Brooke Candy is buddies with Miley Cyrus. You may have seen the Instagram photo of them kissing.
Candy is a 24-year-old rapper, and yes, that's her real name. She and the former Disney princess could pass for fraternal twins, though only Candy has a tattoo on her torso of a naked black woman squatting underneath the words "Bump 'N' Grind."
Candy is making waves on both the music and fashion scenes. But when it comes to shocking behavior, she makes her labelmate Cyrus look downright chaste. Candy favors spike heels, S&M-inspired getups and enough makeup to qualify her for RuPaul's Drag Race. She travels with a crew of mostly gay men, which she calls her "Fag Mob." She's a lesbian herself, and has campaigned to reclaim the word "slut."
Twerking? That's a rookie move.
Over brunch at Hugo's in WeHo, she gossips and talks about the latest episode of Real Housewives. In conversation she's frank - "I'm tiny because I diet" - and not shy about revealing her unlikely story.
"Some of the things that have happened in my life are so bat-shit crazy, I would never in a million years have ever expected them to happen," she says, scooping up guacamole with a tortilla chip.
Candy's father, formerly the chief financial officer at Hustler, and her mother, a nurse, split when she was 8 and growing up in Agoura Hills. As a teen, Candy dressed "really odd" and cut her hair into a mullet, standing out in a sea of Juicy Couture sweat suits. Bullied extensively, she headed to San Francisco after high school before coming back to L.A. - and coming out of the closet - when she was 21.
She briefly interned with stylist-to-the-stars Rachel Zoe, styled the windows at the Hustler store on the Sunset Strip, and stripped, first at Cheetah's and then at Seventh Veil. She also frequented such gay-centric parties as Mustache Mondays and A Club Called Rhonda, "dressing crazy, surrounded by a million gay men and drag queens."
On her Tumblr she began to attract attention with her outrageous costumes; she also drew fame as a fierce, hair-whipping warrior in noted electronic musician Grimes' 2012 "Genesis" video.
Soon after, she released her own video, "Das Me," which features her rapping and strutting down Rodeo Drive with a toddler on a leash. It caught the eye of Nicola Formichetti, artistic director of Italian clothing company Diesel, who asked Candy to be the official face of the brand.
Singer-songwriter Sia took an interest in Candy, and in December photographer Terry Richardson shot her for the cover of the Diesel 2014 Playboy calendar. A couple months later she signed with RCA Records, and her debut EP, Opulence, is due this spring.
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Candy trades on her appearance in curious fashion, claiming to look "like a really beautiful man," but she's also well aware of her body-as-commodity. (Of stripping, she told Oyster magazine last year, "I may just be a sex object to you, but all you are to me is an ATM.")
Her lack of self-consciousness is partly due to her father's job. "I was raised from the age of 8 looking at boxes of dildos," she says. "There was no stigma."
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