Beauty & The Beat: Kate Nash
Redheads are known for being fiery, passionate, and fickle. So it should come as no surprise that British pop star and former ginger Kate Nash eventually got sassy on her own hair, dyeing it black with platinum streaks. The impetus for the change? “Going through something personal, where you feel you need a new identity,” Nash says. The specific look came from Ladies and Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains, an eighties movie about an all-girl punk band. “One girl changes her name to Third Degree Burns, and she has black hair and two blonde streaks, and she’s empowered and brave. At the time, I needed a role model like that, so I got inspired to do the same hair.” The dye job must have done the trick, because while touring to promote her new album, Girl Talk, Nash seems to have left her pop-star persona behind for an edgier rock-chick look—though she’s still the same sweetheart underneath.—Sarah Z. Wexler
Girl Talk is your third album. How was writing it different from the previous ones?
This time, I sing, play bass guitar, and drums. I was going through a difficult time in my personal life, so it felt like I purged all these songs at once. I recorded it in a month, in L.A., while staying at the Paramour Mansion. It’s a great place, with taxidermy everywhere: a polar bear, tiger, wolf, cheetah, and zebra. There’s a twenty-foot giraffe in the living room.
Your new look is like a quirky pinup girl—what appeals to you about that style?
It’s very feminine and girly, almost femme fatale, a really hot look. It’s this weird mixture of grown-up but also a Lolita vibe. I feel like I’m creating a character for myself. But I’m never going to be that person who always looks fancy; I’m really impressed by people who can do it all the time, but I don’t have the skills. I have a bit of an edgier side to me as well, so I switch between 1940s pinup and 1990s grunge. Combining feminine and trashy grunge is cool.
Your Instagram is loaded with shots of cool rings. Is that your favorite accessory?
Those rings are totally amazing, but I’m really terrible with jewelry, because I just lose it. I had this really cool ring from when I was 14, with my initials—it was kind of a gangster ring—but I lost it. So I don’t buy things that are too nice; I buy quite cheap ones, like big pink plastic ones from dollar stores, and just borrow expensive stuff (like those in the pictures) for events. I know I will lose my jewelry, so when I buy something new, I just accept that I’m not going to have it forever.
That’s so sad! You recently tweeted, “I’m obsessed with food,” but is it hard eating on the road, especially as a vegetarian?
I have to put more of an effort into looking for vegetarian or vegan restaurants; otherwise, you end up eating fries all the time. It’s really hard to eat well on the road. I constantly eat in the van, out of boredom, just stuffing myself the whole time. I like when we’re in L.A., because it’s so easy to eat healthy; I love Dusty’s Bistro, and Masa of Echo Park, which has a great salad with vegetarian chicken, Manchego, dates, and pear. Near Detroit, I love Om Cafe—I recently went and got brown rice, vegetables, and a green juice that totally rejuvenated me.
Speaking of things that inspire, what made you start Kate Nash’s Rock N Roll for Girls After School Music Club?
I found out that there are fewer female composers than males and fewer females in the music industry, generally. It’s weird and wrong and annoying. I got angry and bitter for a while, and then I was like, I need to stop being this negative person; I need to shut up about it or do something about it. You can’t change how things are right now, but if you work with kids, you can change how it will be in the future. So I started doing lyric-writing sessions, guitar lessons, and drums lessons. It turned into a self-esteem workshop, because they hated themselves and were scared to even try to do music, because they worried about being judged. It’s crazy. They went from not being able to stand in front of the class to performing at Queen Elizabeth Hall in a concert we did for eight hundred people, where they sang songs they’d written and had a girl drummer and bassist. I was so emotional about it. We’ve worked with one hundred girls so far, and I want to continue this project for the next ten years.
Photo: Courtesy of Kate Nash