Gallant Thinks John Legend Would Be The Dream Roommate

Photographed by Sasha Samsonova

Our band crush

Gallant arrives to our interview inadvertently sporting Bonnaroo camouflage. Crisp, tan pants; Adidas sneakers in varying shades of off-white and light brown; a light, dusty rose-colored shirt—it’s as if he took cues from the grounds’ constant kicked-up dirt and the matted hay we stood upon, and then, you know, made it fashion. He insists he’s not a trend-forward kind of guy, though he’s flattered I think he is. As he tells me below, he’s more about the classics. And this applies to his musical tastes as well.

Currently on tour with John Legend, the 25-year-old phenomenon has done duets with Seal, Elton John, and Sufjan Stevens, finding himself naturally attracted to styles that transcend generations. Plucking influence from ‘90s R&B, alternative, and electronic genres, Gallant fuses it all with raw emotion and a good dash of his signature falsetto. As we settle in among the hay bales at the ‘Roo farm in Tennesee, Gallant opens up about being a young old soul, the simple pleasures he enjoys in life, and Brandy.

If you had to choose one item of clothing to wear every day for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Honestly, I’d wear just a solid white T-shirt. Just stick with the classics.  

What’s the last great thing that you read?
The last thing I read was Dreamland. It’s about the opiate epidemic in America, the permeation from Mexico into the United States, and how it’s affected our lives just in terms of black tar heroin. And then it mirrors that with the pharmaceutical industry in America, and how they’re basically doing the same thing.  

Are you mostly into non-fiction then?
I’m definitely a non-fiction guy, I don’t know why. I love movies, but when it comes to reading, I like to really be informed. And then if there’s a cool little storyline, like a narrative that drives it home, that’s fun, but I read more non-fiction than fiction.  

Do you have any phobias? 
Yeah, I’m claustrophobic. I’ve gotten over a lot of it, but I’m still a little bit cautious. 

I used to be scared of elevators. 
Yeah, me too. Really bad. And I moved to New York, and I had to deal with that. But yeah, elevators are not the most peaceful things in the world. There’s just a lot that goes into it, like the height, and then where you are in the building, then the no-reception thing.  

Is flying a problem for you then?
I actually like flying. I don’t mind flying. I’m not really afraid of heights, it’s mostly just the really, really small spaces. Like if I was flying in a little tiny pod… that would probably freak me out if the windows were shut. 

If you could pick any famous person, dead or alive, to be your roommate, who would it be, and why?
I’m on tour with John Legend right now, and I feel like John and I have very similar personalities, and so in an alternate dimension where we both needed a roommate, we would probably make a decent roommate situation.  

And hopefully, Chrissy would come and make all the food. 
Something like that would be a plus for sure. 

When are you most relaxed?
When I’m at home in L.A. Just takin’ it easy. 

What’s your favorite thing about being at home?
The stupid mundane things, like waking up every day in one place. Not to say I don’t love touring, I do, but there’s just something about building, about putting roots down in one small area. You wake up, you have your breakfast spot that you go to, you have your car parked outside, you have your TV there, and you go to the same place at night. It’s just a cool thing that people take for granted.  

If you had to live in a past era or decade, what would you choose?
Maybe like an alternate version of the ‘70s, one not so socially backward. I could also live 20 years ago—that would be fun, to be a teenager in the ‘90s. 

What is your favorite driving music?
When I drive at night, Brandy has this song on her Never Say Never album called “Put That on Everything.” I think that’s perfect driving at night music.

Are there any hobbies you’ve wanted to try?
When I was a kid, I always wanted to be a voiceover actor, like do voices in cartoons, so I’m trying to explore that. That was my number one dream as a kid. When I thought about it, I was like, "That’s awesome." You’re breathing life into these characters. It doesn’t even have to be super cartoony, just be, like, a human, like regular life. 

You always gravitate toward working with old souls in music—why do you feel like they identify with you or you identify with them?
I honestly don’t know. I know that I have a list of artists that have really inspired me over the years and they tend to skew toward that demographic. It’s very serendipitous that a lot of the time, paths cross that make it possible for me to meet with these guys and collaborate with them. And I’m just happy and grateful that when I’ve said, “Hey, I really admire you, and I really appreciate your music, and you’ve contributed so much to my musical palette and my growth as a human being,” they’ve just extended their hand back. 

How did you get exposed to those types of artists when you were younger?
The culture waves at the time. I remember when I saw a Seal music video on TV for the first time, or when I was obsessed with The Lion King soundtrack for a period of time. It was just stuff that found me. I didn’t even really have to be fed it…

And you just had to dig a little deeper.


Photo by JP Yim/Getty Images

Sounds fake, but okay

In a new interview for Australian Vogue, Kendall Jenner makes the claim that being associated with the Kardashian name was a setback in her modeling career. Hmmm, that's funny, because power and influence usually works in their holder's favor.

In the interview, Jenner addresses skeptics who doubted that she would make it as a professional model. "A lot of people assumed that because I came from a 'name' that it was a lot easier for me to get to where I got, but actually it's the completely opposite," she says.

"I've always been the person to prove [critics] wrong, even when I was younger," she says. "I've always been a hard worker: that's in my blood. My parents raised me and my little sister to be that way and the rest of my sisters, too." In the profile, it's revealed that Jenner used to attend castings "simply as 'K' or 'Kendall' to distinguish herself from her famous family."

But keeping her name off her portfolio wasn't going to fool anyone, really. Her face has been on television for years, and it seems unlikely that a casting agent wouldn't know who she was even if Kendall didn't come out and say it. Perhaps Jenner was more closely examined and more readily criticized by people who doubted her, but I'm not sure I believe that she had a harder time gaining a modeling platform or booking big jobs, even if she didn't use her last name.

After all, Jenner was likely able to get into those big casting rooms right away because of her family's connections, and she was able to devote her time to pursuing that career because of the wealth they have. She would've had a much harder time making a name for herself if she didn't come from an influential family. She probably wouldn't get to be so selective about which shows she walks, and she definitely wouldn't be the highest paid model in the world.

Screenshot via Hulu

Introspection is not a bad thing

In Look Back at It, we revisit pop culture gems of the past and see if they're still relevant and worthy of their designated icon status in our now wildly different world.

"It just seems like you agree to have a certain personality or something, for no reason. Just to make things easier for everyone. But when you think about it, I mean, how do you know it's even you?"

Iconic '90s show My So-Called Life is filled with existential questions and observations like this, with many, if not all of them, voiced by high school sophomore Angela Chase (Claire Danes). They're delivered with a familiarly annoyed tone, as if Angela can't believe things are the way they are, and that they're unlikely to change.

Angela lives with her parents and sister in a comfortable home in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and spends her time navigating the social scene of Liberty High School. She's undergoing a big change, having switched friend groups and fallen in with a cooler crew, namely Rayanne Graff (A.J. Langer) and Rickie Vasquez (Wilson Cruz). Thanks to them, Angela dyed her hair from blonde to a "Crimson Glow," and is encouraged to indulge in her obsession with Jordan Catalano (a pre-Gucci Jared Leto), the kind of guy who's constantly applying Visine and has a limited chance of actively graduating.

From the first moment of the first episode, Angela's voice is pure, unadulterated teen angst. The melodrama can, when watching as an adult, feel like it's too much. And then there's other times, like when Angela talks about the agony of Sunday evenings, that it feels unnerving to relate so much to a 15-year-old:

"There's something about Sunday night that really makes you want to kill yourself, especially if you've just been totally made a fool of by the only person you'll ever love, and you have a geometry midterm on Monday, which you still haven't studied for because you can't, because Brian Krakow has your textbook, and you're too embarrassed to even deal with it. And your little sister's completely finished with her homework, which is just, like, so simple and mindless a child could do it. And that creepy 60 Minutes watch that sounds like your whole life ticking away."

Angela is nothing if not an over-thinker, preoccupied with very teenage problems like zits and gossip and who to talk to at parties; her thoughts on the most simple of relationships are extreme, like when she thinks about how she felt before she became friends with Rayanne and Rickie: "it seemed like if I didn't, I would die or something."

Sometimes, her melodrama feels suffocating—particularly when related to Jordan Catalano (it's imperative to say both his names). Angela wonders: "Huge events take place on this earth every day. Earthquakes, hurricanes... even glaciers move. So why couldn't he just look at me?"

As an adult, it's easy to think that, of course, Jordan should look at her: She's smart, witty, open-hearted, pretty, has good taste in music. But then, there's no way to make sense of how crushes work. As a sophomore in high school, I also pined after guys who I felt were out of my league, and after the only girls who were out... but who were dating each other. My thoughts probably (definitely) sounded a lot like Angela's, and I was similarly dissatisfied with my life.

At the time, that dissatisfaction felt oppressive—and I wouldn't want to relive it entirely. But that introspection was also what saved me. By questioning what was around me and interrogating how I really felt, I was able to reject the trappings of my conservative town, figure out my own politics, and accept my own queerness. My teenage dissatisfaction with the way things actually are made me grow as a person, and it shaped me into who I am. Thinking about Angela now, and how her angst fueled her, reminds me that I should also let myself indulge in some teen angst—even as an adult.

In one of the show's final episodes, Angela pauses to reflect on the value of her overthinking. She's ringing in the New Year with her friends and decides her resolution could be "to stop getting so caught up in my own thoughts, because I'm like way too introspective… I think." But she decides against that idea, because "what if not thinking turns me into this really shallow person?" Same, Angela. Same.

Courtesy of HBO

Thanks, I hate it

In an interview today with The Cut, Vanderpump Rules star Stassi Schroeder blessed readers with some of her thoughts on HBO's Game of Thrones, and since we can't get enough GoT talk, we were excited to see what Schroeder had to say.

And, in case you're wondering if Schroeder is a fan of GoT, don't: She's actually such a massive fan that she refers to her fans Khaleesis, and they call her Khaleesi right back. So!

Anyway, after the wide range of responses to Daenerys' fiery mayhem in the show's penultimate episode, The Cut wanted to check in to see how Schroeder was faring, and ask what she thought of it all. While Schroeder's opinion on Dany is mixed (she found the Dragon Queen's "crazy" actions to be relatable, but she didn't think it followed Dany's character arc), it wasn't, like, a bad opinion, just a bit muddled, if not so different than those of the majority of viewers.

Schroeder's real hot take, though—what we feel comfortable calling the worst GoT opinion we've heard—is about another character altogether: Arya Stark. Here's what Schroeder had to say about our favorite blacksmith-banging, Night King-killing, proposal-denying assassin in all the Seven Kingdoms: "Arya, I feel like she probably should have just married whats-his-name [Ed. note: Gendry! His name is Gendry!!]. What's wrong with being a lady and a badass at the same time? You don't have to choose just one."

And, like, sure, you don't have to choose just one, but Arya would never choose to be a lady. That's not her! So, if we're still talking about characters behaving inconsistently, Arya saying yes to a proposal (a rushed one at that) would have been absolutely bonkers. Arya's not about to change her entire personality just because some dude drops down on one knee and proposes, and to want her to do so would be like wanting Dany to act like a sheep, instead of a dragon.

All to say, you know nothing, Stassi Schroeder.

Asset 7
hoto by Steve Jennings/Getty Images for Civic Entertainment Group

Our favorite grouchy girl died today

Today is a sad day, because it is the day Grumpy Cat died. Also known as my personal favorite feline celebrity, Grumpy Cat died from complications following a urinary tract infection. The super relatable cat—real name, Tardar Sauce—was only seven years old.

Grumpy Cat was first introduced to the world in 2011, back when LOLcats were everywhere. Grumpy Cat's downturned face (the result of feline dwarfism, according to her owners) was the subject of a huge amount of memes—she was even the 2013 Meme of the Year at the Webby Awards—and was the subject of her own Lifetime movie, in which she was voiced by the Grumpy Cat of actresses, Aubrey Plaza. But, though we loved her for the memes, we loved her even more because we related to her mood.

Grumpy Cat was so relatable because, like us, she was completely over everyone's bullshit. Unlike us, Grumpy Cat didn't hide her feelings with a smile. And while that was because Grumpy Cat literally couldn't do that, we like to think that she also just didn't want to do the emotional labor. Which is why, in honor of Grumpy Cat, have the courage to roll your eyes at someone today, instead of forcing a fake grin. And just think about how Grumpy Cat's probably frowning at us from some sort of kitty afterlife, utterly annoyed that everyone is mourning her death.

Screenshot via YouTube

And I need to see the rest ASAP

As excited as we already are for Olivia Wilde's directorial debut, Booksmart, to hit theaters next week, we just got even more desperate to see it. Why? Well, the first six minutes of the film were just released, and every minute is incredible.

The film opens on Molly (Beanie Feldstein) meditating and listening to a motivational tape telling her she's better than everyone else, and to "fuck those losers." Her room is decorated with pictures of Michelle Obama and RBG, so we know her head is in the right place. We learn she's the class president when she arrives at school with her best friend, Amy (Kaitlyn Dever).

It's there that we get a glimpse of the social hierarchy in which Molly and Amy exist—but somewhere down near the bottom, way below the popular kids, the theater nerds, the stoners, and even the annoying class clown.

The film officially hits theaters on May 23, but Annapurna Pictures is holding advanced screenings across the country today, May 17—we're actually holding two of them! So, if you're in L.A. or New York, check them out.

But also, you can watch the first six minutes of the film, below, and prepare yourself to watch the whole movie in a week.

BOOKSMART | Uncut First 6 Minutes