You've probably seen Julia Frakes peeking out from the pages of Vogue, Teen Vogue, Paper, Love, and Lula, but few models are also writers, at least ones who get published in real papers. Such is the life of this Pennsylvania pixie, who juggles political science classes and magazine deadlines with the occasional Marc Jacobs encounter. (She also has a Tumblr. She also loves bunnies.) As you can imagine, Julia Frakes is a very busy girl, but much like vitamins, meditation, and Mad Men, one can always make time for Bopping, right? (This is the part where you smile and nod, kids.)
FARAN KRENTCIL: What is the first piece of designer clothing you ever bought yourself?
JULIA FRAKES: I'm not sure whether it's "designer" per se, but I did swap my savings for a pair of paisley Oilily overalls and a knobby blue sweater, which looked quite like the one that Cory [Liv Tyler] from Empire Records wore, minus the midriff. I sprang for a Judy Funnie beret the same day. This anticipated my first real "fashion" purchase years later: a grey Miu Miu schoolgirl cardigan, the same shade of grey as the sweater Rosemary Ferguson wore in a dreamy '90s Miu Miu campaign photographed by Corinne Day. I cherish that cardigan, and it remains a closet staple, even if it has seen better days.
FK: When and how did you become a bunny fanatic?
JF: I daydreamed away my elementary school years. Butterscotch the guinea pig, whose cage bedecked a sturdy windowsill in Mrs. A.'s first grade classroom, had these tiny ears that struck me as an unfair complement to his otherwise rotund proportions. I'll glaze over the somber bits of the backstory, but in a nutshell, that particular school year was marked by a rather sad string of events. So I ferreted out a happy place, gazing at Butterscotch for hours on end, sort of extending his ears and transposing his mundane snoozing-and-hamster-wheeling routine out of the class cage and alongside Peter Rabbit in the Hill Top Farm gardens of the Lake District. For show-and-tell, I brought a Gund rabbit named Nutmeg and introduced her as Butterscotch's second cousin from Sawrey. My schoolmates called me Julesbunny, probably tauntingly, but I didn't really mind. It sort of stuck.
FK: You are a redhead. Do you think your hair comes with magical powers?
JF: I think King David's psalms are quite mystical, and he was a "ruddy" redhead. Elizabeth I, Anne Boleyn, Florence Welch, James Joyce, Fern Arable, Mary Magdalene, Rupert Grint, Tom Wolfe, Vincent Van Gogh, Winston Churchill, Sylvia Plath, Ron Howard, Alice Lane, Ezra Pound, David Bowie, Grace Coddington, Thomas Jefferson, Conan O'Brien, D.H. Lawrence, and Antonio Vivaldi all exude various sorts of magical powers in my book. But I'd contend that the whole of humanity is magic. I put stock in Roald Dahl's wisdom: “Watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. … Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.”
FK: At Fashion Week, you're literally chased by bloggers with cameras. What's the most fun and the most scary thing about being mobbed by street style photographers?
JF: Most fun? Hopping into old friends—who just happen to be super talented—like Phil, Tommy, Mark, Hanneli, Garance, Maya, Candice, Natalie, and Mr. Cunningham. If you try to wear your heart on your sleeve, and said sleeve somehow lands in Vogue or The New York Times, it's always a surprise—an affirming, perplexing, and gratifying honor. Most scary? Well, when it's not at an event where you might expect photographers...
FK: As anyone who follows you on Twitter knows, you are a hard news junkie. What do you read when you first wake up in the morning?
JF: The New York Times, The Washington Post's politics and opinions columns online, and I subscribe to The Nation, The New Yorker, and Foreign Policy, so they're always on my bedside table. I try to gradually wade through them before the next issues arrive. (TheNation.com is my browser homepage, and fashion folks, Consider Elizabeth Cline's "The Good Closet" column at The Nation a weekly essential.) Also, the diversity and breadth of Vice's media outlets and platforms is a major game-changer, and frankly all-around genius. Their video production team is like our generation's reigning champion; Vice's shows, documentary series, and interviews, albeit not all "hard news," are incomparable. The kids are alright.
FK: Please describe your personal style in one sentence. This sentence must include the word "full moon."
JF: Kate Bush interpretive dancing under Utagawa Hiroshige's "Full Moon at Takanawa," or while collecting stones on the ol' space highway with Astronaut Jones.*
*Astronaut Jones, written by Tracy Morgan. Directed by Tracy Morgan. Hair and makeup by Tracy Morgan. Produced by Tracy Morgan and Melvin Goldfarb.