Oskar Tarplee, Muse

Photo: Jake Chessum

You’re really comfortable in front of the camera.
People stare at me wherever I go. I’m not sure if it’s the way I dress, the way I carry myself, or what, but I like to play with it. I see people watching me, taking my picture, and I can create a moment for them.

Is Oskar your real name?
My family disowned me about ten years ago because I’m gay. I’m from Georgia, so they’ve got that whole Bible Belt thing going on. So I came up with my own name, because it’s just like, Who’s Oskar? It’s nobody. I’m not on that whole kick of wanting to be a man. I want to be able to be a sexy woman who has masculine traits. That’s it.

Do lots of people take your picture?
A few years ago, I was homeless. So I was living on the streets, and Elite modeling agency found me in Union Square; some guy came up and asked if I could do a shoot in London the next week and I said yeah, and they sent me to take a shower because I smelled bad.

Do you still model?
They told me if I wanted to make money, I’d have to present myself as more of a feminine personality, and I was like, “Fuck that.”

So what do you do?
I’m a warrior of types, gathering awareness, searching for that, really. I’m basically a muse for people, and they give me information in exchange for hanging out.

So what is a typical day like for you?
I’m really just day by day. Like tonight, I’m performing at the Box. I pretend I’m fucking a corpse.

Do you spend a lot of time on your look?
I spend a lot of time getting dressed till I find something I love, and then I’ll wear it for days until it’s way too dirty to wear anymore. It’s fun getting dressed up.

Oskar Tarplee, Muse