November 07 2017

Temporary Tattoos, Amazon Prime, and Steampunk with Paige Elkington

Los Angeles-The Standard Interview
The Tennessee-born model/comedian brings a fresh take on millennial “slash-y” culture to the LA scene.
Paige Elkington is not your typical model…unless your typical model also creates darkly absurd comedy videos, slays on social media, and runs an online store selling a hilarious line of temporary tattoos. Yes, Elkington is a true millennial slasher killing it on multiple fronts, but it’s her biting social commentary, style savvy, and outspoken political commitment that sets her apart, making her something of a new breed on the LA scene. We caught up her over cocktails at The Standard, Downtown LA where she talked about the weirdness of social media, LA’s truly dirty secret, and her deep, abiding love of steampunk. 
The Standard
The Standard
THE STANDARD: Who are you?
My name is Paige Elkington. I’m from Tennessee.

What was it like growing up in Tennessee?
I came from a very poor family, and I’ve been supporting myself since the day I could work at 15. I went to the College of Charleston in South Carolina and my first job there was for a music management company. It was the only cool job in Charleston.
 
What brought you to LA?
I initially came out here with the intention to work for the LA branch of a music management company, but that didn’t last too long. I realized I was getting booked on commercials and making way more money than my shitty salary—even though I was “an executive.” So I was like, “Fuck this,” and I quit. It wasn’t my passion, even though I was good at it. My path from there has been interesting: I started doing commercials, I was modeling, and I’ve always done comedy. 
The Standard
What do you like about acting?
I’m a non-actor actor. I’m not a traditional actor in the sense that I want to act in content that I like. I want to have more control than a traditional actor. I want to have control of the story development, control behind the camera, in front of the camera—that’s interesting to me.
 
There are so many web platforms looking for content. It’s easier than ever to do things for a reasonable amount of money. There’s just no excuse. I can make what I want to make. If anything, I can use short videos as a tool, and go to bigger studios, and be like, “Hey, give me money. I want to develop this show.”
 
What are you acting in now?
I actually have a show that came out on November 1st called Relationship Status. I play a bi-curious millennial. It was really fun. It’s a Verizon show on Go90.
 
What are you writing now?
I actually just wrote, co-directed, and starred in my own comedic short about, um, metal detecting. Imagine if metal detecting was the highest, most-respected sport/hobby in the world. But it’s also, weirdly, a commentary on gun culture. The whole thing is kind of a commentary, but it’s also just straight-up a comedy. It’s the first thing that I wrote, that I’m acting in. It’s exciting because it’s like, “I can sign off on this. This is not shitty. This represents who I am as a comedic artist.”  
 
I’ve also been working on writing a show. It’s my version of Broad City or Girls—but not as problematic as Girls. It focuses on millennial “slasher” culture and millennial cynicism, but in a way that isn’t brutal. It features a lot of self-documentation in a way that is not so brutal. 
The Standard
Which parts of your social media presence are “real”?
It’s so much a part of my reality. So much of my sense of humor—the video, my Instagram presence—is me parodying celebrity culture, blogger culture, internet celebrity culture. All that stuff is so ridiculous. But so much of my identity is wrapped up in that stuff, too.
 
Describe your style.
I feel like I’m a little schizophrenic. I can be super ’70s one day, but super ’90s the next. I could be very Victorian one day or I could be very minimalist and chic another day. I could be nasty white trash the next day. I don’t like sticking to one thing. I’m kind of inspired by all of it.
 
What are you designing?
I’m a classic millennial career-juggler. I designed a handbag line. The other day, I started a very esoteric temporary tattoo company that’s doing very well. It’s whatever’s going on in my life in that moment, whatever I think is hilarious, whatever makes me angry.
 
What’s something really weird that you love?
Amazon Prime and steampunk. To me, steampunk is the most ridiculous, fascinating clothing genre ever. It’s about an imaginary culture that’s obsessed with clocks and steam? Rings for no reason? Feathers? Clock things?
The Standard
The Standard
What’s something you care deeply about?
I’m really disappointed in celebrities these days not standing for anything. I feel like that’s so vital. It can be anything if it’s your own. I’m very vocal about this: I work for this organization called Dignity and Power Now, which serves incarcerated people. A lot of people don’t even know LA’s dirty little secret, but our mass-incarceration here is so gnarly. We have the biggest jail system in the world, and we have the harshest bail system in the nation. This is in our backyard.
 
What’s something people might be surprised to learn about you?
A lot of people are shocked that I’m from Tennessee. Like, “Wait... you’re intelligent? And cultured?”  
 
Zodiac sign?
Capricorn, but I don’t identify with it at all.
 
Alcohol of choice?
Tequila.
 
Drug of choice?
God, I really want to say Ambien. Honestly, I love Ambien. 
The Standard
Photography
Roman Koval