Talented Freak : An Interview With Cheeky Ma
photo: Nylon TV
We spoke to Cheeky Ma, a self-proclaimed "multitalented freak" from New York City. Known for her outrageous wardrobe and next level Instagram, this jack of all trades is also a model, designer and artist. She's more than a triple threat, so yes, you can go kill yourself now.
We also had the chance to watch her set the runway on fire a few days ago at NYFW when she walked in the Gypsy Sport Fall '17 Ready-to-wear show in a chrome outfit - see the collection here.
What's the best part of living in New York City?
I love living in the city cause there’s more opportunity here for artists. I grew up in Long Island, my house was an hour train ride to the city. I would come almost every weekend on my breaks from school, to hangout with my friends. I love New York and I always plan to have a home here. I would like to live in other places like Tokyo and London just to experience other cultures and lifestyles. But I will always be a New Yorker.
How does the city influence your style and work?
New York is crazy. You’re exposed to so much madness just by walking down your block. New York has definitely influenced my style to be a bit dark and tough on the exterior. Kinda my way of warning people not to test me haha.
New York has definitely influenced my style to be a bit dark and tough on the exterior. Kinda my way of warning people not to test me haha.
What is your favourite medium and what are you working on now?
Modelling is my passion and I hope to make a career of it. I've wanted to be a supermodel since I was a little girl and I always imagined myself being a star. I do come from an artistic family, and grew up drawing and making art. I went through so many styles and developed my own weird characters I like to make. But that’s all for my personal pleasure, I don't plan to sell my art or anything *unless someone wants to buy something then, ayy hit me up*. Same goes for my clothing, I love making one-of-a-kind pieces. I may one day start a brand but for now I just like doing it for fun.
Tell us about that fly shoot with Nico Panda's line!
Neofeelism was a story created by the most talented people I have ever worked with, Tim Saccenti (photographer) and Sam Rolfes (digital manipulation). This was one of the most epic shoots I have ever done. It was amazing to work with them and create such magic!
sourceVetements recently posted a pic where you look utterly QWEEN. Have you always been comfortable in front of the camera? Is nudity a part of your craft, or are you conveying a message?
That was a shoot I did with many of the club kids and incredible people I met in nightlife, shot by Ethan James Green. They had styled me in the Vetements dress that I wanted to take home with me so badly haha. It was supposed to be a club scene so I felt it would be proper for me to have a tit out. I do feel uncomfortable in certain situations to be so exposed, but I was with family. I don't think it’s right to be ashamed of our bodies and I don't think it’s right to be scared of what may happen to you if you aren't ashamed. I like to be naked, I find it very freeing, and a lot of people don’t see it that way. People may see it as an invitation, IT IS NOT. My body is mine and I should be able to dress or undress as I please.
Your hair is a part of your identity, what made you want to shave your head?
I've been doing my hair since I was 13. It’s just a fun way for me to express myself. I would always get bored with it and change it up every month. Shaving my head was part of the evolution. I’m growing it out now so I can do more weird shit to it.
I like to be naked, I find it very freeing, and a lot of people don’t see it that way. People may see it as an invitation, IT IS NOT. My body is mine and I should be able to dress or undress as I please.
What’s the message you want to convey in your work?
I want to inspire people, young and old. Tell everyone it's okay to be different and to embrace whatever it is that makes you happy. I want people to see the beauty in themselves. That they don’t have to be this Kardashian-type girl, or the perfect girl in magazines to be beautiful.
Growing up I was told I'm a freak, I'm weird lookin', harassed and bullied, and you know they were right. I took it as an insult and was self-conscious for so long. I started going to safe spaces for LGBTQ people, and made so many friends that helped me to realize every horrible thing I was told about myself is the very reason all these people like me. Never be ashamed of yourself. There are no flaws, just differences. And to be different, is to be beautiful.
Follow Cheeky Ma on Instagram.