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” My nationalities are Algerian, Austrian, English, French, Israeli, Moroccan, Polish and Russian. I was raised practicing Judaism but never felt connected to it. I believe in the power of the Universe and also practice Witch Craft.”
DT 500 ZINE: – It is always fun to follow you on your Instagram, there’s the easy-going mastery again! Hey, tell us the story about the interest to design come from?
CHEEKY MAA: – I was influenced a lot by my grandparents, although I didn’t see them very much. My father’s parents both worked in the fashion industry and owned a suit store in Queens, NY. They would take me shopping every time they came to visit and introduced me to fashion at very young age.
” I would flip through fashion magazines and rip out pages of inspiration which helped develop my passion for style.”
DT 500 ZINE: – Did you choose to design when you were already a child?
CHEEKY MAA: – When I was 6, I started to customize my own clothing by cutting and layering pieces together. I became interested in modeling at a very young age as well. My dad is a photographer, he would set up the seamless backdrop and would style myself and friends to shoot.
DT 500 ZINE: – Cheeky, what is about your artist-freak character?
CHEEKY MAA: – I genuinely believe I was just born this way. It’s who I was meant to be. Even when I didn’t recognize it, others did. I remember one time at recess when
” I was about 8, this girl Alyssa wanted to play with me. Her friend was telling her she shouldn’t because I was a “loser.” Alyssa said she thought I was cool but her friend disagreed and replied: “Yeah, she’s cool to FREAKS” “
CHEEKY MAA: – I was so hurt at the time, but hey, she was right, And I couldn’t be more proud. I believe we are all freaks in our own way, some just choose to show it on the outside. My inspirations are unique people, I love seeing crazy humans doing the most ridiculous shit on the streets of NYC. Many of my friends inspire me as well.
DT 500 ZINE: – How unique? What is the message of Cheeky Maa?
CHEEKY MAA: – I hope to be a part of the movement for change in social structures, the current beauty, and queer acceptance.
” We are all connected especially now with social media platforms. So many have fought for the freedom of self-expression and now is the time to educate the ignorant and to shamelessly be true to who we really are.”
DT500ZINE: – What’s a specific role of an artist?
CHEEKY MAA: –
“ We are the underground prophets. We are here to inspire each other and create the guidelines for future generations.”
DT500ZINE: – ALL TRUE! Let’s talk back to your design, you have a lot of statement-outfits, images, styling, etc.., Pls, tell us more about that source of inspiration?
CHEEKY MAA: – My style is always evolving!
” If I had to describe it, I’d said it’s new-age, punk-alien with a touch of elegance.”
DT500ZINE: – What comments are you getting from New-Yorkers walking along the streets?
CHEEKY MAA: – The most common question I get asked on the streets is:- “Did you came from future?” almost everyday piece I’ve collected over the years, I’ve picked up from a thrift store.
– When I go thrifting I’m like a kid in a candy store, I’m running all over the shop smiling with much energy. I could sort through racks for hours and never get tired.
DT500ZINE: – so you’ve got your technics?
CHEEKY MAA: – My technics is simple, something will stand out for me either because of the construction or pattern. I’ll try it on, if it looks good to me, it’s done. I also love to reconstruct clothing, take it apart and make it into something new.
” I learned how to hand sew in middle school, and about 3 years ago, I taught myself on the machine. “
DT500ZINE: – What’s going on in your neighborhood, who’s your crew?
CHEEKY MAA: – I recently moved to the Lower East Side of Manhattan. I live with 2 of my favorite people in the world, Nicky Ottav a NAR.
” We all live in this cute little box with murals on the wall painted by Nicky and lots of punk! “
DT500ZINE: – The Club kids.
CHEEKY MAA: – Yeah, every weekend our apartment is packed out with the most freak club kids of NYC.
DT500ZINE: – Any mint manners?
CHEEKY MAA: – We all pre-party at the crib before we head out to Flash Factory, where Nicky Ottav has created a space for everyone to get crazy and feel the love.
DT 500 ZINE: – here you are, what’s up there?
CHEEKY MAA: – The atmosphere is beautiful, everyone comes in such individual looks (freaky or not) and there are so many delightful personalities.
” It’s a place where you can feel free to dance to the music with no judgment. This party has become a second home to me and many others.”
DT500ZINE: – Did you find yourself?
CHEEKY MAA: – I had social anxiety for everyone. Coming here has helped me to go out of my shell and be more open and expressive.
DT 500 ZINE: – What kind of music do you listen to?
CHEEKY MAA: – I can really get down with any genre of music except for country. I like also listen to old and new hip-hop and rap. The music I connect with the most is an alternative, underground artists like Space Jesus, Desert Dwellers, Beats Antique, Liquid Stranger, OParadiso and other artists on their vibe.
DT 500 ZINE: – What sparks you in NYC today?
CHEEKY MAA: – Literary everything and anything. This city is always moving and progressing. Sometimes it can be exhausting, but it keeps me thinking and experiencing the many layers of life.
” Good or bad, I always try to find a positive outcome and use it to learn and create something new.”
DT 500 ZINE: – What is a typical day of CHEEKY MAA’s like?
CHEEKY MAA: – There is no typical day for me anymore, every week I am doing something new and exciting. I meet new people and find new ways to collaborate.
DT 500 ZINE: – Babe, what’s on the calendar?
CHEEKY MAA: – every Friday and Saturday night I host a Flash Factory and every other Tuesday I host at ACME for STRUT. The rest of my days are filled with photo shoots, running around town, creating looks, drawing, and having play-dates with freaky friends.
” I like to try and to live in the moment, not to think about the future.”
PHOTOGRAPHER MATEUS PORTO
DESIGNER -CHEEKY MAA
Interview ARTHUR SOPIN