Oyster #98: Harley Viera Newton
"Don't tempt me with a good time."
Harley Viera Newton is the kind of girl who is just as comfortable DJing for Dior as she is doing shooters in a dive bar. I sat down with her to speak about a few of her favourite things — from lipstick and catnaps, to Ancient Egyptian archaeology and The Strokes.
Steff Yotka: How did you get into DJing?
Harley Viera Newton: I started when I moved to New York for college. My friend and I threw this party on the Lower East Side where he would DJ and I would invite people. Then, because I was an annoying girl, I was like, "I want to pick the music!" [Laughs] I started by just messing around and trying to figure it out. My first night on my own was at the Beatrice Inn, right when it opened. Everything sort of took off after that.
If you weren't a DJ, what would you want to be?
An archaeologist. I studied Egyptology in school and had dreams of going to Egypt. But then, I don't know — I got sucked into nightlife!
They're very different!
I know. I'm hoping that in a few years I'll go back to school. Otherwise I want to be Anthony Bourdain.
Anthony Bourdain is great! He'd want to know this: what's your drink of choice?
It's evolved. When I was younger, it was whiskey gingers. Then I got a little older and the whiskey hangovers got worse, so now I'm a vodka, soda, and splash of pineapple girl.
What are the top three albums ever, according to you?
The Strokes Is This It is a huge one for me. It came out when I was a teenager in Los Angeles. It made me want to move to New York and do all that funny, nerdy stuff you think about when you're a teenager. It has a lot of meaning for me.
Everyone has those favourite sentimental albums.
Yeah. Weezer's Pinkerton really takes me back as well.
You still have to pick another album, though…
That's so hard! Any of the Morrissey, The Smiths, or The Clash albums.
Here comes the toughest question for any bi-coastal American: Biggie or Tupac?
That's a really impossible question! I'm just going to go with impulse and say Biggie.
You're surrounded by New Yorkers, so you kind of had to say Biggie.
Yeah, I don't want to have to defend that decision. Maybe I've been in New York a bit too long.
Let's talk beauty for a bit. How do you keep your make-up so perfect at all those sweaty parties?
That's a lie!
I definitely don't. I often get home and go, "Oh, this is what I look like? This is just not OK."
But looking in the mirror when you get home after a party is always terrifying.
I know! I try to wash my face before I even look in the mirror, so I don't even know how bad it is.
Chanel dress and cuff, Maybelline New York Color Sensational Lipcolor in Nearly There.
Do you promise me there are no secret make-up tricks up your sleeve?
I don't have secret tricks. I mean, I don't wear much make-up that would smudge. I wear liquid eyeliner and red lips that stay on for a couple hours. I keep it simple and try and use long-lasting products.
What are your must-have beauty products?
I have a few. M.A.C Mineralise Powder and Dior Powder Shimmer save my life. I love my Shu Uemura eyelash curler and Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream, too.
Your mom was a model. Did she give you any tips?
Um, not really [laughs]. She thinks it's funny that I've followed in her footsteps. I love looking at her old modelling shots — they're amazing! [Aside] Do I have lipstick all over my face?
No, you definitely don't! I would tell you.
OK, good. There are just so many layers of lipstick on!
It looks good! What's your favourite part of modelling? The lipstick?
Yeah, I guess it's all the different make-up looks. It's nice to have something new. Plus there are always amazing clothes to wear.
What's your trick for staying awake the next day after a gig?
Catnaps! All catnaps, all the time. I'm always taking them! [Laughs] I could write a book: How to Catnap and How to Party. I don't really know how to party anymore, but I definitely know how to catnap.
Any insane nightclub stories you can share?
I've had a friend fall out of a DJ booth and break her arm, which was just funny [laughs]. I have no sympathy. I've seen everything from princes spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on champagne to girls taking their shoes off and throwing them at each other. Good old-fashioned fun.
Are there any bands whose music you wouldn't be caught dead playing?
I think I'm sort of open to anything. There's no band I'll swear off, because even bad bands can put out a great song.
So, if I requested the Spice Girls, you'd play it?
My favourite band! Yeah, I'd probably play ten songs. I'd play the whole album! Don't tempt me with a good time.
Interview: Steff Yotka
Photography: Dan King
Creative Direction and Make-Up: Sam Addington
Fashion: Sasha Kelly
Hair: Dennis Gots
Manicure: Fleury Rose
Photographic Assistant: Jeremy Smith
Fashion Assistant: Emma Boscheinen
Model: Harley Viera Newton @ Next
Maybelline New York Fit Me Foundation, Concealer, Powder and Blush in Medium Nude, Expert Wear Eyeshadow Quad in Natural Smokes. Define-A-Brow Eyebrow Pencil in Dark Blonde. Lash Stiletto Voluptuous Mascara in Very Black (all worn throughout).