makeup? Or do you think makeup just enhances who you already are?
Pauli Cakes: Not at all—I feel more vulnerable and opaque without makeup, but I do not feel less beautiful or less enhanced. Honey, my energy and spirit is already enhanced! I love being naked, and I love being able to pick and choose who I share that with, but I also love being in 11 inch platforms and a three foot pink wig serving. Putting on makeup and clothing is a personal form of self-preservation, healing, protection and therapy for me. My looks feel like my armor and protective wear, but I don’t feel like not wearing makeup is a reduction of my character.
She Marley Marl: Never. I love not wearing makeup; I also love putting on makeup—I feel beautiful either way. And that doesn’t come from ego—I just usually have a lot on my mind and I don’t concern myself with validating my looks. I do love to experiment with makeup because I always wake up feeling different or inspired by something, and makeup allows to execute certain looks.
Dressing up is such an important part of nightlife and club culture. What's the getting ready and going out process like for you?
She Marley Marl: I’m late to everything. Recently, I’ve been a lot better at self-timing, but up until now, getting ready has been stressful. Usually, though, it’s easy for me to pull a look together because I’m always thinking about new looks to try, or different ways to express myself. I consider myself to be quite fluid, so I dress how I feel.
Pauli Cakes: Most of the time, messy boots—I’ll spend 3 hours cleaning my room and 30 minutes destroying everything while getting ready. I’Il get inspired sporadically by a thought, mood emotion, reaction or object. I usually do hair, makeup and then clothing—I’m known for being a little late, too, but I’m working on it.
Can hair and makeup be tools for activism? Or are they just about dressing up and having fun?
She Marley Marl: I think it’s different for everybody. I feel extremely liberated when dressing in crazy looks, while others might feel extremely degraded. Like everything I do, I’m always thinking about politics, especially as a Queer WOC, because I have to. I like to think the way I dress inspires others to not conform.
Pauli Cakes: I also think it's very different for everyone—but for me, personally, it is. I never had the courage to express myself the way I wanted to growing up, when I was in a place where I hated myself. In a world that tries to eradicate individuality, making the choice to pick and choose what feels true to you and your physicality is a radical form of activism.
Do you dress up for yourself or others? Or both? If for yourself, what's the best part of getting all dolled up? And if for others, what do you want them to take away from your looks?
Pauli Cakes: It honestly depends—for me, I would be lying if I said I always dress up exclusively for myself. I work a lot of different jobs which require me to role play and project different aspects of myself. Knowing that I could dress up as a million different people, things, spirits or entities and reverberate back to myself at the end of the day is so fulfilling. I hated my physical self for a long time and found it nearly impossible to acknowledge my beauty—in that way, I found it impossible to dress for myself. Acknowledging my self-worth and love makes every look, at the end of the day, for me. I don’t get to determine what I want people to take away from my looks, unless they are paying me for a specific looks. However, I feel a lot of my looks are charged with ideas of resistance. I like incorporating a lot of heavy metal, bold colors, chains and blood into my looks.
What's your favorite part about working together?
She Marley Marl: The laughs. Literally no one makes me laugh harder than Pauli—she's so ridiculously funny. We’ve had so many crazy experiences together that are just so random. Even at meetings, if I look at her in the eyes I’ll just die, because I feel like I instantly know what she’s thinking—it makes me feel like I’m 12 again, about to get separated from my friend because ya’ll being too loud.
Pauli Cakes: Everything. Marley is my favorite person in the world—she literally makes me pee myself laughing. I really trust her judgement and I can't say that for many people—we’re both confident in our ability to heal and change the world, which makes for a beautiful synergy.
What are your go-to tracks to play on a busy club night? A dead night to get the party going?
She Marley Marl: Go-to track is def something from Todd Terry or Ron Hardy, and a banger that will always make people crazy is usually some Baile Funk or Vogue beats. Modern music is something everyone usually loves.
What beauty advice would you have engraved on your tombstone?
Pauli Cakes: ‘You look beautiful when you resist beauty standards which are set to destroy you—and demon semen keeps the wrinkles away.’ I want to get cremated, though!
She Marley Marl: ‘You’re a reflection of what you put into your body. That’s not just food—it’s your relationships, your knowledge and the environment you choose for yourself.’
Follow @officebeautynyc for more of our favorite models, makeup artists and clubland looks.
September 19, 2018
Makeup artist Daniel Sallstrom channels high school cliques at Vaquera S/S '19.
Val Garland: Validated
Not because Garland presented herself as some kind of British Tony Robbins—she speaks in clipped sentences, has a dry sense of humor, and would surely shudder at the comparison—but because she has genuinely put the philosophy into practice, saying yes to every strange opportunity that has come her way and living an extraordinary life as a result.
Garland grew up in the quiet English city of Bristol, dropped out of high school in the 1980s, became a hairdresser, moved to Australia on a whim, opened her own salons, filled in for makeup artists when asked, gave up hairdressing and moved to London (again on a whim), and became one of the most influential figures ever to grace the world of beauty. She specializes in the outlandish, creating alien creatures for the likes of (Lee) Alexander McQueen and Gareth Pugh, and transforming Lady Gaga for her famous horned “Born This Way” look. She has collaborated with every photographer on earth for every glossy imaginable—her personal favorite is the baroque “Good Kate, Bad Kate” cover of W, shot by Steven Klein, which won a National Magazine Award. Her book, Validated, a comprehensive portfolio of her work, came out in October.
Today Garland is the Global Director of L’Oréal Paris, but even with a larger platform and more responsibility than ever, she continues to do what she feels, and say what’s on her mind.
Your adolescence in Bristol coincided with amazing movements in art and culture, like the New Romantics. What are some of your biggest influences from that era?
I think you draw a lot from your past to inspire you. I was influenced by anything to do with the music industry, my porn was Debbie Harry, Toyah, Siouxsie Sioux, Lene Lovich, Annie Lennox, and I was obsessed by David Bowie and Leigh Bowery.
Your aesthetic is always artful and boundary-pushing. From where do you draw inspiration?
I think my brain is like a sponge. I just sort of lap up stuff to think about later. It could be anything, anywhere, things I see, I hear and feel. I could be in the potting shed in the garden rummaging through flower cuttings or equally inspired standing in front of a Ryan Hewett painting. It’s all about music and art, or indeed the very concept of our natural world.
What was it like dropping out of high school to become a hair stylist?
I’ve always been a risk taker. I think my mantra growing up has always been, What if? Why not? If it doesn’t work, pick yourself up and start again. You know, Build a bridge, get over it. That’s the sort of personality that I have. And so, when I was at school, I really wanted to go to university. I always thought I’d love to be a writer, or I’d love to be a journalist because I wanted to travel. I grew up in Bristol, and it was all very lovely and ordinary, girls grew up and they got married and they had children. I just thought, 'Oh, God, that’s so boring. I don’t want to do that. I want to have a career.' So I went to the careers office and I said, 'I want to go to university.' They basically said, 'Well, you don’t really have a hope in hell. You should just get yourself a job. Be an apprentice or something.' And I just thought, You know what? I think this whole system is wrong. You know, telling people that they can’t do something. Why not let them try? And then I was fifteen and I said, 'You know what? I’m leaving school. I’m going. I’m gone. I’m leaving.' So, I walked out of school.
My sister was a hairdresser. She was a very good hairdresser, and I always thought, 'Oh god, I don’t want to be a hairdresser.' But I was walking home, and I didn’t have a job, and I saw this advert in a hairdressing salon for an apprentice, so I thought, 'Well, I’ll start this and then I’ll look and see what other job I can get.' I went in there and I lied, I said, 'I’ve always wanted to be a hairdresser. My sister’s a hairdresser. Give me a job.' And so they did.
I did very well in the hairdressing salon. A year into my apprenticeship, I was doing what the seniors would be doing, except they were paying me an apprenticeship’s wage. I had a full column of clients and I thought, Well, this is easy. But I don’t think I want to do this. I don’t want to do this. I left and tried to become a computer programmer, because they said it was the 'job of the future.' I went through the training, but it was too boring, I couldn’t do it. I handed in my notice on the official first day. And then I went to work as a secretary, which was fine, but I was still bored. During that time I met my future husband and he said, 'You should go back to hairdressing.' And I was like, 'No, no, no.' But he knew these people who ran a really progressive salon, and we got on really well. They did lots of hairdressing shows. They paid by commission, so very quickly I was earning lots of money, traveling around the country doing seminars. Then I got married, and my husband wanted to go live in another country. I thought he was going to say France or New York, and he said, 'Let’s go to Australia.' And I was one of those people, I just said, 'Yes. Okay, let’s go. I’m a hairdresser. Let’s go.' And off we went.
What was Australia like?
Within fourteen months of being in Australia I had my first salon. I started off very small, it was just me and my clientele and gradually I would employ a person, would employ a person, would employ a person. I really loved hairdressing. I had a salon in Perth, I had a salon in Sydney. It was a well talked about salon, because we were very British and we didn’t do normal, boring things. You went there, you heard the latest music, you had the best coffee.
How did you transition into makeup?
I got bullied into being a makeup artist. I did this test shoot as a makeup artist, and I thought that the fashion people were so awful, and they were so mean to me. I was like, 'You know what? I’m gonna stick with running salons. I’m never, ever going to work in fashion.' And it’s hilarious, because here I am. On shoots, my photographer friends would always say, 'You should just do the makeup, Val. Do the makeup as well.' So, one day the makeup artist didn’t turn up, and the photographer said, 'C’mon Val, you’ve gotta do the makeup.' I only had what was in my makeup bag, what I really wore. It’s black for my eyes, red for my lips, and a very pale foundation. But I worked it out. And then those pictures went into a magazine, and then the magazine would ask for that photographer again, and they would ask for me, and then before long I got myself an agent. I had a friend who was in an agency and they said, 'Look, we can get you in.' I think I was just one of those people that was in the right place at the right time. Perhaps it was meant to be, because it fell into place. And then when I left Australia, I divorced my husband, sold the salon, threw a party and said, 'I will never do hair again. I’m going to London. I’m going to London to be a makeup artist.' And that was it, really. I got to London and just sort of worked my bottom off and crawled my way through.
As a makeup artist, you ended up creating looks for some all-time fashion shows. Tell me about the Alexander McQueen Spring 1999 show, where robots covered Shalom Harlow in spray paint.
It was a first-time experience with anything like that at the shows. So, none of us that were working on the show knew exactly how the robots were going to work, or what they were going to do, or how it would look on Shalom. You know, how the paint would spray. So, it was all kept very secret and in the dark. We all saw it for the first time at the show. You know the way the paint actually sprayed up and sort of went across her skin? I thought that was a beautiful moment. We were also working with Aimee Mullins, an Olympic athlete who had prosthetic legs. It was incredible to see the workmanship that had gone into these wooden legs — they were like wooden boots that Lee made for her. That was an amazing moment. Working with Lee was always exciting and incredibly emotional. But nothing could compare to the Harlow moment because nobody’d every seen anything like that before and it was so simple, and yet so profound and so memorable.
The beauty you created for McQueen Spring 2001, the Voss collection, was also incredible. The models were presented as futuristic mental patients — how did you conceptualize your approach for that?
Lee always liked the extreme, and yet he always liked the skin to look more than just moisture on skin or a white face. He wanted it to feel hyperreal. AIs weren’t bandied about then as a concept, but he liked the idea of futurism. I called the makeup for the show 'Botox Beauty.' Botox was just beginning then, where people were just starting to get injectables. And I wanted to create this skin that looked like it was polished, airbrushed, slightly plasticized. It was perfect. Also, I wanted to make the girls feel like they were super-beings. So, I created this makeup that would bleach their eyebrows, and I used tape to stretch their eyes, pull their cheeks, pull their necks back. So, their faces were quite stretched, and then sort of in light and shade through the socket lines and eyes. We were highlighting and contouring then, but it wasn’t a trend. It was something that makeup artists would do, and have been doing for all time. So, then I sort of paled down the lips a little bit. I wanted them to look quite haunted and a little bit mad. It was like the girls were in an asylum box, and so I wanted there to be a tension about their skin. Another reason why I wanted to stretch the skin and then get this kind of rush of flush through the cheeks, is so that they would be kind of like, 'Oh, is she a little bit angry? Or is she a little bit excited?' She became a strange being.
Being in London in the ‘90s and early 2000s, with all these brilliant, creative people — the clubbing must have been fantastic. Do you have any stories from that era?
If you can remember it, you weren’t there.
'Validated' is out now.
Photo courtesy of the artist.
April 29, 2018
Look and Listen: Kelsey Lu
From skincare to the Spice Girls— the singer gives her notes on beauty.
October 04, 2018
Model Aweng Chuol opens up about her journey—and gives us a few beauty tips she learned along the way.
office had the chance to catch up with Vatel post-Halloween to talk all about all of her inspirations and looks from pastels to piercings, glam to goth.
What was your first experience with makeup?
Initially, I would use it to hide myself and appear more pleasing to my classmates. When I was younger, I would take my mom’s mascara and bright red lipstick and apply it on the bus stop before school.
You live in Orlando. What are some looks that you think are signature to Florida?
I would say any look that’s revealing and risqué would definitely be a signature for Orlando, primarily because of the heat down here in central Florida.
Each of your makeup looks is so different from the next—what inspires each look?
Usually, it’s colors I see in my everyday life or my emotions, or representation of myself that day. I also look at logos, shapes and patterns.
If you could do anybody’s makeup whose would you do and what would it look like?
Honestly, I don’t have a desire to do anyone else’s makeup—I feel like everyone needs to find their own sense of self and elaborate on that as they find themselves and grow.
What’s your all-time favorite look you’ve created?
It’s hard to pick! I think some of my oldest looks are my favorite, especially the colorful yet oddly ‘ugly’ type of looks.
What’s one current trend that you wish would go out of style?
The ‘I should dress like everyone else in order to fit in’ trend.
What’s the scariest Halloween costume you can think of?
What I looked like when I was 13—yikes.
April 07, 2017
The beautiful Katie Moore
Part girl next door. Part international fashion muse. All beauty.
June 26, 2017
Coconut Oil & Chanel
Dominican model Chanel De Leon Gomez talks beauty secrets & idols.