The model and musician tells Document about her favorite card game, her biggest fear, and her dreams of living underwater
“About Face” is a series in which photographer Christian Brylle captures models in their most natural states of being, revealing professional chameleons as their idiosyncratic selves. “These pictures are acts of pure portraiture—capturing the individual’s personality using light and shadow, movement and gesticulation,” Brylle says. “No interference. No distractions.” He sees the photographer’s task as capturing “the moments when the subject’s spirit reveals itself,” transcending the physical and withstanding time.
Is it difficult being good at so many things? Not for multi-hyphenate creative Kaya Wilkins, who is New Jersey-born and Norway-raised. Outside of making music as Okay Kaya, Wilkins also models and acts. How does she drown out the pressure and noise? With good drip coffee, card games, and her preternaturally poetic outlook on life. She has recently featured in campaigns for Isabel Marant and Bottega Veneta, and operates at the most intriguing intersections of fashion, music, culture—but sometimes, she’d rather just be a squid.
Who am I: Who am I supposed to be? My name is Kaya, this I know.
Person I would like to switch places with: I’d like to switch places with a squid. To modify according to my environment. To live under water.
Person I admire the most: My little brother Elias is my favorite person in the world.
Events I wish i’d witnessed: Billie Holiday at Carnegie Hall.
My idea of happiness: Good drip coffee.
My biggest fear: Sadistic behaviour.
Games I play: A card game called idiot.
My greatest adventure: Doesn’t matter so much where I go, [I am] trying to remember to keep my eyes observant.
Something I’d like to change: Open up the borders.
Things I’ll be remembered by: Perhaps music. Or the person whose yawn is so big, her mouth wraps around her body, until she’s turned inside out. A flesh vase. One of the two.
One thing I’d like to forget: A number of things. But I’ve given up on forgetting, looking for the tools to manage instead, it can get easier.
Something I’d like to accomplish: An open heart.
Things that inspire me: Other peoples experiences in any artistic medium. Seeds.
Questions I can’t answer: Most of these, god damn it.
One last favor I’d like to ask: I’m good.
Who I’d like to be: I’m good enough.