Think very warm tones—towel stretched out across the sand, coiled peel of an orange, lemonade with extra sugar and ice on a delicious summer afternoon. Think you’re admiring the curves of the Getty Villa, or some kind of modern art (Brancusi? Kandinsky?) in a breezy linen dress and slippers. Because Los Angeles weather encourages that kind of thing, and Chloe Bilsland thrives in it. Today we meet in L.A. with Chloe—Gah girl, model, art student on break, and beach-going expert—to talk purpose and style.
Tell us about your story. Where are you from and what challenges have you faced along the way?
I grew up on the beach in Malibu, CA and somehow convinced myself I needed to live in a big city. So I moved to Chicago to attend the Art Institute for painting and performance art. After a year, I ran back home with my tail between my legs. I tell people that everything about it was too grey—now I’m home, pursuing modeling and defrosting.
The summer before entering art school, you acted as photographer Henrik Purienne’s assistant/muse. What was that like?
More bikinis and vintage items than you could imagine.
What’s the best part of being a model?
The good makeup artists give you arm massages.
Why did you decide to take a year off from art school?
I was mistaken in thinking that art school is an exception to the capitalist greed that touches all education. Also, I'd reached my quota of drawing elderly genitalia for a while.
Modeling seems to require so much, like constant habits and networking. How do you balance between your work and private life?
I enjoy being thoroughly uncooperative with society’s idea of what a model should be or do. I despise gyms and dieting, which makes me a bit of a rare breed. As far as balancing, I’m definitely a California native in terms of lifestyle attitude—I’m very laid back and true to myself, whether I’m on a shoot or at home.
Where can we find you on a Friday afternoon?
Someplace involving sitting outside with wine.
You’ve amassed a pretty wide following on Instagram. Do you think your social media presence is in line with your true self, or is it more directed towards your “brand” and business networking?
I just post photos that I like, and I guess other people are into them, too. Lately, I’ve struggled between posting photos that I like and the kind that will get me work (like more photos of myself), but none of that matters in the end.
Do you Snapchat or use other social media? Is there a different perspective on other platforms?
I’m very passionate about Yelp.
We love the beachy vibes! How did you develop your personal style? How does being in L.A. impact that?
Los Angeles is filled with beautiful people with even better taste. There are endless opportunities to find things here that aren't seen anywhere else, with all our flea markets and vintage shops. All of it feeds into the concept of image, which is so important in LA.
Tell us about the clothes you’ve picked out from Lisa Says Gah today. What do you like about them?
It was fun to have the opportunity to wear some contemporary designs since I mostly wear vintage. I love having the opportunity to support the strong community of female designers that LSG fosters.
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