Sam Blacky: Expressing HerselfLEFAIR
Sam Blacky @samblacky
Photographer Tracy Kahn @tracykahn
Writer & Wardrobe Stylist Madeline Rosene @madelinerosene
Hair & Makeup Artist Kendell Cotta @kendellcotta
Drone Videographer Jeffrey Fountain @jeffreyfuente
Location Villa Premiere, Puerto Vallarta @villapremiere
DJ and model, Sam Blacky has no problem expressing herself. “My personal style?” Sam Blacky asks, “Oh, it’s like wild child- rocker-slutty-tom boy… I’ll wear drop crotch sweatpants with a see-through mesh shirt,” But this self-proclaimed “wild child,” is maybe not as wild as her fans think. As a DJ and model, of course Sam Blacky is deep in the party and festival scene. Sam DJs all over the world, playing music festivals in Bali and on private islands. Sam says, “Everybody thinks that I’m this really wild and crazy girl, which is true and is also how I portray myself on social media,” but what a lot of people don’t know is that, more often than not, she would rather be on the couch at home, giving advice to her friends (who gave her the nickname Dr. Phil). “I give the best advice,” Sam says, “and I’m a great friend.
MR: When did you first start getting into music?
SB: When I was 16 I started getting into house music. Calvin Harris’s first album was my jam. I was obsessed with Boys Noize. My friends and I would go to all the festivals, do all the drugs. I remember Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC) back when it was really small! I moved to Australia when I was 18, to get my degree out there on the Gold Coast. One of my best friends, Sammy Prosser, was a club owner and paid for me to get DJ lessons. I took three 2-hour lessons. Then I would go to Guitar Center as often as I could to practice on equipment there. He started getting me gigs at clubs and we made a reel of my work. When I finished university, I stayed in Australia and moved to Melbourne where I got my first job in marketing. One of the clients was Chupa Chups, a lollipop company. They wanted to target people in their teens and twenties instead of children. My idea for them was to do a campaign surrounding music festivals since everyone is fucked up and wants lollipops! The campaign went great — we were throwing Chupa Chups balloons off the stage into the crowd. After that, started working in marketing for music festivals, traveling and interviewing DJs backstage. I booked DJs like Deadmau5 and Laid Back Luke. Then I really realized I had great taste in music and I could actually be a DJ too!
MR: So what came first, modeling or DJing?
SB: Definitely DJing. One of my friends, Scott Russo told me I should meet with Jules at newMARK models. I was like, “What? I’m not a model!” But Jules loved me. I was 25. That’s so old to start modeling! As far as DJing goes, I became the go-to person for all the fashion events thrown in Los Angeles. Brands like tores, Scotch & Soda, Intermix, Guess, and the ZOE Report — everyone loved that I could DJ and wear their clothes too. It’s taken about three years, but this past year I’ve become more of a known DJ and play at festivals and clubs all around the world.
MR: What have been some of your favorite places you’ve played?
SB: I’ve loved Festivals in Bali — Bestival was insane! Sports Illustrated Swim Issue Release Party was pretty crazy in New York. Playing in Vegas at the Daylight Pool Club was a landmark for me. I just opened for Duke Dumont there. I played on Richard Branson’s private island, Necker Island…
MR: Do you express yourself through music?
SB: Honestly, it’s more just fun for me and it makes me feel incredibly happy. I love seeing other people feel good. I don’t think it’s an outlet for me to express myself as much as it is for me to have a good time and share with others. I feel like my Instagram and fashion are more my outlets for self-expression.
MR: Who are some of your musical inspirations?
SB: I love all of the producers from Dirtybird — like Claude VonStroke. He was my favorite producer ever. He started an independent record label based in San Francisco, California with all these producers called Dirtybird. My ex, Thomas Jack is an incredible producer and just downright amazing at music. I also love Duke Dumont.
MR: What shows do you have coming up?
SB: I’ll be in Turks and Caicos DJing on April 6th. I’m DJing the Superdry Launch Party in London on the 10th of April and then I will be at Coachella and will hopefully play a surprise set at the Do LaB. The music they play at the Do LaB is a lot like Dirtybird.
MR: What is the most important part of DJing?
SB: It all comes down to the music that they play. There is nothing worse than shitty music. The DJing skills come second. If you beat match a little off or you don’t mix perfectly, most people don’t catch it. But it’s the songs that you pick that matter most. I have such a massive stage presence — I mean — I go crazy. Some of my favorites just kind of stand there. Think about Kygo, he’s not going crazy on stage. Some people hype the crowd like Chainsmokers— like one is hype man while the other one DJs.
MR: Have you done any collaborations with other artists and producers?
SB: I worked on some stuff with Thomas Jack. The main guy I work with is Curt Reynolds (Ben Curtis), he is a surfer kid from my hometown in San Diego. We never knew each other as kids but we met in LA. We have three remixes out. One has 100,000 plays. We are working on more now. He is the only person I have collaborated with so far on a producing level but I’m open to collaborating with other artists.
MR: How did your Instagram following come about?
SB: I don’t know to be honest. I had Instagram for a long time. I had maybe 10k followers. When I moved to LA, I guess it started growing from modeling and then it grew more from DJing. I was modeling with people like Alexis Ren and Sahara Ray. This was back when influencers tagged you and you could get like 5k followers from that tag. Playboy and Guess would post me. Now when someone posts you, you don’t go up as much. I just hung out with cool people and we all posted for each other.
MR: You’re very popular on social media. What are some of the weirdest DMs you’ve gotten?
SB: Oh my God, I get DMs from foreign countries from people asking me how much will I sell my underwear for. Some people will write to me asking to send me money. I’m like, “For what?” It’s insane. I get people who write crazy-ass gnarly poems that are so deep and fucked up and they don’t even make sense. Sometimes I’ll get really nice messages from girls that say things like, “You inspire me,” or something about how I’ve helped their body image. I get a minimum of 50 DMs per day. It’s awesome. I didn’t realize that just by posting photos of myself, I give people confidence. I never thought it was a big deal. One time, an overweight guy DMed me and said, “The fact that you are so comfortable in your body, makes me comfortable in mine.” This all comes from the fact that I have no boobs and people think it’s amazing that I am a swimsuit model with no boobs.
MR: Body image is something everyone struggles with. People can be so mean
SB: When I was in 7th grade, the girls in my grade had a book called The Slam Book and they wrote shit in there that was really mean. They used to write, “Sam Black is as flat as my back. She’s really hot but she has no boobs…She could be in Playboy if she had boobs.” Well, I’ve been in Playboy three times.
MR: Do you have advice for young people regarding body image?
SB: YES! Don’t judge yourself based on what other people look like. I never thought I would be a model, let alone a swimsuit model. You can’t compare yourself to the standard or to other people. You have to just go out and do it, whatever it is that you want, even if you don’t fit in the current parameters or beauty standards. If I had compared myself to other people, I never would have tried. I also have a bunch of tattoos. A few years ago, no models had tattoos. If you do your own thing and do it well, people will follow.