After his appearance in the designer’s SS16 campaign video, we speak to Drew Droege – the actor best known for his Chloë Sevigny impersonations
“Good evening, America,” says Drew Droege in Marc Jacobs’ SS16 campaign video. “I’m inspired mostly by bayonets, petals on the wind, cabinets, bonnets, textures and shapes.” The humour of this statement might have been lost on some but for those, like Jacobs, who are fans of the comedian’s internet-famous Chloë Sevigny impersonations, it most certainly won’t have been.
A full-time actor, Droege rose to notoriety for his YouTube videos and models in Jacobs’ campaign alongside more of the designer’s IRL cult actress muses, including Christina Ricci and Juliette Lewis. Here, the actor takes a break from his current role playing Miranda Priestly in a Los Angeles-based musical adaptation of The Devil Wears Prada to tell us about this campaign, as well as his enduring love for Ms. Sevigny.
So how did this whole Chloë thing come about?
Drew Droege: I just looked in the mirror one day and was like, ‘I look like Chloë Sevigny and that’s weird’, and I read an interview with her and it made me laugh because she was referencing such hyper-specific things. So I just started to do that as a character. The first time I put it up on stage the audience just stared at me, like they didn’t even laugh at all. But I kept doing it and then my friend Jim Hanson was like, ‘We want to make videos’ and so we did and they took off. It became this weird other life for me. With Chloë, I was like, ‘Oh I’m hosting parades’ – and I’ve married people before, like officiated weddings. The Marc Jacobs thing was just a whole other thing like, ‘Oh now I’m modelling for Marc Jacobs’ just from this internet character.
Wait, you’ve officiated weddings as Chloë?
Drew Droege: Yeah, well I had a couple in Toronto who I had met before and they had seen me do the show, we hung out one time and we just hit it off really well. Then about six months later I got a message from them on Facebook and they were like, ‘It would mean the world to us if you could marry us’. And I was like, ‘OMG, you guys I really want to do it’ (laughs). I got a bunch of information from them. I was like, ‘Send me all of your favourite places to eat and all your favourite places to vacation and then your favourite actors and actresses’. So I wrote up Chloë’s video version for them and it came out and I used a giant YSL coffee table book instead of a bible and read out of that and married them.
So you like Chloë? You’re not mocking her...
Drew Droege: I love her. I don’t think it would work if I didn’t love her because I find her fascinating. I love watching her work as an actor and I think she is such a style icon – there’s no one like her and I love that she exists. But the Chloë I play is so different about Chloë Sevigny now. Like I don’t even think about Chloë Sevigny now while I’m doing it.
What does she represent to you?
Drew Droege: I grew up in North Carolina and had this really lovely but boring upbringing. I was fascinated by New York, and its club scene, and all these people who were just fabulous – like Grace Jones, Sylvester, Divine and all these people you would read about. They’re amazing, like what is their world!? Chloë represents that world to me.
Have you actually met her?
Drew Droege: I have, a couple of years ago. It was great, she was really nice. It never occurred to be that I was ever going to meet her (laughs). I was sort of a mess because you never know how someone is going to react when you’re doing a parody of them. But she was really nice and we just sort of made funny faces at each other and giggled – and then I was like, ‘I feel weird, I have to go.’
I read one interview that she was slightly offended because you were calling her pretentious. What is your response to that?
Drew Droege: I sympathise, I don’t know what it’s like because I’ve never had anyone play me and say, ‘Hi, I’m Drew Droege and blah blah blah.’ She is allowed to have any opinion about it. It would be weird if she was watching the videos constantly, and sharing them and contacting me – it would change it. I try very much to stay out of her life and have respect for her because it's no longer about her anymore.
So you feel like it’s become quite removed from the real Chloë?
Drew Droege: Oh completely! All the time I get pictures of the real Chloë with people saying, ‘OMG Chloë’s wearing this thing’ or ‘Did you see Chloë on this show?’ and whatever. And I don’t even really consider it anymore. It’s cool to look at, and I love looking at pictures of her, but it doesn’t even come into play when I choose what to write. It’s like its own thing now.
And so how did the Marc Jacobs campaign come about?
Drew Droege: Someone who works for him asked me to host his fragrance launch last year, so they brought me to New York for that and we met and hit it off. Marc’s people all get it, and they’re really fun to be around. So when they asked me to model and do this thing, I mean it was the funniest thing in the world to think that I would be a model, let alone for Marc Jacobs.
Tell me about your outfit.
Drew Droege: I wore this amazing cream coloured dress with brocade. It was decorated with flags, and a motif of a warrior woman. I don’t know what story it was telling but it was a majestic one, for sure.
What do you think about Marc?
Drew Droege: He’s a revolutionary who never forgets that it’s all about fun, it’s all about attitude, it’s all about confidence and it’s all about love, respect and understanding. He is so full of love and all about people who own who they are. His whole campaign was like, ‘This is my America’, this is how I see the people in this country who really owns their own voices and aren’t afraid to be who they are.