V Girls: Cailin Russo

V Girls: Cailin Russo

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V Girls: Cailin Russo

The model and singer talks about her upcoming projects, musical influences, and working with Kanye West on ‘Donda’.

The model and singer talks about her upcoming projects, musical influences, and working with Kanye West on ‘Donda’.

Photography: Zamar Velez

Styling: Miso Dam

Text: Trishna Rikhy

Whether facing the flash of cameras or the blinding lights of a stage, Cailin Russo was born for the spotlight. Known for her chic-grunge appeal (her hair has ranged from baby pink to honey blonde, and rests now at a unique Sharpie yellow), timeless sound (she has silk-coated vocals perfectly suited to her sultry pop/R&B beats) and edgy, dark-toned L.A. style (the model rarely posts in outfits that aren’t black and leather), it feels like there’s nothing Russo can’t do. And fresh off working on Kanye West’s, Donda—where, for three months, she wrote and arranged tracks while shacked up with Kanye and his team in Atlanta’s cavernous Mercedes-Benz Stadium—Russo is revving up for her sophomore album, taking her music to the next level. “I’ve been really deep in the music world,” she says. “After [working on Donda], I was like, ‘Alright, time to take my album to the next level.’ So, I’m very grateful for that experience.”

Cailin wears Fendi blazer, trousers and shoes, necklace Bvlgari

“Deep” seems to be an understatement concerning Russo’s position in the industry. Russo has always been a musician, passionate about poetry and songwriting under her musician father, but her career in modeling first took off when she starred in Justin Bieber’s 2013 “All That Matters” music video. Ever since, it’s been music and modeling nonstop: she’s shared a few features and single tracks— including her soulful debut single, “September Rose,” and a feature on League of Legends’ “Phoenix”—both racking up millions of streams, but following her informal “spring training” by West, her first full-length album since 2018 got its jumpstart. “About a month or so after [consulting with Kanye for Yeezy], he asked me to come into the studio, and I didn’t know what I was getting myself into,” says Russo. “ I think he liked my presence, and he said, ‘I want you to be here until the album is done.’ And that really just stuck with me. From that day on, I was basically there for three months straight.”

Cailin wears Guess coat and shorts, and shoes Versace

Learning from the legends and taking inspiration from musical icons like Lana Del Rey and Rihanna, it’s no question that Russo is unfurling something insatiably great, a self-described “freshness”—and who doesn’t love a taste of something new, especially when dipped in Russo’s rebellious essence? “It’s heat, and it’s different,” Russo says of her forthcoming album. “It’s really different [from] anything that’s out right now. I’m so excited. I feel like it’s taken me a really long time to get to this place, but I finally feel like it’s time.”

Cailin wears Guess coat and shorts, and shoes Versace
Credits: MAKEUP: HOLLY SILIUS (R3 MGMT) / HAIR MIKEY LORENZATIO / STYLING ASSISTANT KIRIN ZHANG

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