Kaya Wilkins'

Jemima Kirke
Miss Semaine
Anna Brewster
Liya Kebede
Susan Miller

Among the eeriest of Semaine’s short films, Galatea, makes its debut this week. The production—directed by Zoé Le Ber—features the inimitable Kaya Wilkins as a statue that comes to life one night at an otherwise empty gallery. Wilkins, a winning all-star trifecta of model, musician, and actress, also penned the soundtrack: Under the stage alias Okay Kaya, she recorded an acapella version of a song from her long-awaited inaugural album that’s slated to be released later this year. “The song is about wanting to go out and pursue sex,” she states simply.

Wilkins first started writing music five years ago. At the time, she already had three years of professional modelling under her belt and was gaining a reputation as an underground style icon. A quick scroll through her Instagram account and it’s not hard to see why. A lithe 5-foot-nine, with full lips, searching brown eyes, and poker-straight hair, she carries the air of a woman as confident in her pajamas as she in Chloé. Her social media presence is also refreshingly free of digital influencer hashtags: Posts range from candid shower selfies to acoustic music videos filmed in her Brooklyn apartment.

Kaya’s musical education began as a child in Norway. Growing up, her mother rotated Prince, Otis Redding, Mariah Carey, and Miriam Makeba records at their home in Nesoddtangen, a peninsula outside of the capital city, Oslo. Kaya describes her native country as “beautiful,” but says that she needed to fly the coop in order to put down roots somewhere more expansive, like New York City. “I think I was in need of more culture as Norway is quite homogeneous,” she reflects. “I wanted something grounding and stimulating that I could conquer on my own.” Writing music solely in English is one way the singer continues to redress that balance.

The theme of Kaya’s lyrics tend to follow the same thread of unbridled intimacy as heard in Galatea’s soundtrack. In her recent hit “IUD,” for example, she tackles the subject of safe sex: “Baby, you’re so baby, but I don’t want your baby,” she sings languorously over a pared-down guitar and drum melody. In the track’s accompanying video, the singer drags a replica of her own head by the hair to Planned Parenthood. A sense of urgency informs her creative process: “I try to write or record a thought as soon as it comes,” she explains. “Something I’ve heard, felt, or read can spark it. Then I go back again later when I find the time to work on it.”

Last year, her career took an unexpected twist into the movie business. Acclaimed Scandinavian director, Joachim Trier reached out about an audition for the lead support in his upcoming film—a supernatural lesbian coming-of-age story, titled Thelma. Kaya walked into the role of Anja and shooting began shortly thereafter. In November 2017, the finished picture premiered to rave reviews at the Toronto International Film Festival. Wilkins describes the acting process as visceral and akin to singing on a stage in front of people: “I feel more comfortable modelling in front of the camera, but how I look is only part of me. When I’m singing I use every part of myself so I’m more vulnerable, but also more confident because it’s my medium. Acting is similar.”

Kaya is reluctant to look too far into the future and questions about it or other potential acting projects will elicit little response for the time being. Instead, she wants to talk about right now and booking shows to mark the release of her album, so she can finally “play it for people!” Post-performance celebrations will—naturally—include a lot of alcoholic beverages: “I don’t know what I would do in the same room as the person I admire, but in a dream world, I’d have a drink with the writer Maggie Nelson,” she says to close. “Only drinks though—dinner is too much pressure.”

By Elsa de Berker for Semaine.

Read more...

View more products

Essentials

Essentials

The mix

From photography to drawing, Kaya likes to unwind creatively. Here’s everything you need to stock your home studio and follow suit.

Get the look

Get the look

The look

An underground style icon, Kaya lends a natural cool-girl twist to high fashion classics. Scroll through to see her top picks from Chloé for Summer 2018, available to shop now on Matchesfashion.com

52577331 d6a4 40aa a0f7 b9060946baa9
3a6fe7a0 963f 4e0c be37 2e27773103f7
Ae33ca4c 52af 4b28 b73e 2df4d8210275
E3422d0d a607 4f7a b806 531fc8bd8a99
69d369d7 db98 4eda 9bd8 9e77561f5f10
039e7d1f 5a19 43c9 b45f a477f16e9021
5f5e9c94 804c 45e0 8f43 ff74904ac26a
8746ffec 174d 408c 90b9 5d4d080474c5
6a83bccf f47e 4a64 a9ab 3dd4c4d5a9dc
6c91bc51 373e 487f be85 88e0de4f16f5

Bookshelf

Bookshelf

Good reads

Drinks with the American writer, Maggie Nelson tops Kaya’s list of dream meetings. Until then, you’ll find her reading books by Margaret Wise Brown, Eileen Myles, and Nick Cave.

View more products

Travel

Travel

Sightseeing

Take inspiration from Kaya’s travel bucket list and plot your next break: This year you’ll find her star-gazing in Los Angeles, sunbathing in Mexico, and gallery hopping in Paris.

C43fb62e d2e5 4abb 9910 c04e381ac006

YOYOGI PARK

2-1 Yoyogikamizonocho, Shibuya, Tokyo 151-0052, Japan

Dea183e0 7883 462b 8d32 13ec8df5f531

THE INTEGRATRON, PALM SPRINGS

2477 Belfield Blvd, Landers, CA 92285, USA

De041b12 594b 451e b86f 0bf19db00ca0

WHITE SANDS

New Mexico 88002, USA

546ed277 e378 410c 99dc 2ca6d2e99b62

Bornholm, Denmark

Bornholm

2edd9fc5 2266 4507 81f0 08b35e4874ea

ASSISTENS KIRKEGÅRD, COPENHAGEN, DENMARK

Kapelvej 4, 2200 København N, Denmark

View more products

Playlist

Playlist

Dance like you (to Okay Kaya)

In this Semaine exclusive mix, Kaya brings together a list of the songs and artists that inspire her the most. Just hit play, and repeat.

Movies

Movies

Nordic noir

Unsurprisingly, this budding actress has great taste in films. Catch her spellbinding performance in director Joachim Trier’s Thelma or get better acquainted with the movies she likes to watch from the comfort of her own home.

98e27fee 575b 4354 b1cd 563ad472313e
1b3a794d e38d 43f6 9cf3 c3e965cffa66
B6897c48 3ea1 47c8 8451 50faba786a8b
Efd6899c d294 489e a8a5 19f75d9cb7a5
1db55527 d5bf 4535 83eb 4b1b23bb4dcf
C571b88d d59f 4040 87b5 434ff2008114
D37427b6 beac 4ab5 b045 7c7ee400a08c

ha det...