Photography: Joseph Wilk
BULLETT asked NEWTHINGS Creative Director Edwin David Bolta to nominate and interview his brand muse, which this season falls onto Cheeky Ma, one of NYC’s most vibrant nightlife newcomers and a favorite among fashion contemporaries. Wearing pieces from NEWTHINGS fall ’16, Cheeky dishes on all things growing up in Long Island and dressing for the club.
Edwin David Bolta: The reason I’m here today is because NEWTHINGS shot you recently and I wanted to bring some depth to the images by actually asking you a few questions and getting to know you better. Creatives usually have one muse, but I have many and consider you one of them. I was wondering, why do you fuck with NEWTHINGS?
Cheeky Ma: I really love all the details in your designs, even though it’s minimal and I usually go for more crazy shit. I really appreciate how if you look closely, you realize it’s there, but from a distance you wouldn’t be able to tell. When I was wearing the clothes, it made me get into this character—I didn’t even know who I was, but I felt inspired. Your FW ’16 show in February was when I first discovered your clothing because I was with the makeup artist Raisa Flowers backstage. I loved all the models in the show. They were incredibly unique, which was very inspiring and I wanted to be a part of that.
EDB: That’s incredible, thank you for your kind words. So let’s get right into this—when do you feel most comfortable?
CM: Probably when I’m going out in a look because I don’t really like looking like an average human. I like looking crazy and have people stare at me, even if they’re looking at me in a negative way. At least I stand out to you.
EDB: Why is that?
CM: Because I love fashion, it’s what I do. If I’m not in a look then I feel like I’m not doing anything. It is part of who I am.
EDB: Tell me a little bit about your life.
CM: I grew up on Long Island, which was super low-key compared to NYC. I was never the popular girl, so it’s a lot different from who I am now, which I love. I always wanted to do looks, but held back because I was fearful of judgement, which I got a lot growing up. I remember walking down the street [on Long Island] in a full look and people would stare at me like I was crazy. It was kind of scary. It makes you have anxiety about yourself. It makes you think that maybe what I’m doing is really wrong and no one appreciates it. But then you come to the city and there’s all these people that do.
Cheeky Ma in NEWTHINGS fall ’16
EDB: I love that there is a circle of us in NYC and even though everyone has different feels, there is still this rad vibe. It’s like an ocean and everyone is floating with each other. That’s what attracted me to you as an artist because even though you may not express yourself the way I do, it’s exciting to see you pull off different personas when you go out.
CM: Thank you. Of course, there are so many levels to everyone’s look in this scene. There might be someone that attaches a whole other person to them just for their look that night. Even if you’re casually fashionable, we are in this community and appreciate each other’s differences. We all have a similar purpose and just want to be appreciated because we are doing this for a reason. We’re doing this to move culture forward. The thing I love about the community is that there isn’t a hierarchy of people saying, ‘I pulled a better look than you.’ Everyone just does their own thing and does it well.
EDB: Why are all the kids at the club and not at the office during the day?
CM: We don’t fuck with that ‘I work in an office and my boss tells me what to do.’ We are all our own bosses. We love doing our own shit and that’s why we don’t have a proper 9-to-5 because we can’t deal with that typical social shit. You know, sitting at a desk all day. If I had regular job, I would definitely pull some lewks, but I wouldn’t be able to deal.
EDB: That would be cute as a shoot. All the kids in lewks with their faces beat at some mundane office.
CM: I used to work at Forever 21 and I was the craziest person there. The customers would either love it and ask me for fashion advice or think, ‘What the fuck? Send this girl to the stock room.’
EDB: Who are your favorite people and why?
CM: Definitely the people I’m living with: NAR and Nicky Ottav. I love them to death. They’re always there for me no matter what and that’s really all you need—true friends that actually care about you. You can fuck around with them, but when it comes down to serious issues, they will actually help you.
EDB: Fill in the blank: I like to [blank] with [blank] and when I don’t [blank], I take [blank] to [blank].
CM: Oh fuck—I like to chill with homies and when I don’t do that, I take my ass to bed.
EDB: How do you feel about Beyoncé’s new album Lemonade?
CM: I fuck with ‘Formation’ hard.
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