Music

Ariel Beesley, a Behind the Scenes Chat with our Model of the Moment

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When Los Angeles-based model Ariel Beesley isn’t posing with a blow-up swan for Nylon magazine, she’s singing sweetly forlorn ditties with her ukelele at music festivals and on small stages. And when she isn’t doing either of those things, sometimes she’s modeling for Nordstrom. Lucky us! Check her out in shades by Illesteva and Oxydo. And here she is in the season’s best floral pieces, cool summer dresses and hot trends.

And here she is in an exclusive video, plucking the strings at our shoot—and telling us all about her favorite tunes, her grocery store hit list and her on-the-rise career—as a in-demand model and as a neo-folkie songstress.

The Thread: How did you get your start in performance?
Ariel Beesley: I first started musical theater when I was 5 years old. My school was putting on an adaptation of Peter Pan and I was cast as a fairy. I definitely think I wanted to do it myself. I was always putting on little plays by myself when I was a kid and always loved dressing up and singing made-up songs.

How and when did you learn guitar and ukelele?
I first started playing guitar and writing my own music when I was 14 years old. My dad taught me how to play the major chords and how to read guitar tabs. I was always writing poetry so that was the first time I actually put my poems to music. I became pretty obsessed with the guitar and literally took it everywhere. I remember playing my original music at the high school talent show in the 9th grade and it was the best feeling in the world. When I was 17, my dad came back from Hawaii with a ukulele saying he wanted to learn it himself. He fell asleep on the couch and I decided to try to convert what I knew on guitar to the uke. I wrote my first song that night and fell absolutely in love with the instrument. The uke became my new go-to and definitely still is. I always loved music, and all my parents (mom, stepdad, dad and stepmom) have always been and continue to be extremely supportive.

Five songs you’d include on a playlist titled “Music for Modeling”:
“Like a Bad Girl Should” by The Cramps
“Boys Don’t Cry” by The Cure
“Why Must I Be a Teenager in Love” by Dion and the Belmonts
“Bigmouth Strikes Again” by The Smiths
“I Was a Teenage Werewolf” by The Cramps

Five songs you’d include on a playlist titled “Music for a Friday Night”:
“Buttons” by Sia
“Video Games” by Lana Del Ray
“Hanging On the Telephone” by Blondie
“The Way You Look Tonight” by Frank Sinatra
“Dream a Little Dream of Me” by The Mamas and the Papas

Five artists or bands you’d love to play a show with:
Sia
Blondie
Frank Sinatra
The Cure
St. Vincent

Three people whose style you admire:
Debbie Harry
Patti Smith
My friends

Three things that are on your grocery store list right now:
Umeboshi
Kale chips from Trader Joe’s
Macaroni and cheese

Three movies you could watch over and over again:
Spirited Away
MirrorMask
The Shining

Five people you’d like to be stranded on a desert island with:
My boyfriend
My pup (she’s basically a little person in a dog body)
My best friend
My family (that’s way more than five, but still…)

Three cities you’d love to visit in the next year:
Paris
Tokyo
London

Follow: Ariel Beesley on Instagram | Ariel Beesley on Facebook

—Laura Cassidy