[EXCLUSIVE PREMIERE] Margie’s “So Bad”
Margie is definitely one to watch.
She was a stylist and plus-size blogger when she started collaborating musically with her Norwegian fiancé, Harald, two years ago. And now, she’s working with the same behind-the-scenes music industry powerhouses as Rihanna and Beyoncé to get her singing career off the ground.
Yes, you read that right — Margie’s new video, “So Bad,” shares a production team with Beyoncé’s “Lemonade.” And she’s got the same hairdresser as Rihanna. Loic Maes, who’s worked with Lady Gaga, Steven Klein and Steven Meisel, directed her latest video, which premieres exclusively below.
Get to know Margie, because she’s not going anywhere.
First thing’s first: how do you get Beyoncé’s team to even hear your song?
Margie: One of my best friends is Yusef Williams, Rihanna’s hairstylist. He’s done like, 25 Vogue covers or something insane. He and I met through a mutual friend a couple of years ago and he’s like “I fux with you. You’re my daughter. Bust through, I’m gonna mentor you and show you how to cause a scene in New York.”
I spent most of my life in Spokane, Washington which is a small fucking town. So because of my connections with Yusef I’ve been super lucky to meet Loic through him. They were in Ibiza listening to my songs and they were laying on the beach and he takes his shades off and goes, “I’m obsessed with her.” And Yusef’s like, “Call her. She doesn’t have the budget but if you wanna fux with her.” So he brought along his connections and team and that’s how I got hooked up there.
Also my hair and beauty, Bellair is Yusef’s assistant and he’s Rihannas other hairsylist. That’s who I have on my hair and why it’s over-the-top, crazy and avant-garde. When you have Rihanna and Beyoncé’s team and you’re a big bitch — I’m even shocked.
Necklace & Earrings: ISLYNYC | Shoes: Betsey Johnson
How did you get your start back in Spokane?
Margie: I’ve done music forever but not my own music. I was singing in school and in talent shows. It wasn’t until I met Harald a few years ago – we met on Tinder and we started hooking up, hanging out and he started playing a beat one day and I knew he was a music producer but he didn’t know I sang. He was like, “Yeah, totally, let’s make a song.” Our first song was “Make Me.” We turned it into a full album, Radio Ratchet. That was my summer of ratchetness.
Harald and I make all the music together. He puts down a beat, I do the melody, etc., independently. It’s been interesting because in college I was like music isn’t something I can pursue full time – it’s more fashion. I interned at Conde Nast, Vogue, and Betsey Johnson. I was like, this is gonna be the look. I started blogging and did all plus-size content for Lucky.
That’s why I did content at Lucky in the first place. Because it was like, Alexander Wang rather than Forever 21 plus -size content. You can be fashion forward no matter what size you are. [And the] body positive fashion movement I was bringing with blogging and writing, I can show that in music space.
I’m trying to defy boundaries here. You don’t see a big girl with eight video hoes who are guys, a big girl showing skin and even having that high caliber of work. In that plus size scene it’s not as high … At least with Forever 21, I will say we are getting mini skirts which is a [new] thing. It might not be greatest quality.
What was your upbringing like?
Margie: I was born in LA but raised my whole life in Spokane with a single mom. We were super poor, came from domestic violence, crazy shit.My mom was in school full time and then she did real estate and counseling psych. It’s the weirdest mix ever. She refers to herself as the mom bomb. She thinks she’s really cool.
My mom was a super-believer in education and she went back to school and urged me to go to school. I got my undergrad in apparel design at Washington State U and realized I loved styling. Then I started interning at Warner Brothers Records. I met a stylist named Love Bailey. He had me assist for the first time for Muse when they did a music video for Twilight. It was my first styling gig and I was like, this is everything, I love it. My mom was like, you need to go to grad school. I’m like, I have my own [styling] business, and she’s like, go learn how to run it.
So I got my MBA at Cal Lutheran. In grad school I was like, I really wanna try New York, and that’s when I got an internship at Conde Nast. I interned at Lucky, I interned at Vogue, after that I went to Betsey Johnson. After Betsey Johnson I started doing plus size content for Lucky. I started blogging and becoming a writer.
Visor: ISLYNYC | Necklace: Reshma B. Chains & Alibi | Swimsuit: Geoffrey Mac | Coat: Whatever 21 | Shoes: ASOS
Do you ever get annoyed we still put the plus-size label on things?
Margie: We’re not naïve, the plus size community, we’re not naive to the fact that it’s not happening over night and the big girl is still gonna be the sidekick. But then we have Melissa McCarthy who’s doing things and it’s showing me that we’re getting more and more okay with it. Who else is plus size and doing something? It’s not very many. It’s cool showing this whole music thing. We do really weird music. It’s like trap-pop.
It’s cool that were being able to do the things we like, dress the way we want and it’s not about size. That’s what the video’s about. It’s about us creating something really, really cool and pushing boundaries in fashion. It’s fun.
What’s your writing process?
Margie: The writing process is literally Harald and I decide to make a song, he goes and sits down at the beat and he builds it from scratch, and what fucks with me is within five minutes he can have the structure of a song and the main beat. As soon as he starts doing that I hear melodies in my head and start singing and I’m like, oh, keep this one and that one etc. We do that, then we make the melody and then we do our reference track. Once we have our reference track with melody and beat and it’s usually fucking crazy. And I’m like, this is gonna be a song about dancing. After we have a reference track and get a feel for the song, we let it speak to us [and come up with the lyrics].
Who do you look up to?
Margie: I was super inspired by Beth Ditto. I was from Spokane, Washington. That’s seven hours away from Portland and that’s where they were doing a lot of music. Through the music scene I heard about her before she even popped off. So in high school I had this badass girl who would get onstage, show her rolls, show her fat and it was like, this is me, here I am, don’t focus on the bullshit. That’s super inspiring.
Her being in a fashion space as well, and being with Karl Lagerfeld, thats huge. Sitting front row in Paris, walking Marc Jacobs. Doing crazy things you don’t see a plus size woman in music, or in fashion, or anywhere doing. Her music was cool as shit. Even though I’m doing trap music I like to keep her attitude. She started following me on Instagram and I died. She started commenting on our photos. I met her for the first time – I started previewing her new line. I got to meet her and it was like, she is the coolest bitch, ever. I felt this kinship with her because she had her shoes off, she was walking around, pouring people drinks. That’s so me and she showed me [that] you can be yourself. She’s definitely kind of been a lowkey mentor.
She popped off a few years before body positivity was really a mainstream thing.
Margie: That’s what was so cool. She did a plus-size line with Evns which is a big UK retailer and had big “lip” prints. Oversize sweaters [and] super abstract things and it was in-your-face fashion. It was for plus size girls.
Harald: It’s not a focus on the negativity, it’s about the positive. It’s not a sad story about “overcoming” every time. It’s like, be happy and do you.
Margie: It’s nice that now the plus size market is having access to wear cool things. What I want [for the] high-end fashion industry to realize is it should also be marketed to plus size women, as well. Even if they’re not doing it themselves I urge all the girls to post on Instagram and show yourself. Put yourself out there because you don’t know how many people you’re inspiring by doing that. In the video I’m in all VFiles and KTZ. You don’t see people wearing KTZ and people are like, wow, Margie can wear that? I thought that was only like, Rihanna and men.
When I saw her I was like, thank you, you really paved the way. She really did.
Crown: WXYZ | Dress: Mused | Belt: ISLYNYC | Shoes: Betsey Johnson
I can’t believe you two met on Tinder and now you’re engaged and making music together. What was your first date?
Margie: We went to a gay bar that was next to my house called “Boots and Saddles” for karaoke and he performed Snoop Dogg, “La Di Da Di,” to me. He was like, I’m not doing this, and then a couple of Jell-O shots later, [he saw that Snoop Dogg was an option at karaoke and couldn’t believe it.] Apparently in Norway, karaoke does not have rapper options.
He was the white boy rapper in Norway. They called him Scheme. From there I was like, this kid got something about him, don’t he?
I’m not sick of him yet. Because he has fashion and he intrigues me because he’s so stylish. And to find someone who would love to go thrift shopping for hours and sit through me changing my outfit 50 times, wondering what I’m gonna wear. Fashion and music is very strong in our household.
What was it like working with Beyoncé’s production team?
Margie: It’s insane because you see how much of a production it is. They dont fuck around. And it’s cool to see how complicated it is to be Beyoncé and Rihanna and how heavily the makeup, hair and fashion those are the ones creating her look. Especially Rihanna, think about how many times she fucks with her look and that’s what she’s known for – recreating herself and showing [that] you can be anybody. She’ll have a bob one day and the next day a long braided wave. I’m really seing the behind-the-scenes and how much work goes into it. It’s really cool having them also help me, influence my style and my fashion and help me to find my voice
Harald: Our former video is homemade, lower budget and connections and so is this but it went from 5 to 10 people, to 50. Big ass production, people, next level.
Margie: Because Yusef took me on, that;s how Rihanna knows me now and that’s how come Justin Bieber danced on me at Up & Down at Rihanna’s table. That’s the wild ride Yusef has taken me on because he’s like, “You’re my daughter, Rihanna’s my daughter, you’re gonna be gucci.”
Do you talk to Rihanna about your music?
Margie: It’s not like that. When you’re hanging with Ri, you’re just hanging. It’s more about like, you know, we’ll have these moments where we have the table at the club and she’ll look at me and look at my outfit and [nod]. It’s like, thanks, Ri. You look at Rihanna and think she’s the coolest bitch ever. Well, she is the coolest bitch ever. She has a natural swagger about her. She’s always on point and she always just have a good vibe about her…. It’s like because she’s cool to people that are her family. Yusef’s her family and because I’m his family, it’s like she’s cool with me. It’s more by association and you don’t have to prove yourself, it’s like you fuck with him? Okay, you’re here.
For the “So Bad” video, what was it like working with people who are used to keeping things top secret with Beyoncé and Rihanna?
Margie: It was so hard. I wanted to put every motherfucking picture up ever.
I’d imagine since you guys are totally independent you’re not making much money yet even though you’re working with these huge people.
Harald: We’re spending more than we’re making right now.
Margie: It helps having people on my team that will work with me for free because they believe in me. My hair and makeup believe in me, they fuck with me. They know they’ll get the check when we get the check. But now more than ever it’s really starting to pop off which is cool. This video is the perfect launch to really be like, “This is who I am as an artist.” This is the stuff I do. This is the most official situation.
The internet has really opened things up for people to get popular without a record label financing them.
Margie: The internet is so huge but for us, it’s so important to be in New York. In no other place are you going to be paying so much rent and living off so little money and drinking a $10,000 bottle of champagne with Rihanna at Up & Down and then take the L train home.
Yeah, we don’t have a huge marketing budget but I’m at the right places seeing the right people.
Do you talk about body image politics in your music?
Margie: I talk about it a little bit. One new song coming up is called “Never Gonna Give Up” and it basically talks about that. One of the lyrics is, “these curves got you looking twice, plus size yeah they categorize, they generalize, I never give up.” [At the same time,] I want ppl to listen to my music and not see a size — just like it for what it is.
Harald: That’s the first song where we’ve addressed it.
Margie: A perfect world for me would be music and styling. And also plus-size modeling where I’m styling and I’m modeling things.
If you were going to the Met Gala, who would you wear?
Margie: If Discount Universe made me a Met Gala outfit, I would die. That’s so me. I’m so over the fucking top. Give me a sequin on sequin on sequin. I’ll go and have a huge KTZ kimono.
Harald: But you gotta show some skin.
Margie: What fiancé do you know that’s like, “Show more skin”?!?!
Your outfits kind of match, is that on purpose?
Margie: Oh, yeah. We share clothes. He loves it oversize, he gets an XXL jacket, and that’s what I wear anyway.
Harald: I used to be a big sneakerhead and sold everything to get here from Norway.
Margie: He showed me a pic of $10,000 worth of sneakers… It was like six pairs.
Harald: Every now and then we do a matching outfit. A Britney and Justin.
What do you hope people take away from the video and song?
Margie: So many things. I think I just hope that people take away from the song that there’s no perfect body type, love yourself, you can be a sexual being and be plus size and it’s okay.
Harald: Sexy comes from within.
Photos by Amber Asaly
Styled by Phil Gomez