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STYLE AND CULTURE

CELEBRATING <3 FOR MARDI GRAS

By Lucy Glen, 1 March 2018

There's never been a more pertinent time to celebrate love than right now. With the Sydney Mardi Gras on the horizon and the glitter confetti not long settled after the same-sex marriage 'yes' outcome, we wanted to speak to couples to whom those events really matter. So, we reached out to friends and family to get their take on loving each other, personal style muses and much more. We also got them to represent a cause close to our hearts, GLAAD, by wearing the ASOS x GLAAD capsule collection. This will give you all the feels...
Sam Sparro and partner Zion

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Sam & Zion

The details...
Sam Sparro: singer and producer
Zion Lennox: DJ and humanitarian
Based in Los Angeles, USA

Describe each other in three words...
Sam about Zion: Joyful, intuitive, adorable.
Zion about Sam: Sexy, intelligent, goofball.

Current style muses/inspiration?

Sam: Currently I'm inspired by the films Hackers and The Fifth Element, my 16-year-old self and club kids from New York City. I love people with individual style who aren't confined to gender norms. I was really into makeup when I was a kid and I've started to play around with it again.

Zion: I love Blade Runner – I'm inspired by post-apocalyptic style. I love Grace Jones because she wears a lot of black. I'm always inspired by Keith Haring.

What was your reaction when Australia voted yes?
Sam: We'd both just been in Australia and there was so much talk about whether or not the public would vote yes. There was a lot of support but there was also a lot of really ugly backlash in the press so it could have gone either way. I was really thrilled when the vote came back yes! I loved seeing how overcome with emotion everyone was at all the gatherings. It's nice to be respected and valued and see things move in a positive direction towards equality.

Zion: I was super-excited that other people would have the opportunity to get married. It gave me a lot of hope.

Most memorable Mardi Gras experience?
Sam: My favourite was actually performing at the Harbour Party leading up to Mardi Gras. It was a steamy night and I had about a dozen backing dancers and we all walked down the stairs in unison into the party and they lifted me onto the stage. It was such a great crowd and there was so much love. I'm still friends with a few of the people I met that night. My other Mardi Gras experience was performing at 6am in the tent on Sunday morning to a crowd of people who had been there all night partying. I had just gotten up at 5am and had coffee and went to the show. It was so crazy. Me and the crowd were on very different wavelengths but it was hilarious and fun.

Zion: My favourite was when I was 18 going to Providence Town Gay Carnival in Massachussetts. It's a tiny little New England beach town that is mostly LGBTQI. I loved the parade – it showed so much diversity within the community. I went with my mom who has always been a big advocate. It was crazy, it was wild, it was sweaty. There's a club called The Boatslip which is on the water which has crazy parties and I stayed there all night dancing until the sun came up.
Mardi Gras Interview

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Bella & Charisse

The details...
Bella Aitken: nanny and founder of an exciting new interiors startup
Charisse Fallon: project manager
Based in Hertfordshire, UK

Describe each other in three words...
Bella about Charisse: Adventurous, intuitive, funny.
Charisse about Bella: Inspiring, compassionate, beautiful.

Current style muses/inspiration?

Bella: Style is like your personal artwork, so the armour I choose to dress myself in that day is generally the way I'm feeling. My style muses change constantly but two women I really admire are Iris Apfel and Lyn Slater. Two absolute legends, aged 65 years and over, who don’t conform to expectations – so inspiring. My personal style is more along the lines of Jhené Aiko who is a true effortless, bohemian babe.

Charisse: I don't really have a specific style muse but I get inspiration from everyone around me, especially people I see on social media. I love the androgynous look so I look for inspiration in men and women who I really love.

What was your reaction when Australia voted yes?

Bella: My initial reaction was relief followed by a huge sigh. I guess it just seemed so bizarre and wrong to me that it wasn’t legal. Couples celebrating and marrying for nothing other than love – I mean, how could that not have been legal years ago? Nevertheless I feel happy for the amazing people that we’ve met, and haven’t met, in Australia, who can now have a ceremony in their own country without flying across the ditch to legalise it. Lastly I only hope that the people who voted yes realise how much of an impact this will have on millions of people's lives.Thank you!

Charisse: I'm so happy for Australia and the LGBTQ community, I hope marriage equality becomes the norm all around the world.

Most memorable Mardi Gras experience?

Bella: Ah, Mardi Gras – what can I say except it's on the list. Running around with eccentric outfits, celebrating love and diversity – yes please. We have added it to the ever-growing travel list.

Charisse: I've heard so many great things about Mardi Gras, we definitely plan to go one day and experience all the craziness.
Mardi Gras Interview

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Bryce & Joel

The details...
Bryce McIntosh: communications and careers manager 
Joel Bedford: customer experience manager 
Based in Sydney, Australia

Describe each other in three words...
Bryce about Joel: Lovable, ambitious, intelligent.
Joel about Bryce: Passionate, adventurous, creative.

Current style muses/inspiration?
Bryce: I’ve always been huge fan of Jared Leto and Marc Jacobs.  The mix of flamboyancy, prep and grunge is right up my alley!

Joel: I don’t look to someone for inspiration. I tend to make purchases and it always seems to work for me!

What was your reaction when Australia voted yes?

Bryce: I honestly couldn’t stop smiling. We went out with our closest mates that evening, and the streets were packed with beautiful people sharing stories and embracing one another. It was a magical moment for all us of in the community.

Joel: Profound relief and excitement. Happy tears were shed. I don’t think I truly understood what it meant to me until that moment.

Most memorable Mardi Gras experience?

Bryce: It would have to be when the event was completely decked out for Kylie Minogue’s 25-year anniversary. If you couldn’t make Mardi Gras more camp, why not chuck Kylie into the mix with a bunch of boys in pink feathers!

Joel: The first time I ever went to a Mardi Gras was in Sydney and I marched that year. I was 22.

Mardi Gras Interview

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Ella & Shanice

The details...
Ellamajenka Peckham: produce worker
Shanice Jackson: baker and part-time personal trainer
Based in Queensland, Australia

Describe each other in three words...
Ella about Shanice: Sexy, intellegent, caring.
Shan about Ella: Loving, beautiful, goofy.

Current style muses/inspiration?
Ella: Every day when I scroll through my Instagram feed, I pick up inspiration from so many different accounts I'm following. It varies so often I can't even keep up with myself.

Shanice: I love spirituality and being completely unique and weird in my own way. I don't really have a style muse or inspiration. I just be myself and hope for the best.

What was your reaction when Australia voted yes?
Ella: I can't explain how happy I am that my girlfriend and I can eventually get married in our own country. For me it's never been about gender but compatibility. I don't understand why it was up for question but I'm super-stoked that generations to come will be brought up in a more open-minded country.

Shanice: I was super-excited! Just like anyone, I thought it was about time Australia caught up! It shouldn't have to be a vote in the first place, in my opinion. Love is love.

Most memorable Mardi Gras experience?

Ella: I wish I could say that I've been and seen what everyone describes as an incredible experience, but unfortunately I'm only just jumping on the bandwagon this year! All I can say is that I'm completely ready to get in among the crazy crowd and have a memorable time surrounded by a diverse and open-minded community.

Shanice: Super-sad to say that I've also never experienced Mardi Gras, but I'm more than ready to get completely and utterly crazy with a crowd of people who support and believe in the same things that I do.

WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THIS STORY?