PHOTOGRAPHY EVAN BROWNING @evanbrowning
INTERVIEW BECK DIAZ @hypebeck JESPER GUDBERGSEN @yessirjesper
STYLIST TYLER OKUNS @tyleeresosa
HAIRSTYLIST AMY FARID @therealamyfarid @honeyartists
MAKEUPARTIST ERNEST ROBINSON @_ern.3st
PRODUCTION NADJA LA COUR @nadjalacour
Where are you at right now in your creative journey ?
Currently, I’m actually in a really weird space. Don’t we all have those moments though? I’m in the process of getting my mind together to fully comprehend that what I want to achieve isn’t going to happen overnight. What I am doing is what I love to do. I’m trying to focus on that and be in the moment instead of focusing on where I think I should be. I’m focused on my art and making sure that I’m delivering my best. We all get caught up in comparing and contrasting ourselves to others. It’s so easy to get distracted. I needed to have some control so I decided to reorganize my instagram, and in that, created my own algorithm. This way, the only things I see and share are my art, skating, and film-related stuff. I’ve submerged myself in my art so that I can produce really good work.
What’s the biggest thing you compare yourself to when you’re getting sucked into the vortex of social media – and how do you flip that ? What’s your biggest feeling of success?
We all get caught up in our different takes on what we think success is – even if it doesn’t relate to anything we’re doing. I think what challenges me in that moment changes shape all the time, it comes in different forms. I’m focused on breaking down that urge entirely. As far as a feeling of success? (I’m working on being nicer to myself, so this is actually a nice question.) I would say that my consistency in DJing is my success. As creatives, we often get fascinated by many different things, so I’m proud that I stuck with that. I do tend to be hard on myself and it’s hard for me to keep going at something new… Another thing I’m really proud of as well is being on the show (HBO’s “Betty”), I’ve worked really hard on that and taken acting classes, looking for different public film events to participate in – extracurricular stuff, you know? I’m proud of doing that for myself.
Being part of a wildly successful show on HBO, constantly DJing, being a part of the Skate Kitchen – you’re doing all this, yet you live a pretty normal life. Almost as if you have one foot in the limelight, one foot out. Do you ever feel like you’re struggling with imposter syndrome?
Yeah, I do. I try not to focus on it too much because it makes me worry about how I’m supposed to be perceived. I don’t feel like I should be spending the energy on creating some type of persona, I would rather be using that energy on creating actual good work. I remind myself that it’s part of the journey I’m on right now. Being in the spotlight is not something I’m fighting.
As young creatives in New York, we run in circles where most of us are in this similar place of being “in between”. Again, one foot in the door, and the other still hustling and struggling. Does this relate to what you mentioned before – how it’s hard to be kind to yourself?
I think it definitely strings back to that. Am I doing everything to the best of my ability? Am I living up to my full potential? Am I moving in the direction I want so I can bring my whole self in on this side – or am I stagnant? I consider those things constantly and that makes it hard to be kind to myself. I also want to make sure that I’m making the most of my time and that the time I have put into something is not in vain.
Do you do certain things to put time aside for just yourself ?
I make sure to get nice coffee and make myself cookies at night! I like sweet stuff, random walks in Central Park, getting my nails done, a new perfume… I try to treat myself with things like that.
What was it like to go from a group of friends who loved skating together, to being in first a film, then being cast in a successful show with the whole world watching you?
I think we were all just really excited. It felt like the Naked Brothers band! Having fun, being weird, going to all these crazy places… It was cool because I was in a circle of people I felt comfortable with. I wasn’t moving into something new and unknown by myself. It all happened so quickly that I don’t think any of us really understood what was going on. We couldn’t see ourselves. The projection of Skate Kitchen led to so many young girls DMing us about how they were inspired by us and started skating because of us… It wasn’t until years later that we fully understood what that meant. It was a little shocking but we were able to handle it because we were all together, so I’m very grateful for that.
As you mention, you all have had such an impact on the skate community of women and girls. Has that ever felt like a huge responsibility – and can you tell me a story of someone you’ve connected with from this experience?
I don’t think we ever felt a lot of pressure in the past. If anything it feels like it’s heating up now. We’re in such a different space, we aren’t skating everyday like when we were fresh out of high school, our lives have different responsibilities now. We don’t all hang out constantly in the same way. Back then, we were happy to be doing what we loved, inspiring people along the way. There’s a new pressure now to keep Skate Kitchen, I don’t want to say ‘relevant’, but to figure out how to keep inspiring people in the place we are in now. Managing our schedules and making time for that is the current pressure. In terms of connections, I’ve made so many meaningful connections over the years through my platform. What comes to mind is a girl from Jamaica named Kayla who reached out to us all years ago. I’m still in touch with her. She expressed to us how there aren’t many resources for girl skateboarders where she’s from, so we send her care packages every now and then. She’s someone I’m really happy to have met because of this.
Switching gears to talk about you and your art: Is there anything you’re looking forward to creating or achieving on your own?
I’m super excited about my art right now. Especially because I’m still in school and switched majors to design, which is so different from the fine art I’m used to. It’s giving me functionality in my work which is interesting. I’m also excited because I’m slowly exploring abstract art, which is new for me. I was always more attracted to surrealism. Exploring it in my own way has really been a challenge.
What would you say to someone who’s curious to dive into a new creative area in their life?
I really value the history of art. Even if it may not inspire your art directly, I think it’s really important to learn the background of everything. So I would say, do your research about the people that came before you and laid the groundwork for what you are interested in doing. I think you need to take that with you as you dive into it. This doesn’t mean scrolling on instagram though… go to the damn library, surround yourself with people who share your passion. After a while it’ll start to snowball. You’ll learn more and meet bigger people and things will start connecting a bit more. Also, remember that it doesn’t happen overnight. Going back to what I said in the beginning, you gotta have patience.
If you could summarize yourself, what would you say? Who is Dede Lovelace?
I’m a New York native, who respects and values art. I want to contribute to society in a positive manner through my art. No, wait that’s horrible – I started out well but the rest sounds like a cliché!
Tell me some things you love about yourself
I love how spiritual I am, and my art connects me to that in an effortless way. It’s hard to explain, but it’s such a great, rewarding feeling. Have you seen the movie “Soul” ? They do their thing and transcend into a different world. They’re not really here but at the same time they are? It’s THAT! That is the most amazing feeling ever. I kind of get that. I love that about me. I love that I’m able to experience that as well, my art brings me to that place. Being spiritual makes me understand things better and makes me go about things with respect, integrity, and patience.
What does beauty mean to you?
I’m doing a project right now where I am exploring Gluttony versus Temperance, so I have been researching a lot. I wanna say that beauty comes from within. It’s super easy to indulge in the things that we love that may not be so good for us. There’s something special and rewarding about taking the time to do something good for yourself: to eat really well, exercise, practice affirmations. Stress is something real, it shows in your skin. Sleep, water, all those things. Investing into yourself, I think that’s beauty to me.
You’ve lived 23 years of this beautiful life. Do you fully accept yourself at this moment?
What do you think you have to do to fully accept yourself?
I have to be nicer to myself, that’s my issue right now. I think it’s possibly not a permanent thing? I think it’s just happening right now. At the core of myself, I really like myself, I think I am actually really amazing. So possibly what that means right now, is that I am not accepting myself because of my mentality.
That’s interesting because if you know that about yourself, doesn’t that mean that you’re actively addressing the issue?
I’m trying to. I’m trying to address it by limiting the visuals I am allowing myself to be exposed to. Overall, I love myself, I’m just having a little moment right now. I think it goes back to being in that in between space we talked about earlier – constantly comparing ourselves to others. I needed to regulate the visuals I was putting out, thereby getting to a place where those don’t appear to me in return. The expensive dinners, the free bags, all that stuff. I’m happy for other people that are enjoying it, but I don’t want my feed to look like that and I don’t want to see it. I think it was throwing me off for a while and I’m still feeling it, but in the end the answer is yes, I do love myself.
What’s one last thing you would like to add to this conversation ?
Besides all the things that are running through my mind and we are all collectively going through, I can personally say I am in a great space. I’m excited about all the things I am going to be creating and the experiences that are waiting for me, my friends and family.