Who Is He?

Who Is He?

Charli XCX is leaning into her sellout era, rebirthing today as the ultimate pop star with "Good Ones."

She's been teasing the demonic release for weeks, ushering in a chapter of music that sees Charli happily selling her soul to the major label machine. "The music industry is sadistic and psychotic and I love it," she tweeted in August, and on TikTok she encouraged fans to stop prioritizing their art. As someone who's always danced the line between outsider and insider, underground and mainstream, this committed effort is a perfect, almost performance art-like move.

In a press release, which Charli herself wrote and sent today "from the desk of Charli XCX," she says this new single "embraces all that my life has to offer in today's world," before specifically listing off "fame, glamour, inner demons and global hits." Produced by Oscar Holter, of hitmaker Max Martin's camp, Charli explains that "Good Ones" explores her "inability to keep hold of healthy relationship, instead being endlessly drawn back to the dysfunctional and toxic."

Hannah Lux Davis directed the "Good Ones" music video in Mexico City, where Charli's sadistic fantasy came to life in the form of a stylized funeral. Rather than a traditional ceremony of grief, tears and modest black looks, Charli throws a funeral (er, party?) for the lover she let go that unfolds with full choreography, thong bodysuits and a touch of fire. She rides the casket on the way to his burial — writhing seductively — before the entire crew ends up drinking at a dive bar once he's six feet under.

"The 'Good Ones' video sees me dramatically mourning the untimely loss of my partner as I battle with the realization that once again I've abandoned the goodness in my life, in favor of the sinister, with a visual aesthetic that marks a new era of me: Charli XCX," she continues in the release, describing the visual as "twisted, dramatic and quite frankly electrifying." Because what good pop star is humble?

The deceased lover in question, who appears for mere seconds in a casket, is none other than 22-year-old model-on-the-rise Nate Brunner, hailing from the midwest and telling PAPER he cracked his phone when the offer came in for "Good Ones." We got to know him a bit more, below, ahead of New York Fashion Week where he's hoping to book some gigs this season — maybe this will help.

Where did you grow up and what was that like?

I grew up in southwest Michigan, right on the shore of Lake Michigan. It was great as a kid, just a quiet vacation town for Chicago tourists getting out of the city for a few weeks. Great to visit now in the summer, but pretty frigid all winter.

How'd you first get into modeling and how long have you been doing it?

I first got into modeling when I was scouted on Instagram, working with DMM, my mother agency, in Detroit. I signed with them right before the pandemic, so not super long. Just started seriously working when I signed with New Icon and headed to Mexico City for a few months last fall.

What and who do you love most in fashion?

I love Harris Reed and Kim Jones, right now. Great pieces coming from both of them. Would be a dream to work with either of them. I love how easily expressive fashion can be. Whether you realize it or not, every piece you wear says a lot about you.

How has modeling changed your perspective on fashion?

It's really opened me up to the avant-garde, editorial and dramatic pieces. Being from the midwest there isn't much exposure to that, but now modeling that's the majority of the work I'm doing.

Are you a Charli XCX fan? Do you have a favorite song?

I'm a huge Charli XCX fan. When I found out I was booked, I dropped my phone and actually cracked the screen on it. Now it's "Good Ones," obviously," but I love "1999" and "Vroom Vroom" is always iconic.

How'd you get looped into the "Good Ones" video project?

My booker in Mexico City sent me the job and I almost said no before he told me it was for Charli. I had plans to tour the pyramids in Mexico City with my sister, who was visiting that weekend, and was called out from my agency. As soon as I heard it was a Charli video though, I had to send my sister off with some friends on their own.

What was your favorite experience filming in Mexico City?

I really loved being on set for Charli's video. Hannah Davis, the director, was so sweet and really explained a lot of the behind the scenes stuff to me. It was my first time on a set like that.

Now that you've seen the video in full, what's your reaction?

I was shocked. I knew it was gonna be incredible, but seeing the whole polished video I'm amazed at how it turned out.

Is it weird seeing yourself in a casket playing the one Charli's mourning?

Super weird [laughs]. I can only hope my funeral will be that stunning. If someone isn't riding my casket, I don't want it.

Does "Good Ones" speak to your own experience with love? Do you find you "let the good ones go"?

To be honest, not really [laughs]. I'm really the relationship type. At this point, I'm really looking toward my work and trying to build a career.

Are you prepping now for NYFW? What do you have planned?

I am! Nothing planned yet, just heading casting to casting and hoping I get something booked, so fingers crossed.

Stream "Good Ones" by Charli XCX, below.

Photos via YouTube