“I’m honestly so used to doing interviews at this point,” says 20-year-old Molly Bair, who broke onto the modeling scene as a Proenza Schouler exclusive two-and-a-half years ago, and is now an industry fixture. “I say stupid shit all the time, but I’ve had a lot of articles where people just edit the shit out of what I say, and I don’t like that.” Bair is beloved for her unique, gawky look, fierce runway stomp, and laugh-out-loud Instagram feed. The six-foot-tall Philadelphia native has naturally became a favorite of the CR Fashion Book team, so we jumped at the chance to shoot her again in the streets of New York, and catch up about everything from her must-follow social media accounts to her passion for tennis and new role as environmental activist in collaboration with Pure Earth.
I can’t tell if I’m a bigger fan of your modeling work or your hilarious Instagram feed. Have you always been so funny?
“I was always a weird child, and have been making weird videos—kind of like the ones you see on my Instagram— my whole life. I grew up with these really niche obsessions, and was really into Star Wars, for example. So when I was 12, I Photoshopped my face onto Yoda’s body, then screen printed it onto a t-shirt and wore it to school. I had no friends as a kid. I was bullied so much. I mean, I don’t blame them because honestly, I probably would’ve bullied myself, too. Now I see them liking my pics, but I’m still doing the same stupid shit.”
Let’s talk about your recent collaboration with the nonprofit Pure Earth. Where did your passion for the environment come from?
“To be honest, I think think my first memory of really being concerned about the environment was when I saw the Pixar movie Wall-E. It stressed me the fuck out and made me really depressed. Since then I’ve been really obsessed with environmental studies. I eventually want to take a few courses in college, but I’ll probably end up majoring in political science or go to law school. Some people think my Instagram comes across as political. But in my eyes it’s not even political, it’s just doing what’s right.”
How did you come to work with Pure Earth and what have you learned from the organization?
“I didn’t know gold mining was the leading source of mercury pollution until my agency connected me with Pure Earth, which promotes artisanal gold mining using mercury-free techniques, and other sustainable practices. I always knew about mercury poisoning because I really like to eat tuna. I love tuna so much, but my mom would always tell me I couldn’t eat too much of it because I’d get mercury poisoning. I think that’s something everyone can relate to.
And so I met with Pure Earth and went to one of their presentations of new research. They gave me a whole information session about what they do, and I decided to become involved with their Heavy Metal Benefit, an online auction of unique jewelry using responsibly sourced materials like mercury-free gold. I modeled these pieces created especially for the cause by 19 labels including Pamela Love, and am helping draw attention to the upcoming gala on April 24th. Basically, Pure Earth has been working so hard at actually making a difference in the world, they’re not really worried about getting their name out there. That’s where I come in because I’m such a talented social media curator.”
Speaking of talent, you were a pretty competitive tennis player before you started modeling. Do you still hit the courts?
“I actually played a few days ago because I’m trying to teach my roommate Harleth [Kuusik] even though she’s horrible. The problem is most people my age who are decent players are probably in college now. It’s is such a social sport, but I already meet enough [older] people that I don’t want to talk to already, so I’ve decided I don’t need to add more of that into my life with tennis. Even though I haven’t been playing as much, I was just at the Miami Open, where I got to see Nadal and Federer play. And I actually got to meet Federer backstage at the Chanel show in October. It was such a great moment for me. He was standing with Karl [Lagerfeld] and I wasn’t trying to interrupt them, but then I was like, I’m actually going to kill myself if I don’t approach him. I don’t really fangirl over people usually, but I was so flustered and having word vomit.”
How has being long and lanky affected your tennis game?
“I was always skinny with long arms growing up, but I was never tall until more recently. My game has always been about running down everything because I was fast, but also so weak. That strategy works when you’re a kid, but as soon as you get older, you obviously need to gain a lot more muscle because you’ll just get out-powered. Last year I was lucky enough to have friends with courtside tickets to the French Open. I was so close to some of my idols like Serena [Williams], and seeing how hard they hit is pretty amazing.”
Aside from Pure Earth, what other modeling projects have you done recently that you’re excited about?
“I shot a series of pictures for the Comme des Garcons exhibition at the Met with Paolo Roversi. Every picture he takes is art. In this era of everything being about money, he validates why I can still do this job and feel okay about it. So I actually went to Japan for a few days because they were using the archives from the nineties. Then I went to Paris and shot some more. When I was there, they actually had to fly someone from Japan to help put on this dress that takes 45 minutes. She was the only woman who knew how to do it. I also got to meet Rei [Kawakubo]. She’s really low key and quiet, and reminds me of that cartoon character [Mirage] from The Incredibles.”
Before I forget, I saw you went to a taping of the Jerry Springer show on your Instagram. What was that like?
“It was honestly the most horrible experience of my life. The people there are so misogynistic. I was mad as soon as I walked in the door. The episode was called “My Sister Hates Me,” or something like that. It was all about sisters having sex with the same guy. My roommate and I requested tickets and then took a shuttle to Stamford, Connecticut, where the show is filmed. It would not recommend it to anyone. The fighting was so fake and disrespectful. I would suggest going to the Maury show instead, which is also filmed there. If I lived in L.A., I would be going to the tapings of a lot of shows because I think a live audience is so funny.”END
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