Icon: An Interview with Millie Efraim

Millie Efraim is a modern day cultural critic and creator who aspires to set her own path in what she calls a world gone astray. From her video commentary to her satiric posts, Millie is not afraid to push the boundaries of discussion and debate. In October of 2016, Millie was featured in a Pro-Trump Art Show, “Daddy Will Save Us,” where her piece has received wide acclaim and tens of thousands of views. I had a chance to sit down with Millie to talk about a variety of subjects where she shares her thoughts about the architectural decay of iconic landmarks, declining discourse in the University classroom, and saying the word ‘cuck’ too much.

 

So Millie, tell people about yourself?

I think I’ve been creating ever since I was born… My first medium was performance, as I grew older the isolation I felt in school made me lose my voice and I began exploring the medium of drawing and painting, which later expanded into fashion, photography, and film. Eventually, my interests in fashion and art aligned and I began a provocative chain wear line entitled Bakareh, which was a commentary on repressed women in the Middle East. Later on, my frustration with the blandness of the fashion industry brought me to my latest conclusion and back to my earliest medium. I’ve decided that right now the most important thing (for me, at least) is to critique and comment on the world around me. My voice is my most powerful asset and most urgent medium…

 

Your blog posts employ satire while your videos speak highly critique about the state of American culture today. What do you think is the overarching theme for your creative works?

As a designer and artist myself, I’ve lost interest in creating anything from time to time because I felt that many at the top of both industries were selling out and I had no one to look up to anymore. It seems to me that a lot of fashion has become about mass production, cheap materials, cheaper labor, and of course, bigger profits.Then the art world seems only to be catering to kids who have well-connected parents and the only women in the field are getting recognition by making pseudo-feminist selfie art that’s main purpose is to end the sexualization of women. However, their highly flirtatious poses attract just that.

In one of my experimental series on my youtube channel, I began uploading scenes from classic movies but replacing the soundtrack with music that is being released today. The purpose of these videos is to shed light on the sterile decadence of both today’s movies and music. Critiquing has changed my art in the sense that I once again feel the thrill of going where others cannot while asserting myself beyond the limits of a private individual. In my own work, I have found my voice, and instead of remaining pessimistic, I have decided to take action.

 

You said in your Met Gala video that “We live in a time where wealthy people who worked for their money buy quality, all we see are celebrities endorsing designers because they are getting things for free and they do not know a better.” In addition, you have videos titled “Get Me Out of This Century?” What is your justification for romanticizing the past? Is there something we can learn from the past that we have collectively forgotten as a society?

The Beverly Wilshire

I wish I could say I’m just romanticizing the past like millions of people have done centuries and decades before me..but my observations are accurate and disturbing. The other night, I decided to walk around the Beverly Wilshire with my friend who is in town visiting… The Beverly Wilshire, built in 1928 and the location for Hollywood films such as Pretty Woman, is in absolutely terrible shape as of 2017. The candelabras have been replaced with cheap, flimsy sconces that look like they were jacked from a cheesecake factory wholesale clearance. The carpets, oh the carpets, have been replaced with a tacky floral/damask pattern that has no relevance to the hotel’s origins. The furniture once again is falling apart and is trying to be very modern which clashes with the hotel’s style. The worst part? The hotel lobby has no art on the walls, oh and the lotions in the bathrooms are watered down…Why would a historic hotel known for its Renaissance architecture style and previously Hollywood Regency interiors stoop down to cheap modern furniture and decor? It’s not a coincidence that their newly designed contemporary aesthetic is accompanied by terrible service and quality.

Later I visited The Beverly Hills Hotel, another historical masterpiece, and I asked the manager why the Dorchester Collection (owner of the hotel) decided to throw away all of the custom designed Paul Williams furniture and color the iconic pink walls beige? His answer was that the hotel has to keep up with the times and focus on catering to their customers like Kendall Jenner and the “new generation,” who enjoy the contemporary style and high-tech rooms. These hotels are the physical proof of my argument. This is exactly what we see with many other fields of the arts as well. Hollywood is spending more than ever on special effects, but we’ve lost stimulating screenplays and so much more. The fashion industry is making more money than ever off of the backs of minimum wage workers, and practical slaves and the most pathetic part is that they won’t even do anything interesting with their dirty money. Take a look at the runway shows in the past year, or so, the settings are usually all black or all white with absolutely no attention to detail in the set design. I’m not sure where to start with all this disaster, but I have to say some of Picasso‘s greatest artworks were created when he had the least materials available to his use during the Nazi occupation of Paris…People need to work with less, study their predecessors, and maybe try being more self-aware.

 

Your recent piece at a Pro-Trump art show intended to communicate how the most empowered women in America like Ivanka Trump and Kellyanne Conway. Can you back up and explain how Trump’s movement furthers this assumption?

My video was intended to separate the image many people began projecting onto the “Trump women” during his campaign. While a huge portion of the election was focused on Trump’s mistreatment of women and at some point with very well evidence suggesting so, I took myself back and individually assessed the women closest to him. Ivana Trump, his first wife, has been extremely successful in her own right. Many people have credited her for Trump’s success and particularly brand name success in Manhattan and Mar-a-Lago (Ivana was the one who convinced Trump to purchase the south beach property).

Ivanka and Melania Trump on the campaign trail

Secondly, I have the utmost respect for Melania who like most people that immigrated here legally is resilient and hard working. It’s a shame that most people write her off as a bimbo because she has an accent (she’s fluent in five languages) and previously worked as a model. People should also consider that Melania was accepted to a competitive architecture school in Slovenia before coming to America to pursue modeling full time and her former professors remember her as having “a very high IQ”.*side note: some of the biggest ballers including Fran Lebowitz and Biggie Smalls didn’t even graduate high school! By the time she got to America, she was considered too old for the modeling industry. However, she still paved her way, earning the privilege to work with legendary designers like John Galliano and tastemakers such as Andre Leon Talley.

Lastly, I wanted the video to celebrate Ivanka Trump because I truly think her existence is some sort of an oxymoron. It is striking to see that even with the public life Ivanka grew up with, she is still grounded and unfazed. Personally, I’m not sure how normal I’d be if I was in her position but she possesses a timeless composure and elegance that is pretty rare to find nowadays. So while people may have their own reservations about Donald Trump, I think it is safe to say that the women he surrounds himself with and has raised are not only empowered women, but also represent what feminism is to me.

Oh and as for Kellyanne, LEAVE KELLYANNE ALONE. That woman is a gangster, and I get warm inside every time I see her shut down a fake news reporter. She received so much abuse from the media while she was saving the Trump campaign (but really though..) and she is still balling. Loved her inauguration outfit as well!

 

You have been contributing to Everipedia for some time now. How have you seen it grown over time? What do you see that is special in Everipedia?

It’s funny, I had been hating on Wikipedia for some time before I even worked on Everipedia. Although, that isn’t a popular sentiment in the company, it is definitely a driving force for why I want the site to succeed. Anyone with common sense can read the bias tone, mostly in popular pages, on Wikipedia. I actually wrote an article titled “How Wikipedia and Gawker are Similar.” On top of that their website is outdated and hard to use, alienating many people that are knowledgeable, but maybe not so much with computers… It is for this reason Wikipedia has created an opening for another knowledge aggregator to flourish. Everipedia addresses my concerns with Wikipedia because it is monumentally more user-friendly, but it is also taking on a much more meaningful project, which is making a page for everything and everyone that exists. It’s almost like god’s database. Also, I love editing Everipedia pages mainly because my best quality is my stalking ability and finally I feel as if I am putting my skills to use.

 

You are currently enrolled at UCLA and have taken several humanities and social science classes. How would you describe the state of intellectual discourse happening in the lecture hall?

I’ve been studying at UCLA for about a year now I have to say I love the campus, but I am also unimpressed by some of the students and faculty. On November 9th many of my professors dedicated the day to let students go on about how much they hate Trump. This was particularly strange for me to witness in an academic environment. I’m not sure I ever witnessed such a thing even in high school. In the one class where our teacher encouraged a meaningful discourse regarding the election and how our government functions, I decided to voice my thoughts. I actually didn’t even give an opinion; I merely presented some information (which was true) that contradicted the goals of the other students in the class. The next day I was informed that my peers had emailed my teacher complaining about what I said. I have to say I am looking forward to the Milo Protest on Campus (Feb 2nd)… 

 

What are some of your inspirations and references that have influenced your videos and articles?

My main source of inspiration for my videos is Joan Rivers. There has been a hole in this planet since she died and I plan on filling that hole. I still have a long way to go until I am as charismatic and funny as Joan, but I think I’m prepared for the job because I’ve been hated by people my whole life and that’s the only way I know, so I’m already half way there! After Joan, I’d have to say Fran Lebowitz is my second source of inspiration. I remember when I was reading “Metropolitan Life,” and thinking “wow I don’t disagree with any of this.” Also, it was one of the rare occasions when I actually laughed out loud from reading a text alone. Recently, I’m really into Camille Paglia as well. She has the unforgiving tone of aforementioned women except she’s not considered a comedic writer, which makes her shameless commentary that much funnier.

What are your goals and plans in the future? Is there anyone that you would want to collaborate with?

My short term goals include purchasing a higher quality camera for my youtube channel because I’ve been receiving complaints about the shit quality for some time now (even though the shitty quality was supposed to be a commentary and fuck you to all the YouTubers with super HD videos that are about nothing lol) and to stop saying the word ‘cuck’ all the time.

My long-term goals include making higher quality videos in terms of content and maybe eventually working with a magazine with a digital component that would have me as their executive commentator or ‘executive bitch’, collecting more vintage Thierry Mugler, saving the Beverly Hills Hotel from the hands of the evil Dorchester Collection and the “new generation”, writing more, dining with Barron Trump, babysitting/mentoring Arabella Kushner, traveling, potentially getting out of this century, starring in a few silent films, having my own TV channel like Oprah, getting a membership at Mar-a-Lago, and much more. In terms of collaboration, I’m willing to work with anyone, even my enemies! I think my presence is so strong that I can bring value to even shittiest projects. However my biggest dream is to star in an Orson Welles film, but alas-he’s dead. Anyone who thinks they live up to that standard, feel free to contact me! 3108013482