Fancy Sessions: Aimée Sullivan
Performer, Graphic Designer & Good Egg
Aimée!! You gem! So thrilled that you could take some time out to korero with us!
Thank you for having me! I’m so stoked to be chatting with you!
Tell us a bit about what you’re up to!
I work as a graphic designer and illustrator, but also perform a lot. Recently I’ve been lucky enough to work with all kinds of clients from a design perspective, but I’ve also been very fortunate to perform with theatre groups all over the city. I’ve also just finished making a cool short film called Saint Margo, written and directed by Jess Hockey. Otherwise I love being with my pals, heading to Lighthouse Cinema to catch a movie, or heading to Bats Theatre to see a cool show.
What do you find inspiring about living in Wellington?
This city has a little bit of everything. We have sea, green, mountains, city, hills, shops, bars, theatre, all at our fingertips. I reckon in an an hour’s walk through Wellington you can see all of life! The people who live here are the most inspiring thing about the city, and it’s a joy to be in a place full of cool people making cool mahi in all fields. There is something amazing happening every night of the week, whether that’s music, drag, theatre, lectures, sports, anything. I LOVE Wellington, and living here is a privilege and an honour.
I think everyone dresses unapologetically here, and wandering down Cuba Street is always an inspirational walk for fashion and style. I really like how you can see the impact of geography on clothes, and how folks match style with livability. Sneakers and boots for the hills, and long skirts, pants, or a-line fits to combat the wind. The wind is inspiring you! (Even if it doesn’t feel like it!)
What art is exciting you at the moment?
Eeeeeee! In illustration, I love Eleonora Arosio and Nina Cosford’s work. My good friend Alex at 91 Vintage Photo is constantly producing cool film photography that I’ve had to limit my spending on - it’s all so good. I love the work of Jacqui Kenny, who takes photographs of found places on Google Street View.
In theatre, Trick of the Light always deliver, as well as A Mulled Whine. I’m very excited to see my pals at Red Scare Theatre Company presenting Homemade Takeaways at Bats this week, and I’m very excited for what WITCH Music Theatre create in 2023. We’re so lucky to have access to sooooo many great theatre companies in Te Whanganui a Tara - support them, it’s been a rough couple of years!
What are your favourite spots on Cuba Street?
Oh my gosh, there are so many! For kai, 1154, Olive, Origami, Ombra, and my forever favourite, Aunty Mena’s (BBQ buns and a laksa please.). I love sitting in the window of Midnight Espresso at nighttime, and in the window of Black Lion in the day (buy their bread, you won’t regret it.) For treats, you can find me in the aisles of Havilah, Minerva, Wellington Apothecary, The Ferret Bookshop, Good Housekeeping, and of course, Madame Fancy Pants! Hana Akari also does the best massages in the city. And when the sun goes down, I love Puffin and Ascot, cosy little bars where you can gab the night away.
How would you describe your personal style, and who are your influences?
I was a classic-vintage-Tumblr-whimsy-girl in the 2010s, which still courses through my veins. It’s now developed into what I think is a more minimal and understated style. I like wearing a lot of block colours - creating a strong colour palette is what I tend to look at when dressing. I love to dress up - I think lots of performers do. It’s escapism, and pretending you’re something else for a day, or a night. A costume party with theatre people is always a great time!
As for influences, I love love love Nicola Coughan’s style. She always looks so fabulous, fun and femme, as well as being a shorter softer gal, just like me! I went through a phase of feeling like dressing femme makes people percieve you as weak, which I’m thankfully breaking free from, mainly due to the influence of many strong friends who surround me, including Sasha, who featured in one of the first fancy sessions! I feel very excited to have reached a point where I’m comfortable playing with dressing up and embracing my 17 year old Tumblr self - the world is your playground after all.
What have been your biggest revelation/lessons of the last year?
You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do. Say no more often. Tell your friends you love them and that they’re the best shit you’ve ever seen. (credit to Julia Jacklin for that lyric.) Say hello to your 17 year old self. Give them a hug. Tell them they’re pretty cool.
What music are you listening to currently?
I come back to Arlo Park’s album ‘Collapsed in Sunbeams’ constantly. It’s just beautiful. As the summer is coming, artists on my constant rotation are Alabama Shakes, Brittany Howard, Self Esteem, Julia Jacklin, Bahamas and Tiny Ruins. The funny thing about performing in a show that involves singing is that you have periods where all you listen to is the music from the show you’re learning in a desperate attempt to smash the songs into your memory! Therefore my Spotify round up is never representational of my true taste in music. I think I need to start utilising incognito sessions more often.
Favourite project you’ve worked on thus far?
Ooooooh - for me it’s all about fun. I had the most laughs on ‘Little Town Liars’ in 2021 with Distracted by the Sideshow. It was a silly, kooky comedy about three kids in 1950’s Louisiana who take drugs on Halloween night. Every performer in it was so funny to be around, and I’ve never had such a hard time not cracking up on stage. As well as being funny, everyone was so kind and lovely backstage. There is a picture of that team on my fridge, and it always makes me smile to look at it.
Where can we see more of you!?
The next six months are going to be whole a heap of fun! I will be performing with WITCH Music Theatre at Garden’s Magic on the 26th of January, as well as their production of Into the Woods in May, then diving headfirst into Kinky Boots with G&T Productions.