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Move Over, Barbie — This Queer Chicana Artist Built Her Own Dream House

“If society isn't going to make room for bodies like mine, then I will.”

Image credit: Bibs Moreno

Gabriela Ruiz is building her first home. On July 13, the Los Angeles-based designer, model, and performance artist known to her fans as Leather Papi is opening her first solo installation, “Haus,” a multi-room walk-through exhibition reimagining a home’s traditional rooms. There’s a kitchen, a bathroom, a living room, a bedroom — plus, one not-so-traditional dungeon. In a conversation with GOOD, the queer Chicana artist and child of immigrants opened up about the sex- and body-positive origins underpinning her unusual new digs, along with what it’s like to make her way in the art world without a traditional support system.

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This Fashion Brand Is A Celebration Of Black Trans Women

No Sesso makes clothes for people on the margins of the fashion world.

Leo King (left) and Pierre Davis (right), No Sesso “Working Girls." Image by Angella Choe

It would be a severe understatement to call LA fashion label No Sesso a work of art. Especially when you have been witness to the hours of intricate, exacting labor that goes into the construction of each garment. On any given day, you will find the room where No Sesso founder and designer Pierre Davis produces the collection overflowing, with mountains of embroidery floss, every type of fabric imaginable, and racks of meticulously crafted clothing. One denim jacket—which depicts a scene of the fantasy “No Sesso Bump & Curl Salon” in stunning, detailed hand embroidery—took six months to complete. Artists like Mykki Blanco, Le1f, and Kelsey Lu stop by to pull looks, and someone from the No Sesso team is usually around for brainstorming sessions. That team includes stylist and casting director J. Sims, assistant designer Leo King, and Arin Hayes, who helps with marketing and content production.

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