Women in Music 2016
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Beyonce Proteges Chloe x Halle on What to Wear to the White House, Natural Beauty and Being in 'Lemonade' (Exclusive)
Singing sister duo Chloe x Halle may only be 16 and 17 years old, but their music has already attracted some seriously high-profile fans. After the North Hollywood residents covered Beyonce’s ‘Pretty Hurts’ in 2013, she signed them to her label Parkwood Entertainment. This increased recognition helped the YouTubers secure a spot in First Lady Michelle Obama’s female-friendly anthem “This Is For My Girls,” a song inspired by the FLOTUS’ Let Girls Learn education initiative, alongside powerhouses like Missy Elliot and Kelly Clarkson. As if that weren’t enough, the teens made cameos in Beyonce’s wave-making visual album Lemonade adjacent to the songs “Forward,” “Freedom,” and “All Night.”
Following in the footsteps of the First Lady and Queen B, the Bailey sisters seem poised to add “trendsetting” to their list of accomplishments. The music video for their single “Drop,” released in April, featured quirky-cool looks from up-and-coming designers like Calle de Mar and coincided with an appearance in the pages of Elle. “As little kids we loved playing dress up,” Chloe notes. “Yeah, I don’t think that ever ends,” Halle adds.
Just before dropping their debut EP Sugar Symphony, Chloe x Halle spoke exclusively to Billboard about sharing clothes, black female role models, and why they favor minimal makeup.
Is the way you were dressed in the "Drop" video how you dress in real life?
Halle: We put our complete selves into our music. So what we wear, whether for a performance or video or just walking around—it’s us. We have an awesome team who really knows who we are, and they help pick things that bring out the best in us. All of our looks were things that we would wear in real life, or we wouldn’t have put them on.
Chloe: We love to be comfortable, and we also love to look cute and stylish. Everything we wore in the video goes right along that path.
What’s your go-to makeup look?
Halle: We don’t wear much makeup. Our main staples for looking alive and fresh are eyebrows and a pop of lip color. We recently got into these lipstains from ColourPop Cosmetics, and we also love Anastasia Beverly Hills brow pomade.
How long have you two been wearing your hair this way?
Chloe: Our mom started our locs when we were three and five years old.
Halle: We love our hair because it makes us stand out, in a way. And it’s so much fun to flip our locs around.
Who are your beauty and style icons?
Halle: I love Lauryn Hill's hair. One of my main style icons is Zoe Kravitz—I love the way she dresses and styles her hair. Her mother Lisa Bonet is beautiful, too.
Did your own mom play a role in your understanding of style and beauty?
Halle: Our mother has always pushed for natural beauty. She’s says, “You don’t have to put so much stuff on your face. Don’t cover up your light.”
Chloe: Our mom is so beautiful and confident. She smiles and laughs hard, and that influences us. I think us wearing lipstick all the time has rubbed off on her, too.
Halle: Yeah, now she steals our lipstain!
What were your thoughts on the dresses you wore for your cameo in Beyonce’s Lemonade?
Halle: We were so fortunate to be part of that whole experience—going to New Orleans, being in the midst of these beautiful women. The way that we were dressed felt regal and powerful. We felt like princesses in some royal town, and it was fun tapping into our ancestry.
Do you two share clothes?
Chloe: Definitely. Ever since we were little our mom put us in matching outfits. As we’ve gotten older, we’re so similar, but our style is different. That’s been fun to explore.
How would you say your style differs?
Halle: I consider myself more bohemian. I love flowy things and bellbottoms and I wear bindis all the time.
Chloe: I’m getting into more edgy street style. I love baggy bottoms and crop tops and sneakers. I’ve been trying different things—we’re young and our tastes will change. We can have fun experimenting.
How do you choose what to wear when you’re going to an event together?
Chloe: Often we get dressed separately, but somehow, it goes together. We’re so in sync we just pick similar things.
You’ve met First Lady Michelle Obama, who’s a style icon on top of being a powerhouse in countless other ways. How did you pick what to wear when you met her?
Chloe: Our mom helped with the bright red outfits we wore when we first met Michelle Obama at SXSW. The second time was for the Easter Egg Roll at the White House. That day, we had a stylist with us for the shoot for Drop, so they helped us pick outfits.
Is representation for black women something you think about much?
Chloe: Growing up, we had beautiful black women role models who taught us to love ourselves and our skin color. Sometimes people see magazines and think that’s how they’re supposed to look. But you’re just supposed to look how you were made and let your inner light shine through.
If you could tell other girls one thing about style and beauty, what would it be?
Halle: Believe in your style, even if it’s wacky. Feel powerful in yourself and own it. When you do, everyone else will love it. Be as creative as you want.
Chloe: And if you like being Plain Jane, be that and own it! Just be yourself, because there’s nothing wrong with that.