Presenting DOVE CAMERON. Get to know about STAR POWER, which has all to do with the substance that supports the shine. Dove is a woman with a giant platform that she uses to support the causes she believes in, from The Trevor Project, Project Angel Food, The National Police Accountability Project, and more. EW chats with Dove on her beginnings, what’s next, and how to stay sane in these times. Read on…
BY ERIN WALSH
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Erin Walsh You lived a bit of a nomadic existence with your parents a bit as a child, can you just fill in our readers on your journey from traveling with your working parents to convincing your mom to join you to LA to try to make it as a teen?
Dove Cameron So- my parents owned a fairly successful jewelry company based out of India that my father started in 1972, after he served in the peace corps from 1967-1969, that my mom later joined when they got married, both being the CEOs and chief designers. They dealt in fine jewelry and silvers and gold, as well as hand made (not by them) scarves, textiles, things like that. Quite a strange job for your parents to have growing up, one that required a lot of time on the ground in India, so my sister and I were kind of always moving around to spend time with my parents. They also had a separate love of travel in general, and believed there was education in traveling with your kids that we couldn’t possibly get just by staying in the states. They made it a priority to take us all over the place. I was homeschooled off and on, and like you said, lived like a bit of a nomad, but I was always extremely self sufficient and actually relished in the fact that I was never in school because I was a weird kid and never had a lot of friends. I hated school! I loved being a pirate. When I was 13 and had been homeschooling for several years, my parents had divorced and I didn’t see a life for myself in my small town, and my mom was looking for a fresh start. I basically lawyered her for a year and made my case every day until I convinced her to let me start auditioning as a professional performer.
EW I find it to be so brave and so bold to be willing to know what you want and to go for it at such a young age. How have you changed since then perspective wise? And would you do it again?
DC Thats a difficult question. I would say my entire perspective on everything in life has changed since then, so I’m sure this is no exception. I think becoming famous or recognizable at a young age has untold consequences on the way your brain forms, and I’ve tried to have that perspective throughout and shelter myself from much of Hollywood, but, it’s hard when it’s the water that you swim in. I don’t think I could have possibly done anything else at that age, though, not even my current self could go back in time and say ANYTHING to my younger self because I was so convinced of who I was and what I needed, I probably would laugh at my current self and say “you don’t know anything!” So, it might be useless to think about doing anything differently. Maybe wait to date boys and focus on myself!
EW It’s interesting the social media bit- you have an enormous platform- what is your favorite way to use it?
DC Social media has always been a big scary thing to me, even when I was enjoying it, it would trigger and feed my traumas in ways I’m only now unpacking. Which may sound funny, but the lack of boundaries in our current society experience is so unhealthy and it creates an internal SELF objectification that I think we have become numb to. It replaces self love with truly empty validation, creates a toxic loop of highs and lows and worthlessness or self obsession, and its all bad for you. If you’re doing it the way I was doing it, at least. A big thing for me was also this strange image that I accidentally created over the years. I know how that sounds, but I truly didn’t mean to create this “Dove Cameron” that people seem to think of when they think of me,
and I only noticed that it even existed when I began to authentically change and grow and play with styles and be more authentic because I loved myself and was brave enough to share the more intimate truths of who I am, and people went “NO!” “She’s off the rails!” “Don’t be like Miley!” “Don’t be political just be hot! But not too hot that’s too much nipple!” “Are you Liv and Maddie or a hooker !!!!!” Which shocked the living HELL out of me, because I couldn’t believe that I had been sharing myself and my life for so long, and they still truly MISSED me, choosing to only see a one dimensional media presentation of me. It was a bit of a reset for me, a revelation that I had not been communicating who I’ve always been, who I thought people saw, and I needed to re-work how I presented and be more intentional if I was ever going to be happy in the public eye.
I’m trying now to not be afraid, and to show myself that I will survive if I let people know I am a sexual being. I have tattoos and tits and I ALWAYS have, I’ve had the mouth of a sailor since I was 8 years old, I have depression and anxiety and chronic PTSD and I get angry and passionate and I care about our world and the health of our people and I am complex and maybe not just available for quick pops of pleasantry and comfort. And that those things aren’t big and bad and scary or make me less of a woman or a role model! I’ve been so afraid of the rejection that might come with that, that I kept myself small, and I now want to use social media as a tool to free myself of the weight of public opinion. Pretty much the exact opposite of what I’ve always done with it. Very exciting.
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And that those things aren’t big and bad and scary or make me less of a woman or a role model!
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EW Has your relationship with social media evolved since you started it? I think we are all aware of the responsibility that comes with influence- what do you consider your responsibility to be?
DC I consider my responsibility to be to live as authentically TO ME as I possibly can. That might mean that my actions and my words are not a one size fits all for everyone who looks up to me, but I personally look up to people that don’t give a single fuck about everyone and know that their life is finite. They live for the sake of LIFE, not for the sake of “doing everything right” or more accurately, “not doing anything wrong”. I don’t think there is anything brave about living a life that “everyone would approve of”. Do you know how fucking NARROW that path is? I do. I tried to do it for close to 10 years before I realized people are always going to be angry, and they don’t actually care that you twist yourself into a pretzel to stay palatable. So you might as well love yourself RADICALLY and find who you are when that’s all there is driving you. And stop subscribing to societal rewards as much. Thats the role model I would want for my daughter!
EW Where are you happiest as an artist?
EW What has been your most frustrating experience as an artist?
DC Finding out that the industry was not as full of creatives as I thought, and it is mostly a business. But I’ve found my creatives since and really value those relationships! Its just not the “artists commune” that I imagined it to be when I was 10! Hahaha. You learn to protect your energy when it’s not always safe to be vulnerable everywhere you go.
EW Speaking of being an artist, what is your favorite medium- singing, dancing, acting, or… Curious which of these REALLY speaks to your soul.
DC Interestingly, I always make the separation that it’s not that I love SINGING per se, but that I love music. I don’t love acting, I love films. So I love to be the medium in which films and music can be made. I love taking an integral part in bringing my favorite things to life. To me, they’re very different.
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EW Fave collaborator thus far?
DC Musically my only collaboration has been with BIA, but it was a great experience. She’s so talented and lovely, from what I can tell in our short time working together.
EW Dream collaborator for the future?
DC I really wanna work with Diplo. I’m a huge fan.
EW What do you find to be the most calming and centering thing you can do for yourself to feel centered in these crazy times we are living in?
DC Listen to music, cry, exercise. Journal, mostly.
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EW What are your main priorities in terms of running your own business now? And who helps you ( and how do YOU) really make sure that what you are doing a) aligns with your long term goals, b) is still making you happy, c) is acknowledging your mental health? I am curious how you keep the balance ( or work to find balance as much as possible) when growing your career and balancing the responsibility, while also wanting to explore and expand as an artist?
DC This is something I’m navigating right now. Because of the lockdown, I’ve been able to slow down, like everyone else, and I am faced with these questions more plainly than when I was working non-stop. I am at an important time in my career right now where I am really in the drivers seat and could go in a large handful of directions, which is exciting, and scary. What do I want? If I do this, is that taking me in that direction? Does this make me happy? Or do I think it’s just a smart move? I’m hoping for more clarity as there is more stillness. I don’t want to forget why I came here, and I don’t want to check out and just do what is handed to me or what is expected. I want to work for the career that I dream of. I think I’m just beginning to figure out what that is.
EW Tell me about what’s next for you. What are you working on and what are you really excited about?
DC I am filming 2 movies right now, One called Issac, and one I can’t announce yet, hopefully both will be finished before the year is out! My new single ‘We Belong’ will be dropping in a few weeks and I am so excited about that. Releasing a lot of music this year. And then hopefully soon, the projects I’ve been developing can start back up again! But we’ll have to speak about those another time.
EW Who musically most influences you?
DC I wouldn’t say I have direct music influences, but I consume a lot of Lana, more than anything else. Also St. Vincent, Grimes, Marina and the Diamonds, Peaches, The Runaways (Joan Jett), Sleighbells.
EW Who and what keeps you most grounded these days?
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EW Fave comfort food?
DC Garlic mashed potatoes with lots of butter!
EW Something we MUST see or indulge in?
DC We’re here on HBO is my current binge. Hate Thy Neighbor with Jamali Maddix is also very well done!
EW Go to lounging ensemble?
DC I am a huge sucker for fresh sweatsuits. Give me a pullover and matching drawstring sweats and I will wear it for a week straight.
EW Any motto we should be aware of?
DC Not a motto but one of my favorite quotes is: “People can only meet you as deeply as they’ve met themselves.”
People can only meet you as deeply as they’ve met themselves.
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EW What are you most PROUD of in terms of your contributions thus far?
DC A lot of my fans tell me that they have learned to love themselves more by watching me learn how to. That they’ve become more independent and feel a strong relationship with themselves. That they honor and care for and prioritize their mental health. I don’t think anything will ever make me feel as proud as that. Thats REAL shit.People struggle with those things their whole life. What a beautiful thing to affect in young people.
EW What do you think is the main thing you have taken with you in this year of Many Challenges for the world- any lessons you would like to share?
DC In all the damage and chaos and free-fall panic and hatred and venom, I see a return to humanity like a balm on a wound. I believe in this generation. I feel connected, we feel embolden and empowered to turn this shit around. I see bleeding hearts everywhere and many lessons learned, some by doing, most by simply observing others mistakes and how it has affected communities, animals, modern communication, the health of our planet. I hope we are finally learning how to value all things living, truly value them, without corruption or conflict of interest. This generation was born with the weight of the world on our shoulders. And we are rising to its aid.
EW Dove Cameron, what’s your SBJCT? What really moves you and drives you?
DC Humans. People drive me more than anything. My love for them, my fascination with them, my fear of them, my belief in them. I feel lucky to be here.
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