the insider: azealia banks

she owns this fashion week. Here’s why.

by ray siegel

I waited outside of the SoHo MAC store last night as the Fashion's Night Out crowd started to roll in. Most of them appeared to be lingering on Broadway for the same reason that I was: To meet fashion's favorite twitter-happy rapper, Azealia Banks. Her fans were all dressed just like her, had made obvious attempts to dye their hair a similar color, and were singing her 2011 hit, "212."

It's safe to say that there's a new girl in the front row this year—one with her own MAC lipstick color. Our apologies to Karl Lagerfeld, but New York Fashion Week is claiming her as our own; the song isn't called "The Second Arrondissement."

Sadly, most of those fans will never get to scream, "OMG!" in Azealia's face, but lucky for you, I got to spend ten whole minutes with her. She wore a Madonna-esque corset top with way over-the-knee, lace-up boots. Her dark purple hair is as long as the real Rapunzel'a, and she is very, very nice.

Tell us about the name of your lipstick/your alter ego, Yung Rapunxel.

She is a lot of things. She is the inner beast in the young girl. She's the girl that want's to go out and have a good time and be herself no matter what it costs. She wants to have a good time and she doesn't want anyone to tell her that she's doing too much or not being ladylike. She just wants to exist. You get what I'm saying?

TOTALLY. Is that who you've channeled as you were coming up?

That whole idea is synonymous with my entire generation. Especially the new crop of artists. We're all ourselves no matter what it costs.

You don't have someone telling you to make certain songs. You can do it your way.

Exactly. How do you think that your generation achieved that when the generations before you failed?

The internet gave us a lot of freedom with that, but at the same time the internet ages you really quickly. Before, when people would release an album that was the sh*t for six months. ANd people were just bumping that album for six months straight. Now, if you put out and album and someone else puts out an album the next week—you're done.

You have to work harder.

It annoys me when the older generation is like, "you need to pay your dues." You guys do not get it at all!

People say that if you put music on the internet people will listen to it. Do you think it's that easy?

Being listened to, and being paid attention to, and actually being respected are two completely different things. I'm very lucky to have a song like "212." It's modern day classic and it's given me a lot of life. I can pop up in ten years and perform 212. Regardless of how well it charted, "212" really put a mark on urban-American culture for a minute.

Did you ever think that you'd have your own MAC lipstick?

I didn't! It's so weird; with all of this fashion press…it's cool because I feel like the fashion people are looking at me and they see this really rough girl and they're like, "let us dress you. You have your art, but at least let us dress you because girl, you look like a mess."

Do you like fashion?

I love it, but with all of the other stuff going through my head about my music, I don't consciously put it together. But for whatever reason people thought that my busted little Mickey Mouse sweater and my braids were fashionable.

It was though.

Thank you!

Enough so to be asked to perform at Karl Lagerfeld's crib.

I know! Did you know that sweater cost me ten pounds in Camden Market? It's acrylic and busted. It was busted the day I wore it in the video. I'm very lucky.

Do you style yourself?

I can't! I'm not a boy. I'm definitely a girl, but…

It's not easy.

It's not easy. As long as my hair is clean and my body is washed I'm like, "ok i'm ready." I'm lucky to have all of these people offer to help me.

What show are you most excited to go to this fashion week?

I'm going to the Jeremy Scott show, which I'm really excited about. His clothes remind me of myself, like "what the eff is that? what do you have on right now?" He's really cool.

What other MAC makeup do you use other than your own color?

Everything, everything, everything. I'm a big fan of the concealer that comes in the pot called 'Studio Fix.' I use NW45—it's been my color forever. I use...ok...it's between

Amber Lights and Stars and Rockets. Actually, no! It's Amber Lights. It just goes with my face. I don't even have to think about it. I just put 'Amber Lights' on and embark here and then go.

Who does your hair?

This lovely woman Liz, she works for Indique Hair. They gifted me this hair. They dyed it and colored it to match my Yung Rapunzel lipstick, so they're very excited about the lipstick as well.

What other artists do you like?

I like Grimes. I like Haim. The other day i came across this girl, Etta Bond. She's got this song called "Boring Bitches." It's the funniest sh*t ever. I'd sing it but, I don't want to get the lyrics wrong.

Are you going to see Three 6 Mafia perform at the Supreme party tonight?

I love rap, but I'm out of the loop in terms of the world because I've been paying attention to myself. I'm just trying to finish my songs and meet my deadlines.

What's next? Are you going to start your own clothing line?

If someone gives me money to do it, I will for sure.

What would it be like?

I can't say or someone will steal my idea!


And that's how Azealia Banks jumped to the top of my "female artists that I really really like" list.

And then there was this other that time we accosted Azealia during fashion week.