Halsey’s voice is her forex. In our August 2021 cowl story, she delves into id, relationships, being pregnant, and the highway from a Jersey woman named Ashley to tattooed rock star — and he or she doesn’t maintain again.
BY: Danielle Pergament
PHOTOGRAPHED BY: Jackie Nickerson
“I’m going to tell you something that’s going to get me fucking slaughtered on the internet,” says Halsey, “but I’m going to go ahead and say it.” She’s in the kitchen of her house in Los Angeles County. And that’s when she tells me: “I didn’t take my prenatals.” That’s it. She closes her eyes and shakes her head. Our Zoom confessional sales space.
Halsey is pregnant. Really pregnant. So pregnant that by the time you learn this it’s possible she may have already given beginning. Pregnant Halsey is, on one hand, totally different from all the Halseys we’ve come to know up till now, however at the identical time, not a lot. Because the one factor she’s all the time completed is change.
For starters, Halsey hardly suits the profile of somebody with 40+ tattoos, 4 albums, two Grammy nominations, and 23 platinum singles, who additionally favors acid-blue eye shadow. “My favorite place is Target,” she says. “I love Target. I love Marshall’s. I love Panera Bread. I love the suburbs. It calms me down.”
She’s solely 26, however Halsey has already realized the worth of protecting her ego and her alter ego on a degree taking part in area — to vary with out canceling your former self. “You have to remember, this is what the world sees, right? I’m the tattooed rock star named Halsey, but growing up, I was a girl from New Jersey named Ashley. I had the most basic name. I lived in the most boring place,” she remembers. “I felt really unremarkable. I graduated high school when I was 17 and we moved to New York, and that’s when I was like, I don’t want to be one of seven Ashleys in my class.”
Salvatore Ferragamo gown.
Burc Ayol high. Tiffany & Co. cuffs. To create the same look: Fractal Eye Liner in Past Life and Fractal Eye Paint in Refract by About-Face. Photographed by Jackie Nickerson. Fashion stylist: Law Roach. Hair: Marty Harper. Makeup: Halsey. Set design: Bette Adams. Production: Viewfinders.
The emotional gymnastics it takes to remodel from a suburban teenager to a rock star who packs arenas with over 50,000 individuals require greater than a bit of ability — and people are strikes that few individuals ever purchase. We are, all of us, watching Halsey acquaint herself with superstar in actual time. Her first album got here out in 2015, but it surely wasn’t till just a few years in the past that the singer hit crucial mass. And at the starting of this 12 months, Halsey launched About-Face, a make-up line filled with wealthy lip pigments, saturated eye shadows, and some dozen SKUs dripping in irreverence.
“I went to a hibachi restaurant the other night because I was craving fried rice. We walked in and it’s dimly lit, there’s no one there, it’s in a strip mall, and I’m drinking, like, a Shirley Temple,” she says. “And I was like, ‘I feel so calm right now.’ It felt like I was in New Jersey again.”
If Ashley’s joyful place is a strip mall hibachi place, Halsey’s is with Alev Aydin, her associate and the father of her baby. “The judginess started from the beginning,” she tells me. “Alev and I have been really good friends for four years. And when the stars aligned, our relationship became romantic and it was pretty evident that he and I were both like, ‘Oh, my gosh! You’re the person I’m supposed to start a family with.’ A lot of people had opinions about that.” She says “opinions” as if it’s italicized, a euphemism for a far uglier phrase. It feels secure to imagine these opinions weren’t the loving, supportive, encouraging sort.
“Nobody knew I was dating someone,” she explains. “As if people were entitled to an update, like, ‘I’ve met someone, we’re going on dates, it’s getting serious, they’ve moved in, we’re planning a child, we are having a baby, we had a baby, this is the gender….’” The nook of her life by which she is her most mama-bear self is that this one: “I signed up to give my whole life away; my loved ones didn’t.”
Halsey is aware of the risks of an excessive amount of consideration, that fame generally is a burden, and that her family members could also be requested to bear it too. “Part of the reason it took Alev and I so long to start dating was because I liked him so much,” she says. “He was writing a movie about my life, a biopic, so we spent a lot of time together. One night we went somewhere really public together. As we were leaving, I got swallowed by a mob of paparazzi and fans and people wanting me to sign vinyls and whatever else. It was all very dramatic, like a movie scene. I looked over my shoulder and he’s being pushed away from the mob and I was like, ‘Oh, my God, I didn’t even say goodbye!’ I remember sitting in the car and being like, ‘I can never see him again. I like him too much to ruin his life and drag him into all this craziness.’ ” But, she continues, “he swiftly reminded me I was being super melodramatic and he was like, ‘I don’t care. It’s not that big of a deal.’ ”
Then she pauses for a second. “I’ve never talked about him before,” she tells me. “That’s crazy.”
There is one thing — many issues — so unguarded about Halsey. She is intrinsically open. Maybe it’s my very own maternal intuition, but it surely’s laborious to speak to somebody who isn’t cynical with out wishing they may keep that method — and understanding they in all probability received’t.
But if anybody can do it, it simply may be Halsey. Her enchantment to hundreds of thousands of individuals isn’t simply her voice — and her wealthy, breathy voice is searing in its emotion and uncooked magnificence. People are drawn to her as a result of she’s open about her ache, her struggles with bipolar dysfunction, her reproductive well being difficulties (she had surgical procedure for endometriosis), her gender fluidity, her expertise as a biracial individual, her excessive humanness. It feels good to root for somebody who makes use of her microphone to unfold a gospel of affection and inclusion. If you don’t all the time know the place you slot in life, Halsey’s world is an extremely interesting place to land.
To create a similar look: Flash Color Case by Make Up For Ever.
She even tells you when she doesn’t take her prenatals. “I took them the first two months, and then the vomiting got really bad, and I had to make a choice between taking my prenatals and throwing up or maintaining the nutrients I did manage to eat that day,” she remembers. “I was on so many medications — Diclegis and Zofran and all these anti-nausea, anti-vomiting medications. I went to my doctor, crying my eyes out, and I was like, ‘I haven’t taken my prenatals in six weeks. Is my baby okay?’ I was so angry with myself. You have one fucking job! One job! Take your prenatals! Your body’s doing everything else, you can’t even do that. I felt like such a failure.”
Internet, should you’re listening, are you actually going to pull an individual for not taking her nutritional vitamins? Yes, in fact you’re, since you’re the web. But relaxation assured, Halsey’s physician gave the singer and her rising child a clear invoice of well being. Move alongside, prenatal judges. Nothing to see right here.
“When this pregnancy started, I was like, ‘You’re going to do yoga and eat flaxseed. You’re going to use essential oils and hypnobirth and meditate and fucking journal every single day.’” Then she deadpans: “I have done none of those things. Zero. None. I eat cookies and had a bagel every single day for the first five months of my pregnancy.”
There’s Wellness with a capital W that comes from flaxseed and meditation and no matter TikTook is promoting that season, however I’d enterprise there’s one other sort too. The sort that’s millennia older and rooted in the deepest pockets of our soul. Some of us are born with it — the knowledge to know who we’re and whole acceptance of that individual. The remainder of us spend our lives looking for it out, studying the best way to be grounded in a world filled with frayed electrical cables; souls looking for the purest, most trustworthy expression of themselves. That form of wellness is what Halsey offers off — in her music, her persona, even throughout a Zoom display.
What’s bizarre about Halsey, although, is that this consolation with herself comes not precisely from understanding who she is, however from realizing that none of us are ever fully certain who we’re. Halsey, who makes use of the pronouns she they usually, used to lie awake at night time questioning who she was, questioning her gender, her sexuality. “I’d be staring at the ceiling, going, ‘What does this mean?’” she says. “I don’t spend that time questioning or wondering anymore. The whole thing to remember about pronouns and identities is that they’re not meant for other people. They’re meant for you to help better understand yourself.”
But subtlety isn’t all the time the best promote. “I don’t do press anymore. I did, like, two interviews for my last album, which was 16 months ago,” she says. “I just don’t translate very well in print. Even saying this is going to get me in trouble. I already know that it is.” And then, true to who she is, she says it anyway: “I think sometimes [with] women who are articulate, people read it as pretentious.”
Halsey refers to a evaluate of Fiona Apple by which the author mentioned Apple appeared like “ ‘she was fingering her thesaurus.’ Oh, my God! What a terrible thing to say about a girl who was an absolute savant, a prodigy, a prodigious writer, wise beyond her years, and commercially successful in pioneering a genre on her own at 18,” Halsey says, clearly pissed off on Apple’s behalf — on behalf of all ladies.
In 2020, Halsey launched Manic, an autobiographical album, which featured different artists. “It was supposed to be a diary of an album and I couldn’t go so far as to just speak for myself.”
Identity is a simple factor if it coalesces with what the world says it needs to be. But when it doesn’t — once we’re a bit of of this and a few of that, or none of this however a variety of that — issues get murky. And one thing so simple as a diary turns into something however easy.
Halsey, who has a white mom and a Black father, calls herself “white passing.” “A lot of people try to write off a lot of my experiences because I present white,” she says. “No matter how many tears I’ve shed because I’m not connecting with my family or my culture in a way that I would like too, or because the waitress thinks I’m the babysitter when I go out with my family, none of that would compare to the tears that I would shed for presenting phenotypically Black and the disadvantages and the violence that I would face because of that.”
Has she ever benefitted from being white passing? “Oh, yeah,” she says, “for sure. My family has a lot of guilt about [that], but I think this is really common for mixed families. You want your kids to have an advantage in life. That unfortunately puts them in a position of denying their heritage. Then you get older, you get woke, and you go to a liberal arts college and you go, ‘Oh, my God,’ and you start having flashbacks of all the microaggressions you faced through your life.”
When you ask somebody for an instance of a microaggression, you don’t essentially anticipate a really particular, very private one. But Halsey comes again with: “My little brother’s name is Sevian. He’s brown, not phenotypically Black; he just looks like a light-skin, mixed guy. He and I were having a conversation about microaggressions, and he was like, ‘In high school they used to call me Slavian.’ It puts people in a position of comfort because he’s not Black enough that they recognize the wrong, but he’s also not white, so the joke exists, right?”
Now Halsey is a conduit as one era unfolds into the subsequent, and her job as a mom can be serving to her baby perceive their very own id. “I’m biracial, Alev is Middle Eastern, and our child is going to have a Black grandfather and a Turkish grandfather — there’s Christmas and there’s Ramadan,” she says. “They’re going to grow up in this kind of multicultural home and I have new challenges because of that.”
It’s laborious sufficient for any of us to determine who the hell we’re. But when who you’re is many issues, with many ethnicities, when your gender is fluid and your sexuality isn’t one factor, and also you’re stepping by means of all these worlds whereas additionally being in the public eye, the phrase “challenges” looks as if an absurd understatement.
“You never stop coming out,” she says, when requested what recommendation she would provide an adolescent scuffling with their sexual orientation. “It’s not like you tell your mom and dad and then everything’s all good. You need to prepare yourself for that.”
But there’s additionally a flip aspect, one that claims you don’t must have all of it discovered. Who the hell does? “You don’t have to decide at 13 years old ‘I’m a lesbian and that’s it’ or ‘I’m scared to come out. What if I change my mind?’” she says. “It’s not for other people to validate you or determine if your queerness is real enough.” To emphasize this, she assumes the persona of, presumably, the lesbian police. Wearing a stern expression, she factors her finger: “Have you been loyal to your label? Have you done all the right lesbian things?”
It’s a humorous second, but it surely’s additionally type of melancholy. Here’s this younger mother-to-be telling individuals who wrestle, telling each one among us, telling herself and her unborn baby, that that is all an unfolding course of. And we get to decide on it. We are the solely ones who outline us. It’s an existential concept, however I sense it’s hardly the just one she thinks about.
“This wasn’t an interview,” she says, laughing. “This was a therapy session.”
Photographed by: Jackie Nickerson
Fashion stylist: Law Roach
Hair: Marty Harper
Set Design: Bette Adams