When I stumbled on Chelsea Rae's Instagram feed (@chelseamander), I desperately wanted to jump inside my phone screen and become a part of her retro, candy-colored universe. With her thick black cat eye makeup and magical, ever-changing hair, she's the perfect combination of vintage class and modern pluck.
Since I couldn't just fade into her technicolor, flower power aesthetic, I clumsily tried to imitate it myself. Chelsea influenced me to try my hand at heavy eye makeup (an unsuccessful pursuit) and to make my own Instagram feed more colorful. This endeavor was perhaps more successful, but I thought that maybe I could execute it better if I found out more about Chelsea's own influences and obsessions.
But, even though her responses to my questions were articulate and forceful, it dawned on me that what I respect most about Chelsea is that, like most of the other people I interview for Hype, she is always unflinchingly herself, and she inspires me to do the same.
Who are your biggest inspirations?
I have always been inspired by those who dress loudly and live unapologetically, whether they be real people or fictional characters. Lady Miss Kier, Hedwig Schmidt, the Club Kid movement in the late 80's/early 90's, Pamela Des Barres & her GTOs, John Waters & his crew of Dreamlanders; the list could go on forever. I am also forever inspired by the infinite amount of stylish people I come across online everyday. And back in the days of Tumblr (almost 10 years ago now!) seeing other girls from all over the world who also had crazy hair and weird style inspired and helped me to feel more comfortable dressing the way I wanted to. It may sound cheesy but I attribute a lot of the confidence & style I have today to seeing that as a teen, and I hope that I can do the same for others!
What are you currently obsessed with?
Shredding sweaters and making earrings out of anything I can find.
What's something you've always wanted to do but haven't yet?
Well step one I need to learn how to drive first, but I would love to go on a solo road trip, literally to where ever. No schedule or time restrictions, just me thrifting, stopping wherever I wanted to to explore, snap photos, make friends with the locals.
If you were a cartoon character, what outfit would you wear?
A floral mini dress & go-go boots.
What's been your best vintage find?
I've been thrifting since I was a little kid, so there have been a lot over the years! One time I found volumes 1-4 of Nightmare the board game (if you don't know what that is, look it up its amazing). Another time I found a rubber Dennis Rodman mask and I DIDN'T buy it and I regret it everyday. I also managed to thrift the entire Spice Girls doll collection over the years, plus the concert collection. My most prized thrifted item of clothing would be my Moffatts t-shirt (a 90's Canadian boy band). It is worthless to most people but its been my favourite shirt since I was 12 and I still wear it all the time!
Would you want to live in a different time period? If so, when would you want to live?
If given the chance I would love to. This may be the most cliche answer ever but of course I would go back to California in the mid 1960's, where I would work as a go-go dancer. And then make the move to New York in the late 60's just in time to catch the end of Warhol's factory days & the beginning of the punk scene!