V117: Charlotte Lawrence by Kaia Gerber

The model-turned-musician, whose catchy melodies and powerful messaging call the internet-gen to take charge, prepares for superstardom.

This interview appears in the pages of V117, our Spring Preview 2019 issue, arriving on newsstands January 10!

Charlotte Lawrence wears t-shirt and belt Alexander Wang, on hair Oribe Matte Waves Texture Lotion

KAIA GERBER You turned 18 this year, that was a big one. How did you celebrate? I know the answer to this but…

CHARLOTTE LAWRENCE I had a “dager.” A day rager.

KG A dager! Okay. Let’s get right into it. What were you like as a kid? Were you the same at home as at school?

CL Definitely. I was a weirdo, always.

KG The one thing I’d say about Charlotte is she’s always fully Charlotte.

CL I’m a wild card. But it’s me!

KG “It’s me!” [imitating Charlotte’s voice] What parts of growing up did you enjoy and what are you glad is over?

CL I think the one thing I could say I missed a little bit was the whole, going to parties and living the high-school life. But I’m also very lucky that I found a passion at such a young age.

KG I forget, because I haven’t seen you in a while; are you still in school?

CL No. I don’t think so. Or maybe I am?

KG Charlotte, what? Did you graduate?

CL Did I graduate? Did you graduate?

KG Yeah, but this isn’t my interview. Well, pending answer on whether Charlotte is still in school. When did you realize you were musically inclined?

CL When I was five. I was always singing, and it’s funny because neither of my parents sing, or play any instruments, or have any musical talent. I taught myself how to play guitar when I was 11. I’d say it switched over from hobby to career when I was 14, 15.

KG Did you enjoy it more or less when it switched from hobby to career?

CL I love it more now as a job. It’s rare to be able to make your passion your job, so you have to catch yo’ blessings.

KG Aw. Did your parents have a style when it came to your pursuing a music career? I consider your parents also my parents, but I’ll let you answer.

CL Well, it took them a second to fully conceptualize [it] especially because they [aren’t musical]. I used to think, “It’s so crazy, I’m the only musical one in my family, where does it come from? Blah blah blah.” But no, my dad is such an incredible writer that I think that’s a thousand percent where I get my songwriting [skills]. But they’re both incredible, artistic people, and when they realized this was my dream, they became my number-one fans.

KG Well, number two, ’cause I’m number one. What advice would you give to your younger self?

CL Don’t lie to your parents. They’ll always find out. [long pause] And don’t cut your hair. [laughs]

KG You were pondering for the deepest answer. Okay well, not to answer for you, but since I’ve met you you’ve become a lot more comfortable with who you are, and started caring less about what other people think.

CL Well I was always this awkward string bean with short mushroom-cut hair.

KG Look who you’re talking to. Same.

CL Also, it’s not really advice, because I did it… but [I would say] trust Kaia. Stick with Kaia!

KG Aww, stop! Okay, this [one] is about me: What is your earliest memory of our friendship? What sealed the deal in terms of us becoming friends?

CL I have a crazy early memory… So one time when I was 2 years old…

KG Oh yeah, this is big…

CL …We had the same baby nurse. And she would always talk about this beautiful little child, Kaia, Kaia Gerber, that she was also babysitting. And I was like, I’m obsessed with that name. [At the time] I wanted an apple-headed Chihuahua, and I was like, “I’m gonna name her Apple Kaia Lawrence.” My whole family was like, “What is this little girl talking about?” But eventually they caved in and got me the weirdest dog… Maybe the weirdest dog of all time.

KG Who still exists today, by the way.

CL And on her nametag it still says Apple Kaia Lawrence, spelled the same way.

KG We were just destined to be together.

CL We were destined. We are the same. We have literally the exact same music taste.

KG What was your first concert? I know mine.

CL Mine was a Hannah Montana and Jonas Brothers concert.

KG Mine was Kid Rock.

CL So you’re just cooler than I am. I mean, I was obsessed…I had my Justin Bieber phase, and everybody has their little Taylor Swift phase. Honestly, I still jam out to that.

KG Most-played song of all time?

CL “Love the Way You Lie” by Rihanna. I don’t know why, but that will forever be our song.

KG Because you’re the only other person I know who can recite the entire rap verse.

CL Every single word. When he played at Coachella and he sang that song, Kaia and I were next to each other and literally started crying, and it was the best moment of our entire lives.

KG Okay, what’s the largest audience you’ve played in front of?

CL It was at Ultra Festival. Seventy thousand people? I have no idea. I was like, “No, I’m not gonna do it. I’m gonna die.” It was the most scared I’ve ever been. But once I had the microphone in my hand I was like, “Oh, actually…”

KG Okay, this is actually a good one because I don’t know the answer to this: Who is your celebrity crush?

CL Shrek.

KG No.

CL Oh, can I say this then? David Dobrik! But we’re friends with him, so… It’s kinda weird. We’re new friends!

KG No, it’s cool.

CL Go watch his vlogs!

KG Any unexpected pros to fame?

CL I hate that word. [laughs] I don’t consider myself famous.

KG I think one of your unexpected pros is that you get a rider on tour, because [models] don’t really get that. I don’t get a rider. So when I was at your shows, the rider in your green room was really exciting. You just have it stocked, always.

CL That was so much fun. So, funny story… A lot of people are like, “I want fruit,” or whatever. But I am obsessed with Top Ramen—not fancy ramen, only Top Ramen. So literally was like, I’m gonna put Top Ramen on my rider. What I didn’t realize was that they would give me a good 10 packets of ramen every single night of the tour. By the end we had 5 drawers filled with a good 100 packets of Top Ramen.

KG You would leave it at my place. I still have your Top Ramen. Okay, do you feel like you have to filter yourself because you’re now in the spotlight?

CL I mean, I’d never filter myself in my music. But I guess I can’t be fully me in public, because I’m a little bit wild.

KG I’m just very, very grateful because I feel like when we were younger there weren’t that many platforms for us to embarrass ourselves on.

CL We used AIM or Skype.

KG I was nearly the last person on Instagram out of everyone.

CL Funny story, I had an Instagram when I was 12 or 13 and didn’t tell my parents. I’d get a blow dryer and take selfies. Somebody told my parents that I was the only kid in the grade with a public Instagram and I got in so much trouble. It was really the most embarrassing thing ever.

KG Okay, this is a big jump… What do you like about our generation?

CL I think that our generation is maybe one of the first generations of young people to be so vocal about what they stand for in the world.

KG We just have access to so much [information], so you don’t have to watch the news every morning to understand what’s going on.

CL Yeah, and realistically, politics have always been run by older men and older people. I think us having a say is so important because we’re gonna have to live with this for the rest of our lives.

KG What would you change about our generation?

CL It’d be so sick if we didn’t have social media.

KG Does social media help or hurt self-esteem?

CL No matter what, you compare yourself to what you see on social media. I catch myself doing that a lot.

KG Do you feel you can authentically express yourself in the public eye?

CL A hundred percent.

KG But that’s why you’re in the public eye; it’s because you’re so authentic.

CL Thank you. I think being a musician is a very [unique] job, obviously, in that you’re supposed to be fully yourself. I never want to release a song that I didn’t write.

KG Yeah, and what surprised me the most about learning about music through you is how rare it is that people write their own songs. I’ve seen you sit down and write multiple songs. And it shows when you perform, ’cause you actually…

CL I get in my feels every single time.

KG I feel like some of the best music stems from hurt and feeling pain. When you get hurt, do you feel a sense of, not relief, but do you almost feel like, “Oh, I’m really hurt but I can create something amazing from this?” Is that a thought process you have when you’re hurt?

CL Dude, the number one most special thing to me about creating music is [that] I use it as a therapy. If I feel so sad about a guy, or so hurt by whatever, I write a song about it.

KG The one fight that we’ve been in, the main reason I made up with you is that you wrote me a beautiful song. We hadn’t spoken in a long time.

CL ‘Cause [we] really, truthfully never fight. It was [our] one fight since we’ve been little. So I sent you a song.

KG Don’t become friends with singers; you can’t stay mad at them because they’ll write you a beautiful song.

CL Bottom line: Don’t date musicians.

Charlotte Lawrence wears Burberry
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