RVCA x Brook Power
We recently caught up with California cool-girl Brook Power to discuss all things style, social media and what her life looks like in the age of self-isolation. Read the full interview below.
How did you fall into modeling/fashion?
It’s kinda weird that I became a model, I never thought about it as a kid. I wanted to be a vet or a marine or a lawyer haha. but um my first job was at Starbucks at foodland on the north shore haha. I remember getting a call from this agent one day while I was sitting on my bedroom floor, I was like 15, and she told me that she booked me on a job for a Japanese magazine and that it paid $1500 for the day. I just remember being so confused, like that much money was just so insane, especially when you’re a kid making $8.25 an hour. I don't remember how this agent lady had my number, but I can remember that first job for the Japanese magazine so vividly haha. I literally had PINK CIRCLES on my cheeks and they made me jump off of walls smiling throwing peace signs and yelling "Kawaii!" hahaha so cool. After high school I came to LA to get off the rock and go to community college, lived in a car here for a little bit, LA was so foreign to me. My mom needed money to support my siblings so I started modeling again in LA, and it really saved my family financially. There aren't many jobs a teenager can do to support their whole family, it really was a blessing. And it’s a great job. At this point I have a lot of creative freedom and brands trust my aesthetic and vision so it really is a creative endeavor as well as a job.
You seem to walk the all-too-illusive line between enviable street style and island ease. How has your time spent between LA and Oahu informed your personal style?
Yeah I’m kind of a mutt of the two for sure heh. I was actually born in LA, in Inglewood and we moved to Hawaii when I was 6, so I am definitely a little of both worlds. They’re kindve similar worlds, very culturally diverse places, lots of beautiful nature. I dress the same in both hah, I just wear less clothes when I’m in Hawaii. I was obsessed with Gwen stefani in third grade and I think I still just dress like her in that era, same way, since third grade, Gwen in Tragic Kingdom era haha crop tops and boy pants and then sometimes girly dresses. My mom is Sicilian, and she grew up in a full Sicilian neighborhood in Inglewood, so LA. And then my dad grew up in playa del Rey during the Dogtown era, wrecking havoc, surfing and skating and being a savage. Also so LA heh. A lot of those guys moved to Hawaii too, its a similar subculture for sure. Hawaii has been trying to re-cultivate the Hawaiian culture for a couple of decades now with Hawaiian immersion programs in schools, so growing up that was a huge part of my life. I was in the ocean and jungle every day. I still identify with that way of life since that's how I was raised, and those Hawaiian values of community and environment preservation and respect are basically imprinted in me.
How would you describe your personal style?
Well I kinda just did on the last question haha 90's Gwen. I just like clothes that I can do activities in, like I hate tight pants, I never wear them, so restrictive. I don't think of clothes all that much when I think about style actually, style is obviously more all encompassing, clothes are like 10%. I think of people who I always thought were cool growing up, men and women, fictional or real, lots of artists. Angelica Houston, Elizabeth taylor, Bill Murray, Cher, all The Beatles, Scarlett O’hara in Gone With the Wind (who most people hate but I love), Sacajawea, Selena Quintanilla, Benny from Sandlot, Christy Turlington, Maya Arulpragasam, Diana Vreeland, Peter Beard, Veruschka, Salvador Dali, I could go on and on hah... They're not all necessarily humans who I look up to morally or because of their life philosophy, some yes, but just were always very high up there in coolness level for me.
What is your most favorite thing about where you live? Least favorite?
Favorite thing is that I can just walk out my front door and hike for days on the trails in my backyard, get to good surf spots in 20 minutes, ride my horse through the neighborhood. Least favorite thing is 9am call times in downtown LA, ugh.
If you could only have 3 items in your closet (swimwear included), what would they be?
I guess I would need a bikini. A pair of chinos. And a dress bc the easiest way to look nice is to put a dress on. Always cracks me up how impressed boys are when you put a dress on, when it’s literally the easiest outfit haha you come out and they’re like oh wow you look nice hahah
How do you feel about the word ‘influencer’, and if someone told you you were one, how would you define it? (What kind of ‘influence’ do you want to have on people?)
Well influencer has a pretty negative connotation to it nowadays haha so i don’t ever call myself that and I wouldn’t give myself that kind of credit either. But you know what I get all kinds of wonderfully sweet messages from people all the time. I don’t know how I help them but they say I do. It’s encouraging to know that I project a healthy lifestyle that isn’t super annoying or pretentious though haha. Being healthy should be cool, not annoying haha. I also hear from a lot of young girls who are moms. I think that it’s great that now a days young moms have more examples of how other moms are gettin it done and can talk about things and relate, because being a mom is rough. I’m the oldest of a lot of kids so I feel like I’ve been a mom for a long time, and it’s a lot of responsibility. It’s weird too because young moms in movies are usually portrayed as like either single, struggling moms or junkies or somethin. They’re rarely portrayed as just cool successful women. (Utmost respect to single moms btw you guys are heroes!) I think that it’s so important for young women to see motherhood as something to be proud of and not something to dread or to be ashamed of, or just to put off until they’re “successful”. I am a very adamant feminist do not get me wrong, but I can’t tell you how many times people have looked at me like they feel sorry for me because I had a baby or something weird, like they think I must not be a successful or responsible woman because I had a kid young. That stigma should not exist. Being a mom doesn’t mean that you have to totally sacrifice yourself either, you can still be you. Definitely got off topic there haha ... any way I DO NOT want to be seen as an influencer mom that’s for sure let the record show that hah.
What does an ideal day look like in your world?
Surfing in Mexico somewhere with friends and lots of dogs on the beach
What are your hobbies?
So I climb the mountains by my house a lot with my dog, I ride my horse in them too, my dog runs behind blissfully hah. Spend a lot of time training with my horse. I surf as much as I can, I live close to Malibu. I do my Bushbaby art. My other hobbies are kindve my jobs too, I’m always collaborating with photographer friends on ideas we have. I guarantee Ive only been this successful as a model because I hustle so hard creating outside of just working jobs. It is work, but I enjoy it, I don’t think of it as work, creating is just living. Modeling is strange, I’ll find myself like floating in a freezing lake trying to keep prop flowers from drifting away and I can’t hear any of the direction because there’s water seeping into my ears and I’m getting dizzy and shivering and it’s sort of miserable but my expressions to look like I'm enjoying it, haha and I just think to myself, hah my job is bizarre. And then I see the beautiful image that we worked so hard to achieve and it’s really satisfying as an artist at those times.
I’ve been remodeling this big 1970’s house I have up here, that’s a lot of work. I’m kindve a design nerd with houses and I’ve been doing a lot of tiling and stuff myself. I garden a lot, grew up doing hours of yard work a day haha. I’ve recently been relocating cacti from the mountains into my yard, that’s a sketchy business, slightly painful at times. My 3 year old and I look at bugs a lot and I answer all his little questions about them. He’s really into animals in general, and I share that sentiment. I feel like the word hobby is too casual for me, I don’t think I ever really do anything very casually. I do everything with an obsessive intent and because I need to do it or my soul will be restless until I do. That sounds so dramatic haha maybe I just have OCD. But I’d rather be OCD and passionate about everything I do than unmotivated in life. You know?
Tell us about 'Bush Baby Made' — how did you get started with collage, and how has it evolved to become what it is now?
I had a good friend who collaged and we would do it together at night when we were hanging out. Ive always collected old books from thrift stores and they would be piled up in the corners of my house and rarely get the love the images deserved. I feel like collage is a good way to appreciate all the best images from all of those old books that would otherwise collect dust or worse be thrown away. Some books I find are too beautiful for me to cut up though and I save them intact. I’m not sure when I first started using playboys I think someone gave me some old ones. Collage is a great medium for someone like me who doesn’t have a lot of time honestly, i can work just thirty minutes and accomplish something. Collage is kind've like writing a story with another writers sentences. Some nights I just sit watching a movie and cutting out flowers or animals or other little things that I like, and then use them weeks, months or years later even. I have a huge folder of pieces that I’ve cut out, just waiting for their ideal environment one day. It’s fun to skew reality in a collage, create a little portal in another world.
Do you dabble in any other media (photography, writing, pottery)?
I wanted to be a writer when I was very little, I was dead set on it. Life gets cluttered though, I should write again! I’ve written a few articles here and there for playboy and some other magazines but rarely make the time anymore to do it just creatively. I do shoot photos once in a while also, usually when a brand pays me to haha. I want to do more photography solely as an art outlet, soon as we can hang out with people again I will. I would like to transition into photography and video work when I get too old to model down the line haha. I just premiered a music video on livefast mag that I shot and directed and edited. I’ve directed a few music videos before, they’re really fun as long as I have creative control. And editing stuff like that is so relaxing to me and my crazy mind. I have a few really cool but labor intensive creative video ideas that I want to tackle during this quarantine. This question is basically me writing myself a to do list haha.
Where is your next big trip to?
Aw man... I’ve had to cancel so many trips at the moment... but as soon as this pandemic has subsided I just want to go home to Hawaii, I was supposed to be there right now. I’m jonesing to be home in Hawaii. And then I want to drag my man to Mexico City for some time without our crazy ass niño. Those hot springs in the mountains in Hidalgo are calling me, and the surf in Oaxaca.
Your name is Brook Power, almost like a noun describing someone with confidence, self-assuredness but also grace and a cool kindness — “she’s got some real Brook Power!”. If you could grant one superpower to all the people reading this interview, what would it be?
Kindness . Kindness is one of the greatest strengths there is. Kill um with kindness.