Writer and dog walker by day, clinical psychology + gender therapy student by night
You're as old as you feel; I'm probably 12 but some days I feel 86 / Los Angeles
Loves Fizzy water, anything glittery or rainbow-y, drive-in movies and, most importantly, radical compassion
You’ve attended almost every single Lenita pop-up and event since its debut; do you have a favorite?
I hate choosing a favorite anything (it's the Libra in me, I guess) but I'll say a three-way tie between opening day on Mother's Day at Smorgasburg last year, the Urban Outfitter's pop-up and Renegade. The UO pop-up was just a really unique space and event, Renegade is a personal favorite event of mine so it was super cool that you were a part of it and then opening day was just such a joyful and sweet time with your family there and all the excitement of getting this thing flying. Oh, but you see, I also loved when you posted up outside of the magazine launch for Junior High, a killer space in East Hollywood doing rad work for women and POC. So I guess that's a four-way tie... whoops.
In December of 2016 you drove to Ventura with me and another friend to check out a truck that could possibly transform into LENITA. That vehicle was a disaster but at the time, it was the closest we got to this concept kicking off. How did you feel witnessing that moment?
Oh my gosh, that day has such a special place in my heart for so many reasons, not least of which is that we got to devour Chipotle burritos at the end of it. And then we went to Descanso Gardens and looked at lights in the rain, do you remember that? Sorry, back to LENITA. The truck was indeed a disaster, the guy selling it was shady and the thing kept breaking down on the way to the mechanic. It was a beautiful truck but it was pretty clear it was on it's last legs, as was our patience. Still, I've been wowed since day one by your tenacity and laser tight focus on making this thing happen, and it's been fun to witness every little bump along the way to making it what it is today. I hope that truck found her purpose and meaning in life, even if she wasn't quite right for turning pink and selling flowers.
Lapel pins own your heart and your collections is quite adorable. What’s the last one you purchased and can you recommend a few designers you’re in love with?
Oh, thank you! My last pin just came a few days ago but I didn't buy it, my best friend Zoe gifted it to me from one of her trips. It's a they/them pin drawn across a dagger. I love it so much, I kinda want to get it as a tattoo! It's from the delicious Meg Has Issues. The last pin I bought was a replacement because I lost a fave. It says "fighting invisible battles" and I also have it as a patch. It's from an adorable designer in Glasglow called Hand Over Your Fairy Cakes. It's important to remember that everyone you meet - whether they cut you off in traffic or sit next to you at work and do some weird foot tapping thing - is dealing with internal stuff you know nothing about. The more grace we can offer one another, the more beautiful this planet becomes. I wear it to remind me of that.
There are SO MANY great designers out there, it's best to troll a few good sites and find your own gems. I recommend Strange Ways, a queerdo-run shop in New Haven that I love supporting and hope to visit in person one day! Gimme Flair is also a great follow.
You're non-binary and use they/their/them pronouns. How do you educate people about that?
The day I came out to everyone was one of the best days of my life and I've never been as free as I am today. Living in your truth, as they say, really allows you to do so on every level. It also helps you help others to live theirs! The pronouns can be tricky and everyone worries that they'll mess it up, but it's nice to remember that it's never harder for you to use them than it is for someone to feel misgendered or misaligned their whole life. Just do your best and correct yourself if you slip up! Most people are totally understanding. It's also good to remember that no two non-binary people are alike, so instead of making assumptions or relying on Google, it's best to ask gentle questions and get to know your loved one and their identity. I bet they'll be flattered you asked! I'm really excited that kids growing up today are inheriting a much less binary world than the one we grew up in.
You can have lunch with only ONE contestant from Ru Paul’s Drag Race – who would you bring and where would you go?
This shouldn't be so easy but it is - Sasha Velour from Season 9. I'm terrified of meeting people I love but would definitely jump at the chance to have lunch with her at Veselka (if she'd dare go into Manhattan). I have loved so many queens on the show for so many reasons and I once met another fave - Adore - at a bar and basically just starred at her awkwardly for an hour. But Sasha hits all the marks for me - she's warm and strong and turns a killer look and performance. She didn't shade anyone to get to the top and dropped Judith Butler's name in the workroom. I saw her show Nightgowns (finally!) and the lineup included a beautiful call to arms opening, a drag king, a transgender woman and a queen playing homage to her parents with a lipsynch to "Younger Now" by Miley. I mean, come on. I cried all night.
a thought FOR LENITA
Be who you needed when you were younger and let what you give be freely given. When all else fails, there's always dancing.
Lola has seen every step of this project unfold and has supported in countless tasks from cutting ribbons to covering bathroom breaks to finding grilled cheese and editing content for the site. They have attended every pop-up location and event LENITA has done and is visually the brightest and most colorful person photographed on LENITA’s Instagram.
You may follow Lola at @lolankford