Teaching Taste With Magda [Or Drawn to Dabble in Everything]

At the crossroads of creative crisis and resurrection of self, my favorite fashionista of the social media frontier agrees to let me interview her.


In a British accent, Magda’s cadence pom poms between respectfully nervous and uncomfortably confident: “I guess it must be my upbringing. My background has prompted this kind of need for doing more and dabbling in everything.”

Her style is that of the perfectly placed “fuck” on the lips of someone who refrains from saying it.

“The more I was behind the scenes watching these creatives… [the more I] was like, ‘I want to be that person.’ … How I contort my body can be a bit weird … probably look[s] a bit mental from an outside perspective,” she admits, as if it is the first time she has considered it.

I’m jealous of those impossible folds and bends– reminiscent of that unmistakable comfort felt whilst curled up in a ball, hiding from the world.

As far as pieces go, the most experimental could be out of Nicole Mclaughlin’s workshop. Her best shots? They’d inspire Anne Imfoff.

In conversation, I mutter,

“Effortless… weirdly clean.”

“Everything has to be clean around me,” she agrees.

More than once, I can’t rely on the transcription of audio. I revisit the recording to discern who was being the cheeky misanthrope. While this quote came from Magda, I’ll exercise my vulnerability and admit having typed out similar thoughts: “I’m a cripplingly anxious person in real life. My Instagram is like a form of drag… a way of being this kind of self that I would love to be in my real life… In my personal life, I limit myself a lot with my anxiety and mental health.”

Cathartic discomfort. Of course! Or is it comfortable sadness? Anywho.

I pivot the conversation to music: “[My brother] helped me a lot with my Rock music taste… he gave me a little MP3 player and put everything on there. It was just Gorillaz, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Muse, System of a Down, all of Blink 182. It was great… And then living with three Techno heads [in] Leeds… like techno central….that kind of pushed me into enjoying it and then enjoying the kind of culture around it as well.” And how does that affect your quotidian style? “During the day it’s like baggy jeans, baggy t-shirt. That’s life.”

I flip the conversation back on its head:

“Given that, what do you feel is validating?” 

We both pause, searching for sincerity. She breaks the silence, “I guess it’s like, it’s the reaction.” In this moment, every suspicion I had rings true.

My ability to discern character from style is impeccable.

“It’s just those little bits of like, appreciation that I get from people… sometimes I’m like, ‘Am I delusional? Like, does this look good? I have no idea.’ Um, and then, and then you get [support] and it’s like, ‘Okay, no, no, no. I’m on the right path … Um, also when my family are proud of me.‘”

I joke that I’ve got her all figured out, “Music taste is the easiest way for me to assess character. Every song played tells a story or reveals a side of someone.” She laughs. “It’s kinda like a nosy thing, isn’t it? Like looking at someone’s playlist? Like, ‘Oh, this is a little snippet of what you’re going through right now, what you are like thinking right now, how you’re feeling.'”

I ask, “Do you wanna just pick one song off the playlist you shared and give a little brief on what it means to you and why you put it?”

George Michael’s [Too Funky] is the cheekiest one. I saw the video [at an exhibition] of Mugler’s pieces in Paris. I was like, ‘Oh my God, no way.’ … When I was like 10 years old, my dad just had this George Michael CD. Every Sunday, we used to go swimming. My sister and I, he would take us in his really old, soft top … we would open up the top and then blast George Michaels …and I just love that. My childhood memory. And now it’s intertwined with my fashion.”

As we say our goodbyes, she makes sure to let me know that there was a track from the Princess Mononoke soundtrack that didn’t make it on. The thought of her listening to Studio Ghibli tracks brings me to a smile, and though I can’t see her, I can tell she is smiling too.

Thank you so much for this opportunity. It’s so different from what I’ve done. As soon as I saw your message, I was like, ‘Yeah, this is really cool.’” Our conversation reminds me how much I rely on a varied creative output to better understand myself.

“Happy to have helped you dabble,” either of us could have said.

Here I am writing for the first time in months after all.