Red, White and Femme Fearless Femme Spotlight: Mia Tyler
Mar 2011 24

Red, White and Femme Fearless Femme Spotlight: Mia Tyler

Posted In Beauty,Blog,Books,Entertainment,Fashion,Food & Drink,Interviews,Love,Music,Piercings & Body Mods,Relationships,Sex,Society,Tattoos,TV,Vanity,Vegan,Vegetarian

by Darrah de jour

32-year-old model Mia Tyler comes from rock royalty. The fashion designer, actress, author and now music manager is the daughter of Aerosmith front man (and American Idol judge) Steven Tyler and the late-Warhol muse and Bowie video chick Cyrinda Foxe (she and Tyler sustained a rocky marriage from 1978-1987). But, Mia is a rebel of her own making. She stands for living out loud – and loving your body exactly as it is! *That’s not to say she doesn’t have some amazing body mods!*

An advocate of “plus-size” modeling, she’s appeared on the runways of New York and Paris and in Vogue. As she says, “Beauty comes in all shapes, sizes, and packages. Including ME!”

I had an exclusive interview with the bold brunette – and she had some revealing insights about female friendships, forging your own path and her favorite pastime with sister, Liv.

Read (and rock) on…

Darrah de jour: As you know, SG is all about redefining beauty to take what is considered beautiful out of the hands of the mainstream. Can you tell our readers about your journey to self acceptance? When and how did you begin loving yourself and stop judging your appearance or attitude based on other people’s perception?

Mia Tyler: We’re all Italian on my dad’s side, so a lot of the women are robust and bigger ladies and I think I just grew up in a family that was really accepting of alternative lifestyles. I’ve always had the F-you mentality where I didn’t really care what other people thought. I grew up in New Hampshire and in the ’80s it was a lot different. You didn’t see people with different color hair and tattoos. People made fun of me and stuff, but at home it was like ‘Do your own thing’ and ‘Be weird’ and ‘Whatever makes you happy.’ When I moved to New York and became a plus-size model it was like, ‘Here, we’re celebrating your difference.’ So I guess I never really felt self-conscious about things. Now, I do a lot of counseling with girls.

Ddj: Is there a charity or organization that you work with?

MT: I call it life coaching. I used to be a cutter. So, I talk about that because it’s really taboo to talk about. People usually think [cutters] want attention, but for me it wasn’t about that, so I try to talk about that in an open forum. That way, other people can talk about it. I make sure I’m available online for other girls. I was born into a famous family. I’m not one of those girls who’s going to sit around and spend daddy’s money and not have a job. I try to use the platform I was born with to show people I’m human – we’re all human, we all suffer and let’s try to help each other out.

Ddj: Do you think there have been instances where you’ve had body discrimination and if so, what sticks out in your mind and how did you deal with it?

MT: When I get in situations like that, I thrive. I grew up with a lot of friends who were covered in tattoos way before it became so popular and we all had jobs and did what we needed to do to survive. Something we loved to do is go to these fancy restaurants for brunch in New York because we all love to eat and be merry and happy and laugh. You would definitely see people looking at us and we might be a little vulgar. A lot of people think that when you’re covered in tattoos or you’re kind of alternative that you’re not on the level they are. I love discrimination because it lets me know that I’m being me. I try to teach people. It bums me out that so many girls get bummed out because of what other people think of them.

Ddj: What kind of beauty and health regimen do you follow?

MT: I’m 32 now. There’s this cliché that when you turn 30 your life changes. My older girlfriends were like, “Your dirty 30s! You become sluttier!” I’m still waiting for that to happen. But, when I turned 30, I was like…I need to start taking better care of myself. I went vegan four years ago then switched over to being a vegetarian. About a month ago I had a slip and started eating meat again. I don’t know how long it’s going to last. I do a lot of work with animals and different programs and I know what happens to the animals, so I’m assuming I’m going to go back to being a vegetarian again. I’m having a momentary lapse. I had surgery and when I came out of the anesthesia all I wanted was turkey bacon. As they say, bacon is the gateway.

Use lotion! My dad’s been using lotion his whole life and he has the most amazing skin for a man in his 60s. I started running this year. I’m not trying to lose a bunch of weight. I just want to get healthy. I have a house in the woods in Massachusetts and I love running through these back woods and listening to something brutal and insane but then visually seeing trees and deer. It’s this big mind fuck but it makes me feel really good.

Ddj: You grew up in a rock and roll family. What were the challenges and the rewards of that kind of art and chaos running rampant around you?

MT: It was like night and day. In New Hampshire everyone was very normal and had names like Jennifer and Sarah. No one had weird names like Mia. I was self-conscious about my name. I wanted to be Jessica. I thought that would be the greatest name. A lot of kids made fun of me. I have giant lips – it’s a family trait – and I would get called horse lips. But, when I was away on tour with my dad or in New York or some place more liberal, I would get to see the world and eat cool food and meet other cool people and it was a whole lifestyle shock and change. My little sister, she’s 22, her name is Chelsea. We don’t like to flaunt who our dad is. If somebody ever says anything about him, we feel weird about it. We kind of stay on the outside of it all. But, when we actually get to be with him, and be on the road, we appreciate it. We were born into it; I can’t deny it, I can’t hate it, I can’t love it – I just accept it for what it is.

Ddj: What are your thoughts on your father’s current stint as a judge on American Idol?

MT: At first, my sister and I were really against it. I used to watch American Idol. But I stopped watching after Adam Lambert because I felt like it was getting boring. There’s only so many times you can see Simon Cowell get mad at people and be nasty. I also thought that there were so many seasons where nothing was happening for these artists. I felt like the show was cool but nothing was happening afterwards. So, at first we were like, “Don’t do it dad! What are you getting yourself into?” Everything you see on the show – that is his personality. He’s a sexual guy. He’s a rock star. What rock star isn’t sexual? I think he’s adding something to it that it probably hasn’t had since the first season…I love their dynamic [Steven Tyler and J. Lo]. He’s being himself and trying to find that true talent. It’s a beautiful thing. Who he is on TV is who he is with us.

Ddj: Are you and your half-sister, Liv Tyler, close?

MT: Yeah. She’s 18 months older than me. All of us kids – I also have a younger brother, he just turned 19 – we all go through life and go through the same thing. My older sister, Liv, she was married and I was married at the same time. And then my dad was married. And then I got a divorce and my dad got a divorce and my sister got a divorce. It’s nice having an older sister that has been through the same things. We’re all silly and crazy and we get really excited when we see each other.

Ddj: Do you have a favorite pastime, like spending holidays together, or something you did as children that you recall?

MT: Food is a big part of our lives. We love eating. We love holidays. Especially Thanksgiving and Christmas. Food really brings people together. Holidays can suck. Who even cares about what the idea of these holidays really is. I don’t even believe in God or any of that. We just make it about partying and being together and eating food. Anything involving food is one of our hobbies and pastimes and present and future. [laughs]

Ddj: I would love to see you as a judge on America’s Next Top Model. They need a fresh voice and somebody that’s embracing of all sizes and shapes and colors and appearances and bringing out who these girls really are instead of trying to mold them into something.

MT: The thing is I was a plus-size model. There’s skinny models and plus-size models. I started getting tattooed, and that’s when I started falling in love with the idea that it’s not just body size, it’s body differences and the things you can do with your body make you who you are. The whole modeling industry is so far from who I am now. I love the world of tattoo and body modification. It’s self art. You’re a walking painting. Mainstream isn’t really accepting that. If they had an America’s Next Top Model that was alternative – I’d be all for it. I think it’s unfair that magazines and media only pushes these skinny girls that all look pretty much the same and that tattoos are taboo. There’s a fashion show that my friend throws every year called Catwalk Tragedy. It’s one of my favorite things to judge. It’s about celebrating bodies and life and randomness. It’s in Philadelphia and New York.

Ddj: You recently started a music management company and are signing bands. Tell me about that.

MT: I’ve always loved the music industry. Growing up around it, I’ve seen all the different sides of it. I’ve always liked the behind-the-scenes stuff. My best friend Leah Catlett’s husband plays guitar for the band Norma Jean. She’s been my best friend forever and we’ve always talked about starting up a management company. We’ve seen everything, and kind of being the mom to these bands and helping them get developed and get going is something we’ve always been interested in. Part of me coming back to Massachusetts…I want to start doing the things I’ve always wanted to. It’s called ONR. We manage a band called Confrontation. They’re metal/hardcore. They just got booked for the third day of New England Metal Fest.

Ddj: What type of bands are you looking for and can readers who are in bands submit demos to you?

MT: Definitely. That’s one of my favorite things. Sitting and listening to the band’s submissions. On Facebook, the keyword is ONR. The email is: MiaTylerONRM@gmail.com.

Ddj: Tell me about your fashion line Revolution 1228?

MT: We had to shut down Revolution 1228 because we couldn’t use the name. My business partner Victoria Baker and I are setting up an online store. I can’t say the name yet. Before we were just doing plus-size clothes but it should be about celebrating all body sizes, so we’re doing everything from size small up to 4X. We’re also doing men’s, children’s and some housewares. I post samples on Facebook so the fans can pick what they want.

Ddj: From reading your book, Creating Myself, I take it that you – like many of us – had a challenging relationship with your mother. Do you plan to have kids, and, if so, what type of mother do you envision yourself as?

MT: I do. I just got chills when you asked me that. I love children. I can’t wait ’til I meet somebody that I think is worthy of having kids with. I grew up with a crazy mom. It never deterred me from wanting to have my own family. All it did was make me want to be better than my mom was. My mom was a beautiful woman. She was a little kooky in her head. Sometimes she was the most amazing and sometimes she was the worst person ever. It was always a balancing act between good and bad. When we got the news that she had 18 months to live…I knew that if I didn’t learn to forgive her then I’d be miserable for the rest of my life.

Ddj: Do you have strong female friendships and how do you work through some of the obstacles, like jealousy, competition and fights over boys that can sometimes happen between women?

MT: I used to be friends with all boys because I was a tomboy. I grew up around a lot of boys. I was content in my OshKosh overalls and not brushing my hair. I guess I had a boy mentality. I grew up backstage a lot. I saw how women would throw themselves at musicians just because they were musicians. My whole idea of what women were was kinda fucked up as a kid. I associated chicks that would wear certain outfits as ‘slutty.’ I just knew that I never wanted to be like that. Obviously the older I got and the more people I was around I realized not all people are like that. There’s a lot of girls that use their sexuality – I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing. We’re women we have boobs and all that fun stuff. I do have a bunch of really amazing girlfriends in my life. My best friend Gillian is a strong chick, she’s a tattoo artist. All the girls I’m friends with, we all do art and we’re all tomboys, we’re not super girly. I usually like different guys than my girlfriends do, so I’ve never really had an issue with that.

Ddj: Turn-ons in a guy?

MT: I like big guys. Really tall. 6’3″ and up. I’m 5’8″ so, if I wear heels, I love it if a guy is way bigger than me. I like big chubby dudes covered in tattoos. Big hands are sexy. I love imperfections. I like crooked teeth, big nose. I don’t like the ideal perfect guy.

Ddj: Are you open to dating women?

MT: I’m not sexually attracted to women but I’m obsessed with women’s bodies. I love boobs. I’ve made out with tons of chicks.

Ddj: How many body modifications do you have and can you tell me about them – tattoos and piercings?

MT: I never really was so into piercing. I had my tongue pierced for a long time. I had my eyebrow pierced in the ’90s. A couple years ago, I had always wanted snakebites, but I was with a guy who hated facial piercings. When we broke up, I got them. Something about having your lips pierced and tugging on them, I love that. Dermal piercings are sexy. I’m covered in tattoos. That seems to be my thing. I’m so far beyond counting. I have my arms sleeved. My hands, fingers, my feet, my legs, my back. It’s so hard to stop. I’m hoping to do my chest soon. I have so many unfinished tattoos. My friends and I had homemade tattoo night with a stick, tattoo needle and India ink. You switch the needle when you do somebody else. Don’t do this at home. [laughs.]

Ddj: What’s on frequent rotation on your iPod?

MT: I’m obsessed with Deftones’ Diamond Eyes. Fuck Buttons, Lamb of God, Pantera, a Boston band Ramallah, Thrice. For country, Hank III and The Dixie Chicks.

Flash Five:
Ddj: 1. Favorite Comic Book?
MT: Cherry Poptart.
Ddj: 2. Vices?
MT: Music.
Ddj: 3. Favorite place?
MT: London.
Ddj: 4. Any Regrets?
MT: Not telling my mom I loved her more.
Ddj: 5. Best Advice you’ve ever received and from who?
MT: When I turned 18, my dad sat me down and told me, “No matter what you do in life – whether you are a porn star, a doctor or a lawyer – I will support you. Be you.”

For more on Mia Tyler, follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

Images by Justice Howard.

Related Posts:
Red, White and Femme: America is FUGLY
Red, White and Femme: Trusting The Ring of Purity – Faith vs Sex Education

***

Darrah de jour is a freelance journalist who lives in LA with her dog Oscar Wilde. Her writing has appeared in Marie Claire, Esquire and W. In her Red, White and Femme: Strapped With A Brain – And A Vagina columns for SuicideGirls, Darrah will be taking a fresh look at females in America.

11 comments
Ali Gregory
Ali Gregory

;)  Love Mia!  She has a heart of gold!! 

Craig Amabello
Craig Amabello

Great Interview!... Very Cool. Love the Pics too!

Anonymous
Anonymous

Hi Mia, I found your interview interesting and can relate to loving your body. I am 46 years old and still think I'm 21 lol...I used to be skinny and then when I turned 35 I had back issues and lots of steroid injections thus gained a ton of weight. I am just starting to accept myself and reading your thoughts and ideas have totally helped me. At one point not too long ago, I had planned my suicide. I thought here you are fat as hell, used to have a rocking body, back issues, can't do my job anymore which is nursing. I was just all to hell. Then I saw you and thought hey here is a woman that could alter her body anyway, shape and form and loves herself just as she is. I wanted all of the gastric bypass, lipo, and all that but couldn't afford it. I started walking around my neighborhood as much as i can and am very excited to see your new line of clothes. Thanks for inspiring me!! You have made me want to live, love, laugh again. BTW, I love boobs too..Don't know why but I do. I need a boob lift but considering the situation I am in, I can't afford one. I just rely on a good ole push up bra. But who in the world wants to get with a guy and when you take your bra off, your boobs hit your belly button...lol.....Thanks for being who you are!! Tell Steven I said good job!!! Until next time....peace..Sherry Hodges

Tiffany Smith
Tiffany Smith

Great interview and very revealing. Mia and her sister Liv are GORGEOUS! That's right, we have to shout it out loud. I've loved Liv Tyler for as long as I can remember. Mia is just as gorgeous but not as well known, but boy does she look awesome. I love the marriage of high fashion and plus size modeling and how Suicide Girls stands for fearless femininity. Even though Mia admits to having been a tomboy, she has mass appeal to women as well as to men. Great job Darrah, creating a multi-dimensional piece that brings a new appreciation for the lesser known qualities of a stunning woman.

Susan
Susan

Mia, you are such and inspiration for young girls an even women struggling with trying to fit into size 2 when they are a 16 or 22, just because someone (society) says your not the right size. This can be tramatic for some of us that never grew up with that great support. Mia your beautiful!!! I love your confidence ..

Ali
Ali

;)  Very honest interview, your seem very down to earth, which is unusual being that you have a famous family! Stay just the way you are babe!

Trixy
Trixy

Great interview,I hope many girls,regardless of size will see this interview,its honest,open and real.It's not the fact that you're a rockstar's kid,or the fact that you have beauty about you,it's what you reveal that shines and makes sense.Keep living it real Mia,we're grateful we have strong women like you around XO

Nik
Nik

Awesome interview, Darrah!! Gr8 questions! I hope Mia goes back to being a sexy vegan!!

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