André J., Muse

Aren’t you cold?
No! Not at all. It’s a mental thing. I woke up this morning feeling really spiritual, calm, easy, and free. I’m feeling lovely.

Is this an everyday outfit?
Oh, yes, it is! The blouse is Anna Sui, the shorts are vintage, and I’m wearing vintage sunglasses by Lanvin. And just, like, calmness. I’m wearing calmness. I’m very happy.

How did you get so happy?
Hard work. No longer living by anyone else’s demands. I’m grown, I’m evolved, I can accept all that comes with being an individual.

What comes with being an individual?
In my case, trust, faith, hope, optimism, courage, wisdom, enthusiasm, and pizzazz.

Where did you come from?
Jersey. And I lived in L.A. up until a few years ago, when I just said, “Hmmm. Let’s move to New York for the liberation, the freedom, the action. The life, the fashion, the glam.” But I should point out that there is always a message behind the glam, and that message is, Become your dream.

What do you do?
I lip-synch, but I’m more of an example, an icon in my own right, a muse. I want people to look at me and feel inspired, to feel hope, to smile. I want to surge positive energy in your body, confirm that you too can be yourself.

Does it happen that way?
Oh, sure. I get some “Wow, oh my goodness, what the hell, you look fantastic, holla brotha” when I’m walking down the street, but my favorite thing I ever got was, “I am just so glad you’re alive.” I’ve had so many people say that to me, and that’s what assists me on continuing my journey. I was put on this earth to be a bodhisattva, to just glow, emanate love, respect, peace, pizzazz. It’s powerful.

Photographs by Jake Chessum.

André J., Muse