Video Star Bradley Soileau Smokes Weed + Talks Lana Del Rey, Brooke Candy, and His New Fashion Brand

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Bradley Soileau meets me at my place. His phone isn’t really working so around the email-specified arrival time, I wait outside my apartment, feeling like a fan boy (but honestly I just want to make sure he finds the address!) Eventually I notice a far-off tall figure walking toward me wearing a sick hat with a sicker vintage Metallica shirt. He’s evidently late because two fans wanted to take a picture of him just around the corner.

“Espresso? Lillet? Rosè?” I ask.

Two glasses of Lillet in hand, we head to the roof.

“I figured you smoked,” Bradley says.

“Yes, I do. I was about to suggest,” I reply.

We laugh. And the interview begins.

What do you have planned for this year?

Um, shit. I got a gig at the Greek theater this month on the 24th. Um, I’m DJing and playing with Travis Scott, Danny Brown, and the Neighborhood. I’m really good friends with The Neighborhood. 

ALSO, I recently partnered with a factory in Los Angeles to start my own brand. So, I think my first collection will be coming out in September.

Congratulations.

Thank You. I think I might be going to Copenhagen next month for fashion week and I’ll DJ some parties out there. And then I’m going to be Brooke Candy’s touring DJ so we’re going a tour to support her EP. I guess September or October. I’m not sure yet. It might be September but if it’s October. If it’s October I’ll probably here.

pic1You grew up in Louisiana, right? What was the transition like to Los Angeles?

So, I lived here first (NYC) for four or five years…I don’t know man. My perception of time is all over the place.  Yeah, like four or five years. I don’t know man. Louisiana is a boring place. I grew up in the busiest part of Louisiana but it’s not very busy. There’s not a lot going on. There’s not a lot to do that I like. Now, that I’m older I like blues and jazz music but then I didn’t and I was like, “I hate everything about this city”. I was straightedge then too (Bradley has a straightedge tattoo) so I didn’t do drugs or drink. All there is to do in Louisiana is to drink and do drugs. Mad people are on prescription pills. Whatever the hell you can do not to be in Louisiana.

You were discovered by Red Model Management?

Yeah, I was discovered by Dave Fothergill at Red here (NYC) in the East Village. Before I became a model, I was selling weed. Like a month or two before I got scouted my friend had got shot. He’s fine. He’s alive. A drug deal gone bad. They tried to rob us or whatever and they shot my friend. Basically, after that I was like this is the second time I had a situation like that with a gun in my face and like seeing your friend get shot…It was a wakeup call. Oh shit, I’m like a fucking little white kid in LOUISIANA. I do not need to be doing this.

So, I quit selling weed. I had some money saved. I was just living off of that and looking for something. But, like, I’m a convicted felon and it’s hard to find a job or whatever. So, one day I had all these DVDS I’m going to sell all these DVDS. I don’t need them. I’ll put them on my computer. Everything’s digital today anyway.

Anyway ,I went to Kim’s and sold DVDS and Dave saw me from the back. He saw that I was tall and skinny. He’s shouting at me and I’m like…I see him and I’ve never met him before. He’s this huge buff black dude. He’s not super fashion-y; he’s just like a dude. I’m like, “What the fuck does this guy want?” What did I do? Why is he yelling at me? I turn around and he asks me are you interested in being a model. I’m like WHAT?! He told me what agency he was with and I Googled them. “Oh, they’re good. Top five. One of the top agencies.” I was like alright I’ll see what’s up.

I point to the nicely rolled joint Bradley brought over.

You can light that.

Dave saw me before the Fourth of July weekend. After the Fourth of July weekend I had a go see and signed the papers a couple of days after that.

Bradley lights the joint. 

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That was what year?

2011.

And then the whole thing with Lana Del Rey happened…

Literally two months after I signed.

What was that like? Did she reach out to you?

We had never even met. I didn’t know who she was at the time. She was still very under the radar. Video Games was what she was known for. So, basically, with that situation, I just go to the agency one day. It was crazy because I had been doing magazine editorials and I had no idea going into it. I was paying money for travel and all this shit and going to these castings. I didn’t have money to eat. So, I’m like okay, so before I booked this, I hit up Dave, I was saying I don’t know how much longer I’m going to be doing this. It doesn’t pay. 12 hour days.

Basically, I feel like two days later Dave was like “Yo, you’re on hold for this Lana Del Rey video.” I was like “Who?” SO, I was at his office and he showed me Video Games and I’m like alright. I was like that’s cool. I was new to this and I didn’t know what it’d entail or what would happen.

You took a risk. 

Yeah. Initially, it was going to be shot in New York. They just casted me. I didn’t go to a casting. The director Yoann Lemoine had seen pictures of me from a photographer friend who had shot me. He was like I’m looking for a tattoo kid. I was a new face. Completely new. Basically, they just cast me and then it moved to Paris. They had a casting in Europe. I’m not sure but that was the story that was told to me. I guess Lana saw my pictures.

And she wanted you for it.

Yeah yeah. I now realize…I guess she used to date this guy Jimmy Gnecco. So, we kind of look similar. That’s basically why when I did the first video she tweeted my name. I reminded her of the magnetic boy she once dated. I think that’s Jimmy Gnecco. She was like this has got to be the guy. The rest is history.

And on the Internet.

Very heavily on the Internet.

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Yeah, right. That’s something I wanted to talk about: the modern age of social media. How has it been with people reacting to you and your presence? From modeling to Lana Del Rey, etc.

Dude, social media is CRAZY.  You don’t understand where I come from. Louisiana. NOBODY. Being tattooed heavily and at a young age in Louisiana, it was like YOU’RE A CRIMINAL. Of course that’s true I was—but whatever. You know? No one really liked me out there. Girls thought I was attractive but…

I grew up in Dallas. I totally get your vibe.

Texas is WAY crazy.

Yeah.

People just started finding me on the Internet that I knew. Social media is crazy though. I went from not being a model and having like 300 or 400 or 500 followers. No one really knew who I was. But then I got like 53000 followers later which was crazy. And my Facebook was crazy…There was a Facebook page later created by a fan, which once it got to a certain amount, I was like YO can I be an admin and I was like Yo can you not be involved anymore? Thank you. Which she was cool with that. She didn’t care.

But, my shit’s verified and it has almost 60000 likes. Shit is crazy to me. Social media is insane. Right before I got here some kids stopped me on the street to take a picture. That happens pretty regularly more so here (NEW YORK) than Los Angeles.

I have like crazy fan art. Mad people draw pictures of me.

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I was just thinking about musical influences now that you’re put into that music scene. And you’re a DJ…What are your musical influences?

So many…I listen to a LOT of rap. Hip-hop. House. Deep house.

Kraut rock? 

Yeah, yeah. And a lot of trap or whatever they’re calling it. TRILL WAVE. I fuck with B More. But, also the whole rock and roll thing is like what I grew up on. So, my main influences are like emo music.

You remember From First to Last?

Totally.

Chiodos?

Yeah, I didn’t like them so much. I listen to Metallica, Megadeth, Suicidal Tendencies…Bad Religion. Carrion, which is an amazing hardcore band. Suicidal Files, that’s another one. Modern Life in War. That and Kanye West. Kanye West is a musical genius. That whole album is crazy. On Sight is so tight. I Can’t Hold My Liquor. I mean…

Tell me about your fashion line. Are you doing any collaborations? 

So my brand is going to be super punk. High-end super punk. By the end of this month, I should have shot the entire look book. It’s going to be fall and winter immediate. It’s my first time. I’m not trying to do something too crazy because I don’t know where it’d go.

You know…I was partnered with a factory because they want to make money. Courtney is the woman who owns the factory. She’s amazing. 

It’s really amazing and punk. I don’t know if I want to necessarily collaborate with someone because I don’t think it’d evolve to something like that. But you never know. We’ll talk about that later if I’ll be making money.

He laughs.

I don’t necessarily see myself collaborating. It’s not I don’t want to fuck with anybody. I mean, I would collaborate with Vans. That would be like a lifetime achievement award for me. In the high end fashion world, they don’t really do it. I’m not like trying to be in the high end street wear world. I mean…Probably just because of who I am and the people I know it might unfortunately get lumped in that. But that’s not my goal. There’s nothing wrong with that culture or that type of brand. I just want to do a high end fashion brand. 

That was good weed. Do you buy here?

No, my homie gave it to me.

I feel like my perception of time has been all over the place these days just because of New York. So when you said that earlier, I could relate to that. I was telling Niki Takesh that I was going to interview you and she was like, “Tay, we partied with Bradley during fashion week at Maison O.”

Yeah, yeah. Yeah, New York is a shit show. As soon as you get in this mother fucker it’s like BLAHHHDSKFHJDSF. I don’t party in Louisiana. It’s a very rare occasion that I go out. I mean here, everywhere you turn someone is giving you free alcohol or cocaine or molly or something. That shit happens in Louisiana but like I don’t like coke that much.

 I love weed.

 AHH…In Los Angeles I was fucking comatose.

I LOVE Headband. That’s my favorite.

Oh man…Skywalker OG. Lamb’s breath is amazing.

I’ve never tried it. Is it a sativa?

I think Lamb’s breath is a sativa and it was Bob Marley’s favorite weed and it was all that he smoked. Down to the posters that he made at the time that were sold by his label- there was a reference to Lamb’s Breath because he smoked it.

I love wax and I was really into this shit called death blow. Edibles…I love cheeba chews. These things that are like rectangle gummies called green hornets. They’re like the strongest edible on the market. Dude, those things… I would eat the whole thing. You’re not supposed to eat the whole thing. But I was like smoking so much and eating so many edibles…I was like whatever.

Los Angeles has REALLY good molly.

Somehow I think of my experience at Miley Cyrus’s concert at Barclays.

Bangerz tour. Fucking Miley Cyrus is killing it. 

Yeah, she’s cool.

Photos: Taylor Ghrist
Makeup: Julie Gaiser
Styling: Ashley Abtahie​