CAILIN RUSSO

CAILIN

RUSSO

Cailin Russo is so much more than those Justin Bieber music vid cameos. The model/singer/social media sensation talks her #RoseGang, upcoming new music and how she maintains being 100% unapologetically herself. 

Photography by Mia Clark

Styling by Abigail Hazard

Words by Elly Watson

Cailin Russo is the coolest 24-year-old around. It’s a fact, trust me. Rising to fame as the girl we all wanted to be in Justin Bieber’s “All That Matters” and “Confident” music videos, the California-born beauty has gone on to dominate in the modelling and social media worlds, however it’s her own musical endeavours that make her the real definition of #goals.

The daughter of Scott Russo, front-man of American rockband Unwritten Law, music has always been part of Russo’s life, with her dad being the first person to initially push her into a studio. “He was the first person to put me in a booth!” She tells me. “I said ‘Dad, I wanna sing’ and right away he started programming one of the first songs I’d ever written. He’s also been a huge muse for some of my deeper inspirations. Honestly, I didn’t want anything to do with his genre of music and crowd [at first] but fuck, here we are going full circle and now I’m proud to say my sound is similar and definitely influenced by that whole movement.”

With three official singles out at the moment, the rock element is clear in her biting vocals - on her sophomore single “Hierarchy” she implores how she doesn’t “fuck with” it - however it’s her mesmerising mix of R&B and jazz that makes her sound so deliciously hypnotising. “When I started realising I had my own ears, I expanded my taste,” She explains. “All of my friends were into rap and a lot of old school rap is obviously influenced by funk and soul and jazz.” This has manifested in three incredible tracks - debut “September Rose”, “Hierarchy” and her latest “Pink Sand” - all of which showcase her gorgeous blues-soaked vocals and earnest songwriting. Drawing inspiration from when she’s going through a “fucked up time” - “We are the most creative, I think, when we’re vulnerable” - these tracks are a taste of what we can only hope is more music to come out this year, with Russo hinting that a body of work - “more than an EP” - is on its way soon. “It’s exciting!” She says of her new music. “It’s a bit more on the alt-indie-pop side of sound. I don’t want to give it all away but it’s a lot more of my ‘roots’ driven, I guess” (or “Elvis Presley Disneyland!” as she goes on to jokingly describe it).

Not just content dominating the music world though, Russo has become an undisputed social media star with hundreds of thousands of followers across her channels all proud to be part of her #rosegang. In a world full of Snapchat filters and photoshop, what’s so refreshing about Russo’s social media use is her unfiltered honesty and down-to-earth attitude in what she posts, which have included Nicholas Cage memes, Oprah 2020 hats and - as every good Insta feed should have - loads of cute dogs. “Honestly, my social media is dead right now.” She tells me. “And it doesn’t bother me! I’m cultivating something that is unapologetically me and I’m stoked.”

It’s being completely herself that has made Russo such a compelling star on social media, however her connection to her fans is what really takes her above and beyond. Sharing fiercely relatable Instagram pictures and constantly replying to fans over Twitter, she sees her relationship with her fan base as an extremely fundamental part of her life. “It’s super important!” She exclaims. “Living in this day and age where there’s an actual possibility that the person you think is so cool or so talented or so lovable may actually see you or speak to you is the least someone can do with that kinda fan base.”

Her youthful and carefree approach to fame, and life in general, is arguably what has pushed Fendi to snap Russo up to front their new F is For… campaign. Focused on championing exciting and organic new talents, it’s no surprise that they would call on Russo to become their latest fresh face. “They were awesome!” Russo says of the collaboration. “I was baking, obviously (in Indio, California), pretty hungover (it’s Coachella, you’re always hungover) and they were so lovely! We shot at this really cool installation outside of Indio and got really beautiful images and I just got along really well with the whole team! We ate a lovely lunch together and even took a dip in the pool… We kept it professional though, don’t worry!

 

I’m cultivating something that is unapologetically me and I’m stoked

 

Interested in fashion since an early age, Russo tells me how she loves pushing boundaries and wearing things that others wouldn’t. “It shows character and soul.” She explains. “Spontaneity is key to life, I believe, and fashion boosts that idea. It can change the way you feel about yourself and how you want to be interpreted for that day or week. It’s all self-expression I guess, and it’s what I love!” This approach to fashion is clearly what has made Russo such a style icon and go-to Insta stalk, evident in the snaps of her front row at various shows looking effortlessly cool.

Now with plans to conquer the fashion, online and music worlds even more, Russo is excited for what the rest of the year has in store for her. “I hope it takes me on tour, I hope I get to sing until my lungs collapse and dance until I sweat out all the wine I drank from the night before, I hope I collab with more musicians and just overall get out there more!” Tour, more music and lots of wine? Sounds like the ideal time to us.

Cailin Russo is the coolest 24-year-old around. It’s a fact, trust me. Rising to fame as the girl we all wanted to be in Justin Bieber’s “All That Matters” and “Confident” music videos, the California-born beauty has gone on to dominate in the modelling and social media worlds, however it’s her own musical endeavours that make her the real definition of #goals.

The daughter of Scott Russo, front-man of American rockband Unwritten Law, music has always been part of Russo’s life, with her dad being the first person to initially push her into a studio. “He was the first person to put me in a booth!” She tells me. “I said ‘Dad, I wanna sing’ and right away he started programming one of the first songs I’d ever written. He’s also been a huge muse for some of my deeper inspirations. Honestly, I didn’t want anything to do with his genre of music and crowd [at first] but fuck, here we are going full circle and now I’m proud to say my sound is similar and definitely influenced by that whole movement.”

With three official singles out at the moment, the rock element is clear in her biting vocals - on her sophomore single “Hierarchy” she implores how she doesn’t “fuck with” it - however it’s her mesmerising mix of R&B and jazz that makes her sound so deliciously hypnotising. “When I started realising I had my own ears, I expanded my taste,” She explains. “All of my friends were into rap and a lot of old school rap is obviously influenced by funk and soul and jazz.” This has manifested in three incredible tracks - debut “September Rose”, “Hierarchy” and her latest “Pink Sand” - all of which showcase her gorgeous blues-soaked vocals and earnest songwriting. Drawing inspiration from when she’s going through a “fucked up time” - “We are the most creative, I think, when we’re vulnerable” - these tracks are a taste of what we can only hope is more music to come out this year, with Russo hinting that a body of work - “more than an EP” - is on its way soon. “It’s exciting!” She says of her new music. “It’s a bit more on the alt-indie-pop side of sound. I don’t want to give it all away but it’s a lot more of my ‘roots’ driven, I guess” (or “Elvis Presley Disneyland!” as she goes on to jokingly describe it).

Not just content dominating the music world though, Russo has become an undisputed social media star with hundreds of thousands of followers across her channels all proud to be part of her #rosegang. In a world full of Snapchat filters and photoshop, what’s so refreshing about Russo’s social media use is her unfiltered honesty and down-to-earth attitude in what she posts, which have included Nicholas Cage memes, Oprah 2020 hats and - as every good Insta feed should have - loads of cute dogs. “Honestly, my social media is dead right now.” She tells me. “And it doesn’t bother me! I’m cultivating something that is unapologetically me and I’m stoked.”

It’s being completely herself that has made Russo such a compelling star on social media, however her connection to her fans is what really takes her above and beyond. Sharing fiercely relatable Instagram pictures and constantly replying to fans over Twitter, she sees her relationship with her fan base as an extremely fundamental part of her life. “It’s super important!” She exclaims. “Living in this day and age where there’s an actual possibility that the person you think is so cool or so talented or so lovable may actually see you or speak to you is the least someone can do with that kinda fan base.”

Her youthful and carefree approach to fame, and life in general, is arguably what has pushed Fendi to snap Russo up to front their new F is For… campaign. Focused on championing exciting and organic new talents, it’s no surprise that they would call on Russo to become their latest fresh face. “They were awesome!” Russo says of the collaboration. “I was baking, obviously (in Indio, California), pretty hungover (it’s Coachella, you’re always hungover) and they were so lovely! We shot at this really cool installation outside of Indio and got really beautiful images and I just got along really well with the whole team! We ate a lovely lunch together and even took a dip in the pool… We kept it professional though, don’t worry!

 

I’m cultivating something that is unapologetically me and I’m stoked

 

Interested in fashion since an early age, Russo tells me how she loves pushing boundaries and wearing things that others wouldn’t. “It shows character and soul.” She explains. “Spontaneity is key to life, I believe, and fashion boosts that idea. It can change the way you feel about yourself and how you want to be interpreted for that day or week. It’s all self-expression I guess, and it’s what I love!” This approach to fashion is clearly what has made Russo such a style icon and go-to Insta stalk, evident in the snaps of her front row at various shows looking effortlessly cool.

Now with plans to conquer the fashion, online and music worlds even more, Russo is excited for what the rest of the year has in store for her. “I hope it takes me on tour, I hope I get to sing until my lungs collapse and dance until I sweat out all the wine I drank from the night before, I hope I collab with more musicians and just overall get out there more!” Tour, more music and lots of wine? Sounds like the ideal time to us.

Hair by Ben Jones. Makeup by James O’Riley. Nails by Julie Lee.

All clothing by FENDI SS18 .

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