Kicked out of Miami at 16 for bad behaviour, Parisian pin-up girl Uffie is pressing all the right buttons.
Outside it’s an icy London day, while inside an East End apartment, after turning up the heat in front of the camera, sassy eighteen-year-old electro cupie-doll Uffie (Anna Catherine Hartley to her mum) gets cosy under the covers.
Uffie is an intriguing combo of the rich girl with the cool DJ boyfriend (the French DJ Feadz) who always hung out with the older crowd and a shy young thing whose tiny frame and big Bambi eyes give her a fragility that contradict her raunchy lyrics and onstage antics - like leaping up to straddle the decks at the recent Ed Banger Records birthday party in Paris. Rather than bucket loads of talent (her boyfriend makes all her music and her vocals are more like spoken word than singing), it’s that wild streak and her irresistible spunk that has 60,000 MySpacers eager to befriend the former fashion student, crowning her the princess of Parisian electro-pop, the lil’ lady leading the pack at Ed Banger Records.
Clash joined Uffie in her surrogate London bed after a big night out, with Doritos and pink champagne on hand, to get the low down on her sass, her styles and her hip-hop connections.
"And there are 40-year-old moms who are obsessive and write every day like I’m their friend, bitching to me about their life."
How did a Miami girl end up in Paris?
First, when I was fourteen, I moved from Miami to Hong Kong, then I went back for a couple of years and then I moved to Paris. I came over to visit my dad who was living there. My mom and I were like [makes vicious clawing gesture] so I thought I’d just stay. I went to international school there, which is why I can’t speak French. My boyfriend speaks really good English. Sometimes if I want to suck up or if I’ve been naughty I say [she whimpers some indecipherable French phrase], the cute word in French!
For someone so young you’ve come a long way fast, what do your friends think?
I’ve always moved, from when I was little, so I don’t have any friends that I’ve known for longer than like four years. It’s been hard because I made some friends in Paris and now I’m doing all this travelling. All my friends are way older, at first they were like, “Oh that’s cool”, then when things blew up so fast I think a lot of them either got jealous or kind of pissy because they’re trying to do stuff in art or music for 10 years and I try for 10 months. So I meet up with them and I can go into Paris Paris [exclusive Parisian members club], but none of my friends can. It’s a bit weird, they’re nice to my face but I can so imagine that they’re all like a bit… when I’m not there.
Who’s your fave musician right now?
It changes with my mood. If I’m homesick I’ll listen to stupid country music, other times if I need to pump up, I’ll listen to hip-hop. I’m really into Eric Clapton right now. I think that it’s good for me to listen to things that my boyfriend doesn’t. When he makes music he’ll put it on a loop so I hear it over and over. I don’t like to go out to clubs really in other countries either, because once you’ve been in one for five hours and you see every part before it’s open it kills the magic.
What do you think about being labelled the “hip-hop Lolita”?
Everyone calls me that because I’m super young and there’s this innocent thing. I don’t mind it. I’m not necessarily hip-hop but it’s a big influence. In the US I hang out a lot with gangster hip-hop guys, I’ve played with 2 Live Crew and people like that see me as the little childlike kid.
What’s it like hanging out with gangsters?
It can be really funny, and nice when people fuck with you and they get heavy, but it can be really tiring, they’re always hardcore.
Do you have an obsession?
Spending money. I think because I get all my money in cash, I always have loads of cash, and fucking duty free. Airport shopping, I think I’ve got like five perfumes in the last month. And iChat and MySpace.
Have you had any weird or obsessive fans, people who take your lyrics literally?
One time in Sweden at this afterparty this guy came up and ripped my hair and stuck a pin on my throat. I get grabbed a lot because people get so drunk at shows. I sometimes get weird feelings like “I’m really way too young to be
here.” Some guy came up to me and was like, “How much for you to suck my cock?” I hit him in the face, don’t worry. I’ll get mails from people telling me how much money they have for weird marriage proposals, really strange but totally serious. And there are 40-year-old moms who are obsessive and write every day like I’m their friend, bitching to me about their life. The weirdest thing, for sure it’s cool to have people come and compliment you, but in person when people come up and say, “I worship you”, and go on and on and act like you’re so far away from them. It’s just fuckin creepy, I don’t like it.
Do have a favourite designer?
I really like Jeremy Scott. The night before his show in Paris I went to see him and tried stuff on and drank champagne. I really like the patterns; he’s good at making girly clothes but not too much.
"I think that it’s good for me to listen to things that my boyfriend doesn’t."
And did you get any freebies?
Dang, why not? He should be throwing clothes at you!
I know but I think he needed them all for the models.
Oh yeah of course, stupid models. And when you perform what do you tend to wear?
Actually I’ve noticed when I look at pictures that I’m either dressed really nicely or really horribly. It’s hard because I look like really young and sweet but my music is so not like that. So I feel like if I dress really sweet it’s hard for people to get into, they shake their heads like, ‘What’s going on?’ So half the time I wear tracksuits and ripped up skirts and t-shirts or if I’m really comfortable at a party that’s more posh then I would wear jumpsuits from the
Seventies. Depending on the mood it’s either really classy or really trashy.
So do you have a jumpsuit collection?
I have a jumpsuit fetish. They’re amazing - you throw it on with a chain and you just look fabulous.
What would you say was your worst fashion faux-pas?
My biggest mistake was on stage. I wasn’t planning on playing, it was just spontaneous. I was wearing one of those tops that shows everything if you move and I had to go on stage, and everything was slipping out…
If life is a catwalk what’s your outfit?
My 70’s jumpsuit. My boyfriend is my DJ and we always tour together and he’s like, “Can you please stop wearing that thing?” He’s like so sick of it.
What would be the soundtrack?
Right now I’m really loving Micky Avalon- I don’t know why, it’s so trashy bad that I love it.
Dress by JC de Castelbajac.
Red sunglasses by Ksubi.
Vest by American Apparel.
Dungarees by Jeremy Scott loves Ksubi.
Shoes by Christian Louboutin.
Tights by Fogal.
Zip-front jumpsuit by Mc Q.