We’re proud to be women in this day and age, and yesterday’s International Women’s Day saw a surge of inspiring rhetoric about amazing women around the world: There are too many to even count. That’s why this week all our stories will be of the she-persuasion, starting with today’s interview with Janet Mock. As a transgender activist, Mock works each day on improvements in the LGBTQ community and addresses culture and politics through outlets like her MSNBC show So POPular!, and publications like Marie Claire, Huffington Post and xojane. We spoke with Mock about Amazon’s new award-winning series Transparent, why kale is the new potato, restaurants she loves, and why Beyoncé is her idol…which needs no explanation, obviously.
From start to finish, what would be your ideal food day?
BREAKFAST: Two cups of Hawaiian Isles Kona coffee (specifically Vanilla Macadamia roast), two boiled eggs, toast with almond butter and half a grapefruit.
SNACK: A handful of almonds, lightly salted popcorn with a splash of Tabasco, and a Liquiteria ‘All Greens with Apple, Lemon and Ginger” juice.
DESSERT: Magnolia Bakery’s banana pudding
What’s your show, So POPular! all about?
My new Shift by MSNBC series covers all things culture. It’s a weekly show that streams live on Fridays and it’s my fun, irreverent yet thoughtful attempt at using art and movies, books and celebrities as a lens to discuss where we are politically and culturally. So POPular! basically takes a deep look at the things we often pretend we’re too smart to like, and challenges our ideas on what’s considered political and worthy of analysis.
What’s the message you continuously try to convey to trans women?
It’s the same message I would convey to any person: You are worthy and nothing is wrong with you.
Has our country made a lot of headway concerning the LGBT community?
There’s been much advancement (more awareness about trans lives; overwhelming support of marriage equality; the President, for the first time, mentioning transgender and bisexual people in the State of the Union), yet at the same time there is still deep bias against LGBTQ people, particularly for people of color and those with low socioeconomic status, and still no major organizing centering around the disproportionate violence that trans women of color face globally.
In light of the recent Golden Globes win, what has the show Transparent done for Hollywood and entertainment in general?
It does a great job at centering a trans woman within the context of a family and her community, and offers those who may not know someone who is trans one such example of a trans person. It’s powerful for people to see a trans woman be a central figure of an award-winning show.
Advice to women getting up, looking in the mirror and getting dressed…
I’m not one to broadly offer women advice, but I’m more than comfortable sharing what’s helped me: Embracing what I see rather than wishing for what I feel is missing. Also, moisturize!
What advice would you give your younger self?
I would constantly affirm her, especially in a world filled with rebuttals.
A trend that makes you angry right now…
Ombre hair. Just highlight your hair and let those roots grow out.
The trend you’re on board with…
How do you practice beauty from the inside out?
Drinking as much water as possible, lots of green juices, and yoga and SoulCycle. Moisturize and always clean your makeup brushes!
How has your style evolved and changed? How would you describe it today?
I love vintage and gravitate towards well-tailored dresses that celebrate my curves. There’s something about a dress made in the seventies/eighties that really makes me love my body. So I am always in search of that dress. My style has grown up a lot since I entered my thirties in the sense that I know what I really like, what works well for me, and I invest my money (whether that’s in buying a piece or a shoe, or getting a vintage or ready-to-wear piece tailored for my body). I would describe my style – fashion, makeup and hair-wise – as fly and free.
Reasons why you love Beyoncé so much…
She’s hardworking, impeccable, practiced, prepared and gives good hair and face, always. More deeply and personally, she was a pop cultural pillar to me at a time in my teen years when I was looking for girls who reflected me.
Best advice you’ve ever received…
Write what you feel you should have had access to read.
In an information age, how do you sift through all the noise, and pick what’s relevant to read and watch?
What’s noise to me, may be a symphony to someone else. Not everything out there is for me, or for you. But what’s amazing about greater access to digital technology is we all have access to create and consume things that truly reflect us. For me, if something, whether that’s an essay, a snarky or informative twitter feed, or a new series, resonates with me or makes me see something differently, I invest my time in it. I just want truth, whether it’s mine or someone else’s.
What are your favorite cities for food? What restaurants do you go to in each?
Hands down, the East Village in New York City. It’s my neighborhood, and every single restaurant I listed in my ideal food day is among my favorites. I’ll also add Minca Ramen, Gruppo thin crust pizza, Supper for Italian, and Cafe 81 for Filipino food. Oh, I also love Nha Trang in Chinatown for pho!
In the same vein as what is the new black in fashion, what’s ‘the new potato’ right now?
Kale – even Beyoncé sang its praises in her 7/11 video!
*Janet Mock, photographed at St. Mark’s Bookshop by Danielle Kosann.