Mere hours before my phone interview with Brooke Candy, the Californian singer and rapper drops her “Happy Days” video. In it, a wind machine gently ruffles her white-blonde mane, worn loose but for a pair of presh crystal butterfly and teddy-bear pins. No sign of the hard-core cornrowed chick in her “Das Me” or “Everybody Does” music videos from a few years back. Candy has made a name for herself as a bona fide shapeshifter, and the unapologetically filterless 26-year-old gives zero f-cks what you think. “If you hate me, you’ll end up loving me,” she declared in a 2013 Vice series, firing back at YouTube trolls. “Even if you don’t want to see me, you’re going to be seeing me all over the place, so get used to it.”
She may be right on that last point. Candy has already produced music with Diplo, co-starred in Grimes’ “Genesis” video and collaborated with famed fashion photographer Steven Klein and designer Nicola Formichetti on her own flashy “Opulence” vid. This year, she’s set to release her Sia-produced debut album and, this month, her second beauty venture with M.A.C.
Candy is the ultimate provocative muse for the cosmetics brand. “I embrace makeup because it allows me to transform, and my art is really about transformation,” she tells me. Her new 15-piece collection for eyes, lips and nails—in typical Brooke Candy fashion—ranges from ultra-glam purples and reds to girlier roses and nuanced nudes (her favourite lippie is the matte bright pink Doo-Wop). “I included at least one product for every type of woman,” says Candy. “There’s something to make you feel sexy, something to make you feel glamorous and something for the woman who wants to be more natural.” The chameleon cites her upbringing as a source of her split persona, as she bounced between her rich porn-king dad (Tom Candy, CFO of Hustler) and her pediatric nurse mother’s more modest lifestyle. An eight-month stint as a stripper also fuelled her racy image.
Her muses are equally multi-dimensional, from self-transforming photographer Cindy Sherman to ’50s actress turned Playmate Jayne Mansfield. “She was so strange. I live for the strange,” Candy enthuses about the latter.
“We’re entering a time when more and more women are embracing who they are,” she continues. “It’s really beautiful to see. I’m noticing it. Are you noticing it?” This is one of many times Candy asks my opinion during our call. Maybe she does give an eff what people think after all.