Rachel Trachtenburg Is The Activist We Need

Photo by Hailun Ma, Animated illustration by Shibo Chen. Dress by Carven, vintage beret.

We premiere her band Wooing’s latest song and talk cruelty-free beauty

You could consider Rachel Trachtenburg something of a champion multitasker. The 23-year-old musician, actress, model, and animal activist has her hands in quite a few different pots.

For one, she’s on the verge of releasing her new band Wooing’s debut EP, Day Dream Time Machine. Having been an accomplished musician since she began playing drums in her parents’ band, the Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players, at the age of just six, only to later play in bands such as Supercute! and The Prettiots, Wooing is finally a band she can consider her very own.

Wooing originally started as Trachtenburg’s solo project with guitarist JR Thomason. Eventually, she had the desire to have a band once again, and thus Wooing became what it is today. “I didn’t want to have to keep being like, ‘Come to my show. My name. Me, me, me,’” she says. “That’s kind of how it started—and then it built into this whole thing. Now we all write the songs together.” Today, we’re excited to premiere “Tear World” off of the forthcoming EP, which is due to drop next month.

As a passionate animal activist, Trachtenburg incorporates political messages into her music. While “Tear World” may sound like your typical moody, head-banging psychedelic track, it’s actually inspired by the heart-wrenching documentary Blackfish, the story of the killer whale Tilikum, once held captive by SeaWorld. The lyrics come from whales' points of view, reflecting their suffering and desire to be free. Much like the documentary, the song tugs on some serious heartstrings with lyrics like, "Do you think the children can hear our screams?/ It’s enough to make their ears bleed."

The main inspiration behind the song is the fact that unfairly confined whales, who are in possession of their own languages, can't communicate with their fellow captives. “These mystical, amazing creatures are being jailed for our entertainment, and I think a big part of what urged me to write this song is how they can’t even communicate with each other due to being from different parts of the ocean,” says Trachtenburg. “How sad and depressing is it to think you’re at least in there with someone who’s just like you, but then you can’t understand what they’re saying?”

Photo by Hailun Ma, Illustration by Shibo Chen. Blouse by Sonia by Sonia Rykiel, tank top by Orla Kiely.

Trachtenburg’s persistent animal activism flows beyond her music and into other aspects of her life. Initially sparked by her mother’s own passion for animals, this movement has pretty much been a lifelong no-brainer for Trachtenburg. “I was raised vegetarian, so I was just always aware of that kind of stuff,” she says. “I watched Meet Your Meat at way too young of an age. I remember thinking, Why are my parents showing me this? I just was always exposed to the reality of things.”

This, naturally, led to her being as active as possible from a young age. “Since we moved to New York when I was younger, we started getting involved with more activism as far as local issues—such as getting horse carriages abolished, stopping pigeon netting, and other city-centric matters,” she says.

She’s also particularly aware of how problematic the beauty industry can be—especially on the animal testing front. We asked her how she keeps her regimen animal-friendly, and what beauty brands she chooses to fill her medicine cabinet with.

Aveda, in particular, stands out in Trachtenburg's routine. The skin care, hair, and cosmetics brand focuses heavily on creating products that are both luxurious and eco-friendly and has a slew of Earth Day initiatives, such as a Light The Way candle, with profits donated fully toward bringing years of clean water to those in need. Additionally, Aveda has just been officially PETA-approved as cruelty-free, making them the perfect match for Trachtenburg. (Not to mention, we can thank Aveda salon FOURTEENJAY co-founder Frank Rizzieri for Trachtenberg's flawless bob, pictured throughout the story).

The rest of her beauty regimen? Quite simple. You won’t catch her applying 10 products every morning followed by a nightly skin-care ritual. Rather, Trachtenburg keeps ingredients down to the bare minimum and, of course, cruelty-free. “I like to be able to pronounce the actual ingredients and be able to understand what they are,” she says. “I use things like coconut oil and rosehip oil and other super-natural products, which is why I get so excited for Aveda. They’ve been all-natural for so long, and they’re one of the far and few big companies that stand by that.”

Trachtenburg also has some advice for anyone looking to make their beauty regimen more animal-friendly: Read everything you can. “Just read. Read the ingredients, read about the company, read about who they’re owned by. Whenever I go to the pharmacy to get a new beauty product, or I’m excited about something new coming out, I sit there and Google everything about them. Just a few minutes of research will make you feel much better about what you’re putting on your skin.”

Photo by Hailun Ma, Illustration by Shibo Chen. Dress by Cynthia Rowley.

So, when Trachtenburg isn’t writing killer psych rock songs with powerful meanings or fighting the good fight for animal rights (or modeling, or acting), what else is she up to? Well, on top of her May 10 EP release and a month-long residency at Pianos on New York’s Lower East Side, she has a video project in the works. It involves an upstate barn, a cult, and a little girl magically healed of blindness. Sounds a little mysterious, a little weird, and we’ll for sure be keeping our eyes peeled for it.

For now, though, check out Wooing's "Tear World" for yourself, below.

Photographer: Hailun Ma
Illustration/Animation: Shibo Chen
Stylist: Sam Bates
Makeup: Nana Hiramatsu
Hair: Frank Rizzieri
Photo Assistants: Sookyung Jung, Casanova Cabrera.

Screenshot via YouTube

The band shared details about their new St. Vincent-produced album that will drop "you into the world of catastrophe"

Sleater-Kinney just shared more information about their St. Vincent-produced album and dropped a new single.

Per Billboard, Sleater-Kinney revealed that their new album, which they've been teasing since early this year and will be their first since No Cities To Love from 2015, will be called The Center Won't Hold. It's due out on August 16 via Mom + Pop Records. "We're always mixing the personal and the political but on this record, despite obviously thinking so much about politics, we were really thinking about the person—ourselves or versions of ourselves or iterations of depression or loneliness—in the middle of the chaos," Carrie Brownstein said in a statement. Corin Tucker further noted that the new album will "[drop] you into the world of catastrophe that touches on the election."

Janet Weiss noted that the band will "explore a different sound palette" with this album, and pointed to St. Vincent as the reason behind it. She said that St. Vincent "has a lot of experience building her own music with keyboards and synthesizers so she could be our guide to help us make sense of this new landscape and still sound like us."

To satiate us until then, the band released a lyric video for new single, "The Future Is Here," which is very grungy. Bump it, below.

Sleater-Kinney - The Future Is Here (Official Lyric Video)


This is so satisfying!

Even Jon Snow knows just how unsatisfying the final season of Game of Thrones was, and he's ready to apologize. Well, a deepfake of him is at least. A heavily-edited version of Snow's speech from the fourth episode—just before the bodies of those lost in the Battle of Winterfell get burned—now features Snow apologizing for the conclusion of the show and lighting the script on fire.

"It's time for some apologies. I'm sorry we wasted your time," Snow begins. "And I know nothing made sense at the end. When the Starbucks cup is the smallest mistake, you know you fucked up! We take the blame. I'm sorry we wrote this in like six days or something," he adds, before signaling to his peers to light the script with torches and "just forget it forever." "Fuck Season 8," he says before the pages begin to crackle and burn.

If there were more lines left to alter, we would have loved to see Snow also tackle how messy Brienne of Tarth and Jaime Lannister's story line ended up, as well as Bran's kingship, Cersei's boring demise, and the water bottle appearance.

Watch the entire deepfake and try to heal the wounds left by HBO below.


Photo by Darren Craig

It premieres today, exclusively via NYLON

In LP's song "Shaken," the most recent single from her 2018 record Heart To Mouth, she tells the story of seeing her lover out with someone else—ouch. Today, exclusively on NYLON, she releases a cheeky animated music video that pokes fun at the song's heightened drama and perfectly demonstrates all the angst that comes with falling hard for someone.

"She looks at you like I used to/ And I'm just sitting in the corner sh-sh-shaken," LP sings, as the visual—with art by Maayan Priva—depicts the singer hanging out in a bar, watching the girl she likes meet up with another girl. Despite the situation's inherent drama, "Shaken" is less of a ballad and more of an upbeat bop. LP told us she loves the way "this little video captures some of the fun of the song, and its inherent comical anxiety." Sure, heartbreak isn't that funny, but our (sometimes) overly dramatic reaction to it kind of is.

"'Shaken' feels like a bit of a wild card on this record," LP says. "It's the closest I've come to writing a musical, which I hope to do one day." We heartily endorse this idea: Please, LP, give us the queer jukebox musical we crave.

Until that day comes, though, you can watch the music video for "Shaken," below.

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Photo courtesy of Sony Pictures.

This cameo has the Beyhive buzzing

I went to see Men In Black: International alone. Which would have been fine if it wasn't for the shock I received when I saw two specific characters on the screen. Unable to keep it to myself, I shared a curious look with the stranger next to me, who was obviously thinking the same thing as me. "Is that them...?" I whispered first. "I think… so," she replied. Then the two men in question started to dance, and we were both sure: "Yep, that's them."

It was Laurent and Larry Nicolas Bourgeois, better known as Les Twins. Fans of Beyoncé will recognize the duo as the talented brothers who often accompany her on tour and in music videos. In Men In Black: International, the two of them play shapeshifting entities—they're more like energy forces than aliens—who pursue Tessa Thompson's and Chris Hemsworth's characters throughout the duration of the film. The twins' ability to manipulate their bodies in ways that are graceful and otherworldly really helps sell them as extraterrestrials and is fun to watch.

So if Thompson in a suit or Hemsworth shirtless weren't enough motivation, here's another reason to go see it. If you look close, you can see them in the trailer below.


Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue

"I am honored to share this bonding experience with my own daughter"

In a heart-warming Instagram photo, Serena Williams shares the history of hair braiding and the importance of the tradition. The tennis player shared a photo of herself braiding her daughter Olympia Ohanian's hair and spoke about how "honored" she was to be able to "add another generation" to the tradition of the practice.

The photo shows Williams attentively braiding her daughter's hair while Olympia smiles, obviously loving the experience. Williams noted that hair braiding was created by the Himba people in Namibia, Africa, and that "we have been braiding our hair for centuries." "In many African tribes braided hairstyles were a unique way to identify each tribe," she continued.

Williams pointed out that braiding is a bonding experience. "People would often take the time to socialize," she wrote. "It began with the elders braiding their children, then the children would watch and learn from them. The tradition of bonding was carried on for generations, and quickly made its way across the world."

Williams closed her post with a sweet message about her daughter, saying that she's "honored to share this bonding experience" with her.

See the post, below.