When I was discussing with Kelly about casting for our CHANEL Haute Couture shoot she suggested this amazing young creature named India Salvor Menuez. From the first google image search I did of her I found her so fascinating, you really can see how this girl is just herself, a true individual who makes decisions based on her ideas and who she knows she is… so refreshing. Her presence in the studio was that of a calm artist, confident beyond her years. When I began to photograph her I could not contain my delight. She moved naturally in front of the lens the way I always try to direct models to do. This creative little creature, something of an exotic flower, was like a Renaissance swan to me. When I found the moment through the digital frame, India, so patient would hold it while the large format polaroid technician would help me capture the moment again but this time for analog. After the shoot we interviewed India about her personal projects, a fitting companion to these personal photos~
You’ve modeled, acted, painted, photographed, created performance art – which of these mediums are you most drawn to? Is there any medium you want to explore that you haven’t yet?
I appreciate them all for such different reasons, for me it’s the cross pollination that is most interesting right now…seeing how different mediums can work together, or what the discrepancies are, how each path communicates its message differently is what interests me. I have so much respect for masters of crafts, artists who focus on their one way, but I’m just not there yet…I still want to try so much more. I co-wrote a film that has been in the works for 4 years now with my dear friend Maiko Endo; and working on that side of filmmaking has been really special for me and is certainly something I want to continue doing more of. One day I’m sure I’ll direct.
How would you describe your art?
A practice in search of new experiences.
When do you first remember thinking, I want to be an artist?
As long as I can remember. When I was little I remember thinking it must be the most free way one could live.
What do you look to explore in your work?
The human experience and how to push that further.
Who inspires you? Who are your heroes?
There are too many! But the heroes who influence me most are those I get to meet and work with. I cherish getting to grow up in NY, especially for the opportunity to call artists I so adore in time my peers.
Your big acting breakthrough was as Leslie in Something in the Air. What was that experience like?
It was amazing; I was so unexperienced but I just totally went for it and am so glad I did.
Do you have any films coming out soon?
A film I shot last summer with director Nathan Silver is going around the festivals right now called Uncertain Terms that’s getting some great response from audiences.
Then the film I mentioned that’s in post-production right now with Maiko should be finished sometime next year, so that’s super exciting. I shot a really special feature with director Luigi Campi upstate this past spring that I am looking forward to coming out and a short film with Zia Anger shot just a few weeks ago…and a handful of other indies in post-production I’m curious about. I’ll be shooting a short film later this month with Sebastian Sommer. I guess you can say I like to keep busy!
What projects are you currently working on?
Aside from all the films…I am soon to release my first public treadings into music on a project called YOU WHO with my amazing friend and collaborator Brian Close on Save the Day Records. We’re playing our first two shows this weekend actually: Friday at Body Actualized Center and then Sunday at PS1’s Book Fair which comes through us both having shows on Know-Wave Radio which is a continuing project.
I of course have my studio practice I put a lot of effort into keeping up, and then there are some exciting performance art projects – Gallerinas being one and then another is coming up with the same collaborators Mike Bailey-Gates & Claire Christerson at a show called Gymnasty which should be delicious…
What would be your dream project?
Something that brought everyone together at their full potential somehow.
What are you most passionate about?
Where do you find your calm amidst the craziness?
In nature and good food.
What drew you to live in Chinatown?
My dad moved here when I was in 4th grade after my parents split up. My mom still lives in the same sweet home in Park Slope but it was really Chinatown that opened me up to the whole of Manhattan and I’ve had two apartments elsewhere since I moved out but moving back to the neighborhood a year ago felt so solid. I knew this would be an apartment I would really live in a while. There are a lot of different reasons i love living in Chinatown but in general I just like the attitude of the neighborhood.
humans who identify as women
New York is a city of dreams…my New York dream is…
every day different
Favorite trait of New Yorkers is…
they are weird
I wish people appreciated more…
An ideal day for me is…
a new experience with a good meal
I am happiest when…
The best way I express myself is…
In ten years I hope to be…
India’s website // Instagram // Tumblr
All things CHANEL here
Clothing & Jewelry by CHANEL //Modeled by India Salvor Menuez // Styled by Kelly Framel // Makeup by Christine Cherbonnier // Hair by Joseph DiMaggio // Manicure by Angel Williams // 8×10 Polaroid Technician Noé Arteaga // Concrete Mural by Mr Perswall for Wallpaperdirect