Janelle Monae is opening up on the message behind her signature style. Often seen in black and white androgynous looks, the singer and actress revealed to FN’s sister magazine RollingStone that there has been much more to her ensembles than a simple styling session.
“It had to do with the fear of being judged,” she said in the interview, on using her automaton persona and the androgynous outfits as “protective armor” early in her career. Monae continued to speak openly, revealing that she used to identify as bisexual “but then later I read about pansexuality and was like, ‘Oh, these are things that I identify with too.’ I’m open to learning more about who I am.”
She also felt insecure about living up to entertainment ideals, according to the article. “All I saw was that I was supposed to look a certain way coming into this industry, and I felt like I [didn’t] look like a stereotypical black female artist.”
This persona came in form as Cindi Mayweather, a time-traveling android, which we’ve seen in various forms on her albums and through her fashion on and off stage. Now, Monae is simply being herself for “Dirty Computer,” her newest album. In the magazine, Monae opens up even further on her personal life, coming out as queer. She said, “Someone who has been in relationships with both men and women – I consider myself to be a free-ass motherf*****.”
It’s not clear whether or not Monae will be stepping away from her signature menswear-inspired look as she embraces her true self in her art. But in “Make Me Feel,” one of the music videos for her single off the new record, fashion is certainly still at the forefront.
In it, she’s seen serving major looks from Moschino, Gucci and Adam Selman. Her shoes are just another form of inventive expression as she’s spotted wearing mismatched red and white booties and Giuseppe Zanotti metallic boots.
On the red carpet, Monae’s outfits have been expressive and avant-garde, while being uniform-like at the same time.
For her case, go-to shoe brands have included Giuseppe Zanotti and Christian Louboutin, among others. Zanotti told FN, “Janelle has a lot of fun with fashion and likes to wear interesting accessories and shoes that add a special touch to her look. She likes a bit of sparkle and embellishment, which is part of my DNA and something I love.”
Click through the gallery to see more of Monae’s androgynous style.