Monday, September 19, 2016
Yeelen: "I'm an actor so I like to be different people every day. Sometimes I'll be in a suit. Sometimes I'll be in a dress. Today I'm in both. I like to transcend hetero-normative style conventions. I define myself as gender queer. I don't really believe in gender and that's representative in my style."
"I don't really have style inspirations or follow style icons. Probably subconsciously I do. I like fashion from different eras and countries. Sometimes I like to be in an outfit inspired by the middle ages and other times I like to be in an outfit that's inspired by the future. This jacket is from the 70's, my shoes and tight pants are more modern. This is a woman's dress that reminds me of India. I dress 95% of the time in women's clothing."
TorontoVerve: What's the best advice you've received in life?
Yeelen: I learned this from the Pedro Almodóvar film, All About My Mother: “It costs a lot to be authentic. And one can't be stingy with these things because you are more authentic when you resemble what you've dreamed of being.” The price of being authentic in our society is high -- whether you're a person of colour or whether you're queer. When I dress this way, you might think it's interesting and want to take my picture, but other people may reject it and it'll bring out something within them that they're not comfortable with. Sometimes that can be dangerous. The more you fight for authenticity, the more you'll realize what your purpose in this world will be.
Follow Yeelen on Instagram.
Yeelen was at TIFF supporting his mother, director Guetty Felin, and her feature film, Ayiti Mon Amour. Felin has the distinction of being the first female Haitian director invited to the festival.
Ayiti Mon Amour trailer