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audrey nuna wants a funnel cake revolution
Welcome to mixed feelings’ Hyperspecific, a profile series of increasingly intimate questions in which we ask our favorite artists, scientists, musicians, and the like to unveil their innermost selves — their weird existential musings.
Audrey Nuna is highly-invested in world-building. That much is abundantly clear from the singer and rapper’s videos, fashion, and genre-bending musical output. When I consume her work, from the latest “Cellulite” to her no-fucks-given single “damn Right,” it’s like I’ve been isekai’d into Nuna’s specific fantasy — a little science fiction, a little Missy Elliot, a little Street Fighter, and a lot of body horror.
On a chilly Tuesday in October, Nuna perched on a stool in our studio wearing what I can only describe as “glam gorpcore”: an oversized sweater layered on top of a camo windbreaker, the hood pulled up over her hair, and held down with giant rhinestoned hair clips. She’s easy to talk to. We share the same cultural lexicon. She loves Ghibli and shoes that “look like they come from an alien planet.” She’s not a big crier, but when she does cry it’s an avalanche. “I tend to internalize a lot,” she told me with a shrug.
By all intents and purposes she’s an ideal mfer. So naturally, she got Hyperspecific with us.
Something you’re always hoping people bring up in conversation when you first meet. Usually when I meet people, I'm hoping they'll bring up their favorite cereal because I think that you can learn a lot about a person from their favorite cereal. Mine is Frosted Flakes, but I also really love the collab that Lucky Charms and Frosted Flakes did together. It was fire.
A positive trait people always tell you you have. That I have good taste in hats and fedoras. I would never personally wear a fedora, but I feel like I can recognize a good one. They have to be shameless. If you're going to wear a fedora, you might as well just be shameless about it.
One destructive trait you know you possess and wish you didn’t. I’m not very punctual. I am so bad at being in touch with timing and what time I'm realistically going to arrive somewhere. I also feel like I'm really bad at folding clothes. My underwear drawer is always chaotic.
If a bodega were to name a dish after you, what would it be? (Be specific.) Anything with chicken cutlet is my jam, especially if it’s on chewy bread with fresh cheese (as long as the cheese is not orange because I really hate orange cheese). I’d probably call it “The Nunster” because that's my frat boy alter ego.
One song that makes you feel understood. One of my favorite songs ever is “Free” by Denise Williams. I always feel the most myself when I hear that song.
Something you think is wildly underrated. Funnel cake and carnival desserts should be more accepted in the dessert community globally. Funnel cake slaps. Growing up, I would have to wait for Chuseok or Korean harvest festival to experience really good funnel cake. We should start a funnel cake revolution. It should be a more common dessert. That and anything fried, like fried Oreos. The combination of temperature and texture is just nuts. We should talk about this more.
A movie you watch when you want to self-soothe. Spirited Away is my favorite movie and also a movie that brings me a lot of nostalgic peace. I grew up watching it and just gives me that sense of belonging and home.
Your problematic fave artist/actor/musician (dead or alive). And why? I love Rick and Morty. I think Rick is a terrible person, but probably one of my favorite cartoon characters.
A line from a TV show/film that plays on a loop in your head. There's this one line in Game of Thrones where this dude tells John Snow to kill the boy and let the man be born. The lead-up to the delivery of that line and how it signifies what it means to grow up and lose a piece of innocence is something that really struck me when I saw it.
Something you bought recently after LOTS of research. I'm such an impulsive buyer. I'll buy shit just randomly. For example, the shoes I'm wearing right now, [the Nike ISPA Mindbody sneakers in Olive Gray]. I was styled in these shoes for a shoot and they were so comfortable. I have really flat feet and they make my feet feel so loved. I love shoes that look like they're from an alien planet. I just bought them on the spot.
One time you laughed so hard you cried. When I went to SF to visit my friend Dasha, who I've been friends with since I was literally nine years old. We were talking about people in our lives and what kind of bender they would be from Avatar: The Last Airbender. It was the most fucking hilarious, I don't know why! We were having a 20 minute debate about if my brother is an earth bender or an air bender. She told me I’m a blood bender.
One time you cried so hard you laughed. I'm not really a big crier, but when I cry…it's a lot. I tend to internalize a lot. I feel like the most recent time was actually two days ago. My siblings and I were just talking about how grateful we are for our parents and all the sacrifices they've made for us…being immigrants, moving to America, dealing with all this fucking discrimination. I think we were just laughing and crying together because my brother was saying some funny shit and I was just emotional.
What’s an anecdote you usually tell to describe how you were as a kid? My mom always tells me that I slept so well as a baby that she thought I was dead. I feel like as a kid I was always in my own world and I always slept a lot. Those are probably the two defining characteristics of my existence. I just got off tour and I didn't sleep much. I feel like now I'm going to catch up on all my sleep. A lot of my creative energy comes from sleeping well.
What is your low-key hell and actual heaven? My low-key hell…I have to preface this by saying I love having deep existential conversations with Uber drivers, but sometimes you catch one randomly who just talks so much and doesn't let you say anything. I enjoy having conversations, but sometimes it's just overwhelming. Being in that situation where you have to get to where you need to go, but you can't escape is pretty torturous.
My actual heaven is anytime I’m seeing live music. [I’ll go with people] but I actually am a proponent of doing things solo. I think solitude is a really important part of life. And you learn a lot by eating by yourself, going to the movies by yourself, going to concerts by yourself…It doesn't have to be every day, but taking yourself out is…Fuck yeah, you know?
Share a quote of one of the most meaningful things someone has ever said to you, context optional. I was at A Boogie [Wit da Hoodie] college show with my cousin. We just had this random convergence where we were able to go to this show, and during it he looked into my soul and said, “Just enjoy everything because none of this shit matters.” For whatever reason, that shit hit me so hard. I needed to hear that in that exact moment at the A Boogie college show.
Random thing you hate so much for no apparent reason. I hate pickles. They're just sour and soggy. And the embalming fluid for the pickle? I don’t fuck with that. I don’t think a cucumber even wants to be pickled. I love kimchi though. I think it’s just American pickles that give me the ick for some reason.
How you exit a party. I'm not really scandalous with how I leave parties. I say goodbye to whoever I want to say bye to, get up, and leave.
How you wanna go. I would love to go surrounded by family. Somewhere in rural Japan surrounded by sheep or something. That would be cool.