Shebam! pow! blop! wizz!
One thing you might know about me is that I like a good, open, challenging conversation. The bigger, the deeper the subject is, the better. It sometimes feels like the world we evolve in is so shallow and fast… we don’t have time, we need time, we don’t understand, we don’t really try to, we judge mindlessly, we consume ignorantly. Life seems shallow when in fact, it’s so complex and the only reason it appears shallow is because we choose voluntarily not to seek the depth in it and ask ourselves certain questions. And you might never get any answers if you never verbalize the questions themselves. So why live in ignorance? Why choose not to ask things and leave so much ununderstood or misinterpreted? The answers might not be something you expected, it might not be something you would like, it might not even be the right answer. But the question might open new ones. It is an endless eye opening quest. I believe curiosity is the most beautiful human quality and when we loose our curiosity we fall into the contempt of what we already know. And when that happens, we often fall into close mindedness and eventually… ignorance.
Ignorance to me, is the most fearful thing. Why? Because ignorance leads often to intolerance and hatred. But we can’t understand everything and everyone can’t we? I am eternally grateful for the opportunities having a blog brought into my life. First of all, reading all of your comments is always so interesting. You all have such different opinions and perspectives. And though you often agree and/or disagree on the same things, there is always a fascinating diversity of messages. Because of course, we all have an awareness of what’s good or bad, what’s beautiful or not. Some can find beauty where others might not but we all have an idea of what it is, because we feel it. Very few would say for example that a clear blue sky isn’t beautiful, or that flowers are ugly. But you’ll always find some going against public opinion. Reading your thoughts, and you might know that I actually… read all of them, made me understand something very important : none of us is right or wrong. We all have our perspective on things and our words and thoughts come from a specific place that depends on your education, our beliefs, our values, our families, or even our country. And this is why our generation is so open minded and informed. With the explosion of internet and social media, it is hard to stay in the ignorance when our opinions are constantly challenged by videos, articles, pictures, provoking our perceptions and shaking up our beliefs.
Traveling was another aspect that allowed me to understand that what we might experience in Europe or even in the United States, can be completely different elsewhere. Even having to travel so often between France and California, I noticed that the cultural differences are almost quite chocking at times. We grew up on different books, different movies, different foods, and all of this leads to having different ways of living, of thinking, of interacting… And yet with globalization and this impression of accessibility at the tip of our fingers with the internet, it seems like we are all slowly shifting into becoming citizens of the world. There is a consciousness of public opinion that’s extremely present. An awareness that I know my parents didn’t experience growing up. One of the weird things I love doing just for analysis purposes is read the comments under random Youtube videos. And sometimes the strangest comments will hit my curiosity : how could someone write that? Why? Where did this thought come from or even what led this person to willingly manifest this thought? So of course, I am not even french, or american, or swiss as a matter of fact. I was born in Belarus. Do you think I consider myself Belorussian? Man… I don’t even know. I grew up there from age 0-5. I couldn’t even describe the city anymore. What I know is that I have the weirdest cultural mix and thus, I don’t want to attach my identity too much to cultural belongings. Instead, I prefer human comprehension on a global level. Because in the end, no matter where we come from we all experience love, fear, doubt, pain, happiness. Our actions are often triggered by the same things and we all have much more in common that we might think.
When I post something on my social media, I always have somewhere in a corner of my brain an idea of what the comments might say. I can even predict when the comments will get spicy. So the choice is to please the crowd, or challenge it. I’ve had a very interesting journey throughout blogging. And everyday, I feel like I am learning something new. When I began posting, I was still figuring out what the hell I was doing and what I could use this blog for. I didn’t have at all an expectation that blogging could lead to career opportunities or eventually become a career. I was in high school, homework and boys were mainly my preoccupations. But then all of a sudden, these emails starting coming in, the comments, the features, the numbers. I was 17 and still trying to figure out who the hell I was and what I was supposed to do out of my life. Internet became an escape, the blog a canvas, a chance for my ideas to materialize and exist. My first couple of articles were slightly experimental. Especially that white backdrop, Kayture written in black on my lips editorial that got a lot of people talking. But then eventually I did realize that what brought in most people on the blog were simpler topics and more accessible/relatable pictures. So needless to say, I am sure maybe 25-30% of you guys went as far as reading this second paragraph but, let me keep going. I promise we are onto something here.
In a lifetime, we all go through various phases in search of ourselves. I mean, I surely did. When I was 15 I was in love with the lead singer of an emo rock band and was sure I was going to end up married to him one day. Like… SURE about it. Long story short, I actually ended up meting him a few months ago randomly in a bar in L.A and he likes make-up and boys just as much as I do. So, at least we bonded over that. Usually when I tell this story to people, they look at me with big eyes, “wait you? in black leather and studs from head to toe waiting outside of a rock concert for 4 hours?”. And that’s just a small bit of the story… if we ever meet in person I’ll tell you the whole thing. But yes, me. And then somehow, I ended up becoming the girliest version of myself two years ago, wearing the cutest dresses and having at least one picture of flowers and macarons every week on my Instagram. And that’s truly what I was at a certain point. I was focused on satisfying the demand I was seeing on my social media, feeding the idea that people wanted to have of me : a good girl, who started from nothing and worked hard, healthy, cute and sweet. I didn’t want to disappoint anyone… And felt a responsibility to be and remain this person for some to look up to. And there’s nothing wrong with that, actually it’s pretty awesome too. However, I started to feel like I was stuck in this preconception people had of me. I felt like I couldn’t be sad, provocative or embrace my darker side. Because that’s not what I was supposed to do or what people wanted me to do. Yes, I wanted Kayture to be a bubble of positivity, an inspirational, uplifting escape. But it made me feel at times like I was becoming a one sided character, limiting myself to the portrayal and expression of only one layer of my personality.
This works when you have a brand, for example, we know that when we go to Disneyland it’ll be a bundle of joy and magic. That’s why we go there. But it doesn’t really work like that with a human being, because we can’t be happy and positive all the time. It is simply not possible. And choosing to close our eyes to the flip side of the coin is a missed chance to exploit the beauty that comes with it. I believe that’s also why a lot of celebrities freak out at a certain point of their lives, look at Britney or Miley Cyrus : they became walking brands, known for certain attributes and restricted to only these. It is the responsibility that comes with fame and the idolization of a pop idol. Always sexy, or always happy. And we don’t want to see anything else coming from them. We don’t want to see them get all different all of a sudden. We’ll loose the idol we used to love to much. So one shaved her head (I love you Britney) and one licked a hammer. Pretty drastic messages. So… When will we stop putting people in boxes?
No matter how I felt, or where I was mentally in my life, I feel like I would always try to express myself on things that bothered or revolted me. Whether it was with my friends or through subtle allusions in my texts. But you guys will agree that I wasn’t really writing such long, hopefully transparent articles two years ago. A lot of what I’m saying here today, I used to be afraid to express it. I’d feel like nobody would read it, or care… Or that it would contradict my positive image. Who wants to hear a girly fashionista talk about life? My intention at the time was there, and it was good : spread positivity. But by willing to only project that, I resigned to what I actually dislike most, shallowness and superficiality. Of course, fashion industry often comes with it. When you continuously talk about clothes, brands, luxury, it kind of comes along. And it’s no news. So you might have noticed recently that I rarely write the name of the brands I wear, that I don’t have my Reward Style affiliation links all over my articles or that I don’t really care as much about wearing designer pieces as often. Don’t get me wrong, I still have a tremendous love for fashion and next week, I’m off to Paris for couture fashion week. I don’t want you to think I’m hypocrite or something. I just want to have a real talk. What I want to share now is a bit different. I truly wish I, you, us could be continuously challenged and never give up on becoming better, whatever that subjectively might mean.
Staying ourselves is probably one of the biggest battles we’ll face in our life. I definitely try and I am lucky to have some friends with real balls. You’ll excuse the term. As soon as I start bullshiting them, they’ll confront me like you have no idea. Eventually, everything I was holding back in order to keep my content as positive as possible, I started pouring it into my music. My music was dark as hell and I was wondering where all that would come from? I was craving depth and introspection. I felt the need to use pain, doubt, fear and embrace it all as an honest part of my humanity. Because what are we without it? You know, in L.A, there is such a high pressure to be successful, to be cool, that a lot of people fake the idea of being happy. Very few will admit that they struggle or that they are afraid. While in Paris for example, people are tremendously driven by melancholy, by sadness, by complaint. So being faced to this constant contrast, I progressively started separating these two aspects of my personality and many of my editorials and even video projects began exploring this idea of Alter Ego, of duality, like for example my project with Mugler.
So one day, I was ready for it. I needed to manifest and exteriorize what I felt like inside. One thing lead to another and I decided to dye my hair dark. As they say, new hair, new woman. It was very symbolical to me, and a way to express this beginning of a new shift. As soon as I came out of the hair salon, I felt like I was a new person and a sudden breath of fresh air came into me. That’s also when my content started changing a bit. I wanted to challenge myself and hopefully my community to something new, just slightly different. A tiny less overly self centered and a bit more creative. At least that was the intention. It began of course with some music content, then some experimental shots. And a lot of it, pretty much, got an unbelievable ammount of negative response…
…That I expected.
Partly because I know, how pissed we get when the packaging of our favorite cookie brand changes. Even if it might be subjectively “better”, we still preferred the old one. Because that’s what we were used to. I felt like a cookie box. There is without a doubt an objectification of people on social media as we give “brand” attributes to people we follow. So you want to get what you expect. Just like when you buy a treat. It seemed to me that what was inside didn’t ever change, just the way of presenting it. So were you guys wrong or right? There is no correct answer. I tried embracing the comments and eventually took it as actually something empowering. I don’t mind loosing followers, or likes, or whatsoever in order to stay honest. And indeed, many started following me for a reason, they liked the style, the good girl image and that’s not what they saw anymore. I guess the smoking picture was a big turning point. I guess part of me posting it wanted to get a confirmation of my expectations. I knew that the comment section would get crazy. In France we tend to minimize the negative repercussions of nicotine. When I tell my friends in Paris that I don’t really smoke, they look at me like I’m some kind of nun. As much as I don’t encourage smoking, I love the artistic representation of the cigaret in pop culture. You are willingly endangering yourself and there’s something very controversial yet provoking in that. My will with this picture was I guess to show this other version of myself, this alter ego to open minds to a new idea of who I was and break this good girl preconception.
I am not saying I am a bad girl all of a sudden. In fact, I am very much an overall good girl, with at times (quite often actually) rebellious tendencies. I don’t like playing by the rules, I like seeking paths that were untaken. It makes me feel alive. We all have some “bad” in ourselves, otherwise the good wouldn’t exist. It’s like in virgin suicides, the girls are brought up in a way to avoid any rebellious temptations… but they end up killing themselves. At least that’s what I remember of the story. Of course, I am making an extreme comparison. But it is I believe unhealthy to be plastic good. There’s nothing wrong with feeling sad, feeling rebellious, wanting to break norms. Especially when you’re a creative. It is a way to innovate, to push limits, to open new doors. I believe that it is so important to let loose and experiment. Most of my favorite artists, writers, movie directors, photographers are all in the provocation. Because as much as provocation might divide the crowd, some might hate, some might love, it will get us all to talk, to debate and whether we want it or not, it will lead us to self interrogation and perhaps even new perspectives. Think about Baudelaire and how risky it was a the time to release a book called “The Flowers of Evil”, or Stanley Kubrick when Clockwork Orange was released? Not mentioning the work of Steven Klein or Cindy Sherman… All these artists that have made they career on provocation but have marked a generation through a new, different way of thinking and seeing. And yet somehow “Twilight” or “Fifty Shades of Grey” managed to get even more commercial success and attention… When I feel like you actually learn much more by reading “The Alchemist” by Coelho instead.
With all of this being said, and I might repeat what I said on Instagram, but for me, there is nothing more important that not limiting ourselves, or others. Because by doing so, we openly diminish our freedom and restrict our opportunities to fully be. I can’t express enough the importance of staying true to yourself by getting out of your comfort zone and being open. We will all, always be different. And that’s the beauty of human diversity. We will all have different opinions and perspectives, and that’s fine. But by sharing perspectives with each other, we can come to a bigger understanding of life too. As long as we stay curious and open, knowing that there is rarely a right or wrong (excluding moral and immoral acts/opinions). There are some universal facts, hurting someone for the pain, for the torture is wrong, helping someone for the good, the progression is good. Other than that, I think we evolve in pretty much a gray zone don’t you think? Conformity is a very scary thing. We don’t want to end up in a society like in Equilibrium where we take drugs to cut our human emotions in order to all become the same, like robots and serve society. Think about communist, it isn’t healthy to all be on the same page, it is a way of restricting freedom and take away from life’s opportunities. Some intentions of course could have been considered as “good”, going into this subject would probably take me 3 more articles to talk about, but overall, I believe diversity and tolerance are tremendously important to lead a full, heartfelt life. Of course, I am speaking here from my perspective, from the things I’ve learned so far in my life, my opinions might change, but I hope not to speak from a place of ignorance or naivety.
So as I creator, I challenge myself to create things that’ll surprise and entertain you. It is also more pleasing and fun for me. And today is typically an editorial that I am so excited to share. I grew up on comic books and I can’t express how much I love super heroes. I got to creatively direct and edit this whole shoot photographed by the unbelievable Cibelle Levi. This girl just kills it each time and it’s so much fun working with her. We both are willing to push limits and make new things out of nothing. I cannot wait to have your feedback and know what you all think of these shots. I am still thinking of what my comic book name would be like… Baby Blue sounds like a good like a good start. Sweet on the outside, sour on the inside ;) x
PHOTOGRAPHY : Cibelle Levi
STYLING / MAKE-UP / EDITS / : Yours truly