“I was born in New York City. I lived in Brooklyn for my first few years, but then my parents separated and I moved to Paris with my mom. I did middle school and all that good jazz over there, but then I wanted to come back to America for high school. I was getting an idea of who I wanted to be, what I wanted to do, which at the time was acting, and I felt like I had to come back to America to do that. Classic American dream shit. What’s crazy is that it worked out.
My agent found me when I was 15 or something, as I was sitting down with my dad in a restaurant. I didn’t fuck with it at first. She had just finished a run and she was wearing something crazy, like Victoria’s Secret Pink sweatpants, dirty New Balances, and a hoodie. She asked me if I wanted to model and gave her card to my dad. I went to meet with her and I was kind of like, ‘I guess she’s cool, I guess I’ll model,’ and then she booked a job for me at American Eagle a week later. It was for the most money I’d ever made up to that point. And then I signed with her and didn’t leave. I got editorials and other campaigns, but I got over modeling real quick because I like making stuff and being creative more. So when I was 17 I started my creative company, Hot Mess, with my buddy Dillon. We do installations, campaigns, video work, whatever we feel like making. It helped me find myself. We got to meet people in the industry and see what it’s like behind the scenes.
I got over modeling real quick because I like making stuff and being creative more.
Everyone’s like, ‘What do you do?’ and my response is I want to be known as a creative entrepreneur—I just like making stuff, you know? At 19 I did a huge gallery show in New York with Hot Mess. It was packed and we actually sold pieces. I was a 19-year-old kid turning ideas into a huge physical space, and that was the coolest feeling. And I like to create using any kind of medium—with a friend I produced a movie that premiered at the Venice film festival; I’m having a show at Chateau Marmont with a bunch of sculptures I made over the past year.
Being in Grown-ish required me to make a life for myself in LA, but my heart’s in New York. I stopped drinking nine months ago and so my nightlife now is quite simple—I don’t really leave Chateau [Marmont] and have parties in my room instead. But in New York I like to go to The Smile on Bond Street and Carbone. I like to go to Sadelle’s, to La Colombe, Lucien on First and First. There’s a spot called Lola that I go to, and that’s about it. I just go wherever my friends go, and that changes based on our mood and the season. I definitely don’t ‘club.’ I’ve been dj-ing for my homie because there aren’t enough places in New York where you can listen to techno and house. In fact, I’m trying to make a weekly party in New York where everyone can go and not have to listen to what you hear at all those other clubs that I don’t want to name.
My going out routine is, step one: shower. Step two, brush my teeth. I don’t really cleanse my skin—I just put water on my face, it’s weird. After I shower, I lotion myself. I use this Dior serum on my face—it just feels nice and smells good. It refreshes me. I’ve been living in hotels for so long, so I just use whatever hotel lotion is around, and the same goes for the body soap. Then I’ll put on a little lip balm. My homie Kristen [Noel Crawley] owns KNC Beauty and she sends me their lip balms. I started out using her little under eye patches, and then she made a balm. Now, I’m not really a balm guy, but I always try out stuff from friends. And then I put on my scent, which is Lamyland by Michèle Lamy—there are only one thousand bottles of it in existence. It’s very intense at first but it settles really nicely. Very warm, very musk, and it goes well with the scent of cigarettes, which works for me because I smoke. It’s also not masculine or feminine, which is really nice. I used to wear another scent, Jazz by Margiela, but I attach scents to people and I wore that while I was dating a chick for three years. When we broke up I knew I couldn’t wear the same scent as I entered a new part of my life. Besides, by that point they started carrying it at Sephora and everyone was wearing it.
Being in Grown-ish required me to make a life for myself in LA, but my heart’s in New York.
Makeup makes me feel like I’m a character—there’s something really fun about it. I’m not really a cheek, lip guy, but I like fucking with eye makeup for special occasions. Eyes are so expressive and intense, and obviously your whole face revolves around them. I can’t do my own makeup, though, so I always make sure to work with super good glam people. But I don’t do anything to my hair—I haven’t in seven years, because it’s in free-form dreads. Some of the hair people on set at Grown-ish would put essential oils in my hair, but other than that I haven’t done anything. My hair’s just the way it is.
The one thing I do all the time is get pedicures. In LA there’s this girl called Britney Tokyo who comes over to my place about twice a month. She’s fire. She’s got stickers, and I do gel because it lasts longer. Pedicures are mad important because dudes be mad insecure to take their shoes off at people’s homes and show their crusty ass toes. Especially in LA—you’ll see them by the pool, hanging out with their socks on. Like, what are you doing bro? You got dogs under there? After a pedicure, there’s something nice about having a clean ass foot and putting it in a clean ass sock—that feeling is unparalleled.
Once a month I get a straight razor shave. In LA I go to the Barber Surgeons Guild, and in New York I go to Haar Barbershop. It’s the best spot. They open up your pores with a warm towel and use a proper blade to make the shave last longer. And after that they put this mask on you for a quick little facial. Then they put on an aftershave. That’s the one thing I do consistently for my face. I’ve never shaved myself in my life—it’s worth the $50 to $60 once, twice a month, max.”
—as told to ITG
Luka Sabbat photographed by Joshua Aronson in Miami on December 3, 2019.