Stars + Straps | Slaysian Summer with K Rizz
Growing up in a Catholic Filipino household in Queens, NY, K Rizz currently lives a Hannah Montana reality navigating her rising pop stardom, something her extended family is virtually unaware of. Beneath the impressive collection of cowboy hats, flawless contouring, and frosty lipgloss lives a life that parallels many of her Asian American women counterparts. K Rizz is a strong, powerful woman who has shattered the passive, submissive asian woman stereotype.
She's writing a completely new counter-narrative of her own. Her unabashed visibility on the internet and appearances throughout NYC is more than just called for, it's about time.
We sat down with K Rizz and chatted about her inspirations, family, and her #Slaysian movement.
How do the women in your life inspire you?
The women in my life inspire every breath I take. I think about them before I carry, write lyrics, and go on stage. There’s nothing in my life stronger than them, they really know how to hold it down and keep me grounded. So when I start to feel like I’m losing myself I just think about them. Plain and simple, I remember every face, every beautiful face I know and I truly count on them to help me through. Then I’m like y’know what? I have nothing to worry about cause I got my girls.
Who were some of your female role models when you were growing up?
I like groups of women like Sailor Moon and the Sailor Scouts. It’s very important to see a successful, very individualized group of women together. A lot of my idols were in music because that’s my life. The Pussycat Dolls, Destiny's Child, Missy Elliot, Mary J. Blige, Britney Spears, and obviously my mother.
Yas, Mama Rizz!
My Mama Rizz is more yang you know? She can still appreciate my yin, we go together very well. She taught me to appreciate a human for their differences, and that really got me far in life. I have to thank my mother for that.
Pop stars seemed to have really shaped your life into where you are today.
Yeah music was always a big part of my life, that’s why I'm able to make an album today. I remember certain songs being like the soundtrack to my life, most of my life is a musical.
If your life is musical what's the theme song?
Salbahe, duh! I made that song as the theme song to my life! Any grand entrance I’ll ever have, you already know what song’s gonna play.
Left: The Intersecting Suit
What's the difference between K Rizz and Slay Rizz?
K Rizz is my personality, Slay Rizz is strictly the ass – and my talent.
What's your experience with sharing your music with your family?
We were all in the car with my extended relatives and my dad played "Salbahe" without telling them it was me. Oh my god it was the most embarrassing thing but was actually freeing for my soul at the same time, cause I was like (gasp) they’re listening to it, cause if they do like it they’re gonna find out that it’s me. But my dad will never tell. I already love my family for who they are so they should love me for who I am. Yeah, but it's so hard. I was always the weird girl in the family. They're soooo traditional and Catholic. I was wearing shorts the other day and they (my extended family) were commenting on how I was wearing my shorts so short.
How would you imagine your extended family finding out about Slay Rizz?
I have a lot of older relatives. They’re all very old school Catholic Filipinos and will say things like "It’s terrible here in America, I’d never want to live here. I’m just trying to go back to the Philippines and you should come with me." I’ve never been to the Philippines before, so at the end of the day I’d be so happy if my family found out about me. I don’t filter myself for them and I'm never going to. I'm still out here as Slay Rizz in assless chaps for a long time – I’ve been doing this since the Myspace era. I really only care about how my parents feel. They still love and support me even though they'll probably never understand what I'm doing.
Would you ever want to perform in the Philippines?
My mother’s side really supports me going to the Philippines and trying to make it there. That was the first thing that they ever said when I began singing and performing so theatrically. They were like, "She needs to go to the Philippines cause she'll definitely make it there." But that's the best they think I can do, become a local sensation. Pop music in the Philippines is just a reproduced copy of American Pop, so I’m trying to tell them that I'm good enough to actually make it here in America.
How do you navigate K Rizz vs Slay Rizz?
Balancing Slay Rizz and K Rizz is the hardest part of my artistry. I'm at a really make or break moment right now. Everyone who’s really supporting me is all the strength I need and I really live for it. If I didn’t have anybody I would be like, this is over and I’m never gonna be a pop star. I can't give up because everyone's gonna be mad at me! I’m gonna do what I want do and love what I want to do. I never loved myself until I became this artist I am today. Yeah, so Slay Rizz is as important message for young girls out there. (laughs) The Slaysian community needs me, I can’t just disappear!
Your Slaysians definitely need you, it's so important to have visible role models!
And not just one, groups of them doing things together. Asian girls don't really have that. When I look at myself in the mirror, being Filipina will never go away. I remember those days when people used to tell me things like "You should never tell people you’re Asian."
I’m supposed to make music so I can help people, like, that’s my role, there’s no other role for me – and be a comedian. (laughs). But I'm the one who needs to start this Slaysian thing. I've been out here following all these Slaysian girls on the internet. Anyone who wants to be Slaysian, I follow them and support them. Because one day it’s all gonna just come together, y’know what I mean? I follow all the Slaysian girls so we can all know and support each other, ugh I love it, I love it!
Left: The Bralette Suit
Who would you say are on your "Top List of Slaysians"
If you could say anything to baby Slay, what would you say?
I would tell baby Slay, everything you think is right is right, and you already know it. I’m so proud of you for puttin’ up that lingerie picture online gurl, you really slayed that, you need to keep doin’ it. I would tell her, you need to allow yourself to grow, to learn. – And that Slay is still the same bitch, so you still know her. You've changed for the better.
What’s your dream project?
I've always wanted to build a school in the Philippines so I can teach there.
What's in store for the future of K Rizz?
I’m still learning about myself every day, so I’m truly excited for my own journey. I am representing the Slaysian movement. I’m open and allowing all of the goodness to come in. We really just have to start making moves, that’s it. We have representation for Asian women, but not as much in music. So that’s what I’m aiming for.
So how was your experience working with Lydo Le and the Chromat Team?
Oh my god, it was marvelous, it was absolutely stunning, they were so sweet. They really took me to a place where I felt comfortable and I was so happy to work with my fellow Slaysians ( Lydo and Coco) and an all female team. The whole day was gorgeous. A beautiful day with beautiful women.
What's your favorite Chromat piece?
I think it would be the Sheer Arc Sleeves, because they're basically like ass-less chaps for my arms.
For more K Rizz:
Photos by Lydo Le
Hair by Steph Hui
Interview by Coco Layne