Tinashe Is Our October Cover Star
Album delays, media scrutiny, misogyny, and even self-doubt can't keep this superwoman down
Photographed by Anairam. Styled by Johnny Wujek.
The following feature appears in the October 2016 issue of NYLON.
Tinashe has never seen The Breakfast Club, and her cousin Nakisa Kachingwe and I cannot believe it. The entertainer (or singer-songwriter-dancer-producer-actress-model if we’re being thorough) quickly attempts to redeem herself: “I think I’ve seen parts! Just not the whole thing,” she says. We’re waiting on two more people to complete our team for a round of Escape the Room, a 1980s-themed interactive performance on New York’s Lower East Side, and we’ve just been informed that not only will this activity require knowledge about a decade during which none of us were alive, but that our cohorts include five prepubescent boys who were born in a completely different century. When a couple in their mid-30s arrives—their awkwardness around each other a clear indication that this is an “early date,” as Tinashe posits later—we’re relieved.
Suddenly, the dimly lit room fills with the opening synth line of “99 Luftballons,” causing the walls—adorned with a basketball hoop, a Back to the Future movie poster, and Spuds MacKenzie Bud Light ads—to lightly tremble. We launch into action: Kachingwe and I analyze a riddle that’s taped inside a yellowing issue of Tiger Beat. The couple hold a cassette player to their ears, straining to hear the recording. The boys argue about whether the final score of the “Miracle on Ice” could be a clue, with an impressive recall of stats on the legendary hockey game during the 1980 Winter Olympics. And off in a corner sits Tinashe. Clad in a breezy white tank, black leggings, and low-top Vans, her legs are folded beneath her on the floor, her focus as sharp as her inky-black fingernails, which are clacking away at the buttons on a brick-size mobile phone. She’s trying to figure out which combination of numbers will open an attached safe, and clearly working according to some clever strategy.
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Top by Geoffrey Mac, pants by Baja East, choker with jewels by Eddie Borgo, gold choker by Alexis Bittar, Tinashe’s own chain and rings.