Alabama Blonde sits at her computer with a white background, keeping her surroundings mysterious. She’s relaxed in glasses and a black beret, and we begin by talking about her cactus garden. She’s afraid of heights, and the cactus barrier surrounding the edges of her balcony make her feel better about living 40 stories above the ground. “So I can’t go to the edge. No one can go to the edge. It’s marked off with spikes.” Maybe it’s to keep that irrational impulse under control that strikes some of us when we are near a cliff’s edge, prodding us to just jump off and see what it feels like. Against the white background, Alabama’s descriptions of the cacti feel even more vivid. She paints a surreal picture of magical beings coming to life, limb by limb, as they grow. I can feel her rich imagination at work. “There’s one that basically has a beard, like this white frost that grows off of all of the spikes. It’s incredible. Today while I was sitting out there staring at them, I realized that two of them have started growing new arms, which are turning into flowers. I find them so breathtaking…but also extremely low-maintenance, which is what I need in a plant.”
Alabama has a lot of irons in the fire, so I can see why adding high-maintenance gardening to the mix might tilt the scales. Originally from Australia, Alabama moved to Los Angeles so she could be closer to her clients. While officially a stylist, she calls herself more of a designer because she mostly uses her own clothing on the shoots. “I’m not one of those stylists who can move between different briefs and vibes and this, that and the other thing. Anyone who hires me, they know exactly what they’re going to get. Most of the music videos, and the people that I work with, I think that they hire me as a stylist because they know half of the pieces that I use, I’m going to make.” She uses a lot of latex in her designs, among other materials. Her most recent shoot featured long strings of crystals and fringe, reminiscent of the long tentacles of a jellyfish. While gritty and definitely city-born, there is an organic quality to her designs lurking beneath the surface, almost to suggest that while cities are human-made, humans are biological, organic beings, so there is bound to be a hint of nature peeking through if you look hard enough.
Alabama collaborates with artists for tours, music videos and album artwork. Some of her favorites include Zheani Sparkes,
@askulloffoxes, Saweetie, Hana Truly, Tokyo’s Revenge, Vox
Chloe Chaidez (Kitten the band, Nasty Cherry) and Sammi Constantine. When not designing, Alabama is an award-winning casting director for films. And that is a whole other story. You can follow Alabama’s design and styling work on IG @alabamablonde and her film work @striketheblondecasting. Model: Natalie Renelle @natrenelle / Unite Unite @uniteuniteus