How Shygirl Debunks Expectations and Creates Her Space

How Shygirl Debunks Expectations and Creates Her Space

How Shygirl Debunks Expectations and Creates Her Space

The southeast Londoner on the over-sexualization of women, big dick energy, music, and of course, sex

The southeast Londoner on the over-sexualization of women, big dick energy, music, and of course, sex

Photography: PETROS

Styling: Jamie-Maree Shipton

Text: Kala Herh

Don’t let the name fool you–Shygirl is anything but shy. Unabashed in both her music and character, the South East London-native shares that she’s not afraid to make you uncomfortable (in fact, she rather enjoys it). Zooming in from London, Shy shares that her moniker was, “born from the idea of being the total opposite of that.” She started using Shygirl when she was working as a DJ at fashion parties, because in many ways she strives to be quite the opposite.

Coat Gucci Dress Anna Castellano Jewelry Bulgari

“Stereotypes are something that I’ve always pushed up against,” Shy shares with us. “There are so many things that come with being mixed-race, Black, and a woman. It’s always been something in my head; how people perceive me, and how I can make more space for myself and debunk their expectations.” The music she makes reflects this. Often characterized by gutteral moans and fast-paced thumping, her songs delve into sex, sex, and more sex.

Coat Gucci

“Music is intrinsically about the body,” Shy explains. “Moaning is a bodily function, but through the male gaze, looking at me as a female, it is immediately sexualized.” And unlike some of her musical counterparts, Shy doesn’t shield herself from this over-sexualization. Instead, she revels in it, often using others’ preconceived notions as ammunition for her own sexual liberation. And a lot of these core hallmarks to Shygirl’s work are evident in her latest release with Slowthai, titled “BDE,” which details her need for someone with the requisite “big dick energy.” Here and elsewhere in her discography, Shygirl embraces her most titillating traits to create unbridled bangers.

Shygirl wears Coat, gloves and bag Balenciaga Hat GCDS Necklace Tiffany & Co.

The other multitude of emotions and experiences of Shygirl are visible in her new EP, Alias. “When you’re hanging out with different friends, you embody different sides of yourself,” she says. “I’m still myself, I’m never not myself. But it’s about what sides of yourself are amplified.” Building out a whole universe of lust with kick drums and sultry low tones, the EP shows us four alter egos each illuminating a different aspect of Shy. And among those different personalities is one with a rather surprising “bookish” quality.

Coat and gloves Balenciaga Necklace Tiffany & Co.

According to Shy, when she was young, she was constantly reading everything from gushy, angsty vampire novels to contemporary classics. It was that period of her life when her imagination flourished and she began experimenting with fantasy and reality. Writing has been a cathartic experience for years, a special ritual where Shy can purge her internal feelings to the outside world. “I think sometimes when you’re feeling things it’s too big to just carry them with you, it’s nice to get them out so they can have a life on their own.” And once Shy’s are out, they thrive, completely infatuating London’s dance floors and everyone on them.

Credits:

Makeup Crystabel Riley (Julian Watson) Hair Katsuya Kachi Digital technician James Rawlings Lighting technician John Neate

Stylist assistants Ava Coffen, Gret Mateides Makeup assistant Sogol Razo Hair assistant Honami Murashima Location Holborn Studios

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