why i have a genderless alter ego called lily bling
A personal account of the fantasy and reality of unleashing a sassy, excessive, materialistic, honest, spoilt, fun, slutty and witty second self.
Alter egos, Latin for 'the other I', have taken many forms. Just look at the music industry, where names like Sasha Fierce and Ziggy Stardust existed solely for the stage. In fiction, there's Superman and Mr Hyde from Strange Case of Doctor Jekyll and Mr Hyde. I have an alter ego - Lily Bling. Unlike Dr Hyde, Lily Bling isn't evil. But like Superman, Lily has been known to sport a skin-tight bodysuit (minus the capes - blame Madonna). Lily is just an extension of my fully regular, fully uncomplicated, and fully stable self. Sounds simple, but there's more than meets the eye (or 'the other I'). Appearing on the scene just four years ago, Lily Bling has already taken the social media world by storm, and given the term socialite a whole new meaning. You can often spot this little biatch vulgarising at the hottest parties, gossiping on set at fashion shoots (Lily is a fashion photographer, duh), mincing around Harrods, and taking glamorous selfies at Palais de Li Li (Lily's mansion). I decided to peel back the onion-like layers that make up the full-time bitch, fashion icon, self-proclaimed rich slag, and Internet sensation that is Lily Bling. And believe me, peeling onions would probably make me cry a lot less than Lily would.
So Lily, tell us a bit about yourself.
Hey babes, you can call me Lilz. I'm the one people stalk online and wish they were. Lily is basically an exaggerated, AKA better, version of you - sassy, excessive, materialistic, honest, spoilt, fun, slutty and witty. I got my name from driving past (in my Bentley) a shop in Aldgate that had L I L Y B L I N G spelt out in large glittery lettering. Thankfully (although regrettably - fuck you gentrification) the shop has closed down so there is no evidence of plagiarism, lmao. Even though the name Lily is typically female, I don't identify as female. In fact, my whole identity is genderless. Names shouldn't be categorised into genders, just like clothes shouldn't. I wear the clothes I wear simply because I like them and how they look on my flawless body.
What's our biggest difference?
I think our biggest difference is confidence. My confidence comes in the same way it comes when a woman puts on a gorgeous pair of heels and her favourite dress. It makes her feel amazing and so she just exudes self-assurance.
You have a very particular aesthetic, could you tell us more about that?
Well, when you come from the land of TOWIE you understand that flashy cars and gaudy clothes are obligatory. I've seen un-vajazzled women evicted from their homes, and families without personalised number plates being forced to retreat to, god forbid, Surrey. Es$ex represents the vulgar, the opulent, the in your face, and I want to represent that tenfold. I'm also influenced by the glam rock era of music. It was a very hedonistic and indulgent period, and the clothes were often camp, flamboyant, and genderless. I've defo adopted the 'less is less and more is more' approach.
You've dedicated all social media platforms to Lily Bling. Why don't I exist online?
Well, when we use social media we like to portray the best possible version of ourselves. We are more likely to post a picture of the fancy hotel we're staying in than the bus stop we're waiting at (fyi I don't take the bus, vulgar). We are constantly and carefully curating our digital lives to suit our audience, and this creates a gap between our digital self and our real life self. I guess our gap is just much bigger than others' (pardon the pun). If you were to exist on social media, you would just be like everyone else, posting pictures of your lunch and showing us your minging and probably basic family. Boring!
Thanks for that. Do you think you've created mixed opinions amongst people?
Oh yes. There are those who (unsurprisingly) love me, but there are others who just don't get me. I think the biggest issue people have is the blatant exposure of my sexuality, like when I publicly display my buttocks on Instagram. But I'm all for breaking down the barriers and the taboos we associate with sex and nudity so perhaps it's time to let more people see the full frontal me (literally). Besides, any publicity is good publicity.
Why do you think it's important to question taboos around sex and sexuality?
I'm a very sexual person. Sexuality isn't shameful, it's very powerful, and I aim to break the barriers associated with this. By taking selfies of my glorious bod and exposing them, I feel sexy and liberated. Just look at what happened with the recent naked picture of Kim Kardashian, it really proves how as a society we have a long way to go, in particular with how we view women. Society has taught us to always sexualise nudity. To be ashamed to feel sexy. We just need to learn that the human body is a beautiful thing, and stop being so prudish and shocked whenever we see a bit of flesh.
How would you compare what you're doing with drag? Aren't you basically a drag queen, Lilz?
If we look at it technically, drag is essentially a mockery of gender, and I don't feel like I'm doing that. I hate labels (except designer ones) because things these days rarely fall into binary categories. Just look at gender and sexuality. The area of drag has become so vast and its perimeters are extremely blurred. As I mentioned before, when a woman wears heels and a stunning dress she can completely change her appearance and behaviour, so who's to say that technically that isn't drag? Where do we draw the line?
As well as being full-time fabulous, you're also a photographer. Does your lifestyle influence your work?
Abso-fucking-lutely. A lot of my photography revolves around themes that exist in my world - sexuality, gender, consumerism and identity in particular. The images I capture tend to be sexy, fun, amusing, and also quite political. I recently submitted a piece to Polyester Magazine about the rapid gentrification in London and how the spirit of its underground party scene still remains. I always dress super glam on set and I often style a lot of my shoots too, which means the subject has been 'Lily Blinged'. Ryan, have I taught you anything?
Well you've certainly given me more confidence. I've learnt not to take life and myself quite so seriously. And you've taught me to love myself unconditionally, (genital) warts and all.
Congratz on the sense of humour hun, xo
Text Ryan Peterson