Model and NYU student Jaylen Taylor on the East Village in the 2010s and 2020s, creating personal aesthetics
November 24, 2021
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
When I was younger, I would spend hours listening to 98.7 FM in Mississippi and they would play the stuff from the ’80s, ’90s and today. So I originally got my music taste from whatever was on the radio at the time. My parents also inspired my music style because they’d play music from their own decades. My dad went to school in the ’70s so he’s — well, you know, he’s old. Anyway, he stays bumping to Parliament-Funkadelic ’cause he’s an old head. He still plays that whenever I come home. And my mom went to college in the ’80s, so y’all know she stays throwing it back to Whitney Houston and Chaka Khan.
And now? I’d say my music style is a lot of different things. Honestly, I just listen to whatever sounds good. I like funk, hip-hop and — I don’t know, Yebba. I like people who wail like Yebba, and then anyone whose musical style is Yebba-adjacent.
Spotify is a really great way to find music. They usually recommend music to me and most times they’re spot on. I also share a lot of playlists with friends. I’m a leech. I always end up stealing music.
I have a Hinge account. I tell guys to send one of their favorite playlists to hear what music they’re listening to. And then of course it’s also a great way to know the kind of people they are.
I used to live in the East Village. It’s coming back from the pandemic. I lived on St. Marks Place, which was a bad idea because it was so fucking loud. All. The. Time. And there’s a shit ton of NYU students. Just full of them. Everyone. The East Village has its own little culture. There’s a strong bar culture there, it’s not very clubby — at least not in my experience. It’s kind of a “let’s get food, then get drunk at Yuca Bar.” I used to go there every single weekend, but it costs $15 to get in, and I can’t afford to do that anymore.
I recently moved to the Lower East Side and I love it. It’s quiet. It’s just a bunch of old people and kids that live in my neighborhood. I like to go to the Delancey — they have Reggaeton Fridays, so that’s super fun. I’ve gone to the Flower Shop — just once. It’s — how should I say this — a little too Caucasian for me.
There are a lot of small concert venues around here too. I’ve been to Mercury Lounge. Local bands will play there, so I’ll go there to start the night. I usually find out about them because they’re friends of friends, so I don’t really know them and I don’t really vibe with the music and I don’t remember the band names, so yeah. I mean, it feels kind of shitty not knowing their names, but hey. The last time I went, it was very punk-y? Grunge-y? It wasn’t really my vibe, but some people there were cool.
Except people weren’t dancing — they were moshing. And look, I don’t hate moshing, but it’s not my thing. So I was getting thrown around the whole night by some really excited little white dudes. But at least the drinks were really frickin’ cheap!
I’m a tequila bitch. I stay drinking tequila. So if they have a margarita? I’m having it. And if they don’t have tequila. I’ll get gin — gin and tonic or gin with anything citrus-y.
I recently went to Bowery Electric. There was this dude to whom I was speaking who told me to come hear his band play. Red flag number one. But it was funky there! People were dancing. It was actually super fun.
My day-to-day and night-out looks are inspired by things from the internet, especially Pinterest. Sometimes I just like to play around and dip my fingers in some colors and go crazy and see where I get.
Trends also inspire me — right now, I’m trying to get into this graphic eyeliner wave. I also have era moments — you know, ’60s makeup looks, ’70s makeup looks. To do that, I’ll go to Pinterest, type in the era I want to replicate and make it my own.
My fashion also changes a lot. Right now, my friends currently describe my look as a seductive professor who is also a witch. I’m definitely a witch professor in the fall. I love sweaters, the fall palette and layering. I’ve also stolen a bunch of things from my dad’s closet, so I have a shit ton of man sweaters. Right now, I’m actually wearing one of my dad’s leather jackets from the ’90s — it’s giving Fresh Prince vibes. For fashion, I also get inspiration from stuff I see online. I check to see what’s trending on there. Then, sometimes I see things I just like, whether it’s a trend or not. If it fits me well and looks good on me, then it doesn’t matter whether it’s a trend or not.
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