On July 9th, 2019, Lady Gaga teased her upcoming beauty line titled Haus Laboratories with a mesmerizing fashion video on YouTube. "The last thing the world needs is another beauty brand... But that's too bad." she quotes.
Haus Laboratories chose to aim far beyond the regular beauty consumer: "At Haus Beauty we say Beauty is how you see yourself." In the beauty video, we see Lady Gaga surrounded by the most peculiar and androgynous models, celebrating the diversity she always championed and supported since the early days of her career.
While promoting Gaga's beauty brand on social media, I noticed a very colorful Twitter user commenting under our posts. I surprisingly found out that it was in fact one of the beauty models featured in the Haus Laboratories commercial!
After a quick follow back, I began talking with Fish Fiorucci: the non-binary "golden" model. After telling me they've been a fan of my page for quite some time, we quickly agreed to meet in Milan for a private and intimate interview just a few weeks later.
It's was a hot Sunday in Italy when I traveled from Rome to Milan to the photo studio where Fish was prepping for their upcoming fashion week. I stepped into a large private studio where the "golden" model was waiting for me on a cheetah print couch, next to two other artists, naked.
FISH: “Thats luke and our producer. We’re working on a big project. Our first together outside the US.”
After a few hand shakes and kisses, the two other artist’s gave Fish and I some alone time to speak about just how fabulous the shoot was.
I’m now sitting next to Fish while they’re smoking a blunt. The model would be totally naked if it wasn't for their black thong and a pair of 10-inch pleaser heels they through on specifically for this interview. I was still amazed by the size of the location and how filled it was by the many dresses floating from hangers with racks all over the room. I was in fashion heaven.
MATT: “Wow it's a big production!”
FISH: “We try not to find time for small ones. Go big or go home.”
I finally take my laptop out of my backpack and began writing the interview.
M: “So, <<Fish>>, that’s how I should refer to you as, right?”
F: “Yes. My pronouns are they/them.”
Being non-binary must expose them to a lot of unwanted and awkward questions so I understood easily that it was in everyone’s favor to respect Fish for who they are.
"Being non binary has given me the chance to feel comfortable in my own body."
M: “So Fish ...what an honor is to interview you, thank you for having me, I know you’re very busy.”
F: “Of course, thank you for being a trusted source for Lady Gaga news! I’ve been following you for years now.”
I wasn't expecting that. After all these years, it still makes me happy when someone recognizes me for all the work I’ve done.
M: “You are probably the most peculiar model’s in the Haus Laboratories commercial. What does being non-binary mean to you?”
F: “Being non binary has given me the chance to feel comfortable in my own body. A reason to quit asking myself why I dress and act the way I do.”
M: “How do you act?”
F: “Like a fucking fa**ot! But that's just me. I never want to be called <<a man in heels>>. I just want to be recognized as an androgynous human and not so much male or female.”
M: “You're very direct.”
F: “What I don't like is how people censor my directness and silence my personality. I enjoy being blunt and I enjoy smoking them too.”
M: “I’m sure you went through a lot to get here."
F: “It took around 10 years of manifesting and candle lightings”
Fish finally decides to get up and starts wandering around the room looking for clothes. They're very tall. Maybe twice my height. It's fun seeing them wander so light around the room even though they have heels as high as Gaga's. They must be a pro.
F: “Would it be alright if I change? I have a shoot after this and need a new outfit.”
M: "Yeah, no problem. You don’t mind being naked in front of strangers?”
F: “Not at all! I like when people start questioning what kind of body parts I have. I’ve been banned many times on Instagram for posting naked photos of myself. But if I were a bigger celebrity, I'm sure It'd be alright. I actually have some old photos of myself naked, edited to look like Gaga's shoot with Eli Russell. Would you like to see them?”
They grab their purse from the couch and pick up the phone and start looking through their gallery.
"I was forced to act masculine at test shoots and meetings. It was a scary time."
F: “I was 18 at the time and was sexually harassed by this photographer.”
There is a slight silent moment. I'm surprised how they shouted it out so calmly.
M: “...do, you wanna talk about it?”
F: “It’s very common in this industry. It shouldn’t have to be, but sadly there aren’t enough rights in this industry to protect us from moments like this. I also think it’s great that my platform is growing now. I can speak about issues like this with no censorship. I’ve never been more encouraged to share my stories until now. Before it was a battle. The photos speak for themselves: my eyes are filled with sadness. I hated myself at that age. I was forced to act masculine at test shoots and meetings. It was a scary time. My innocence made it easier for people to take advantage of me. I know how to use my voice now. I just wish my agents taught me how to. This topic was just too taboo for them.”
M: “I believe it’s still taboo for a lot of young kids who want to enter this world.”
F: “It’s all a huge battle. Battle for your life! See what I did there?”
At first I didn’t get it, but then I remember the quote from the Haus Laboratories commercial. I wasn't really sure how to move forward about the last topic. I wasn't even expecting them to open up so much with me. Luckily, Fish was very joyful, and assured me everything was fine now.
M: “How was shooting with Lady Gaga?”
F: "Who's Lady Gaga?"
F: “I thought this was a Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta fan interview!”
M: “Then how was being on the set with Stefani?”
F: “To be quite honest, it was probably one of the best things I’ve ever experienced in my life. I felt like a star! And to be working closely with one of the biggest pop stars of our generation made it even more worthwhile. I finally felt like I was in the right place at the right time.”
M: “So tell me more about the shooting day.”
F: “I constantly found myself on set acting like a fool at times. I was just so starstruck. The cameraman would catch Gaga talking to me at times and when she would leave, I’d say <<do you guys know that lady?>> and would walk away with the biggest smile on my face. It was non-stop hard work coming from everyone. The energy was so strong and powerful. We had so much fun shooting on set. It was such a privilege to be working with the same people who created Gaga.”
M: “I bet you had so much fun that day. Is it “easy” to work with her?”
F: “Fashion isn't easy. Gaga isn’t easy. She’s advanced. If you thought the challenges on American Next Top Model were hard, think again sweetie. We were there to serve and the people were left FILLED.”
M: “It was hard, but it was worth it...?”
F: “From an artist point of view, I was blessed to be able to analyze every detail about the shoot. From the styling, casting and production, I left the shoot feeling inspired. From a model POV, it was a huge accomplishment. I like to consider myself more <<homemade>> than others, and getting this far was something I never imagined. I did it bitches.”
M: “That sounds like a dream, I bet THAT was a real huge production! ”
F: “The biggest. If I wanted a donut, I got my donut.”
M: “ ...and you also had Lady Gaga next to you. Do you remember anything funny from those days?”
F: “She smelled like miu miu perfume.”
M: “Is it a bad thing?”
F: “I smell like miu miu perfume now. I had to buy it.”
The other artist’s re-enter the studio. We talked so much that I almost forgot when they went out. They began unfolding dresses from a table near us, announcing that the other photographer would be coming and that we only had 10 minutes left.
"My plan is to advocate for mental health awareness while still being the queer genderless queen that I am."
F: “Before we wrap, ask me anything you’re dying to know.”
M: “How would you describe Gaga to someone who can’t afford to see her or might live too far?”
F: “She’s genuine. She’s a fucking hard worker and has a deeper appreciation for art than many other musical artists. She is God. You know what, I may sound cheesy but her music and persona are the reason I'm still here today. I've dealt with depression at a very young age and spent most of my nights crying and listening to her. I became a victim of her mind controlling music at age 11 and promised to sell my soul one day in return for fame. Gaga is my religion.”
M: “Before I go: what are you gonna do now with your life? What’s the plan?”
F: “It’s my goal to get famous before the year ends. I need everyone to know Fish before 2020 comes around. My plan is to advocate for mental health awareness while still being the queer genderless queen that I am. I’m a runway model with a loud mouth.”
M: “If you could speak to the world, what would you say?”
F: “Take My Picture, Hollywood! I Wanna Be a Star!”
The other photographer enters the studio. Everyone around me began running around meaning our time was coming to an end. As they began prepping dresses, getting make-up ready and adjusting lights I start packing my computer. It was almost time for me to catch my train. I hug Fish and thank them for their time. But before I go, I remembered a question I should have asked at the beginning of the day.
M: “Hey Fish, can I ask your real name?”
They ran away with a smile on their face and began fitting for their next shoot. A model on the run.
Interview by LadyGagaNow.