One Joint With Caroline Vreeland
What does it say about a woman to have the opening lines of Nabakov’s “Lolita” tattooed on her arm? First, Caroline Vreeland is a fan of literature. Vreeland, also a musician, actress (on Lee Daniels’ Star) and and Instagram/Fashion It Girl whose sexuality is both overt and self-owned, pretty much doesn't care if you disagree with choices she has made or the core of who she is. As it were, "Lolita" is still, even with its morally questionable plot, great literature. Life is full of contradiction. Vreeland has also been known to broadcast the consumption of overloaded forkfuls of spaghetti (and bucatini, penne, gnocchi…) washing it all down with equally well-documented glasses of wine. So it’s no surprise that to our meeting, she has shown up with a bottle of red wine and some leftover pizza.
Caroline Vreeland: I’ve been in such a weird mood today. I had a weird meeting where the guy made me sit in a freezing cold room, and then told me he voted for Trump. And then the man I’m in love with also voted for Trump, and it’s really fucking my life up. And yes he’s saying, of course, he’s a loser but he did it for his business or some shit, but I don’t care because that stuff never trumps social, human shit. Anyway, I don’t really smoke weed.”
Alyssa Shapiro: How does someone who doesn’t smoke weed decide to say yes to smoking weed for an interview?
CV: It’s all for the story, baby. [As she inhales, to her friend and press rep Wayne she says,] Blood’s on your hands, buddy.
AS: You share a lot of your life on social media, both the mundane and the exciting. How does that affect you personally?
CV: I am, for better or for worse, entirely an open book. I’ve been told to be more mysterious, I’ve been told to hold back. But for me that’s the way I’ve always been. I’m really open with people right off the bat. You could film me from the second I wake up, through any trauma, through any joy until the minute I fall asleep. Wine-induced pass-out or not, and I’m totally open to it.
AS: What did you use as an outlet before social media then?
CV: I just crawled under people’s skin, laid my eggs there and stayed. Is that a weird thing to say? I used to think Instagram was kind of invasive, I more thought it was uncool because everyone was doing it. But then I realized it’s invaluable to have that connection with people, especially if you’re trying to put stuff out into the world, whether it’s art or product or whatever you’re making. I see it as a tool. But I love it, to me it’s the most natural thing in the world.
[A she takes another hit, Caroline says,] I’m your problem now. It burned my throat, it’s going to be lit. [Coughs.] Oh noooo!!!
AS: Carine Roitfeld was the first stylist I saw dressing women who had similar shape to me, or the general idea of a similar shape, like you do, and you didn’t used to see that in fashion.
CV: She was the first person who ever ever said to me “Your boobs aren’t a problem for the styling. Your boobs are the reason we’re doing the shoot.” And the shoot before that, that was my first ever big thing, and it was Italian Vogue, and Michel Comte sent me off set, he was like “I can’t work with that.” So.
AS: And people assume things about you because of the way your body is shaped.
CV: You mean that you’re a ho and that you have fake boobs? Oh yeah for sure. I’ve been fortunate enough that I’ve gotten a warm response from the things that make me me, which is being outspoken, my wine drinking, my love of my body and showing that I love who I am. So the idea that now I can branch out and make products that speak to those different things is really exciting. What comes next? You know? I don’t just want to be an It girl that sits at fashion shows. I want to do things that I feel that there’s a void for.
It’s funny that we’re talking about this as we share a joint because I was always the square, believe it or not, I wouldn’t even take a sip of beer. I would never try drugs. I remember when I first learned what ecstasy was, I wrote in my diary how scared I was and blah blah blah, but I was a late bloomer in a lot of that. So when I started to enjoy wine it kind of came as a surprise to me.
But what I loved about it even more than the taste at first is just the ceremony of it, sitting around with friends. I really thrive in intimate one-on-one situations. I find so much joy in it and everything that comes with it. Food of course is a big joy in my life too. I go to lunch and I have a glass of wine. I mean it’s normal. But then again I’m lucky that I don’t have a crazy addictive kind of personality. People think I’m literally drinking all the time — I literally film every single sip I take, so that’s why it looks like it’s a lot of wine. It’s definitely my poison.
AS: Back to the bod. What are your thoughts on nudity and the human body and how it relates to sexuality or doesn’t?
CV: Sorry to say this in front of my agents, but there’ve definitely been things that I’ve been considered for that I haven’t gotten because I choose to be on the sexier side of things. I think sexuality is extremely important, and I wouldn’t be who I was if I didn’t embrace that side of me. It’s funny because working in fashion is so much different than working in the other things that I love to do — in music and in the acting that I’m doing. In the fashion world, they’re very elitist about a lot of things. I was doing so much work in that arena, and I was thinking, damn, am I doing the wrong thing? I would question myself, just because I didn’t book a job with whatever kind of brand. I can’t train my mind to think that way, I have to do what’s true to me. If they want to fuck with me, they do, and if they don’t…
And nudity, well, it’s crazy to me that we’ve come so far in this world and the fact that [female] nipples can’t be shown is crazy to me. Just bizarre. Girls are basically showing everything except their inner labia and an areola. And how is it different? I don’t know. So I embrace it. I think it’s important to be able to be happy with your body. Where’s the shame in that?
AS: Has having a family legacy in fashion helped with your pursuits, or hurt?
CV: It’s both. It’s definitely gotten my foot in the door. I’ve gotten to work with amazing photographers because of that. It gets you into the room. But I’ve been making music my whole life, and when I started being active in the fashion world, that took precedence because it was lucrative, I wasn’t spending all the money I made on paying my band. I’m not saying that music took second place or whatever, but I was finally able to help my mom with rent, and that was a nice feeling. But hey guys, I’m also a musician, and I’m doing acting, I’m on this TV series. I think people do take you less seriously when you’ve been seen in a certain light. I don’t think people want to believe that you could do all those things well, but sorry! Triple threat. Not sorry.
AS: What does weed mean to you?
CV: I only just started partaking in the last year which is crazy because in the music industry, for the most part, everyone is smoking weed. It’s such a Creative thing. But I’ve never felt pressure. I never felt tempted. Anyway it’s not about the thing you’re ingesting, it’s about the ceremony of being with likeminded people and being in a creative environment, and sharing that experience and enhancing your thinking. There’s a series of essays that Baudelaire did on wine and hashish and their different aspects, and he would try them and then try to be creative in that space. And it does open your mind. Anything that helps the creative is a positive thing.