Meet the Tastemakers, part 2



Max Darling, Tastemaker

 

WNY Tastemakers: Max Darling from Buffalo Spree magazine on Vimeo.

 

Video directed by Tiffani Moore

Director of photography: Shannon Madden

 

Looking for some inspiration? I’ve rounded up some of the best Buffalo-based young creatives, a diverse group united by their shared understanding of the importance of eye candy. Whether you’re into art, music, fashion, or drag swag, this crew has it covered. From Max Darling’s costumes for the Stripteaser Burlesque show to the worldwide travels of Lulu, you’re bound to be intrigued. Check out these interviews to find out more about their lives, careers, mantras, and more. And click here to see the whole shoot.

 


 

Max Darling, tragically glamorous

IG: @themaxdarling 

 

 

What are you doing with your life and career right now? 

I am freelancing! I work as a personal assistant, and I perform in several nightlife shows throughout Buffalo. You can see me every Tuesday night at Nietzsches for the Stripteaser Burlesque show. I plan on becoming more involved in the Buffalo fashion scene and hope to start styling for shoots and collaborating with more local and non-local photographers.

 

Tell us the last completely awesome thing you did. 

I’ve recently collaborated with my talented friend Vidalia May (Nick Blazier). We have created a production company called She Lives and we host several dance events including #Deep and Meaty Tuxxx. We’ve been fortunate to be given such a great platform in Buffalo to collaborate with other artists and queer activists to create a safe place for the LGBT community and their allies. 

  

What’s your mantra?

“Live your life.” I notice often people saying things like “If I were younger I’d have pink hair.” Why do you have to be young to have colorful hair? If you have hair and want it pink that’s your prerogative. And if you don’t have any hair on your head to dye, get a wig!

 

Where do you love to shop?

For hair, beauty, and drag, I love Hair World on Bailey and obviously Amazon.com. I also get some of my more iconic pieces from Second Chic and Scoop Shop, both located on the corner of Auburn and Elmwood. Dreamland also has a great donation closet. Second hand clothing gives me so much life! I live… therefore #shelives. 

 


 

Chae Hawk, progressive rap cinema artist, chaehawk.com

IG: @chaehawk

 

What are you doing with your life and career right now?

Advancing to the next level within my craft Progressive Rap Cinema (chaehawk.com) and in business.

 

Tell us the last completely awesome thing you did.

Changed my son Chasyn Gregory Hawk's diaper. 

 

A perfect day in Buffalo includes these three things…

This is an easy one:

1. Real racial acceptance for a true One Buffalo. 

2. Free La Nova's BBQ Chicken Wings.

3. Championship win.

 

What’s your mantra?

AAEEEEHHM AHMBIIITIIOOOONN AAEEEEHHM AHMBIIITIIOOOONN 

 

 


 

Chelsey Merrill, hair stylist

IG: @miss_chezzyyy

 

 

What are you doing with your life and career right now? 

I actually just made a bit of a career move, and you can now find me at Studio 806 on Elmwood (in the heart of the action!). So I'm just focusing on building myself and my craft, and trying to learn and grow as much as possible to be the best I can be. 

 

Tell us the last completely awesome thing you did. 

This Spree shoot, duh! I also went on vacation with my friends back in March; we went on Parahoy (a music festival cruise) and to Disney World and it was absolutely the best time of my life. 

 

A perfect day in Buffalo includes these three things…

Drinking a few beers, with my pals, enjoying the outdoors somewhere, or riding around on our bikes

 

Who are your style icons?

Hayley Williams, Rihanna, and Kurt Cobain 

 


 

Saint Opal, A Lavender Something

IG: @saint.opal

 

What are you doing with your life and career right now?

Right now I am currently working on my EP called OxBlood as well as getting the AntiVenue tour together, which happens this summer! You can go to http://fund.antivenuetour.com/ to help me as well as some other cute and very talented artists travel around the US spreading the Buffalove.

 

Tell us the last completely awesome thing you did.

I'd have to say the last awesome thing I did was during a performance at a film screening at Buff State. While on stage, I decided to roll around on the floor and sing! It was such a fun time and also the first time I did that.

 

A perfect day in Buffalo includes these three things…

Pineapples

Sunshine

Very loud and very lit music

 

What’s your mantra?

Hmm.. either "Don't think about it, just do it" or "If your clothes are fun then you'll have fun.”

I say both to myself daily.

 


 

Lulu, professional smarty pants

IG: @Sneakylulee

 

 

What are you doing with your life and career right now? 

Growing up, I was always the kid who was undecided. In high school, after our last band concert, I remember the director of the program announced where all of the seniors would be going to school that coming fall. As he called my name, he turned to me and said "undecided." Now that I'm an adult, it doesn't seem like much has changed. 

 

After graduating from the Master of Arts Clinical Mental Health program at Medaille College, I had the pleasure to intern with the Lakeshore Behavioral Health ACT Aspire team. ACT or Assertive Community Treatment is a mobile team of mental health professionals who provide community-based treatment and rehabilitation services to those in the community with serious and persistent mental illness. A future as a fashionable mental health clinician is certainly something I'm making room for in my life. I am thankful for all of the experiences and opportunities I have had up until now.   

 

My day-to-day changes, and I appreciate that most about my life. From DJ to model to curating my life on Instagram to future therapist, a professional smarty-pants can be hard work. Even if on some occasions I don't feel like wearing pants. 

 

Tell us the last completely awesome thing you did. 

For my thirtieth birthday I took thirty days off to travel. Phoenix, San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego and Honolulu ended up being the destinations and I'm very grateful for the people I met along the way. 

 

A perfect day in Buffalo includes these three things…

1. Watching the sun rise from Bird Island Pier under the Peace Bridge 

2. Sipping a coconut latte from Tipico

3. Sitting on the bow of a sailboat while departing for Wednesday night racing at the Buffalo Yacht Club 

 

What’s your style philosophy?

You are never too old to play dress up. Impersonate someone or something. Pick a song, choose a theme, use your environment, and tell a story. Your style can be inspired by feeling, weather, and season. Be confident in your choices and exercise your imagination.

 


 

Shoot credits:

Directed by Erin Habes and Luke Copping 

Photography: Luke Copping 

Stylist: Erin Habes

Wardrobe: models’ own

Wardrobe assistant: Tanajah Davis 

Video directed by Tiffani Moore

Director of photography: Shannon Madden

Hair: Kristin Draudt and Julie Wood, Fawn & Fox Salon

Makeup: Mallory Stoos and Katie Mann, Trippy Chick Makeup 

 

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