Argh! I’m so frustrated! I’m still trying to work on the audiovisual quality of the YouTube videos, and it seemed like it was all fixed the last session, but today after the first 15 minutes or so the frame rate went down. A popup on Call Recorder, which records FaceTime and Skype video calls, said the frame rate had to be reduced because “Your Mac is too slow.” Grrrr. My Internet provider, Exfinity, gives me speeds of around 125 mbps, and I’m connected directly to the router via Ethernet. So what gives, guys? What do I need to do, get a new computer? I can’t see why computer speed has anything to do with it, but what the hell so I know? I was considering using GotoMeeting, but that’s expensive, and I’m not sure it would help if the underlying problem with the computer isn’t fixed. Any tech guru advice welcome.
So this next dude, you probably haven’t heard of unless you’re a fashion whore, but he’s one of my daughter, Kristina’s, favorite designers so I promised we’d interview him. If you want to see just how into fashion (and makeup) my she’s into, check out her site, Pretty Shiny Sparkly. It’s pretty awesome, and her YouTube channel is worth a subscribe.
Me: Well I suppose since we just ended off the last conversation talking about fashion, we can bring forward my daughter Kristina’s favorite, Alexander McQueen. Have you heard of him?
Jamie: Me? No.
Me: Alexander McQueen. He was apparently a big–I think he was British–fashion guru.
Jamie: Fashion guru.
Me: See if you can get him, Erik. Maybe he’s available; maybe he’s not. He might be designing all sorts of things up there.
Jamie: Well he just looks like “average Joe!”
Me: Well, he might—yeah I think he does look pretty average.
Jamie: I think I was expecting, with a name like that, something very extraordinary. And yes, he is British, he has quite the accent!
Me: Hello Mr. McQueen!
Alexander McQueen: Good day.
Me: My daughter, Kristina Medhus, adores you.
Alexander McQueen: Yes, thank you; she calls on me a lot.
Me: She worships you! She’s got a blog called Pretty Shiny Sparkly and she’s doing very well with it so far, although she’s a medical student and works very hard.
This interview was done long ago. Now she’s a third year anesthesiologist resident.
Alexander McQueen: Yes, I’m very proud of her.
Me: Aw, good! Well I guess you know we’re going to ask you a few questions so you can give your wisdom to the world.
Jamie: He’s kind of humble! Like, you said “wisdom to the world,” and he kind of smiled and dropped his chin down, like, “Me?”
Me: Aw! First of all, what was your spiritual mission here, including, what were you here to learn and to teach?
Jamie: (long pause) It–it’s funny when he talks, he doesn’t really make eye contact with me. He kind of…looks up and away? You know like how people do when they think or something–and so he’s talking…but you don’t feel like he’s talking to you. It’s just different, where Mr. Crisp would almost sit in your lap; he didn’t care.
Me (laughing): Yeah.
Alexander McQueen: I don’t know if fashion would be so much addressed as spiritual in nature, but for me it was. It was the only way I knew how to express myself. And my fashion is very non-traditional. I was never wonderful at painting, but I found that I was an excellent sculptor, and that’s what led me into fashion. There was nothing in my life that encouraged me to go–
Jamie: (interrupts, to Alexander) co-teer? I’m–I don’t know what you’re saying, I’m so sorry.
Me: Is he saying couture, maybe?
Jamie: YES! Couture! Oh, yes, that’s probably it.
Alexander McQueen: There was nothing in my life that encouraged me to go couture. Spiritually, I believe what I came to do was not break any rules or show off that you can be a successful gay man–or even a man in design in a woman’s world–but for me, it was much more about being able to explain who I was. And still, I feel I failed a lot.
Alexander McQueen: So many of us can find exactly what we want to do in life and succeed so well at it that we feel it should fulfill every need that we have in our lives. So, why should we feel disappointed or not be able to speak up or say who we are on the inside? Because we’ve done this wonderful thing–and we still are–and that’s where I vastly went wrong. I started shutting down and just became more of a performer. My work became more of a performance and feeding that emotional side to myself.
Jamie: Erik’s saying that he also committed suicide?
Me: Oh, okay. Aw…
Jamie: Not telling me how, but…
Me: I think, I think he probably did, that rings a bell. Okay. Aw. What were you here to learn, then, Mr. McQueen?
Alexander McQueen: I know I was there to learn personally that success does not equal happiness.
Me: Mm hmm. It depends on what kind of success you’re talking about, I guess.
Alexander McQueen: For me it would be success with money and career.
Me: That’s true; that doesn’t always equate with happiness.
Alexander McQueen: It’s such a misfortune because it’s presented to our kids that it would be successful if you have now what you did not have growing up, that it will fulfill those holes and those divots that were created. It’s not accurate.
Jamie: It sounds like he did not have the support growing up or the money growing up the way that he’s putting it, kind of like average-to-lower standards of living.
Me: Aw. Were you here to teach anything, Mr. McQueen?
Alexander McQueen (pulling down his shirt): I don’t believe I was here purposely to teach in a larger capacity, but I know I taught a lot to the people that were around me, especially to my models, the people who wore my clothes. I definitely taught them how to be themselves and not surrender.
Erik: What do you mean “surrender, ” sir? Surrender to what?
Alexander McQueen: Surrender to the disappointment that we create in our own head. That we don’t look good enough. That we’re not shaped right.
Erik: Right, you dealt a lot with image.
Alexander McQueen: Everything in my life, in my career, was about image. I fought really hard to show my models that it really was not about image, this was just the career we were in.
Me: Exactly. Now, did you gain any insights?
Jamie: (laughs) He said, when you said “gain any insights” he immediately said that he gained weight. After his passing, he says that he was just able to finally nourish himself! That’s the first time I’ve seen him giggle and really smile about something.
Me: Aw, good! So, you got pretty thin toward the end?
Alexander McQueen: It fluctuated. I put it on and lost it, put it on and lost it.
Me: So after you passed, did you gain any insights when you looked back on your life?
Alexander McQueen: I gained that I personally was a slow grower. And I saw—
Jamie (to Mr. McQueen): Oh, tell me that again. Oo! Back up!
Alexander McQueen: I saw the people that I grab hold of, that I thought would be a mentor or help me keep stable, were in fact very unstable people themselves. But it was the only kind of person I knew. It was the only kind of comfort I could find.
Me: Were they people in that industry, as a whole?
Alexander McQueen: No, I’m talking about the individuals I let very close to me, and when I would have trouble backing away from that connection–because I could quickly then see that it was a wrong choice–the confusion is, when somebody’s trying to get out of a hole or when somebody feels incomplete, they often grab other people who are in the same hole or who are just as incomplete as them because it is a familiarity. There’s this need to be uncomfortable [by moving away from those who enable you] so you can find someone who’s not in the same hole as you. When you’re incomplete, you need to find someone who is complete.
Me: Oh, yes, I see. Now, is there another life that influenced your one as Alexander McQueen that you can share?
Alexander McQueen: We’ve all have so many, but if you’re making me choose one—
Jamie: He’s showing me an image of him being about thirteen. He’s a boy, but he has long hair, like a Native American—black hair, olive skin.
Erik: What continent are you on?
Alexander McQueen: South America.
Jamie: Okay. South America.
Alexander McQueen: I was a very pretty boy. It was common then in that culture to keep your hair. This was not a fashion statement, but many times the boys would tease me, and the girls would envy me. It made me not want to like anyone. They spent so much time observing and looking at me, not inside of me. I spent a large part of that life alone just because of misunderstanding. So, when I came into this life, I felt like I continued it, but I didn’t have the looks that I did. I clearly came in as a man—
Jamie: He’s kind of suggesting that his appearance before was a bit androgynous, but visually when I see it, he just looks like a very pretty boy. Big thick eyelashes, perfect hair, gorgeous skin and cheekbones.
Alexander McQueen: And when I came in, I knew that my mission in this life was to get people to look inside of me, not the outside of me and that duality is what eventually led to my demise—to my taking my own life.
Jamie (whispering): So he did.
Me: Wait, in which life?
Jamie: The current life.
Me: Yeah. Just wanted to make sure. So can you reiterate how that past life influenced your most recent one? Is it because you decided not to come in with the pretty boy looks so that people could really—
Alexander McQueen: See what was on the inside, yes.
Me: And you felt like they didn’t?
Alexander McQueen: No, I felt like they did not. I think that the emphasis that I put on fashion and design and the exterior of the human being contradicted what I really needed. I wanted people to see me on the inside, but the exterior was what I was so used to in my previous like.
Me: I see. Do you have any messages or advice for any one individual, or for humanity as a whole?
Jamie: He and Erik are talking, and Erik was—(laughing) Wait for me! They’re not waiting for me at all.
Jamie and I laugh.
Jamie, preparing herself: Okay.
Alexander McQueen: If you’re going to present yourself to one person, to a media, to a group, you need to show the entire package of how you feel, who you strive to be–if you cannot do that, then you should not be presenting yourself. To not have the strength to really share who you are, you, in turn become a liar. You misrepresent yourself.
Jamie: He’s kind of deep in an odd way. You know? It’s like too many words for something that should be said more simply. So different from Quentin Crisp.
Me (to Jamie): Does he seem sad?
Jamie: Kinda! It’s not….it’s more serious than sadness. Very overly focused and grounded energy. He’s very intense.
Me: Erik, do you want to ask him any more questions?
Me: Okay. Anything else you’d like to say before we part ways, Mr. McQueen?
Alexander McQueen: Thank for your time. I wish you all the luck. Do tell your daughter that I come in from time to time.
Me: Aw! What do you think about her blog? Any advice for her?
Alexander McQueen: Tell her to keep it clean; keep it simple. and she won’t go wrong.
Me: That’s good. Well, thank you sir.
Alexander McQueen (nodding his head): Thank you.
Erik shakes his hand and walks him out of the room.