India Salvor Menuez on Protest and Personal Heroes

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India Salvor Menuez on Protest and Personal Heroes

The actress and activist discusses her own idea of heroism with Jack Sunnucks, accompanied by exclusive imagery from AnOther Magazine S/S17

India Salvor MenuezPhotography by Ben Toms, Styling by Robbie Spencer

In celebration of the new generation of actresses determined to leverage their fame for the greater good, Ben Toms' and Robbie Spencer’s fashion story, published in AnOther Magazine S/S17, featured young women from Rowan Blanchard to India Menuez; Sophie Kennedy Clark to Maddie Ziegler. Writer Jack Sunnucks spoke to each of these women on set, for a series of interviews running over two weeks exclusively on anothermag.com.

Born and raised in New York, India Salvor Menuez is an artist and actress. Her career thus far has taken on an enviable multidisciplinary quality, whether appearing in the Sundance hit White Girl, talking at MOMA about her performance art, or appearing in the Miu Miu campaign shot by Steven Meisel. Menuez is a central figure of a bi-coastal art scene, and enlists her friends into her work – be it performance, or making a booklet entitled YOUR BODY, YOUR CHOICE, AND KEEPING IT THAT WAY. She's currently working in L.A., where her acting career has taken a turn for the particularly busy of late, with appearances in Tom Ford’s Nocturnal Animals and the TV series I Love Dick.  

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India Salvor Menuez, AnOther S/S17Photography by Ben Toms, Styling by Robbie Spencer

Jack Sunnucks: Who’s your hero?
India Salvor Menuez: I don’t know how to believe in having a singular hero. I don’t think anyone really is a hero; I think that people do heroic things and that is something that I get excited about and inspired by. Right now, I feel like everyone who is protesting at Standing Rock is a hero. A kid at a school in the South who decides to come out in whatever way – that person is a hero. I think anyone can be a hero. Who is my hero? I don’t know, I just feel like I have so many.

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India Salvor Menuez, AnOther S/S17Photography by Ben Toms, Styling by Robbie Spencer

JS: What about an on-screen hero? 
ISM: Well, it’s funny, because now you mention it, I remember that actually I did have a hero as a kid – but it wasn’t an actor. There was a voice actor but it was an animated character: Nausicaä in Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, which is a Miyazaki film. It was also a graphic novel series that I read as a kid. She was my first real hero, because she broke the mould of what you would expect a princess to be. Beyond that, she was an environmentalist and a total radical, who had to shake up the whole world to stop them killing the planet. I thought she was really cool – and I still think is really cool. 

JS: What do you feel hopeful about for the next year and the future, after a particularly dismal 2016?
ISM: I think it’s a good thing that everything is all out on the table now. Even white supremacist, misogynistic, capitalist agendas are out in the open and subject to scrutiny. I think this whole scenario has forced good conversations, even though it’s all really scary.

“I don’t think anyone really is a hero, I think people do heroic things and that is something that I get excited about and inspired by” – India Salvor Menuez

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India Salvor Menuez, AnOther S/S17Photography by Ben Toms, Styling by Robbie Spencer

JS: New York and California are obviously very free places – I was wondering what you might say to give hope to a young person who perhaps lives somewhere more conservative?
ISM: Don’t let yourself feel trapped. It’s such an easy feeling to have – to feel trapped in your context, trapped in your identity – but there is room to transcend that by connecting with others.

JS: What can individual people do to change things?
ISM: Each person’s activism is going to look different. It’s not worth feeling insecure about it, like “Oh, I’m just starting to do something about all of that dumb shit.” It’s a waste of energy to feel insecure about that!

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India Salvor Menuez, AnOther S/S17Photography by Ben Toms, Styling by Robbie Spencer

Hair Marki Shkreli for Marki Hair Care; Make-up Samuel Paul at Forward Artists for Marc Jacobs Beauty; Set design Bryn Bowen at Streeters; Photographic assistants Vincent Perini, Geordy Pearson and Kaleb Marshall; Styling assistants Louise Ford, Johanna Burmester-Andersson, Bonnie Macleod and Sabrina Terlink; Hair assistant Kelly Oliphant.

These photographs originally appeared in AnOther Magazine S/S17.