In today’s fame-hungry world where possessing only one distinguishable talent is overlooked and a social media-driven society that turns every camera phone owner into an Insta-model, Alie Layus has emerged triumphant, thrusting her way past the “Insta-famous” label into successful, multifaceted professions.
The beauty with brains and talent, who began her entrance into the spotlight by DJing in Vegas, now prides herself on not only flaunting her flawless figure in magazine editorials, but also receiving her own published editorial credits of photography work, as well as providing creative direction for trend-setting brands like Nasty Gal and Missguided.
LA CANVAS caught up with the busy bee to chat about about her burst into 21st century stardom:
LAC: We’ve learned about the many hats you wear, from running a successful blog and providing creative content for companies like Missguided and Nasty Gal, to posing for clothing campaigns and shooting your photo editorials—even modeling/DJing for brands like Urban Decay cosmetics. How did you make your move into the spotlight?
ALIE LAYUS: I’ve been DJing full time since 2010. I really started gaining a following and exposure as a DJ when I began landing residency deals at various well-known clubs around the US. I had a big DJ residency at the Palms hotel & casino in Las Vegas from 2011-2014 and that was a huge stepping stone in my career. I opened for some of the biggest artists in the world when I played at the Palms, people like Iggy Azalea and Chris Brown. The exposure I gained through DJing is what opened a lot of other doors with modeling and fashion and ultimately connecting me with all the amazing brands I work with now.
LAC: How did DJing actually start?
AL: My boyfriend at the time had some old turntables and records that were just sitting in his closet collecting dust for years, and one day took them out and set them up just for fun. I sat there and played records for hours and was completely fascinated by all of it, and I decided right then that I wanted to learn how to mix. I spent a few months locked in my bedroom obsessively working on mixing and teaching myself. Once I felt like I was getting pretty good at mixing, I met up with one of my friends who was a DJ back then and I showed him what I had been working on. He was really impressed by my self-taught DJ skills and called me up later that day and said he got me booked to DJ at some bar in Huntington Beach. Even though it was a really small bar, I was so nervous to play that first gig, but I had so much fun and that was the night I decided to pursue DJing professionally.
LAC: You also model for a ton of brands and provide content for Missguided and Nasty Gal. Tell us bit about how that tied in?
AL: I started getting approached by brands who would find me on social media and wanted to endorse me and have me wear their clothing during my DJ gigs, which turned into me getting booked to DJ for cool parties for fashion brands and magazines, which eventually turned into me getting actual campaigns and modeling gigs with a lot of those brands. Missguided and Nasty Gal approached me because they felt like my style and creative direction fit well with their brand. I have done tons of fun creative work with both of them, from modeling to photography to social media takeovers and brand ambassadorships for huge festivals and events like Coachella.
LAC: How would you describe your personal style?
AL: I’m a total California girl, born and raised, and I think my personal style reflects that. I’m pretty laid-back and simple, I wear a lot of vintage jeans and shorts, comfy vintage t-shirts, vans, adidas, doc martens.
LAC: Let’s talk about your status as an It Girl, which is starting to get you noticed by notable fashion magazines such as Nylon.
AL: I was approached by Nylon to be a part of their November issue in collaboration with Missguided. I think the term It Girl is the perfect way to describe young women like myself, who have built successful multifaceted careers and can’t exactly fit into just one category. The old-fashioned way of thinking was that you have to just pick a single skill to perfect and that’s the one thing you do with the rest of your life, but there’s a new generation of women coming up right now who are successfully pursuing several different careers all at once, and chasing more than one dream that they are passionate about. I just love to be a part of that and I feel honored to be getting recognized in that way, and I hope I can influence other girls who are younger than me to not be afraid to try anything and everything that makes them feel creative and excited about life.
LAC: How did you decide you wanted to get behind the camera to shoot?
AL: I’ve always been really into film, polaroids, disposable cameras, etc. when I first started working on Virgin Gold Cult, I had a vision in my head of how I wanted the photography to look, but none of the photographers I was working with were really able to capture the vibe I was going for. So I finally purchased an old 35mm film camera from the 80s that some guy on Craigslist was selling, and I taught myself how to use it and just started shooting most of the creative content for Virgin Gold Cult myself. I was having so much fun taking photos and a lot of the brands I was already working with as a DJ and a model, were really into the photos I was taking and started wanting to hire me as a photographer as well. I mainly shoot film because that is what makes me feel passionate and inspired about photography. My style of shooting is very easy-going, on the fly, and not very technical at all. I don’t ever shoot in studios or with fancy lighting equipment. I love to drive or walk around interesting neighborhoods or parts of a city and find cool locations as I go. It usually feels like me and the model are just hanging out and having fun and taking pics along the way. I’m all about capturing vibes and energy and just having fun with it, and I think that’s what people like about my photos.
LAC: What are your favorite spots to hit up in LA?
AL: I spend an equal amount of time in LA as I do in Vegas. I’m a total foodie, so most of my free time in LA is spent eating at different restaurants. I used to be a really strict vegan for years, and even though I’m not a vegan anymore, I still love all the amazing vegan restaurants they have in LA, like Cafe Gratitude, because we don’t have anything like that in Vegas.
LAC: What’s next for you?
AL: I just landed a new deal with Skull Candy Headphones as a brand ambassador, and the campaign launches really soon. It seems like these days I’m constantly connecting with so many amazing, talented people and really rad companies like Urban Decay, who I also just started working with. I’m DJing some really cool events for them over the next few months and I just modeled in a really fun campaign for them as well. I hope to just continue being blessed with exciting opportunities and the chance be able to keep creating and having fun with my career.
Follow Alie Layus and stay up to date on her many creative projects by following her on social media and her blog:
Instagram – @AlieLayus
Twitter – @AlieLayus
Facebook – facebook.com/helloalie
Soundcloud – soundcloud.com/alielayusmusic
Website – virgingoldcult.com