solo’s corner | IIIrd citizen

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Hello friends and welcome to Solo’s Corner! Solo’s Corner is something I’ve been wanting to do for a while, and basically, it’s a monthly instalment of interviews with creatives and bloggers from around the country where I just get to know them a little more. The questions range from fashion to music to truth or dare – mostly because I wanted to bring a more personable approach to some of our faves on the internet. First off is the interview I did with the amazing Kenny Jules Morifi-Winslow, the face and brains behind IIIrd Citizen.

Kenny is a 20-something year old Masters in Fashion Studies student at Parsons School of Design in New York, a published scholar, freelancer, an advocate for ethical fashion, a globe-trotter, vegan foodie and all-round cool person. I remember finding her through another interview she did a few years ago, and that’s when my mild obsession with her began (not knowing she went to my sister school up the road in the same year as my matrics), and when she was back in Joburg during December and January, I just knew I had to pluck up the courage and do my first Solo’s Corner interview with her.

So on a mild Wednesday morning at Tasha’s in Sandton City, I met up with Kenny over a cup of tea and a soy latte for her and got things rolling. Random disclaimer: I’m not an anthropology student, so interviewing and transcribing are not my forte – but I think I did a pretty good job. Fair warning: we talked… A lot (and this is the edited version).

So, first things first is: what inspired the name of your blog?

Ooh, very simple. So, I grew up mixed race and I moved every four years – I was at three/four different schools, I lived on three different continents in four different countries – no three different countries, four different cities – so I am a citizen of three countries: South Africa, the United States and England. So that kind of inspired the 3rd Citizen title.

I had a feeling it was that simple, but I thought I should ask just in case. So, next question. Who would you say is your style twin/inspiration?

Ooh, see that’s a really difficult one because I relate better to, like, men than I do to women. So let’s say Sam Lambert – I’m obsessed with him, I really dig him. But then there’s really obscure, like, Tumblr model-type guys – like the really skinny white guys – I love this really edgy, androgynous, masculine kind of street look but really… Tom Ford-y, if that makes any sense.

I see what you mean – it’s weird because I kind of imagined you as someone similar to Julia Sarr Jamois [the fashion editor of iD].

Yes, I can relate to her! See, it gets a bit stressful for other people when I talk about my own style like that because it sounds like I’m excluding… I don’t even know. I get called a lesbian like once every two weeks. How dramatic is that? But genuinely – that’s how people interpret androgyny. Which is sad.

I mean, there’s still a way to dress androgynously but still be feminine.

Yeah! I think it’s because I don’t wear make up also and that makes it a thing… Maybe I should start wearing make up.

It’s fun! But its also so stressful at the same time. Okay, next question: who would you say is your favourite local musician?

See, I’m kind of biased ‘cause I know half of them [laughs], so let me go with Riky Rick.

Now, following up to that question. A gun to your head: would you date a rapper or a DJ?

Oh my goodness!

Death is not an option!

Death is not an option? I have to pick one? Damnit! I’m gonna say rapper – not a DJ, woah, no!

Okay, and now, a [local] rapper or an [American] athlete? I say American athlete because of their reputations.

See, I’m still gonna go with a rapper, Riky Rick, because at least I can complain to his mother if I wanted to.

Oh right! [laughs] What would your ideal superpower be? 

I would love to be able to read people’s minds, and everyone tells me that that is the most insane choice of superpower because I would drive myself crazy, but I would really love that – to be able to turn it on and off.

Yeah, you’d definitely need to be able to turn it on and off! What song is currently stuck in your head? 

Okay, so I’ve been hanging out with this friend of mine who’s trying to establish his singing career, and we’ve just been messing around with music and he introduced me to this woman called Elli Ingram, and she does a cover of Cocoa Butter Kisses [by Chance the Rapper]. It is unreal. I literally play it every time I’m driving for the past three days – that’s my song.

And you cannot live without your…

…I want to say phone, but that’s a really generic answer. So I’m going to try and evolve past that and say that I cannot live without my perfume. I feel really naked without perfume on.

Really? Interesting! Now, on an average Friday night, what are you doing?

In which country?

Oh, I’m so sorry ?? Let’s go through both of them – New York and then Joburg.

In New York, on an average Friday night, I will probably be at a launch party or something – I probably wont stay too long because I know very few people there. So I’ll take a few pictures, I’ll have a couple of glasses of champagne, grab my goodie bag and go and meet Siba at a random bar. Or, on the flip-side, it could be a really trap night. They have this event called Trap, Tacos and Tequila where they give out free tequila, free tacos and they just play trap music the whole time.

I think I need to move to New York…

Yeah, its quite amazing! In Johannesburg, on the average Friday night, I will probably be in Parkhurst in the afternoon watching a game with the boys, maybe do a dinner and then end up at Taboo.

Now speaking of which, what is your drink of choice? 

Ooh, it’s also different in every city. In New York, I am a huge prosecco fan. It’s cheaper than champagne – unless I’m not buying it. At all of these events they just have hella free champagne. Here [in Joburg], it’s either a G&T or a tequila and dry lemon.

In five years, you see yourself doing…

…See, the end of my most recent five year plan is in May, when I graduate. And then I kinda have to write a new five year plan, so I feel like you’re asking me very deep questions. I could either be in a junior management level position at Chanel or I could be here and running my own creative studio.

Both are equally cool! What would you say the highlight of your career has been thus far?

The highlight of my career… Being published! Yeah! Being published was maybe the most mind blowing thing that’s ever happened to me, ever! Forget career – just, like, in my life! I was like, “Oh my God! My name is in a book. I have a citation. You can buy my book on Amazon (now available for $6.50 on [this was her own plug, ha].

That is so great! Um. Okay. Do you remember where you were when Beyonce released Beyonce [the album]? 

I think I was sitting on the table in my house in Cape Town, in my p-jays – I think boyfriend was making breakfast? And I remember being on my Twitter and being like, wait. What? Did Beyonce release an album?

Right? I remember being in Cape Town as well, for my sister’s second graduation and I’d been hiding in my room and then I saw it on Twitter, opened the door and was like, “Mom! Did you know Beyonce just released an album??” and she was like, “You cant greet?” [we both laugh, because come on, that was a funny moment]. Okay, so, do you still read magazines, and if you do, which ones and why? And if you don’t, why?

Um, I don’t buy magazines, but I do read them. So, at Parsons we have subscriptions to everything so I’ll read them from there or I’ll take them home and do what I have to. Um… Print is dying. First and foremost. I think the internet has democratised fashion, music and other creative industries and I feel like if I want to get the perspective that I’m personally looking for, it’s not in a magazine. That’s a very watered down version of reality, of the creative market and the industry and that’s not the perspective that I’m going for. I will read Vogue, only because I have to for school, in terms of like, if you look at the sociology of anything, you have to start at the authority, basically, and Vogue is still kind of the authority. Although we consider it to be a dinosaur, it’s still the authority.

It’s the magna carter, its the OG. You still have to refer to it. American Vogue in and of itself is a strange one…

It’s so complex. There’s a lot going on.

Anyway. Exactly how many tattoos and piercings do you have and how many more do you want?

Okay, piercings: I have – apart from my normal ear piercings – one [industrial piercing], but this one counts as two because it goes through both sides so I have three piercings and I also have three tattoos [since the time of this interview, a fourth one has been added]. How many more? I don’t want anymore piercings, I’m quite comfortable with what I’ve got but tattoos… I want to get loads. By the end of my life, I want to be an anthology; I want to be an autobiography in ink.

I love your tattoo that you have on your forearm! [it reads: I am brimstone and fire. I do earthquake things.] Do you have a day job?

No – well, define job? I’m still technically a student but I do a lot of freelance work. I was a social media manager for a boutique branding agency, I am the social media manager and style contributor for Plan de Ville – that diamond company I work for – and I write for a lot of independent small publications, but that doesn’t really count as a day job, does it?

Kinda, because you still do it viagra generique pas cher. So if clothes do not maketh the woman, what does?

Good question. Hmm… I want to say… Hmm – that is such a loaded question. I want to say  her values, but I think that’s also very subjective and can be skewed in so many different ways. I want to say her capacity to love, which I think is very important and a character trait that women possess in particular that drives so much of how we do what we do. Um… Yeah, maybe her capacity to be adaptable.

And what is your favourite line of poetry?

Oh my goodness! I have so many. Well apart from the ones I have tattooed on my body already – have you ever seen the one on my back? It says “I have seen roses damasked red and white.” It’s from a Shakespeare sonnet 130 – you probably did it in school. “My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun, coral is far more red than her lips’ red…” So basically the poem is about how ugly his woman is, and at the end, he’s like “but I love her anyway”. So it’s kind of like those love is blind type scenarios.

That’s such a backhanded compliment though!

It is! Thats what the poem really is, and for me, it’s kind of a reminder that your insecurities don’t define you, so the way in which I want my tattoos to go apart from this one [“People are strange”], its an anomaly, is: “I have seen roses damasked red and white”, “I am brimstone and fire, I do earthquake things”, “I am deliberate and unafraid” and there was one more… But they all are kind of mantras for me.

That’s nice, that’s really cool! And then last, but not least: apart from graduating and finishing your masters, what are your other 2016 goals?

Other 2016 goals – I would really love to get this job at Chanel. I would love to get my website running with eCommerce capabilities – it has it right now but I need to kind of establish the boutique aspect of that – and I’ve been meeting with investors while I was here and its kind of getting off the ground but its a very difficult thing to do transnationally, but yeah, I’d love to establish the store aspect of 3rd Citizen. People want a lot of these things and I want to be able to give it to them. Let me be the plug!

And that concludes the first instalment of Solo’s Corner! I hope you enjoyed getting to know Kenny a bit more – you can catch up with her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, her Blog or on Snapchat: KennyJMWScreen Shot 2014-11-15 at 3.35.03 PM

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