Photo: Paul Hampartsoumian
Dominique Young Unique might be the best thing to come out of Tampa since Hulk Hogan—at just 19-years-old, the Florida rapper has already released three mixtapes (the most recent, Stupid Pretty, came out at the end of September), shared the stage with Big Boi, and worked with hip-hop royalty Yo Majesty. She can now add model to her resume: During London Fashion Week, Unique made a special appearance at Katie Eary (she of Kanye West Collection fame), trading her signature staccato barbs and Miami booty bass beats for a mesh dress and glitter heels. Considering that she not only made it down the runway with nary a stumble, but also got to meet Yeezy backstage, we’d call the trip a success. ELLE.com caught up with Unique to find out what makes her so stupid pretty.
ELLE: What’s harder: performing in front of an audience or walking in a fashion show?
Dominique Young Unique: OMG, well, performing is harder because all those people out there want to see what you are doing on the stage so you get very nervous. All the attention is on me. You have to worry about things when performing like tripping, or falling in your heels. I need to keep it glamorous, you know? Modeling is easy, you just need to walk and act like you are in a room all by yourself. You look forward, walk, and look sexy. People look at you and then you’re backstage. Performing on stage is harder, you have to entertain for a while and you have to put your all into it.
ELLE: How did your backstage meeting with Kanye go?
DYU: The backstage meeting with Kanye was amazing. I treated Kanye like he was a normal person because I’m in the same game. I don’t get star struck or act all excited, because I’m going to be there too one day! I’m trying to build up relationships—he said it was good having me there and that I was the baddest one there. Yes, yes, yes.
ELLE: Can we expect any collaborations between you two in the future?
DYU: Yes! There will be a feature coming with me and Kanye West, yes there will!
ELLE:In honor of Stupid Pretty, what’s the most stupid pretty thing you’ve seen during London Fashion Week?
DYU: Wow, let’s see: I saw a beautiful lady in all feathers! Her dress, her heels, her bag, everything was feathers. All white feathers. It was so amazing. And her hair was so dark, so long, shiny, and soft—it had that swing. She was so pretty, stupid pretty.
ELLE: Any other London favorites while you were in town?
DYU: I went to eat at The Wolseley in Piccadilly to have a huge steak for breakfast. It was so grand and glamorous there, pretty special. I always go to Puma in London and stock up—they have a lot of limited edition stuff. I also love a store called Primark too, it’s so big, so fashionable, and cheap! Across the street is Selfridges—I can’t forget about Selfridges! I love it like a fat kid loves cake. It’s so big, so pretty, and I want to buy it all. They have everything too—Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Gucci, everything is just there in one big store. I haven’t been to a pub ever, as I don’t drink. I get jetlag, so I go to Starbucks when I’m in London and get drunk off of coffee!
ELLE: How is Stupid Pretty different from your previous mixtapes?
DYU: It’s different because I’ve matured a bit more now and I think I’m just getting better. “Domination” and “Glamorous Touch” are good, but on this one, my song writing is much stronger. I came much harder and I took my time to do this mixtape. I think there are some songs that could be hits, and it’s global, it’s different. It’s about having fun, having attitude, being sassy and bitchy, just acting crazy. It’s pretty stupid, it’s stupid pretty. The next one will be better than this one; I’m still growing.
ELLE: What other projects are you working on?
DYU: My new videos off the mixtape. I want to shoot a video for every song on the mixtape. I’m [also] working on new music [and] outfit ideas for a Dominique Young Unique clothing line—I’m thinking big!