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how to be yourself with… miss blanks

Created in collaboration with our mates at Levi's.

If you’re a fan of Aussie hip hop, then you’ll likely be familiar with the name Miss Blanks. The newly established rapper is one of the most important voices in the genre. She’s also a bit of a bad-arse. In this chinwag, inspired by her video for Levi’s, which celebrates equality and diversity among the Australian LGBTQI+ community, Miss Blanks tells us all about how she got started, and how to channel your own inner awesomeness.

When did you start expressing yourself musically? Ever since I was young I can remember music being part of my world. When I was five, I would head to pre-school listening to favourites like Salt-N-Pepa and Queen Latifah. It was only later in life that it went from being a fun hobby and creative outlet to being a profession.

What steps were involved in finding your voice – or did this just come naturally to you? Community has played a huge role in helping me find my voice, in and outside of music. My friends, family, people in the area that I grew up in (and currently live), other creatives and musicians, and people that are just like me or look like me, have all played an important role in my life. This has shaped the person I am today, the voice I have, and how I use that voice and platform.

What challenges have you faced in your rap career? It’s been an interesting challenge wanting to carve out my own space, while being met with resistance from people who are unable to compare what I do to anyone else in Australia – and finding the agency and freedom to navigate that resistance.

You have such a strong stage presence. How do you channel power? I’m usually super-calm and reserved before going on stage, because I need to save my energy and get into the right mindset. I’ve always seen the stage as my space for me to reclaim everything and more – from my body to my voice, womanhood and sexiness. The audience gives me a lot of adrenaline, the music gives me power, and I give myself the energy I need to put on an impactful show.

Any tips for ladies who want to grab the mic? You can do it! Focus on being the best musician you can be, practise, be good to yourself, be patient, and have fun with it. If you’re not having fun with it, then who are you doing it for?

What’s your proudest achievement in life so far? Being able to buy my mum a brand new car was a proud moment for me. She’s my rock and has supported me in ways that not many mothers would support their child. My mum has given me so much in life, so it was soul nourishing being able to do that for her.

How do you boost your self-esteem when you’re not feeling so confident? I remember that everything is temporary and that it’s fine to feel like this, it’s somewhat humbling, and I’ll be OK in no time. I also try and remind myself where I started, what I’ve been through, what I’ve done and accomplished, and where I’m at now. No shame in my game!

If someone out there reading this is struggling be themselves, what’s the one piece of advice you’d give them? It’s important for you to know that self-care, harm reduction, and self-preservation are super-important. Ain’t nobody gonna have your back like you have your own, at the end of the day, and to live your most authentic self sometimes can be activism. Just know in this moment, between you and I, that you are valid; your thoughts, body, voice, dreams, and everything that is you is valid; and that there are amazing communities and people out there that will support, protect, elevate and love you.

There are heaps of rad female-identifying rappers out there. Are there any in particular that you’d recommend folks check out? Yes! I gotta plug my girls: Jesswar, Kaylah Truth, G Elenil, Aywin... and then there’s Stefflon Don, Dai Burger, Remy Ma, Nicki Minaj, Azealia Banks, Cardi B, Paigey Cakey and Nadia Rose.

This rather uplifting article was brought to you by the nice types at Levi's, who chatted to Miss Blanks as part of their I AM… short film series, celebrating equality and diversity among the LGBTQI+ community in Australia.

To listen to tunes from Miss Blanks, pop over this way.

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