Rare Select Models 5 Question Hot Seat: PXSSY PALCE GIRLS
HOW DID PP START?
S: It started with us in all living with lots of cats and kittens and we realised we wanted to take control of our party situation and have house parties. We realised there weren't many places where, 1 we could feel safe, and 2 where we could bring our queer and trans friends. There weren’t very appropriate environments and we wanted to create that for ourselves and still play hip hop and that kind of music where we could have fun, because we weren't having fun. We were sacrificing a lot, spending money and not having a good time; some of us getting assaulted or some sort of issue, and it was usually to do with toxic masculinity in club spaces.
N: It was born out of frustration, we had to learn a lot on the way. It wasn't like ‘oh hey, we want to start a club night, let’s do it’ it was never like that at all. It was a name for the house, and the parties we were having. As PP grew, we grew with it.
K: Yeah we also definitely learnt from our community and the people that came to the parties. The first time is never right, and so we definitely learnt from our experiences.
M: I don't think there’s any party like PP. Especially for trans people it’s really nice to just go out, and it not be about gender, just going out and celebrating your femininity, or not.
If you had to think of 5 adjectives to describe Pussy Palace what would it be?
Have any of you thought about modelling in the past, if so what stopped you/already a model what has been your experience positive or negative?
S: I used to model a lot when I was younger, and I hated it. I got complaints about my size when I weighed about 7 stone. I never enjoyed the way photographers / stylists spoke about models, objectifying them and not treating them like humans. I know it’s a lot better today, but it’s also incredibly white washed, and they use diversity as a marketing tool which is fucking completely uncool. A lot more needs to happen, but it’s happening at least.
N: When I was like 16/17, I knew I wanted to get into fashion somehow, and at that age I was pretty confident and always wanted to maybe be a model, but I never ever saw a South Asian model ever, like ever, and also I was always small so it felt like something that was completely out of reach for me. There is a little more of an Asian representation, but still very very poor. East and South Asian representation in the fashion industry is really bad. I’d like to see a lot more of that you know, more of me out there!
M: I don’t really see myself as a model, I know a lot of the work I do is technically seen as modelling, but its more about providing visibility for other girls like me, because there wasn't any visibility when I was growing up. It’s nice to see yourself in imagery that’s aspirational, it’s a nice feeling to see yourself out there in any form. That's primarily what I do, and its’ fun. It can be damaging to a certain extent, so I see my involvement to make it more of fashion industry that I want to see rather than what is out there.
K: I’m not a model, but it’s a fun thing to do on the side, especially when working with friends. It’s quite fun to play around with the camera and create things, and it can make you feel sexy inside. In the industry today there’s a lot of tokenism, and that can be quite uncomfortable. Especially when we get casting calls, not particularly for me and my reality, but definitely for our friends, and now we see that changing. With British Vogue there’s like a new wave and it seems very much more positive.
N: Because sometimes they’re not looking at you, they’re looking at the product. We've been getting casting through and seeing what they're looking for: dark skin girl, trans girl, non binary, POC, shaved head, you know, just really trying to pin point the things that fit into their quota and it just makes me feel really uncomfortable but at the same time representation matters, but it’s a double edged sword. Representation matters, but at what cost?
K: I think at times it’s what the general status quo is saying. I've never seen a Tibetan model ever, and we actually get Chinese people representing Tibetan models which is problematic in itself - and white people as well. There’s so many things that people get wrong.
N: There’s too many white and straight men, and too many men involved in all these things. All these little nuances get missed that affects us.
Who are your favourite models (male and/or female) in the fashion industry and why?
S: I absolutely love @duckieofficial. She's absolutely breathtakingly stunning. Pretty much everything she's been involved with has been so great and fashiony but tasteful and rock and roll, and pushing the edge.
N: I love Jazelle. @uglyworldwide. She's just true to herself, she does not give a fuck. She's always been that club kid and nothing has changed. She can do anything and can make it look sexy and beautiful and intense. It’s nice to see something original, you don't see a lot of originality these days.
K: I like @slickwoods because I fucking like her attitude
M: Leomie Anderson, just because she's really amazing, she's awesome. I like her message, like she looks amazing, and she’s also reppin’ it for the darkskin girls. She's gorgeous.
If there is anything you could change in the modelling industry what it would be, why and how?
N: More marginalised communities in control of what they’re putting out. If you go to @POC_london, they have this great triangle which is ‘how progressive is your film?’ and its representation in front of the camera, representation behind the camera and post production, so it’s not like using people as a prop. I think marginalised communities like women, POC, trans people need to be more in control of what they're producing, and I think what you would end up seeing, if that was available, is something much more progressive. If you give those marginalised communities complete control I think you'd see something really ground breaking, and something we've never seen before.
Photography: Sara Ahmad