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Griff | Because a Tightrope’s Better Than No Rope at All

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REJINA PYO shirt and BVLGARI earrings.

REJINA PYO shirt and BVLGARI earrings.

It’s easy to lose sight of the reason you started in the first place—why you continue on the path you’re on. When complaining about the sogginess and uninviting taste of a paper straw, the thousands of turtle fatalities they’ve prevented seem to slip the mind. When experiencing the love-hate relationship of looking different from the rest, the steadfastness of ancestors and intricacies of their culture falls to the wayside. When success overrides artistry, the heart that once gushed with wonder turns cold.

SIMONE ROCHA dress, shirt, pants, socks, and shoes, SHRIMPS earrings, and talent’s own rings.

SIMONE ROCHA dress, shirt, pants, socks, and shoes, SHRIMPS earrings, and talent’s own rings.

Griff, English singer-songwriter and keeper of the Brit Award for Rising Star, sits in her childhood home in Hertfordshire—where all of her self-produced songs were made and her favorite Taylor Swift guitar resides—as we reflect on her covetable break-out year. “I’m consciously trying not to change too much,” the singer-songwriter ponders. “As my career grows, I think it’s quite a scary thing, and you almost want to stay grounded in the person that you started off being before it all started. I want it to always stay about the music,” she continues. “You’ve got to love and be proud of what you do regardless of all the accolades and all the other stuff that comes with it.”

For many, when they think of sustainability, the first thing that comes to mind is saving the environment—paper straws, bamboo toothbrushes, mason jars, and second-hand clothing. And although it is wildly important to take care of our planet, it is interesting to recognize the alternate ways sustainability can show up—a place, culture, personal values, and the list goes on. To fit in or stand out. To work hard or have fun. To take the risk or play it safe. These are the tightropes of life, making sustainability a balancing act.

REJINA PYO jacket, LIPKIN CONNER dress, stylist’s own socks, SIMONE ROCHA shoes, BVLGARI earrings, and talent’s own rings.

REJINA PYO jacket, LIPKIN CONNER dress, stylist’s own socks, SIMONE ROCHA shoes, BVLGARI earrings, and talent’s own rings.

So the question arises: how does one person manage to sustain all of these aspects at once? How do you find balance? “It is really difficult,” Griff responds to both the question and the metaphor embedded in her album’s cover art—literally, a tight rope.

“Suddenly, you can’t control muscles in your body that you didn’t even know were there.” But the title of her debut mixtape says it best—One Foot in Front of the Other. Inspired by the overarching theme of finding recovery amidst instability, Griff wanted to capture the emotional rollercoaster that accompanies regaining balance. “I think we all realized what was important to us this year,” she reflects.

Many focus on the rise and fall, but it’s what sustains you that is most important. It can be found in doing work you love and finding people to share it with. It can be found in recognizing work that has yet to be done and dis- covering liberation in initiating change. For Griff, she offers up this new mixtape with the intention of creating an uplifting sense of hope, despite the inevitable tightropes we will always find ourselves toeing.

REJINA PYO jacket, LIPKIN CONNER dress, stylist’s own socks, SIMONE ROCHA shoes, BVLGARI earrings, and talent’s own rings.

REJINA PYO jacket, LIPKIN CONNER dress, stylist’s own socks, SIMONE ROCHA shoes, BVLGARI earrings, and talent’s own rings.

Photographer: Jenny Brough
Stylist: Jay Hines
Hair: Roger Cho at Anomaly Projects
Makeup: Chynara at Anomaly Projects
Stylist Assistant: Elena Garcia
Written by: Megumi Murphy