Artist. Performer. Director.
Love Bailey is a queer cultural visionary who has worked with everyone from Naomi Campbell to Britney Spears, and Rihanna to Fiona Apple, becoming a creative force within the fashion and entertainment industry.
Wanda Martin recently captured Love during her recent trip to London for an enchanting new photoshoot, which was creative directed by Fabian Kis-Juhasz.
Gay Times caught up with Love Bailey to discuss her work as a performance artist, creating a better sense of community between queer and transgender artists, and the piece of wisdom she learned from working with Naomi Campbell.
We know you as an artist, an incredible beauty and a talented performer. Tell us, where did your story begin?
In the womb of my mother one night on acid, when all the planets aligned. My mother is a lesbian, my father gay, they both made love once on a strange encounter and had me, their best mistake.
What drew you to performance, art, and film?
It was survival in a white picket fence town where the neighbourhood skater boys flipped me off and called me faggot on my way to dance class. Diving deep into fantasy helped me escape the pain of reality.
Love is a word filled with tremendous amounts of meaning, of ecstasy and longing, how did you become Love?
Love can be tough, Love can be cruel, you can treat my body rough, but don’t play me like a fool.
I’ve always followed my heart and followed the path to the things I love. In my transition, I decided that Love would be my name as a commitment to that journey.
For many performers there is an element of escape, of fantasy when we were growing up, to exist in a world/utopia that we can never truly reach but is always in our minds, was there a moment or fantasy in particular you’d think of as a child/teenager?
Dressing up to go see Rocky Horror Picture show with green hair, 3-inch nails, rhinestone eyelashes, patent leather pants, a mesh shirt, leopard thong and my grandmother’s mink coat. My grandmother and I walked out of that house hand in hand, into the theatre, transporting us into an alternate dimension called Transylvania where all my darkness transcended into light.
Your films, art and online presence are not only beautiful, but liberating when viewed. What are the intentions behind your artistic creations?
To make experiences that don’t glaze over the darkness, but to create from it. I want young queers to be able to see themselves in my films and to feel in that moment empowered to create their wildest fantasies without fear, judgement or rejection.
The term “slather” is used frequently in your work. What does it mean to you?
Slather is that magic within you, that undefinable source that you can create your dreams from. To make something out of nothing with the power of your own hands.
What should the term mean to others ie, SLATHER IT UP, or to be SLATHERED?
Slather it up represents that moment when you have nothing left to lose so you dig deep within and slather it up without fear or hesitation.
What is the Savage Ranch?
The Savage Ranch is an intentional creative community located in the Southern California Desert. We are a community dedicated to giving visionaries, activists and artists a chance to come experience a place free from any gender and sexuality discrimination. Our interests and goals range from costume, painting, workshops, meditations, festivals, and photo shoots, to gardening, residencies, building, and more. We always try to push the limits to the possibilities at the ranch a bit further.
Have you always called The Savage Ranch a home?
No, I used to live in Oceanside, California – a 70’s beach town near San Diego. Then I moved to Vegas and then to New York where I lived for three years until my mentor Scott Andrew passed away from cancer. Then I had to come home and find solace and healing on this land.
What is the future of the Savage Ranch, what do you dream of it becoming?
My dream is to have a music festival on the land and to make this space a thriving community of artists. Universal Studios was made on a chicken farm, so if they can do it, we can do it to.
It seems as if there is a beauty in community to you. How do you think we can do better to create a sense of community within queer and transgender artists?
More collaborations. I feel like today the media is so saturated with artists, everyone wants to become a popstar. It’s hard to collaborate when you don’t want to share the spotlight or feel threatened by someone else’s talents. I would like to think if more of us came together to make art, we could help create a world in which we want to live in. A world of full of colour, connectivity and hope.
Art can produce itself from extreme highs and lows, are there any specific moments of your journey that you’re especially reflective of, and use as a stimuli for the art you create?
My first film Slather It Up was created in a showerless garage in my friend’s studio at a time where Heidi Fleiss the Hollywood madam was terrorising my life. This film was a chance for me to overcome the hard times and escape into the fantasy I wish to see. I am forever grateful for this moment because I proved to myself I can overcome the most darkest moments and create work to inspire others.
As a performer there has been constant stimulation from pop culture, family and strangers that I continue to embody or take inspiration from. Is there anyone in your life, through family or celebrity that has particularly inspired you and your art?
My showgirl grandmother Betty Bailey has always inspired my self discovery. At an early age she helped encourage my freedom of expression and showed me a world of glamour and magic.
You’ve worked with many people, is there someone you particularly enjoyed working with in your career thus far?
Naomi Campbell. Wow, what a fierce woman. I remember as a stylist she told me, “Hunnay if those clothes touch the floor I am not wearing them!” Of course I was hoping she would throw a phone at me, but these words of wisdom always stuck with me. As ridiculous as her statement was, she’s a veteran supermodel who paved the way for fashion today. If she doesn’t want to wear couture that’s been on the floor, she’s entitled to make that decision. She’s a grown ass woman and that’s her prerogative. More women should take cues from Naomi and stand up for their beliefs, instead of playing the victim.
Transgender and queer visibility, especially through your presence, and as a performer has helped me understand much more about my gender, and knowing myself as non-binary. How can we continue to be unashamedly visible?
Continue to make work and express yourself. Share it with the ones you love and let the haters fuel your desire to create. Don’t let anyone suppress your magic, harness it, channel it, and don’t throw it away to the swine.
We are familiar with your art not being contained to any sole medium. What can we expect next from Love Bailey?
My music video Hollywood Hooker debuts just in time for Pride. This is a song I created with my friends Edward Vigiletti and Bebe Huxley. It is my homage to the modern day popstar fantasy. For me, whether you are selling couture or selling your ass, we are all hookers in this together. So that’s where the song title came from. It’s a response to the #MeToo movement and transphobia in Hollywood by saying you know what, “I love my Shenis” and ain’t no one going to stop me from achieving my dreams.
If you could give the 13 year old Love any advice, what would you say?
There will be days when you want to give up, days when you feel like you can’t go on. Just keep going, the best things in life are worth fighting for. You will always be loved so dream big kid….dream big!
Creative Direction/Styling – Fabian Kis-Juhasz
Photography – Wanda Martin
Hair – Reve Ryu