Staz Lindes talks music, make-up and being a muse
Model, singer and Dire Straits offspring Staz Lindes rocks summer’s coolest beauty looks and talks about music, make-up and being a muse, writes Hamish MacBain.
A haunting, almost unbearably intense outpouring of grief, Nick Cave’s I Need You is not the sort of music you might expect to be soundtracking a beauty shoot. But as well as similarly bleak songs by Iggy Pop, The Jesus & Mary Chain and other such dark-hearted rock ‘n’ rollers, it comes at the request of the young woman at the centre of the shoot. Dark-hearted rock ‘n’ roll, you see, is very much Staz Lindes’ thing.
As well as being the face of YSL Beauty, she spends her time playing scuzzy, swaggering lo-fi punk rock with The Paranoyds — her (very good) band in Los Angeles.
Ask her whether music or modelling was her first love and she shrugs that the answer is “both, to be honest”.
“I’ve never been a fan of fashion, but I’ve always loved clothes, make-up, photography, movies and music. I started to play guitar when I was 12, but I also started setting up photo shoots with my friends when I was 13. I started taking pictures with photographers when I was 14, didn’t go full-time until I was like 19, and hustled really hard until this, basically.”
Certainly, she speaks with equal enthusiasm for the two things that take up most of her life. “I love make-up so much. I love that I get to talk to (YSL global beauty director) Tom Pecheux, and work with him one-on-one. Being able to talk about make-up is fun and the travel is really amazing and having a ton of lipstick in stock is super cool. I get to choose different stuff all the time,” she says.
The Paranoyds, meanwhile, are more than just a hobby, and their outlook extends to how they conduct their affairs. They have no manager and do everything independently, from putting out seven-inch singles and cassettes to touring whichever of America’s small venues will have them. There are no immediate plans to change this.
“We haven’t been approached by anyone, but we don’t know if we should be giving someone money for something we’re already doing ourselves anyway,” Lindes shrugs.
“It’s such a different time and we get so much stuff ourselves via Instagram and social media.” Lindes states proudly that they have “played South By Southwest a lot”, and that she is “dying to go and play in Portland and Seattle”.
Is their way working? “You mean do we have fans and stuff? Yeah, we have some really cool fans. We just opened for (Strokes guitarist) Albert Hammond Jr on tour, which was great, but those were intimidating fans, like Strokes fans. So it was like playing to a green screen of what an audience looks like: they’re just staring, because they don’t know us. But we got some really cool fans out of it. We played with him in New Mexico and there were four fans who had driven all the way from El Paso.”
How do the other members of the band feel seeing their bandmate’s face splashed 20-feet high on the occasional billboard? Are they interested in her other life?
“They’re interested in the connections it can get us,” Lindes says, grinning. Having one of their members feature in fashion campaigns must have helped the band, surely. “Well it’s definitely given our name a spotlight, but I don’t know if the people who hear about it are actually interested in the band. I don’t know if the people who are flipping through fashion magazines would like it.”
Music is in Lindes’ blood. Her father, Hal Lindes, was a guitarist in Dire Straits during the early 1980s: he left before the release of the 30 million-selling Brothers In Arms album. Her model mother, Mary Lovett, meanwhile “was living on the King’s Road in the 1960s and was married to another musician (Peter Frampton) before my dad so music’s very important to her as well”.
Both of them “are very opinionated, and so I learned that having an opinion about music was pretty important,” she adds.
“They’re both total Beatleheads, and my mum was super into The Cure and Elliott Smith and stuff like that”.
Born in London in 1993, Lindes moved to LA when she was five. She still lives there, having recently moved from hipster-friendly Silver Lake to quieter South Central but, despite her US drawl, considers herself English and loves London. “I always feel a bit of a reconnection every time I come, like it’s like a distant home,” she says.
“I know it really well, I love the food, I love my friends here, love the culture here. It’s weird: it’s sort of like LA in some ways, because of the spacing and the layout, but it’s also super-specific to itself.”
It was at one of her band’s shows at a Santa Monica bowling alley that Lindes was first spotted by the former creative director of Saint Laurent, Hedi Slimane (who of course has a bit of a history of recruiting his muses at tiny, sweaty gigs). But if that fact, plus the family background and the DIY indie cred, makes her sound like prime It girl material, then it’s not something in which she’s really interested. “I’m so separate from this life,” she says. “I never talk about this stuff with my friends at home who know me. I have friends who didn’t know I was a model until a year into our friendship. I’ll be walking around the airport and see myself and I just know I look nothing like that. I don’t have fame or anything, like no one really recognises me.”
Whether through modelling, or music, or a bit of both at the same time, one suspects that will change soon.
© Evening Standard