The Hotstepper is a woman of many talents, with many projects and a number of aliases. She is a part-time DJ, sometimes photographer, half-time show stopper, and full-time fashion bug. A native New Yorker through and through, she’s been exposed to lots of good stuff, but like U2, still has not found what she is looking for. She cannot drive but loves road trips, and is right-left dyslexic but has an inner compass that always leads her in the right direction. She tastes flavors differently than 75% of the human population, and that’s definitely a good thing, being that flavor – much like variety, is the spice of life. Sometime during junior high school Lil’ Hotstepper came to the conclusion that beautiful is boring, and that whimsy is the way, and she’s basically been blowing people’s minds ever since.
Beside what you’ve seen on M.I.S.S., her pictures have been used in press kits for artists like Junk Science (Embedded/Definitive Jux), published on Cityfile New York and Brownstoner, as well as 3 issues of the Australian zine NCMC. Not to mention, she’s worked for the TV shows Judge Judy, Judge Joe Brown and the Ananda Lewis Show, where, perhaps you may have caught her binge drinking to give teenagers a lesson on how quickly you can fail a breathalyzer.
As Susan Z. Anthony, she DJs as part of the duo ” Wings Of Desire” with of Mikey Palms of Brooklyn’s Southpaw. Cozy neighborhood buttshakers are their forte. She has also DJ’d at Hot Jamz, Brooklyn’s illest 90’s party. But she didn’t just stop there – besides always getting decked out to the nines in authentic 90’s gear, she also procured a sponsorship and designed a custom collection of Reebok Freestyles for the ladies who throw the party. The next one is December 12th, just in time for her birthday, and she invites you all to come out decked out in your sickest 90’s gear!
Kim takes a stab at our survey
M.I.S.S. Q&A with the Hostepper
M.I.S.S: What woman, besides your mom or grandmother, do you find inspirational?
Any woman who does what she wants, because she can – and If she can’t, she finds, creates or fights for a way.
M.I.S.S: How did you get your start?
I was the Operations Manager at Digital Gravel, and met Gabriella and Liz out at the tradeshows. When they started M.I.S.S. they asked me to be a member, and I submitted my “A Day In The Life” for the original site. I remember bigging up my UPS man’s extravagant mustache. As the site evolved and turned into a web magazine, I was asked if I wanted to write. Then they started sending me invites for events to attend and report on in NYC and I guess I did a good job. Eventually Gabriella asked me if I’d like to take on some more responsibilities as Managing Editor, and I foolishly said yes. Kidding! I’ve had the opportunity to do a ton of amazing things that I wouldn’t be able to do otherwise, so it’s been a blast.
M.I.S.S.: What’s your favorite piece of work that you’ve created?
The Reebok Freestyle Customs that I created for Hot Jamz was a really special project for me. The fact that I was able to use one of my contacts and hook up my homegirls with the sponsorship was a coup, and when the gals turned around and asked me to design them, I was floored. In all, I think I made 16 different designs for them to choose from, each with a fitting name of it’s own. That a different design that I’d done spoke to each of them, rather than one unifying design was also kind of heartwarming, because they adored so much of what I’d done. And then they asked me to pose with the sneakers for the flyer, and I was like “whaaat??” but it came out great. It’s basically the only thing I’ve ever really loved putting my face on. And then they asked me hop behind the tables and join the esteemed DJ’s Kool Kear and PQ who legendarily hold the party down, and I warmed it up Kris – cuz that’s what I was born to do.
But to tell the whole truth, the thing in my life that I’m the most proud of is my involvement with Incarnation Camp (also known as ECCC), the sleepaway camp I attended since I was 10 years old, and have worked at many summers since I was 16. It’s the oldest co-ed sleepaway camp in the country (since 1886) and has impacted my life more than anything else. It’s teen program Pioneer Village is a place where 14 and 15 year old boys and girls learn to operate as a tight community living in platform canvas tents, preparing their own food every day over open campfires, and by doing 5 day off-camp adventure hike, bike, and canoe trips. I’ve lead all three trips multiple times and have never taken the same route twice. The campers also learn leadership skills and simultaneously learn to embrace their uniqueness in any and every way, by doing all kinds of unusual activities on camp. Real kooky stuff. “We call it fun but you may call it madness” is a line in our camp song. I spend as much time there as I can, and I am proud that I have positively impacted the lives of hundreds of children. The campers I worked with in my mid teens are in their mid twenties now, and I see many of them around, have worked with some, and I consider them great friends. Many people over many generations keep in touch. Some people call it a cult. I know it’s my family.
When I was around 14, an old man named Slim who provided a long tradition of square and line dance to the camp passed away and was not replaced. When I was 15, I said I wanted to be him. Fifteen years later, I am. They hire me to come up and do line dancing with the kids. They even call me Slim. I DJ’d a Sweet 16 this past weekend for a girl from the camp fam, and some other kids that I hadn’t personally met, but were at camp this summer were there. They couldn’t believe “Slim” was the DJ. They thought it was sooo cool. I felt like a celebrity.
M.I.S.S.: Who do you want to work with?
Right now, people and companies who are feeling me. Kim Jefferson is for hire! But if I’m gonna be choosy:
Adidas – I almost exclusively wear high top sneakers, and they make the best, hands down.
Kaiju Big Battel – I think I could have a lot of fun with dudes that wrestle in foam monster costumes.
Shoshanna – She says she knows how to make clothes for chicks with big boobs that aren’t plus size. Challenge. I’d like to know what she knows and street it up. ¡Sabor!
M.I.S.S.: What part of “your process” is the most challenging and do you dislike the most?
Figuring out where I’m going to get the money to do the things that I want to do. I usually can’t, so I end up sticking with the things that are free ninety-nine, and that probably explains why I spend so much time on the computer. But that’s all good, because when the loot comes, I’m ready to roll.
M.I.S.S.: Any advice for ladies who are just starting out in a career path similar to yours?
No fronting. Just be yourself. It’s the only thing you really know. Anything else can be learned. Keep grinding.
Her most recent art project I Brought You A Present premiered this week, and will continue to be revealed over the next 52 days. You gotta keep checking it!
Her parting words:
Many people think I am funny, but I think like everything, that’s debatable. I’m really just a goofball with a lot of ideas trying to make my way. I see funny in details, ephemera, and in things that probably aren’t, and perhaps in turn that’s how people see me.
To keep an eye on this very talented miss, check out her blog of discount store minutae 99 Sense or her newish one on Tumblr, Don’t Look A Gift Horse In The Mouth. Follow her on her naughty romance Twitter @BlazedNConfused or visit her curated shrine to feminine hygiene products on Flickr, Not So Fresh Feeling.
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