It has to be said right from the off that Charly Malone possesses a rare gift for being incredibly photogenic. Team that up with a suitably feisty image and the result is that the Vertigo Violet vox becomes instantly recognisable, an icon of the underground if you like. Often known for not mincing her words it turns out Charly is rather a lot of fun to both interview and shoot. Here’s what she had to say about her look, her influences and what she might be like in a few decades.
You’ve got a look that people tend to remember. When did you first start getting into a more alt style and when did you start to look how you do now?
“My mum used to listen to a lot of 80’s music and I kinda fell in love with the Bangles and Cyndi Lauper as well. I fell in love with how expressive and colourful she was. As a teenager I started experimenting with dying my hair, then fell into the punk bracket like a lot of girls my age at the time. Brody Dalle is a big influence. I’ve had bright pink hair, then the whole Distillers thing happened and I shaved my sides. I had pitch black hair for a while, with a big white streak in it which was really cool but I got kicked out of school. I’ve just fallen into staying blond now. A lot of people say I remind them of the 80’s. “
Is there any one person, you’ve mentioned Cyndi Lauper in particular, that you was and thought that’s for me?
“I think when I hit 18 or 19 and went for the full bleached hair I started getting a lot of comments saying I looked like Madonna. I wasn’t deliberate but people unfortunately thought I did it on purpose. I just bleached my hair and it just happened. I must just have a face that resembles her. Debbie Harry too, and she’s an icon and she has a really cool style so she has to play a part in it. And Joan Jett with the leather look, obviously fake leather for me. And lots of glitter.”
Are there any current artists you think have a memorable style even if you’re not a fan of their music?
“I think for a lot of people style wise and contemporary I would say Lady Gaga. I don’t agree with everything she’s worn, the whole meat dress and stuff like that. As someone that doesn’t eat meat I don’t agree with it. But when it comes to not a moral basis but a style basis, then yeah, I’d say she does have style. Amy Winehouse did but unfortunately she passed away. She brought the rockabilly look back and brought it into the mainstream which was quite cool.”
What products do you use make up wise and do you stick with the same ones or experiment?
“I’m not actually a big make up person. I really like Illamasqua and I go for things like Kat Von D. I go for products that are cruelty free. That’s something I’ve been conscious about for the last two or three years. I always have tried to buy cruelty free because it’s a massive thing for me. I do always ask if something is cruelty free.”
Do you wear the same products on stage and off it or change it up because of the hot stage environment and do you wear the same level and style of make up?
“I won’t lie, I am really conscious when I go on stage that I do like to look good. I think a lot of people do. I’m a performer so I’m going to put across my performer persona. So I do make an effort in how I present myself. As good as a band might be, image does play a part. If you play good and look good then people will notice. “
Have you got one favourite item of make up that you absolutely cannot without?
“My lip pencil. It’s because a lip pencil is better than lip stick and it’s lighter as well. If you can’t take all your make up somewhere you can stash it, it doesn’t take up much room. With me it’s lips and eyebrows. I don’t actually wear that much make up.”
You said when you were younger you changed things up quite a lot hair wise but recently you’ve stuck with your blond which is a Blondie length in a way too. Do you think as people get used to seeing you in Vertigo Violet it’s important to keep things the same for continuity or would you change things up again?
“It depends. Keeping it blond it’s because I’m an adult now unfortunately and I have to work. I’ve been in positions job wise where I couldn’t have an outrageous colour. Obviously with blond it’s fine with any kind of style so I’ve stuck with that. Some people have said if you’re in Vertigo Violet why don’t you dye your hair violet and it has been purple in the past which was cool. It’s something I’ve got to be conscious about if I want to work in an established profession. I’ll keep it for now.”
Hair product wise what do you use and are you quite careful with bleaching?
“I’ve had a personal hair dresser that comes to my house for as long as I can remember, since I was a kid and she’s always done my hair and she’s lovely. I don’t question what she puts on my hair. I do chip in with the aftercare. I use a lot of coconut oil. With bleaching you do have to be careful and you do learn what your hair can take and what it can’t. I’m at that point where I know how to keep it in good condition.”
Where do you get your clothes from? How do you decide what to buy?
“Charity shops. I’d say two thirds of my wardrobe is from charity shops. I’m not too big on buying too much from big stores. It comes to a point where you hear oh that was out last year and it gets a bit boring. I’m attracted to a lot of animal print and tartan. I love fake fur but not real fur. Stuff that’s fluffy. I don’t believe in spending too much money on clothes that’ll be out of fashion in two months. I’m not into fashion and trends I’m more into style. Taking something from fashion that suits you.”
What about foot wear, boots and shoes?
“Ooh I like shoes. I really do like shoes. Unfortunately I’m typical with that gender thing, haha. I absolutely love boots. If you could see how many boots I have you’d probably drown in boots. You’d be killed.”
Is it a practicality thing with boots?
“I wear something practical on stage because I don’t want to break my neck. Kudos to women that can go up in heels, I wish I was like that but I’ve got two left feet.”
Do you have any tattoos?
“I do. I have one on my right wrist. I’ve got one on my right leg and one on my left foot. I’d like to get more and I’ve got quite a lot of friends who tattoo. I don’t know why I don’t. Money I suppose. And I’ve not sat down for a while and thought about the designs. It would be nice to get another one at some point.”
You’ve got a cool look but who do you think would be the best person to play you in a film?
“I’d say a female version of Jim Carey. I don’t really know. Jim Carey with a blond wig. I can’t think of an actress that could play me.”
A very young Madonna?
“Maybe. Or Courtney Love. She’s done acting. I’m more Courtney than Madonna I think, haha.”
As you get older are you going to accept the march of time or stay bad ass as long as possible?
“I can’t believe you asked me that question, I think you already know the answer. I’m going to be that old lady with a blue rinse throwing party poppers at people, and silly string. And I’ll have weird things attached to my wheelchair. I’ll be that old lady.”
Snaps and chats: Gary Trueman