marine neuilly of the plastiscines debuts an eerily glam new video
The French singer addresses fantasy and the male gaze with her new Chérie Darling song “Téléphone Moi.”
Photography Matteo Verzini
Marine Neuilly has been making music since the age of 16, when she founded hit 2000s girl group The Plastiscines with her best friend. What began as a way to rebel at school turned into a runway success story, with a record deal and a live set on Gossip Girl. Since then, Marine has turned her cheeky punk attitude to a line of t-shirts, panties and zines, launched under the pseudonym “La Chatte de Françoise.”
Alongside “La Chatte” she also performs as “Chérie Darling,” a new solo act named for the Warhol superstar Candy Darling. Neuilly explains how “for me, she represents progress. She was one of the first transgender actresses. It was revolutionary and it’s really inspiring - she was so strong and iconic.”
With all of her creative projects, Neuilly tries to embody a new freedom for women. “With everything happening in the world today, the ‘me too’ hashtag and things like that, you can really see how important it is for women to keep spreading their own values.”
With Chérie Darling’s latest video “Téléphone Moi”, she references Wim Wenders’s iconic film Paris Texas. Directed by photography duo Écoute Chérie, the clip combines her feminist message with her love of Americana. “I wanted to recreate this fantasy that men have, imagining this beautiful woman waiting for them. In my song I am this woman. But at the end of the video, the girl is not there, he is alone with his own fantasies. She doesn’t exist.”
Chérie Darling has a very distinct aesthetic. How much do you think about the visuals when you’re making music?
It’s super important to me to think of the image. Today the music industry has changed so much. If you want to be really serious with what you’re doing, you have to be in charge of the videos, the image; it’s a whole package. You have to say something.
I'm releasing my first EP at the beginning of next year, and it’s about what happens after midnight. Each song is going to have its own video. I really thought of it as a story - I imagined all these characters in my head.
Describe Chérie Darling in 3 words.
Glam. Minimal in a way, because it’s really simple. I don’t want to overproduce the music, I want something really raw - “brut” in French. And pop!
How important is your creative community to your work?
Really important. I try to work with my friends all the time. With my first band, we had a label really quickly, so we never got to choose the people we worked with. It was frustrating, because I had ideas but I couldn’t express them.
That’s why this new project is really refreshing, because I get to work with people I choose. I don’t have a label, so I’m doing everything myself, because I want to stay free. Men in the music industry are really hard on women. With The Plastiscines, we were supposed to sign with another big label and the founder told us “I can’t sign you girls, in two years you might have children.” We were 17!
You’re Parisian and yet your work is very informed by American culture. What do you feel is the cultural relationship between France and America?
I love American culture. All the movies, the music. I love rock and roll. It’s clichéd to say, but I feel like in America if you have a dream you can make it happen.
I also love Andy Warhol, he was a visionary. He predicted that in the future everyone will be famous for 15 minutes, and now that’s what’s happening with social media, reality TV.
I also like that he worked with his friends. I think today we have to be united in what we’re doing - it’s so much better than trying to work alone. In France in the music industry, there’s no community, people just push themselves. That’s why I feel more connected to Americans. They just do it, they don’t care! They like to meet people.
You have two stage names - Chérie Darling and La Chatte de Françoise. Are these different personas?
When I quit my band I wanted to have another name, one that would be funny. In French “la chatte” means pussy, but “Françoise” is a really classic name, so it’s a bit shocking. I thought “La Chatte de Françoise” should be something where I can connect with other girls. I want to spread a message, but I also want it to be fun. I don’t want it to be like “I’m feminist, I don’t like men.”
I made a fanzine called “Girl Crush” last year, and I also made panties, because I love them! I collaborated with this brand called Miss Crofton. She has a lingerie brand and everything is handmade in London.
Chérie Darling is my music project. I wanted to have another name because it's interesting to create a different character that I can play with. Chérie Darling is really glam rock; it’s all midnight, neon.
What are qualities that you’d like to see more of amongst girls today?
I don’t like that women are automatically associated with sexuality. We’re just human beings, we don’t have to be sexualized in everything we do. Why do we have to be pretty to succeed?
I want to show the next generation of girls that we can have ideas, we can be creative. We don’t have to be dolls, wear makeup every day. All the reality TV girls, they just give men what they want. Everything is fake. They are famous for their plastic, and I think that’s a shame. You should be famous for what you do, what you think, for your creativity.
www.lachattedefrancoise.com / @lachattedefrancoise / @cheriedarlingofficial / @ecoutecherie