Santigold Talks Alexander Wang Obsession, Tween Style Influences, And More In Backstage Interview!

Santigold performing at Samsung Mobile’s fan appreciation show in New York on May 14.
Photo: Getty Images

It’s official—I’m out of the Santigold groupie closet. Last night the singer played a free concert at the intimate Irving Plaza thanks to Samsung, who threw a bananas bash complete with mini-hamburgers and a flowing open bar (ouch!) to celebrate their 5MM Facebook “likes.” I, duh, more than liked last night. My homegirl Natalia Kills and I bounced away to Santigold’s fashion-y and frenetic hit-driven set, and we LIVED for her signature sunglasses-at-night duo of dancers. But it was all about the party store golden-streamers-turned-cape on Santi that completely did us in. Oh, and then there’s this: style god/my biggest celeb-crush evs a.k.a. Pharrell Williams was a special guest performer, as well as Andy freakin’ Samberg who showed up as the hilarious Saturday Night Live character Shy Ronnie. Following the cuckoo killer show, I somehow ended up kicking it with Santi in her dressing room. NBD. Newsflash: She was sweeter than your favorite Vitamin Water and prettier than most humans. Being the totes profesh MTV Style blogger that I am, I talked all things fashion with Santigold. See: Salt-N-Peppa as a style icon, Santi’s penchant for drugstore-purchased glitter nail polish, and getting sloshed for Alexander Wang. Um, yeah. It all happened.

MTV STYLE: So let’s talk FASHUN. Do you work with a stylist to create your killer looks?

SANTIGOLD: I do. I work with a woman named April Roomet who has been one of my best friends since I was 14. I come up with all of these ideas, and April helps makes them a reality. It’s a lot of like, “I want this, I want this, I want this,” and she’ll get it made, and she pulls it together at the last minute. I trust her. She knows my style in a way that no one else would because, well, I’ve known her since I was 14! And also, we’ll show up wearing the exact same thing, still, since we were 14 and be like, “Oh, you got that too?! HAYYY!” I’m always coming up with a lot of this crazy stuff and April’s like, “Got it!” And we make a lot of stuff too.

I’m a fan of the props tonight, specifically the party store golden-streamers-turned-cape. Gimme the deets on the creative process.

I kinda just close my eyes and listen to the song and come up with things. Like, “Okay, this song has umbrellas, and this song has hammers, and this song has lassos and then there’s a horse!” I literally just close my eyes and think of things. Then, me and my dancers choreograph together, and then we do the costumes.

Alex Catarinella and Santigold backstage.
Photo: MTV

As a tween, what were your fashion-y music video obsessions?

There’s so many. When De La Soul and A Tribe Called Quest first came out and had on all of the African stuff, that was a whole new thing back then. They were from New York, and I lived in Philly so New York always did shit first. Then there’s Queen Latifah—she had the two dancers. I was really into the double dancers. So like, Big Daddy Kane—that wasn’t so much for fashion, but the idea of two dancers matching […] And Madonnaaaa, HELLO?! I was eight, and she had the plastic charm necklaces, and you could buy the charms separately. Like A Virgin era specifically. And Prince, hello?! And Michael Jackson! Salt-N-Pepa! How am I forgetting? Their style was amazing. Okay, is that enough? That was my era.

Aren’t you forgetting something? (See: Spice Girls? TLC?)

[laughs] No, no! You were a little later. I was like, “What are they doing? Why are they wearing condoms on their eye?”

Fair enough! So, I see you perpetually sitting front row at Alexander Wang shows and striking a fierce pose for his campaigns, girl. Are you BFFs?

I’m a huge Alexander Wang fan. I went to his fashion show, that’s how I met him. Apparently he had reached out before and invited me to his show, but I never got it. And another season, I reached out and was like, “Hey, I wanna come to your show!” and he was like, “I’ve been trying to get in touch with you forever!” I just love him, he’s so amazing, he’s one of my favorite designers, and then we just became friends.

I’m 99.8% sure I’ve observed A. Wang booty-bouncing to your music on a few blurry New York nights…

He looooves. To. Dance. Alex loves to dance. I don’t drink very often, but I’ll drink for Alex! [laughs]

What are your fave A. Wang looks?

I have so much of his stuff, and I wear it all the time. You have to catch me on a certain month, because I take one thing of his, and I just wear it everyday. I like the nice stuff, but the casual stuff is just so comfortable, and I’m traveling all the time. You see me, this is how I roll. I don’t wanna get all dressed up on a regular day, so his stuff is perfect. You throw on some Alex sweats, and then you look cool coming off the airplane. He has some fluorescent yellow sweats and some blue ones, and even the black—the black are staples.

Nail polish. Discuss.

Glitter. I love any glitter nail polish. I’ll just get it from Duane Reade. I’ll just take any color and just put glitter on it because glitter makes me excited! Also, the other thing about glitter, if you have two seconds, you just put one coat on, and you got something going on. For Coachella, I had this green color… wasn’t quite right, and I put blue glitter on it and it was perfect. It matched this, it was this exact same color. [points to eyeshadow]


It’s from MAC. This stuff is great. It’s a liquid liner, and it looks wet the whole time. Takes a long time to dry, that’s the only thing. You put it on, you’ve got one eye closed for like ten minutes.

Santigold’s rings and nail polish.
Photo: MTV

OK, and fill us in on this ring action you’ve got going on.

Okay, this is my engagement slash wedding ring. After I got this, I didn’t want another one. It’s the Cartier panther. I picked it out. This is my “S” ring from Fulton Mall. They used to make these in the ’80s, it’s actually one they had left. They don’t make it anymore. It’s like 40 bucks, but it’s 10K! These two are from Graceland. They are replicas of Elvis Presley’s rings and they happen to be two of my favorite things… horses, which I love, and lions.

So, what’s your on-the-road beauty remedy?

Face moisturizer is seriously the most important thing. Especially if you haven’t gotten enough sleep, and you’ve got a photo shoot. You just show up, you look crazy, and you just put all of this moisturizer on. There’s two things I use. I use this French stuff that all the make-up artists tell me about. It’s called Embryolisse, just from drug stores in Paris. Anyone can get it, it’s cheap, but it’s amazing. The other stuff is La Mer, which is the opposite. It’s super expensive. La Mer is when you really need some serious, deep down moisturizer, but I use Embryolisse all the time until I run out and have to go back to France.

I’m obsessed with what’s going on with your hair.

I’ve had this for a while. It’s just a little bit of grey with the black tips.

Let’s go there. Any current trends you loathe?

I don’t know, I’m not so into rave style.

The sea punk craze. Thoughts?

Sea punk?

You know, like The Little Mermaid-on-acid. Basically, neon spanks and electric blue hair dye.

I really like the blue and blue is my favorite color. Honestly, if so many people didn’t have blue, I would like to get the blue. It’s one of those things, you can’t do it when everyone does it. I just went on tour with Red Hot Chili Peppers and Flea had this beautiful blue color and his eyes were the exact same color as his hair. His face looked like a piece of art. His face already looks like art, but with the blue and his eyes, it was just beautiful.

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