Los Angeles is home to a variety of eccentrics, but the ones who become legends are those who've cultivated eye-catching looks. Their colorful appearance hints at the weird lives they must lead, leaving us to speculate about their origins over drinks with fellow Angelenos and to proudly announce sightings on social media.
There have been many over the years: the platform shoes–wearing lady who lived in the Lava House near Melrose (she recently died); the "Walking Man" of Silver Lake, with his tiny shorts and newspapers (also now deceased); '60s siren and L.A. Weekly cover girl Kari French — and then there's the most "famous" of all, Angelyne the billboard queen, still rolling about town in her pink Corvette, a sort of ironic symbol for a Hollywood dream that almost came true but didn't. She'll never wake up from her dream, and that's why people love her.
West Hollywood resident Kitten Kay Sera is another such mystical creature and, like Angelyne, color is a huge part of her flamboyant existence. The Texas-born actress, singer and author is a cupcake come to life, a bubble gum–hued obsessive who lives every single aspect of each day immersed in the color pink. Her hair, her clothes, her belongings and the entirety of her living space (everything down to her kitchenware and toiletries) are some shade of fuchsia, rose, Pepto or hot pink. Sera is monetizing her rose-colored reality even better than Ange these days, too, creating music and books and garnering appearances on TV, all fueled by her passion for the girliest hue on the color wheel.
"I'm what I call a monochromatic," Sera said at a recent pinky powwow (she served us strawberry Nesquik with pink straws) in her glam-Barbie grotto. "There's only certain people who do this ... live their life in one color. One day, I would love to talk to others and do my own documentary on 'the monochromatics.' There are more of us."
We all have a favorite color, but some of us get more into it than others. I love purple, and my bedroom probably looks like a guest room at Prince's place. I have clothes, shoes, jewelry and makeup in shades of plum, orchid and amethyst. But, like most people, I enjoy the occasional break from the raspberry barrage. Not Sera.
"I'm just always tickled pink all the time," declares Sera, who even speaks like a confection, with a distinctly sassy Southern drawl (she moved from Texas to L.A. in 1999). "I just love it. It makes me happy, and I always think why not surround yourself with what makes you happy and gives you joy. You have one life, so do what you love and express yourself the way you want."
Sera was a singer back in Texas, and while she always loved the color pink, she didn't dedicate her life to living in one color until 1980, when she tossed everything that wasn't pink or painted stuff so it would be. When she moved to California, it didn't take long for her to be known as the "pink lady of Hollywood."
"My acting and reality TV appearances sort of took off pretty quick," she explains. "I would just walk down the street and people would be like, 'Hey, we have a film we want you in, or a commercial you'd be great for!'?"
In the age of famous-for-being-famous types aggressively brand-building on social media, Sera's got as much game as the savviest millennial. She has more than 17,000 followers on Instagram, and most of her fans are girls who show no restraint when it comes to pink heart emojis. Sera's pink passion clearly connects with alt-chicks, pop fans, gays and, most important for her career, the creative community.
"Kitten is a ray of pink sunlight," says fashion photographer Ellen von Unwerth, who's worked with everyone from Madonna to Janet Jackson. "I love how she creates in this rough surrounding her own fantasy world, oozing with positivity, generosity and happiness."
The fashion world has taken note of Sera just recently, in fact. She was featured in Harper's Bazaar Spain, after being written about in countless publications from The Daily Mail to Business Insider. She gets a lot of action at her local Starbucks, where she and her dog, Miss Kisses, are approached often to audition as a package deal. Sera and Miss K (who is dyed pink with vet-approved beet juice) have been on The Dog Whisperer, My Crazy Obsession and Anderson Cooper's daytime talk show. They had a nice cameo in Beverly Hills Chihuahua 2, and Sera's role in a national commercial for the cholesterol medication Vytorin has, she says, "supported me for the past year."
Residual checks only get you so far, but Sera is resourceful. "I don't have a regular job. I support myself with my pinkness," she proclaims, adding that she rents out her apartment for photo shoots. Paris Hilton, Ruby Rose and, most recently, Duff McKagan's daughter's new band have used her place as a backdrop.
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Her WeHo abode is certainly a sight to behold, a cozy one-bedroom apartment in an unassuming building off Santa Monica Boulevard that's '50s-'60s movie-star kitsch meets dolly dream house. The pink palace gets screen time in Sera's campy music videos, "Sex Kitten" and her latest, "Whatchamacallits," a track she promoted late last year with an all-pink pool party featuring pink floaties, treats and boys in pink Speedos. "Sex Kitten" features backing vocals by none other than Beyoncé.
Serra knew the young Ms. Knowles back in Texas (they went to the same performing arts school) and they've stayed in touch. "I just asked and she agreed to do it," says Sera, who made sure she got all the paperwork to promote the guest spot, garnering lots of YouTube attention in the process. "It's being used overseas on a TV show right now, and it's helping pay the rent!"
Sera's latest endeavor features Miss Kisses in a prominent role, spreading her message of individuality, cheer and pink pleasure. "It's a children's book called The Pup Who Turned Pink," Sera says as her blushed best friend wags a fluffy tail. In the book, "Miss Kisses finally becomes the doggie she always dreams of being."
After a successful GoFundMe campaign, the book will be released in April, and Sera is having fun planning her next soiree to celebrate. "My life is like 50 Shades of Pink," she explains with a wink. "The color just makes people happy. It's putting positivity out into the world. And why not be a flamingo in a flock of pigeons?"