(Editor’s Note: This interview with TV personality and former Married to Rock star, Josie Stevens, who also performed in the adult entertainment industry under the aliases Frankie Dashwood, Jill Madison, Josie Pearl, and Kim Stephanie, was conducted by Tom Heckbert for the now-defunct website Eyestrane.com, where it was originally published in October of 2012. It’s been republished at Idol Features courtesy of Tom.)
Josie Stevens is an American TV personality, stylist, designer and model, best known for her starring role on E! Channel’s Married To Rock, alongside her Grammy Award-winning guitarist/composer husband, Steve Stevens (Billy Idol, Michael Jackson, Vince Neil). Already an in-demand celebrity stylist and makeup artist prior to her career in reality TV, her outrageous brand with J Valentine has continued to be a celebrity favorite and sparked trends all over the world.
Whimsical and outrageous fashion line, J Valentine Catalog, is excited to announce a new collection of costumes with E! Channel TV Personality, trendsetter, and rock star wife, Josie Stevens, from E! Channel’s Married to Rock. Launching on September 5th, in time for specialty retailers busiest season, Halloween, J Valentine Catalog and Josie Stevens are happy to announce an all new collection of playful couture costumes and fashion, under the Josie Loves J Valentine brand.
Already a favorite of celebrities from Paris Hilton to Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi, the Josie Loves J Valentine monster costume was recently spotted on Nicki Minaj at her sold out performance at the Wireless Festival. Nicki’s appearance in the line has skyrocketed the already popular costumes sales, as fans clamor to dress like their favorite star and sport her unique style.
Shunning the throw away mentality of cheap, sweatshop made disposable costumes, J Valentine and Josie Stevens have built a dedicated fan base by meeting the growing demand of consumers to have high-quality, ethically made costumes and clubwear that can be worn for any occasion and styled in a variety of way. A favorite year round with ever growing rave community, J Valentine and Josie see costumes as a way of life beyond Halloween, but instead a way to bring a sense of fun and fantasy into every day life.
With the popularity of fashion icons like Nicki Minaj, Lady Gaga and Katy Perry, the world is starting to see fashion more then ever as a means of expression, and a way to celebrate their personalities, and their first stop in creating that look is usually the plushy, creative, fun and sexy J Valentine Catalog and Josie Loves J Valentine brands.
JOSIE STEVENS: Thank you so much, and thanks for interviewing me It can be a challenge at times to figure out how to balance both of our schedules, but Steve and I love being together & working together so we usually figure out ways to make everything work. When he tours, I go with him as much as possible and just work from the road, and when I have to travel for work, he almost always joins me. When we are off tour, we both work from home a lot, him in his home studio, and me designing, shooting, taking care of our contracts and bookings, etc I will admit I pretty much work seven days a week, but I feel really fortunate to be able to do what I love, so I never mind. And no matter what we are doing, we always find time to spend a few hours together having fun every day, we try to always have dinner together & we sneak away for little vacations as much as we can.
EYESTRANE: On the show, for those who have not seen it, there was a popular episode involving a life size Josie Doll. Can you tell us about it?
JOSIE: Josie Doll is a life-size replica of me, made by a company called Loveable Dolls. They used a body scanner to make it to my exact dimensions, and my friend AJ stepped in to complete the more delicate procedure of making a silicone mold of, um, a delicate area (laughs) ….and I shipped it off to Steve on tour as a present. It was one of the rare times I wasn’t able to travel with him, and I figured if I could not be there myself, it was the next best thing! I joked that it was a groupie scarecrow, but really I just wanted to do something to make Steve smile and for him to know how much I missed him. Unfortunately, Josie Doll got kidnapped in shipping and didn’t make it out on tour with him, which I think was kinda traumatic for both me and her (laughs), but she is home safe now and lives in Steve’s recording studio. I dress her up in fun outfits from my line and she is certainly a conversation piece when people come over. Whenever we have handymen over, they always think we are weirdos (laughs).
EYESTRANE: What was it like working on an episodic reality show and would you do it again?
JOSIE: I actually had a lot of fun doing Married to Rock. At first I was kinda nervous about agreeing to do a show like that, you never know what its going to be like, or how they will edit you, but fortunately we were working with the best production company, Bunim/Murray, and an amazing network, E! Channel, and they did a great job with the show and edited us fairly and true to our personalities. I just lived my life the way I always do, it just happened to be being filmed. Getting paid to hang out with your friends is pretty much one of the best jobs ever, so I would totally do another reality show if the right project came along I have to say it was an extremely positive experience and lead to lots of great things for me. I feel fortunate that I had the opportunity to be a part of it. And its cool to have moments in your life saved forever, like my wedding or Josie Doll (laughs).
EYESTRANE: You work as a model, hairstylist, and makeup artist as well. I know your time is limited, but do you still do this as well and what have been some of your favorite shoots or projects?
JOSIE: That’s a tough question! I’ve been lucky to do a lot of fun projects, so its hard to pick a favorite. Of course, designing my line and doing the reality show have been two of the things I loved the most, but I feel so blessed to have been a part of and continue to be a part of a lot of fun projects I don’t really do a lot of makeup or hair anymore because I just don’t have the time, but every now and then I will take a gig if its someone I really love to work with or a really fun shoot. I have a few photographers and clients that I cant say no to because I just love making them up! Ive always enjoyed makeup, and its fun to transform someone and make them feel great. I love women and I love making them feel good about themselves, whether its with fashion or hair and makeup. Every girl, and guy!, should feel beautiful and if I can have a part in making them feel that way, it makes me happy. I also do Steve’s makeup for his gigs and photo shoots, which I love. As for modeling, I love modeling for JLJV because to go from a model to a designer, and then get to model your own designs is a dream come true. I do still model for other projects if its something that seems fun. I love being able to get all dolled up and wear fun clothes and be a part of an artistic project, whether its makeup, modeling, designing, etc. I recently shot for a photographer friend of mine, Lisa Boyles, book and we had an amazing time. I also just shot a promotion video for AMIClubwear.com for Halloween and everyone there is so much fun and so nice, so that was a dream day on set. We did one last year too so its becoming a bit of a fun tradition.
JOSIE: I’ve traveled to Japan a few times with my husband and I really fell in love with the creativity, style, and freedom of expression in the fashion there, as well as the people and the country itself, and I am a big fan Japanese style, gyaru in particular, so I definitely try to bring that influence into what we are doing with the line. I think any expression of style has to be organic and come from what you see and live, so although it has had a strong effect on my aesthetic, it does wind up mixed up with our other influences; rock, sci-fi, raves, London punk rock, fantasy, cartoons, etc., instead of being a straight translation of Shibuya or Harajuku fashion. I guess its a bit like Ganguro where they pulled from Hawaiian and California style, but where they ended up was not anywhere near what you see here. I think British fashion is also really creative and interesting, hats are big there, which I love, and of course, it is the birthplace of punk and a lot of my favorite designers like Vivienne Westwood. I think that every country has its own style, its own look, and its inspiring to be able to see that!
EYESTRANE: Although the Josie loves J Valentine line has many influences it is very true to your own, unique style. How was it to work designing these and what was your creative process?
JOSIE: Judy Valentine, the owner of J Valentine, and I work really close together on everything in the line. We are both really involved in the design process, and its been really great because we really inspire each other and are able to take each others ideas and build on them to make something amazing. We have really similar influences and styles so we are usually on the same page with what we want to do with the designs, but its funny because every now and then we misunderstand each other about how we want something to look when we are describing it- and those mistakes have made some of the cutest pieces in the line! We also both really push each others imagination, and nothing is off limits which makes for a really fun, free, creative environment to design in. Usually every piece comes from an idea. It could be specific, like I want to make a cute monster costume or it could be more of a feeling like I want to make something that a punk rock princess in Harajuku would wear on a date and then we go from there.
EYESTRANE: Another thing I love about your designing is the flexibility. The way you can mix and match and add to your designs to change it up based on what you want at the time. I think that would be great to be applied to a makeup line. Is that something you might consider doing in the future?
JOSIE: I’m actually very interested in doing a line of makeup and hair products. I have had a few meetings with existing companies about doing a line, but I think I may decide to to it on my own so I can have complete creative control. I was a makeup artist before I got into designing and reality TV and I would reach love to create a line that captures the aesthetic that I like. Something really fun but wearable, high quality, well pigmented and cruelty free. I have already started speaking with a lab about creating some products so hopefully in the near future that will come to fruition. I just don’t want to put anything out until it is perfect, so I have to be patient with the process. When it comes to the line, I think its really important for girls to be able to wear the pieces a lot of ways. I travel a lot so I am always looking for one of two things when I shop either a really over the top stand out piece that is unforgettable, or something equally awesome, but that has a bit more flexibility in terms of styling- something that can be dressed up or down, worn cute or sexy, etc. I tried to make pieces that would incorporate both of those things with the Josie Loves J Valentine line. I also wanted things that would flatter a lot of different body types and personal styles. I think a lot of girls out there want to wear fun things that look great, but that they can get a lot of use out of, and wear day or night, and that is true of most of the JLJV pieces. They can be layered or worn on their own, or even with pieces that you already have in your closet. They look great as a total look but I have seen lots of girls mixing and matching the pieces with other JLJV pieces or other designers, and looking really fierce. Nylon Pink wear a lot of our clothes, and they do that amazingly. They are fearless. They will wear a tank with the unicorn skirt and the spiked vest, and they make it work! I think confidence and loving what you are wearing will allow you to pull off almost anything ….and they do. Nicki Minaj recently paired our Monster jacket with a fun pair of leggings and bloomers for her concert at the Wireless Festival, and I loved the way she put it together. It was totally different than the way I would have thought to do it, but that’s what I love about style- you make it your own!
EYESTRANE: You mentioned at one time you admired Kaoru Watanabe who was a featured model for Japanese fashion magazine, EGG. What was it about her and the gyaru style that you like?
JOSIE: I love Kaoru, to me her style was flawless. She was never afraid to experiment with different looks or hair styles, she was colorful and fun and cute but still had a sexiness about her, and she was a great model with a really expressive face. I don’t think she models anymore, at least not for EGG, but I have found a new muse in Kyary Pamyu Pamyu who I think has a similar style and always looks like absolute perfection. You have to have a big personality to pull off some of the looks that she rocks, but I think that her look is so of the moment right now and she is super cutting edge without crossing the line into being ridiculous which can sometimes be a problem with people taking big fashion risks To me the gyaru style is so feminine and beautiful and sexy, but also fun and a little wild and that’s what I love to do with my line and my personal style. You can mix cute with fun or funky and still look pretty. I love what Katy Perry, Lady Gaga and Nicki Minaj wear as well, I think they have really fierce fun style and it’s certainly never boring!
EYESTRANE: I understand you have another line of adult footed pajamas called Jumpin Jamerz coming out soon. Can you tell us a bit about what to expect?
JOSIE: I’m a big fan of Jumpin Jammerz, and I love their PJ’s. They are pretty much the coziest thing ever to wear to bed or around the house, but still super cute. All of their PJ’s have feet and hoods and are super soft, so I jumped at the opportunity to design a few prints for them. Right now we have two patterns I designed with them coming out in October, based on my love of sweets; one with kitties and bears in cupcakes, and one of dropped ice cream cones with sad faces. You can see them on the JumpinJammerz.com site under Josie Stevens in the pop culture section. We are hoping to put out a kigurumi style feetie PJ later this year because I love kigurumi and think they are super cute, but will be even more adorable in a feetie version!
EYESTRANE: I know you started designing and creating your own clothing and accessories because you could not always find what you were looking for. What did you find lacking and can you tell us about some of your creations?
JOSIE: I think fashion is getting more open now, but when I first started making my own clothes it was really hard to find unique pieces to wear, and a lot of times when I did find things that were off beat, I didn’t think the quality was that great. That’s one of the things that is so important to me in my line- that the clothes be both fun and well made. I also think that for a long times designers thought in a box, a lot of them still do, like this is a sexy outfit, and this is a cute one and this is a rocker one, but they never wanted to mix the elements, but why cant you be both cute and sexy and the same time? Or wear something a bit edgy or tough without looking too hard or masculine? I didn’t like feeling boxed in by what I saw in stores, I wanted to be able to have different aspects of my personality and style in the same outfit, and I think a lot of girls think that way. I think the school of thought that you cant experiment and that fashion is filled with rules is so over! No one wants to match their shoes to their bag to their belt and wear outfits right off the mannequin or magazines anymore, they want to mix and match and have some fun- as they should! I actually discovered J Valentines designs a few years back, fell in love and starting rocking them all the time, so it was really a joy to get the opportunity to design with them now, because they so encapsulate what I love about fashion and we are like style soul mates.
EYESTRANE: Interacting with people on Twitter and Facebook has also brought you a large fan base and you are known as a very honest, positive, energetic and open person. Can you tell us how important it has been to you to interact in social media?
JOSIE: I am in love with social media! I was actually a bit late to the game, I didn’t have a Myspace page or anything like that, and when we were filming Married to Rock, E! suggested I make a Facebook and Twitter so I tried it. I didn’t know how much fun it was! Now I have everything; Tumblr, Pinterest, Tencent Weibo (like a Chinese Twitter), etc. and I love it. It is so fun to be able to talk to people all over the world, to be able to get feedback on designs right away, to get to know people. I have made a lot of friends through social media, and had a lot of great opportunities come from it in business as well. It’s an amazing way to be able to both share your life and whats going on with you, and get to share in other peoples lives and get to know them. I try to answer everyone who writes me or tweets me, sometimes when I am super busy or traveling I will miss a few tweets or messages, but I love being able to chat with people and I feel lucky to have so many fun people to talk with online. To me, I have never understood having someone else run your social media, because whats the point or the fun of that? I also don’t understand when people aren’t legit about who they are and what they are like online, its so much easier and better to just be yourself. I do try to be positive and honest online, but I try to be positive and honest offline too. Of course we all have a bad day now and then, but its okay to admit that. Its how you deal with that bad day that matters. And I would rather put good happy energy into the world than bad, because I believe what you put out is what you get back.
EYESTRANE: I understand you also sing! Is this something you just started doing? Is there someplace we can go to hear you?
EYESTRANE: I think you are an inspiration to many. Of course, on the beauty side you inspire women to look their best and be free and have fun with their fashion and makeup. Aside from that you are a successful business woman who juggles a huge workload on a daily basis. Is this something you learned or have you always had the drive and knowledge to succeed? Do you have any advice for others?
JOSIE: Thank you so much. I have learned a lot over the years when it comes to business, but the best advice I can give is to try and learn everything you can about what you want to do; read books, find resources online, find people who are successful at what you want to do and ask to intern or be mentored by them or ask for advice, and just practice whatever it is you wanna do or learn every chance you get. Never be afraid to ask questions, to ask for help or admit you don’t know something. There have been times where I have been in a meeting and something has gone over my head, but I am never too proud to just say “hold on a second, I’m sorry but I don’t understand what that means.” People are usually happy to tell you and share their knowledge and they respect you for being brave enough to admit you don’t know something, there is no shame in not knowing everything. I also think you have to be willing to really work hard for anything you truly want and be willing to make sacrifices to make it happen. You also can’t ever give up. You may need to adjust your dreams a bit if they are unrealistic in some cases, but you should never stop dreaming Id also say don’t let people intimidate you, always be kind and never burn a bridge, but don’t be scared to stand your ground and know your value. I think especially when if comes to women, there is a double standard; that by being assertive that you are being a bitch, or that some men wont take you seriously, especially if you look a certain way, etc., but I have never let that stand in my way. I’m sure there are times in meetings where someone has prejudged me and figured I was a bimbo or something, but when I open my mouth and they hear what I have to say they are forced to listen, because I always do my homework and come prepared. I get a great deal of satisfaction out of disproving stereotypes and I think you have to use whatever you have to your advantage. If someone doesn’t take me seriously, that just means they wont expect me to be a shrewd businesswoman, and honestly, I have benefited from that at times. Always find a way to make your weaknesses your strengths.
EYESTRANE: You have a lot of projects going on. What are your dreams for the future? What would you, ideally, like to see yourself doing five or ten years from now?
JOSIE: My dreams for the future are mainly just to be happy and to continue to do what I love to do, surrounded by the people I love. I hope to continue to do design for the rest of my life, to continue to work and play with my husband, my family and my friends, and to do good in the world. I hope to start a charity at some point to help benefit some of the causes that are close to my heart, Id love to expand my brand into makeup, hair products, shoes and accessories, and build on my existing lines with JLJV and Jumpin Jammerz and keep putting out fun fashions.
JOSIE: Id love to do another reality show if the right project comes along, and I would love to just keep learning and growing as a person. I don’t usually make really long term plans because you never know what life will bring you, I just try to hope and work towards whatever it is being something that makes me happy and makes other people happy Right now, I am very excited about my new costumes with Josie Loves J Valentine, I think they are super cute and I am so excited to see girls rocking them, and I am excited about my new PJ’s coming out. Anything that comes up after that is a bonus.
EYESTRANE: Where can we go to find out more about you?
JOSIE: You can find me at Whosay, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr, Youtube, Tencent Weibo (in Chinese), and you can find my line at JosieLovesJValentine.com or by searching “Josie Loves J Valentine.” We are sold at many stores online including Yandy.com, PureDelish.com, AMIClubwear.com, and in brick and mortar retail stores like the Hustler Hollywood chain, Bizzy B, etc.
Josie letting fans and followers know what her real social media
accounts are so they don’t get duped by the fakes.