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Mac Miller Talks About Sobriety, Being In Love, And Why He’s Not Voting For Donald Trump

Music
Photo by Sydney Gore

Clearing his head and opening his heart

When you think about it, Mac Miller is really like a Jolly Rancher—hard on the outside, but really sweet on the inside. And just like the candy comes in so many different flavors, the same can be said about the Pittsburgh-bred rapper who has plenty of "world domination destruction" personas like Larry Fisherman, Larry Lovestein, and Delusional Thomas. During our interview, he chews on one of the candies while he finds the right words for his responses.

Miller takes his time, not rushing his answers, except when I ask him one question in particular: "Are you in love right now?" He instantly replies, "Yeah, currently, for sure." His latest full-length album, The Divine Feminine, has been labeled as an ode to a woman. Many have pointed to Ariana Grande as the muse, but Miller doesn't want listeners to get overly analytical about it. (Their jazzy duet "My Favorite Part" is absolutely precious, though.)

"It's like the divinity of the woman that you're in love with, you know? And it's kind of seeing the whole entire world in her," he says. "It's pretty simple, but also very complex in its own right. I think the more words that surround what it means, the more it gets viewed on what I'm trying to do here."

Miller isn't trying to personify the inspiration behind the album. He explains that "it's taken from a lot of different times in my life and some things that are based off desire and what you're looking and searching for." (This logic can best be explained in the track "Skin" with the lyric "I opened up your legs and go straight for your heart.") The bottom line is that this body of work is all about love, something that Mac believes is a "very powerful emotion." 

At the time of our interview, Miller has been approximately 88 days sober and clean. Given that he's only 24 years old, I assumed that this decision came from a substance abuse problem. It's rare for 20-somethings to acknowledge that consuming alcohol and drugs in excess is more than a bad habit, so I expected him to tell some sort of story about going through a dark period. But this isn't the case for Miller—he'd just "done so much" and got "bored of it all." The notion of having a clear mind for once seemed exciting to him, so he gave it a try. He says:

The idea of being 100 percent clear-headed was something I realized I had never done. As soon as I felt what it felt like to wake up every day and feel good every morning, I realized how important that was for me. You can do so much with a day. I spent so many days just waiting for the next one to come. Now, I'm excited for every day, which is really great. As soon as I learned that I could do things creatively sober, then it was good. As long as I can still be creative, I'm geeked. It's even better because before, my every other aspect was destruction. Now I can do both which is important because they feed off each other.

Instead of shutting himself in, Miller puts himself out into the world. You can even hear this new mentality on songs like "Planet God Damn."

"I mean, the switch is ridiculous. The fact of how the things that I dreaded the most are now my favorite things. Like, just being 100 percent honest all the time is great and going out into the world is great," he says before adding: 

I think you build this narrative in your head about the world being this fucking terrifying horrible place, and living in fear and misery is comfortable. It's easy because it's just like, "Everything sucks and I can't do anything about it." There's a lot of beauty in the world, so go hang out and go be a part of the solution rather than the problem.

While his mind is clear and his system is clean, Miller is still addicted to the drug of love. "I think depending on the type of love you're getting, it can be different things," he says. "It can be blissful, it can be painful, it can be complicated, or it can be simple. It's not just one thing and that's really what I wanted to capture with this album is all the different aspects of it."

The cover for The Divine Feminine came from a photo of a makeup mirror taken by his brother, Miller McCormick. Since the beginning of Mac's career as a rapper, his brother has been making his artwork. Their concept for this album was to portray the universe and "the world existing within this goddess of a woman."

It was through his brother that Mac was connected to Grace Miceli, better known as Art Baby Girl. She designed all of the illustrations for the singles which were also released as animated videos.

"I wanted to have a lot of female artists work on stuff," he says. "[My brother] showed me her and I was like, 'That's so awesome because it encapsulates the feeling in a different way'... The work she did was great and just the texture that she gave stuff is really cool."

In hindsight, it's sort of remarkable how successful Mac has been as a rapper. Living in a post-Eminem society, it can be challenging for white rappers to enter the world of hip-hop and find their own lane. We now see the line between appreciation and appropriation being blurred with artists like Macklemore, G-Eazy, and Lil Dicky. Mac's approach has always been one of pure authenticity, which he further elaborates on:

For me, I think it's just taking your time and not expecting everyone to get it right away and letting people question and letting people wonder what the fuck you're about and not letting it throw you off. As I learn more about myself, I think people learn more about me as well. It seems to correlate that way. I learn how to represent myself more as it goes on. I just have always felt as long as I'm 100 percent honest, then it's just me. It's a lot easier to sleep at night that way. I'm not saying anyone's not honest. I think people just don't know what to make of things right away. I think you have to give everyone some time to let their eyes settle... It's a lot of "Why are you here?" and that's a fine question to ask. I think everybody asks that about everyone. I'm figuring it out.

Mac continues to gain respect, and, in return, he has received acceptance. "As long as I can go to sleep at night and know that everything matches up together, then I feel good about it," he adds.

Along the way, Mac has befriended other creative minds like Thundercat, who he spends time in the studio with, fooling around on instruments like the cello and making "so many incredible recordings that are probably so terrible to listen to." Through Twitter, he was able to link up with CeeLo Green, which led to including him on the album in the track "We."   

Some of Mac's closest and oldest friends within the industry are Kendrick Lamar (who is featured on "God Is Fair, Sexy Nasty"), Earl Sweatshirt, and Vince Staples. He points out that they all have different styles, but it's important for people to listen to all the perspectives that everyone has to offer. It's the reason that Mac wants to be remembered for is "bring[ing] as many different worlds together as possible."

"I like seeing good people win. With Vince, he's someone whose voice should be as loud as possible. No matter what platform that man speaks on, it's incredible. Same with Kendrick and Earl," he says. "There was a very special time at the crib when everyone else was just falling through and creating and everyone is in their own world and it's beautiful... You should always root for good people to win." 

As far as Donald Trump is concerned, though, Mac stands by his comments against him. "Our names became associated with each other, and I didn't want one single person to ever think I was okay with what was happening. I didn't want one single person who looks up to me to be like, 'Oh, Mac Miller, he fucks with Donald Trump.' Never," he says. He adds:

I also think that I took the whole Donald Trump for president thing as a joke for so long and then it kept getting realer and realer and I was like, "Alright." I don't think anyone looks to me for their voting advice, but I'm still going to speak my piece on the matter just as I would in conversation. I got a platform to say how I felt. So that was great.

Mac doesn't necessarily think that all artists should speak out on critical issues if they aren't fully informed. He wants "the right people" to be talking about things and for others to lead by example.

"I don't like to speak on things I'm not highly educated on because I don't know what I'm talking about. For me to say that I watch everything that's going on in the election would be wrong, but I know I don't want that dude to be my president under any circumstance. I can speak on that," he says. He concludes:

I do take people looking up to me a bit more seriously now than I have in the past because it's a conversation that me and people who are listening to me are having. I want my part of the conversation to be hopeful and something that makes people feel like, "Fuck, yeah" rather than like, "Oh, damn if he's giving up, fuck that." There's no need for any type of giving up.

Photo by Phillip Faraone/Getty Images for goop

"I had to create a harder shell about being a woman"

In a panel discussion during Gwyneth Paltrow's In Goop Health summit, actress Jessica Alba revealed that she "stopped eating" to avoid unwanted attention from men when she was first starting her career in Hollywood.

According to People, Alba said that she "had a curvy figure as a young girl" and, as such, was made to feel as though her body was the reason that men may be inappropriate toward her. "I was meant to feel ashamed if I tempted men," Alba said during the panel discussion. "Then I stopped eating a lot when I became an actress. I made myself look more like a boy so I wouldn't get as much attention. I went through a big tomboy phase."

She continued, "In Hollywood, you're really preyed upon. They see a young girl, and they just want to touch you inappropriately or talk to you inappropriately or think that they're allowed to be aggressive with you in a way."

Alba also noted that she was raised in a conservative household. "My mom would say, 'You have a body, and it's very womanly, and people don't understand that you're 12,'" she said. "I wasn't allowed to have my nalgas out, which is butt cheeks [in Spanish], but I was born with a giant booty, and they come out of everything. So, I didn't get to wear normal things that all my friends wore."

She said that these reactions to her body really affected her attitude. "I created this pretty insane 'don't fuck with me' [attitude]," she said. "I had to create a harder shell about being a woman."

According to her, her relationship to her body only changed when her first child, Honor, was born in 2008. "[After she was born,] I was like, Oh this is what these boobies are meant to do! Feed a kid!" she said. "And that was the dopest shit I'd ever done. So, I came into my body as a woman finally and I stopped being ashamed of myself."

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FROM THE WORLD WIDE WEB
Photo courtesy of Teva

Because of course

Teva, the most obvious lesbian footwear brand since Birkenstock, really knows its customer base. In time for Pride, the brand has teamed up with Tegan and Sara for a gay shoe to end all gay shoes. In other words, your Pride footwear is on lock.

The shoe isn't just your average Teva sandal. Tegan and Sara's design, the Teva Flatform Universal Pride sandal, is a 2.5-inch platform shoe with a rainbow sole. Tegan and Sara noted in a press release that they have been Teva wearers for pretty much their whole lives. "We got our first pair of Teva sandals when we were 16," they said. "This rainbow Flatform collab is like full circle LGBTQ+ Pride validation."

What's better, with each sandal sale, Teva will donate $15 to the Tegan and Sara Foundation, up to $30,000. The funds donated will go toward scholarships which will give young members of the LGBTQ+ community the chance to go to summer camps which will "help develop self-confidence and leadership abilities in a safe and nurturing environment." Tegan and Sara added, "Teva's generous support for our foundation will allow us to help even more LGBTQ+ youth."

Available today at Teva's and Nordstrom's websites, the sandal retails for $80.

Photo courtesy of Teva

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Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images

"Focusing on innovative materials will allow the company to explore new boundaries of creative design"

Prada Group has announced that Prada, as well as all of its brands, will now be fur-free. According to a press release from the Humane Society, Prada, Miu Miu, Church's, and Car Shoe will ban the use of fur beginning with the Spring/Summer 2020 collection (aka the Fashion Week coming up next). The list of fashion designers banning fur only continues to grow, with 3.1 Phillip Lim, Coach, Armani, Versace, Gucci, and more having stopped using the material in seasons past.

"The Prada Group is committed to innovation and social responsibility, and our fur-free policy—reached following a positive dialogue with the Fur Free Alliance, in particular with LAV and the Humane Society of the United States—is an extension of that engagement," Miuccia Prada told the Human Society. "Focusing on innovative materials will allow the company to explore new boundaries of creative design while meeting the demand for ethical products."

Following London Fashion Week designers forgoing the use of fur in September and the first-ever Vegan Fashion Week taking place in February, it's easy to imagine an entirely fur-free fashion future. It's especially easy, I presume, for the brands to consider a fur-free future, given that entire cities and states are taking a stance. New York is following in the footsteps of Los Angeles banning fur, with a bill proposed this March that would ban sales across New York State.

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Photo by Johnny Dufort

"Club leisure" is the new athleisure

Alexander Wang is recognizing clubbing as the workout that it truly is with his latest Adidas collaboration. In this fifth installment, he "changes gears," per a press release from the brand, taking the iconic sports brand to the dance floor.

For the new campaign, the collection comes to life in iconic choreographer Tanisha Scott's dance studio and stars dancers Noemi Janumala, Dakota Moore, Avi McClish, and Olivia Burgess. The dancers show just how far these clothes can go when you want to bust a move or stretch, but TBH, I'll leave these poses to the pros and just use my clothes for flexing on the 'gram.

The collection—which features six apparel items, three shoes, and six accessories—features, per a press release, "Wang's knack for pre-styling." Standouts from the mostly black-and-white items include a silver sneaker that was *made* for moonwalking, an airy windbreaker that has just the right dash of bright blue with the scattered Adidas trefoil design, and a towel hoodie that you won't feel bad sweating in.

Ahead of the May 25 collection drop online and in stores, peep the gorgeous campaign images below.

Photo by Johnny Dufort

Adidas Originals by AW, Sweatshirt in Black, $250, available starting May 25 at Adidas; Adidas Originals by AW, Towel, $80, available starting May 25 at Adidas; Adidas Originals by AW, Joggers, $250, available starting May 25 at Adidas; Adidas Originals by AW, Turnout BBall Shoes, $250, available starting May 25 at Adidas.

Photo by Johnny Dufort

Adidas Originals by AW, Towel Hoodie, $350, available starting May 25 at Adidas; Adidas Originals by AW, Sock Leggings, $60, available starting May 25 at Adidas; Adidas Originals by AW, Adilette Slides, $90, available starting May 25 at Adidas.

Photo by Johnny Dufort

Adidas Originals by AW, Futureshell Shoes in Platinum Metallic, $250, available starting May 25 at Adidas.

Photo by Johnny Dufort

Adidas Originals by AW, Sweatshirt in Core White, $280, available starting May 25 at Adidas; Adidas Originals by AW, Shorts in Core White, $120, available starting May 25 at Adidas.

Photo by Johnny Dufort

Adidas Originals by AW, Sweatshirt in Black, $250, available starting May 25 at Adidas; Adidas Originals by AW, Bum Bag, $50, available staring May 25 at Adidas; Adidas Originals by AW, Towel, $80, available starting May 25 at Adidas; Adidas Originals by AW, Turnout BBall Shoes, $250, available starting May 25 at Adidas; Adidas Originals by AW, Duffle Bag, $70, available starting May 25 at Adidas.

NYLON uses affiliate links and may earn a commission if you purchase something through those links, but every product chosen is selected independently.


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Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

And Nikolaj Coster-Waldau's reaction to that prediction is literally all of us

Though it felt like no one saw the bonkers end to Game of Thrones coming, Gwendoline Christie, who played Ser Brienne of Tarth on the show, predicted exactly who would end up with the majority of power in the Seven, or rather, Six Kingdoms years before it all went down. During an interview leading up to the penultimate season of Game of Thrones in 2017, Christie sat down with Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (aka Jaime Lannister) for an interview with Mario Lopez, and they were both asked to predict how the whole thing would come to a close. Spoilers ahead...

Lopez posed the question, "If you were a gambling man, who would you say?" Coster-Waldau replied: "Well gambling, the odds now are clearly in Daenerys Targaryan's favor. Or, that guy," he said, pointing to a picture of the Night King.

But Christie, knowing Game of Thrones' tendencies toward the unpredictable, came right back at Coster-Waldau, asking, "But don't you think it's going to be someone out of left field?"

"So I'm wondering if it might be Bran," Christie suggested, "Just because we keep seeing the world from his perspective, don't we? We keep seeing the visions. So is he in the future, projecting in the past?"

Coster-Waldau's reaction to the suggestion that Bran will rule over them all is, well, exactly how we all felt watching it play out in real time this past Sunday evening. "The three eyed raven? As a king? No, that doesn't make sense," he said. And, well, same. Because while I usually *adore* watching Christie shut down Coster-Waldau, like they're an old married couple bickering, this time I'm on his side. It made no sense!

Coster-Waldau attempted to reason with her, saying that if Bran was planning the whole thing, then he wanted Jaime to push him out the window, and that makes no sense at all. But Christie stood firm in her belief, and, as last Sunday demonstrated, her commitment to this highly improbably outcome paid off. We hope she placed a sizable bet in Vegas.

Catch the full clip below.

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