Lauren Devine is an energetic young woman of many talents. One of artist Ryan Trecartin’s dear friends, Devine is a pop singer, having just released the completely ridiculous and yet totally irresistible dance single, “This Is How We Do Dubai.” (Sample lyrics: “Tradin’ spices/blowin’ on dices/Russian gangsters bankroll/All our vices.”) And if you remember, she can also be a gifted mimic, as she proved at Art Basel Miami last year, when she showed up as the Barbara Kruger version of Kim Kardashian from our cover. Also, as you’ll discover here, she’s an extreme sports athlete, a pioneer of musical genres, and involved in caring for the plastic surgery community.
We spoke to her yesterday afternoon, when it was unbearably hot in New York. She ducked out of her day job—as a fabric researcher for a high-end label—for a few minutes on the phone.
What’s the fabric to wear in this weather? It’s disgusting. I’m wearing all kinds of clashing printed silk chiffon. I realized that you can wear things that are sheer and see-through if they’re printed. No one will know.
I always complain, because as a guy, you have limited options in the summer. I feel like all the options you have are really douche-y. Like white linen.
Right. That’s something one might wear in Dubai, actually. Yes, totally. I kind of just put this song out there. I like how people are just taking it at face value and not asking, “Is this ironic?”
How did you intend it? I just wanted to make a song that was fun. During the spring, I was eating a lot of frozen yogurt and I became obsessed with this genre of music I’ve dubbed Fro-Yo Pop.
What’s Fro-Yo Pop? You know the music they play in, like, Sixteen Handles and Pinkberry?
Sadly, no. They play these over-the-top party songs with all this trance-y breakdown. They’re just songs that put you in a good mood—kind of like what fro-yo does. I totally quit eating fro-yo, by the way.
“This is How We Do Dubai” by Lauren Devine
It’s a narcotic. Have you ever been to Dubai? No, but I’m hoping I’ll get to go.
Maybe the Dubai tourism board will sponsor you now. My dream is to collaborate with somebody in Dubai. I want to make a video with someone who has access to every crazy location. I was kind of a little upset when I saw the video for the Flo Rida song “Wild Ones.” He stole my ideas! When I saw him skydiving over Dubai, I was like, “OK. I’m a little mad, but I can respect that Flo Rida beat me to it.”
Are you working on anything else? In a few weeks I’m going to L.A. to write some music with my friend Ryan Trecartin. And I’ve actually been getting really into extreme sports. I did Spartan Race, which is kind of like a G.I. Jane obstacle course, where you’re jumping over fire and throwing spears and dodging gladiators. I got together a group of New York artists and we competed alongside all these mountain men and extreme sports nuts.
How did you do? Really well! Though, personally I didn’t do quite as well as I wanted to. But we’re putting together a video of the experience; we had go-cams, photographers and some people filming with us.
I’m scared to ask, but is there anything else you’ve got going on? Well, I’m working on a line of sunglasses with the sculptor Frank Benson. They’re for people who’ve had too much plastic surgery. We’re looking at ways of building common expressions these people might need for everyday use into the glasses, so they can use them to better communicate with their loved ones.
Brilliant. But I still don’t completely understand how that will work. Oh, the expressions won’t change. They won’t be animated. So whatever expression you think that you would need for that day—or for your life—you can buy those glasses, and it’ll help you more clearly communicate yourself.
Do you have to have had plastic surgery to obtain a pair? No, it’ll kind of just really emphasize the point, if you haven’t had work done.
It’ll be a very strong expression. Yeah. So you can be ultra, ultra clear.
Photo: Johnny Misheff. Styling by Kai Kuhne.