The Yak gets cozy with Karis Wilde – friend to the stars, fashionista and very handy with a hoop …
KARIS, you were born in Mexico and moved to Southern California at a very young age. At 19, you started working in fashion design for the likes of Marilyn Manson, Queens of the Stone Age, Slipknot, TLC, Ludacris and even Angelina Jolie. How did this come about?
Actually it started a little earlier than that. I was only 17, queer, and stood out like a sore thumb. My first week out of high school I was introduced to a fashion designer and I started working with her right away. By the age of 18 I was working for myself . . . it all happened so fast. I don’t remember much about that time as I was sleep deprived from my lessons in textile design. I would start school from 8am to 1pm then work from 2pm until 2pm . . . rinse and repeat.
You are acclaimed as one of the best (hula) “hoopers” on the planet, having appeared with Christina Aguilera at the American Music Awards, Pink, and Scissor Sisters. Can you tell us a little more about those experiences.
I don’t get star struck at all, it’s just work. I’m there to perform a service, I get in, I get off, I get out. Truly, it’s been wonderful working and collaborating with so many artists. Some of the situations are completely surreal but at the end of the day it’s my job to deliver my best.
What led you to hooping and does it have any special meaning for you?
I started working at a young age in the music industry. By 19 I was so burnt out I picked up the hoop to start relaxing and release stress. You can’t get pissed off with a hoop around your hips. The career I achieved from hooping was ahappy accident.
You have been quoted as “embracing your androgyny”. Can you enlighten our readers more?
I’ve never been a believer that beauty is reserved for women. I have always felt I was the space in between a boy and a girl and that really is the best of both worlds. When I learned not to be fearful of both my masculine and feminine sides I felt free to be exactly who I was meant to be … me.
What is the most rewarding aspect of your work Karis?
Whether I perform or work in design I get to meet the most interesting people which has led me to travel in both arenas. The reward is finding unique people in all corners of the globe that are passionate, exciting, off-beat and like-minded.
Who inspires you and why?
The men of Bonanza!
Is it true you attended your high school prom in drag? Can you tell us why you did such a brave thing?
It wasn’t a question of strength. At that age I just wanted to find myself. I didn’t feel comfortable in a suit so I grabbed the nearest heels and ball gown and called it a day.
You are dressed in Prisma for The Yak. What did you think of The Beaded Boudoir and the lovely Sandra?
Sandra is the most fabulous woman I have ever met! I felt like a kitten with new fur in the Beaded Boudoir. And sliding into the Eleven44 jewellery turned my purr into a growl.
What brings you to Bali?
Travelling the world I had seen all the like-minded folk living and creating beautiful pieces of art here. I knew Bali was somewhere I had to explore for myself. We’ve merged together like peanut butter and jelly!
What does the future hold for Karis Wilde?
What does the future hold . . . I don’t even know what I am having for lunch. But if I had it my way I would be running my own label.