it's the only one that would fit in the google background thing

anonymous asked:

would you mind telling us how to make tattoos

 sure, i will give a tutorial.

I’m going to go into detail so this will be lengthy, sorry :/

How To Make Tattoos (Tutorial)

What you will need:

-Picture of tattoo obvi. (Pinterest is a good website for tatts)

-Some kind of editing program (Photoshop, Paint.net, Gimp) I have photoshop so thats the only one i can speak for.

^If you don’t have it already you need a dds plug in for your editing program so it can read the dds file. (DDS file is the file that is gonna have your tattoo texture on) The one for photoshop is here (for others, google it)

-Need Sims 4 Studio

- Sim body texture template to guide you on where you’re placing your tattoo. You can find one here.

1. Ok so first thing, when choosing the photo for your tattoo make sure:

-It’s clear and all of it is visible

- Pics of tatts with dark lighting is a no no.

-No pics of tattoos with the tattoo on a angle or where you can’t see all of it, less shadows the better.

-Preferably a white/Paper background (but a pic of a tattoo on skin is possible too)

Good Examples:

Bad Examples:

2. Now Go into Sims 4 Studio:

Click on “Create CAS Standalone” In the CAS Section

At The top click where it says ‘Part Type’ and pick Tattoos

Pick any of the base game tattoos (depending on which base game tattoo you choose is where your new tattoo will be in the tattoo category in CAS)

Click Next, Save your package where ever you will remember it, and name the package file whatever you want your new tatt to be named c:

(pls know the difference between a package file and a dds file, the package file is your final file, the dds file is just your texture)

Export the texture and save as dds file, again save it where you’ll remember it.

Leave sims 4 studio open

3. Open up your editing program, in my case its photoshop.

open up the dds file you saved in photoshop. 

!Make sure every time you do anything with layers, you unlock them by double clicking them or you wont be able to do shit with them xD!

we need a clean slate, so erase ‘everything’ on layer 0. it should be transparent now.

then go to channels>alpha layer 1, and with a black colored brush paint over everything. so now it should just be black. click back on layer 0.

4. Editing Tattoo Picture for alpha layer.

(i always make black and white tattoos, so this tutorial is more for b&w tattoos)

Open up the picture of your tattoo in another tab. 

*if its a black and white tattoo, make the whole picture black and white (sometimes the color is off on pics of tattoos). for photoshop go to image>adjustments>black and white, press ok.

We need to get rid of the background…

If its just a white background, right click on the layer then blending options

Where you see 2 gradient looking bars, the one we will be using is the first bar labeled ‘This Layer’. This will get rid of the majority of the background if its black/white/greys. Now for mine the background is white so on the right where its white im going to more the little arrow over,(be careful when moving the arrow and check on the picture of your tattoo when doing it because it will get rid of all of it when the color gets darker if not careful) move the arrow as much you can without erasing your actual tattoo. **If their is still little tidbits of the background left also if their is things still left INSIDE the tattoo, you will have to manually erase everything with the eraser tool which can be pretentious, but you have to do what you have to do xD***

If the background is black, or darker, use the arrow on the left. It’s the same logic. 

When its someones skin thats the background of the tattoo, its harder to get rid of because the skin has shadows, and in that case you will have to erase it manually :////

(this is way having a clear white background of the picture of your tattoo is so important ^^^)

Now once you have the background gone, all you should see is a transparent background with just the outline of your tattoo. Like So:

Invert the tattoo so that it is white (if its a black tattoo), you can do that on photoshop by image>adjustments>invert. (if the background turns black then go up where i was talking about getting rid of the background :’)

Now select the tattoo by select > all, or you select it by choosing the 4th icon on the side from the above picture and clicking all on it. Then choose Edit>copy.

5. Tattoo into DDS Texture

Go back to where your dds file was, then go to layer 0. Create a New Layer by going to layer>new>layer. Drag the new layer you just made underneath the other layer (layer 0) Then go to file>place….select the SIM BODY TEXTURE TEMPLATE you downloaded. Drag the corners of  the body texture to fit the whole box. 

Then go to Channels>Alpha Layer 1. Click one of the other boxes above, i usually choose the RED one, to see the sim body texture you just placed. Now selecting the alpha layer 1, go to edit>paste. and you should see your tattoo outline pop up (make sure you paste it on alpha layer 1.) now move it to where ever you want, (go to select>deselect to stop seeing those lines on the tattoo outline -_-)  thats what the sim body texture is for to see where to place it.

After that you can delete the sim body texture you dont need it unless you are moving the tattoo somewhere else.

Now go back to layer 0, and where you placed the tattoo on the alpha layer 1, paint over that with a black brush or it wont show up!!

Alpha layer:

Regular Layer:

Before saving make sure you are selected on layer 0.

Now go to file>save as a dds file and name it whatever. When saving a box will pop up, it should be on “DXT5   ARGB  8pp”

Now go back to Sims 4 Studio

Import your newly saved dds file. Your new tattoo should appear, sometimes i have to keep going back into photoshop to get it where i want to and make adjustments.. It’s trial and error with tattoos really.

You can change the picture of the tattoo in cas and all that in s4studio before saving. then save it and just put your package file in mods folder and boom. A new tattoo.

If something was unclear or i didnt explain something well, please message me and ill be more than happy to help you. Happy Tattooing <3

ANNOTATING BOOKS!

Annotating books is a really useful technique people use to fully understand a text and also use as a reference for future essay topics/quotes. Last year I began to annotate my texts for english and I have definitely seen great results! Not only does the hard work show, your book emulates the laborious (or sometimes not so much!) hours you’ve put into understanding a book, is aesthetically (very) nice to look at and saves you loadssss of time when preparing you for essays, also looking for quotes.

I know many people have trouble knowing what to annotate and how when reading a book, so here’s my method of annotations. Keep in mind that there is no ‘correct’ way of annotating a book, this is just the method which I find useful to me.

First of all, my standard page looks like this (I am reading Pride and Prejudice, if you were wondering):

1. HIGHLIGHTERS ARE YOUR BEST FRIEND

The differently highlighted colours actually don’t mean anything in this context (I ran out of colours). However, I do highlight all pieces of information which I think I would be able to quote or incorporate into a text analysis essay. I am often praised for including many quotes in my essays by teachers, and I find that this technique is clear, easy and really efficient. 

2. STICKY NOTES ARE AMAZING

At the beginning of my book I have a key which indicates what each coloured sticker means:

  • Pink = Women and Femininity
  • Green = Mr and Mrs Bennet
  • Blue = Elizebeth Bennet
  • Yellow = Mr Darcy and Mr Bingley
  • Orange = Bennet sisters
  • Purple = Other

These are the absolute best because it saves you a heap of time when looking for quotes to incorporate in essays and you can then categorise them into themes and pick the ones you want to use straight out of the book without too much hassle.

3. UNDERLINING IS ACTUALLY VERY IMPORTANT TOO!

I also like to underline important plot points in black, so if I want to know what happened in the chapter, I can literally read the underlined parts and get a brief summary in the words of Jane Austen. 

4. ADDRESS NEW VOCAB SO YOU’RE NOT STUCK ON DEFINITIONS

The words underlined in purple are new vocab which I don’t know the definitions to. After reading the chapter, I’ll google the definition of them and jot down some synonyms instead of writing the full definition as I don’t have much space on the book. I like this way of learning new vocab cause it also breaks the words down into synonyms which i can easily understand within the context of a text and sentence, rather than a long complex definition written in a notebook which I will probably never read. 

I don’t particularly like keeping a ‘definitions notebook’ because it ends up becoming a huge, endless list of words which, upon opening, feels like you’re going to drown in a sea of words. In these cases, I’ll usually shut the book immediately and not take in any information.

5. SUMMARIZE EACH CHAPTER TO CONSOLIDATE

At the end of each chapter, I have a post-it note where I summarize the key things that happened in my own words (or sometimes with the help of shmoop and other english websites). You can use a post-it note (the larger ones, or which ever deem fit) or if there is space, you can right it straight onto the page. However, I like to keep consistent so i use post-it notes all the way through.

6. BOOKMARK IMPORTANT PAGES AND CHAPTERS

In addition, the coloured post it notes sticking out the top of the book act as ‘bookmarked pages’ which I will refer to when preparing for an essay. The green post its mark the main pages and chapters where complex themes come into play e.g role of women in society during the 19th century… themes which may need extra background information and research to develop more mature ideas. 

The orange post-it notes are marked on the pages where philosophical questions are raised e.g Vanity vs pride… themes which may not come up often enough to dedicate 123971283 sticky notes to, but often enough to form a body paragraph for an essay with added complexity. 

7. THE MARGINS ARE THERE FOR A REASON

I love love love love love writing in the margins. Write everything in the margins. Anything comes to mind - write it in the margins. Whenever I have a sudden thought after reading the passage, I’d write it in the margins because you never know whether or not it will be useful in the future.

Especially when there is an occurring theme for 2-6 paragraphs, write what is happening in the margin and mark where it starts and finishes. For example, there is a passage where Jane and Elizabeth are arguing, showing their clashing personalities. that has been highlighted and I’ve written comments in the margin summarizing what happened and any additional thoughts and questions. 

Not sure if it is just my school, but in english when we are studying a classic; we are often made to do chapter anaylsis’ where we are organised into a group of 3 max, sometimes even by ourselves, and we are required to analyse the chapter then present our findings to the class as a presentation. Annotating books are so good for these, and writing in the margins is so useful when it comes to this activity. Compared to those students who have only read the book, made no annotations or summaries, you’ll be able to spend minimal time on the assignment and still probably have more information than anyone else. 

An Intern’s Guide To: Interning

Yesterday I turned 19. Meaning today it has officially been one year since I claimed the title of intern. That’s one year of intern knowledge, and then some, that I would like to share with you. 

Let’s begin with a bit of background. I lost my intern virginity last summer. I started applying in spring and, to my surprise, heard back from all the magazines I applied to - bar one. But their Twitter pic hasn’t changed in a year so I’m not quite sure what’s going on there. I ended up becoming an editorial intern at two magazines. Both of different genres - I figured it’d be beneficial to  get a diversity of experience. The first was a fashion magazine and I absolutely loved it. It was the first magazine I set eyes on and I even modelled my entire CV around one of its covers (more on that later.) I enjoyed it so much that I re-arranged the dates of my next internship just so I could stay longer. I woke up every morning last summer looking forward to what my day had to offer. Even though I struggled to afford travelling into London everyday, and got achey eyes from hours in front of a laptop screen, I began each day with a flurry of butterflies in my stomach because I loved writing for them so much. It felt like the right fit from day one. Despite arriving 2 hours late on day one that is.

I was given so much freedom to write exactly how I wanted to — much different to my next internship, where despite the fact it was a much younger magazine, had a more traditional approach with its interns. Everything would get sent back with highlighted notes and once it was finally published, lost all remnants of its initial vitality, but in turn gained the slick and polished voice of an edited feature.  I did learn a lot from all that editing. Things they’d usually teach you in journalism school like “numbers under ten are expressed in words.” Not only did I learn a lot but met some really wonderful people.

Despite each internship’s differences, both editors seemed happy with my work and expressed they wished I could stay longer! I now write for the first magazine, which is beyond what I could’ve imagined when I began applying last year (have a read of my elated response to first-time publication here.) I’d like to stress that I had no contacts nor family members who have a clue about this industry. If I can do it, you most definitely can too! So from me to you, here’s how to become an intern.  

Find Your Own Experience.

High-key every intern’s #goals

Before writing your CV you need relevant things to fill it with. Instead of waiting for opportunity to knock on your door, why not make your own? With the Internet at your fingertips there is no excuse. Gaining experience and building a portfolio is as simple as e-mailing your favourite blog and asking to contribute an article. Starting your own blog and making sure it’s in tip-top shape when future employers decide to Google you, and sincerely reaching out to growing online platforms asking to write for them. In the beginning I built my portfolio through Twitter search. I would search key phrases like “bloggers wanted” or “writers wanted” and volunteer my services (@UKFashionIntern is fab for this). You’d be surprised how far a well-composed e-mail can get you! Experience wise, you really don’t need anything fancy, you just need to show employers that you’re competent in the basics. So e-mail the editor of your local paper and ask to shadow someone for a week, or get down to your local radio and volunteer your time for a few days. If you’re at school or university make use of all the opportunities to write for the magazine or paper. This is all classed as experience, will build your portfolio and get you suited for an internship.

Stand Out.

Duh.

I think this is most important. Especially if you’re lacking in the experience department. It’s imperative to set yourself apart from all the other candidates who have the same or more experience than you. Two ways to get your application an eyebrow raise are your e-mail subject line and the aesthetic of your CV. Editors’ inboxes are filled with hundreds of e-mails a day so use your subject line to stand out from all the other intern e-mails. Make it short, concise but interesting so they have to read it. I’m not sure where I came up with mine, but I definitely did a ton of research, looked at lots of examples and steered away from the conventional. Think of it like a headline, but always ensure it’s appropriate. 

Don’t be afraid to get creative with your CV. Fashion and media are industries where creativity is celebrated after all, so you can afford to push boundaries with your application (although as was suggested to me by Heat’s Senior Editor, simplicity is often better). It’ll make you memorable and give you a chance to show your personality and how badly you want that internship. Think of the dozens of black and white word documents an editor receives then *boom* in comes your creative piece of curriculum vitae. At one of my internships, the editor showed my CV to the entire office and asked how I created it. I used photoshop (good way to showcase photoshop skills) in order to create an infographic CV. Infographics are a succinct means of getting your experience across, way more visual and fun to look at, and a great way to play on human psychology (psych student coming thru). Who wants to read through dozens of identical applications when you could present the same information through image, colour and an attractive aesthetic. Chances are they won’t be glossing over your CV. It’s different to the usual application so they’ll take note. If you dont know how to use photoshop - like me pre-CV - just google everything. Google is your friend.

Be as modest or as extra as you please

For infographic inspo I did a Google and Pinterest search for creative CVs. I saved my favourites and used them for inspiration on how to design my own. As mentioned in the intro, I based the colour scheme of my CV on the cover of the first magazine I applied to. Partly because the colours were soo beautiful, and because I wanted to impress them. I literally used a colour code finder to find the exact colours. If that doesn’t show how bad you want that internship I don’t know what could! A strong subject line and a pretty CV are bound to give you a good footing in the application process.

Here’s a buzzfeed link to CV ideas you could use for any job, not just creative ones

Use your Initiative/Be a Ninja.

Once you’ve got through the prelims and finally land that internship, it’s time to be on your A-game and stay on that A-game. Bring a notebook so you can take note of instructions, feedback and stay on track. It also makes you look like an eager beaver who’s ready to work. It’s important not just to do what you’re told, but to go beyond that. Do things that your editor didnt even ask or expect you to do. Make everyone’s life as easy as possible by doing more than you have to. So if you’re asked to write an article for online, write the tags and social media posts for it too. If you’re asked to research an interviewee organise your research in an easy-to-read format and suggest interview questions - even if you weren’t asked to. You must always be one step ahead. It’s important to be quick but not to sacrifice quality. So edit, edit, edit. You better be the most helpful and competent ninja that office has ever seen.

Be Present.

Carrie started as an intern. Who wouldn’t want to be Carrie?

Don’t be scared to contribute to discussions. An intern is still a part of the team so offer your ideas and when asked - dont be a neutral party - give your opinion. Be sure to make the most of your time at a publication and get to know people. A good conversation starter is to ask them questions about themselves. Like how they came to work there or any advice they could give you. Dont be a silent voice in the background, you’ve got to be a helping hand and a smiling face. Remember, these are the people giving you references and everyone seems to know each other in fashion, so they could recommend you to someone or even offer you a job based on how lovely you were during your stay.

Be a Nice Human.

UAL produced McQueen and Phoebe Philo. Their word is golden. 

This is integral in any field. Be nice and respectful to any and everyone you meet. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve met and googled when I got home only to realise how major they were. These are the people you could be working with one day or the key to your next opportunity. You need to be remembered as a pleasant and competent person because in order to advance, it really can be about who you know. So greet and say hello to everyone. Even if you’re shy and really awkward, you have to do it! Try to get as many contacts as you can and keep in touch. Whether that be e-mailing them for advice once, thanking them for your experience or offering your time to help them (I recently did this and ended up working at Topshop’s flagship for a few days - score!) This includes fellow interns. A lot of people in the industry started as interns - look at where they are now? Who’s to say that intern on the Mac next you won’t go on to work at a PR firm that might just be hiring, or recommend you when a last minute stylist assistant is needed? Just leave a good impression on everyone you meet, k?

In summary, get off your bottom and seek experience whether that be online or in your local area, get creative with your e-mail, cover letter and CV, always be one step ahead of your editor’s needs and treat everyone with upmost respect. Fashion and the media aren’t as mean as TV and film make them out to be. People tend to be very helpful. The opportunity is there you just have to be willing to go for it!

Now you’re equipped, go get that internship!


Yours truly,

@thestoryofshama


Like the advice? Check out my previous How To’s:

How To Be Organised: From the Least Organised Student in Existence.

How To Revise: A-Level Edition 

FKA twig Elle US August 2016 Interview (text)

WHO’S THAT GIRL?
ELLE Magazine
BY LIZZY GOODMAN · Aug 2016

She’s got the cred, the look, the buzz—and a mystique that hints at a legend in the making. Inside the highly curated world of musician-on-the-brink FKA TWIGS

It’s a cartoonishly perfect late-spring morning in New York City. The air is warm, and the skyline looks like a cutout superimposed on a giant blue canvas. Inside the Crosby Bar in SoHo, a restaurant where the bathrooms are like spas and the lavender matchbooks like little jewel boxes, you can feel the beating heart of the city’s postwinter promise—at least as it exists for a certain kind of clientele. At the table behind me, Claire Underwood clones in expensive neutrals discuss plans to pitch Nike a “branding sync.” To my right, a power blonde in head-to-toe Stella McCartney workout gear tap-tap-taps her nails on a series of Apple devices, and across the room, Diane Keaton, in her signature black fingerless gloves, finishes up breakfast. As Keaton rises to leave, another woman walks in. She’s incredibly slight, with a melancholy, wide-eyed beauty, wearing an oversize motorcycle jacket with bell-bottoms, her hair pulled into two mini Princess Leia buns.

This is FKA twigs. And though establishment types (or most people older than 30, for that matter) are unlikely to have a clue who she is—that is, unless they know her as the arty, aloof-seeming girl dating teen-idol vampire and eternal clickbait Robert Pattinson—the music world certainly does. And many in that group think that the enigmatic 28-year-old British singer/songwriter/dancer/producer just might be the next Björk—even the next Prince.

FKA twigs has three rapturously reviewed EPs and one full-length album to her name. Her two most recent releases—2014’s LP1 and last year’s EP, M3LL155X (pronounced “Melissa”)—both reached number one on the iTunes Electronic chart. She has played everywhere from L.A.’s Regent Theater to London’s Roundhouse and sold out every one of her New York City shows, including three nights last summer at the Brooklyn Hangar, where she performed her high-concept dance/music/theater piece, Congregata (Latin for “coming together”). This July, FKA twigs is scheduled to headline both New York’s Panorama festival and Chicago’s Pitchfork festival.

And recently, she’s crept into the mainstream. That was her performing in bondage garb in the fall of 2014, making Jimmy Fallon blush and stammer, “Oh, man! Oh my goodness! I’ve never seen anything like that before.” That night, her American television debut, she turned the Tonight Show stage decidedly NSFW, singing the slinky, vulnerably erotic R&B jam “Two Weeks” (sample lyric: “My thighs are apart for when you’re ready to breathe in”) from LP1, the same track that then appeared last year in a pivotal scene in the cult-hit TV show Mr. Robot. You might also recognize her from a series of unusually avant-garde ads for Google Glass and Calvin Klein’s #mycalvins campaign. Though, then again, maybe not; she’s downright Cindy Sherman–esque in her ability to inhabit distinct characters, from vogueing power nerd (Google Glass) to enraptured lover (Calvin Klein), while remaining unequivocally herself. Or perhaps you caught her back on Fallon in February, performing her new single, the less sexual but no less riveting ballad “Good to Love,” which may or may not be part of a new album that she may or may not release this year. You see, FKA twigs puts her work into the world without warning, adheres to no strict promotional or tour schedule, and won’t discuss any project until it’s completely finished. “People talk too much,” she says, shrugging. “Everyone’s always chatting and not delivering. I’m the opposite. I like to just deliver.”

The clamor around FKA twigs, born Tahliah Debrett Barnett, is in part about her sound, which blends the industrial carnality of Nine Inch Nails, the witchy weirdness of Kate Bush, and the primal throb of trip-hop gods like Massive Attack and Portishead. But that sound is really just a portal into the larger aesthetic universe she inhabits, which includes everything from the informed inclusivity of her look (lined lips, baby-hair curls, septum ring) to the provocative, often grotesque themes explored in her videos and album art (domination, body dysmorphia) to her mystical, metaphysical outlook on life. FKA twigs is a true auteur. “She’s a powerhouse,” says Ryan Heffington, the choreographer behind Sia’s “Chandelier,” who has worked with FKA twigs on numerous projects. “She just has so much inside of her; it’s impossible to call her just a performer or a singer.”

She’s managed to become a singular powerhouse by almost completely sidestepping the standard path to fame. Kendrick opened for Kanye. Grimes toured with Lana Del Rey. And Prince—with whom she performed at Paisley Park weeks before he died—opened for the Rolling Stones before he broke through. But FKA twigs has built her audience entirely on her own by cranking out videos and tracks, and letting the Internet buzz machine do the rest. She works only with a group of highly esteemed intimates, including producers Dev Hynes (Solange, Carly Rae Jepsen) and Paul Epworth (Adele) and video directors Paula Harrowing and Nabil Elderkin.

With her rigorous commitment to authenticity and diffident individualism, FKA twigs is perfectly positioned to become a Generation Y star. Even her personal background—a mixed-race dance phenom raised in rural England who forged her musical identity in gritty East London—fits the millennial profile in its post-race, post-class, post-genre multiculturalism. And though she’s skeptical about social media (she rarely tweets and only occasionally Instagrams), her fans are taking it upon themselves to fill in the gaps. There’s even a Twitter account devoted to the singer’s baby-hair curls (@twigsBabyHair); FKA twigs, who’s of Jamaican and Spanish heritage and has, like many black women, been wearing the style for years, is often cited as the muse behind Katy Perry’s controversial appropriation of the look. When Paper put her on the cover last fall, the headline read: “The Future Is Here, and It’s FKA twigs.”

Three minutes into our meal at the Crosby, FKA twigs looks around the elegant room and says, “Do you want to get out of here? It’s just so formal.” She lives in London and doesn’t know New York all that well, but she does have a favorite breakfast spot, so we head to the Egg Shop in Nolita.

FKA twigs grew up as the only child of a salsa-dance teacher mother and a musician father. She didn’t know her dad when she was a kid (though they’ve recently reconnected) and was raised instead by the proverbial village. “My mum, my stepdad, and then drama teachers, ballet teachers, my mum’s friends,” she says, laundry-listing the adults who helped shape her. “I’ve been lucky. I’ve had a lot of different figures bringing me up.” Her mother settled in Gloucestershire, in southwest England, in search of a simple, serene life. And to a certain extent, the family found it there, surrounded by pigs and sheep and rolling green hills. They were also surrounded by white people. “I was the only mixed-race girl at my school,” FKA twigs tells me after ordering green tea and two poached eggs with spiced lentils. Though she was a scholarship student (she attended a private Catholic high school) in Britain’s famously class-bound education system, it wasn’t the color of her skin or the fact that money was often very tight (“We had times where there was food in the fridge, times where there was no food in the fridge”) that made her an outsider. Her isolation, she says, is more of an existential condition, a state of being, than the result of circumstance—and it’s what, she says, propels her to make her art. “I do feel lonely,” she says. “Not in terms of company. My mom always made sure I had friends around. She always made sure I was socialized properly, like a puppy.” She laughs. “I feel lonely in a much bigger sense of the word, which I don’t even really understand myself. It’s more that I feel alone, which is different. I don’t feel like I’m supposed to be here, and I have to remind myself that I chose to be here. I believe that every single person, every single soul and spirit, has chosen to be here.”

Barnett—who acquired the nickname “twigs” because her joints would crack when she danced, and who added the “FKA” to distinguish herself from an American band named Twigs—always possessed a fierce drive to work. “I heard this quote by Genesis P-Orridge that goes, ‘Some people feel like a man trapped inside a woman’s body. Some people feel like a woman trapped inside a man’s body. We just feel trapped in a body,’ ” she says. “I’m the last one. When I make things, it makes me feel the most not stuck inside a vessel. It makes me feel bigger than my skin or my bones.” Dance was her initial gateway to that kind of transcendence; she calls it “lifting the veil” between this mortal world and “everything we don’t know.” Throughout high school, Barnett trained in ballet and other styles of dance for four hours a day. “I sacrificed a lot,” she says. “Maybe if I hadn’t danced so much, I would have been on the athletics team at school, and then maybe if I was on the athletics team I’d be one of those sporty girls, and then maybe if I was a sporty girl I would have been more popular and more boys would have liked me.”

The moment she got out of her small town, things changed on the boy front, as well as just about everywhere else. Literally the first night she and her mom spent in London, where they moved when the singer was 17 and where she attended dance school, “this really cute mixed-race boy” asked for her number. She remembers sitting in the car in East Croydon, waiting for her mom to grab some takeout from the chicken shop. Though she’d been strictly instructed to keep the doors locked in the scary big city, when he knocked on the window, she rolled it down a sliver so he could pass her his “shitty little Nokia,” she recalls, giggling. “From that moment on I was like, I’m going to be fine.”

Except that her biggest dream was falling apart. After 10 years of striving for a career as a professional dancer, she was suddenly consumed by uncertainty, and a week into dance school, she decided to drop out. “I hated it,” she says. “I’d really romanticized the idea and I tried really hard, but it just wasn’t for me, and I couldn’t figure out why. I had, like, a massive crisis.” For a while, she embraced her aimlessness, studying a mix of sociology, psychology, fine art, and philosophy at Croydon College in London and working a series of jobs to pay her bills. She was a perfume girl at Selfridges department store (“Hello, madam, would you like to try the new Armani fragrance?” she recites brightly, her hands instinctually cradling a nonexistent bottle) and a barmaid at Tiger Tiger, a chain of comically cheesy nightclubs. But in between, she found herself writing songs and, eventually, producing tracks at home on her laptop. “I always write down feelings,” she says, “and then I love making sounds. Sometimes the sound will remind me of a feeling, and I’ll make that drum or synth sound even more like the feeling. And then the song comes together. It blooms.” What she realized during those early years in London was that her love for dancing had always been mostly about the music. “It was about how my body could be led to the music,” she says. With that cleared up, “I found myself again.”

While working with longtime collaborator Tic on what would become the self-funded, self-produced four tracks for her debut EP, FKA twigs was establishing herself, without exactly meaning to, as a professional dancer. That’s her mugging in Jessie J’s 2010 video for “Do It Like a Dude,” and in Ed Sheeran’s 2011 “You Need Me but I Don’t Need You.” “She could do it,” Heffington says of those fly-girl years. “But she’s too individual to be a part of the chorus.” By December 2012, she had self-released EP1 via Bandcamp, and by September 2013, she’d signed to Young Turks, a subsidiary of powerful British indie label XL Recordings (Adele, Vampire Weekend).

When you ask FKA twigs about her influences, she talks about people like Josephine Baker, David Bowie, and, yes, Prince, citing a kinship in what drove them as artists: to get outside their own minds and reach into the unknowable. Barnett says she feels like an island in her industry. “I rely on myself for inspiration,” she says. After the first performance of Congregata, her stylist found her in her dressing room sobbing. “I was like, Everyone is clapping and I just realized it’s not real,” she remembers. “My stylist is like, Oh, dear, you’ve lost your little mind, and I’m like, No! I’m more in my mind than I’ve ever been!” For Barnett, as soon as the show ended, the magic was unplugged. “For some artists, that clapping is the most real bit, but that’s when I feel most alone.” FKA twigs also refuses to use the word fan. To her, it feels “derogative,” so she opts instead to call them “people who like my music” or “people interested in me as an artist.” “They don’t influence what I make,” she says, “but they have a role in us all coming together and creating something genuine.”

By late afternoon, we’re the only ones left in the Egg Shop, and the staff is politely removing empty water glasses from the table. We’ve talked about everything from Hindu mythology (FKA twigs has been channeling the goddess of empowerment, Kali, of late) to the stresses of aging in the modern world. A few weeks ago, she went for a facial and was cheerily told that she needed fillers. (For the record, she declined them.) But mostly, we’ve talked about fame and art in 2016. “Being in the public eye is so weird,” she says. “People want to shame you. It’s not a celebration of a talent.” She speaks wistfully about an era before social media, when Josephine Baker could dance on tables all night, then “go out for vegetables in her T-shirt” the next day and not have it all documented.

Of course, this is coming from a woman whose personal life is catnip. While Barnett resolutely declines to speak about her relationship with Pattinson, a quick Google search produces their story in detail. The couple were allegedly introduced by mutual friend Florence Welch; they began appearing in public together in 2014 and have been objects of paparazzi and fan obsession ever since. Aside from both speaking out against a flood of racist hate speech spewed at Barnett in the initial months of their relationship, the pair rarely so much as mention each other to the press.

Barnett is also beloved by the fashion world. She’s been dressed by Versace and Christopher Kane, and the costumes for Congregata featured pieces by Alexander McQueen. “FKA twigs is a highly creative individual, passionate and devoted to her craft,” says McQueen creative director Sarah Burton. “She is a truly unique performer with an independent and strong sense of identity and style. I love that she goes against the grain and finds her own way to express herself.” Artist Matthew Stone, a frequent collaborator of FKA twigs’, adds, “She’s part of that old-school tradition of music influencing fashion.”

A few days after our breakfast-turned-lunch, at a grimy but well-lit Midtown dance studio packed with dancers and singers, FKA twigs rehearses for an upcoming project. It’s a short, dynamic performance starring her and a male dancer, and, of course, she can’t tell me anything about it. But when I arrive, she greets me, in her army-green half shirt and low-slung dance tights, with a big hug, a genuine smile, and an apology for being sweaty. After running through the steps again, she collapses, breathless, into a folding chair next to me. When she finds out I had a date the previous night, she’s ecstatic. “Did you kiss him?” I nod. “Did you do more than kiss him? Did you do rudies with him?!”—South Londonese for everything but sex—“Oh my God, you did!” she squeals. “You’re going all red!” The thing that gets missed most about FKA twigs in the press is that she’s a lot of fun. She is preternaturally self-possessed and, clearly, exacting in her work, but she’s not combative, abrasive, or, God forbid, a brat. She’s just sure of herself. And that frees her up to be unusually present, which makes her really good company.

After rehearsal, we head downstairs. Behind the elevator bay, near the in-house snack bar, hangs a bunch of swag with the studio logo for sale. “I grew up in places like this,” she says, gesturing to the hoodies on the wall. “And I’d be like, Mum, can I have one, puhleeze!” We head out for Barnett to catch her Uber back to Brooklyn, where she’s staying while in New York. As we wait, up bounds a young woman in workout gear, carrying a stack of schoolbooks, her mouth full of rubber-banded braces. “Oh my God, are you FKA twigs?!” she asks excitedly. Barnett smiles and nods. “Can I give you a hug? I love you. You are sooo beautiful.”

Information vs. Knowledge

Komiði sæl og blessuð, vinir,

Today, in one of my classes, we briefly discussed the important difference between information and knowledge. I felt it would not do any harm to bring this discussion to my blog, since there seems to always be discrepancies between them.

One problem current generations face is how to utilize the internet. In many ways, we do not have to retain information, since we can simply pull it up at any moment we may need it - largely thanks to Google. However, there are downsides to this. Facts are useless when out of context, that is, without the knowledge to use it properly. I have seen this many, many times. Now that we do not feel the need to remember historical information, we are also losing a sense for its context and proper usage. Let me break it down:

Information is like a fact. A date for an event is a good example. It is generally known to be true. However, information could also be like this: “The Icelandic Sagas take place in the Viking Age.” Why yes, they do - most of the time. Yet, with that alone, what can be said? A lot. Even better is this: “Medieval Scandinavians were called Vikings.” Not exactly. But they are now, although they shouldn’t be. The word is generalized and therefore often misused. Taking information out of context can lead to terrible generalizations or misleading assumptions. Information is not only dangerous out of context, but also when used selectively. Information can be helpful when needing a date or an event, but it is useless when not interpreted with knowledge as a support.

Knowledge is understanding. It is having the the rest of the book, rather than just a quoted portion or a page of that book. It is the ability to use information responsibly. It is when someone uses multiple strands of information in unison. Take this for an example “Medieval Scandinavians who went abroad to raid other lands were called Vikings.” Adding more context, more knowledge, produces better, more well-rounded information. Knowledge is bringing information together in conversation, to make responsible interpretations. It is understanding the environment that produced the information. Thus, knowledge is knowing how to use information and understanding its limitations.

This may be a bit confusing, but I will try my best to state it more clearly. When we look up information on the internet, we can find things that are possibly taken out of context in order to support various needs. Most people do not cite information on the internet and everyone have their own motives. Information does nothing but cause trouble when it is used out of its temporal context. We can reflect, but not impose. Therefore, it is immensely important to understand that information’s background before using it.

Information about the medieval period ought to stay in the medieval period. Yet, information from the past is often twisted to fit into the confines of modern experiences and expectations. Again, only for reflection. We are not Vikings. At least, not the same Vikings of the medieval world. If we cannot even use the term correctly, how could we make such claims? The medieval world had vastly different notations and experiences than we have today. We can use the medieval world to appreciate where we are now, but not use it in a way that alters the nature of the medieval world itself.

Information can be helpful, but it is irresponsible to use it without knowledge of its context. Please, before you use a quote of information, try to find out where it came from and in what setting it was produced. The word “Viking” is a perfect example. Historically it only meant a person who raids, but now it applies to all medieval Scandinavians, and even more than that now, honestly. This is the entire reason why I am posting a Crash Course on Viking History, to give you all the knowledge to use your information regarding it responsibly. 

I know you are not all historians, but please be skeptical of information you hear, see, or read. Make sure that information doesn’t have a whole book dedicated to its complexity. Be aware of its origin, its context, and its purpose before using it for yourself to make claims. Have respect for the past and do not use information carelessly. Think from their perspective, not ours. Use it to reflect on our society, but not to alter their society by tainting information with modern experiences and desires. AND MOST OF ALL, do not manipulate or selectively use historical information to justify or denounce actions of the present age. Do not change the past to better suit the present. Using information from the medieval period in such a way completely bypasses the lives of the people who lived in the medieval world. Our world is not the medieval world. Our revivals are revivals, not the authentic entity. Such habits have led to disaster many times.