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Isabel Alsina-Reynolds MCM Dazed
Isabel wears all clothes MCMStyling Elizabeth Fraser-Bell

Isabel Alsina-Reynolds talks astronauts, muses and art

The model and artist of the moment is the next of our MCM Modern Creative Muses – here she opens up about how her background and what is worth standing out for...

Isabel Alsina-Reynolds is, by turns, a painter, spoken word artist, puppeteer and chameleonic model who’s signed to agency Nevs and has walked the runway at London Fashion Week. Now, the ‘urban storyteller’ is one of MCM’s four Modern Creative Muses – the image series below showcases the luxury German label’s shiny Cyber Studs range of accessories.

MCM sprung up in Munich in the 70s and cites the city’s rebellious subcultural mindset at that time as an ever-present influence on its designs. Going one step further this year, they have dedicated this season’s theme to that era’s particular punk ethos. Alsina-Reynolds, meanwhile, grew up several thousand miles and two decades away from the brand. Born in Venezuela, the 22-year-old nonetheless embodies the same bold spirit of experimentation.

Having moved to London four years ago, she has caught people’s attention and captured their imagination by co-founding art project The Sloppy Puppets alongside right-hand-woman Katherine Illingsworth, shooting surreal videos and making her modelling debut. Now, she speaks to Dazed about her astronaut aspirations, mixed-media method of working and the punk role models who impact her art.

Tell us about your hometown, what was growing up in Venezuela like and how has it informed your life, direction and outlook so far?

Isabel Alsina-Reynolds: I moved around quite a lot so don't have a hometown exactly, but having Venezuelan and English culture in my upbringing was really important, and I am incredibly grateful and proud of this.

You once described your mother as witchy – what do you mean by that? How did that impact your upbringing?

Isabel Alsina-Reynolds: My mum is really powerful in a lot of different ways, and she is really in tune with superstition and energies – so I was massively lucky to grow up with her teaching me about these things whilst also being a generally very bossy leader at work, which is a great balancing act.

Tell us about your creative muses? (music, experience, person…) 

Isabel Alsina-Reynolds: The Cremaster Cycle, Easy Rider, Dirty from Blue of Noon, The Cyborg Manifesto, Bladerunner, green (and) my sister.

MCM have always carried a punk ethos; freedom and doing what you want. What do you stand for and what is worth standing for?

Isabel Alsina-Reynolds: I stand for being free, expressing myself in whatever way I want to, and hopefully in the process creating interesting art. As long as you're happy and comfortable with how you express yourself through your style, your music etc then that's sweet, and it doesn't really matter if you stand out a little, it's cool to stay on the weirder side.

When did you decide you wanted to be an artist?

Isabel Alsina-Reynolds: I realised I didn't have the right qualifications to be an astronaut, and that I probably only wanted that for the outfit. And art was the only place where I felt I could actually find motivation in.

“I realised I didn't have the right qualifications to be an astronaut, and that I probably only wanted that for the outfit.” – Isabel Alsina-Reynolds

Can you tell us about your art? Why does puppetry interest you?

Isabel Alsina-Reynolds: Within my own work I am interested in creating mixed media situations based on videos that explore different characters' psyches in sometimes dark and surreal modes. I am really inspired by the intersection between human and non-human and exploring that ‘place’. Puppetry and other forms of experimental performance that I think live a bit on the edge of the art world are very interesting to me as they are able to engage with an audience in a slightly different way than artworks in a gallery – and often through creating a space for ‘entertainment’ to happen, actually a kind of dark humorous critique can come through in interesting ways. 

How did you begin working with Katherine?

Isabel Alsina-Reynolds: Just through spending time together and realising we have the same interests and likes, but different modes of making – so we thought a collaboration would be a good way to use all our skills together. 

What do you like about modelling?

Isabel Alsina-Reynolds: I think modelling is just a different form of performance, and it's interesting to act out the role of the model and in doing so getting to experience the incredible work ethic and vision of designers.

How important is your own style to self-expression?

Isabel Alsina-Reynolds: I feel like my own style is an extension of all the things that I am inspired by, and books and films I am interested in seep into what I am wearing.

When did you first dye your hair?

Isabel Alsina-Reynolds: 14? Packet bleach bedroom floor job.