For about half a year now, we’ve had our eye on model Rain Dove. Ever since we saw her walk for Malan Breton’s NYFWM show in 2015 we were intrigued by how she seamlessly fit in with the masculine aesthetic. Over time, Dove has grown exponentially, modeling for Rochambeau, Vivienne Hu, and Nolcha Fashion Week. She’s been a chameleon for every silhouette - from classic menswear to elegant Marc Bouwer gowns.
Walking into the Adelante Studios in the heart of New York City, Dove greeted each person in an affable manner, embodying her default live-in-the-moment character. Slightly bouncing off the wall, her energy was contagious across the studio and even grabbed my phone to chat with our Los Angeles headquarters while going through the final run through. Having our “Labeling Men Playlist” thumping over the speakers, she was particularly interested when she heard Soren Bryce’s “Sirens,” commenting on how talented the 19-year-old singer is.
We put Dove in a mixture of Malan Breton, oversized leather jackets, and the classic Calvin. Being as vivacious on the shoot as she was during prep, the amount of usable roll we had was extraordinary. Comfortable as ever in her own skin, she commanded the set and brought her own ideas to shoot.
Our personal favorite moment was when she heard another one of Bryce’s songs, “Ride With You,” and decided to use her tie as an air guitar, making a seemingly unconventional shot look cool as fuck. Sitting down with Dove for 21 Questions, the game confirmed what we already felt about her vibe. While some of her answers were hilarious (she claims ketchup is evil), it’s her originality and passion for life that comes to the forefront. Dove isn’t somebody who is spreading a message for bullshit, money, or fame; she lives and breathes everything she says. Read on to hear who she’d choose for president, how she almost made the Olympics, and her simple-yet-poignant dating advice.
September 27th, 1989.
Favorite runway moment?
I have two. One was my first runway ever for Calvin Klein. I walked as a dude, by default. The audience didn’t know I was female at first and so I was in underwear with my [laughing] tits flapping, going back and forth and they were like, “AHH!” I had the largest pecks I think they’ve ever seen. My favorite runway moment, as a female, was in the Malan Breton show this past season. I got to flex in a ball gown. Malan was very strict with all of his models, but when I walked the runway he was like, “Do whatever you want to do.” When I walked out there I knew that the audience thought I was potentially not cisgendered because of my muscle tone and my height. So I decided to just flaunt it while I got it.
I do appreciate the artwork of Jean Paul Gaultier and Alexander McQueen. I think Grace Jones is great, but I’m not modeling my career after anyone and don’t really have any fashion icons. My personal icons are people who have a lot of exposure and are using that as a platform to make social change, people like Angelina Jolie.
Dream designer you would want to work with?
I would love to work with Jean Paul Gaultier again, in person, doing drag. I would love to have facial hair and be modeling some of his women’s wear.
Kanye West or Lindsay Lohan for president?
Lindsay for sure! [laughs] Kanye would be awful!
Favorite NYC hotspot?
If I’m going to go to a club, I go to The Box. It’s an amazing place! And they give you popcorn! I also like to go to Barcade.
Three tracks you’re currently listening to?
I’m into Woodkid, Alt-J, and I listen to a lot of Sia. I love cinematic music. Anything that you can visualize things while listening to, that makes it worth hearing.
Wake up, put on clothing, splash my face with water... and go-out into the world. Everyday I wake up and usually spend about 15 minutes staring at the ceiling envisioning what it is I want to do for the day. Just kind of fantasizing about the things I want to have accomplished and the opportunities I want to come to fruition. Instead of sitting on it and mulling on it, I just go out. I don’t have a make-up routine or a skin routine, I literally put on clothes and walk out - sometimes even deodorant.
Next thing on your bucket list?
Working towards doing a lot more film acting. Also establishing a stronger platform for non-profits, for the individuals actually making a difference, to have a voice. They are the everyday person who has a simple effort that can be expanded if they just had a few more extra hands.
One app you can’t live without?
The notepad app.
Ketchup or mustard?
Mustard. Ketchup is evil. Watch “Attack of the Killer Tomatoes” and you’ll see the struggle is real.
Late night go-to snack?
Ice cream for something sweet and home-popped popcorn if I want to feel like I made food.
Books or movies?
Books. But anytime a movie is made it’s such a miracle because so many components come together. If it’s a movie made on a book, I prefer the book.
Underwear or commando?
Commando. Let your niblets fly.
Peregrine falcons. It’s a little tiny falcon, hawk thing. It’s super vicious; it attacked a kite that I was flying when I was younger. It tore the thing to shreds and I was devastated that my kite was gone, but I was also like, “Fuck yeah, little falcon.” The kite was like 6 times the size of it and the falcon took it out.
I like wearing lacey bras and lingerie, a pair of briefs, I love jeans and denim. I like wearing what we consider to be a female tank top or undershirt or t-shirt because it covers my "covers." And I then I like what we consider to be a men’s jacket or tailored suit top because you can make anything fancy with a suit top. And sneakers. Always sneakers. I will only wear high-heels if I think I’m afraid I’m going to get mugged because those things are really great preventatives. And no one wants to attack a 6’8” woman. Or 6’8” guy. Whatever they think I am.
One interesting fact that no one knows about you until now?
The U.S was putting together an Olympic team for a new sport they wanted to introduce in Summer 2003. One of the sports they were considering opening up was the game Ultimate Frisbee. When they were doing a prototype test-run, they invited teams from around the world to play and I was on Team USA. So technically, at that time, I was the tallest Ultimate Frisbee player on a women’s team in the world.
One piece of dating advice?
Communicate. A lot of reasons relationships go south is because people don’t talk about their real desires or needs. Even if it means getting their orgasms somewhere else, from another way, or from some sexual exploration. People are too scared of potentially being rejected that they tiptoe around each other. If you’re blunt with people, you’ll get the best out of them. If they can’t deal with it, they’re not the one for you.
One thing in life you absolutely love?
Life. I love the emotion you feel in life and just the fact that you’re feeling it. How amazing is that? The fact that we have it is such a privilege.
One thing you absolutely hate?
I hate greed. I hate what it does to people, faith, and religion. I hate what it’s done to our natural resources and what it’s done to us as people. It’s the number one evil thing on this planet.
Words to live by?
Even when things don’t feel great, the fact that they feel at all is a miracle. And you have to learn to really, really appreciate the fact that you’re existing right now. Take the time out of your life to be, fucking alive right now, because it’s awesome.
Follow Rain Dove on social media at @raindovemodel
Article By Nisim Frank
Photos by shootmepeter
MUA/Hair: Alexandra Yung
Styling Assistant: Cassie Muniak