With candles lit, sage burning in the corner, and SZA’s “Supermodel” playing on the record player, Shorin created a vibe to finally discuss his need to be free and Queer in his world that isn’t quite as progressive as your favorite ABC sitcom. Before we sat down for this conversation, I made a fashion suggestion for his photoshoot to test his reaction. I recommended nothing but the skirt, and I could feel his energy beam with excitement. He expressed to me that it was something that he always wanted to do. So as we sat for this conversation, SZA still belting away in the background, he mixed a cocktail, grabbed a spinny chair, and we pressed record:
D: How do you identify and what does that identity mean to you?
S: Can I label myself a snack? [laughs] A weirdo. That’s what I think about when I think about being Queer-weird and different and not like everybody else. It took me a long time to get to that identity because I’ve been called so many things in life. Things like sissy and faggot, racial slurs…And I would listen to these things and I would go home at night and just sit in that like am I really all of these things? I would be sad and depressed about it because with these words come negative stigmas so eventually, I got tired of this and decided to take every label ever placed on me and I’m just going to be me.
D: What kind of feedback have you gotten about the fashion choices you’ve made thus far like the painting of your nails?
S: The negative has mostly come from my family. I think the first time I came home with my nails painted, she told me to take it off. Whatever we were talking about, it could be pork chops, she would just randomly say, “you need to take that nail polish off.” My grandmother wasn’t here for it either but she’s the type of person that if I like it, she loves it. And of course,I get odd looks when I’m in public. I remember being in redneck Johnson City and my hair was blue, and people were just staring disgustingly but it kind of made me feel like a superstar. But on the other hand, I went to an antique store in Memphis and someone told me they love my style so I do get love from random people, the internet mostly. That’s why I can’t wait to put this skirt on, I know I’m going to get a lot of backlash but I’m ready for it.
I hate when people assume that your style is tied to your sexuality.
D: That’s what I was thinking about, you didn’t really fight me on the photoshoot idea. Why was this a no-brainer idea for you?
S: I think my mind is changing right now and I’m starting not to care anymore. You said that if I wanted to be a model, I need to open myself up. I can’t be the person I want to be if I’m limiting myself. I was so open to it because wearing women’s clothes isn’t really unnatural for me. When I was a child, I used to dress up in my mom’s clothes and I would convince my brothers to do it too. Most of my clothes today come from the women’s rack. My current viewpoint when it comes to fashion is just, why not?
D: How does fashion impact the way that you move through Memphis?
S: A couple of years ago I posted a picture on Instagram of me in all white Vans, whitewashed jeans, and a polo shirt and I immediately realized that I’m dressed like a Memphis nigga. I like to stand out in a crowd. I don’t follow trends so when I shoot with you, I go into my closet to find the oddest, weirdest outfit and I put it on.
D: Who would you say are your influencers?
S: Rihanna influences the way that I dress. When I go to Goodwill, I think, what would Rihanna wear? And then I try to find things that look Rihanna-esque. Luka Sabbat, I try to mirror him in my photoshoots. But more close to home, D’Andre @mermaidbastard, he is very open about himself. He wears skirts and dresses, not for photoshoots, just out and I think that’s amazing. He just doesn’t give a fuck. He is my fave, my greatest influence. ASAP Rocky and Jaden Smith also. I hope to channel their energy. And most of my fashion comes from the 90s, I love baggy shit so TLC, Aaliyah, and Fresh Prince. I love the pastel colors, ripped and whitewashed.