Getting The Hateboy Lowdown – Our Exclusive Interview With Palma Wright
Social media, superficiality and the Spice Girls.
Self-described creative all-rounder, Hateboy, or Palma Wright, is not afraid to delve straight into every corner of the creative world. What’s more, Palma tends to keep it bold, curating fearless design with stark colours and transgressive fashion trends. In fact, after a short scroll on Palma's instafeed, her immersive and unstoppable taste proves contagious. Keen to to keep up with Palma’s fashion-forward work, we caught up with her to talk social media, superficiality and the Spice Girls.
Hey Palma! Thanks so much for chatting with us. Please introduce yourself to our readers!
I’m Palma Wright, also known as Hateboy. I’m an artist specializing in, but not limited to: Styling, Hair Coloring/Styling , Makeup Artistry, Photography, Videography, Casting, Creative/Art Directing and Modeling, I suppose.
Everyone likes to ask, “How do you do it all?” But what do you not do?
I don’t work at a zoo. And I don’t make music.
You grew up in Washington; how did you make the jump to LA?
Everyone has that moment when, after graduating from high school, you have to decide whether you want to stay safe and comfortable or go somewhere new, where you might have greater opportunities, even if it means making yourself uncomfortable, going against what your parents want, or making your life generally more difficult. In the end, I choose to do exactly that, and make the leap to do something new and scary, without knowing whether it would work out or not, because I believed in my talent to do more and I didn’t want to continue on a path that I knew had less to offer me as an artist and as an individual who wanted to learn.
And what’s it like working with the LA crowd today?
Sometimes it can be difficult. I personally find it extremely hard to find support as a creative in the commercial industry and within the shallowness of LA. I do think a big part of the problem within American culture in general and hyper-specifically in LA, is that we put too much importance on Instagram and Instagram followers. I find that competing for a job against someone who doesn't actually have a skill or talent can become monotonous and uninspiring when you’re trying to get somewhere based off of talent and not popularity, in a industry where only popularity matters. But with that said, I have been extremely fortunate to have worked with and found a lot of amazing creatives and muses in LA, so it will always be one of my home bases for creating.
There are a lot of people in LA looking to break into the creative field. How do you manage to create fresh content in an environment that’s so saturated?
I ALWAYS try to be original. When it comes to fashion I go with my gut, and I have fun with it. Fashion can actually be pretty unforgiving and rigid when it comes to the rules of what most fashion people decide or consider to be chic and relevant. I don’t worry about what people think, and I’m not doing this soley for a paycheck so i don’t have to comply to the masses. I’m creating the work for no other reason than to simply create beauty because i enjoy it.
Some of the most successful creatives we talk to tell us that they’re doing what they loved doing at seven years old. So, how would the seven-year-old you feel about where you are now?
Wow. I’m not sure 7-year- old me would give a fuck because 7 year old me was more interested in figuring out how I could permanently become a cat or become personal best friends with the Spice Girls.
You’ve done some crazy creative work—what’s been your highlight?
I honestly can’t choose. There have been so many highs for me so far, professionally and personally, but I would say that what’s been pushing me for the last year or two is the opportunity to work with models who inspire me, particularly working with and continually shooting my muse and best friend Alice Metza. I find her to be everything extraordinary, interesting, and beautiful in a woman. She is a rare beauty, and a true beauty inside and out, her rawness and intelligence continues to astound and inspire me on a daily basis and feed my love for beauty fashion and art. Also, I definitely have to mention that working with Bernhard Willhelm has been a highlight and a massive honor for me as well. I did casting for him for three seasons which always debuts on his website and vogue runway and in his most recent collection, I got to be living art, which was a dream come true for a girl like me.
Recently, we’ve seen mainstream fashion embracing your aesthetic more and more. Do you think fashion is a trickle-up industry, pulling ideas from artists like yourself?
Of course, but this is how it has always been. I think it’s just a bit more blatant now because of social media, which makes it so easy to see someone who’s unknown doing something interesting and copy them. But on a personal level I find deliberate and literal replications of things you see, or recreating someone’s work and claiming it as your own, to be quite hideous and insufferable.
One of the biggest platforms to promote your art is Instagram, but as we all know, the app has a pretty strict nudity policy. Since you completely embrace the bare human form with your art, how does Insta’s restriction affect your work?
It restricts me from posting a lot of my sexier work because I don't want to and can’t censor the images without completely destroying the image. And nudity and sex is beautiful to me. Anything I shoot I find to be beautiful. In the future I hope that Instagram will become less and less important for me because I’m currently working on a website that I want to become the main portal for viewing my work online. I also aspire to do shows, or publish books of my photography. That way if you want to see my images you either have to show up to the show or buy the book.
Is it a lot of creative pressure to maintain such a large following online? Do you think your work has changed as your online presence has grown?
I don’t think it has changed very much, in terms of my philosophy on art and fashion. I have never worried about what people will "like" or want to see because, when it comes to my work, I've always just done whatever I wanted to do in that moment. My followers don’t affect those decisions. Mostly, when it comes to having a following i find that the biggest issue for me is that it can be a confidence bruiser when it comes to my art because people go out of there way to judge me, and be unnecessarily cruel a lot of the time. One change i have had since the beginning is, because I’m now at the point where i am fortunate enough to have people in the industry I respect or look up to, following or looking at my content, so now i have to try to air on the more professional side. Because now people will take my personal life and apply it to my professional one because that line is now so blurred with social media. Anyone can use what they see on your instagram as a reason to not work with you if they want. When I first started using Instagram, it didn’t occur to me because i was just having fun so it never occurred to me to care, but as you have more people looking at your stuff i guess you feel more of a social responsibility to tone it down sometimes. Now it’s used for me almost like a business card or portfolio. So I know i can’t be as personal as i want to be or go as deep sometimes. So i feel a pressure to not post certain things because i don’t think that other professionals will understand that its my art. The whole thing for me is art--the stories, the posts, the entire thing, its all my art.
You work a lot behind the scenes, but have you ever considered being a serious model?
I really, really love modeling. It’s purely a passion thing for me because I love being in front of the camera and using my body to create art. I have been super fortunate to have gotten to work with some really dope photographers who have created some beautiful images of me. So for me it’s always come naturally, because I just enjoy being in front of the camera and sometimes when it comes to doing something crazier in terms of a concept, I know I am the only one who will do it. But I think because of my current size and weight nobody really takes me seriously or thinks of me for that, and obviously I wouldn’t call my look traditional or commercially friendly. But if I got into really good shape maybe I could do more in the industry, maybe not. All I know is I’m not focused on it anyway. For now, I like to just do it when it’s for something I’m passionate about.
What advice would you give to a young artist looking to break into the industry?
Always push yourself creatively. Don’t worry about internet clout. Always say yes to opportunities. Work hard but don’t forget to have fun. Strive to be original always. And most important of all, don't think you need anyone else in order to create your work.
And what’s the next step for you in your creative journey?
Continuing to travel as much as possible and educate myself about the rest of the world and the beauty in it. Continuing to educate myself about all my crafts and push the boundaries in all fields. Scouting constantly and finding fresh faces to inspire me. And working on releasing my website, finally!
For more insights into the creative sphere, check out our interview with music producer and visual creative, CÉCI.