Meg Superstar Princess and The Cobra Snake Talk Indie Sleaze
Internet Culture

Meg Superstar Princess and The Cobra Snake Talk Indie Sleaze

Story by Justin Moran / Photography by Mark Hunter, The Cobra Snake

In the mid-aughts, getting shot by photographer Mark Hunter — and posted in a gallery on his blog, The Cobra Snake — was the ultimate status symbol. If it-girl Cory Kennedy was chugging beer in the background, even better. For some, this was an excuse to go out at all, as Hunter captured the recklessness of nightlife before apps like Instagram gave that power to party kids without a digital camera. Selfies, a near impossible task, could only be done with a point-and-shoot, and skillfully extended arm.

This was pre-camera phones, of course: When Sky Ferreira hung out with Katy Perry, who’d just released her now-controversial single, “Ur So Gay;” when Lindsay Lohan still stumbled out of clubs, during her fling with DJ Samantha Ronson that she’d later pass off as an LA-influenced phase. A young Telfar was running doors of NYC parties; Kim Kardashian was merely Paris Hilton’s BFF; Agyness Deyn was the model; and bloghouse was cultivating some of music’s next big names, from Daft Punk to Steve Aoki.

Now lovingly referred to as “indie sleaze,” this early internet era is being rediscovered and reappropriated by a new generation, with TikTokers channeling the same debauchery that Hunter’s been documenting for his entire career — high flash and absolutely no Facetune allowed.

Through her own blog, Le Hipster Portal, Meg Superstar Princess (real name: Meg Yates) captures modern life in Manhattan, diary style, with a very Cobra Snake, indie sleaze edit (which is to say it’s entirely unedited). Her posts are bottomless, featuring scattered photos of Yates and her friends running from Lower East Side studios to warehouse parties in deli looks that include everything from raccoon eyes to faux fur jackets and tourism merch. As a bonus, she notoriously writes with a French voice, replacing every “the” with “le” and “I” with “moi.”

Being obsessive, cultural matchmakers, PAPER recently connected Hunter and Yates for the first time ever, as they spent a night out in NYC wreaking havoc across town. Below, the two talk all things indie sleaze in an extremely extended conversation, blog-style, with more than enough photos to bring you inside their experience. Because with The Cobra Snake, as Meg advised us, more is more.

Meg Superstar Princess: I started a blog about a year ago, Le Hipster Portal. I’ve had many fashion eras, but I was really obsessed with hipster-era shit, like Urban Outfitters, terrible hipster shit, and that led to me being into fashion blogger girls. So I started my own blog and taking my own photos, and my style has always been a little bit indie sleaze-y and late 2000s. Then all of the sudden everyone is talking about this trend, [indie sleaze]. Obviously, you've been a huge inspiration to me since I was like — not to make you feel old — but little. I was obsessed with your work.

For you, what is your experience having done something for so long that you're such a mainstay at having a bit of a renaissance and being given the credit as the key figure of this period that everyone wants to talk about again? What have the past couple of months been like for you?

Mark Hunter, The Cobra Snake: I mean, it's great. PAPER was the first to put me on to you and they have been trying to get me out to New York for a while. As soon as I saw you, I was instantly obsessed. I’m like, "This is the type of girl I love to be with." I just want to be with you 24/7 and live your life.

Meg: Nobody ever says that to me, so thank you. [Laughs]

Mark: We made dreams come true, I spent almost four solid days with you. For me that's always been my way of living vicariously through people because, as long as I've been in this industry and as long as I've been a photographer, I love documenting things. So to see somebody like you, who’s truly living such an extreme fun lifestyle, and bringing fashion, bringing partying, bringing everything into it is exactly what I go for. And it's your fault because it's the photos that I'll take of you that are going to make people excited. That's what I always tell people: it's a chicken and an egg thing. Yes, I'm a photographer, but if I don't have anything cool to photograph, then who am I? It's the people and my subjects that I’ve met over the years that I'm so grateful for that turned my images to be something exciting.

Meg: When I think about people starting to do this party documentation, obviously, it's been a thing for a long time, but you started taking these party pictures that were so visceral and fun and could also be shared on the internet with an immediacy that hadn't really happened before. When you first started taking photos, was it always just documenting your life or people that were interesting in your life, or how did your photography journey start?

Mark: In high school I was a photo nerd, so I would spend hours in the dark room. I really have true street cred, you could say, because I could develop my own film and I print my own photos and I was fancy like that, I loved it. But I really didn't see that that would be something viable for me to continue with because it's expensive, it's slow and it wasn't exactly my vibe. This is the early 2000s.

Meg: And in LA, right?

Mark: In LA, yeah. There were no camera phones, it was a novel thing to think about a digital camera. I saved up some money and one of the things I loved doing, because when you're underage in a town, all you can really do is go to concerts. I was the most hipster possible. Before the indie sleaze, the hipster is the indie sleaze.

Meg: Absolutely.

Mark: So I was dressing the part, in skinny jeans and tight fitting shirts and a v-neck from American Apparel and really just tried to embrace that energy. I'd end up at these concerts and I had to sneak my camera in. I would push my way to the front of the show, and I'd take epic photos of the bands and piss everybody off cause they’re like, “You didn't wait outside the venue all day. You showed up right when the doors opened and we've been out here since two in the afternoon. Why are you all the way up here with us?" I said, “Chill out and let me take your photo,” and they were flattered because nobody would ever take their photo. So I turned the camera around on the crowd before and after the show, and mixed in photos of the band and told a better story of the night.

In the beginning, I didn't even have a website. I was emailing those photos. I had to literally send different emails to different people and be like, "Here's my photos, here's a photo of you." So I decided to make the website and truly I feel like somewhat of a visionary only because it propelled my career like you wouldn't believe. The fact that the photos of the Yeah Yeahs that I shot at the Troubadour in 2004 ended up on their message board the next day, and then two days later I get an email from the band and they're like, "Hey kid, we love your work. You wanna come shoot our next show? We’re actually filming a music video and you could do behind-the-scenes with Spike Jones directing.”

Meg: Whoa, and you're how old?

Mark: I'm 19, probably.

Meg: Holy shit.

Mark: I was like, “This is blowing my mind getting this access.” I was a fan of these people, I was paying to go to the concert. I was just a big nerd and the fact that they were seeing me on a level that we could work together was pretty sick.

Meg: And not even on some scene bullshit, like you're a friend of a friend of a friend, but just just through your photos on their own.

Mark: Yes, the work really spoke for itself and that was what made me proud. The people that recognized the photos as something interesting and something fresh really got it. There were plenty of people that were like, "This is a joke, how can you make a career shooting parties?" And I laugh thinking about that. Not to brag about finances or stuff, but I bought a house from taking party photos, which is kind of a joke.

Meg: So many people I know that are successful photographers from a young age now and do campaigns and really big work literally started doing parties. That's how they built up their thing, doing party photos.

Mark: Shooting nightlife is an aggressive thing. You have to react to what's going on at the event, you have to be aware, so it's really good training for capturing people and the energy.

Meg: So you're in LA and you start to get these opportunities by going to shows. Then, you just start meeting more people that way, going to more events and adding to your website, and that's just how the ball really got rolling for you?

Mark: Yeah, to bring it to modern day, it still happens. I'm out with you in New York and we hear of something else going on from a friend at the bar and we go to the next party and then we go to the after party. That energy was always happening and so what people realized is, “We’ve got to have Mark at the parties.” So my inbox was just being flooded with events and friends would be like, "This is happening now or a month from now mark your calendar for this thing." I really was obsessive and I was like, "I need to shoot everything" Again, this was a different time, so you didn't have any way to know if something was gonna be cool. You couldn't watch somebody's Story, you weren't even really texting like nowadays. You had phones with the number texts and it was impossible to send messages.

Meg: And people also didn't know if you were gonna be there, like is there gonna be anything worth shooting? Are we gonna have to create something worth shooting there? Am I gonna get my photo taken, will Mark be there?

Mark: I didn't even intend on that, but it became this sort of clout, which didn't even exist then. "I was shot by The Cobra Snake and my photo was on the website,” or, “My photo made the front cover of the gallery." For me, people would relate it to Andy Warhol and the “15 seconds of fame,” or whatever, and this became a true portal to nightlife. Within the community, it was really revered, and a lot of people would socialize and it would be a good way to even interact with people. Now with Instagram you can leave comments and all of that, but back then you could say, "I saw you on The Cobra Snake, I loved your outfit,” or you'd have to directly contact these people, which is the first step of flirting.

Meg: Having now met you, you’re not very socialite-y, you’re not very attention seeking. But, obviously, that had to become a part of your life and now you have this persona, you have such a distinct look, so people know who you are. Did that make taking photos better or did it make it harder in some ways when you’re out and everybody knows who you are?

Mark: When I started and I was young — everybody likes to talk about their anxiety — so I was a little bit anxious cause I'm going to these adult events and art shows, and there's sophisticated people and I'm just this goofy kid. So I had glasses at the time and then I would wear sunglasses that would fit over your glasses that are for old people when they have cataracts.

Meg: Oh I love those, those are cute.

Mark: I had these fun glasses on and I could barely even see anything.

Meg: Yeah, how are you taking the picture? [Laughs]

Mark: Well, that's the best part. It was like I had a force field around me, so I didn't really know who I was shooting or what I was shooting, and so that put the intimidation factor down. And then I'd look at them after the night and think, "Holy shit, that was this celebrity," and I wasn't fazed by that. Also, the thing with celebrity culture is that I never wanted my blog to rely on photos of Paris Hilton. You just came to the website because you would see something and you'd enjoy whatever it might be.

Meg: Indie sleaze overlaps heavily with that birth of the influencer, the Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian kind of girl. The Cobra Snake felt so much more underground. Maybe celebrities are in the room, but it was cool scene people that you were shooting, which was such a cool element to have, especially coming out of LA.

Mark: When I could shoot those famous people, it was still through my style, so those would look a little bit more raw and fun because I'm capturing them the way I would, not like on the red carpet.

Meg: Your photos of Lindsay Lohan are some of the best ones that exist.

Mark: Oh my God, Lindsay was a sweetheart back in the day and I would see her almost weekly.

Meg: She's cool, she also actually does have amazing, sick-ass style. I saw Samantha Ronson at a bar once and I really had to keep myself from saying anything. Best dressed bitch ever. So when you were becoming this party person in LA, who were some of the people that ended up being featured? There are people like Corey [Kennedy] or Steve Aoki, who end up becoming figures in your blog that are there really often. I’ve watched all the old Nylon TV videos and you’re driving around doing your yard sales and shit. You start photographing these people who, at the same time, are beginning to have their moment and there's this element that you're bringing each other up, becoming these cultural icons in some way or another.

Mark: What I could choose to showcase on the blog was my editorial decision, so when I was immensely obsessed with Corey, the blog was ripe with Corey content and people loved that. They could see that energy between us, the antics that we would get up to and it was also really relatable. That's what I think this whole new renaissance should also echo is that this is a scene to embrace every people. We’re the underdogs.

Meg: There's an intimacy there when you start to have a person that keeps coming up a lot.

Mark: And people could relate to them. If you were to look at the magazines of the time, everyone is what we called McBling: Buff and tan and guys waxed their chest, and girls had big boobs.

Meg: Logomania.

Mark: Exactly, so where did we fit in all that? We were the people going to see Wes Anderson movies, like Rushmore, back in the day. I think it was a really sweet and pure energy to be documenting. The crazy thing is that a lot of the people from the blog have gone on to do amazing things. We had the weekly party at Cinespace on a Tuesday night and hundreds of people would show up. Everybody from all the bloghouse heroes (Justice and Uffie and Daft Punk) to Lady Gaga to Kid Cudi and Kanye [West] would show up. It was pretty much what, at the time, felt like a chore to go out every single Tuesday.

Meg: We love to complain about partying, don't we?

Mark: Looking back, it is pretty amazing to see what happened.

Meg: So I like to push buttons and be a little messy and I'm a fashion bitch, but I think I could be a bit of a punker in terms of my mentality. I just think things should be a little fucked up sometimes. Your photos are party photos, so there's obviously an air of debauchery, but your photos aren’t some Nan Goldin, drugs everywhere, kind of situation, right? You can tell people are out and up to shit, but you’re not documenting gnarly, like there’s puke shots and stuff like that, but you’re not–

Mark: I kept it very PG-13, R-rated. I did shoot a lot of crazy things, but I never published those photos. I knew I had a sort of responsibility and, at one point, the site was getting 50,000+ unique visitors a day. I knew a lot of them were quite young, so if I’m going to be inspiring a certain culture, I wanted to be a little bit careful with that. It’s tough because I was never creating these moments, I was there documenting them, but the fact that I decided to display them sort of validates them, in a way.

Meg: Definitely. I find it important and inspiring to be allowed to be messy and be allowed to show those moments, but I think it’s important to walk the line of how much you’re going to show and in what way and how often.

Mark: The thing that I love about you is how raw and real you are. You’re actually ahead of the curve because there’s this whole backlash on social media of people with too much Facetune and photoshop, and nobody wants that anymore, they want to see the real.

Meg: It’s like, “Here’s the mess,” but I have to be the one to sort of take it the furthest with my own image and identity. When you’re taking photos of other people, you have to be a lot more careful about respecting their image.

Mark: I would shoot strangers a lot that I’d met for the first time, so if I was shooting them in a compromising position, I don’t know their day job, I don’t know anything. So even when they’re so excited for the photos and they’re acting to the camera, they might be wasted and realize the next day, “I probably shouldn’t have done that.”

Meg: [Laughs] It’s like, I’m not gonna feel bad if I photographed you making out with somebody and you knew it and then your actual boyfriend saw it, but there’s definitely some things I wouldn’t put on the internet.

Mark: I’ve gotten calls, “Hey, can you take that photo down? That wasn’t my girlfriend.” There’s actually a line in a rap song that was on one of [Steve] Aoki’s records, saying something about, “There’ll be photos of me making out with some girl on The Cobra Snake that I don’t know,” or something like that.

Meg: You have to find that, I love that.

Mark: It’s a lot more slick and delivered way better than I just did.

Meg: [Laughs] Yeah, you mumble-rapped a little bit.

Mark: But touching on the time we spent together over last week, it really brought me back and I really felt truly alive. It was so cool to see New York even in whatever energy we’re currently in, with COVID and it being winter, there’s still this creative vibe and people that want to go out and have fun. That was really fun for me to see.

Meg: We had a blast. It’s fun having you come out because, obviously, everyone I’m going out with knows who you are and wants their photo taken, like probably too badly. But people amp up the fun a little more when there’s a photographer there, there’s a reason to turn up, but it has been very slow and cold and the parties have been canceled because of COVID. Also, people who are partying right now are spun out either because of partying after COVID or during COVID dangerously. So it’s a little crazy, but there’s always a frenetic energy to New York. Some of the most fun you can have is when there’s nothing going on because at least there’s always people out in New York even if they’re total randoms. Even if there’s no cool, fun party, you can make something happen.

Mark: We ended up in Times Square at like four in the morning and there were dudes filming some kind of hip-hop music video, and you go and play with them.

Meg: Well, they wouldn’t let me in the car, but I had to try.

Mark: [Laughs] I don’t know if I would let you in a car either, but–

Meg: I’ve been doing that a lot lately, just getting into random strangers’ cars, I need to stop.

Mark: That’s what’s so beautiful about the city, you can bump into people on the street, you can end up at somebody’s loft and play dress up for hours. That’s what I really enjoy photographing: that day in the life.

Meg: I definitely have been really balls to the wall this weekend, for sure. Obviously, it’s great that you are being recognized online for something you fucking started. But the indie sleaze shit, at least for me, I didn’t set out a plan to be this style. My fashion taste is a lot more complex than one gimmick. On TikTok and shit, kids do stuff like, “I’m an e-girl, I’m a fairy bitch, I'm whatever.” It sucks to watch a style, which I have such an intense and complex relationship with, get trivialized. At the same time, I’m not going to turn it down for the clout and attention, but how do I avoid becoming a parody of myself?

Mark: I think somebody like you, you’re always going to evolve and be ahead of the curve, so where anyone’s digesting this now and just getting into it, you’re already probably thinking of what you want to do next and what fashion trend you want to mess up. But the thing that’s so hyper-nuts about these trends is it’s so visual and so surface that you can dress the part, but you won’t know anything about the real culture of indie sleaze like the bands associated, the art, the film and everything that people of that era embraced. What that does is it sort of comes and goes, so maybe it might resonate with some people and they’re going to really embrace indie sleaze as their 2022 goal and hopefully they’re going to really support and dive in. That’s what any campaign would want: we’re going to hype this thing up and see who we can get to join our team.

Meg: It is amazing that fashion can be such an access point to people, as much as it sounds corny to talk about stuff this way, especially trends, but it is such an incredible educational access point for culture, especially when there’s so much out there now.

Mark: Everyone who made fun of Kendall Jenner for wearing a Slayer shirt, but it popularized Slayer’s music, in a way.

Meg: When I get into something, I dive in so fucking deep on my own, but I also find it really humorous and fun to be of my generation and don’t feel bad about being a poser because I don’t necessarily know if that’s a bad thing or totally possible at this point in 2022, but it is quite fun. Speaking of where we are at right now, the way things can be so surface level, as you’re having so many TikToks made about you. That Paris Hilton era in LA was so not PC, so fucked up, so far from woke and unapologetically obsessed with consumer shit, like Bush era. Now, it’s these photos everyone’s loving, but it’s these kids that didn’t live through that and don’t understand necessarily what the time was like back then. They’re looking at your work, your life or your identity through this gaze that’s from woke TikTok, and are being so critical and making these assumptions and creating this rhetoric around you that’s really harsh. How do you handle that?

Mark: I mean, you really have to look at it as this time capsule and I can’t apologize for photos I've taken, right?

Meg: Yeah, you shouldn’t.

Mark: That was a moment, and we lived and we learned. That’s the main thing: we have to learn from the past and from our mistakes. If there was something that was inappropriate back then and it’s no longer cool, I’m all for that, but I get a little bit sad when it stifles creativity. What I have always been proud of is that I’ve always remained a good dude when it comes to being a party photographer, and I really want to be there to inspire and be creative and to support others in that. When you look at my photos, I want you to feel good and feel like, “Oh that brings me to a time,” or, “Look how funny that person looks, they look so different nowadays.” But I know that it was a huge problem on Facebook, that negativity generates more clicks. Of course, there’s going to be ways you can swing a headline and twist things around in certain ways, so I’m ready for it because this is going to be a big year with my book coming out.

Meg: Yeah, I’m so excited for your Rizzoli book. It’s all your party pics?

Mark: The book is the nightlife and party pics from the 2000s, pretty much until Instagram took over and made me somewhat obsolete for a little bit. What’s nice about that is I was able to look back at that era and really reflect and curate this. A lot of photos people haven’t even seen before, so it’s a really cool piece.

Meg: You obviously didn’t create Instagram, but you were part of this culture that made Instagram work so well and then that made your work less–

Mark: Somebody called me in some article, “The Instagram before Instagram,” and I was flattered. The funny thing is, I did this pretty much myself for the first 10 years and then, over the years, I always had other photographers shoot and contribute to the blog because I couldn't be everywhere at once. So I gave them a platform and access. I had a really amazing girl from Tokyo contributing and a dude in Australia sending in photos, so it became a global party thing. If i knew how to design an app or something it could have been–

Meg: That’s what you would have done, yeah.

Mark: Everybody became their own photographer, from celebrities on down. You could have the most intimate selfie from whoever in their dressing room and just post it. Not that it’s a better photo, but it might be a more authentic photo than what I might have captured. And that took over, this Instagram aesthetic was the vibe.

Meg: But then as everything became so saturated with that, it all started to feel less authentic and then people started to feel this need for photos like yours taken again.

Mark: That’s where this renaissance is bubbling up because people realized they like a third party doing this. They like the fact that I can capture somebody in the moment and your camera phone can’t do that, it’s blurry.

Meg: Instagram made photography so accessible that traditional photographers hated it because they felt it took away the art form from the medium, but then it almost made it so accessible that it made everyone appreciate the art form. It can be in the medium again, which is so cool.

Mark: Yeah, it’s flipped on its head in a way. What I love is we went out and then I had a Dropbox from The Drunken Canal party, and it got spread through DMs and everyone just started posting those photos. So it’s pretty cool because it does serve a purpose to have me there at the event, and there’s an excitement and an anticipation to log on and see the photos the next day and socialize them. Now even more than ever because, when I was doing this in the 2000s, you might have them on your Myspace page, but now you have so many different outlets where you can show the photos.

Meg: It was cool you came to that Drunken Canal party. When I first started my blog, I loved it because I realized the value in having a casual space to make work or take photos and post them in a public way that felt more intimate and detached from the cycle on social media that you get stuck into. People connected to it, which became a special thing. The Drunken Canal, they are these people that started a newspaper and put it out on newsstands for free all throughout the city and they throw it together with people downtown in the scene. People fucking wake up early in the morning, Friday or Saturday, when they put it out once a month to see it. It’s cool to have all of us have this revival moment together.

Mark: I love what they’re doing, bringing it back to the old school because having print is so special. Since I’ve found out about you, I’ve been obsessed with your blog because there you can really be intimate and share whatever you want, and you’re not restricted to the guidelines of Instagram. You can post more than a few photos and it doesn’t get annoying.

Meg: And it doesn’t have to be the right one, I post them all. I don’t have to worry about if my wording’s perfect because it’s a blog. Blogs are about oversharing and not editing.

Mark: It’s really like a diary and it’ll be a cool archive to look back on. I hope that you’re going to inspire more kids to start blogs again.

Meg: Teenage girls, those are my readers. I’ve seen a lot of them already, and it’s so cute and so cool to see it happen.

Mark: Yeah, it’s a great outlet and that’s what’s so cool about the internet and another reason why I chose the internet to share my photos is because it’s like an all you can eat buffet and you can put out as much content as you want. For me, it was like visual potato chips, just snacking on.

Meg: Now that we have such a big structure in the way we all use social media and the internet, it’s cool to see people carve out a way to be a little vintage and be a little hipster on the internet. That’s a really exciting and fun thing to be a part of.

Mark: It’s crazy how every website is now like a Squarespace, and so 2.0 and modern. It’s a whole different experience when you bring it back to that 1.0, and Blogspots and Tumblrs.

Meg: So how do we describe indie sleaze? Do you think it’s the way you took the photos, was it the clothes people were wearing or the music? What are the things that were pop cultural moments that come to your mind?

Mark: One of the main things I like to say is sitting on the floor. I just love that, it’s a carefree energy. You don’t care that you’re wearing a fancy outfit or part of a fancy outfit, but you’re going to sit on the floor and there might be a drink spilled next to you. You’re going to pour your handbag out looking for your makeup compact. It’s a punk rock energy of not giving a fuck and being intense. The style is very hipster to me, which is funny because I have never really changed my style. I have worn the same stuff, but I think for a lot of people it’s a little rock and roll. You think of Kate Moss.

Meg: I think of high-low. It’s literally high and low, like you’re on the fucking ground in a high-end dress. It’s like cheesy gas station accessories with a beaded mini-dress and Louboutins and a piece of caution tape around your head. It’s high-low, if you’re at a fancy cocktail party or you’re at a shitty party in a fancy outfit.

Mark: You’re wrecking your designer handbag, you really don’t give a fuck basically.

Meg: That’s why I connected to indie sleaze. One time, my friend described my fashion style like, “You dress like New York City and New York City has so much mythology. It’s so glamorous, but it’s glamorous because it exists on this huge layer of grit and your feet are fucking dirty in your ballet flats.

Mark: I love a story that I heard about you buying some short shorts on Canal Street and it’s like making an outfit on the go. You don’t really plan things and everything has an organic feel like, “Oh, it’s cold and I’m going to buy a souvenir hoodie for $5 and now that’s my outfit.”

Meg: I was staying at my friend’s on Canal Street because I hated my dorm the first year. I just wore like three fake Rolex watches and a fake Birkin bag and an “I Love New York” shirt and shorts everyday and just kept buying them. And then I got my famous, “Keep back 200 feet,” on my ass shorts and I just kept like six pairs and they’re all ripped. I wore those for literally years, but to every event. I’d take a ball gown and cut it into a top and wear those shorts and heels to a party, and I’d wear it with a sweatshirt and flats. That’s it.

Mark: That’s what is so fun, there were no real rules to it. You’re sweaty, your makeup’s not great and the imperfectness is the perfectness.

Meg: Coming out of what you call McBling, it makes so much sense that people were drawn to The Cobra Snake style and that space in time. And now there’s the Calabasas-style internet, influencer space.

Mark: They’re calling it “Malibu Sleaze,” and it’s a whole thing about Pam Anderson and that whole vibe.

Meg: I know nothing about Malibu and I’m very anti-LA. I mean, I will come to hang out with you.

Mark: We should do some paparazzi bikini pics of you, like “never before seen.”

Meg: I’m pretty sure I’ve been seen in a bikini a thousand ways.

Mark: A flame bikini.

Meg: I love that, “Meg takes LA.” I’m from there, but I’m not really from there.

Mark: We should do a hometown visit with Meg. “Meet the parents.”

Meg: I guess there are some parking lots I used to hang out in.

Mark: That’s what’s so special, when you get together with five or six people and you’re just having fun, talking, catching up with things. Being real and not on your phone, and that’s what is so important and I want more people to get back to.

Meg: It’s sad that getting fucked up is the easiest way to get people to do that now.

Mark: That’s why I brought fitness into my career. I wanted to make it a social way to network and do everything, but in a healthy environment like on a mountain or running across the Williamsburg Bridge.

Meg: You’ve never made it out late enough with me, you’re on LA hours. There’s maybe one or two nights you might have been able to get a little athleticism in, but you didn’t make it with me all the way to the punk house after Times Square.

Mark: I got 10+ years on you and it’s a little bit hard running on an energy drink ’til six in the morning.

Meg: I don’t know how you kept up on a beer and a Redbull.

Mark: Again, I live vicariously through you and all these people I’ve met. It brings me that life and energy, and it makes it really fun. Sometimes I’ve also known that in the wee hours you’re not going to get the most appropriate photos.

Meg: This is true. Once the bars close, the photos are really less interesting. If I’m hanging out in some shitty apartment with my friends all night, those are cool, but the afterparty pictures are sad and taken very poorly.

Mark: The resurgence of digital cameras is kind of a sweet spot for me. Seeing you out with one and a lot of these top tier influencers all bringing cameras that are probably older than a lot of them.

Meg: It makes you think about photos in a different way that makes you more present in the moment, actually.

Mark: Because you can’t share it right away, you have to get it from the memory card. There’s a lot of steps you have to take.

Meg: A lot of hoops to jump through, but it’s fun.

Mark: The story of my life

Meg: It’s time for you to come back, we miss you already, Mark. I can’t believe you can still stand me after our night out.

Mark: I told you I have a high tolerance and you are a superstar. That should be part of your instagram name, I would say.

Meg: [Laughs] It’s been my Instagram since I was like 16 and I just can’t change it now because it’s too far gone.

Mark: I wouldn’t, I would never, but you need more merch and more people speaking the gospel. It’s also cool because people are associating us a lot with this indie sleaze movement and beyond, and it’ll be interesting to see where that goes.

Meg: Okay love, is there anything else you want to chat about?

Mark: Let’s hope for a good 2022, and that we can be off to the races and live life to the fullest and not feel so controlled behind a mask. What’s the French thing you would say? Au revoir or something?

Meg: Au revoir, merci, tata, namaste.

[Both laugh]

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Story by Payton Dunn / Photography by Nicholás Zambrano