Rainsford's new video directed by Cara Delevingne features Kaia Gerber, Gregg Sulkin, and many, many tears

When my little sister was four, she went through a phase where she would ask my mom to take a photo of her whenever she cried. Mid-meltdown, she would stand on the stool in front of the bathroom sink, wailing into the mirror, then call for my mom to take her picture, offering a wavering smile through the snot and tears.

The desire to watch yourself at your most upset is a strange, universal impulse captured in Rainsford’s latest music video for her song, “Crying in the Mirror.” “It’s a weirdly self-indulgent and simultaneously soothing habit that I’ve had since I was a little kid,” the singer-songwriter explained. “There’s something about confronting yourself and your emotions when you’re in a vulnerable state that I think a lot of us gravitate towards.”

Directed by Cara Delevingne, the video features Runaways heartthrob Gregg Sulkin, recent Document cover star Kaia Gerber, and Kaia Gerber’s impressively pretty, mascara streaked cry-face. Model tears, pillow-throwing tantrums, and prairie blouses abound as the video follows the dissolution of a relationship. Here, I chat with Rainsford about working with Delevingne and Gerber and getting weird in isolation (hint: colorful nether-topiary).

Maraya Fisher: First of all, how are you doing during isolation, and what are you doing to stay creative? PS—loved the metal-satanic look you posted recently!

Rainsford: I’m doing pretty well given the circumstances. I’m so grateful to be living with my sister [Margaret Qualley], who is my best friend in the whole world. We have a pretty great little group of isolation friends, who we’ve been having game nights with. I have been doing a lot of YouTube workout videos, painting, gardening, and writing music. Typically, so much of my happiness and self-worth comes from feeling productive. I really like to be busy, so that has been a challenge. This time has also inspired me to do weird things, like bizarre face paint on myself and my friends. I also dyed my nether regions pink and purple in the shape of a heart. I don’t know if that’s TMI.

Maraya: I love this video because it’s so great to see our favorite models show off their talents. What made you decide to work with Cara and Kaia? Can you describe the creative process and what it was like collaborating with them?

Rainsford: Cara, Kaia, and I have all become really close in the past several months. They’re both incredibly talented girls and I’m so blessed to call them friends. I had an idea for this music video, and when I told them about it, they were both just as excited as I was and wanted to be involved. We had so much fun shooting it. On the shoot day, Cara was an amazing leader. She is confident and exploitative as a director; and Kaia is a fearless and vulnerable actor. I am so happy with the result.

Rainsford and Cara Delevingne on set

Maraya: The running theme of this song really resonates with me. I’m not a cute crier AT ALL, but sometimes I find myself checking myself out in the mirror when I’m emotional—which is a lot these days. Why do you think we do this to ourselves?

Rainsford: After I wrote this song and shared it with my friends, I came to find that watching yourself cry in the mirror is a lot more common than I realized. It’s a weirdly self-indulgent and simultaneously soothing habit that I’ve had since I was a little kid. There’s something about confronting yourself and your emotions when you’re in a vulnerable state that I think a lot of us gravitate towards.

Maraya: There are a few moments where Kaia and Gregg break the fourth wall on the lyric, ‘It’s not.’ What inspired this choice?

Rainsford: Honestly, I just thought it would be funny. It’s kind of my personality to be both sincere and goofy.

Maraya: Was this song and video inspired by a specific occurrence in your life?

Rainsford: I wrote it after a breakup when I was so crushed and essentially begging my ex to give it another shot; which we did briefly, but it didn’t last. I’m grateful for that now, as I needed the lesson. The video is basically a reflection of what really happened.

Maraya: Who are the musicians, artists, and filmmakers inspiring you right now?

Rainsford: Oh man. I’m inspired by so many artists including Prince, Kate Bush, Cabaret Voltaire, Chris & Cosey, Marvin Gaye, Minimal Man, Cocteau Twins, Mary Margaret O’Hara, Mariah Carey, Charli XCX—her new album is a bop—Jim-E stack, Bea1991, Angel Olsen, Porches, Wet, Justin Bieber, Toro y Moi, Liss, Empress Of, Lykki Li…I could go on and on and on and on. I just watched the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre recently and the visuals and cinematography were so cool and so inspiring. I love David Lynch and Kenneth Anger’s visuals. I don’t know; it’s hard to narrow down.

Maraya: Sadly, it looks like live music and touring are off the table for the foreseeable future. How do you feel about this, and what do you think musicians can do to stay connected with their listeners during the lockdown?

Rainsford: I think it sucks, but of course I understand why. I don’t really think there is a good replacement for seeing shows in person. I think going live on Instagram is boring. I’m just going to try to write as much cool new music as I can as well as try to create interesting visuals. I hope that we all get well and healthy soon!