Style Profile: Jay, Reinventing Goth
Jay is a bit of a Seattle style icon in the tradition of Cat Marnell, a social media siren known for their creative reinterpretations of the neo-goth aesthetic. They're also a musician and currently studying at the University of Washington to become a film score composer (for horror movies, preferably). I met Jay in a film class my senior year and was thrilled to reconnect, chat about fashion and have them style some Feminist Fatal pieces for a quick shoot. The entirety of our conversation, including our honest reflections on the psychology of cigarettes, their thoughts on gender, identifying as non-binary and the influence of their conservative childhood on their style, will be airing next week on my podcast, the Feminist Fatal Audio program.
Where are you from?
I always say I’m from San Diego, I lived there for I fifteen years but I was born in Virginia
Did you like California?
I really really don’t like the weather, not to sound like a total fake deep emo weirdo but I really don’t like the sun. I don’t think its nice.
Also, in San Diego I didn’t feel like the art and music scene was something that I related to and that’s something that’s so big in my life I felt very stifled. It was kinda boring to me.
Did you have any connection to Seattle before you moved up here?
I knew that because of the type of person that I am, I would have to go to a city that was exciting and felt stimulating to me. That I couldn’t just go to a city that I felt like oh this is a good school and it has a good program but its in the middle of no where, I would die. I knew I had to go somewhere that offered me something more than San Diego. I liked the weather and I liked some of the local musicians up here.
What musicians were you into?
It was the time that I was into some earlier GOTHBOICLIQUE stuff, Mackned, Thrax House, Nacho Picasso, there’s this guy CRIMEWAVE in Tacoma too.
Is there a goth mecca city?
So if you’re talking about from the standpoint of this new goth cultural phenomenon that’s very trendy… L.A. But I abhor Los Angeles.
Why do you think they’re all in L.A.?
Because they all want to be rappers.
I don’t dislike the word goth, but i know a few goth goth people who are into historical goth shit and I’m really not. I just like to wear what I like to wear and I’m into what I’m into and I’ve never done any background research on it. I just like what I like.
How would you describe your style?
I don’t know… calculated? Like, try hard? No. A lot of time and effort goes into looking like there’s not a lot of time and effort going into it. But with my clothes 90 percent of the time I’m wearing an oversized graphic t-shirt and baggy pants or really tight pants and a platform shoe. It’s not really ground breaking. The part that I put more effort into making things come together and making it a look is when I do shit with my makeup.
"At the end of the day you have a finite number of clothes at your disposal but you have an infinite number of ideas you can translate to your face."
How long have you been doing makeup looks like you do now?
It’s been a very long progression, in high school I started wearing bright red lipstick as eyeshadow before that was like a thing. and i hate saying that because it sounds so self absorbed but like I was using red lipstick because they didn’t sell red eyeshadow.
You would have to buy black lipstick online and since I was poor and crafty I would melt down black crayola crayons into lipstick.
You can do that?
Yeah you can! With coconut oil. Now you can just go to CVS and get black lipstick.
I’ve kinda been doing that sort of thing for a while but once that became more… I guess I just have this internal deep winded desire to be contrarian because as soon as that began to be more popular, especially with the rise of social media things can spread so much quicker and styles can really spread like wildfire- so once that became more widely accepted I started branching out a little bit more and doing stuff like, I guess around this time last year I started doing the smudged lipstick deal and stuff like dots and lines around my eyes, Xs, crosses, whatever. Dots here and there.
And then probably 6 months ago, I bleached my eyebrows and started doing more stuff with my face.
Do you follow Ugly Worldwide? I feel like you’re like mini Seattle Ugly Worldwide.
Yeah! That is such a compliment. I’m gonna bust a nut. I wish! I do get a lot of inspiration from some of their stuff. I did like this fake tooth gap recently, waterproof eyeliner on my teeth.
But when I started doing more graphic stuff that was more recently and that’s one thing that’s becoming more widely accepted but not to the point where I feel uncomfortable doing it.
You get some weird looks sometimes but that’s a part of the fun. You also get looks from little kids who think you’re super fucking dope.
"From a young age I knew I want to be the type of person who people understood something about, whether or not they understand it correctly is a different thing, but people get something from me when they see me, whether or not they’re even meeting me, people encounter me."
"I don’t feel comfortable if I’m not presenting in a way that expresses my self."
Jay's signature stars, hearts and especially snakes are the centerpieces of their looks. I asked for my own snake before the shoot and was delighted to receive one. I was surprised to find it feels a little bit like wearing glasses, in the sense that a bridge of color on your nose floats in your peripheral vision. I actually could see myself wearing it more often, it feels like you can have the flash effect of wearing a lot of makeup while maintaining a more androgynous look.
It feels like the ultimate play between trying really hard and not trying at all, a symbol to ensure Jay is an encounter.
You can find Jay on Instagram (@nonthreateningcultleader) or by clicking one of the widgets below!