Art Film Music

Troye Sivan, Rachel Sennott, Chance the Rapper, and More on The Rollercoaster of Emotions That Comes With Exposure

Portrait of Chance the Rapper by Philip-Daniel Ducasse.

Artist Theaster Gates x Musician and Producer Chance the Rapper

Chance the Rapper on celebrity: “That’s the issue with being an entertainer: when you’re symbolic, you become commodified. People need you for a specific reason and stepping outside of that can cause dissonance. Celebrities are put into these frozen images of themselves that people identify with—which is great—but then they become tied to them. Great artists are always themselves. You have to remember that the audience isn’t one specific person. At the end of the day, you still have to create, and you still have to share. That is our gift.”

Actors Dianna Agron x Rachel Sennott

Rachel Sennott on stand-up: “You invite your friends. But you get there, and it's people on a roof, sitting in a kiddie pool in bikinis. You're like, ‘What did I sign up for?’ The mic is really falling apart. But then, if you can turn something like that into a fun night, then it feels like you've done something. Or if you’re doing a show every day, you’re going to have a day where you’re like, 'I don't feel like my best self.' And then you have to turn it around. When you can, that feels incredible because you're like, 'I rose from the ashes, I pulled off a show.'”

Actor and Model Hari Nef x Musician Troye Sivan

Troye Sivan on getting past self-consciousness: “When I was making the 'Bloom' music video, Jacob Bixenman was creative directing me, unofficially, and he saw something in me that excited but also completely terrified me. I was surprised by how self-conscious I became when I put on my first look for that project. There are a few makeup products that push me to a point where I feel like another person, or that reveal a facet of myself that I was unaware of previously. I put on mascara and lipstick, and all of a sudden, she’s present. In that moment, I felt terrified of myself, like I was 12 years old again. The second we started rolling, I felt better than I ever have in my life. It was because all these incredible people—Jacob, Bardia [Zeinali, director], James Kaliardos [makeup artist]—saw something in me that I was deathly afraid of.”

Portrait of Drake Carr. Image courtesy of the artist.

Artists Drake Carr x Catherine Mulligan

Drake Carr on being categorized: “When people talk about my work, they are usually like, 'It's so ‘80s,' and I totally get it. But I'm not actually trying to talk about the ‘80s, really. Also, being a gay guy and drawing gay drawings, it's like gay ‘80s equals AIDS. People get stuck at the doorway and then they don't go further into it, and maybe that's my fault. I try to not get too hung up on it. What can you do?”

Comedians and Writers Samantha Irby x Pat Regan

Samantha Irby on releasing a book: “My tried and true rule, and everyone who writes about themselves should adopt this, is if you couldn't handle it being on the news, don't put it out in the world. The shit that resonates with people, or that they remember, you never know. People will come up to you and be like, ‘You know that time you wrote about getting fucked brutally in the ass while trying to make a phone call?’”

Artist and Poet Precious Okoyomon x Actor Quintessa Swindell

Precious Okoyomon on theater: “I wrote and directed a play a couple of years ago—this invocation of the end of the world that I worked on with the curator Claude Adjil at Serpentine Galleries. When we started rehearsing, I realized I had this fear of putting my poems into the bodies of other people. On some level, of course, that’s how writing always functions—but most of the time there’s this amazing unknowable distance between you and the reader. Actually watching actors give their bodies over to my poems sort of scared me.”

Portrait of Shygirl by Rachel Fleminger Hudson.

Musician Shygirl x Playwright Jeremy O. Harris

Shygirl on being a queer musician: “I’ve never really spoken about my queer identity. My music and the visual landscape that I created speak for me, you know? I like that I’ve accurately represented myself in my work without having to explain too much. For me, art should be left for the audience to engage with—and I put my body, my whole being, into it. I’ve let myself be interpreted as the audience decides.”

Artists and Musicians Martine Syms x Ben Babbitt

Ben Babbitt on concerts: “Performing is like a hybrid of fixed, pre-composed stuff that I’ve spent tons of time on. But even if you’re playing something that’s fully baked, stuff still goes wrong onstage in front of an audience. Even just the way it feels, the vulnerability of being seen, I’m not really one of those people who feeds off that attention. When I’m performing, I wanna feel some kind of visceral catharsis, right? But at the same time, I have a laptop onstage with me, which can make me feel trapped—it’s a delicate environment where, if you flick the mouse wrong, you can fuck everything up.”