Rapper and stripper Brooke Candy talks hood mentality.
Louis Vuitton visor, vintage jewellery
VICE: Hey Brooke, when did you start taking photos of yourself for the internet?
Brooke Candy: I've had a Tumblr for four years, so it probably started around that time.
OK, cool. And why did you start to do it?
I take crazy photos of myself because self-promotion is a lot more fun for everyone if what you're promoting is crazy and out there. My photos get people intrigued and then want to know what else I can bring to the table.
What are you promoting exactly?
Mainly my music – I'm a rapper – but I also run a blog with my photography on it.
So being a rapper is where you get your hood aesthetic from?
Yeah, I'm hood, I got a hood mentality. I'm a hustler so I like to dress the part.
What made you hood?
I take inspiration from women who run shit—bitches that came before me that have conquered. Lil' Kim is a huge inspiration. Any up and coming female in the rap game will tell you that.
When did you start to get inspiration from women that run shit and started being hood?
Well, being a woman that likes women, I guess you could say I've derived inspiration and wanted to promote strong women my whole life. I'm all about women helping women. There aren't enough collaborations like there were back in the day. Remember that track "Ladies Night" with Missy, Angie Martinez, Da Brat, and Left Eye?
You also seem quite into fashion, where does that come from?
I'm not sure. I don't follow runway reports or trends, I just dress how I feel, and most of the time I feel CRAZY.
Is that why you wear your stripper outfits?
Actually, I wear stripper outfits because I'm a stripper.
Wow, how is that?
It's cool. I've only been doing it for six months but the money is good and the performance aspect is a good way for me to get comfortable with performing on stage.
Do you get inspiration for your hood aesthetic from performing as a stripper?
I'd say I've taken a lot of the aspects of my stripper performance and worked them into my hood persona. I definitely dress a lot more scandalous since becoming a stripper.
Do you feel like it has also inspired your internet persona?
Definitely. I think stripping has played a key role in how my image has evolved and what I do with it.
Do you ever feel like it comes across as fake on the internet?
My persona is a reality to me, you know. Like I would never rap and act hood if it wasn't actually my mentality and I wouldn't perform in a super-sexual way if being a stripper wasn't the way I made money.
Why have you moved towards a more internet aesthetic recently with mad backgrounds on your photos?
The backgrounds actually started when I began collaborating with one of my best friend's, Seth Pratt. Basically, he would construct me a crazy outfit for a performance, I would wear it and take a crazy photo of myself with my camera, and then he would fuck with the photo, like cut me out, then superimpose me on top of some crazy shit.
Are you into that whole thing?
Hell yeah. I mean, we're basically creating full editorials from scratch, we're telling a story with each photo – DIY shit.
I wanted to ask you about the Louis Vuitton photo. What's that about?
That was a collaboration I did with my friend Madeline Allard. It's a replica of a photo I found at a flea market.
What did the woman in the original photo look like?
The photo I mimicked stood out to me because, in it, the woman's expression was literally blank. Like, she was in front of palm trees with done-up make-up and all this gold jewelry, but she just had no expression. She just looked totally glazed over and I thought that was pretty amazing. She was a Mexican woman and you could tell she'd seen some shit in her day. She looked pretty rough. The photo also stood out to me because it reminded me of this photo studio I used to go to with my friends when I was younger called Fast Foto.
What was Fast Foto?
It was super-cheap and cheesy. Like, we would dress hella crazy, then go in and pick some cheesy-ass backdrop like a tropical island, or something, and pose with plastic pillars or tables covered with some velvet fabric.