Walking the Runways with Sebastian Rosemarie
I’m Sebastian Rosemarie and I’m twenty one years old. I was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. I’m a full time model, artist, and I’m a sex education activist. I was always creative and emotional as a child. I would write my mom little stories to express my more difficult feelings and then in high school when I was assaulted I used writing as a form of healing. When I was fifteen, I first got scouted for modeling walking down the street at Washington Square Park. I did one test shoot then was flown off the Paris for my first job with Saint Laurent. I didn’t end up walking for them but I think that experience taught me a lot about disappointment and perseverance and lead me to where I am today. At the end of the day, I think my job is to make people feel less alone because I’ve just started to feel so grateful for the opportunities I have. If speaking out about some of my struggles helps someone, then I will always do that.
Was there a moment in time when you you realized you were a creator/maker/artist aka you?
I was in denial that I was a creative for a long time. When I first turned 18, I was struggling to get booked and was working retail and was all around miserable. One day the owner of the business came in, not having met me before, but commented on my personal style, and asked me “are you an artist?” At the time I curled inside myself, not very confident, not really wanting to be seen, just wanting to do my job and leave. I responded “No, not really. I just work here.” After that I was fired and I decided I never wanted to touch my résumé again and so I haven’t since that day. That’s when I realized I could weave my suffering into magic.
Is there a relationship between your identity (queer/gender/ethnicity/otherwise) and the work you make?
I don’t think there’s anyway to separate myself from all my identities while making art. There’s history in my bones and I need to get all of that weight out onto paper, into dance, through the lens.
What do you want the beauty/fashion world to look like in 10 years?
In 10 years I hope fashion looks a little bit like everyone and that most people are able to find something that looks relatable as well as a confidence that is obtainable. Fashion, makeup, and creativity are meant to be fun so let’s stop giving them so many gendered labels.
What is inspiring to you right now -- other makers/artists/musicians/ideas/cultural trends?
Oh gosh, my inspiration is all over the place right now. I’m often inspired by cartoons and superheroes. I would say my go-to inspiration includes Breathless (1960), Death from the Sandman comics, Noir movies, fairies, 70s space films, Pixie from the X-Men, 80s British punk, 90s grunge, femme fatale movies, 60s new age movies, bondage magazines, classic monster movies, arcades.
Why do you think identity is so important? We saw you recently speaking out about people taking parts of your identity and capitalizing off of it. What can we all do in situations where we feel like we're having our identities stripped away from us?
I think identity is important because it’s a bit of you inside being projected onto the outside world. No matter how messy or imperfect, that’s you. The things that inspire you and what you love. It’s a long self journey with everyone to accept themselves fully. For me I struggled with being ashamed of being into nerdy things and also struggling with what it means to be black for a long time. It stopped me from loving myself and for a while I suppressed the real me. Now I feel as though my interests and the things I reference make me so beautiful and connect me to so many people. I built all of this from nothing and I feel so proud to be here because I built my confidence along the way.
To me it feels like an eraser to pick the things that are most “appealing about someone” and market it back to the same community. Taking these people makes me realize how important communication and rebuilding are. There may not be a common understanding but at least both parties are heard. Erasure of PoC happens too often and that’s why confiding in community is so important when you feel not heard.
You advocate for mental health awareness, sex positive propaganda, and inclusive work spaces for all people. Most people don't have the nerve to ever even confront those topics and you've not only confronted them but you've challenged them and made a difference! I guess my question is... How do you talk the talk and walk the walk in those bomb-ass platforms?
Haha, this one made me giggle. I feel like me creating all these spaces came from a lack of me having them growing up when I was younger. My mom didn’t give me the sex education talk, she gave me a book and from that point on I wanted to know so I just kept reading. It was a super disconnected way to learn about my own body. After having many discussions, I find most people in various communities have to strip down a lot of layers of what they’ve been conditioned to believe about sex and their bodies in order to love themselves and have happy sex lives. There’s so much unpacking of guilt in sex and misinformation because of societies beliefs in shaming sexuality.
Who are your fashion/beauty icons? Whose look inspires you?
Debbie Harry, Joan Jett, Zoe Kravitz, Twiggy, and Anna Karina
I’m definitely about that French girl new wave look. Bright blue eyeshadow, thick full lid wing eyeliner, bold red lips.
What was your first “makeup moment” and what do you wear today?
Oh no! My first makeup moment was raccoon eyes. Usually I like to keep it minimal for castings and running around but sometimes I’ll turn out a messy smokey eye and some lip gloss.
What do your tattoos mean to you? The most popular one being the huge "Goosebumps" one across your shoulder blades!
My tattoos all take me back to a place in childhood when I felt safe. I express a lot of myself through media. I’ve always been a horror fan, I saw The Shining when I was just a lil babe and day dreamed about sleeping in coffins. I used to read Goosebumps in pillow forts on a rainy day or in the bath.
If you could dance in the rain, with waterproof mascara on obvi, who would be your dance partner?
Hmm, probably Winona Ryder, she’s a big time crush.
Tell us about an exciting and/or new work/project/thing you’re working on; how did it originate? How is it related to other work you’ve done? What is next for you? Do you have any hopes, dreams, plans you are excited about?
Well my agency just launched a few days ago, New Pandemics. They only sign models of the LGBTQ+ community. It truly does feel like a big step in my modeling career and I’m so happy to be apart of the moment in history for fashion. I recently spoke at Urban Outfitters about self care and mental health. Also, I was just the lead in a music video coming really soon.
All of these projects are very special to me and I’m so excited to see where I’ll go next. I hope to do more acting in the future as well as runway from Spring Fashion Week.