At Mia Carucci’s

“I was shot by one of my closest friends, Natalia Mantini. We’ve been friends for a long time. This is our first time doing a proper shoot. It came out very beautiful. I built my studio in the basement from scratch, built a soundboard that goes around my walls, got all my gear down there and rugs. Made it sick. Before I could start recording, she was like can we shoot in your studio and I’m like yeah. Natalia shot it, then this designer I love so much, Min Ji Son styled me. She’s such a legend. She illustrates all these creatures and designs, prints them onto clothes. I’m trying to get her into painting — her work is so sick it needs to be on canvas. It’s so special. So yeah, she styled me. And we had a homie, Maxine. She did the BTS, shot VHS. It was very much homies, and Lily was there!”

Interview by Jasmine Reiko
Photos by Natalia Mantini
Styling by Min Ji Son

How’s LA?
Mia Carucci – It’s my favorite place on the planet, but it’s so hot right now. People hate humidity and I don’t get it. Humidity is hot, it’s sexy, it’s delicious, it’s pure bliss.

How long have you been in LA?
Mia Carucci – Ten years, this is my home. It’s so weird that I’ve lived anywhere else. The minute I moved here I was taking the train, bus, and walking for years. Also, a lot of political canvassing in underprivileged neighborhoods. I was in it. A lot of people who come here don't feel super connected because they don’t explore the city in a real way. I lived everywhere. I worked everywhere. This is my home.

What kind of canvasing did you do in LA when you first moved there?
Mia Carucci – It was for a trans rights campaign. We were in South Central, predominantly Black family neighborhoods. I was here for two months and someone I knew told me we’re canvasing to allow trans people to use whatever facilities they desired. I was going door-to-door, which was so difficult. How does anyone tell a Black person that someone else has less rights than you? And to have compassion when you feel like people have no compassion for you. I see every side of everything. I was really grateful. I was by myself. I didn’t know anyone who was also canvassing. I didn’t really want to go in a group, I didn’t want to be with all these people. All these white queer people like, that’s cute for y’all, but not my favorite. I was like fuck it, I’ll just roll alone. The people who let me into their homes let me share what we were trying to pass. I think it was like having those conversations with people who wouldn’t have those conversations at all.

It’s hard calling things activism when that word’s been kind of disenchanted online. The idea that they weren’t seen, given any help ever, and witnessing something outrageous that disrupts the considerable “norm” happening in continuum with the world ending. Having the outlet of being angry doesn’t have to be manifested as something chaotic. Nurturing these conversations by having a communal outlet, community, open outlet with people you don’t even know is something more sustainable.
Mia Carucci – I ask myself: What have I been doing in my everyday life and my community here. What can I do for my neighbors? I live in Chinatown. All my neighbors are my aunties. How am I taking care of this space that I share with these people instead of going online to be like we all feel the same way! It really doesn’t do anything.  I find it to be a false comfort. Post an infographic and go back to doing ketamine and not giving a fuck about anybody. If that’s your life ok, that’s gorgeous, but I don’t like the false…I don’t like the performance.

When you post through social media, this call for action is such a universal far-cry. You’re not really doing much except putting words into the ether. It is conflicting to ground that idea in places where you’re actively doing it, paving nuance with those who came before. It’s not quite universal. It’s personal.
Mia Carucci – I have a group of friends who are mostly femmes. I feel like people can do this in their own circles. Who are the people I know who are healers, know homeopathic medicine, and can build shit? I just want to get everyone in the room and come to my house. Everyone’s gifts are highlighted, it is communal.

You have to create your own heaven, it’s OK to be specific in your creation.
Mia Carucci – Especially with all this shit. To be all broad and macro about it, you’re going to drown. What is the one thing I know I can actually contribute in a big way if I really focused on this one thing?

My front yard was so overgrown, it was going out into the sidewalks. I know the aunties leave at the same time everyday to go on their walks. These bitches roll so thick, they run so deep. I would say hi and they would not look at me. Then, I was on my own and started cleaning my front yard. At some point they were like, “Good Job!”, “Finally!” This is what I needed to do! Pay a little respect to these streets. They go from one house to the other house and exchange plants and herbs. I’m like, dude, this is the shit I wanna get into. They’re like “we don’t know what’s happening with y’all but when we’re here, we’re having a great time!”

It’s easy to fall into the drone. It’s cool to start your own systems.
Mia Carucci – If you really want it, you could make it happen, anywhere. These aunties are going to be fineeee. They have all this shit that Silverlake and Echo Park JUST found out about.

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