So the past music you put out, did you have control over those?
I had control with “One.” Even though it didn’t sell a lot of copies or become platinum or gold or whatever, I think it did a good job. People still talk about it. I still love “One,” it’s just that I’ve moved on from doing “One.” Visually, that video was supposed to be very clean and stuff, but that doesn’t mean that I look like that all the time.“Red Lips” is what I’ve looked like my whole life. I was always a bit messy. [Laughs.] I feel like I’m a lot more tamed and less grungy than I was before, when I was younger.
You came out at such a young age.
I can make the best song in the world and I still feel like I won’t get credit for it. [Critics] will still be like, 'It’s good, but it’s good for her.'
That’s the thing. People are like, “She looks different.” Well, I’m almost twenty years old, and I came out when I was fifteen. Things don’t happen overnight and I’m aware of that. This video was kind of to start getting back out there with music. It wasn’t for YouTube hype or to become a “thing.” If it did become one, then fine. I don’t know what will become of it, but it was kind of just to get started again. I’m a young adult being compared to a tween.
When you came out, you already had this kind of provocative image. We see that people always get riled up over, say, a transformation like Miley Cyrus made.
There’s never really this good girl gone bad type of situation. I was actually a lot more sexual when I was younger than I am now.
How do you deal with people who criticize you for being so young and doing that?
I mean, that’s what people my age are doing. I’m not saying all of them are, but if you don’t have sex, you’re called a “prude” and if you do have sex, you’re called a “slut.” That’s how people act, to be honest, with young teenage girls, at least that’s what I’ve noticed. Like in high school, that’s how it was.
I remember being the last girl who did anything with a guy, like I didn’t kiss a guy until I was in the end of eighth grade or something. I was about to be fourteen and everyone else had kissed guys before me so I was constantly made fun of for it. Then I came out with, “Sex Rules.” I guess that’s not the best example. [Laughs.]
People who don’t realize that you’re putting out music know you as this young Hollywood model/socialite kind of person. Do you feel like you’re being pigeonholed?
Yeah. I feel like I’m not taken seriously for that reason. I had to model for money because I wasn’t making money in music. I had the opportunity to do it, so I took it. I got to work with amazing people while doing it and I got a music video out of it from Terry Richardson, you know? [Laughs.] That’s kind of what’s weird about that because I can make the best song in the world and I still feel like I won’t get credit for it. [Critics] will still be like “It’s good, but it’s good for her,” with a very passive-aggressive undertone to it. It always comes down to what I look like. They say, “Oh she’s like a singing model” or something, when I was actually a singer first.
Since you did start off as a singer, how did the modeling thing even come about? You’ve worked with Calvin Klein and really big designers.
I don’t really know. Like my whole life I’ve always been told that I’m ugly, so I grew up my whole entire life ugly and I still kind of think I’m ugly. So, the modeling thing is kind of weird.
Also, because I’m not tall. I mean, I about like 5’8 now; I grew like four inches in a year. [Laughs.] But I was like 5’2 when I started. My first real editorial was with Rankin. That’s how I met him. It was for Dazed and Confused and it was a ten-page spread or something. So I started to get work from that and then I did the Tommy Hilfiger campaign, but it was only in Europe. I think the Calvin Klein thing really took it to another level with Steven Meisel. I did three campaigns for CK One and that kind of put me on the map with fashion stuff. And then I started shooting with Hedi Slimane and Terry Richardson, but Terry was more like a mutual friend.
Speaking of Terry Richardson, you’ve mentioned that you’re getting a lot of negative comments and criticism regarding the video.
Yeah. I can deal with the criticism because everyone on the Internet is entitled to their own opinion and be critics even if they’re not. But I do mind that they say Terry Richardson raped me or that we slept together because that’s not cool. It’s not funny, it’s not witty, there’s nothing funny about it. Also he’s my friend and he’s never acted weird towards me at all or hit on me. I don’t know what’s happened with other people but he’s a professional. He works with people constantly. Is Lady Gaga being told she was raped by Terry Richardson? Probably not.
It’s just funny that it’s always like a double standard for some people and they just assume that I had sex with Terry Richardson for the video because I’m in my underwear, like it was creepy or something. But it wasn’t creepy, and also my boyfriend was sitting there. [Laughs.] Terry is a big supporter and he’s a really nice guy. I wouldn’t let anyone say that about my friend or any friend of mine, you know? It’s a really sensitive subject because I don’t know the whole thing with him and what happened. But I’ve never had that experience, so it’s not fair for people to tell me I have.
Do you think Lady Gaga doesn’t get this stuff because she’s primarily known as a singer and she doesn’t have the peg of being a young model like yourself?
Yeah, I guess so. At the end of the day, I’ve been a huge fan of his work, so that’s why I did the video with him. I guess because I’m younger, too, people will just go off of that and because I give off the whole “hipster” thing. Also, I guess I look really young, even though I’m almost 20. I mean, 20 is still really young but it’s not like I’m 16 and doing this.