Meet the latest generation of New York creatives

They tell i-D about inclusivity in beauty, how to make the most of the city, and their hopes for 2020.

by i-D Staff; photos by Deirdre Lewis
28 January 2020, 2:44pm

To ring in 2020, i-D wanted to introduce the talents we think will be making waves in the new decade — from singer and artist Raveena, who has gone from being one of our artists to watch to being on constant repeat, to model and artist May Hong, who finds time to walk for Eckhaus Latta in between making her intricate work. We styled them in nail looks befitting a new vibe for 2020, and asked them about what fuels their creativity, what the best (and worst) things about living in New York are, and what their hopes are for the new year. Let's hope, in the words of Raveena, that it's a year full of "exploration and fun and adventure."


May Hong, artist and actor

Can you tell i-D about your work?
Lately I've been painting and making work at a ceramics studio while I have free time in between projects.

What's the best thing about living in NYC? What's the worst?
The best thing about living in New York is that I'm close to my family. My parents and I immigrated here in 1995 and have been here since. The worst — Santa Con.

How do you express yourself through clothes and beauty?
I've actually been minimizing all that I do on both fronts, which has been refreshing. So currently, I’m expressing myself through purging.

What's your hope for 2020?
That I will come into my full power.


Levi Berlin, photographer

Tell us a bit about the kind of work that you do.
The kind of work that I do kind of spreads so far that it’s hard to describe exactly what I do. My interests are a lot of things. I’m in touch with the music side, but I also do photography and I model a lot. I’m trying to make products now, so it’s kind of hard to gauge what the work is.

How does New York influence your creativity and inspire you?
It pushes me to keep going, that’s for sure. Because the city’s so fast that if you stop working for a second, you feel like you’re lost already. So, it definitely keeps me pushing. If I really want this, I have to work hard and I have to keep moving forward at all times.

How do you express yourself through clothes and beauty?
I don’t really try and be beautiful. Right now I’m in this really weird stage in clothing, where I’m just wearing the same shit every day. Because right now I’m not really caring about my clothes as much. Like I said, I’m in this weird work period where I’m just more so just thinking about work than anything else. So, I guess my clothes would represent my favorite cartoons because they always wear the same outfit every day.

What’s your hope for 2020?
My hope for 2020 is to live on my own, and be a lot more happier.


Raveena, singer and artist

Can you tell i-D about your work and your music?
Music has always been my main passion and I've been doing it since I was really young, 10 years old. I just fell in love with R&B and jazz and soul at a really young age. I've been studying the singers since forever. But as I started to grow as an artist, I also have gotten really into visual art and music video directing and drawing. I think my thing as an artist is I always want to keep pushing myself and keep experimenting and changing.

How does New York influence you creatively?
I feel like there is a very humble and real quality about New York, which I've always loved. I've spent probably half my life here, so for every neighborhood there's a memory, whether it's sad or beautiful.

What are some of the best and worst things about living here?
I think the worst is the grime and not having access to nature. But I think the best is that it's such a diverse melting pot. The food is the best, there are always beautiful people to meet, there's just a lot going on especially in visual and fashion.

How do you express yourself through clothes and beauty?
My style is very whimsical, colorful, childlike, really influenced by nostalgia, the seventies, nineties. I just love reaching back in time and playing different characters. Cher is a huge influence on my style.

What's your hope for 2020?
I have two hopes. One of them is that I really want this year to be about exploration and fun and adventure and I want to travel a lot, want to meet new people. I want to make out with a lot of people. I want to dance with a lot of people. I want to make a lot of music, play live. But then another one is that I really want to focus on charity in a really real way. I've been thinking a lot about how to give back to my community and causes that I care about in a way that extends far past social media, and how can I take all this new found privilege that I have and really give back? That's my hope.


Sophia Tori Wilson, visual artist

Tell us more about the work that you do.
I’m mainly a photographer. I do a lot of fashion photography but I also design shoes on the side and I work with Nike.

How does New York influence you creatively?
In many different ways. I’m a born and bred New Yorker so New York has pretty much led to all of my creative endeavors over the years. I literally get inspired every single day just by walking down the street, from the colors that I see, to the style of clothing that people wear, to the people that I meet everyday. Literally every single thing in New York City is creatively stimulating.

What’s inspiring you right now?
Honestly, this whole climate change situation is really inspiring me to do more things and incorporate more effort into my daily life to try and do my part. Whether it’s just eating at restaurants that are donating their profits to the fires, or incorporating that into my own artwork. I try to use more sustainable fashion brands in my editorial work now. That’s been really inspiring to create content that surrounds that. But also, even being on set today where we have to bring our own water bottle. That’s all inspiring.

How do you express yourself through clothes and beauty?
I wear a lot of color, definitely a lot of color. And I feel like every single thing that I wear has a story to it, which is really cool. I feel like I’m somewhat of a clothing hoarder. I have so much clothing but I just think it’s so important to express yourself through the way that you look every day. I also customize shoes on the side, so that also ties into how I creatively express myself in my style.

What’s your hope for 2020?
I just hope that I can reach a lot of personal goals in terms of balancing school and my career at the same time. It’s always been a little bit hard just because working while being in school is just obviously so much to deal with all the time. But I hope that I’m able to grow my career to new heights.


Crystal Anderson, experiential creative producer

How does New York influence you creatively?
I’m from South Carolina, and so moving to New York, there’s just no place like it. You can find inspiration on any corner, on any block, in any borough. Whenever you’re feeling down, you can just literally step outside your front door.

What’s inspiring you now?
So much. I mean, Instagram gives you a chance to see what’s happening in all corners of the world. Right now it’s the younger kids, the 18, 19, and 20 year olds, seeing what they’re doing. Especially in New York but also in Tokyo and small towns like Nashville, they’re all doing really cool things because they have access to see what the rest of the world is doing. So it’s been really interesting for me to watch and that’s where I’m getting my inspiration from.

How do you express yourself through clothes and beauty?
I let my clothes speak for themselves. Same with beauty. Really, it’s how I express my mood. I’m wearing black today, but it’s not really in my wardrobe in general. I’m a colorful person, the more layers the better, just sort of an armor. It’s just how I think about getting dressed or doing my nails, doing my makeup.

What’s your hope for 2020?
All the good things. I’m getting married in 2020.

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