Oct 01, 2015 12:53PM

Manon Macasaet Is THE Girl Dominating NYC's Cool-Teen Scene


When Manon invited us to her house in the West Village, we had not quite anticipated the advanced taste levels of this innocent and unassuming 16-year-old. Her room was filled with collectible 90s skate paraphernalia — Hook-Ups stationary, a David Sims book and an old-school Ben Davis tee were nonchalantly slumped over her desk, the same way any normal adolescent would sling their school uniform and math binder.

Manon is the only girl in a all-male NYC teen power-squad, consisting of cult-famous models and creatives like Luka Sabbat, Mike the Ruler and Asspizza. Her obvious tomboy-ness and infatuation with nostalgic skate culture set her apart from most other eleventh grade girls. At 16, Manon has already appeared in campaigns for adidas and Mademe, as well as establishing a massive online following. We visited her to raid her closet (which is filled with more archival X-Girl and Fuct than you can even imagine), chill in her lit West Village neighbourhood and talk skater boys, DMs and Fantasia.

How was it growing up in New York City?
It was great. I'd rather grow up here than anywhere else. I've been in this neighbourhood forever... it's home to me. The only thing I don't like about New York are the winters. I love how it's so culturally diverse and you can get into things at a young age here.

How would you describe your style and look?
I can be girly but I'm also really into skate style. I wear a lot of old skate brands, not really any current ones — although, I still love Supreme. Brands like X-Girl, X-Large, Dickies — like that bag by the door is an archival X-Girl piece that Chloë Sevigny modelled for their campaign. I also appreciate more "fashion" brands like Eckhaus Latta, vintage Fiorucci, Comme and Jean Paul Gaultier.

How did you get into skate culture?
After watching the Supreme Cherry skate film, I began truly appreciating the culture and style that comes with skateboarding. I've never picked up a skateboard and definitely don't plan on it... it's just something I grew into. And, a lot of my friends are skateboarders. If I didn't know anyone who skated, I probably wouldn't be into this at all.

How does your Instagram tie into your personal brand?
I think most people just think I am a model, 'cause I haven't yet come out with an official creative project. I don't think Instagram is that important to my aesthetic, I think it's more for kids who want to use it to get somewhere. I like it, but sometimes I find it suffocating, even though it has helped me. It's also weird, unnecessary pressure. Instagram isn't my life — I make sure I'm doing things off the internet. There are so many kids who just have followers, and if their Instagram was deleted, they would have nothing left.

What's the craziest DM you've ever received?
I just got one then, it just says "Can I paint you sometime?" and in the picture the guy looks 40.

So...you don't wanna get painted?
I mean, he can paint a picture of me, but I am not about to be a live canvas girl!

You're the only girl in that crew of NYC cool boys like Luka and Austin (Asspizza) — is it hard being the only female?
Not at all, they're all big brothers to me. They're the best. I don't even know how we became friends, probably through Mike (The Ruler). They're not friends with many other girls, and I think we just get along cause we have similar interests. I'm tight with boys automatically, 'cause mentally I'm a tomboy. It's very natural. A lot of girls approach them in weird ways and with strange intentions.

How did you all become friends?
I met Austin through Mike at a shoot for Dazed and Confused, and Mike I met at a A$AP Rocky's 'Riot Rave'. My friend and I had to leave 'cause we looked too young, but Mike snuck back in and that night he found me on Facebook. He's like my brother and I love him to death. I'm so grateful I have all of them in my life, they're so creative, push me to challenge myself and are very protective of me.

What has been your favourite modelling experience thus far?
I loved my experiences with V mag, adidas and Mademe. My first modelling gig ever was with DisOwn, I was so nervous and it was so legit at the time. I was not mentally prepared, even though it wasn't really a big deal. My fave is always shooting with my friends Natalia Mantini and Miyako Bellizzi — I work with them a lot and it's so natural.

Name a NYC girl who you idolise. 
I am so grateful for all the girls in my life, but someone very near and dear to my heart is my big sister figure Danielle Greco. We are really similar, she has guided me through my teenage girl issues and also helped me to grow as a person. I hold so much love for her, and she has also put me under her wing, and educated me in the fashion industry.

You're so mature for a 16-year-old girl, but whats the most childish thing you're still into?
I love toys and trinkets, and also I love the cartoon Fantasia, I don't know why I like it so much, I feel like it's so cute, and there hasn't been a better cartoon since then.

I heard you have a creative venture coming out soon... can you elaborate?
I have a photobook in the works, featuring film portraits of my friends. I started taking photos with a disposable camera, and recently compiling the images. The book is going to be very personal, and even though I want to do a lot for it, it's ultimately for me. The photos are both intentional and candid, and capture my relationship with all of my friends and my mood.

Photos in gallery: Ava Nirui
Photos in body: @mingblingbling

Ava Nirui