Interview with Maja Cule, the Artist Who Decoded "Laughing Alone with Salad"

Maja Cule is a New York-based artist whose work breaks down the ways that online information and content influence offline actions. Recently, she collaborated with the fiercely interrogative "post-Internet" DIS Magazine on a project called DISimages: a fully functional stock image library aimed at "manipulating the codes and trends in stock photography." Her photo series, titled “Laughing Alone with Salad," is a series of acute, mesmerizing examinations of the Hairpin's favorite meme, invented and brought to life on-site by Edith Zimmerman.  Last week, I interviewed Maja on Skype.

Hello! Where exactly are you right now?

I’m in Croatia, home on vacation. It's [...]


Interview with a Person Whose Mom Came Out of the Closet

Rebecca is a 24-year-old web designer who lives in New York City.

So, let’s talk about your mom! What was her story growing up?

She was born in 1960 and she grew up in a Catholic family in New York, not super religious but culturally so. She told me that she thought maybe she was bisexual, and she also definitely wanted a family, and at that point the way to have a family was to get married to a man. So that’s what she did.

How did your parents get together?

She met my dad in college—he’s nine years older than she is—and they got married a few years after that. She was the one to propose, which is [...]


Interview With an International Adoptee

Layne is a graduate student at the University of Michigan. She was adopted from South Korea as a baby.

So, what do you know about your birth parents?

Not much! I know she was 17, he was 19, and they weren’t married. I think my biological father had just joined the military service, and it was sort of a fork in the road—either they could get married and raise the child, or he could stay in the service, but not both.

How old were you when you were adopted?

I was born in September 1985, and I got to America on January 15, 1986.

Did your adoptive parents fly [...]


An Interview With a Mom of Triplets

Our boundless curiosity about the ability of a human to raise three tiny lifeforms at once led us to sit down with our own commenter, iceberg, who has survived the first few years and emerged unbroken. She'll be in the comments to answer any other questions you might have!

"HOW DID YOU HAVE THREE BABIES?" I ask with a meaningful glance!

For that, you'll have to wait for my upcoming feature, "Bake-at-Home Babies."

We're very excited! For the record, let's state I deliberately got clearance to ask that super-rude question for humorous purposes.

Oh, girl, that's not EVEN close to the rudest. People have straight up asked if we [...]


"Louis Armstrong Wore Boxers"

The PBS-produced "Blank on Blank" animated series continues with a 1964 interview between the great Louis Armstrong and Michael Aisner and James R. Stein, who were high school students in Winnetka, Ill., at the time. Gotta keep up the chops. [via]


Interview with Joanna Rohrback, the Prancercise Guru

Last week, Joanna Rohrback achieved national fame after a five-minute video of her demonstrating her exercise program Prancercise—“a springy, rhythmic way of moving forward, similar to a horse’s gait and ideally induced by elation”—went viral. I talked to the 61-year-old Florida resident about living free and Prancing hard.

Joanna, I’m a big fan of your work. I tried to do Prancercise this morning as interview prep and it was a lot of fun and I also felt very self-conscious for the first few minutes. Any tips for people who have a hard time letting go?

They might want to try to do it [...]


When Your Relationship Has 8,000 Facebook "Likes"

I was in one of those weird Saturday-night Internet black holes (the “History of cosmetics” page on Wikipedia, Googling “how do I do eyeliner,” makeup tutorials, an innocuous related link in the sidebar) when I first stumbled upon a Lucy and Kaelyn video. At 35 minutes, it was long for YouTube, and it wasn’t much more than two young gay women video-blogging their vacation together, set to a poppy soundtrack — laughing and holding hands over montages of their dates to sushi restaurants and the beach. I have a pretty short attention span, but I watched the entire thing. Judging from the 250,000+ views on that video, I’m [...]


Driving Across America Giving Free Manicures

You know how sometimes you just want to become a certified nail technician, transform a 1968 Shasta compact trailer into a mobile nail salon, and hit the road? Artist Breanne Trammell is living the dream. Her Nails Across America project is bringing free manicures and nail art to people in cities from Elyria to Chattanooga to San Diego this summer. I caught up with her to talk about manly manicures, furry traveling companions, and junk food as artistic inspiration.

Hi Breanne! You’re about two weeks into Nails Across America. How many manicures have you given so far?

I just passed the two-week mark and I’ve given 52 manicures.


Reminder: Everyone Is Faking It

I think a lot of insecurity has little to do with reality. One thing I think about a lot and talk about on Rookie is how embarrassed you can be of yourself, and how when you’re a teenager you change a lot and constantly try to get away from who you used to be—I think that’s intensified if you are at all in the public eye. Do you ever feel like that? Like, it’s not only the boys at home who can remind you of the “totally inadequate” person you used to be—it’s this whole public documentation of your life?

It’s called the impostor syndrome. It’s almost like the better [...]


Leaving Westboro Baptist: An Interview

"Thank God for September 11!" 19-year-old Lauren Drain yells during a picket of the second inauguration of President George W. Bush in 2005 in the opening scene of her memoir Banished: Surviving My Years in the Westboro Baptist Church (Goodreads | Amazon). While she once proudly held signs proclaiming attention-getting slogans like "God Hates Fag Enablers" as part of the Westboro Baptist Church, the 27-year-old Connecticut resident now calls the church a cult. When she was 14, her philosophy professor father decided to make a documentary about the church; originally aimed at exposing them, and titled Hatemongers, it instead morphed into a pro-WBC work that transformed their family, [...]