• Princess Gollum
  • Princess Gollum
  • Princess Gollum

PEOPLE: The multi-hyphenate Princess Gollum talks to us about how to deal with social media, growing up sheltered and allowing yourself to break free and live your truth

Josephine Pearl Lee aka Princess Gollum is our favourite post-y2k meets cute meets vampy metalcore girl. When she’s not modelling and utilising her platform, and self, to defy reductive stereotypes of East Asians and offer alternative representation, Lee can be found DJing, producing shoots, directing music videos, or working at Please and Thank You showroom. “Half the time, I feel like I’m doing everything and some days I feel like I’m doing nothing at all. Finding fulfilment is my main every day goal.”

You’ve had different hair colours and silhouettes over the years; platinum PG was iconic, but the choppy black mullet seems to be the most recognisable Princess Gollum hair look. What is a hairstyle you haven’t had, but really want to try out? Thank you. I loved the mullet. It was my first haircut where it felt like it was my own. My good friend and hair goddess, Sully Layo came up with it together. I’ve always wanted to shave my head but I know I will miss my hair. I love hair. It’s so crazy that our bodies are covered in tiny holes all over that grows hair out of them and they know where to grow thicker and more of. I also really want straight black hair down to my knees. But every other week I want to shave my head. This says a lot about my personality. I am always feeling two extreme feelings at once. 

Who are some of your beauty/hair icons? Pat McGrath — OG, beauty queen, ICON, and she is so sweet in person. Isamaya Ffrench — Has done so much for the culture in the last 3 years, ICON. Lea Colombo — her editorials are art, commercials are art, colours are incredible; ICON. Petra Collins – ICONIC, would be such a dream to work with. If Petra told me to jump off a bridge I would. The Bloody brothers — Bloody Osiris and Bloody Dior. I don’t know them very well but they have this great gift of making you laugh and also I think they’re really cool. Iconic. And my main icon is Björk. 

Obviously you have a different approach to beauty, where you find beauty in the strange, creepy, and (conventionally) unattractive. What is your perception of beauty? And how or when did you start rejecting typical beauty standards? As cliché as this sounds, I really believe beauty is inside of you. It’s the way you operate and the energy that you carry and spread to others around you. You’re you. No one else can be you but you. You know you better than anyone else. When your mind and soul and body are connected and in tune, naturally you’re able to present your physical body or face the way it’s optimal with what you’re given. Society and media have always shoved their standards down our throats and it’s toxic. We are all the same inside. We want to be beautiful and want others to find us attractive; there’s nothing wrong with that but when we spend so much time, money and efforts in conforming to the way we think we’re supposed to look, we get further from the truth. Don’t let other people’s ideas of how you should be rob you from your happiness. Live your truth and be free. Experiment and have fun. When you’re your genuine self 100%, you are beautiful. 

What has your relationship with your own hair been like? Love / hate. But I think I love it a little more. 

Does being labelled an Instagram It-girl ever become exhausting? Oh yeah. Life is reaaalllly hard. No I don’t even think of myself like that. I am just really grateful that I get to make work with amazing artists and learn from them everyday. There’s not much pressure because I don’t have to do anything I don’t want to do. I live to the beat of my own drum. That’s the only way I know how to operate and I doubt it’ll change anytime soon. Wherever I am now, even if it’s not exactly where I want to be, I know it’s the right place and I’ll be where I’m supposed to be exactly at the perfect moment. 

Do you have any tips for self care, specifically for dealing with social media? Take the positive as encouragement and the negative as motivation. There’s no love without hate and no hate without love. Don’t spend too much time on it. Live in real time, real life. Time doesn’t come back. Social media is a tool and a way to express/ share ideas. Clout means nothing without the work. Work hard. Work really hard.

One of the things you stand for is people being able to be 100% true to themselves and expressing themselves however they choose. Growing up, were you always able to express yourself the way you do now? Growing up in what used to be a very cult-y, conventional and religious family, life wasn’t set up for me to be into art, music, culture. I remember changing the names of Missy Elliot and Ciara’s 1,2 Step into a worship song on iTunes so that I could listen to it on my iPod without getting into trouble. Anything that wasn’t related to the Bible, was secular and there was no room for that. 

This highly sheltered and surveilled life led to my infamous rebellion, all throughout high school which I won’t get into now but know that it was the wildest years of my life. At the core, I’ve always been me. People always tell me that. I’ve never changed who I am and I don’t think I could even if I tried to. I just match this energy with the way I look and speak and live life. It’s the only way I know how. 

What’s next for you? I want to make art, money and work for Soulja Boy. 

Interview: Katharina Lina
Photography, Creative Direction + Styling: Coral Garvey
Talent: Josephine Lee
Makeup: Laramie Glen
Hair: Kelly Peach
Set prop + Assistant: Ryu Osada
Snake Handler: Jules, Reptile Rentals
Special Thanks: Jiv D
Fashion: latex bodysuits TABLEAUX VIVANTS, jewellery CIUDAD DE ESPEJOS