Sarah Nicole Prickett Unties the Pop Phenomenon's Kinky Collaboration with Quentin Jones
In the USA, any fresh ‘n’ hot star with blonde ambitions is bound to be a sex symbol. Miley Cyrus wears that bondage lightly. And literally. She stretches the definition of kink, making it pop. On stage, riding a giant hot dog, she grins like the girl who yells loudest in the “penis!” game. She could stop, actually, if she wanted to… but she won’t. She wears her latex like she’s dressing up as herself for Halloween: “I’m a Sexy Miley Cyrus! What are you?”
As part of Cyrus’ current Bangerz tour is a two-minute video directed by mixed-media artist and filmmaker Quentin Jones, whose signature soignée graphics and splashes of paint transform a pornoriffic-almost-parody into artsploitation. Stripping the color from our heroine’s cartoonish persona, Jones goes in on popular symbols of sex: the fishnets; the beauty mark made darker like Marilyn’s; the black collar fit for a 'Bunny. To Miley, as to a little kid, even the most dangerous object is a toy. And like a kid’s, her near-nudity is hardly erotic. She’s just happier naked. Her poses are jokes, even that infamous tongue—stuck out—remains firmly in cheek. She holds up the cardboard cut-out and winks. Get it? She’s playing with herself.
It should be clear as ink that Miley Cyrus is no former Disney kid. She’s a forever Disney kid. Sixty years after Walt himself collaborated with Salvador Dali, his phantasmagorical dreams of goofy innocence and erotically charged surrealism have been reanimated.
Sarah Nicole Prickett is the founding editor of Adult magazine.
Rila Fukushima Plays a Wind-Up Beauty in Matthew Donaldson’s 360-Degree Portrait
Japanese model and actress Rila Fukushima’s hypnotic metamorphosis from barefaced innocent to vamped-up siren in today’s short by Matthew Donaldson saw the model captured by a stills camera 2089 times. The filmmaker and photographer teamed up with Japanese milliner and Junya Watanabe favorite Katsuya Kamo, who provided the head-turning hair and makeup, and NOWNESS contributor Junsuke Yamasaki. “The opening of the film was shot to resemble Mount Fuji,” explains Donaldson, who also drew upon Kamo’s teased-out, flame-haired ode to Grace Coddington that recently featured in an exhibition at Tokyo’s Laforet Museum. “The cliché of the Japanese face as ‘doll-like’ is something I find patronizing so I wanted to address it, fuck it up, and use the progressive build up of Katsuya’s makeup throughout the piece to make something beautiful.” Rising to stardom in 2004 with a D&G campaign alongside shoots for Sephora, Kenneth Cole and V magazine, Fukushima has since made a leap into acting with a leading role in the 2013 blockbuster, Wolverine, before being named by Vogue Japan as one of their women of the year.
Spike Jonze Films the French Starlet's Extraterrestrial Affair For Her Latest Video
French singer and actress Soko, aka Stéphanie Sokolinski, beams an interplanetary romance story to our screens in her dreamy video for “I Thought I Was An Alien”, filmed by genius director Spike Jonze. The pair previously collaborated together on Jonze's beguiling stop-frame animation Mourir Auprès de Toi, premiered on NOWNESS, for which Soko provided the voice over and music. This time Soko directed herself, her brother Maxime and Jonze’s brother, music producer and composer Sam Spiegel, in an alien love story set over a day and filmed by Jonze on an iPhone in Echo Park, Los Angeles. With a distinctly DIY aesthetic, the narrative is layered with found imagery of palm trees, fireworks, color-corrected photographs and tints. Currently acting in two French films, Friends From France and Augustine, the multi-talented Soko reveals the charming story behind the video.
Do you think you’re an alien?
I don’t have a lot of self-confidence so I always feel like I’m the weirdo and that maybe I’m from another planet. I don’t strongly believe in aliens but I think the myths surrounding them are fascinating. I wonder if we’re all aliens. Maybe there are other people on other planets; they’re probably just the same as us and struggling with the same things.
How did you and Spike Jonze first meet?
I was going to play the robot girl in his short film I’m Here but was under 25, which was against Absolut Vodka’s laws, who were funding it. From then Spike and I became friends. He got me involved in Mourir Auprès de Toi and I worked with Sam on the music. They said I had to write an upbeat happy song, which was really hard as I was right in the middle of recording my album and feeling all emotional. Sam gave me 30 minutes and a guitar. I came up with this silly riff, which they loved and put to the two skeletons having sex.
Did that naturally lead into working with Spike and Sam on the video for “I Thought I Was An Alien”?
Well they’re just my friends. I directed it, Spike filmed it, Sam’s in it playing the alien I fell in love with and my brother Max plays all the other shots of the alien. I knew that I wanted it to be a very linear story and I knew what I wanted to say. The main idea was an alien love story but the iPhone came up as I’m not very good at planning stuff and finding a camera, so Spike filmed it on an iPhone 8mm app.
Where did you find that incredible alien mask?
I was looking for an alien mask for my album artwork and Spike's friend Tony Gardner, who runs a special effects company called Alterian, let me borrow one for a day. I was staying at Sam’s house at the time so we shot the dancing and sex scene in his living room—which was so funny as he’s my close friend—and the rest around the local area. I had to make sure I caught Spike, Sam and Max together before they went surfing as I had such a short time frame before I had to return the mask.
The album I Thought I Was An Alien by Soko is out February 20, 2012.