Madzilla Is the World's Most Famous Pothead Hip-Hop Tattooed Model (VIDEO) | West Coast Sound | Los Angeles | Los Angeles News and Events | LA Weekly
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Madzilla Is the World's Most Famous Pothead Hip-Hop Tattooed Model (VIDEO)

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Wed, Jun 11, 2014 at 8:19 AM
click to enlarge Madzilla - PHOTO BY RYAN ORANGE
  • Photo by Ryan Orange
  • Madzilla
Madzilla is here to pick up her money. Wearing a Rastafarian backpack, a fake gold watch and a gray tank top, she strolls into Crooks & Castles, a streetwear store on that trendy stretch of Fairfax. The clerks recognize her right away.

They may have seen the 25-year-old, Long Beach - based model in Major Lazer's "Jet Blue Jet" video, wearing only black underwear, weed smoke wafting from her lips, which are parted in a porny pout. They may have seen her in Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa's "French Inhale" video. Or perhaps they just follow her on Instagram, along with nearly 350,000 others, where she posts shots of herself getting high in bikinis, partying in Vegas and showing off her prodigious tattoos.

But being famous on the Internet still requires hustle in real life. Which is why, back in November, Madzilla went door to door on Fairfax to convince salesclerks to sell her $20 calendars, whose covers feature her in braids, chains and a velour leisure suit, holding a blunt in one hand and a 40 in the other.

Now she's back to collect the proceeds. This is the third store she's hit up this afternoon, so she already has a few hundred dollars in her pocket. Crooks & Castles marketing director Gerald De La Cruz emerges from the back of the store.

"You wanna smoke?" he asks her. "We hitting it off the bong."

Of course she does. Never mind that she just smoked a bowl moments ago, right outside the store. The two head upstairs to get high and do business - which, for Madzilla, is practically the same thing.

So it goes for Madelyn "Madzilla" Lance, who boasts the sui generis occupation of tattooed hip-hop stoner model. Something of this generation's Cheech & Chong - only a whole lot curvier - she could hardly be a more of-the-moment phenomenon: a skateboarding pothead's fantasy chick, the kind of girl you want to have on your arm at the Schoolboy Q record-release party. With dimple piercings, plugs in her ears and ink covering the upper half of her body, she counts A$AP Rocky and Iggy Azalea as fashion icons, and rolls in the vein of female celebrities like Rihanna and Miley Cyrus, who smoke just as much weed as the boys.

"Her look is crazy. Madzilla has that cutting-edge, next-level, 2016 type of vibe," says Grizz Lee, who directed her in the Major Lazer video and also has worked with Nicki Minaj, Kid Ink and Riff Raff. "There's something sexy about a girl who knows how to smoke a blunt, how to roll a blunt, and how to smoke 10 blunts back to back and still be able to function properly."

Of course, it's one thing to be able to get high; how does one get famous for it?

Madzilla's has actually been a tough and complicated road. As a kid, she thought she'd be poor forever. Her father was an alcoholic who died when she was 10; her mother did meth and heroin. The family moved frequently, from Oregon to California to Nevada to Colorado, crashing sometimes with extended family such as her Native American aunts. (Her heritage is a mix of Native American, Irish, Italian and French.)

By the time she was 13, she and her mother had settled in a trailer park full of crackheads in the isolated town of Bullhead City, Arizona. The two fought constantly in the small space, which reeked of cigarettes and was littered with needles. But her mom didn't care much about what Madelyn did, so she partied hard, and got her nipples pierced, her ears stretched and her first tattoo - a pair of cherries shaped like skulls. She first tried pot at 14, from a friend's gravity bong, but she got too high and threw up, so she avoided drugs for years.

At 14 she decided to move out. Madzilla says her mother was glad to be rid of the responsibility of caring for her, and drove her to live with some friends in California, near Temecula. Unfortunately, said friends were deep into drugs; at one point a SWAT team raided the place. For the next few years, she was alternately homeless, crashing with friends and living in group homes.

Along the way, she started smoking weed and adding to her collection of tattoos: an anchor and sparrows on her chest; Medusa and a dagger on her back; "Live Free" across her knuckles; a rose on her hand; a full sleeve on her left arm. The one that elicited the strongest reactions, however, was the letter "B" on the side of her face, in tribute to her half-brother, Brian, who has been in and out of prison her entire life.

At 20, she made peace with her mother, who not long thereafter overdosed on methadone and died in her sleep.

Madzilla was devastated. She started stripping. Other jobs included a Mexican restaurant, a tanning salon and a Dolce & Gabbana store. She sold knives door to door. She broke into modeling, but at 5 foot 6, with piercings and tats galore, it wasn't easy to score high-fashion gigs.

"Everything that I've done has been on my own, like, every single step," she says. "There's so many times I wish I had someone I could just call."

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