"I was thinking of writing a little bit, like an essay about how still women can't wear what they want, and walk on whatever side of the street they choose to because you're constantly catcalled. And it's just like — I'm tired of it and I hate that I have to tiptoe around other people."
Spotted: Downtown Oakland
What are you up to today?
I'm actually going over to my boyfriend's office, because I'm moving down to LA tomorrow. So I'm just saying my goodbyes.
Why are you moving to LA?
I just graduated from USF in the city, and I'm a media studies major so there's just more work for me down in LA and I'm kind of over the Bay Area. I've only been familiar with Oakland for about a year but I just need something new. Just to change it up — because I'm getting too comfortable.
How long have you been in the Bay Area?
Have you gone down to LA a lot to visit?
Actually a lot of my family is down in LA and it just makes it easier that way.
What kinds of things are you wanting do do when you get there?
I have a film minor as well, so I'm hoping to get into some kind of production work and writing. That's the dream for a lot of people so it's a risk, but I'm willing to take it.
Are there any projects that you've seen lately that have kind of inspired you?
Well I really want to start working on independent film. Something that is just like a labor of love between fellow creatives that I find like-minded. So step one when I get down there is to just find a group of people who I can feed off of, because I definitely feel like I'm in need of a writing partner. I can only do so much. Because I'll sit down and I'll write something, and I'll look at it like five hours later and wonder, is that even funny? Someone needs to be there to judge it.
So just someone to bounce ideas off of?
'Cause yeah, then you just get sucked in this hole and you're just like, "Is this making sense?" Because it's only just you to judge it.
What in general has sparked your interest lately?
You know, I've just been reading this book of poems called Milk and Honey. It's really good. I recommend it to anyone who's a woman. It's super short and concise, but the words are so carefully curated and they really hit home. Actually, walking on my way over here I was thinking of writing a little bit, like an essay about how still women can't wear what they want, and walk on whatever side of the street they choose to... because you're constantly catcalled. And it's just like — I'm tired of it and I hate that I have to tiptoe around other people. You caught me in the middle of thinking about that. I was trying to articulate a thesis.
You just reminded me of that video that woman posted of her journey down the street and being catcalled a bunch of times. I think someone did this already, but it would be fun to do a video with the tables turned. Not sure the dynamic would be the same though! [laughing]
Yeah, there was a video I saw — it was somewhere in Latin America, I forgot where — it was either Brazil or Peru. They found two men who were kind of notorious for bothering women and they contacted their mothers and had them dress up — totally makeover status to make them look like a young woman. So they catcalled their own mothers!
And their mothers just freaked out! They were like, I taught you better! And they were smacking them right there on the street! So I think there's been some push back. There's also a video of this girl in France where she does the opposite as well — she gets in a car and just catcalls men on the street and they're just so bewildered by it. It's like when you finally have the male gaze on yourself, that's when you just can't process it. Then you're like, well, fuck this is how we've been living our entire lives!
So what was the name of the poet that you were talking about, and how did you come across the book?
I actually found her because you probably heard in the recent news how a girl posted a picture on Instagram laying down, turned over and she had a period stain and it got removed from Instagram. So she re-posted it and it got removed again. She had this little — I don't want to say it was an exhibit, but she did this little series of art pieces where she tried to normalize what a period looks like. Her idea was that if men are as disgusted with rape as they are with periods, then maybe rape wouldn't be so prevalent. So she was the one who was the center of all of that media attention — she wrote the book — her name is Rupi Kaur.
Where are some of your favorite places to hang out — either here or LA?
You know, I just found this place — I don't want to blast it, but there's this cemetery in Oakland called Mountain Side something?
Mountain View Cemetery?
Yeah, Mountain View! They have the millionaire's section and it's really beautiful. Because in Europe, the cemeteries you can kind of hang out in there and it isn't weird — it doesn't have a stigma attached to it. They have festivals and stuff like that at the cemeteries, so it's very much like life exists also with death. So yeah, the Mountain View Cemetery is great — just read a book there, have lunch with a friend or two.
I also wanted to ask you about your personal style — tell me about what you're wearing today!
Comfort and easiness inspired my style today. But in general?
Yeah, because you've got a sporty look with the jacket and the chucks mixed with the jumpsuit.
I think city wear needs to be practical — you can't be jumping around in stilettos because you're going to kill yourself. But I would NEVER go with like, Crocs. I'm not there with comfort — I can't rock that just yet. It needs to be practical but still fun, however you choose to express yourself.
That's a great varsity-style jacket — where did that come from?
I just got it at a vintage shop. This jumpsuit is American Apparel and the bag is Baggu.
Oh nice, they have the best bags!
They do! I've had this for years and it's just completely held up.
And what inspired the hair?
I tried doing it on my own, and I butchered it so I had to go to a salon. And then I was just a hair model, because you just pay for supplies and if they fuck up, then they fuck up. I just needed a change, so it was like this silver/lavender, and then I went into this pale blue.
Follow Emily on Instagram: @emureee