interview / Alyssa Hardy
photo / Jen Senn
hair & makeup / Candice J. Crawford
When we look back to the manufactured images of pop stars in the 00s, I think we can all agree that it was weird. It was a bunch of adults serving us up the image of a 16-year-old that they decided would entertain us until they aged out. (Some did, some didn’t—read: Backstreet Boys at Balmain). Today, in a world where the cyber peanut gallery makes it tough to fool anyone, it’s interesting to see image-driven pop stars coming onto the scene, especially ones who completely own it.
Enter That Poppy. Poppy is like a bizarre hybrid of Baby Spice, Twiggy, and Blaire Waldorf, all complete caricatures of their time. The video for her catchy reggae-inspired electro-pop single “Lowlife” features the singer wearing pastel faux furs, berets, and knee-socks, dancing with a red devil and singing with her big doe eyes glued to the camera. At first, there was something totally uncomfortable about it for me, but then I recognized that I just might not be used to such a young and fresh-faced musician owning her own performance and image so flawlessly.
That Poppy is a tween dream idol. Her baby-doll looks and catchy songs will have girls her age, and younger, feigning with aspiration, and her very matter-of-fact attitude might just push her forward in the grossly competitive teen pop music space. In fact, I’m certain it will.
How would you describe your style to someone who has never seen you before? Is it all a performance?
I’m a kawaii, pop-guitar, Barbie-doll princess. Life is a performance, and my style is my everyday.
What is “Lowlife” about?
The song is about me living on my own for quite a while and the ups and downs of it all. Then meeting someone when you’re in a very rough spot, and that certain person—whether it’s a friend or a lover—shaking up your world and making the worst time actually the best time.
Where do you draw inspiration from for your other songs?
I draw inspiration from everything! My personal life, books, my friends—you have to be open to everything.
What is the best part about making videos for you?
Observing the creative ways in which people ridicule me.
How do you deal with negative comments you receive? What advice to you have for people dealing with Internet bullying?
The Internet has given everyone a platform to have a voice. There are pros and cons to that. Most people throwing negative words and energy around into the atmosphere are typically discontent with their lives. We have to just love them.
How do you view yourself as a performer?
My life is a stage.
If you could trade places with any person for a day who would it be and why?
I would trade places with Michael Cera so I could fall in love with Poppy.
Where do you see your career in the next 5 years?
On a world tour!