i never thought i'd be doing this for two years,
i never knew i'd live to tell the story,
i never thought.
my story is different because it is one that was not written in the stars.
it's a story that was marred by the presence of it's main character, me.
i never listened to anyone, never took advice, cannot be taught, and refuse to obey.
i am a self created being that learns, or does not, from my own mistakes.
at first glance, people think my presence in my community was natural, as i had been around for years, when in fact, i took all the back roads and winding paths i could, almost avoiding the inevitable. my background is fashion, a career that both launched and abandoned me. i started out of college as a fashion editor for W magazine, low on the totem pole, but with grand ambitions. within months of starting my chosen career, i was vaulted into space by the publishers who saw me as something special.
i was, for a few years, the golden child who could do no wrong. my lack of knowledge in what i was doing was the thing that made my approach different, as i just went in, head first, with a certain trust built into my gut. i never questioned my ideas, i never doubted my intuitions, and i never followed tradition. instead, i took the little knowledge i had and morphed it into something i could understand, something that made sense to me, and something that i liked visually. it just made more sense to me that way.
my editors were stunned at how quickly my new approach was in fact tangable and accepted in the industry, an industry that is supposed to be about change, but was secure in it's old school ways. but then here i was, 19 years old, an editor at W, and reaching out and making my statements ones that were accepted and sought after by the old regime, as well as plausable and understandable to my generation. and all i did was take what they had been doing for decades, and twist it. my background being art history and fashion was vaulted by the simple fact that i grew up in the years i had. years of change that had come to fruition by constant change, the deaths of the generations before me of AIDS, and my inner fears and beliefs in experimenting with what was acceptable. i was a child of the me generation, where the only things that mattered were the things i let matter. there were few gay men left in the world from the previous generations, as they had been devoured by a virus that was supposed to have wiped us out, yet, i had survived. somehow, with all of my calloused ways, i had been skipped from the destiny of men only a few years older than me, which made me feel untouchable, yet vulnerable.
it should have been me, too, as i was not cautious, was not careful, and not playing by the rules.
i set up my own rules because quite honestly, i thought my destiny had been pre-written and i only had a few years of life left in me. i was diagnossed with AIDS at the age of 20, and at that time, there was not a lot of hope in sight. so, i chose to live my life the way i saw fit, have fun, party till i dropped, and touch everything i could. and i did.
by the time i was 21, i had been exposed to the grand excess of high couture, had lunch with Dolce and Gabbana and Romeo Gigle, been coddled by it's headliners, had worked my way into the hearts of the industry by being the very thing it didn't understand. that was, being a child of street culture. clubs, music and street fashion were boiling with life. there was something happening underground that i was at the right place and time to be a part of and also report on. i could be accesable to the new trend as i fit in with at it's people, yet i was smart enough to know when to step back and document it. my intuitions of trends was highlighted by my use of cocaine and ecstasy, clubs and the movement music was about to make. house music was in it's glory, washing away a decade of bad music, and it touched us children who had no guidance and made us feel like we belonged, finally, we had something of our own. that very something was the same something that at that moment, had the world in it's hands. it was the birth of a new thinking. a carefree attitude that had been banned years ago when AIDS was destroying the very people it needed. and for a brief moment, there wasn't a care in the world.
house music and club kids ruled the earth, as well as the catwalks of Paris. they infused their insanity to the backbone of society, made every outcast a celebrity, and won the hearts of the world with their modern no holds barred imagination. the usual idea that designers dictated fashion was shaken by the fact that now, fashion was born in the clubs and on the streets by people who couldn't afford to buy it, and so, they created it.
drag queens and club kids who were considered unacceptable because of their very beliefs were being flown to Milan and Paris to represent the new look. people dropped the high priced clothing that kept them safe and secure, and began wearing their underwear as outer wear. bras were worn as tops, and men dropped their drawers and let their underwear show off their newly chiseled bodies underneath. these bodies were there and flaunted because they represented the end of an era that had been, for a decade, covered and hidden by shame. AIDS drugs were keeping men alive, and so, the dying, wasting away look of the gay community was reinvented as a hyper masculine and untouchable. men started going to the gym, showing off their muscles, exposing and promoting the idea that AIDS was now the thing that was dead, and not the people it had effected. we were alive, and had been repressed, so it was time to take back what we had lost. the very same people who had, five years ago been given a death sentence, were now living life in excess, and enjoying every second of it.
marky mark was the way we all wanted to look, and his bad-boy band image, something we all aspired to. i was in the right place, with the right look, at the right time.
by the time i was 24, i had racked up a list of achievements that i would never in my wildest dreams imagined, including becoming a fashion editor for L'uomo Vogue, and styling for clients like Vanity Fair and Vogue, celebrities such as Ricky Martin and Christina Aguilera, and i was completely unstoppable and untouchable...i had reached my goal in less than ten years, so, what could i possibly do, or where could i possibly go, next?