Not many people take on the kind of legendary status that Viki Vortex has in the punk community, and wear it with such humility. The American, now living in Spain is almost universally admired. She has an instantly recognisable style too. Here she talks about a hundred pairs of shoes, old ladies in leopard print and of course her spangly orange hair.
When was the first time that you started experimenting with something more alternative and who influenced you back then?
“Well growing up in California when I was about 13 and seeing bands there, but the fashion things is just, I just dress how I dress. I can’t really quote any influence. A lot of times I see something and I like it, then I’ll put it together with something else which doesn’t match but does it really matter? It’s just me wearing whatever.”
Are there any current musicians, artists etc around at the moment whose image you look at and think, yeah, I really like that?
“I think I get influenced by stuff I see but I don’t necessarily remember who it is. I’ll be walking around and see a band playing and think I like that and it looks cool but I can’t really name somebody. It’s like a sponge, you just soak in what you see. You might see a little old lady wearing a leopard print and think oh that’s nice. But I can’t name anybody, that’s terrible.”
So we can quote you on Viki Vortex influenced by little old ladies wearing…..
“….. gold leopard print.”
Let’s get a bit more specific and talk about make up. Your make up is very bold and your eyes are unusual because you see so many women using black and you’re like orange and red. So what products do you use and are there any you avoid for any reason?
“I’m a big fan of MAC products. I tend to choose make up and then they discontinue it though. Lush was doing a line of make up and I think it’s their orange lip stick that I use on my eyes. It didn’t have instructions so I used it anyway. They discontinued all their make up lines. Revolution online is really cheap, and they have very bright colours. I like to go around finding bright colours.”
Your hair is a seriously vibrant orange. Are you naturally blond or do you bleach? And what products do you use?
“I bleach it, well Steve bleaches it for me. And he colours it for me too. We use directions. Conditioner wise I just use whatever is on special offer. Haha, I sound like such a cheapskate. I try not to wash it too much when it’s coloured because it all runs down my back and I look a bit peachy. I don’t do the whole thing orange because I think it would be a bit boring. But I’m too lazy to do all the really cool colours I’ve seen other people do. I’m lazy so I just do a little bit. Well Steve does. I leave the back so I look normal from the back….. ish.”
Where do you source your stage wear from, and your everyday wear too?
“Sometimes at Rebellion I find stuff. Sometimes online like Ebay. We live in Spain and there’s nowhere in Spain where I can go shopping. I once bought something from Zara and cut the sleeves off and put patches and studs on it. I still can’t believe I bought something from Zara though. But they would never know. When we come to England and I find something I like I tend to stack up. I like stripey tights and now I have them in every different colour.”
Some people love their shoes and boots and some don’t. Which camp do you fall in to and where do you buy yours from?
“I have about a hundred pairs of shoes and I tend to wear the same ones all the time. I have everything from five inch heels to boots, everything you can possibly imagine. But I really like comfortable things. So even though I have all these shoes and I’ll wear them for a short time but I go back to what are comfortable. I used to always wear five inch heels on stage and looked like this towering Amazonian woman but I couldn’t move around. I tend to err towards creepers now. I buy them online. Demonia creepers. I do have a lot of shoes I’ve never worn in public, but they look good on my shelves.”
If they were going to make a film of Viki Vortex who would be the person you would want to play you in that film?
“Well I would be best. Hmmm, I don’t watch a lot of films. I really can’t answer that one.”
You’re on a desert island and have everything you need to survive. What three vanity items would you want with you?
“I’d have a hair brush because my hair is a mess. If it’s a desert island then a good face cream for protection because I’m very sensible like that. Oh, and my MAC red lip stick. I know that’s a useless item for a desert island but if at home I’m going out and I can’t be bothered to do my make up I’ll always wear lip stick.”
Snaps and chats by Gary Trueman