By Eva Buckley
The New-Zealand YouTube star Freyja NicLeòid has been making videos for quite some time now and has gained many fans because of her style and personality. People watch her videos to see what it’s like living life as a Goth by following her on her travels, seeing how she does her makeup, hair and Gothic fashion. Her vlogs provide a look into what Gothic subculture is like today. I was lucky enough to get an interview with Freyja and ask her about the scene and her own experiences being part of the Goth community.
Q1. What first attracted you to the Gothic scene?
For me it was not a case of having admired the scene from afar and wishing to join in, it simply didn’t exist where I grew up, and in those days we didn’t have the internet in the capacity that we do now. So I was “attracted to the scene” as soon as I travelled and discovered others like me; who looked like me, had the same sense of humour, and liked the same stuff I did. It was like reuniting with a family I hadn’t met yet.
Q2. Would you say the Goth community has grown in recent years? If yes what do you think has had the biggest influence to the culture?
While many people complain that the scene is dying, I disagree. It continues to change a lot, but only seems to be expanding. The biggest influence to the culture is definitely the internet. Now it’s extremely simple to meet and communicate with others, plan events, share new music, buy and sell fashion, and so forth. The internet has made it possible for so many new people to discover a social scene where they feel they fit in.
Q3. You travel to many places and to different gatherings for people who are part of goth culture. What place so far has been the most accepting and enjoyable?
Wave-Gotik-Treffen in Leipzig, Germany, was by far the best thing I have ever been to in my entire life. That festival is nothing short of epic, and really has something for everyone. I went there by myself, but was never alone. From day one I met and befriended so many cool people, created lasting friendships and wonderful memories. I think most would agree that WGT is the best and most enjoyable goth festival in the world. Despite the scary looks, the scene in general tends to be pretty welcoming and friendly to all kinds of people. It’s probably one of the most accepting cultures of all.
Q4. What or who has influenced your style at different stages throughout your life?
It’s difficult to identify particular things or people, but I would say my main influences are Victorian and Baroque fashion as well as 80s Trad Goth & Deathrock fashion in general. I can definitely say visual-kei icon Mana had a big influence on my style.
Q5. Was there any particular reason why you decided to create videos for YouTube?
I had recently graduated film school, and wanted to go out into the world creating music videos and short films. But being who I am, I was so often being asked how I do my makeup, how I style my hair, how long does it all take etc. So I figured I would make videos about those things and refer people to those. Immediately after uploading my first videos, people were requesting more. So I kept making more, and since I love filmmaking, I enjoyed doing it, and found it a great way to reach out to people around the world. Three years later here we are!
Q6. What was it like reaching your first million views on a video?
I don’t really get overly excited about anything ever, so a milestone like that doesn’t make me shout and bounce around or celebrate, it’s more of an “oh look at that” moment. I think my first video to reach a million views was my cover of Eminem’s Rap God? It’s was a cool feeling, but also weird to imagine that that many people watched me do a rap song in my living room. I’m from New Zealand which only has a population of 4 million, so it’s basically a quarter of the whole population watching me do that.
Q7. Did you think your channel would gain so many subscribers when you first started out on YouTube? Was it a surprise when it did?
I don’t really know what I expected to be honest. If you had told me at the start that I would one day have 400,000 subscribers, I probably wouldn’t have believed it. It’s been a gradual process of getting to where I am now, so it’s never really felt surprising at any point. It’s just nice to reflect on how much my channel has grown, how much it’s changed my life, and how many other people’s lives have been positively influenced because of it.
Q8. Along with positive comments I’m sure there are the negative ones too. How do you deal with negative comments/opinions?
I’ve spent half my life listening to negative comments from strangers on the streets as well as the internet. They slide right off me now. I would be extremely cut up by now if I had let those comments get to me, or taken them seriously. I understand that it’s impossible to please everyone in life, and that whoever or whatever you are, there’s always going to be someone who won’t like you. That’s inevitable. I think it would be more polite of those people to keep their inane comments to themselves. If someone is rude to me, chances are I will never see that person again, and I really don’t care about the opinions of people I don’t know and never will. Normally I ignore nasty comments, roll my eyes, or compliment the person on their originality with something like, “I haven’t heard that one for at least an hour!”.
Q9. What advice would you have for young people who want stand out from the crowd but are afraid to be their true self?
It’s much easier said than done, but the trick is to stop worrying about what other people think of you. It’s usually the potential for stares and comments that will deter someone from expressing themselves visually. When you realise that those who stare or make rude comments are the ones with the problems, and that you are pleasing yourself and allowing yourself happiness, that is truly liberating. It’s so important to be true to oneself. I say just do it, at a pace that feels comfortable.
Q10. Do you have any exciting plans for the future regarding your YouTube and Modelling career?
Rather! Several brands and businesses that I love are planning collaborations with me at the moment, it’s very exciting. I think I’m a dreadful model with an unideal body shape, but I’m working on improving those things so that I can do justice to the beautiful fashion I get to showcase. I have hundreds of ideas for videos, plus I intend to reopen my online shop. I don’t like to plan things too far ahead, but I have a very positive feeling for the future of my channel. I want to reach out and spread positivity to as many people as possible.
Frejya uploads videos thrice weekly on her youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/itisblackfriday
Image from @itsBlack_Friday Twitter: https://pbs.twimg.com/profile_images/791458235026907136/G-mNKIBy.jpg